MLS increases roster size to encourage youth development

Good news for youth players who aspire to play professionally.

This is just the kind of move that’s needed to help improve the quality and development of American players – and their chances of turning pro:

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Soccer has increased the size of rosters from 24 to 26 per team to boost the signing of local “homegrown” players.

The league said Thursday it will allow teams to sign homegrown players from their youth
programs to Generation Adidas contracts without those players having to go through MLS’s annual draft. Before the 2007 season, MLS began requiring each franchise to start at least two youth teams.

Players must have been in a team’s youth program for at least one year to be eligible to skip the draft, and each team may sign up to four homegrown players each year.

MLS executive vice president Todd Durbin said “many of those players are ready to take the next step in their development by becoming professionals.”

Ten players since 2007 have been graduated to MLS rosters.

Each team may now have 18-20 senior players earning at least $40,000 and up to six who don’t count against the $2.55 million salary budget. Two of those six are for homegrown players, who must make a minimum $31,250.

Teams will receive three-quarters of transfer fees for homegrown players, with the league getting the rest. Usually, teams receive two-thirds of transfer fees in the single-entity league.

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group columnist and blogger Nick Green writes about soccer at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at www.insidesocal.com/soccer and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at www.insidesocal.com/beer. Cheers!
  • Rudedeck

    This is great news! On the topic of homegrown–i expect Bowen to start getting some PT before the start of World Cup play (at least I hope).