Somehow I skipped over this bit of news yesterday but it is certainly worth talking about today. NASN.tv’s Jason Davis is reporting that Major League Soccer and the United Soccer League have a proposed agreement that could very well be the right step in developing young players for the future.
Here is the full scoop:
At the USL annual general meeting, the United Soccer Leagues informed its member clubs of a proposed agreement with Major League Soccer that would provide for an integrated third division/MLS reserve league. Some interplay is expected to begin in 2013, with full integration of the plan coming in 2014.
The details as understood are:
1. If an MLS city has a USLPRO team nearby, MLS will provide 5 players and pay their salary.
2. If there’s no USLPRO team, the MLS reserve side will become a new, permanent team in USLPRO.
3. All USLPRO teams will have an MLS affiliate.
Right off the bat I love this move. It is something that just about any MLS fan can agree needs to happen. Yes it does completely ignore the second tier league in the NASL for now but the most important aspect of this is how it will give teams the option to get their younger players more time to develop. Also, it will help those older players that are recovering from an injury and need some minutes to get back into game-speed as well.
This is a genius move for the USL-PRO in my book too as it will expand their map once again, stretching from coast-to-coast – making travel a little easier for the west coast teams since they will be able to play one another.
I’m sure a lot of logistics still have to be worked out. But based on some talks I’ve had with folks at a couple clubs around the league this morning, this seems to be a deal that is very much going to happen. I want to quickly point out that this does not in any way lead to promotion/relegation in the US soccer setup. This set up is 100% about improving the reserve set up in MLS and providing younger players a better chance at getting minutes to develop instead of wasting money on the bench.