MLS expands rosters, relaunches Reserve Division
Moves are designed to continue to incentivize player development
YORK – The 2010 season is the first in which homegrown players have left their mark in MLS.
D.C. United’s Andy Najar became the youngest Rookie of the Year in US pro sports history, New York’s Juan Agudelo earned a US national team call-up at 17, and 19-year-old Tristan Bowen made an important contribution to the LA Galaxy’s Supporters’ Shield run.
Now the league's player development movement is poised for an even more aggressive push with the launch of the Reserve Division and the unveiling of new roster rules by MLS.
Teams can now sign an unlimited number of homegrown players per season while rosters sizes will expand to 30 players beginning in 2011.
Six spots of those roster spots will be reserved for players 24 and under, and they will not count against a team’s salary budget, which for 2011 will be $2.67 million per team.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber also announced the relaunch of the Reserve Division, where young players will be able to cut their teeth in competitive matches while continuing to train with the first team squad
MLS Commissioner Don Garber on Tuesday announced details of the relaunch of the MLS Reserve Division for the 2011 season.
“It’s their strong view [of the MLS Technical Committee] that we need to have a Reserve Division that’s a central part of the player development ladder in the United States,” Garber said on teleconference call.
The Reserve Division season will consist of a 10-game regular season. Clubs will be split into three regions consisting of six teams each. Teams will play opponents in their region twice a season. Matches will take place the day after the first teams or during midweek.
The best eight teams in the Reserve Division regular season will advance to the playoffs, which will determine a champion.
In addition to participating in the Reserve Division, MLS reserve squads may also schedule matches against other teams, including NASL or USL-Pro clubs.
Eligibility rules will also be strict as to which players can participate in these matches.
“These matches can only have players who are on the club’s roster or are on trial with the club or are members of the club’s academy,” Garber said.