SBJ/August 16 - 22, 2004/This Weeks Issue

MLS planning reserve league

In addition to adding two clubs in 2005, MLS is working on creating a reserve league that would add 48 to 72 roster spots.

If the MLS board of governors and the U.S. Soccer Federation, which is helping fund the league, approve the plans and funding for the reserve league, each of the league’s teams will add four to six developmental players, bringing the reserve roster to 10 or 12 players a team. Each now has 18 senior roster spots and six developmental players.

These reserve, or developmental, players would then play other reserve teams in or around the weekend of an MLS match.

Todd Durbin, senior vice president of player personnel for MLS, said Chivas USA and Salt Lake City, the two new teams in 2005, will have the same size reserve teams as the other 10 clubs.

Durbin would not comment on the financial requirement to add the developmental players, but a league source said developmental players make between $800 and $1,000 a month during regular-season months. A typical season is seven months long, April through October, meaning a low-end reserve player would cost $5,600 a year and a senior reserve player would cost $7,000.

That would mean the overall cost of adding 48 to 72 reserve players would be between $268,800 and $504,000 a season.

Durbin said that the league would not increase the rate at which it signs players younger than 18 but that a significant portion of the players would come from the college ranks and local markets.

Durbin said there is a significant number of talented, young players in the United States who need an opportunity to play competitively in an everyday situation.

“This is the natural next step in our evolution,” he said.

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