Tag Archive | "MLS SuperDraft"

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MLS gets (more) serious on youth development players

Posted on 08 April 2010 by ASN Staff

Finally, Major League Soccer appears to be taking its youth development programs seriously. Or at least more seriously than before, when MLS clubs had very little chance of signing players developed in their own youth systems.

For starters, MLS will add two roster spots to each club’s limit, with the spots reserved for home grown players, which the league defines as “players registered for at least 12 months in an MLS youth program.”

MLS clubs may also sign home grown players from their youth development programs to Generation adidas contracts without those players having to go through the SuperDraft.

The result is a Byzantine roster and salary structure that is best quoted verbatim from the league’s press release:

Senior Roster (Slots 1-20)
MLS teams may have 18-20 players on their senior roster. These players will make no less than $40,000 per year and count against the 2010 team salary budget of $2,550,000.

Protected Roster (Slots 21-26)
Teams may have up to six players that do not count against the salary budget. Players on this roster may include Generation adidas players, players earning the 2010 league minimum player salary of $40,000 per year, and two of these six slots are reserved for home grown players who earn a minimum of $31,250 in 2010.

Teams are not required to fill all 26 slots at any given time.

Perhaps just as significantly, MLS increased the portion of a transfer fee that a club receives in the event that one of its home grown players signs abroad. The league also increased the amount of that revenue that can be used as allocation money.

Previously, an MLS club received 2/3 of any fee collected for one of its players transferring (or being loaned) abroad, with the league distributing the remaining third among all owners. Now, revenue from player transfers and loans will be divided as follows (again, best to quote the league’s own words on this):

Home Grown Player:
• Club receives 3/4 of transfer fee revenue and the League receives 1/4

Generation adidas players & non home grown players acquired in the SuperDraft:
• 1 Year of service: 1/3 to Club and 2/3 to League
• 2 Years: 1/2 to Club and 1/2 to League
• 3+ Years: 2/3 to Club and 1/3 to League

All other players:
• Club receives 2/3 of the transfer fee revenue and the League receives 1/3

The maximum amount of a given transfer fee’s revenue that may be used by a club as allocation money has increased from $500,000 to $650,000. Allocation money may be used to reduce the portion of a player’s compensation that counts against a club’s salary budget in connection with signing players new to MLS, or re-signing existing MLS players to a new contract.

If you find this confusing you’re probably not alone. The rules are surely tough enough for the league itself to keep track of. For fans and journalists and the general public, who are not provided information on individual salaries or contracts, it’s downright befuddling.

Still, the important thing is that clubs will be compensated more, and better, for developing players in-house. Give the league credit for that.

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Time to scrap the MLS draft

Posted on 25 January 2010 by Nicholas Gkionis

Major League Soccer’s player allocation model is stuck in purgatory. On the one hand it tries to emulate the European/international model of player development, where clubs own the rights to players developed by their youth systems. On the other, it wants to emulate other U.S. professional sports, with the college development/draft allocation model. It clearly wants to have the best of both worlds, with the excitement and fairness of Major League Soccer’s SuperDraft and a system that allows clubs to keep a few select the players they develop in house.

Personally, I would like MLS clubs to bring kids up through their academies and eventually sign them to their first team if they are good enough. It makes no sense to develop a kid and then hope you get the chance to draft him. I know more MLS clubs are starting up their own academies and I know from my experience that the New York Red Bulls have a pretty good set-up. The league should reward, not penalize, these developments.

For the U.S. to truly take over the soccer world, players will have to start being introduced to the professional game at ages 17-18. Personally, the most fun I had playing soccer was in college, but that doesn’t mean it was the best for my development. At this point, college stunts the best players’ growth. Look at the best soccer countries in the world: all the players are being introduced to professional environments at young ages. By 22 they are seasoned professionals, when most American kids are just getting their start in the pro game.

If the NCAA changed its rules and players were allowed to train as much as they want any time of year with their MLS team maybe it would be different. But that’s surely a non starter as it would jeopardize their “amateur” status. Better then for MLS to revamp its model.

Player development begins and ends with the academies and clubs need incentives to develop their youth players. The first thing would be to grant rights to the clubs of all players who have stayed in their academies for a certain amount of years. I think we should just get rid of the SuperDraft, even though I love it for other sports. It’s just not useful at this point because the level of talent in the MLS draft and that of an NBA or NFL draft is miles apart.

MLS would need to change of a lot of its structure for this to happen, specifically the idea that all clubs are subject to the league authority for player allocation.

I believe it’s time for MLS to become a free market where there is no salary cap and where if someone wants to come in and buy a team and pour millions into it, then all the power to them. But I would also implement a rule that there has to be a certain number of players from a club’s academy on its first team squad. All MLS would need is a few billionaires to come in (which would happen) pump a ton of money into the youth set-up of the club, buy big time players, and turn a few MLS teams into big time clubs. These teams would challenge the best in Mexico and South America through the Copa Libertadores and Sudamericana. Everyone would benefit: the level of play would be better, the league would be more respected at home and abroad. MLS teams would be obligated to field players from their academies and of course if someone is spending a lot of money on the team they would make sure the youth set-up is right.

I like the idea of keeping it competitive, as ensured by the current system of parity. But name another soccer league in the world that is competitive top to bottom. The same teams win every year in England, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, just to name a few, and judging by the levels of interest in those countries they seem to be doing just fine with it.

This is just an idea maybe and of course it’s easier said than done–especially the second part. But the sport needs academies for it to reach the next level of competitiveness and teams should be rewarded for developing their own talent. Right now that simply is not the case.

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Meet Philadelphia Union SuperDraft pick Brian Perk

Posted on 22 January 2010 by Breton Bonnette

It was draft day and Brian Perk stepped out of his hotel to meet up with his father, nerves most likely fluttering as he prepared himself for the day that would decide his professional future in the U.S. Waiting for the rendezvous, Perk was blindsided by a cohort of chanting Philadelphia Union supporters, over 200 strong. Little did he know, he’d be shaking hands with those same supporters that night as he toured the city of Philadelphia as a new member of the Union. Even with the Sons of Ben run-in, Perk says landing in Philadelphia didn’t even cross his mind. “I had no clue,” he told ASN Philly. “Philly is probably one of the last places I thought I’d end up because of the two guys they already had.”

Read the full story at ASN’s Philly page.

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Philadelphia Union draft pick Amobi Okugo

Posted on 21 January 2010 by Breton Bonnette

With things starting to get hectic for the Union’s inaugural SuperDraftees, ASN Philly had to settle for an introductory Q&A this time with Amobi Okugo, the #6 pick and 18-year old defensive midfielder out of UCLA. While #1 pick Danny Mwanga is in Portland tying up loose ends, Amobi and Jack McInerney are in Mexico with the US U-20s participating in the Copa Chivas Tournament. The jam-packed schedule doesn’t take away from his anxiety to get to Philadelphia and begin training camp on January 25th.

With the 2011 US U-20s cycle in full swing, Okugo should become a everyday player in Coach Thomas Rongen’s set-up along with fellow Union teammate Jack McInerney. Extremely athletic, vocal, and tough- tackling, Okugo could translate that international success to a prosperous professional club career. At least that’s what Union fans are banking on.

Head over to ASN Philly to read the interview.

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Touching base with FC Dallas SuperDraft selection Andrew Wiedeman

Posted on 21 January 2010 by ASN Staff

FC Dallas selected University of California forward Andrew Wiedeman with the No. 21 overall pick last Thursday, Jan. 14, at the 2010 Major League Soccer SuperDraft in Philadelphia. The San Ramon, Calif., native should have no problem fitting into his new head coach’s system. Wiedeman’s college coach Kevin Grimes played for Schellas Hyndman for four years at SMU and was also an assistant coach for three years under Hyndman at his alma mater. But the links between FCD and Wiedeman go further than that, as he reveals in this quick take with American Soccer News.

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Union Superdraft tidbits

Posted on 16 January 2010 by Breton Bonnette

Quotes and notes from fallout of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft, one that is going down as a very successful day in the nascent but so far, exciting Philadelphia Union history. Get it at ASN Philly’s page.

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SuperDraft photo gallery

Posted on 15 January 2010 by tmclaughlin

ASN’s ace photographer Terry McLaughlin was on the scene at Major League Soccer’s SuperDraft 2010 in Philadelphia. Here are some of his favorite shots.

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Troy Perkins deal could be bittersweet for DC United

Posted on 15 January 2010 by Zach Johnson

Troy Perkins. Photo source: Wikipedia

Curt Onalfo’s first move in charge was to bring back former fan favorite Troy Perkins. The move looks great on paper and D.C. United needed a goalkeeper badly, but the acquisition could be bittersweet if Perkins leaves for national team duty this summer. The team still has other glaring holes and did little to address these in today’s MLS SuperDraft.

Read on at ASN’s DC United page.

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U-17 standout McInerney joins Union

Posted on 15 January 2010 by matt

Jack McInerney ©Terry McLaughlin

The opening picks of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft went along without any real surprises, following what many had predicted for the first round in the dozens of mock drafts floating around the web. The first significant deviation from those predictions came when Philadelphia passed on players such as Corben Bone and Dilly Duka to select U.S. U-17 forward Jack McInerney with the seventh overall pick. The Georgia native was expected by most to slide down to the 10-12 range in the first round, but the Union front office did not miss the chance to add another player to their stable of talented teenagers with plenty of potential.

Read ASN Philly’s report from the ground at SuperDraft 2010.

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MLS SuperDraft 2010: Philadelphia cleans up (updated)

Posted on 14 January 2010 by ASN Staff

Well before the draft started, Peter Nowak and Co. sent notice they were going to make this event about the Philadelphia Union. The newest MLS franchise acquired the first round selections from DC United and FC Dallas for, well, what exactly? Allocation cash in FC Dallas’ case. The rights to Troy Perkins in DC United’s. Oh yeah, DCU also sent Philly Brazilian winger Fred for its troubles.

Danny Mwanga (center) ©Terry McLaughlin/ASN

The result was three of the first seven overall picks in the draft, a tally that allowed the team to take a relative gamble on the likes of Jack McInerney with its third pick (seventh overall). If you want to call Parade Magazine’s national boys’ soccer Player of the Year a gamble. Its first pick, Danny Mwanga, was the closest thing to a shoe-in number one you’re going to get in an MLS draft. The Cameroon-born 18-year old should be able to contribute right away. Amobi Okugo, picked sixth overall, should at the very least add depth to the Union midfield. All three are Generation Adidas players, which means they won’t count against the salary cap–another bonus. Then Nowak grabbed UConn’s Big East midfielder of the year Toni Stahl in the second round and UCLA midfielder/forward Kyle Nakazawa in the third.

The Union were already set at goalkeeper and defense coming into the draft and had one perfectly serviceable striker in Alejandro Moreno. They have now added a young nucleus in midfield as well as two attacking players who could become the face of the franchise for many years to come. And Nowak still wasn’t done. For the cherry on top of the whipped cream on top of the ice cream on top of the cake, he added Nakazawa’s UCLA teammate and starting U-20 goalkeeper Brian Perk in the fourth round. Perk gives the Union three starter caliber goalkeepers, which is three more than the New England Revolution will have on opening day.

It has been said that it won’t be easy for Philadelphia to match the Seattle Sounders’ success from last year. That will indeed be a formidable challenge. But if today was any indication, the Union won’t just match it but perhaps even exceed it. Hats off to the Zolo.

For more ASN SuperDraft coverage:

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