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CSA vice-president criticizes MLS over new domestic content regulations


BringBackTheBlizzard

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I think it would be marketing suicide if Canada's MLS clubs staffed their teams solely with Americans - the fans would object mightily. It only makes business sense that if they have two players equal in almost every regard but one is Canadian and the other American, to go with the Canadian. But I think Lenarduzzi is right when he says there are simply not enough Canadians good enough to play in MLS and affordable, that's why the Whitecaps are spending well over $1 million a year on young player development with the hope they will find some gems for their senior team.

How much money has TFC spent on youth development one wonders, or the Montreal Impact for that matter?

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I think it would be marketing suicide if Canada's MLS clubs staffed their teams solely with Americans - the fans would object mightily. It only makes business sense that if they have two players equal in almost every regard but one is Canadian and the other American, to go with the Canadian. But I think Lenarduzzi is right when he says there are simply not enough Canadians good enough to play in MLS and affordable, that's why the Whitecaps are spending well over $1 million a year on young player development with the hope they will find some gems for their senior team.

How much money has TFC spent on youth development one wonders, or the Montreal Impact for that matter?

I can only speak to what I've seen and heard (from some very good sources) on TFC's Academy situation.

TFC is already supposedly spending around $1 million per year on its Academy, with more annual expenditures expected once the club adds a U-14 side to its roster in 2011. Plus there's the $15 million training centre that will go under construction next year (although those costs will likely be offset heavily by sponsorship and land donated by whichever community lands the facility).

They've toured academies in the U.S., Mexico (Cruz Azul, Pachuca, Club America) gathering ideas, and are currently in Europe (England and Holland) checking out facilities there. For all that TFC has done wrong -- and that list grows with every week -- I think they've one a fabulous job setting up their player development from scratch two years ago.

The Academy team is one of the tops in the CSL, often playing against men 10+ years their senior and dominating more often than not. The really impressive thing is how the older kids head off to the NCAA or the TFC first team by season's end, and they are replaced by 15-16 year olds who don't miss a beat. Jason Bent and Earl Cochrane deserve a ton of credit there, just as Thomas Niendorf does in Vancouver.

All of that said, Vancouver's development model is still well ahead of toronto's, although the gap isn't nearly what it was even two years ago when (for instance) Russell Teibert decided to head to the west coast rather than stay closer to home with TFC-A.

Montreal seems to not care at all about youth development, despite all the lip service Joey Saputo pays to the team's committment to growing the game in Quebec. That'll change once MLS forces them to do something about it, but currently the Academie is nothing but a glorified reserve squad filled with guys in their early 20's (who aren't all that good, from games I've seen).

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As to your main point, Richard, I tend to agree that all things being equal, the Canadians will always be looked upon as more valued commodties than Americans by our MLS clubs. All one has to look at is how TFC constantly markets its Canadian players (DeRo being the most prominent) to know how much value a local player has.

The same could even be said of the Whitecaps, who chose Martin Nash to be the first model of their MLS kits. Sure, he's the captain and longest-serving player (and an owner's brother), but his nationality and time with the national team certainly doesn't detract from having him as the "face" of the franchise, does it?

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But guess what, I support my team despite the results. I know, that might be a foreign concept to a frontrunning lackey such as yourself. We can't all be bought-and-paid-for "supporters" like you, Morbital.

You can **** right off for a comment like that, bought and paid for, are you ****ing kidding me? I've supported this team since I was able to attend games, and I've been a season ticket holder since 2003 when I was 16, and guess what, i still buy season tickets, and i donate to the foundation. bought and paid for, **** off!

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Maybe if the CSA spent more time worrying about soccer instead of how they can screw over a few people in Alberta things would improve.

Yes it appears the CSA pulled their heads out of their asses for just long enough to realize something was afoot. The fire department shows up once the house has burnt down and says “someone really should have done something about this”.

It’s things like this that leave me with the feeling the only function the CSA serves is to clog the entire system up with bureaucracy.

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...

It only makes business sense that if they have two players equal in almost every regard but one is Canadian and the other American, to go with the Canadian.

How much money has TFC spent on youth development one wonders, or the Montreal Impact for that matter?

....

I think you've got that backwards, Richard.

If The Duz signs the Yank he has a player he can sell/unload onto any franchise in MLS should the want or need arise, without restrictions. If he signs the Canadian he's taking on a player he can't move to almost every other MLS franchise without having to overcome the American domestic quota.

It's a disinsentive, this "Americans count as domestics in Canada but Canadians are still imports in the USA" scheme cooked up between the Duze & Trader Mo, to the actual hiring of Canadians in Canada. It's crazy.

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and before the mods jump on me about language its important to note that i was talking about TFC, not rudi, yet he goes out of his way to attack my character and me personally, that, is as offside as Victor's comments ;)

You're right, I did, and for that I apologize.

I responded while remembering personal attacks I did receive from you in the past, but as you said there was nothing like that in this particular thread until I brought it up. Sometimes my memory is too long for my own good.

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You're right, I did, and for that I apologize.

I responded while remembering personal attacks I did receive from you in the past, but as you said there was nothing like that in this particular thread until I brought it up. Sometimes my memory is too long for my own good.

apology accepted, Go Canada!

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As I mentioned earlier, Canadians will still be part of the equation in the three Canadian MLS cities. But what it's really about is salary levels.

With the quotas, TFC is likely paying Canadian players more than what they would receive on other MLS teams. That premium was set to go higher in 2011 & 2012 as there'd be more competition for the same player pool. Plus, all three teams wouldn't be as competitive. It was an artificial economy that overvalued these players.

But the new non-reciprocal MLS rule artificially crashes the value of most Canadian players. Those who are the best may warrant an international spot on an American roster, and will get paid what they're worth. But if you're in the standard two-thirds of the MLS pool, you'll only have three teams to play for and you're likely going to be paid less than your American teammates, because your only other option is to drop to D2.

This is why I'm surprised Canadian MLS players (or their agents) haven't spoken out against this.

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I think this quota issue need only be of short term concern to those who are fretting about it. Five years into Canada having three MLS teams, provided all three invest in youth development at least to the degree the Whitecaps and now TFC have been doing, there will be more than a reasonable number of Canadians playing on those three teams and probably elsewhere in MLS as well as NASL. In the short term there are three Canadian teams that need staffing and there clearly are not enough affordable Canadians who are good enough to meet the quota for all three teams. In five years time MLS will have changed the rules again anyway.

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and i don't think it will take 5 years to change it.

we may be stuck with it next year for the first year Vancouver is in, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it changed for the following year when Montreal enters. It is patently unfair and therefore not defendable long term. It will either be challenged by someone (the CDN MLS sides due to the fans; the US MLS sides due to having to count the CDN's on their roster as foreign where the CDN MLS sides don't reciprocate for Americans; the CSA by refusing to sanction the MLS sides if they don't change the rule; CDN player(s) who are not treated equally, or the CDN government as it breaches our own labour laws).

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For me it's simply a case of sporting equity: every team in the league should be playing by the same rules. I don't want my team having a competitive advantage because they play by a different set of rules. It will cheapen any success that does occur.

Anyone up for making a "Reciprocity" banner? 100 years later and we're still having the same fights!

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"Recently it was reported in the Vancouver Sun that Canadian Soccer Association boss Victor Montagliani felt the Canadian teams had let Canadian Soccer down by asking the MLS to get rid of the Canadian quota.

Montagliani was wrong. The success of Canadian professional clubs at this point in history is more important than the success of Canadian players. If Canadian clubs are dragged down by a Canadian quota, the clubs themselves will not be as successful as they can be."

http://whitecapsfan.wordpress.com/

Well said Bruce.

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I think you've got that backwards, Richard.

If The Duz signs the Yank he has a player he can sell/unload onto any franchise in MLS should the want or need arise, without restrictions. If he signs the Canadian he's taking on a player he can't move to almost every other MLS franchise without having to overcome the American domestic quota.

It's a disinsentive, this "Americans count as domestics in Canada but Canadians are still imports in the USA" scheme cooked up between the Duze & Trader Mo, to the actual hiring of Canadians in Canada. It's crazy.

No, if there is a choice between a Canadian and an American of equal calibre, the Canadian will win out every time. Your scenerio won't even cross any Canadian MLS manager's mind, especially the Duz's. He's not going to go "Well, I have a better chance of off loading the American to another MLS team so I'll choose him." Give me a break.

I think this quota issue need only be of short term concern to those who are fretting about it. Five years into Canada having three MLS teams, provided all three invest in youth development at least to the degree the Whitecaps and now TFC have been doing, there will be more than a reasonable number of Canadians playing on those three teams and probably elsewhere in MLS as well as NASL. In the short term there are three Canadian teams that need staffing and there clearly are not enough affordable Canadians who are good enough to meet the quota for all three teams. In five years time MLS will have changed the rules again anyway.

For once we agree.

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Your scenerio won't even cross any Canadian MLS manager's mind, especially the Duz's. He's not going to go "Well, I have a better chance of off loading the American to another MLS team so I'll choose him." Give me a break..

In a salary cap environment with as much player movement as occurs in MLS, I think you are wrong.

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i agree with some of whitecapfansblog says, but you cannot produce a deep pool of CDN players if they only have 3 teams to play for at the MLS level. This will produce you a handful of players at best. Young promising players (some of which will be picked up by the 3 CDN MLS clubs if they fit that club's philosophy or needs) will not be able to take an American spot on US side. That limits their options significantly. American players will have 20 teams to choose from. Of course, those players that develop elsewhere or are the lucky few who out of college or an academy side will be able to hold down one of the international slots. The rest will be stunted or hope they are one of the lucky few who get picked up by the 3 CDN MLS sides. Moreover, as already mentioned, even if you are on one of the 3 sides, your options are limited. If things are not working out for you on your side, its unlikley you will be traded to one of the American sides (unless you are a seasoned vet). Then you need to hope that one of the other CDN teams has room for you under the cap and needs someone with your skills in that position. If not, you are out of luck and you will need to move down a division or two. That is not helpful to developing your talent. The old NASL comparision is illustrative. There was a need for only 2 or 3 NA players to start at one time, but these could be Canadian or American. That meant Canadians competing on an equal playing field with Americans. And when we had that, we showed that we could develop and qualify for the World Cup. It provided a deep pool of players for the national team. Something that will not happen if the proposed rules come into existence and our maintained indefinitely.

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Perhaps worth bearing in mind that in recent seasons Dejan Jackovic and Andrew Hainault have had no problem claiming international roster spots with American teams. With 8 international roster spots per team players don't need to be regular starters to be signed to an international roster spots at the moment. Hence Edson Edward being signed by FC Dallas. There would be a much bigger issue if the more restrictive SI and YI rules were still in place but even under those regulations Adrian Serioux, Dwaybe DeRosario and Ante Jazic were to claim roster spots on American franchises. Would be much better if it was a reciprocal arrangement obviously but if American labour law prevents that from happening what are MLS supposed to do?

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^ Jackovic and Hainault didn't get their start in MLS, they both did more than a few years of training up overseas before even getting a sniff from MLS. As did Adrian Serioux and Ante Jazic. Only de Rosario can be legitimately claimed as being an MLS product and it's worth noting that our Mr de Rosario was brought to MLS by Frank Yallop.

Not the least bit familiar with Edward, does he count as an international on Dallas' roster?

Point being that using the players you've mentioned above there wasn't apparently enough interest by American MLS teams in using up an international spot for developing a Canadian player.

To be fair they're not the best examples to use in making that point simply because aside from (arguably) Serioux none of those players had their sights set on MLS. But the point is still worth noting.

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No, if there is a choice between a Canadian and an American of equal calibre, the Canadian will win out every time.

Like Johnston who traded Serioux, twice? Like Preki who suposedly wanted to move De Rosario? I'm assuming he wasn't looking for Serioux or Jakovic or Hainault in return.

If the players are of equal calibre, absolutely not.

In terms of playing ability, the American faces one test: to be equal or better than the Canadian he's being traded for.

The Canadian faces two tests: a) to be equal or better than the American in question; and B) also to better than at least one of the existing internationals the receiving team already has.

With all the player movement and horsetrading in this league, that's a significant handicap to a general manager.

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The roster domestic content rules aren't there to create opportunity for the stars, it's there to create opportunity for the almost-stars and plumbers. I can understand the difficulty people have with giving players a leg up, but this is about creating a market for development of young talent.

For every star calibre player there will be tens, maybe hundreds, of almost-stars and plumbers. (Bill James would call them "replacement level" players.) Without a pro destination many developing players will give up earlier than they will under the domestic content regime (at least in theory).

Creating a destination for the almost-stars and plumbers isn't about helping the current international squad, it's about helping the U17 squad.

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On the surface, this ruling blows for Canadian players looking to make a career in MLS. However, the potential harm could be mitigated if MLS made a few logical rule changes to keep up with the evolving reality at present. In a salary cap league, why not give incentives to clubs that develop their own players? For example, if a homegrown player graduates to the senior squad as a teenager (let's call him Bana Ittamora), then, while earning the league minimum, develops into a solid starter, why not make it easier for that club to keep the player, rather than lose him to Europe on a free transfer? Perhaps the club (let's call them BFC), who was at or near the cap, could sign Bana to an improved contract where only a minimal number counted against the salary cap. Perhaps, under a homegrown player exemption, GFC could sing Bana to a contract for $100,000/year, but only the league minimum of $45,000 counted against the cap. Would anybody be worried about clubs abandoning local development if such a rule ever came to pass?

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^ Clubs can already sign Academy players to Generation Adidas contracts and each club can have up to 2(?) of their Academy kids signed to GenAd contracts at any one time (on top of any GenAd kids from the MLS draft). Such a player does not count against the cap or senior roster.

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i agree with some of whitecapfansblog says, but you cannot produce a deep pool of CDN players if they only have 3 teams to play for at the MLS level. This will produce you a handful of players at best. Young promising players (some of which will be picked up by the 3 CDN MLS clubs if they fit that club's philosophy or needs) will not be able to take an American spot on US side. That limits their options significantly. American players will have 20 teams to choose from. Of course, those players that develop elsewhere or are the lucky few who out of college or an academy side will be able to hold down one of the international slots. The rest will be stunted or hope they are one of the lucky few who get picked up by the 3 CDN MLS sides. Moreover, as already mentioned, even if you are on one of the 3 sides, your options are limited. If things are not working out for you on your side, its unlikley you will be traded to one of the American sides (unless you are a seasoned vet). Then you need to hope that one of the other CDN teams has room for you under the cap and needs someone with your skills in that position. If not, you are out of luck and you will need to move down a division or two. That is not helpful to developing your talent. The old NASL comparision is illustrative. There was a need for only 2 or 3 NA players to start at one time, but these could be Canadian or American. That meant Canadians competing on an equal playing field with Americans. And when we had that, we showed that we could develop and qualify for the World Cup. It provided a deep pool of players for the national team. Something that will not happen if the proposed rules come into existence and our maintained indefinitely.
This is not about the long term objective of creating a deep pool of Canadian players, it is a short term matter of fielding competitive teams in commercially stable clubs for the next season or two or three. Live with it for a few years and enjoy watching the three Canadian MLS clubs build a strong foundation, by then MLS will have taken another step in its evolution and the rules will be changed again. Besides, the Whitecaps and TFC have already been doing sterling work developing youth players and there is no sign this is going to end anytime soon.
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