Friday, August 13, 2010

NCAA Rules Change Big News for MLS

Jason Davis at Match Fit USA has a brief link to a recent NCAA Rules change that will benefit the MLS directly and probably benefit NBA basketball and maybe even baseball (not that I give a toss about those leagues).

For a long time, if an athlete played along side a professional in an organized match, that student athlete would lose their amatuer status--forever dooming their college athletic career. But even with NBA rules and NFL rules requiring athletes play or wait for a given number of years before jumping from high school to the pros, there is still a great deal of raiding of high school talent (particularly by the NBA and to a lesser extent MLB and NHL) the problem of moving young players into the league before they are truly ready to play at the necessary level (anyone remember Kwame Brown) either on the playing surface or off the surface.

But the rule change will allow amateur players to play alongside professionals so long as the amateur player is not paid for his appearance. As Davis points out, the biggest beneficiary will be the MLS reserve league which is coming back, probably in 2012, maybe as early as next year. MLS rules require each club to have an academy team of U18 and U16 players. More and more clubs are putting together U14 and U15 teams as well. With the rebirth of the Reserve league, those U18 and select younger players, will get an opportunity to play right alongside professionals in a competitive game and test their mettle. If they make the grade-a la Andy Najar, they can move to the senior team. If they don't make the grade at age 17 or 18, they can still make the move to college soccer and have a good career in college.

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