Friday, November 21, 2008

More on Roster Changes

Last week I wrote about a rumor on the FC Dallas blog, 3rd Degree, about a potential change to the MLS roster. Steven Goff with Soccer Insider has picked up on it now and even has more information on it as well. According to Goff, the Board of Governors will meet today, and one of the things on the agenda is roster size. Goff says that the rumor is the same as the 3rd Degree rumor, that 4 developmental spots will be dropped, reducing roster size to 24. Along with that, Goff is also reporting that 2 more developmental roster spots will be lost, as they will be adding 2 more senior roster spots, meaning teams would have 20 senior roster players and 4 developmental players.

Personally I think this is a terrible idea for a few reasons. The first is that it will make things even harder for MLS teams competing in international tournaments as they lose 4 potential players to help them cope with the schedule congestion. Last year the Wizards used 30 players in all competitions, and outside MLS the only thing they competed in was the Open Cup. So imagine what teams like Houston, who will have more competitions to play in next year, think about this potential change. Some may argue that with 2 more senior roster spots, teams can actually go deeper, but that is going to turn out to be a misconception. Most teams are going to just promote 2 of their developmental players to take those 2 senior roster spots, so you only increase senior roster depth by name only, you're not going to make teams any deeper than they are now by adding those 2 senior spots.

The other reason it's a terrible idea is because of two names, Kevin Souter and Nelson Pizarro. The two Wizards who came through the open tryouts. With four fewer roster spots next year, what's the likelihood that a team is going to take a gamble on an open tryout participant and put them on their roster? Both Souter and Pizarro contributed this year to the first team, but without those 4 roster spots, I have my doubts that the team would have signed the duo.

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