Monday, August 30, 2010

Reserve League on the Way Back

Word is that the MLS reserve division will be coming back next season as MLS continues to work on player development along with building the current level of play with the first team. While the specifics are still being worked out, it is an incredibly smart move bringing it back and it corrects the poor move of getting rid of it in the first place years ago. One of the ideas apparently being thrown around is a 10 game season with teams being divided into 3 6 team divisions and playing each team in their division twice. This is probably the best move with travel in mind as it helps to regionalize the reserve league. While a lot of people would want more than 10, that certainly adds to the travel costs to take a lot more players to away games.

Personally I like the idea of the 10 game reserve division as it's always possible to supplement those games with games against college, PDL, and other lower division teams. Along with games in the Open Cup where teams tend to play more reserve teams. As I mentioned earlier this will correct one of the biggest mistakes MLS has made with doing away with the reserve league. It was a short term gain, long term loss for the league in my opinion. The loss of the reserve league and the loss of roster spots meant that a couple younger players that could have turned into eventual first team contributors ended up not even making the roster at all. I think a player like Igor Kostrov or Mauro Fuzetti could have developed into solid contributors for the Wizards if they were given the opportunity to get more games with the Swope Park Rangers with a bigger roster and real games.

We'll see what this brings, but I for one am excited about the return. And with the NCAA's ruling making it so that a player don't lose their amateur status by playing with pros means that Wizards Juniors players can be called up to compete in reserve games without fear of losing their college eligibility.

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