Major League Soccer today announced key initiatives in collaboration with Canada Soccer including a joint MLS and CSA taskforce to focus on advancement of youth development in Canada and expansion of the Generation adidas program to Canada. In addition, MLS, Canada Soccer, and U.S. Soccer have agreed to modify the parameters that determine a player’s international status on both U.S.-based and Canadian-based MLS club rosters.
“Today’s announcement is an important step for the continued growth of soccer in Canada and the Canadian player,” said Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi. “Youth development will always be a primary focus of what we do throughout our club, our pyramid of play, and today’s initiatives align with that vision. We will continue to work with MLS, our fellow clubs, and Canada Soccer to ensure that the future of soccer in our country remains a priority.”
- Joint MLS and CSA taskforce focusing on youth development in Canada
- Expansion of Generation adidas program to Canada, identifying the top domestic talent for the MLS SuperDraft
- New rules allowing certain Canadian players to count as domestic, not international, on all U.S. and Canadian-based clubs
The joint taskforce, consisting of individuals from Canada Soccer, MLS League Office and Canadian-based MLS clubs Montreal Impact, Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC, will work to formulate and implement future initiatives to advance youth development in the areas of academy environment, coaching, competition and individualized player development.
Mirroring the existing Generation adidas program, Generation adidas Canada will see MLS work closely with Canada Soccer to identify top domestic talent in Canada and sign these players to Generation adidas contracts. Signed Generation adidas Canada players will be made available to all MLS clubs each January via the MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas.
MLS, Canada Soccer and U.S. Soccer have agreed that in addition to the existing parameters determining a player’s international status on MLS rosters, any player who meets the requirements to qualify as a Homegrown Player as a member of an MLS club academy, either in the U.S. or Canada, or has met similar requirements as a member of a Canadian Approved Youth Club, will count as a domestic player (i.e., he will not occupy an international spot) provided that:
- The player became a member of an MLS club academy, either in the U.S. or Canada, or a Canadian Approved Youth Club in the year prior to the year in which he turns 16;
- The player signs his first professional contract with MLS or an MLS club’s USL affiliate.
MLS will work in coordination with Canada Soccer to identify qualifying Canadian Approved Youth Clubs that meet specific standards in relation to competition, environment, and coaching. These Canadian Approved Youth Clubs may or may not be affiliated with an MLS club. MLS will make available a complete list of qualifying Canadian Approved Youth Clubs at a later date.
The updated parameters will go into effect in 2017. Current and future MLS players will be affected in that:
- Any current MLS player who was a member of an MLS club academy in, either in the U.S. or Canada, in the year prior to the year in which they turned 16 will be considered a domestic player on MLS rosters in both the U.S. and Canada beginning in 2017. CLICK HERE for a complete list of current MLS players for whom this rule applies.
- Any amateur player who was a member of an MLS club academy, either in the U.S. or Canada, or a Canadian Approved Youth Club in the year prior to the year in which he turned 16, will be considered a domestic player upon signing his first professional contract with an MLS club or an MLS club’s USL affiliate.