MLS Clubs Ask Academy Players to Protect Academy’s Rights to Claim Training Compensation
MLS clubs are pouring huge resources into America’s elite youth players but what happens when the player flies the coop to play overseas?
“In the event that a player that we developed decides to sign overseas, we believe that we should be able to recoup the value of that investment.”MLS executive VP of player relations and competition Todd Durbin
“With an investment in MLS academies
The MLS clubs will now assert training compensation claims for any MLS academy product who signs his first professional contract with a non-MLS club outside the USA and Canada.
MLS Clubs Make Significant Investments in Their Fully-Funded Academies
There is no question that many of the MLS Academies are providing excellent resources to their elite academy players. From multiple, highly trained coaches at every practice and trainers on every field, plus the high cost of travel and tons of garb, the top MLS academies treat their players like young professionals.
At the heart of the issue regarding compensation is not only the costs associated with the development of these potential First Team players but binding their loyalty to their club. Some elite MLS academy players still dream of ditching their MLS clubs and flying off to play in Europe.
Many of us are familiar with the American soccer player Weston McKennie, the talented youth who signed with Schalke ’04. McKennie trained for seven years with FC Dallas and picked playing in the German Bundesliga over the MLS in 2016. Galaxy’s Ulysses Llanez and Alex Mendez also turned down first-team contracts to play in the Bundesliga. These are classic examples of the MLS academy system losing players.e
Doesn’t the Major League Soccer club deserve to be compensated for training costs when their academy player is signed by a foreign club?
Or, in other words, is it fair that the MLS academies spend millions of dollars to cover the costs of player development to be left at the altar, so to speak? While the debate on the proverbial soccer grass being greener overseas than in America rages on, the financial burden is clear. MLS can not and should not support a system that is not mutually respected.
“We have been making increasing investments in youth development, and that investment has accelerated over the past few years,” MLS executive VP of player relations and competition Todd Durbin told ESPNFC. “We intend on continuing to make that investment, and we want to grow that investment. But in the event that a player that we developed decides to sign overseas, we believe that we should be able to recoup the value of that investment.”
But what are the consequences of this new policy?
Is this an attempt to put handcuffs on America’s young aspiring professionals and prevent them from
Is the global soccer community ready for America to be consistent with the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players?
The big question that is lingering is whether or not international clubs will still be interested in giving young American hopefuls a chance — if they have to pay training compensation.
On a global scale, has the MLS matured enough — and has America’s ability to develop players proven itself enough — to demand compensation from clubs around the world?
While FIFA does dictate the fees charged, the MLS Players’ Association (MLSPA) is against training compensation/solidarity payments. According to ESPN, the MLSPA calls it ‘a tax’ levied that could scuttle potential deals and many agents are equally concerned.
Would it be an unintended consequence
And, do we have enough minutes in professional soccer to share with these
So few of our talented 17-year-olds to 22-year-olds see enough valuable minutes in professional games now — shouldn’t the goal be to increase minutes played for our young talents, regardless of where those minutes are played.
FIFA Training compensation claims and solidarity payments:
The FIFA Regulations lay down global and binding rules concerning the status of players, their eligibility to participate in organized soccer, and their transfer between clubs belonging to different associations.
FIFA regulations only dictate that professional clubs pay training compensation when a player signs his first professional contract in a country other than the one in which he was trained.
FIFA defines a professional player as an individual who has a written contract with a club and is paid more for his footballing activity than the expenses he effectively incurs. All other players are considered to be amateurs.
Every MLS academy player will receive notice of this new policy.
“Additionally, each player and his parents or guardians will be required to sign an acknowledgement that if the player signs a contract to play professionally for a non-MLS club outside the U.S. or Canada, his MLS club academy will have the right to claim training compensation from that professional club (not from the player or his family) in accordance with the FIFA regulations,” states the article by MLS.
FIFA Regulations on Players Training compensation:
- Training compensation shall be paid to a player’s training club(s): (1) when a player signs his first contract as a professional, and (2) each time a professional is transferred until the end of the season of his 23rd birthday. The obligation to pay training compensation arises whether the transfer takes place during or at the end of the player’s contract.
Since FIFA regulations don’t mandate domestic payments, MLS clubs will not seek training compensation for players who sign their first professional contract with non-MLS teams in the U.S. or Canada.
MLS clubs will also seek solidarity payments when players developed in MLS club academies are transferred, for a fee, between two clubs belonging to different international federations.
And what does this mean for the Youth Soccer L
What will be the impact of the MLS Academies seeking training compensation claims and solidarity payments on the broader youth soccer scene? Will this have a trickle-down effect?
Will top youth soccer clubs with U.S. Soccer Development Academy programs now ask for compensation when one of their players advance to the pro level?
And what happens when an MLS Academy identifies and selects a player from a prestigious club’s Development Academy (DA) program? In the future, will the MSL club be expected to reimburse the youth soccer club for training compensation?
Seeking compensation and solidarity payments are not new issues. Many people remember Crossfire Premier‘s effort to gain a sliver of the solidarity payments related to DeAndre Yedlin’s 2014 transfer from the Seattle Sounders to Tottenham Hotspur.
Considered in 2018 to be the #1 Homegrown player in MLS history, Yedlin is a Seattle Sounders player who made the MLS All-Star team in both seasons spent in Seattle. Yedlin now plays for Newcastle.
The Dallas Texans SC, Sockers FC Chicago and Real Colorado along with Westside Timbers, Real So Cal, Fullerton Rangers and Nomads SC have all supported or been involved in disputes over seeking clarity on compensation for contributing to a player’s “education and training” from the player’s 12th to 23rd birthday.
Additional Information – LawInSport