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Kassel and MLS in contract talks


Red Bulls youth prospect Matt Kassel and Major League Soccer are in preliminary negotiations over a contract that could make him the first youth academy player in MLS history to graduate to the senior team.

Kassel, who trained with the Red Bulls on Wednesday, confirmed word from SBI sources that he is in contract talks and could be signed as a Generation adidas player and join the Red Bulls roster and take up a developmental player slot.

"Nothing is set in stone yet but there are talks going on," Kassel said. "Obviously my goal is to become a professional soccer player so hopefully something can be worked out."

Kassel, who was just called in to the U.S. Under-20 national team camp for an upcoming trip to Portugal, will train with the Red Bulls in the coming weeks and could reach a deal some time in early April.

Red Bulls sporting director Jeff Agoos told SBI on Tuesday that the club wants to see Kassel train with the first team before making a decision, but sources tell SBI that is merely a formality and Kassel has been targeted as a player the club plans on adding. The fact he would likely sign as a Generation adidas player, and therefore not count toward one of the team’s 18 senior roster spots, makes his acquisition all the more likely.

"We’re not in a rush, he’s a young player and we want to take our time," Agoos said. "There’s certainly no rush right now. We want to see him train with the first team and figure out if it’s the right move for him and for the club to make."



  2. Ives,

    You know if Kassel is traveling with the youth squad down to their game against FC Delco this weekend? I was hoping to see him there since I was going to go to the game this weekend (live in the area of where the game is played. Its nice to see the youth squads play).

  3. Onionsack, you know that without giving homegrown players GA status, it won’t be feasible to promote them from academies. They’re interesting because they’re young and good, so they’re worth more than $30k per year and unlikely to take that kind of offer. On the other hand, teams would be unlikely to pay a high school kid a lot of money against the cap. So the whole idea of promoting players from youth academies would be stuck in a catch-22 unless they’re granted GA status.

    Not to mention that GA was originally Project-40 but no where near 40 players are currently being signed to GA contracts each year these days. If each of the 14 teams have 2 kids they can promote that are given GA status = 28 players and add this year’s GA class from the draft to it, then GA actually gets to almost 40 players.

    Its good for the youth academy concept and its good for the GA program, not to mention that it helps keep some of the U.S.’ most promising talent in MLS for at least a couple of years, instead of having these guys fly the coop to Europe instead of finishing college.

    Its also good for MLS and the teams in the event that some of these guys pan out and get sold for large tranfer fees.

  4. So when did MLS change the rules again to allow the league to foot the salary cap exempt bill to homegrown designated players from youth acadamies.

    As a NY fan i won’t complain, but in the past all GA signed players HAD to go through the draft or lottery system.

  5. Thank God, some good news from this off-season!

    Ives, any word on Jose Angulo? I know he’s still nursing an injury, but if he’s not signing with the Revs, is there any chance that NY could pick him up? It would be worth letting him take up a developmental slot while recovering and then bringing him into the team at his pace.

  6. here’s to hoping he goes to play for my terps for a year, takes home a national championship and then goes pro, seemed to work alright for Mo Edu and Chris Seitz

  7. “could be signed as a Generation adidas player and join the Red Bulls roster and take up a developmental player slot”

    This is SO VERY IMPORTANT to get this system to actually work, which for the future of the league and the American professional game in general it better. Without this option, and thus being squeezed into a dev contract, the top youth players would have little incentive to actually particiapte since the current system (play club ball then get drafted as Gen Adidas or go to Europe) is much more finanically rewarding. Kudos to the everyone involved for making this happen if true and hopefully we’ll be seeing Kassel on the field as a Red Bull soon.

  8. J,

    I’ll offer my own clarification. Chivas has been trying out all three players, but will only offer one of them a contract. For the reasons you explained. The players are aware of this and accept it as a challenge.

    It’s basically a race between Chivas and NYRB to see who signs their first “home-grown” player.

    I think Chivas is more advance than the Red Bulls and wanted you guys on the East Coast to be aware of it.

  9. bgnewf,

    This won’t be the “first” signing. Chris pointed out one example and I’m sure there’s probably one or two others around the league.

    Chivas USA, the team I follow, for example, signed Jorge Flores last year. Flores started in the youth system, was not going to go to college and was signed to a developmental contract. He even played in one game last year, against the Red Bulls, coincidently enough. During the offseason Flores played and trained with the US U-18 team, he was even the captain of the team for many games. Flores is now on the U-20 pool.

    So no, Kassel won’t be the first one. But MLS changed some rules last year, in relations to their youth system, to allow team to sign players that have been with their youth system for more than a year without having to go through the draft. This is an effort to push more teams to start youth systems. Kassel could be the first player sign under this new rule change, as could be Mayen or Salazar from Chivas USA.

    Sorry for the long post, but hopefully this clears things up.

  10. very interesting! has anyone seen this kid actually play??? youtube maybe?

    i am wondering how good this guy is, but it would be great to see him play on the red bulls squad.

  11. Matt- so you’re saying you dont have your pitch-fork ready to storm MLS headquarters? ah thats a bummer, i was ready for a good revolt :-/

  12. Ives can you offer clarification on the post from James regarding Chivas? The only reason I ask is because I was under the understanding you could “only sign 2” players from your youth system (dumb) it would then open up your system to being poached by teams that have said systems(even dumber)?

  13. @Christian,

    download TVU it, click on Sports channels on the top tab. On the left in the list of channels, find one that simply says “soccer” click that one, it should be FSC. Good luck.

  14. im glad to see the youth programs performing and producing kids that will move into the senior team….

    Matt- dont hate just because your coach fails to pay attention to the rules… the 1st time around the MLS couldnt agree to a contract and now that they are trying again, we get first crack… im surprised so many are so bent on this… perhaps we should go up in arms against the draft rules as well… if you enter the draft it should be a sign that you are going to sign a contract… ive got my torch, do you have your pitch-fork??

  15. NYRB better hurry if they want to be THE FIRST because Chivas USA has been in talks with Gerson Mayen, Arnaldo Salazar and Mario Ledezma (all players from their youth academy) for two weeks now. Mayen and Salazar have been with Chivas USA for most of the preseason. Salazar even scored three goals, which tied him with Ante Razov, Atiba Harris and Jorge Flores for most goals scored during the preseason.

  16. Well didn’t Faria come from the Metrostars youth team before he joined the senior team? The Metros did need to use a draft pick in order to get him on the team rather than being directly promoted (because MLS at the time didn’t have any mechanisms in place to do so). Still, I believe he was with a Metro youth team for a year (or a season of youth play anyway) before Metros proper took him, or am I mistaken?

  17. Help an SBI Mafia Brother Out!

    Brothers… I’m having a hard time finding a site to stream the USA match tonight. I live in London.. any (reliable) suggestions?


  18. Finally a tiny bit of good news from RBNY. Definitely a good decision to lock Kassel up if the contract w/ MLS can be sorted out.

  19. This is great stuff…and he’s starting to get National Team call-ups…a ray of light in an otherwise abysmal offseason!


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