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Kassel signs Homegrown Player deal with Red Bulls

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Maryland midfielder Matt Kassel has spent the past three years as a potential Homegrown Player signing for the New York Red Bulls.

The wait is finally over.

Kassel has reached a contract agreement with the Red Bulls to become the team's third Homegrown Player, sources told SBI on Monday.

One of the Red Bulls' first highly-regarded academy products, Kassel spent three years at the University of Maryland, winning an NCAA title as a freshman before establishing himself as one of the better midfielders in the ACC over the past two years.

He joins forwards Juan Agudelo and Giorgi Chirgadze as Red Bull Homegrown Players on the senior team roster.

What do you think of this news? Glad to see him finally sign? Think he can make an impact quickly?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Most youth clubs are non-profits, but they still have to be in a model of raising revenue because there are a lot of salaries to be paid. The select clubs were maybe a “necessary evil” in American soccer during a certain period of time. They introduced the first full-time paid youth coaches, and without that I don’t know where they’d be. But for their revenue model, they also needed to convince parents to pay big money, which caused both class bias in the player pool and an undue focus on winning games.

    As for what next for the MLS programs, yes I agree they need to get younger. I think the phrase ‘cherry picking’ might be a little unfair in the sense that I believe real effort is put into honing players’ talents when they arrive using resources that the select teams didn’t have (let me put it this way: I’m pretty much convinced that some guys are becoming pros due to the MLS academy system that wouldn’t have had a great chance to do so if it didn’t exist), but certainly more could be achieved if they were building players all the way from the ground up, which right now, starting generally at 15, they aren’t.

  2. Additionally, they only make *some* of their money on ref and coach education programs. They take in gate and some tv money for NT games. But those also cost. They *spend* money on grants to communities for development of the game, etc.

  3. Wow, the issues I raised led to some very interesting and (mostly) informed posts that would be very interesting to continue to explore. As I posted before, I would love it if Ives would ask some of the questions (clubs/MLS/USSF role with developing youth soccer in U.S.) to Claudio Reyna and others who are charged with those issues.

    Let me address some of the replies to my post:

    1) @ Smith- Utah hater. Why is my post a hateful post? I made it very clear up front that I have no problem with the NYRBs per se, they’re just following ‘homegrown” rules and doing no different than any other club.

    Maybe its just semantics, but it bothers me that the MLS by calling these players “homegrown” somehow implies that the club is responsible for their development, when in fact, most were largely developed by someone else and the clubs cherry picked them. It’s like putting a candle on someone’s cake and then claiming you baked it.

    2) @turgid jacobson, RE: USSF makes its money off of its coaching courses. How do you know this? Can you point me to the source? If it is true (and I suspect that at the very least they make money on these courses) it backs up my point that USSF should not be leaching off of Youth soccer coaches (the teachers of the next generation) but PROVIDING support for them with low cost courses, not milking them (talk about killing the goose that lays the golden egg).

    3) @Northzam- RE: NFL not paying for youth development. Northzam, its comparing apples and oranges to compare football with futbol in this country. Soccer is still struggling to establish itself in this country and to compete for good athletes with the longer established sports. Soccer has to present a significantly better VALUE and product to compete for the best athletes. Two major issues of the expense of playing soccer and the dirth of good youth coaches who have the long term development of players in mind. These two issues are not being addressed by USSF and MLS, where I think rather small structural changes could significantly help in these areas.

    4) @ ives- most clubs are out to make money. I respectfully disagree. While I only have anectodal data, I would be willing to bet that the vast majority of soccer clubs in the U.S. are non-profit entities, who charge to basically cover their expenses. Obviously, a few big clubs are different but not the norm.

    5) @ Joe W. RE: you have RSL blinders. No Joe, actually I come from a background of having lived for years in Europe and South America as well as several regions of the U.S. so my perspective is quite broad. And despite your rather patronizing comment indicating how the DC area and DCU are ahead of Utah, the fact is that RSL has had probably the most success recently abroad and nationally of any MLS team program. My thesis is that, however, RSL and the other MLS teams could do more than just cherry picking 16-17 year olds after they are already been developed by other people. And RSL is not different than any other club in this regard, that I’ve seen.

    Anyways, I certainly don’t have all the answers but certainly have a legitimate persective as a youth soccer coach with a broad soccer background.

    Now back to my real job 😉

  4. College sports is an unbelievable deal if you are a student athlete with no professional aspirations a college schlorship is an outstanding deal. But, in the case of someone like Pryor the amount of revenue he has produced for Ohio State would far exceed 30,000 dollars a year and how much his pro contract would be if he was allowed to enter out of high school would be enough to pay for the college education for him and his whole family.

  5. From the Rush bylaws: “The name of the nonprofit corporation shall be Soccer Partners America, doing business as Rush Soccer or Rush, which also may be referred to, in abbreviated form as SPA as stated in these bylaws”

    So they’ve incorporated SPA as a nonprofit. The purpose of SPA, though, is to “provide services for Rush Branch Chapters and to organize and set the standards for the Branch Chapters who advance and foster the game of soccer of all ages. SPA will help each Branch Chapter teach, develop, promote and administer the game, and foster and develop facilities suitable to the organization and conduct of the game. SPA shall also foster local, state, national and international competition through affiliation with (but not control by) the United States Soccer Federation and its affiliates and the Federation International de Football Association.”

    Effectively they’re acting as a clearinghouse for “personnel, technical, and intellectual” exchanges between clubs. They licence their trademark to independent clubs that meet their technical requirements.

    They have like 30 domestic affiliates comprising about 40k players, and about 15 international affiliates with a bunch, too.

    They also coordinate in order to gain leverage for sponsorships, etc. Incidentally they earn a significant amount of revenue in the form of a kickback from Eurosport for uniform purchases (in the volume created by pooling 40,000 uni orders).

    One of their goals is to field an MLS franchise in the years beyond FY15.

  6. I’m please they signed Kassel, I just hope he’ll have an opportunity to play with quite a few players ahead of him on the depth chart.

  7. They just can’t own underage player rights, under current law, fischy.

    Lots of high-level clubs *do* list the alumni who’ve moved on to college, MLS academies, etc. as selling points. And some are “partnered” with MLS clubs with a “standards and practices” requirement.

  8. Ives or anyone else, just wondering if Rush was a for profit entity. They have sattelite clubs all over the country, and have partnered with Auxerre and Eurosport. Do you know their tax status?

  9. @Ives — Appreciate your reply. I always assumed the clubs ran as non-profits. I’m really intrigued by the idea that they’re money-makers.

    Should club teams own players’ rights? If they’re for-profit enterprises, I can certainly understand why they’d want to have some control I don’t imagine any rights deal would be enforceable. I guess the best thing these clubs can do is make lemonade out of lemons. THey could start advertising how many players they place with the MLS academies — maybe that would even justify raising their fees. Maybe they could even get MLS clubs to support their investment.

  10. Whoa- Japan playing South Korea in Asia Cup – outstanding match. These teams are one touch control attack and fast tempo. I like it. Beautiful sequence for Japan goal.

  11. SOME teams do little to develop players. TFC is going to be opening a $17.5 million dollar academy in 2012 with teams going down to U-7. That is far from nothing.

  12. Kassel is a good player. I assume this means he won’t be returning to Maryland. However, I don’t think he can make an immediate impact this season for the Red Bulls. This signing HAD to happen though. If the Red Bulls let him get away, they would have never heard the end of it. MD and Akron continue to supply MLS with players.


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