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Report: Resolution reached between MLS and Portmore Utd. for Sergio Campbell

GreggBerhalterColumbusCrew4-2015 (USATodaySports)

Photo by Greg Bartram/USA Today Sports


After some initial uncertainty surrounding his future, a path has been cleared for the Columbus Crew to finalize the signing of Jamaican centerback Sergio Campbell.

That’s according to a report from the Columbus Dispatch, which said MLS has come to an agreement with Portmore United, the former youth club of Campbell, who was selected by the Crew with the 19th pick in the 2015 MLS Draft.

Campbell’s signing had been reportedly mired in a deadlock between MLS and Portmore United, which said that, under FIFA statures, they were owed $7,500 for training compensation from the league, a claim first reported by the Jamaica Observer.

MLS doesn’t pay training compensation to clubs for players it signs, citing U.S. child labor laws, nor does MLS seek training compensation for players who leave MLS academies to join teams outside MLS.

Portmore United’s representatives confirmed to the Dispatch that an agreement had been reached between MLS and the Jamaican club, though specifics of the deal were not disclosed.

MLS did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

“I can tell you that an amicable resolution has been reached,” Pro Sports Goals director Romel Wallen told the Dispatch. “As of yesterday or recently, the MLS and by extension Columbus, is free to sign Sergio Campbell as we speak.”

If the Crew sign Campbell, he’s expected to take up the Crew’s sixth international roster spot. He would provide solid central defense depth for the team which lost defenders Josh Williams and Eric Gehrig in the offseason.


What do you think of this report? Do you see MLS changing their policies in the future? Do you see Campbell having an impact this season?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. This is a latent large issue that will need to be addressed. Just another example of MLS trying to control everything with respect to it’s players and falling outside the accepted worldwide standard. In this instance, it’s a situation where an MLS franchise (or, more accurately, MLS itself) would/should owe compensation to a youth club for development and training. It’s a pittance in this case. However, as MLS academies ramp up and start to produce more quality prospects then they will be unable to claim compensation. It’s happening alreay, largely with Mexican clubs swooping in for youth prospects. It will probably hurt them (MLS) in the long run. Furthermore, shouldn’t we want to provide financial incentive to all the youth clubs across the USA who are training and, supposedly, developing our players. If we did, perhaps more clubs would aim to produce pros and not have U-16 state championships and college scholarships as their ultimate goal.

    • I don’t agree. I do think that this is a structure issue with the MLS. Even though, I would personally prefer true free agency with a hard cap in place. I do not think moving to that or completely imitating European leagues would alter this issue at all.

      There would not be hundreds of clubs, multiple levels in pyramid and academies all over the country any faster then the MLS and USL-Pro are growing right now. This is one of my biggest issues with anti-single entity arguments as they assume there are wily billionaire and millionaire investors just waiting for an opportunity to invest in US soccer? Why aren’t they investing in NASL then? Why aren’t they starting a new league to compete with MLS? Some people talk about removing single-entity as if it will cure cancer. The expectations are ludicrous and not based in reality.

      Single entity or no single entity, the PDL will still exist and continue to cost the players more than it ideally should and Mexican, South American and European teams will continue to be able to sign talent in the PDL and other youth leagues without paying those youth clubs. Maybe the USSF could address this, by tieing the PDL into the local MLS teams thus making those youth teams apart of a professional club. The legality of such a move like this is beyond my knowledge, though.

      The best way to address this issue, in my opinion, is to grow the MLS academies, which takes time and money which means MLS needs to keep doing what is has been doing growing. Slowly and steadily growing and improving and making smart investments in it’s future. Smart investments like:

      (1) Mandate all teams have an academy (done already).
      (2) Increase funding for academies (roughly $30 million a year now, needs to increase further).
      (3) Make all academies free (some are, Philly has there own fully funded youth soccer charter school. Some aren’t, DC still charges some academy players while providing scholarships to many).
      (4) Continue to develop along the youth soccer charter school model (like what Philly has done).
      (5) Mandate all MLS teams field a USL-pro team or affiliate with one (done already).
      (6) Integrate academies with local youth clubs (these loose affiliations exist already) to grow the academies reach.

    • One further thing. If this, all hinges on legality,child labor laws. Then all this arguing is moot as no change in US soccer structure will alter this reality.

  2. While I’m not surprised and cant blame Portmore Utd for asking for compensation, I think it’s a bit problematic. First of all, he’s been in the US training and playing in college for the last 4 or 5 years. Where is that university’s compensation? I’m sure Sergio played for his high school in Jamaica, where is their compensation? If the Jamaican clubs pursue this as a rule, I have to think all it does is put Jamaican players at a disadvantage. Seems this should be addressed before a player is allowed to be part of the draft.

    • This is standard. A player’s development club (and there are specific rules from fifa determining this) is entitled to compensation if that player signs a pro contract with any other fifa club, and on any transfers, until he is 23.


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