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MLS announces roster changes for Canadian players

Photo by Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports
Photo by Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports

TORONTO — Nearly 10¬†years after MLS expanded into Canada, the league has finally¬†made Canadian homegrown players count as domestics on both sides of the border.

MLS and Canada Soccer announced the expansion of the Generation Adidas program into Canada, along with a modification to Canadian players counting as internationals on American rosters.

“We have been working for a very long time, years in fact, on putting [the modified rules] together,” said MLS commissioner Don Garber. “I could remember at the opening press conference we had in MLSE’s offices in 2006, we talked about that our real goal is to do here in Canada what we’ve been able to do with our partners at U.S. Soccer.”

Canadian homegrowns meet the new requirements as long as they were a member of an MLS academy, or “met similar requirements as a member of a Canadian Approved Youth Club.” They must also have been with an MLS academy in the year prior to the year in which he turns 16 and signed his first professional contract with the league or with a team’s USL affiliate.

“This will give an opportunity for us to drive a proper culture of football in our clubs where clubs are not just looking to win provincial championships… They’ll want to develop players,” said Canada Soccer president Victor Montagliani. “The discussions have been emotional at times, but I think like any good football family, this is a good thing.”

The updated rules will be put into affect prior to the 2017 season. Nine current players meet the criteria and will also begin to count as domestics. The likes of Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Russell Teibert and Toronto FC forward Jordan Hamilton are two examples.

There are 24 Canadian born players on MLS rosters, but only five are with American clubs.


    • If you look closely, you see this only applies to “Homegrown Players,” so the previous issue of having all Canadians count as domestic players in the US still exists.

      The problem with US discrimination laws not allowing you to give special treatment to someone based on their non-US citizenship still applies. But the league thinks that allowing all HG players, regardless of US or Canadian or other citizenship be counted as domestic would work under the law because the “favorable status” comes from being a homegrown player rather than simply being a Canadian citizen.

      It could still end up being challenged in US or Canadian courts, so you never know how these things end up.


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