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Blue Notes: MLS 2021 Rule Changes, Sporting Trade, SKC II Preseason, Relegation, Espinoza and Lo’

All that news you may have missed.

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MLS: Orlando City SC at Sporting Kansas City Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Since it’s rare we just give links, it’s time for a re-brand. The formerly titled Blue Links, will now be known as Blue Notes. Thanks to our Site Manager, Thad Bell, for the suggestion. All that really matters is catching up on all the Sporting Kansas City, SKC II, KC NWSL and other local and world soccer news you may have missed.

New 2021 MLS Roster Rules

On the eve of the season (sorry we’re just telling you), Major League Soccer finally put out their roster rules for the season. It’s not a great read though, so instead I recommend The Athletic’s breakdown of the biggest changes.

The three biggest changes are the announcement of the U-22 Initiative, changes to international roster spots and a new player professional development role.

For U-22, it’s all the stuff we already knew, plus some clarifications and additions. It was revealed the acquisition cost of the player impacts how much GAM (General Allocation Money) can be earned from the sale of the player with as much as $1,050,000 being available if a transfer fee is under $2.5 million and zero GAM if the fee is north of $5 million with a sliding scale in between. Obviously players can be sold for far more it just can’t be converted to GAM.

One other big change was the addition of player-coach type roles. Several players are already filling these roles (do I smell a Benny Feilhaber comeback?? — just kidding). Compensation will be capped at $75,000, but that can be a big boost players on the fringe of the roster. The rule goes on to say, according to Paul Tenorio’s synopsis, that “compensation must be commensurate with salaries for similar roles and that clubs must consider the number of hours of such duties. It also limits compensation to less than 50 percent of a player’s unadjusted salary budget charge for the year.”

Finally, international roster spots will be locked, despite any subsequent green cards, upon the opening of the secondary transfer window in 2021 (July 7th) and starting in 2022 they are locked on the roster compliance date (aka before the season starts). That should drive up trade values of those limited eight spots per team. Speaking of trades...

Sporting KC Made a Trade

In news that’s now a week old, Sporting KC made a trade April 21st. It’s nothing thrilling as they sent an international roster spot to the Philadelphia Union in exchange for $200,000 in GAM. It makes a bit of sense as SKC had two open international slots and it’s not clear they are going to use one of them, let alone two.

This will leave them with one spot, barring another player getting a green card before July 7th. Possibly the biggest negative is the day before Toronto FC traded a spot to FC Dallas for $225,000. Maybe SKC brought the market down though because Toronto traded another slot for just $200,000 to Orlando City.

Espinoza and Lo’

In an intriguing little interview, Sporting KC midfielder Roger Espinoza and KC NWSL midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta sat down with the KC Star to give a cute little interview. It’s not deep, but they are the new “first couple” of Kansas City soccer. I particularly loved that back when Lo’ was on FC Kansas City her then coach Vlatko Andonovski told her to go watch Roger play, not knowing that they were dating.

SKC II Win Again

Preseason came to an end for Sporting KC II with another convincing victory. This time they beat Rockhurst University after their previously schedule opponent, Forward Madison, fell out late in the week. No SKC players were on loan after the midweek game (an 8-0 bashing of Baker University).

That didn’t stop the scoring though as it still ended 5-0. Ropapa Mensah bagged his second hat trick of the week and Jahon Rad and Enoch Mushagalusa added goals as well. Lots of SKC Academy guys found the field again with the season opener now less than a week away.

A Picture Worth a Thousand Words

In the earlier preseason game against Union Omaha, our own Thad Bell rushed out to Nebraska (and back again to watch SKC/RBNY) and captured this picture of Tyler Freeman getting a look from former Swope Park Ranger, Ethan Vanacore-Decker. It amused him and I, so we thought we’d share.

“You’ve grown,” is I’m sure what Decker was thinking.
Thad Bell

Bundesliga Relegation

In a story that shows how much promotion and relegation mean in the rest of the world, German Bundesliga club Schalke were relegated for the first time in 33-years. Of course, the fans took it too far as the club returned from a road loss to Arminia Bielefeld to get verbally attacked and then have eggs thrown at them as they stepped off the bus.

Schalke, who have just 13 points in 30 (!) games, join Sheffield United who have already been relegated out of the Premier League (England) with one month to go. Crotone and Parma are in grave danger in Serie A, Eibar have lost five straight in La Liga but are still technically not down and the next few weeks will solidify many of these battles.

Quick Notes