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Blue Notes: Homegrown Process Overhauled, USMNT Kit Leak, Lindsey Speaks on Trade

Plus a bit of news around MLS NEXT Pro/SKC II and a potential future expansion team.

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MLS: Portland Timbers at Sporting Kansas City Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

We often need a spot for all the stories about Kansas City soccer (and soccer in general) that are sliding through the cracks. Welcome to Blue Notes.

MLS Homegrown Rules are Changing

Thanks to some fantastic reporting in The Athletic by Paul Tenorio and Sam Stejskal, we have some insight on changing rules coming to the Major League Soccer Homegrown player system. They aren’t announced yet, but they are coming.

Currently, teams are confined to acquiring players just in their territory or in territories where there are no teams (see: Busio, Lindsey, etc. from North Carolina pre-Charlotte FC). Sporting KC used to have Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma as it’s states, but are set to lose a portion of MO to St. Louis City SC. Bigger clubs would have a 75 to 125-mile radius from their stadium if they were in Los Angeles, New York or similar populous cities.

Paul and Sam are reporting that teams will now have a protected list of 54 players. 45 from their academy and an additional nine who live in their “territory.” They can’t sign with other clubs unless a trade is negotiated for their rights, just like in the past. For the other Academy players not on the list, it’ll be a pre-determined cost to acquire them. All other players in a “territory” can now move freely between the teams.

Of the 54 protected players, 10-20 must come from the U-15s through U-17s and five to 15 must come from the U-19s. Of the nine outside the academy, no more than five from each age group can be protected. If a team doesn’t have a U-19 team, then they only get 40 slots. Per Sam and Paul’s reporting, these lists were due on August 23rd.

The story is well worth a read with numerous ridiculous examples of how this has impacted the league, even quotes from Sporting Kansas City’s Peter Vermes.

In short, I think this is very good for a team like Kansas City. They can now go recruit players that big clubs like the LA Galaxy or NYCFC don’t have room for but are still likely very good players who could be developed into stars or assets to be sold abroad. It’s probably a bit of a long play, but here is to hoping it’s fruitful.

Charles Boehm adds some good context in this Twitter thread (click for the full thread).

Update: For those who don’t have a subscription to The Athletic, here are Sam and Paul talking about this on their Allocation Disorder Podcast.

USMNT Kit Leak

Last week, the jerseys the United States Men’s National Team would be wearing during the 2022 World Cup leaked and multiple reports since then seemingly confirm they are accurate. Pretty bland.

A quick search of Twitter found some concepts that aren’t real but I’d much prefer. Especially this Waldo inspired one.

Jaylin Lindsey Sits for an Interview

The MLSPA does a podcast hosted by former MLS player Bobby Warshaw. In the most recent episode he sat down with Jaylin Lindsey, formerly of Sporting KC, for an insightful interview. There are some good bits in here about the process of leaving SKC for Charlotte FC that may be of interest to some. I find it intriguing the team can just talk to a player’s agent and gauge interest and that’s not tampering of some sort despite the player being under contract.

Quick Notes

  • Another indoor soccer league is popping up with the MLIS snagging three MASL2 teams.
  • Alan Pulido apparently gets into a spat with a reporter on Twitter.
  • SKC II were recently eliminated from the MLS NEXT Pro playoffs. This league has been unwatchable and that’ll get it’s own editorial at some point.
  • Speaking of, a link was shared in the comments on MLS versus USL being the next great soccer war. A very intriguing read.
  • Cleveland is apparently a possible destination of an ‘expansion team,’ presumably in MLSNP.
  • Reddit had this cool map of all the football/soccer teams in the “US.”
  • FIFA 23 is apparently getting more MLS. It’s not clear if it’s new stadiums or what, but more is coming. I dare say don’t click because it’s just a bunch of marketing words.
  • The US Open Cup Final that SKC aren’t going to is sold out.