It has been confirmed that Major League Soccer will partner with the United Soccer League to form a reserve league. The two leagues signed a multi-year contract that will also include a partnership between the USL clubs and the MLS Reserve teams. The two leagues will also compete in inter-league matches. Each MLS club may partner with a USL club that is geographically near to them.
In this 2013 season, each of the thirteen USL clubs was matched with an MLS team’s reserve side to play an inter-league, home and away series (except for Antigua who will play both their matches away). The interesting thing is that these inter-league matches will count towards each sides standings and point total. Recently the MLS reserve league has been criticized for not offering enough matches to develop the MLS club’s youngsters. This partnership between the two leagues will help by adding more matches with different competition than their regular leagues.
The MLS executive vice president of player relations and competition, Todd Durbin said in an interview: “This partnership represents the first step in a long-term alliance between MLS and USL Pro to connect domestic professional soccer through a system that benefits player development, competition and the overall business of our sport,
“Over the past several years, USL Pro has made great strides in restructuring in a manner that serves to complement the objectives of MLS. This is a win-win for all involved and it demonstrates our strong commitment to growing North American professional soccer at all levels.”
All MLS clubs will also have the ability to send up to four of their players on long term loans to their affiliate USL club. It is not mandatory for all MLS clubs to partner with a USL club but the opportunity is now there. It is confirmed that Sporting Kansas City, DC United, Philadelphia Union and the New England Revolution will be partnering with a USL side but Chivas USA has opted out of a partnership and an inter-league match for 2013.
Written By Jake Vendramin