Pro/rel can make a difference without changing MLS

Here’s how: implement a national/regional pro/rel youth pyramid at U12, U14, U16 and U18 administered by US Soccer Federation.

How cool would it be if you could pull up the youth soccer pyramid on the USSF website, like in Spain?

A couple things worth noting.

First, clubs would only enter their first team at each age group. They wouldn’t have multiple teams. This would change a lot of incentives in how clubs recruit and cultivate talent.

Second, I could see how this might change what goes on at the beginning and intermediate levels of soccer to be more focused on developing players to move up the ladder, than on just selling them a soccer experience where they win trophies against equally incompetent players.

The problem is that the USSF/MLS cartel thinks its better off protecting the interests of the groups it has picked to host elite youth soccer, mostly MLS academies and few other politically connected clubs. Their idea is that the best, self-motivated talent will find their way to those academies, giving them a source of revenue should any clubs around the world be interested in buying those players.

But notice, that model is based on the belief that the soccer system doesn’t have much influence on the quality of top level players. So, the best way to profit from selling players is to eliminate competition and force a path through the cartel.

What is missed is that the system can have a big influence on the top level quality.

But, a system that rewards finding and cultivating talent all the way to the grass roots, can have a significant impact on the quality of top-level players. And, instead of profiting off a few self-motivated players, you will get more players worth even more on the world market.

As Tom Byer has noted, “push up the bottom to push up the top.”

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