Canadian MLS Teams Must Follow in Galaxy's Footsteps

Running their own reserve teams in the USL PRO would benefit Canadian MLS teams and Canadian soccer
by Henrik Lonne   |   Thursday, February 06, 2014

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The LA Galaxy II is now officially a USL PRO team. This is a big step for American soccer development as it shows a way of bridging the gap between the academy system and MLS.

What do the decisions of a Southern California soccer have to do with Canadian soccer development? Very simple: the Montreal Impact, Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps need to do the same.

While an all-Canadian Division 2 or 3 should be something to aim for — as it will do wonders for Canadian soccer — Canadian soccer is in desperate need of more opportunities for players to jump from academy to professional soccer, and this would happen with 3 Canadian USL PRO reserve sides. This could also be made into reality soon as Montreal is without affiliation, and Toronto and Vancouver have only signed partnerships for 2014.

This would obviously be great for the academy players and the fringe MLS-squad players of the 3 teams as they would be getting quality playing time, rather than sitting on the bench or not being challenged enough. The talented players are there in all 3 cities (and the rest of Canada). The challenge is to develop them and provide them with opportunities to blossom.

Until a new professional Canadian soccer league emerges, having Canadian MLS reserve teams in the USL PRO is the way more Canadian players can get a taste of professional soccer.

The reserve sides will not just help players grow to a level where they could play in MLS or beyond, but it also creates opportunities for players not good enough for MLS, but can be solid lower-division veterans, who the young players on the team can lean towards for leadership.

Le deuxième Impact, Toronto FC Reserves and the Vancouver Whitecaps II would also be good places for late bloomers, like the ones playing college soccer in the NCAA or the CIS, who are not likely to be given a chance in MLS because it refuses to count Canadians as domestic players in MLS. Here they could be given a final chance to prove themselves with a minimal risk for the MLS teams.

Fixing Canadian soccer won’t happen over night and will require much more than this. But it would be a good start. 

Henrik LONNE

Nationality:
Denmark
College:
Copenhagen Business School
Club Domestic:
AGF Aarhus
Club Foreign:
Toronto FC
Born and raised in Denmark, the US performance in the 2002 World Cup dragged Henrik into the world of North American soccer. Subsequent trips to Canada made him a Toronto FC fan from abroad. The passion he now has for MLS outshines most European leagues.
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