USL Archive

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PLASTIC PITCH 3 is available now! “The Walking Reds” on the cover!

PPFALL2014COVERThe third issue of PLASTIC PITCH, our national soccer magazine, is out as of right now.

How to get PLASTIC PITCH? If you’re a subscriber, just update the Plastic Pitch app in your Android or IOS device. If not, you can get the App and magazine through iTunes, Apple Newsstand, Google Play and Amazon.

Halloween is coming up, so we decided on a Halloween cover. “The Walking Reds” cover combines soccer and zombies. Why? Because soccer and zombies were meant to be together. And it looks cool.

What will you find inside?
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Canadian quotas are price USL must pay for not having Canada at the table when MLS deal was hatched

Victor Montagliani

Victor Montagliani

Back in 2013, Major League Soccer announced its partnership plan with (officially regarded as) third division USL-PRO.

But there was a problem. It was an American agreement made with the oversight of American authorities. For MLS, which is a North American league, shutting Canada out of the process was a major problem.

So, now, both MLS and USL-Pro have to reap what they have sown. As the Montreal Impact (Montreal FC), Vancouver Whitecaps (New Westminster) and Toronto FC (maybe a team north of the city) move ahead with plans for affiliate USL-Pro teams for 2015, we have learned they will be subject to pretty tough quotas.

As reported by Duane Rollins in Canadian Soccer News (link here), any USL-PRO team affiliated with a Canadian MLS team will have to follow some strict roster rules. Half of the players on the squad must be Canadian-eligible, and six of the 11 starters must be Canadian-eligible.

By “eligible” we mean that, if Canadian national-team coach Benito Floro made the call, that player would be available to go.

The move will likely prevent teams from stashing foreign talent on their USL-PRO rosters, or treat their affiliates like true minor-league clubs. That’s fine. The Whitecaps have sent established non-Canadian pros to NASL’s FC Edmonton on loan in the past, and the two teams still have a strong relationship. Toronto FC sent Ryan Richter to the Ottawa Fury. No reason that the Fury can’t continue to build relationships with TFC and the Impact.
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5

CSA approves Calgary bid to join PDL; now, on to the next step

logofullThe Canadian Soccer Association has voted to sanction Calgary Foothills, if it becomes a member of the PDL in 2015.

The decision paves the way for Calgary Foothills to officially make an expansion bid to the United Soccer Leagues, which administers the PDL. The PDL is an elite league focused on prepping U-23 players for pro careers.

As it stands, the Victoria Highlanders, WSA Winnipeg and Vancouver Whitecaps U-23 are the only Western Canadian members of PDL at the moment.

Tommy Wheeldon Jr., the technical director of the Foothills club, told The 11 that the next step is getting all the paperwork to USL, and that should be done by the end of this week.
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FC Edmonton turns down a couple of loan offers from the Whitecaps

Whitecaps-FC-big-e1329410722765-116x150The Vancouver Whitecaps have an affiliation deal with the USL-PRO’s Charleston Battery in place, but that hasn’t dimmed their close relationship with NASL’s FC Edmonton.

On Monday, FC Edmonton coach Colin Miller confirmed that his club has already turned down two potential loan offers from the Whitecaps for the 2014 season. The reasons? FC Edmonton is already very deep in one of the positions played by one of the players who was offered. And, the other simply didn’t fit with the club.

“Bob (Whitecaps’ president Bob Lenarduzzi) and his staff know that their players need to be on the first team or on the fringes of the first team for us to consider them at the moment,” said Miller. “That’s how strongly I feel about the quality of our squad.”

Last season, the Whitecaps loaned defender Carlyle Mitchell to the Eddies; he was a standout performer in NASL, but was recalled to Vancouver just before the end of the spring season. A Whitecaps’ injury crisis forced his recall, and then he played so well, he wasn’t sent back.

Mitchell is still a major booster of the Eddies; his recommendation was key in central defender Kareem Moses coming to the team in 2014 — along with a personal endorsement made to Miller by current Trinidad and Tobago national-team coach (and former Canadian national-team coach) Stephen Hart.
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Calgary Foothills’ bid to join PDL to go in front of CSA in March

logofullThe Calgary Foothills Soccer Club’s bid for a PDL franchise will go to the Canadian Soccer Association to be voted on in March.

The club has financial backers and has informed the USL that it wants to begin play in the PDL in 2015. But, before USL can green-light a new franchise, it needs to see that the bid has been endorsed by both Alberta Soccer and the CSA. The Foothills executive expects the CSA to endorse its bid in March.

Foothills Technical Director Tommy Wheeldon Jr. says that he expects the bid to pass, as the club will offer more spots for U-23 Canadians to get minutes. He’s also aware that former FC Edmonton director of soccer has been trying to court investors, looking to get an NASL expansion franchise into Calgary. But, Wheeldon believes that the USL offers a better path.

“Right now, I believe that USL-PRO is the better path, it opens up a lot of avenues because of their affiliation with MLS.”
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4

Paterson leaves Charleston to become Ottawa Fury’s first signing: “I see teams in NASL challenging MLS”

Nicki Paterson

Nicki Paterson

Scottish midfielder Nicki Paterson is leaving the USL behind to become the first piece of the Ottawa Fury puzzle.

In a video conference that connected Paterson (in Glasgow) with journalists in Canada, the player was confirmed as the first-ever signing in the Fury’s NASL history. In 2014, the team becomes the second Canadian entry into NASL.

Paterson, 28, came through the Motherwell youth system but played NCAA soccer (UNLV) and has spent most of his professional career in the USL. He’d been with the Charleston Battery since 2011.

And he was quite clear on why he wanted to make the move to Ottawa.

“I see that league (NASL) outgrowing USL,” said Patterson. “I see teams in NASL challenging MLS.”
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Coach Dos Santos names Canadian roster for Francophone Games

Caleb Clarke

Caleb Clarke

The Canadian Soccer Association’s eyes are already on the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.

On Friday, coach Phillip Dos Santos (who’s also the technical director of the Ottawa Fury) names the roster for the upcoming Francophone Games in Nice, France. The U-21 squad named could very well be the core of the future U-23 team that will try and qualify for the 2016 Summer Games.

The Canadian team will kick off the group stage of the tournament against Cameroon Sept. 3, followed by matches against France on Sept. 6, Rwanda on Sept. 8 and Congo on Sept. 10.

The team has a very heavy Vancouver Whitecaps feel: Both Ben Fisk and Bryce Alderson, who the ‘Caps loaned out the USL Charleston Battery, are on the team. Also on the squad is striker Caleb Clarke, who the Whitecaps loaned out to German side, Augsburg. Whitecaps Residency attacker Yassin Essa is on the U-21 team.
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NASL adds franchises in Jacksonville and Oklahoma City… but teams still needed in MT and PT zones

NASL_logo_previewThe distance from Edmonton to Jacksonville, Fla.: 3,092 km.

The distance from Edmonton to Oklahoma City: 2,355 km.

Neither of the two new NASL expansion cities, announced Thursday after a league Board of Governors vote, is a puddle jump from the Eddies. And the new round of expansion still doesn’t address a pressing need to get teams into the Mountain and Pacific time zones.

Of course, former FC Edmonton director of soccer Joe Petrone continues to work with potential investors in a new Calgary franchise, and there are whispers of teams in New Mexico, Calfornia and Spokane, Wash. But none of those have got to the green-light stage from NASL. So, as the league expands, so does FC Edmonton owner Tom Fath’s travel bill.

The Board of Governors met with four groups, and approved the Jacksonville and OKC bids. Both teams will join the league in 2015. NASL spokesman Michael Preston said that the league won’t identify the other two cities that had bids in, but they didn’t receive flat-out rejections. See them more as being at the beginning of NASL courtship.
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Whitecaps send Alderson to Charleston on season-long loan

Bryce Alderson

Bryce Alderson

Former two-time Canadian U-17 player of the year Bryce Alderson is headed for Charleston.

On Tuesday, the Vancouver Whitecaps announced that Alderson will join Ben Fisk and Emmanuel Adjetey on loan to the Charleston Battery of the USL. Fisk and Adjetey have been in South Carolina for a couple of weeks.

For Alderson, this move offers a chance to accumulate some needed professional minutes at the Div.-3 level. Alderson didn’t feature at the MLS level last season, despite being on an MLS contract. He played 21 times for the Whitecaps U-18 side, six MLS Reserve League appearances and five more games for the U-23 team.

“Bryce is one of the top young talents in Canadian soccer and he possesses a great deal of potential,” said Martin Rennie, Whitecaps head coach, in a release issued by the club. “At his stage of development it is important to get as much competitive action as possible and we feel that he can benefit from spending time with Charleston Battery, who we have an excellent relationship with.”
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The fine lines: Labour law, competitive balance, Canadians and MLS

D.C. United's Kyle Porter: Canadian player, American club

D.C. United’s Kyle Porter: Canadian player, American club

Just a little over a month ago, The 11 ran the first two parts of a series exploring if, one day, Canadian players could ever be treated as domestic players on the U.S-based MLS teams.

We have looked at the issue from the perspective of Canadian immigration (CLICK HERE) and U.S. immigration (CLICK HERE). Now, in the third part, we ask if it would pass the labour-law sniff test and, if not, why does USL-Pro, the third division of American soccer — allow Canadians to be treated as domestics on its teams’ rosters?

The whole series was spawned after MLS Commissioner Don Garber told TSN’s Jason DeVos during a March 2 First Kick broadcast that MLS would run into labour-law issues if it changed its rules and allowed the 16 U.S.-based teams to recognize Canadians players as “domestic” workers.

The reason the third part has taken so long to complete? I talked to several major law schools in the U.S. and labour-law specialists. I made contact with MLS. But what I underestimated was that, when it came to U.S. labour law, how complex the question was. Over and over, U.S. legal experts told me that the notion of Canadians being treated as domestics on American team rosters would have them venture into a legal grey area. And that meant they didn’t want to go on the record, because there really was no true legal test for the question. In a way, I felt like I had asked Deep Thought the answer to life, the universe and everything, and he replied, “tricky.”
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