NASL Commissioner Peterson would prefer a system that allowed teams to sign as many internationals as they want By Steven Sandor Posted on April 1, 2015 2 0 535 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Bill Peterson PHOTO: NASL NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson doesn’t believe player quotas achieve what’s supposed to be their ultimate goal — to develop domestic players. “We don’t think it (a limit on international players on rosters) accomplishes what it’s supposed to accomplish,” Peterson said in a season kick-off conference call on Wednesday. “We would like to see it removed.” But he said the quotas are mandated by the U.S. Soccer Federation, and can’t be removed unless the USSF would give its blessing (not likely). In NASL, each team can carry seven international players. In Canada, American and Canadian players are domestics. In the U.S.. American players are domestics and Canadians are internationals. But, instead of talking about those distinctions, Peterson would like to see an NASL where there are no quotas; general managers could sign the best players available. He said an atmosphere of open competition for spots would be the best way to force domestic players to improve themselves. The open-competition, laissez-faire take on the game was the key theme of his talk with the media. He spoke about how NASL can make itself a destination league by offering players “total free agency;” and how the competitive spirit drives the owners. He said the NASL model gives players “more opportunities to control their own destinies.” “We don’t concern ourselves if it is better or worse than Major League Soccer.” But it is a radically different model than MLS, which just signed off on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement which offers very limited free agency based on age and years of service and boosts the salary floor. While there are many NASL players who get contract offers less than the MLS minimum, there are others who can make comparable money or more. But, in NASL, once a player’s contract is done, there is nothing that ties him to his team. He can move on. And, because of free agency, Peterson believes more players will follow the lead of Haji Wright, the American teen who just signed with the New York Cosmos. “You’re going to see more instances where players make that choice,” Peterson predicted. “They jump into the global soccer economy and they are in control of their own destinies. At the end of his contract, he can test his value.” He says by coming to NASL, players can “improve their market value” and go on to better deals. And, Peterson stressed there are no strings attached to the player once the contract expires. So, while the commissioner said he’s not concerned about comparing the NASL system to the MLS system — where a player may sign deals with many team options and where free agency is in its infancy and very limited — well, he sorta is.