NEW YORK - The Major League Soccer stars of tomorrow will have the opportunity to showcase their talents at the professional level with the kick-off of the reserve division on Saturday, April 9. With team rosters expanded to 28 players for the 2005 season, developing talent will now have the opportunity to earn significant playing time in a competitive format on a regular basis.
The 2005 reserve division kicks off on Saturday, April 9 with the CD Chivas USA Reserves facing the San Jose Earthquakes Reserves immediately following the nationally televised regular season game between the senior clubs from Spartan Stadium (live on ESPN2, 4:00 p.m. ET). Saturday's reserve division match between Chivas USA and San Jose will be the first reserve division match in MLS history. A total of 70 reserve division matches will take place during the 2005 season.
"The kick-off of the new reserve division is another milestone in the League's commitment to developing new stars and world-class professionals in the United States," said MLS Deputy Commissioner Ivan Gazidis. "The reserve division will be the proving ground for countless young players and will increase the competition for roster spots on every senior team in MLS."
Each of the 12 MLS teams will field a reserve division team and play a 12-game schedule (six home, six away) during the 2005 season. All teams will play a minimum of seven opposing reserve division teams at least once throughout the year. The reserve division standings will consist of a single table with the team that finishes in first place at the end of the regular season earning the title of reserve division champions and a $20,000 team bonus.
A key component of the Generation adidas program, the reserve division will feature the debut of many rising stars in Major League Soccer's youth player development program. These young players are expected to see significant playing time in the reserve division as they look to impress and earn a spot on the senior squad. Generation adidas players who are expected to be in the starting lineup for their club's reserve division team include Real Salt Lake midfielder Nikolas Besagno; FC Dallas defender Drew Moor; Kansas City forward Ryan Pore; MetroStars defender Tim Ward; Chivas USA midfielder Christian Jimenez; Chicago Fire forward Will John; and Real Salt Lake forward Jamie Watson.
"When adidas entered into this partnership it was with the intention to work closely with MLS to develop the game of soccer in America," said Kevin Ross, Business Unit Manager for Soccer, adidas America. "We believe in building the game from the grassroots level upwards, and in giving our talented young players an avenue to develop into the soccer stars of tomorrow. The reserve league is just the way to accomplish that goal."
Due to international competitions including the CONCACAF Gold Cup and the FIFA World Youth Championship (Under-20), the reserve division schedule features the majority of games (77 percent) during the first two months (April and May) and last two months of the season (September and October). With the majority of MLS games played on Saturdays, the reserve division will extend the soccer weekend, as 87 percent (61 of 70 games) of these matches will take place Sunday morning.
Below are some key highlights of the 2005 reserve division of Major League Soccer:
All players appearing on an MLS team's official 28-man roster are eligible represent their team in reserve division play. However, no player shall play more than a combined total of 90 minutes between reserve division and MLS regular season matches over a 36-hour period.
A total of 20 eligible players for the home team and 20 players for the visiting team may be placed on a club's game roster for any reserve division game.
A guest player with a reserve division team may be eligible to appear in a reserve division game provided that he is properly registered and all necessary paperwork has been completed and confirmed (ie. International Transfer Certificate (ITC), visa, etc).
A maximum of six substitutions are allowed per team. Once a player has been substituted, he shall not be allowed to re-enter the game.
Suspensions attributable to yellow and red cards issued in reserve division games shall only be imposed for future reserve division matches and not for games during the MLS regular season. Conversely, suspensions attributable to yellow and red cards issued during MLS regular season games shall not apply to reserve division matches.
Any player who receives yellow cards during the reserve division season that total 18 or more caution points, shall be suspended for the following reserve division game in which he may appear.
Each reserve division game shall be played according to the rules of FIFA, the United States Soccer Federation, and Major League Soccer. Referees are assigned by US Soccer.
Major League Soccer's 10th Season enters its second week of play on Saturday, April 9, with 10 teams in action: San Jose Earthquakes vs. Chivas USA (Spartan Stadium, 4:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2); New England Revolution vs. Columbus Crew (Gillette Stadium, 7:30 p.m. ET on Fox Soccer Channel); D.C. United vs. Chicago Fire (RFK Stadium, 7:30 p.m. ET on HDNet); Colorado Rapids vs. FC Dallas (INVESCO Field, 9:00 p.m. ET); and Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake (The Home Depot Center, 10:00 p.m. ET).