MLS diehards may be familiar with immigration law when it comes to rosters, but what about matters of the heart?
International roster slots tend to be prized commodities in Major League Soccer. They're a key part of the process by which clubs acquire impact players from overseas, and they can be traded between teams, meaning that players who gain US or Canadian citizenship, green cards or other such immigration milestones can help their teams open up space for new signings.
Yet according to a report in the Orlando Sentinel, Orlando City SC are moving in the opposite direction with veteran defender Aurelien Collin for the 2016 season, moving him into an international slot despite the French-born center back having earned his US green card back in 2012 when he was with Sporting KC.
That means that the Lions may have to do some roster juggling. Why would a team do such a thing? The answer lies in Collin's home – and his heart.
While Collin is already advanced in the US immigration process, his wife Leo is a Venezuelan citizen currently navigating her own path to US status, with spouses usually waiting about five years to receive their immigrant visa. That's forced them to live apart for most of the year for several years now, and the pain of a long-distance relationship has taken its toll.
So Orlando have willingly reclassified Collin as an international again, restoring him to P-1 visa status – and allowing his wife to join him in Central Florida on the P-4 visa granted to the family members of P-1 holders. It's a small sacrifice for the front office, but a big source of happiness for Aurelien and Leo.
“Thanks to the club, thanks to Orlando City, they helped a lot,” Collin told the Sentinel. “They made that dream come true. It was very hard. When your wife is not with you it’s very complicated, but right now she’s with me so I’m the happiest man in the world.”