Friday, January 28, 2011

MLS, Canada Soccer establishes joint task force

Major League Soccer and the Canadian Soccer Association have announced that a joint task force committee has been struck to study the professional development side of the game in Canada. It is the task force's mandate to provide players in Canada, regardless of citizenship, the best possible environment and opportunities.

"We are committed to improving the professional standards of our sport in this country," said Canadian Soccer Association General Secretary Peter Montopoli. "We want to create the best possible environment for our players and teams to be successful in MLS and at the international level with our National Teams."

As part of the league rules released for the 2011 season, Major League Soccer has established that the MLS clubs based in Canada are required to have a minimum of three Canadian domestic players on their rosters. Players with the legal right to work in Canada are considered Canadian domestic players (i.e., Canadian citizen, permanent resident, part of a protected class).

This year's MLS clubs are Toronto FC and the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Already both Toronto and Vancouver feature more than three Canadians in their lineup and both clubs have an established commitment to Canadian talent through their academy and residency programs.

Major League Soccer's commitment to Canada will also continue to grow beyond 2011. Next year, Impact Montréal will join Toronto and Vancouver to become Canada's third club in Major League Soccer.

The task force members are Todd Durbin (MLS, executive vice president), Victor Montagliani (Canadian Soccer Association, vice president), Peter Montopoli (Canadian Soccer Association, general secretary), Stephen Hart (Canada's national head coach), Bob Lenarduzzi (Vancouver Whitecaps FC president), Earl Cochrane (Toronto FC Director of Team and Player Operations), and Nick De Santis (Impact Montréal Technical Director).

The task force will closely monitor the effects MLS roster rules and youth development initiatives for Canadian clubs and make recommendations for future changes, if necessary.

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