New York, NY – Major League Soccer announced an amendment to the Designated Player rule on Tuesday that would encourage teams to sign younger international stars.
The rule will allow clubs to sign young, foreign talent as Designated Players at a smaller budget charge than the current system.
Beginning in 2012, foreign players who are 20 years old or younger can be signed for a budget charge of $150,000, while foreign players between the ages of 21 and 23 will count $200,000 against a team's salary cap. For comparison, current DP's represent a $335,000 hit against a club's budget of $2,675,000.
FC Dallas took a risk signing Colombian Under-20 star Fabian Castillo to a Designated Player contract earlier this year, and the New England Revolution followed suit by signing 22-year-old Milton Caraglio.
The amendment would alleviate some of the financial risk of overpaying for a young player who still needed time to develop.
"If you look at it, our Designated Players are anywhere from mid to late 20s to early 30s," said MLS Executive Vice President of Competition and Player Relations Todd Durbin. "We're getting good players, veteran players and players with experience but we've been out of the market for young, promising players in this area.
"We're hoping with this rule change we'll tear down this last barrier of entry and bring in quality players at every place in their career and truly have the ability to get into the market of young players to be able to bring in and grow stars of the future for Major League Soccer."
With the new rule change, MLS also plans to expand scouting resources available to each team and invest in technology to monitor and identify players around the world.