Soccer Business Bits: Homegrown Players, Henry Returns & More

Over the last couple of years, MLS has made a long string of significant decisions aimed at advancing the league and improving the quality of soccer on the field.  These have included the Designated Player rule in all of its iterations, the Generation Adidas program and recently, the mandating of team specific academies tasked with developing young players and retaining young talent in the league.  For those interested in the inner workings how those academy products become Homegrown players within MLS, Kyle McCarthy of offers a great look at league rules governing these signings and how various teams work within those rules to sign local talent. McCarthy looks at recent signings in Portland, Philly and elsewhere to demonstrate the challenge of combining multiple academy models to fit one domestic league.

Perhaps the big soccer story Monday on both sides of the pond was Thierry Henry’s remarkable reintroduction to Arsenal at the Emirates in the Third Round of the FA Cup.  Just minutes after entering the match in the second half, the Red Bull forward scored the only goal of the game to advance Arsenal to the next round against Aston Villa while further cementing his legend in England.  For MLS, Henry’s dramatic return provides another shot of positive publicity.  All stories describing his return mentioned the Red Bulls and the two month loan from Major League Soccer.  Whatever the pros and cons of these short term winter loans, the league has found another way to generate publicity in the off season.

Finally, at last Summer’s All Star Game, Commissioner Garber mentioned (in response to a question from a journalist), that PPL Park was a likely candidate to host the 2012 version of the event.  This article in the Inquirer suggest that PPL remains a likely candidate for the event, along with LiveStrong, Sapute and BC Place.