Ezequiel Barco’s transfer to Atlanta United this offseason broke not only the MLS transfer record, but it was an extrordinary amount of money spent on a teenager.
Based on the latest reports, MLS is hoping to see more teams invest in rising stars.
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According to a report from The Athletic, MLS is creating a pool of cash for teams to use to sign talented players under the age of 20. Informally known as the “Youth Transfer Fund,” this could help other teams sign the next Barco, or even an American player playing at a youth club not affiliated with an MLS squad, making that player outside the MLS Homegrown player designation.
Each team can spend up to $3 million between now and 2022, or an average of $750,000 per season.
If true, this is a great sign of growth for the league, understanding that it can profit and grow scouting, developing and selling on talent, whether it’s from here or abroad. If MLS can continue to be a destination for up and coming South American stars, as well as a launching point for American youngsters, it will only help grow the league’s reputation abroad.
Currently, many people still look at MLS as a “retirement league,” with so many European stars ending their careers in the U.S. and Canada. But if more players like Barco, Miguel Almiron and Jesus Medina pick the U.S. over Europe or staying home for a few more years, the U.S. will become a real destination for young players with dreams of European glory.
A few short years in the U.S., and then a career in Europe, before returning back home.