MLS announced on a Tuesday conference call that younger designated players will count less toward the salary budget starting in 2012. International signings (not playing in the U.S. or Canada) that qualify as DPs will hit the cap at $150,000 if they’re 20 years old or younger. The hit will be $200,000 for those aged 21-23.
Currently the cap hit for a DP is $335,000, which can be bought down to $150,000 with allocation money.
This new rule is designed to help teams to pursue young, promising international talent, which is a often a risky and spendy endeavor. Sounders FC general manager Adrian Hanauer alluded to this just a couple days ago and it certainly sounds like Seattle might be interested in taking advantage.
Todd Durbin, MLS executive vice president of competition and player relations, said the league will also scout for these young players that would qualify under this new rule. South America, Central America and Mexico, he said, could be “fertile grounds” in that regard.
There are already mechanisms in place to lessen the cap hit for young American and Canadian prospects (e.g. Generation Adidas, homegrown rule), so this rule will not apply in those instances.
In the end, a complicated league got a little more complicated today, but it appears to be a good idea. I’m sure you’ll have questions about it that I can’t answer, but what do you think of the new rule?