NEW YORK – MLS Commissioner Don Garber today announced details of the relaunch of the MLS Reserve Division for the 2011 season.
“It’s their strong view [of the MLS Technical Committee] that we need to have a Reserve Division that’s a central part of the player development ladder in the United States,” Garber said on a Tuesday teleconference call.
The Reserve Division season will consist of a 10-game regular season. Clubs will be split into three regions consisting of six teams each. Teams will play opponents in their region twice a season. Matches will take place the day after the first teams or during midweek.
The best eight teams in the Reserve Division regular season will advance to the playoffs, which will determine a champion.
In addition to participating in the Reserve Division, MLS reserve squads may also schedule matches against other teams, including NASL or USL-Pro clubs.
Eligibility rules will also be strict as to which players can participate in these matches.
“These matches can only have players who are on the club’s roster or are on trial with the club or are members of the club’s academy,” Garber said.
The Commissioner pointed out how MLS Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski and MLS Cup finalists Jeff Larentowicz and Omar Cummings of the Colorado Rapids would likely not be in MLS today had it not been for the previous iteration of the Reserve Division from 2005 to 2008.
“Their paths to success illustrate the value of this initiative," Garber said.