Thursday, August 02, 2007

MLS: Explaining International Player Rules, Plus SI & YI Lists

This post contains a list of each team's international players and slots, all to the best of my knowledge based on the current rosters. Unfortunately, MLSnet is slow to update their site, and they seem to be incorrect far too often in their player designations. If you find any mistakes, please post in the comments.

The rules & regulations in MLS can be very confusing, even to me sometimes. Here's the basic gist of it:

Senior Internationals (SIs) - 4 per team, 25 years or older
Youth Internationals (YIs) - 3 per team, 24 years or younger

Players are considered SIs if they turn 25 during the MLS season (not just the calendar year).

There are several wrinkles to keep in mind:

1) Toronto counts Canadians as domestic players, so Americans are international players. They are allowed 3 extra SI slots just for Americans.

2) Expansion teams are allowed 2 extra YI slots for their first two seasons. So Toronto will have 5 instead of 3 for through 2008.

3) YI slots can be traded, either for a certain period of time or permanently. I find it strange that they can be traded 'permanently' because it's likely that these rules won't be in place forever. The only time a slot has traded permanently so far (that I'm aware of) is when Colorado got one from RSL in exchange for the rights to Adolfo Gregorio (try not to laugh).

For this season, I believe the only slot that's been traded temporarily is one of Colorado's to Toronto for Jose Cancela. It says until 2009, although I'm not sure if that would include the 2009 season.

So that should give Toronto 6, RSL 2, and every other team 3 for 2007.

4) If an international player is put on the injured reserve so a replacement can be named to the roster, he can be replaced by another international player. I never knew this before, but it just happened with Dallas (replaced Roberto Mina with Ricardinho).

There are also several things that were not listed by MLSnet, and were unclear to me until researching for this article:

5) Do SIs actually have to be 25? The answer is no. I wondered about this because Chivas USA appears to have 2 SIs and 4 YIs, despite only having 3 YI slots. But I read just a few days ago in an article that RSL has the 22 year old Jean-Martial Kipre as an SI, and previously they had Atiba Harris (also 22) as an SI as well. So that seems to answer the question, and theoretically a team could have 7 international players under 25.

6) The rules make a point of stating that YIs can be signed to the senior roster or the developmental roster. SIs seemingly must be on the senior roster, because they're 25 and because the developmental roster is for players 24 or younger. Right? The answer is again no, because Kipre was signed as a developmental player despite being called an SI. There's nothing in the rules that said this couldn't happen, but it was unclear.

7) Apparently "extreme hardship" callups don't apply, or else Toronto couldn't have used Sam Reynolds at goalkeeper a few weeks ago.

(players listed with green cards below may be citizens as well/instead, but the main point is that they count as Americans for the roster)


SI: Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Gonzalo Segares, Thiago, Paulo Wanchope
YI: Bruno Menezes, Willian Oliveira, Osei Telesford

Ivan Guerrero holds a green card. One of only three teams using all their international slots.


SI: Claudio Suarez, Shavar Thomas
YI: John Cunliffe, Laurent Merlin, Francisco Mendoza, Paulo Nagamura

Maykel Galindo and Alex Zotinca hold green cards. For the 4 YI scenario, see point #5 above. I'm guessing Nagamura counts as an SI because the other three have specifically been mentioned as YIs in Chivas press releases. Or maybe he has a green card that I'm not aware of?


SI: Terry Cooke, Omar Cummings, Nicolas Hernandez, Daniel Osorno
YI: Mehdi Ballouchy, Facundo Erpen, Kosuke Kimura

Jose Cancela and Bouna Coundoul hold green cards. The Rapids are in a tough spot next year because both Ballouchy and Erpen will become SIs. One of only three teams using all their international slots.


SI: Marcos Gonzalez, Andy Herron, Guillermo Barros Schelotto
YI: Ben Hunter, Ricardo Virtuoso

Ezra Hendrickson, Kei Kamara, Stefani Miglioranzi, Alejandro Moreno, and Duncan Oughton hold green cards.


SI: Pablo Richetti, Carlos Ruiz, Marcelo Saragosa, Adrian Serioux
YI: Dominic Oduro, Ricardinho, Juan Toja (Roberto Mina)

Sandi Gbandi, Shaka Hislop, Ramon Nunez, and Dario Sala hold green cards. Mina's slot was taken by Ricardinho after he was put on IR. Dallas is the easiest team to keep track of thanks to the roster dance page at 3rd Degree. One of only three teams using all their international slots.


SI: Luciano Emilio, Fred, Christian Gomez
YI: Guy-Roland Kpene

Nicholas Addlery, Stephen deRoux, Rod Dyachenko, and Jaime Moreno hold green cards.


SI: Paul Dalglish, Dwayne De Rosario
YI: Mpho Moloi

Pat Onstad holds a green card. I believe Ngwenya is very close to getting one, if he hasn't already. I thought he had, but I couldn't find it so I guess not. EDIT: Ngwenya does have a green card, see link in the comments.


SI: Carlos Marinelli, Scott Sealy
YI: Yura Movsisyan


SI: David Beckham, Ante Jazic, Carlos Pavon, Abel Xavier
YI: Kevin Harmse

Gavin Glinton holds a green card.


SI: Brian Byrne
YI: Arsene Oka

Andy Dorman, Avery John, Shalrie Joseph and Khano Smith hold green cards. I believe Willie Simms does as well, or else he's their second YI.


SI: Juan Pablo Angel, Markus Schopp, Ronald Waterreus
YI: Elie Okangu, Dane Richards

Sinisa Ubiparipovic and Dave van den Bergh hold green cards. Jerrod Laventure has had interest from Haiti but is apparently a citizen or green card holder.


SI: Jean-Martial Kipre
YI: Atiba Harris

Andy Williams holds a green card. The article referenced above with the Kipre situation says that Harris was an SI, but was moved down to YI. It also says that Harris occupies its "lone" YI slot. I know about the permanent trade for Gregorio, but did they trade away another one that I missed? Maybe they just meant he's the only one they have currently. However, maybe that old youth slot to Chivas for Jeff Stewart trade was for a permanent slot as well? Doesn't include details regarding length, however it seems unlikely that they would neglect to mention something so important.


SI: Jeff Cunningham, Danny Dichio, Todd Dunivant, Tyrone Marshall, Ronnie O'Brien, Carl Robinson, Collin Samuel
YI: Andrew Boyens, Maurice Edu, Andy Welsh, Marvell Wynne

Marshall and O'Brien hold green cards, so 5/7 are counted as Americans (only 3/7 must be).

Comments on "MLS: Explaining International Player Rules, Plus SI & YI Lists"


Blogger Brian said ... (8:50 AM, August 02, 2007) : 

So Mo has 11 "international" players and he's complaining about MLS' rules? What a tool.

Good breakdown.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:15 PM, August 02, 2007) : 

Joseph Ngwenya does have his green card. See link


Blogger Jonathan Geissler said ... (2:21 PM, August 04, 2007) : 

It's Ikangu, not Okangu.

Nice post though, btw. You blog is really good.


Anonymous per head service said ... (4:33 PM, January 26, 2013) : 

I hate when they take so long to update specially a site like MLS that it is checked by hell lot of people.


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