A while back I read an article about FC Dallas making $15,000,000 per year off of their pay-to-play youth academy that features 5,000 kids.
READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE
I just haven't been able to stop thinking about this question...
What is the real purpose of the DA system in the US? Is it to create a better development environment for youth players or is it to aggregate the best paying customers in youth soccer in to the academies of the largest names in the biggest cities in the US?
Those academies would just happen to generally be MLS ones...
Let's take for example the Chicago Fire Jr's system. They have 16,000 players in their pay-to-play system from all over the country! How much revenue is this generating for the owners of the Fire?
Colorado Rapids have 4,000 kids... just those two teams make 20,000 more players.
I'm sure that these kinds of numbers are not unique across MLS. MLS owners are generating HUGE amounts of revenue off of the pay-to-play system of youth soccer in this country.
This expense and its reasoning attributed to Don Garber (IN THIS ARTICLE)...
"Ownership groups are starting to ask their front offices for more return on the investment. MLS commissioner Don Garber has said MLS teams spend north of $50 million per year on academies, with an aim on that money eventually bringing a return to the first team."
Seems to be a little bit off... the ROI is not in players for the First Team, but for money on the bottom line.
The DA system was created by the USSF in 2007 and we can see in about a decade MLS has turned this in to a huge piece of their model for profitability. I don't think it is an unfair question to ask if Pay-to-Play youth soccer is the most profitable part of MLS? Or even if it is the largest part of their revenue?
We need system reform in the United States if we ever hope to get out from underneath this system that depends on youth players parents paying exorbitant fees to play soccer.
Read my article on how it is impossible to divorce Pay-to-Play from #ProRelForUSA here.
Please keep speaking up on social media and calling for #ProRelForUSA!