There have been a flurry of reports recently on Josh Sargent and Sporting Kansas City owning Josh’s Homegrown Player rights. How about an update on what that means for Josh.
First, what are the paths to Major League Soccer for a player like Josh? MLS teams may acquire players and add them to their rosters via the following mechanisms:
1. ALLOCATION PROCESS
The Allocation Process is the mechanism used to determine which MLS Club has first priority to acquire a player listed on the Allocation Ranking List. The list will consist of (i) select U.S. Men’s National Team players, (ii) elite youth U.S. National Team players, or (iii) former MLS players returning to MLS after joining a non-MLS club for a transfer fee greater than $500,000.
The 2016 MLS SuperDraft consisted of four rounds for a total of 81 player selections. The majority of draft prospects are NCAA college seniors who have exhausted their college eligibility. Generation adidas players and non-collegiate international players are also eligible for selection in the SuperDraft. Clubs may nominate players for the League’s Draft-Eligible List, and only players from that list may be selected.
Amateur members of the U.S. U-17 and U-20 National Team. MLS shall have an exclusive 45-day window after such players reach their 18th birthday or graduate high school (whichever is later) to determine if these players will be signed for the SuperDraft or be placed on the Allocation Ranking List.
4. HOMEGROWN PLAYER
A club may sign a player to a contract without subjecting him to the MLS SuperDraft if the player has been a member of a club’s youth academy for at least one year and has met the necessary training and retention requirements. Players joining MLS through this mechanism are known as Homegrown Players. Why it’s Important
Looking at these alternative methods, and what we know of Josh’s goals, I suspect we won’t see Josh pursue a four year degree at this stage of his career, thus ruling out the Superdraft route which is also precluded by the Homegrown claim. Sargent spent time training with Sporting Kansas City this past Summer, a two week period that led to SKC making the Homegrown Player claim that is generating so much discussion. The entire state of Missouri (Kansas and Oklahoma as well) is in SKC’s Homegrown Player territory and the claim was approved. As such, they have the RIGHT to sign Josh to a Homegrown contract.
Josh has not signed a contract with Sporting KC. Sporting KC have the right to sign Josh to a Homegrown Contract. Josh’s partner up top on the U17 Men’s National Team, Andrew Carleton, HAS signed a Homegrown contract with Atlanta United. It is a method of keeping the player tied to a team rather than risking losing them via the Superdraft or in the case of these two U17 stars, via the Allocation Process.
For Josh, signing a Homegrown contract would then require him to either play with the Academy team or the reserve team, in this case the Swope Park Rangers, for a year before he would be eligible to play with the first team (part of the rules)
The other alternative Josh has is to move overseas. He spent a week in October training with PSV Eindhoven (see below), with his father Jeff Sargent noting the likelihood of receiving an offer of some sort following the training. As I understand it, he has representation at this stage who is helping him look at the alternatives as well as ensure a good contract when he’s ready to make a decision. Josh turns 17 in February so there are some limitations until he turns 18. I’m not aware of a dual passport situation that would ease his ability to sign overseas, a tool that eased Christian Pulisic’ path to Dortmund before his 18th birthday.
My guess? He could choose to sign with Sporting KC over the holidays and rather than return to the Residency program, begin the one year clock that could lead to a first team opportunity, either with the SKC Academy or the Swope Park Rangers. The drawback to that decision is with the U17 World Cup coming up in October he may want to maintain a more direct connection with the U17 program and continue exploring his alternatives. As the Captain of the team and a proven scorer with the program, pursuing a USL opportunity in the US would allow Coach John Hackworth and his staff to continue to monitor his progress and call him into Camps, ensuring a high level of training and mitigating the move away from the Residency program.
I’ll be working to keep you up-to-date on Josh’s plans and opportunities. You can also follow him personally on Twitter at @JoshSargent4
Finishing a day of training! pic.twitter.com/0FNabn0CqF
— Jeff Sargent (@JeffSsarge64) October 18, 2016