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CFU-USL partnership may not help – Speid

Cavalier coach laments low transfer fees for Jamaican players

Published:Wednesday | October 5, 2022 | 12:15 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
CFU President Randy Harris.
CFU President Randy Harris.
Rudolph Speid
Rudolph Speid
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THE CARIBBEAN Football Union (CFU) recently signed a partnership with United Soccer League (USL), the second-tier football competition in the United States, that will give regional players a greater opportunity to earn and develop in a professional...

THE CARIBBEAN Football Union (CFU) recently signed a partnership with United Soccer League (USL), the second-tier football competition in the United States, that will give regional players a greater opportunity to earn and develop in a professional environment, according to CFU president Randy Harris.

Harris also disclosed that the benefits will extend to more than just players and will push the development of Caribbean football forward.

But while the arrangement may benefit players, Cavalier sporting director Rudolph Speid noted that historically, Jamaican clubs have not experienced just rewards for players, as USL clubs tend to offer very little for transfers.

“The USL hasn’t been financial viable for local clubs to transfer players to. The offer from USL clubs to us is not a lot of money. They have offered as little as (US) $2,000 to transfer a player. We also have issues with training compensation and solidarity payments.

“While it is good to help some players in advancing their careers, it is not good for clubs who spend a lot of money and resources on players,” he argued.

The partnership will see the CFU staging regional combines in various countries to showcase the region’s top talents to USL scouts.

USL clubs will also pay special attention to regional clubs and players competing in Concacaf competitions.

“What we are asked to do is to have some showcases in the Caribbean,” said Harris.

“We can expose our players and make the USL more aware of our games in Concacaf leagues.”

Clubs in the region will also have the opportunity to send personnel to USL clubs for learning experience.

“We want to attach staff members from different areas (countries) in the USL for a period of time, so they can better understand how football is run professionally, to make us more efficient.

“The USL has the know-how and experience in other different aspects, in terms of marketing, communication and management and they can help us in that area.

“Also, we realise that referees are important to them too, and we are hoping some of our officials can earn a living officiating in that league,” he reasoned.

Although Speid does not think the deal might be entirely a bad one, he said from past experiences most local clubs are not very enthused about dealing with USL clubs.

“Whatever they have signed should be fine, but they are not signing on behalf of our clubs. Cavalier hasn’t signed up to be a part of that treaty. How beneficial it will be to us clubs, I really do not know. I would need more information,” he continued.

According to Speid, Jamaica Premier League (JPL) clubs earn as much or even more in domestic transfers, while noting that the success rate of players progressing from the USL is very low.

PAYING PLAYERS

“(US) $2,000 to $10,000 does not compensate for developing a player. We have to pay more than that to buy a player in Jamaica.

“Players in Jamaica are now costing (US) $10,000, $15,000. So it is not something that is endearing to us at this particular time, unless the USL is going to offer us much more.”

“It can benefit players because they do earn more than what we actually pay. But not a lot of players are being transferred from the USL,” he pointed out.

Harris believes the partnership will develop the professionalism of regional football. He noted that all the other Concacaf regions have established professional leagues and that this was one way of helping to improve the professionalism of Caribbean football.

“We realise that if we do not have our players playing professionally, they will always be second.

“We hope to upgrade through the USL because we believe this is an easier avenue to get our players in the professional ranks.”

The CFU and USL have already signed off on their memorandum of understanding (MOU) and everything will be in place shortly said Harris.

“We will begin in earnest. I had the opportunity to meet the owners and give them an idea of what we are trying to achieve in the Caribbean. So, I can only see mutual benefit for them and for us,” he said.

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com