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As the governing body of soccer in all of its form in the United States, the U.S. Soccer Federation helps manage the game at all levels, from youth to amateur to professional. In May, the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors approved changes to one of U.S. Soccer’s bylaws that outlined a player’s amateur and professional status. The U.S. Soccer Federation policy that deals with an amateur player’s reinstatement is policy 601-4.
Under the amended policy, professional players without a professional contract for more than 365 days have their amateur status automatically reinstated. For a more detailed explanation of that change and more, please read the current Amateur Reinstatement policy outlined below. The U.S. Soccer Board of Directors approved this policy change on May 11, 2002, and the amendment was approved on August 9 at the National Council Meeting at U.S. Soccer’s Annual General Meeting in San Francisco.
The change in this policy will lessen confusion among former professional players, who were often unaware that, under the prior policy, the only way to regain amateur status was to actively apply for it. Now, players will have that status automatically reinstated 366 days after their pro contract expires or is terminated.
NOTE: Words that are underlined have been added to the policy, and the text in bold italics has been removed.
Policy 601-4 Amateur Reinstatement
Section 1. A professional player may be reinstated as an amateur player as provided by this policy.
Section 2. A professional player who is currently registered as a professional player with any club can apply to the Federation to be reinstated as an amateur only with the permission of that club and the Adult or Youth State Association or Professional League with which that club is affiliated.
Section 3. An application for reinstatement as an amateur must be made on the Federation reinstatement form (Form RE) and both the completed form and the applicable fee must be filed with the Secretary General of this Federation.
Section 4. The Registrar shall issue approval of the reinstatement to amateur status within 14 days after receipt of the request, appropriate fees, and compliance with these rules. However, the player’s reinstatement to amateur status is not effective until the day after one month has 30 days have elapsed from the day that the player competed in his last match with his club as a professional player.
Section 5. A professional player may be reinstated as an amateur player no more than one time in a two-year period.
Section 5. A professional player who is not currently registered as a professional player with any professional division club or league, who has not been a party to a professional player contract with a professional division club or league for a period of one year or longer, and who has not applied for reinstatement as an amateur under Sections 3 and 4 of this Policy, shall be automatically reinstated to amateur status by the Secretary General unless the player affirmatively states to the Secretary General in writing that he or she does not wish to be reinstated to amateur status. Reinstatements under this Section 5 shall take effect on the 366th day after the date the player was last a party to a professional player contract with a professional division, club or league. An updated list of professional status players shall be published by the Federation on a bi-weekly basis.
Most players do not know that they have to apply for reinstatement to amateur status. As a result, disputes have arisen where professional players who are not currently playing professional soccer but have not applied for amateur status have competed in amateur competitions. This rule change would minimize confusion and conflict by allowing automatic reinstatement for players to amateur status one year after their professional contracts expire or are terminated.
This policy amendment was approved at the May 11, 2002 Board of Directors meeting.
Questions can be directed to Julie Ilacqua, U.S. Soccer's Managing Director of Federation Services. Julie can be reached at email@example.com or at (312) 528-1252.