One of the perennial hot topics around MLS is how teams manage their international roster slots. With Los Angeles Football Club embarking on their second season, these considerations take on a new dimension, as players they’ve signed can presumably come through the immigration system over time and obtain permanent residency, with some hard work and a little luck.
That appears to be happening now for one LAFC player, as John Rojas reported in AS on Wednesday that forward Diego Rossi was in Uruguay, finishing up the process to obtain permanent resident status, something expected to be complete this week.
#Uruguayo Diego Rossi ex #Peñarol está por estos días en su país y regresaría el fin de semana a Los Angeles. Termina proceso de Residencia Permanente en USA y ya no ocupará plaza de extranjero en #MLS @UruAlejandro @WilsonMendez86 @RobAbramowitz @arieljudas @JuanMapu— John E. Rojas (@jrojasa75) February 7, 2019
In Rojas’ report, Vela is the first player to get his green card at LAFC, with Carlos Vela and Eduard Atuesta next in line, although he notes that an exact timeline for those guys is hard to project. We all know the immigration process is always subject to bureaucratic whims, and that’s certainly true as well nowadays.
The result? When Rossi gets a green card, he won’t require an international roster slot for LAFC anymore, and that’s a valuable item, indeed. The fact that LAFC have been working on getting players green cards, coupled with the team being canny in targeting international players who either have green cards or U.S. citizenship — they signed Salvadoran international Rodolfo Zelaya, who has a green card already; goalkeepers Philip Ejimadu and Pablo Sisniega, both on trial, reportedly already have U.S. passports — which means they retain flexibility for signing international players, either among trialists/draft picks or bigger moves this year.
This is a report, but Rojas’ reporting is consistently solid so expect it to be confirmed ahead of the season. And we’ll see what LAFC do with their new flexibility in the roster slot department.
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