Several NPSL clubs have announced formal reserve teams, raising the question as to whether the YPSL (Youth Premier Soccer League) should be resurrected. Founded in 2008, the YPSL was a national youth league operating both a men’s and women’s U20 league. The YPSL was, more or less, the NPSL/WPSL youth/reserve league offering to rival the USL’s Super-20 offering. The league seems to have been folded after the 2010 season.
While I like the notion of bringing back the YPSL as an NPSL reserve league, I think at this point it makes much more sense for the clubs to enter their reserve teams into more localized leagues - much like FC Buffalo Reserves competing in the Buffalo District Soccer League or Clarkstown SC Eagles placing a team in the Cosmopolitan Soccer League. By placing reserve teams in local leagues it keeps travel costs down significantly while also providing a stepping stone for young players looking to move up to the first team. And for clubs carrying large NPSL rosters (which is often necessary as players miss matches due to outside commitments like work, etc.) reserve teams offer valuable playing time for players who may not see the field much with the first team.
In fact, instead of recreating the YPSL as an NPSL reserve league, as NPSL continues to grow I would like to see NPSL standardize the number of clubs in each region and flight and when capacity is reached, work on rolling out a second division league (there is obviously a lot of work needed to stabilize the existing clubs and flights before this could ever happen) . Any new clubs seeking to join NPSL would join the second division, and existing NPSL clubs could enter their reserve teams. This structure would also benefit from the ability to enact a promotion/relegation structure in which the top second division clubs were promoted while the bottom first division clubs would drop down. In this case, reserve teams would not be eligible for promotion.
This kind of a structure is already realized in many localized leagues with the Cosmopolitan Soccer League operating as a prime example. As the NPSL continues to grow, I think they need to continue to find innovative ways to professionalize their product and set themselves apart.