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Discussion in 'MLS: Youth & Development' started by Balerion, Nov 26, 2012.
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It's not controversial to say that the MLS Homegrown Initiative is underperforming. Neither is it bold to say the same about this forum. So in an attempt to liven things up around here, I thought I'd start a new thread.
Here is a list of all-time HGP signings. (Side note: Eric Gehrig? Is that an MLSS.com brainfart?) Here's how they break down in terms of experience:
No college: 41 (everyone else)
1 year of college: 4 (Deric, Stinson, Horton, McLaughlin)
2 years of college: 3 (White, Hot, Ellis)
3 years of college: 4 (Dixon, Kassel, Lampson, Speas)
4 years of college: 3 (Soto, Lade, Richards)
(I've excluded Gehrig and may have miscategorized one or two players. The general point remains.)
This ratio is very much slanted towards teenagers with no college experience. I expect these proportions to change dramatically over the next few years. Here are my reasons:
(1) MLS clubs don't have the resources to provide non-elite, age 18-20 talent with a quality developmental environment. The super-young kids like Delgado, Pfeffer, and Acosta still have two more years of DA eligibility (though the second year might not be that helpful). But for those too old for DA and too raw to play for the first team, there just isn't much.
(2) Some of the players in the initial wave of HG signings were probably never that good in the first place. I can't prove this, but I get the sense that several teams signed players just to show that their academy was producing something or because a player wasn't going to college anyway, so why not. I believe that some of the washouts were never that talented in the first place and never had a real chance to make it.
(3) The DA was new. Now that it's been around for enough time for ex-academy players to filter through the college ranks, there are many more mature HG targets than there were previously.
TL;DR -- MLS has learned its lesson from the early years of the HG experiment and will now focus on signing older HG-eligible college players -- who didn't exist in large numbers before anyway. I think this offseason will be the first year that we really see the effects of this.
While the DA and younger age brackets will always lay the groundwork for a players fundamental abilities, tracking more imminent HG signings will take us more and more frequently to the world of the NCAA. As such, I thought this forum needs a thorough HG player tracking thread.
The intention of this thread is to provide a more comprehensive list of MLS academy alumni in the NCAA ranks than what currently exists on BigSoccer. That way, it will be easier to have a view of who might sign HG contracts this winter. It can also serve as a blueprint for following progress of various HG-eligible underclassmen in future seasons, which will be especially useful as HGs make more of an imprint on the league. Personally, I would be more interested in watching NCAA games in 2013 if I had a better idea of which players to look out for. I'm projecting here, but perhaps there are other neophytes who feel the same way.
A note: I'm no NCAA soccer expert, so those who have invested more blood, sweat, toil, and tears into choppy streams on college websites than I have are encouraged to chime in with the insight on individual players that I sadly lack. Comments, corrections, and scathing criticisms are welcome.
I'm going to post team-by-team. Let's start with the Chicago Fire.
GK -- Brett Petricek, 1991, Niagara
DF -- Chris Ritter, 1990, Northwestern
DF -- Robert Gacek, 1991, Saint Xavier (NAIA)
DF -- Kyle McCrudden, 1991, Wisconsin
DF -- Matt Weaver, 1990, Lehigh
MF -- Ian Christianson, 1991, Georgetown
MF/FW -- Danny O'Leary, 1991, Notre Dame
FW -- Joel Del Toro, 1991, Western Michigan
FW -- Andy Huftalin, 1990, Marquette
FW -- Ata Ozbay, 1991, San Diego State
Names of possible note:
Christianson is the biggest name on this list and has made all the "who's going to sign a HG contract" lists in the media.
Ritter scored five goals, assisted on six, and was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year -- although conference awards don't necessarily mean much.
Petricek had a 0.84 GAA for Niagara, who reached the NCAA tournament.
Huftalin only started in 3 goals (played in 20), but was Marquette's leading scorer with ten goals (and four assists). Marquette was the 7th seed in the NCAA tournament but was knocked out quickly by Northwestern. All-Big East 2nd team.
O'Leary was a regular starter for Notre Dame, the top-ranked team in the country. He did not have impressive goal or assist statistics, so one would hope he was being used as a midfielder.
GK -- Piotr Kikolski, 1990, UIC (RS Junior)
DF -- Jorge Flores, 1991, Robert Morris (NAIA)
DF -- Mitch Albrecht, 1991, Valparaiso
DF -- Michael Enghofer, 1991, IPFW
DF -- Scott Lakin, 1992, Northwestern
DF -- Billy McGuinness, 1992, Princeton
MF -- Ben Beaver, 1991, Franklin & Marshall (DIII)
MF -- Bryan Ciesiulka, 1991, Marquette
MF -- Art Garza, 1992, DePaul
MF -- Connor Holloway, 1991, Northwestern
MF -- Jesse Ortiz, 1991, Valparaiso
MF -- Trevor Wheeler, 1992, Wisconsin
FW -- Kyle Spoo, 1991, Loyola (IL)
FW -- Oliver Mayer, 1992, Western Michigan
FW -- Chris Prince, 1992, Wisconsin
FW -- Harrison Shipp, 1991, Notre Dame
FW -- Wojciech Wojcik, 1992, Bradley
Names of possible note:
Ciesiulka was another Fire alum on a quality Marquette team. Ciesiulka also made the All-Big East second team.
Shipp made the all Big East third team with Notre Dame. Like Ryan Finley he didn't start a single game -- he wound up with six goals and six assists.
Prince was the points leader for Wisconsin, which sounds more impressive than a 3 goals/5 assists output really is.
Lakin was a regular starter with Sweet 16 team Northwestern.
GK -- Charlie Lyon, 1992, Marquette (RS Sophomore)
GK -- Tom Serratore, 1991, Valparaiso (RS Sophomore)
DF -- Brian Lunar, 1992, Loyola (IL) (RS Sophomore)
DF -- Peter Beasley, 1993, Northwestern
DF -- Patrick Doody, 1992, Indiana
DF -- David Caban, 1993, Wisconsin
MF -- Emanuel Guzman, 1992, Oakton CC (JC)
MF -- Jacob Brindle, 1992, Wisconsin
MF -- Felipe Cortez, 1992, Robert Morris (NAIA)
MF -- Jabari Danzy, 1993, Northern Illinois
MF -- Luis Medina, 1993, Saint Xavier (NAIA)
MF -- Brady Wahl, 1992, Ohio State
FW -- Tyler Engel, 1992, SMU (RS Sophomore)
Names of possible note:
Lyon became Marquette's starter after a redshirt season and a season as a backup. He finished with a 0.78 GAA and ten shutouts.
Doody moved into the starting XI at Indiana this season.
Engel had an interesting season with SMU. He registered 8 goals and 7 assists and was named to the all-CUSA second team.
Wahl has been a starter at Wisconsin since his freshman year.
GK -- Sam Euler, 1993, North Carolina (RS Freshman)
GK -- Zak Allen, 1993, Northwestern
DF -- Jerrin Moore, 1993, Bradley
DF -- Benjamin Kucera, 1993, Creighton
DF -- Charlie Oliver, 1994, Northern Illinois
MF -- Keaton Albert, 1993, Indiana Wesleyan (NAIA)
MF -- Eduardo Cuautle, 1993, Aurora (DIII)
MF -- Anthony Torres, 1993, Belmont
MF -- Elliot Borge, 1994, Wheaton (IL) (DIII)
MF -- Manny Chavez, 1994, UIC
MF -- Drew Conner, 1994, Wisconsin
MF -- Joel Salmeron, 1994, UIC
MF -- Mike Winhoffer, 1994, Fordham
FW -- Marco Gutierrez, 1991, Saint Xavier (NAIA) -- not sure about this
FW -- Joey Calistri, 1993, Northwestern
FW -- Jourdan Gooden, 1994, FGCU
FW -- Chisom Ogbonna, 1994, Robert Morris (NAIA)
FW -- Andrew Oliver, 1994, Indiana
Names of possible note:
Andrew Oliver is probably the most well-known name on this entire list thanks to his time in Bradenton. He got 14 games (8 starts) at Indiana, scoring two goals.
Calistri had a much more impressive freshman season. He scored nine goals and dished two assists and was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
Charlie Oliver, Anthony Torres, and Joel Salmeron got quite a bit of playing time in their first years, but there's not much else of note yet.
I found that Dallas had less than half the number of NCAA players that Chicago did. There are two reasons for this. One, Dallas U18 squads have tended to be on the smaller side. Two, compared to many DAs, FC Dallas has a disproportionate number of Hispanic kids who do not go to college and fall off the radar.
Nonetheless, many of the Dallas players that do go to college have been highly successful.
DF -- London Woodberry, 1991, Maryland
Woodberry is considered to be a pretty decent fullback prospect and is a lock for an HG offer this winter.
GK -- Jaime Ibarra, 1991, SMU
MF -- Clint Ramos, 1991, Air Force
MF -- Julian Torres, 1991, UT-Dallas (DIII)
FW -- Bradlee Baladez, 1991, South Carolina
Ibarra was the co-CUSA Player of the Year. He looks like a viable HG target this year or the next.
Baladez scored 7 and assisted on five as a sophomore, which put him on the HG radar. As a junior, his numbers dropped to four and three, which probably reduces the likelihood that he'll go anywhere this winter. He made the all-CUSA Second Team anyway.
DF -- Jacob Gerondale, 1992, IPFW (RS Sophomore)
DF -- Jack Coleman, 1993, Duke
DF -- Boyd Okwuonu, 1993, North Carolina
DF -- Kevin Pineda, 1992, Otero (JC)
DF -- Byron Knowles, 1992, Lubbock Christian (NAIA)
MF -- Damian Rosales, 1991, SMU (RS Sophomore)
MF -- Chris Figueroa, 1992, SMU (RS Sophomore)
MF -- Skylar Hagan, 1992, Old Dominion
FW -- Christian Garcia, 1993, East Texas Baptist (DIII)
FW -- Victor Pinal, 1992, Richland (JC)
Okwuonu is a guy who is constantly mentioned in connection with an HG deal. He made the All-ACC First Team as a sophomore and it feels like he'll be off to Dallas this winter or next. At 5'8", Okwuonu's future is at fullback and perhaps he'll go back to UNC next season with Woodberry ahead of him in line at the moment.
Rosales was named to the all-CUSA Second Team, which is pretty decent for a sophomore.
Coleman was touted coming out of the academy, but he didn't play at Indiana. After a transfer to Duke, he played much more in his second year.
GK -- Eduardo Cortes, 1993, IUPUI
DF -- Mikey Ambrose, 1993, Maryland
DF -- Nicholas Rochowski, 1993, New Mexico
DF -- Mark Ashby, 1994, Harvard
DF -- Aaron Guillen, 1993, FGCU
MF -- Danny Garcia, 1993, North Carolina
MF -- Flavio Guzman, 1993, Richland (JC)
MF -- Alonso Gallegos, 1993, San Jacinto (JC)
Ambrose had a strong first season with Maryland and was named to the All-ACC Freshman Team and All-ACC Second Team. It may not be this winter, but I don't think he'll have to wait too long before offers start coming in.
Garcia did one better than Ambrose, being named to the same ACC teams and also being named ACC Freshman of the Year. Garcia scored four goals and set up another six in his first year. Another very strong bet for an HG offer down the line.
Cortes was named the Summit League's Newcomer of the Year. He has a tough gig with Ibarra and Richard Sanchez around.
Guillen had a good first year at FGCU and was named to the Atlantic Sun's All-Freshman Team.
Guzman was considered good enough to earn a cameo with the U-20 team, but from what I understand he's not really the college type. Still, he's landed in JC so at least he's still playing. But in general, a player with this profile really doesn't have a lot of options unless he's good enough to earn a pro contract age age 17/18.
And now for something completely different....the New England Revolution. The Revolution academy alumni are probably going to be the best educated out of all the MLS DA programs. However, in terms of soccer there is a lot of work to do. Fagundez has been a great find and Scott Caldwell is also a likely HG. Outside of that, the Revs have sent less than half of their academy players to DI programs (and that doesn't even include those who played a few years of JC or who went to DII programs and quit at some point).
GK -- Evan Polanik, 1991, Holy Cross
MF -- Scott Caldwell, 1991, Akron
MF -- Ruben Resendes, 1991, Southern New Hampshire (DII)
MF -- Jordan Branco, 1990, Southern New Hampshire (DII)
FW -- Enco Lika, 1991, Anna Maria (DIII)
FW -- Chris Tsonis, 1991, Southern New Hampshire (DII)
Caldwell is a likely HG signing.
DF -- Dan Sangster, 1992, UMass
MF -- Sawyer Kisken, 1991, University of Chicago (DIII)
MF -- Josh Vlasich, 1992, Saint Michael's (DII)
FW -- Cody Osgood, 1992, Bentley (DII)
GK -- Jose Silva, 1992, Merrimack (DII)
DF -- Matt Keys, 1992, UMass
MF -- Felipe Fagundes, 1992, UMass-Lowell (DII)
MF -- Marlon Ramalho, 1992, Wheaton (MA) (DIII)
MF -- Michael Rincon, 1992, Merrimack (DII)
MF -- Cameron Bielski, 1993, New Hampshire
MF -- Bryan DaSilva, 1992, Framingham State (DIII)
MF -- Yannick Kabala, 1994, Southern New Hampshire (DII)
MF -- Andrew Waddington, 1993, Loyola (MD)
FW -- Homero Morais, 1991, Umass-Lowell (DII)
FW -- Fabio Machado, 1992, Drexel
FW -- Cole DeNormandie, 1993, Cincinnati
DeNormandie has been okay at Cincinnati. Machado did well in JC and transferred to Drexel. Keys is a regular starter at UMass. The rest don't play or are in DII or DIII.
GK -- Tyler Zon, 1993, Swarthmore (DIII)
DF -- Eric Buck, 1993, Johns Hopkins (DIII)
DF -- Andrew Burnham, 1994, Hartford
DF -- Colin Patch, 1993, Connecticut College (DIII)
DF -- Mitchell Taintor, 1994, Rutgers
MF -- Tanor Jobe, 1993, Central Connecticut State
MF -- Adrian Reifsnyder, 1993, Wesleyan (DIII)
MF -- Colin Sweeney, 1994, High Point
MF -- Jerry Tamfu, 1994, Burlington County College (JC)
MF -- Manny Andrade, 1993, Providence
MF -- Jack Hilger, 1994, Princeton
MF -- Forest Sisk, 1994, Amherst (DIII)
FW -- Matt Bitchell, 1994, Connecticut College (DIII)
FW -- Chandler Hoffman, 1994, UMass
FW -- Devin Devoy, 1994, Northeastern
FW -- Rainer Rendell, 1994, Salve Regina (DIII)
Taintor looks like the best one to watch from this group.
Columbus seems to have quite a few immediate and future HG signings in the college ranks.
GK -- Justin Luthy, 1991, Boston College
GK -- Paul Hendricks, 1991, Ohio Wesleyan (DIII)
DF -- Chad Barson, 1991, Akron
DF -- Matt Wiet, 1990, UCLA
DF -- Logan Thompson, 1990, Messiah (DIII)
MF -- Kyle Hyland, 1991, IUPUI
MF -- Brian McGue, 1991, Davidson
MF -- Andrew Edler, 1990, Ohio Dominican (DII)
FW -- Andy Lubahn, 1991, Wake Forest
FW -- Tyler Pollock, 1990, Butler
Wiet and Barson are two centerbacks often mentioned in conjunction with HG deals. It will be interesting to see whether the Crew sign both or choose only one. If Columbus passes for whatever reason, either would be expected to be drafted. Barson made the All-Mac First Team, while Wiet made the All-Pac 12 Second Team.
Luthy is a guy who got a U-20 look in the 2011 cycle. I'm not sure how he has progressed in his last two seasons, but he's another HG candidate. The question is whether Columbus is comfortable with moving last year's HG signing Matt Lampson up to #2.
Lubahn has been active in YNT circles over the years. A concern: his goal output at Wake has gone from 10 to 8 to 4 to 0. He missed nearly all of his senior season with an injury -- will he come back for a RS senior season?
Hyland was IUPUI's leading source of offense -- eight goals and two assists.
GK -- Eric Osswald, 1991, South Florida
DF -- Matt Griesinger, 1991, Bowling Green
DF -- Luke Helmuth, 1991, Messiah (DIII)
DF -- Kevin Blakely, 1991, Transylvania (DIII)
DF -- Ross Friedman, 1992, Harvard
DF -- Sage Gardner, 1992, Ohio State
MF -- Matt Dodrill, 1991, Ohio Wesleyan (DIII)
MF -- Jacob Eganhouse, 1992, Ohio Wesleyan (DIII)
MF -- Joey Haught, 1990, Rhode Island (redshirt)
MF -- Ian O'Keefe, 1992, Ohio Wesleyan (DIII)
MF -- Brandon Silva, 1991, Bowling Green, (redshirt)
MF -- Ryan Snashall, 1992, Bowling Green
MF -- Vaughn Spurrier, 1991, Temple
MF -- Eric Stevenson, 1990, Akron (redshirt)
MF -- Matt Walker, 1992, Xavier
FW -- Tyler Ranalli, 1992, George Washington
Stevenson started all 22 of Akron's games and finished with 7 goals and 5 assists. He made the All-Mac Second Team.
Matt Walker is another "college supersub" -- a player who never starts, but usually plays most of the game. He scored 11 and assisted on 10 for Xavier, a very impressive haul. He made the all-Atlantic 10 First Team.
Spurrier joined Walker on the All-Atlantic 10 First Team, with 10 assists to his name in 2012.
Gardner has been a three-year starter at left back for Ohio State
GK -- Andrian McAdams, 1992, Akron (redshirt)
GK -- Jacob Rice, 1992, Carnegie Mellon (DIII)
DF -- Alex Bechtol, 1992, Ohio State
DF -- Matt Hill, 1993, Xavier
DF -- Mason Hoge, 1993, Ohio Wesleyan (DIII)
DF -- Charlie Macias, 1992, Evansville
DF -- Max Riehemann, 1993, Davidson
MF -- Michael DiCesare, 1992, UMBC
MF -- Alexander Obbey, 1992, Louisville (redshirt)
MF -- Wil Trapp, 1993, Akron
MF -- Will Walker, 1992, Xavier (redshirt)
FW -- Chris Davis, 1993, Cincinnati
FW -- Jack Thompson, 1992, Messiah (DIII)
The biggest name here is Wil Trapp. While the Crew have an above-average number of HG prospects, Trapp is probably the crown jewel. I've watched him play on a few occasions and always come away impressed. I'm not sure if Columbus will go after him this winter or wait another year. Perhaps Porter's departure from Akron will be a catalyst....or not.
Like his twin brother and Xavier teammate, Will Walker also had a good season -- 7 goals, 6 assists.
Bechtol's freshman season at Bowling Green led to a transfer to Ohio State for his sophomore year.
GK -- Ryan McLaughlin, 1993, College of Charleston
GK -- Mike Thomas, 1994, Bowling Green
DF -- Kyle Culbertson, 1992, Columbia
DF -- Zach Mason, 1994, Ohio State
DF -- Connor McCafferty, 1994, Wright State
DF -- Andrew Souders, 1994, Akron
MF -- Connor Klekota, 1993, Notre Dame
MF -- Zak Leedom, 1993, West Virginia
MF -- Rhodes Moore, 1993, Xavier
MF -- Cheick Diawara, 1994, Barton CC (JC)
MF -- Tommy Granot, 1994, Fordham
MF -- Alex Ranalli, 1994, Akron
MF -- David Witkoff, 1994, Georgetown
FW -- Gavin Craig, 1993, Jacksonville
FW -- Brett Elder, 1993, Wright State
FW -- Raymond Olavarria, 1994, Ohio State
Souders is a former U-17 international who was a spot starter in his first year at Akron. He's definitely not HG material yet but he's one to watch in future years.
Elder had a good debut season with Wright State (9 G, 3 A). He won Horizon League Newcomer of the Year and was named to the All-Horizon First Team.
Mason started for Ohio State and was named to the All-Big Ten Freshman Team.
Not that the lists aren't worthwhile...but I don't see any reason to think the homegrown rule is underperforming.
Three years and about 50 signings in, it's produced a couple of strong young MLS starters (Hamid, Najar, Agudelo) and a few young players poised for a 2013 breakout (Henry, Fagundez, McBean, Lade, Morgan). That's in just about 3 years, with academies that have been running for a few years in most cases. 29 of the 57 or so homegrown players got MLS league minutes in 2012. And almost all of the players who haven't broken through are 1990s or younger--in other words, as young or younger than this year's drafted senior rookies will be.
While college is always going to make sense for some players, I think the league is going to go the opposite direction from what you're predicting, and focus more on younger players, both for homegrowns and for drafted players; I think you're going to see more Jack McInerneys entering the draft out of high school and fewer Corey Hertzogs coming out as juniors.
There have been some early success stories and I'm also hopeful that more will really show something in 2013, but there have been a lot of washouts and a lot of players who haven't made progress in even making the 18. There's hope for the future as MLS academies have done a much better job of recruiting than they did in the earliest days and, hopefully, they are doing a better job of teaching the game.
Here's a list of HG players ranked by minutes in 2012:
Morgan -- 2525
Hamid -- 2337
Lade -- 2265
Najar -- 2113
Agudelo -- 1567
Henry -- 1139
Fagundez -- 774
Leyva -- 435 (released)
Bowen -- 248
Luna -- 207 (released)
Richards -- 199
Lampson -- 139
Villarreal -- 128
Teibert -- 116
Dixon -- 113
Top -- 103
Deric -- 90
Stinson -- 88
Ouimette -- 66
Speas -- 64
C. Hernandez -- 27
McLaughlin -- 17
Delgado -- 17
Clarke -- 15
McBean -- 8
Armstrong -- 4
O'Neill -- 4
Pfeffer -- 4
I must be forgetting someone because I only have 28, but I note that only 10 players played more than 200 minutes and two of them have already been released. I share your optimism about the players you mention, but outside of a small handful of good players, there hasn't been much success on the field yet. There have been enough young washouts that we should proceed with caution when projecting other young players whose resumes are still thin.
Here's the way I see it: most domestic MLS-level talent isn't ready for the league when they are high school aged. And the league itself doesn't have the right developmental infrastructure to bring them up to speed. And yet, due to MLS academies' recruiting advantages and placement in many of the country's largest metro areas, a very sizable chunk of talent is going to fall under HG eligibility. How are these players going to get into the league? The most elite players will be brought in at a young age -- Agudelo, Acosta, Fagundez, et al -- but others just won't be ready. Even if a team could develop everyone properly, teams can't afford to devote much roster space to players who won't be ready for 2-3 years.
So much of this future MLS-level talent will go to college, where they'll receive more playing time and be in a more comfortable social environment. And because they are MLS-level, they're going to get into the league somehow. That's going to be through the GA program or signing cheap HG deals as seniors (Connor Lade). Additionally, maybe teams will figure out how to lure underclassmen with non-GA deals or maybe the league will spread some of the GA money out instead of throwing larger sums at players like Corey Hertzog. Connor Lade is the tip of the spear. Between when Lade was in the DA and now, teams have gotten a lot better at recruiting. A lot of the HS emphasis on HG signings has been that HS players were the only HG game in town. That's no longer the case.
I'm not sure if it will decrease the flow of teenagers into the league. I do think that it will eat into the value of a low 1st round/2nd round draft pick because I think more college players will be coming into the league under the HG banner.
Along with Calistri, Drew Conner was a unanimous pick on the Big Ten all-freshman team.
Three, they have very few opportunities to play high-level college soccer without moving a long way from Dallas.
With the elimination of pay-to-play at some MLS academies, more kids will have a hard time getting by on the fractional scholarships that are college soccer's stock in trade. In a different funding environment, Cortes and Guillen would likely have landed at significantly bigger programs than where they did.
On a separate FC Dallas note, it's going to be interesting to see where Mikey Ambrose's ceiling is. As impressive as he's looked every time I've seen him, I wonder if he might struggle against better athletes.
It's almost like there need to be two separate branches of the HG program. One branch is for producing the Agudelos who have the potential to be multi-million dollar stars. You don't want prospects like these marking time in college or on the end of a bench. The other branch is for the Connor Lades who have the potential to be solid starters. They can help you eventually, but you don't want to bother signing them until they're ready to help the first team.
Unfortunately, what this implies is that if a kid isn't college-bound and isn't prodigiously talented, there may not be enough return on investment to justify a place for him. Sorry, Herculez.
One thing that might help would be letting MLS teams keep season-long loans off their roster and salary budget. So Philly could sign a kid who's not going to college for $35k a year, then loan him out to Harrisburg or Reading for a year without taking a cap hit or using up a roster spot. If there was a season-ending injury they could then call him back. Sort of a limited baseball-style minor assignment.
It will be interesting to see how MLS teams deal with this question. There is a growing group of academy players (YNT/kids with a Euro passport/Mexicans) who have little interest in or access to college soccer. If there is a legitimate prospect with pro opportunities who’s not on the Agudelo-Najar-Gil-Fagundez level, how should a team respond? A lot of it comes down to whether you view development costs as investments in potential assets as part of some broader club philosophy or in more crass ‘can this teenager contribute more than a 4 year college player/fringe MLSer over the next few seasons?’
A couple potential data points are college-committed, potential HGs Ben Spencer and Benji Lopez who have interest from Molde and Monterrey, respectively.
Subscribed. Think I am going to like this thread.
The Colorado Rapids have not been known for having a particularly strong academy in the short history of the DA. In comparison to some of the more successful clubs, the overall achievement level of the Rapids Academy alumni in the college ranks is poor. While the Rapids have not been effective at churning out even moderate numbers of solid DI performers, they do have a handful of legitimate MLS prospects. The Rapids have signed two HGs already. Davy Armstrong has played very little in his 2.5 years with the club, while Shane O'Neill was signed too recently to have much of an impact. O'Neill was otherwise slated to play at the University of Virginia in the fall.
The Rapids are another academy that has players of Hispanic origin that fall off the radar after HS. They also have a sizable contingent that went to school and seemingly quit soccer after a year or two of college. Between these two factors, Colorado has a relatively small number of academy alumni toiling in the college ranks.
GK -- Brendan Roslund, 1991, San Francisco
FW -- Marc Herschberger, 1991, Metro State (DII)
FW -- William Koki, 1990, Mercy College (DII)
Roslund is a 6'6" giant who made the All-WCC second team in 2012 and was the WCC GK of the Year in 2011.
DF -- Colton Briscoe, 1991, UC-Colorado Springs (DII)
DF -- Patrick Slogic, 1991, Cornell
MF -- Zach Bolden, 1991, Denver
FW -- Drake Stewart, 1992, Wright State
Slogic, another 6'6" guy, made the All-Ivy League First Team.
Bolden was named to the All-MPSF First Team.
GK -- Ryan Pakieser, 1992, Fort Hayes State (DII)
DF -- Carlos Linares, 1992, Fort Hayes State (DII)
DF -- Matt Taphorn, 1993, Central Arkansas
MF -- Logan Konkol, 1993, Kenyon (DIII)
MF -- Jake Beerman, 1993, Metro State (DII)
FW -- James Rogers, 1993, New Mexico
FW -- Amara Soumah, 1990, Illinois Central College (JC)
Rogers has earned U-20 callups this cycle and had a nice year at New Mexico -- 8 goals and 5 assists. He made the All-MPSF Third Team.
GK -- Joe Kuzminsky, 1994, UAB
DF -- Jason Prichard, 1993, Sterling College (NAIA)
DF -- Jordan Spring, 1993, Regis College (DII)
DF -- Jeff Kading, 1994, Elmhurst (DIII)
MF -- Dillon Serna, 1994, Akron
MF -- Karsten Hanlin, 1993, Denver
MF -- Josue Chavez, 1994, Lipscomb
FW -- Idrissa Camara, 1993, Midwestern State (DII)
FW -- Chris Gurule, 1993, New Mexico
Serna is a well-known former U-17 and current U-20 who was named to the All-MAC First Team and was the MAC Co-Newcomer of the Year in 2012. Some in the media have suggested that he'll sign with the Rapids as soon as this offseason.
D.C. has extracted more value from their academy than any other MLS club to date. Andy Najar and Bill Hamid have emerged as important first team players and have been capped by their countries. While D.C.'s academy gets less hype than several others, no one else has yet matched that production.
DC has also signed Ethan White after two years at Maryland and Conor Shanosky out of high school. White was forced into extensive injury duty in 2011, but rarely played in 2012. Shanosky spent all of 2012 with Fort Lauderdale in the NASL, a loan stint which is frequently cited as a blueprint for other young HGs unready for MLS action -- although he's still very much unproven in MLS.
D.C. has also had numerous players go on to sign with minor clubs abroad: Paul Torres, Lester Dewee, and Shaquille Phillips. Interestingly, OJ Porteria now plays domestically in the Philippines and for the Philippines national soccer team.
That being said, D.C.'s academy hasn't produced much depth in terms of good DI college players. With the professionals out of the picture, they haven't had many standout players in the NCAA ranks, which means that unlike some other teams, they won't have any "free draft pick" senior HG options for a while. However, this looks like it is in the process of changing. D.C. has a number of promising players who just completed their freshman seasons.
FW -- Chris Hegngi, 1991, Ohio State
DF -- Shane Cooke, 1990, Virginia (redshirt)
DF -- Kevin McBride, 1991, Virginia
DF -- Alex Herrera, 1991, George Mason
DF -- Nicky Yin, 1992, Penn
MF -- Chris Perez, 1991, William & Mary (redshirt)
MF -- Julio Arjona, 1992, George Mason
MF -- Allan Flott, 1992, West Virginia
MF -- Tobi Iguade, 1992, St. Francis (PA)
MF -- Joel Nash, 1992, Evansville
MF -- Aslinn Rodas, 1992, Cleveland State
Herrera was named to the All-CAA Third Team.
DF -- Myles McGinley, 1992, Princeton
DF -- Jordan Manley, 1993, American
DF -- Julian Saldana, 1993, Loyola (MD)
MF -- Steven Mashinski, 1992, James Madison (redshirt)
MF -- Mikias Eticher, 1993, Maryland
MF -- Dario Redondo, 1993, Radford
MF -- Tyler Rudy, 1993, Georgetown
FW -- Patrick Etoughe, 1992, Howard CC (JC)
FW -- K.C. Onyeador, 1991, VCU
Redondo was named to the All-Big South Second Team.
GK -- Alec Dockser, 1994, Michigan
GK -- Sam Legg, 1994, Radford
DF -- Jalen Robinson, 1994, Wake Forest
DF -- Brad Vorv, 1993, Louisburg College (JC)
DF -- Edgar Zepeda, 1994, George Mason
MF -- Michael Burgos, 1991, UMBC
MF -- Ghiles Harmouche, 1993, George Mason
MF -- Michael Russo, 1994, Central Florida
MF -- Damilola Adetola, 1994, Villanova
MF -- Jannik Eckenrode, 1993, Radford
MF -- Cody Albrecht, 1993, St. John's (redshirt)
MF -- Ahmed Ismail, 1993, George Mason
MF -- Bernardo Majano, 1993, Louisburg College (JC)
MF -- Collin Martin, 1994, Wake Forest
MF -- Dylan Regan, 1994, Carnegie Mellon (DIII)
FW -- Marcus Salandy-Defous, 1993, Virginia
Martin has received several U-20 callups; he received All-ACC Freshman Team honors this season.
Robinson also has been to a U-20 camp this cycle -- he joined his teammate on the All-ACC Freshman Team.
Salandy-Defour was the D.C. Academy's third representative on the All-ACC Freshman Team.
Harmouche was named an All-CAA Rookie.
Eckenrode made the All-Big South Freshman Team.
Great thread and nice job. Hopefully it brings some quality discussion to this area. I gathered a bit of data MLS teams performance in DA. I'll see what I can add that might be of interest.
FWIW - The All-Time top 10 by minutes played:
Bill Hamid – DC United -- 4,729
Andy Najar – DC United -- 4,635
Ashtone Morgan – Toronto FC -- 3,428
Juan Agudelo – New York -- 2,931
Connor Lade – New York -- 2,265
Ethan White – DC United -- 1,928
Doneil Henry – Toronto FC -- 1,642
Diego Fagundez – New England -- 1,088
Nizar Khalfan – Vancouver -- 1,066
Matt Stinson – Toronto FC -- 764
Edit to add: This is from 2011, when the league opened the rule fully to allow unlimited signings.
Next up, the New York Red Bulls. From my perspective, New York has a fairly typical academy profile, at least among its alumni in the NCAA ranks. The older cohort has some decent players, but the freshmen and sophomores were recruited to better programs on the whole and have accrued more individual accolades. It's a similar pattern found in may MLS academy programs; it was harder to recruit good players to an academy at the very beginning.
New York's academy has been a direct pipeline to Seton Hall in particular. I found no fewer than nine NY alumni on the Pirates' roster in 2012. Unfortunately for SH and NY, the Pirates weren't very good this year.
New York, of course, has already signed up a number of HG players to varying degrees of success. Juan Agudelo is the obvious name, but he never really got going in NY before being traded for Heath Pearce. Connor Lade surprised everyone by having a good rookie year in 2012. On the downside, Giorgi Chirgadze, Sacir Hot, and Matt Kassel were released having made no impact on the team.
The Red Bulls are situated in such a huge metro area (and in the case of New Jersey, one that has been fertile ground for US soccer) that their academy really should be one of the most productive soccer factories in the country. It seem that each college class of ex-academy players is stronger than the last and their current academy players seem to be everywhere in the younger YNTs. I don't think you can say that RBNY has capitalized on their position here, but perhaps they are moving in that direction.
GK -- Brandon Paul, 1991 Delaware
DF -- Jack Freeman, 1991, Middlebury (DIII)
DF -- Jason Wells, 1990, Fairleigh Dickinson (redshirt)
MF -- Hennie Bosman, 1990, Hamilton (DIII)
MF -- Mark Brode, 1991, Syracuse
MF -- Nick Gendron, 1991, Northwestern
MF -- Dragan Naumoski, 1990, Rutgers
Wells, Brode, and Gendron played with successful college teams in 2012, but I'm not sure that any of them are MLS material.
GK -- Kevin Bonder, 1991, Seton Hall
GK -- Sheldon Parkinson, 1990, New Jersey City (DIII)
DF -- Christian Battistesa, 1992, Seton Hall
DF -- Chris Garcia, 1992, Seton Hall
DF -- Edison Sanchez, 1992, Belhaven (NAIA)
MF -- Widner St. Cyr, 1990, Maryland (redshirt)
MF -- Zac Gomez, 1991, Rutgers
MF -- Dylan Mencia, 1991, Michigan
MF -- Victor Manosalvas, 1992 Seton Hall
MF -- David Najem, 1992, Columbia
FW -- George Velasquez, 1992, Seton Hall
FW -- Jonathan Gonzalez, 1992, Notre Dame de Namur (DII)
St. Cyr is the most well-known player here thanks to his presence in a big time program. He was a regular in 2011 after missing 2010 due to injury, but missed more time with an injury in 2012.
GK -- Keith Cardona, 1992, Maryland
GK -- Jacob Wagmeister, 1993, UConn
DF -- Brandon Adler, 1992, Providence
DF -- Paul Ehrenworth, 1992, West Virginia
DF -- Clint Caso, 1992, New Hampshire
DF -- Kyle Roach, 1992, Maryland
MF -- Damian Bziukiewicz, 1993, Seton Hall
MF -- Sean Davis, 1993, Duke
MF -- Christian Johnson, 1992, Boston College
MF -- Dan Metzger, 1993, Maryland
MF -- Konrad Plewa, 1992, Seton Hall
MF -- Bolu Akinyode, 1994, Seton Hall
FW -- Michael Innocenzi, 1992, Harvard
FW -- Kyle McCord, 1992, Virginia
This group appears to be stronger than their older counterparts, and that's without counting Akron defender Bryan Gallego, whose rights were traded to Portland for Kosuke Kimura.
Cardona backed up Earl Edwards at the 2009 U-17 World Cup. He's now a starter for a very good Maryland team.
Dan Metzger is also a regular with the Terps and has been active in the current U-20 cycle.
Sean Davis made the All-ACC Second Team at Duke this season.
Bolu Akinyode received a U-20 call up early in the cycle (and hasn't heard from Ramos since) -- for whatever that's worth.
GK -- Max Brown, 1994, Northeastern
GK -- Luke Rossi, 1994, Columbia
DF -- Antonio Matarazzo, 1993, Columbia
DF -- Diego Ceron, 1994, Holy Cross
DF -- Gabe Robinson, 1994, Cincinnati
DF -- Ross Tetro, 1994, Rutgers
MF -- Brandon Alvarado, 1993, Manhattan
MF -- Scott Thomsen, 1993, Virginia
MF -- Mael Corboz, 1994, Rutgers
MF -- Frederick Elliot, 1994, Columbia
MF -- Eric Lagg, 1994, Seton Hall
MF -- Sean Sheridan, 1994, Villanova
MF -- Chris Thorsheim, 1994, Bucknell
FW -- Brandon Allen, 1993, Georgetown
FW -- Danny Bedoya, 1994, St. John's
After scoring a goal a game for RBNY's U18 team during the last two seasons, Brandon Allen did nearly as well for Georgetown. Allen has scored 15 and assisted on 2 so far this season. In the process, he was named to the All-Big East Second Team and All-Big East Rookie Team and awarded the Big East Rookie of the Year.
Mael Corboz at Rutgers joined Allen on the All-Big East Rookie Team.
Villanova's Sean Sheridan was NY's third representative on the All-Big East Rookie Team.
Scott Thomsen racked up eight assists for Virginia, but that wasn't enough to make the All-ACC Rookie Team, which seems a little harsh to me.
Chris Thorsheim was named to the All-Patriot League Second Team.
No disagreement with your general point, but for players born in the 80s, New Jersey really wasn't very fertile ground for US players. Michael Bradley moved away at a young age, and of course Rossi jumped ship. Which means the best New Jersey player born in the entire decade was ... Danny Szetela!
Ok, it's not that bleak, but I think it's fair to point out that the Red Bull academy wasn't entering a particularly strong landscape. The other point I'd raise is that they've actually been in the youth development game for longer than most other teams. Below is a roster from 2004, which probably includes a lot of their original 2003 U17 team. Not much in the way of recognizable names.
U-19 MetroStars Player
Development Roster Name (Hometown) GK - Eric Geiger (NJ), Matt Gnall (Morristown, NJ), Amir Haghshenas (Wyckoff, NJ), Jarrod Schlenker (Cranford, NJ) D - Christian Acuna (Harrison, NJ), Stephen Franchini (Franchini, NJ), Keith Nye (Wyckoff, NJ), Piero Olivares (Harrison, NJ), Sam Roca (Wayne, NJ), Bobby Swift (Summit, NJ), Jon Wells (Montclair, NJ) M - Christopher Cano (Staten Island, NY), Brian Glennon (Ridgewood, NJ), Yomar Gonzalez (Lodi, NJ), Peter Kasyanenko (Maplewood, NJ), Will Lee (NJ), Anthony Moy (Princeton, NJ), Cristian Raigoza (Paterson, NJ), Andi Saliasi (Haledon, NJ), John Yazo (NJ), Erhan Zekiroski (Pompton Lakes, NJ) F - Ryan Cordeiro (Clarkestown, NY), Fernando Londono (New Rochelle, NY), Shaun Moamem (Bridgeport, NY), Carlos Salazar (Kearny, NJ), Pino Tubito (East Hanover, NJ)
On reviewing the staff of the various academies, I think only Toronto and DC United have the caliber of staff that would make me excited to join. Maybe the Galaxy.
Looking forward to the section on the Galaxy.
I think you forgot that first 20 slots count to cap but there are 10 other slots that don't. Anyone getting $35K falls into those slot. The min for the "senior" slots is $40K+.
It's weird. FCD has fewer players on their list............................but they have a lot "high end" talent. They've got 3 recent academy graduates that are seriuos options for the U20 World Cup qualifying team (Daniel Garcia, Boyd Okwuono, Mikey Ambrose). Woodberry should be a homegrown signing this year as well. Jaime Ibarra had a great 2012, being named Conference Player of the year. And let's not forget Emerson Hyndman, Matt Dunn, and other kids that have been thru the FCD system.
By the way................the team that Guillen went to, FGCU, has made the NCAA tournament in 2011 and 2012. While it's not one of the "big boys" it's also not small beans either. FGCU is a growing athletic department. Guillen is one of the players that FCD got from it's El Paso affiliate. Mikey Ambrose also came from that club. FC Dallas El Paso (previously called the El Paso Fire) is a rock-star youth club nobody talks about. Omar Salgado of Vancouver, Lalo Fernandez of RSL, Daniel Medina of Tigres, Christian Zamora of Chivas, and others came thru there. Last I checked there were 7 current players from El Paso that are on FCD's academy teams.
I would agree about the bizarre nature of Texas soccer. I'd argue, based on results and the number of players on USMNT/USYNT squads, that Texas is the second best state for the youth game after California (and Germany ). There are routinely one or two Texas-based academy teams in the Development Academy U18 semi-finals. And yet there is only one major NCAA soccer program in the whole damn state. That is SMU, which is in FC Dallas' backyard. That, of course, is also where Schellas Hyndman came from. So players from Texas scatter across the country. The elite talent gets great opportunites, but the average talent has a problem.......................
Great work on this thread!