Home-Grown Players

Discussion in 'MLS: Youth & Development' started by Jahinho_Guerro, Sep 17, 2010.

  1. 22SteveD

    22SteveD Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jun 1, 2011
    Denver
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I could see this if MLS team owners also owned the USL "signing" side but since that is not the case in either of these examples I don't see how it is possible.

    Now if this was LAG who do own there USL side, it would be valid.

    Might also explain comments from the NY Red bulls, announcing they will own their USL affiliate, about MLS wanting all teams to have a USL side the other day.
     
  2. Balerion

    Balerion Member+

    Aug 5, 2006
    Roslindale, MA
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    As the season is about to begin, we have 73 active HGPs -- 75 if you count Salcedo and Osorio. That's a net increase of four from last season, a number that may grow slightly over the course of the season if there are more signings.

    Out:
    Juan Agudelo
    Bradlee Baladez
    Bryan de la Fuente
    Alex Dixon
    Kellen Gulley
    Aaron Horton
    Kyle Hyland
    Matt Kassel
    Amando Moreno
    Brent Richards
    Josue Soto
    Jose Villarreal


    In:
    Jordan Allen
    Marco Carducci
    Ross Friedman
    Bryan Gallego
    Jordan Hamilton
    Bradford Jamieson
    Aaron Kovar
    Sean Okoli
    Chris Ritter
    Jalen Robinson
    Ethan Sampson
    Harrison Shipp
    Tommy Thompson
    Donny Toia (back from a two-year absence)
    Matt Walker
    Matt Wiet
     
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  3. SoccerPrime

    SoccerPrime Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 14, 2003
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    So 73-75 total signed in MLS history? How many are still playing in MLS? In soccer period?
     
  4. Balerion

    Balerion Member+

    Aug 5, 2006
    Roslindale, MA
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    No, 73-75 total in 2014.

    I count 27 HGPs no longer in MLS. Agudelo, Najar, Villarreal, and Moreno have gone abroad. The rest are out of soccer or are in the US minors:

    Bradlee Baladez
    Giorgi Chirgadze
    Oscar Cordon
    Philippe Davies
    Bryan de la Fuente
    Alex Dixon
    Kellen Gulley
    Aaron Horton
    Sacir Hot
    Kyle Hyland
    Josh Janniere
    Matt Kassel
    Bryan Leyva
    Nicholas Lindsay
    Ruben Luna
    Keith Makubuya
    Nico Muniz
    Francisco Navas
    Brent Richards
    Josue Soto
    Matt Stinson
    Brian Sylvestre
    Cesar Zamora

    It's hard to know how many of these guys are still playing soccer...we should have a better idea when the NASL and USL Pro have finished filling out their squads. Some of the Canadian guys may turn up in semi-pro leagues up there as well.
     
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  5. Hararea

    Hararea Member+

    Jan 21, 2005
    Even though the first homegrown signing was in 2008, there weren't many players signed prior to 2010, which is when things really got cranking and Andy Najar became Rookie of the Year (the only homegrown winner to date). So it seems reasonable to view this as Year Five, which should be long enough for teams to start seeing dividends.

    Unfortunately, half of the league's US-based teams had effectively zero impact from homegrowns in their season opener.

    Chicago - 0 mins played by homegrowns
    Chivas - 0 mins
    Houston - 0 mins
    Kansas City - 0 mins
    Philadelphia - 0 mins
    Portland - 0 mins
    San Jose - 0 mins (in CCL)
    Salt Lake - 2 mins (Jordan Allen)

    So far, the only team to start as many as two homegrowns was Dallas, and one of those players (Hernandez) was forced into action due to a spate of injuries. Colorado has yet to play, but it's possible they will use two homegrowns, as well, as Shane O'Neill and Dillon Serna both have a shot.
     
  6. Balerion

    Balerion Member+

    Aug 5, 2006
    Roslindale, MA
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    FYI, Kevin Ellis started for KC.
     
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  7. chapka

    chapka Member+

    May 18, 2004
    Haverford, PA
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    First of all...most of the homegrowns signed in 2010 were signed in the late season or offseason; only three of them (including Juan Agudelo and Andy Najar) were signed before July 31. Realistically, those players have only have three full seasons (2011, 2012, 2013) to work into the lineup, making this Year Four, not Year Three. And most of those players still haven't gone through the full MLS academy; many were signed after just the minimum time in the academy system. (Also, New England started two homegrowns in their opener, as well as Dallas).

    I think a better way of looking at the homegrown player rule is by cohort. Here's what the Homegrown project so far looks like in terms of when the players were born:

    1988: 1
    1989: 4
    1990: 8
    1991: 17
    1992: 19
    1993: 20
    1994: 8
    1995: 14
    1996: 4
    1997: 1

    There are a few players with no date listed on MLS's list, so they're not included in the above count. Remember, if an MLS team started getting serious about its academy in 2010, the first players to go through a full academy from the U8 level will be in the 2002 cohort; the first class to go through a full academy starting at U14 will be the 1996s and below--of whom there are still only 5 signed to first team contracts.

    It's also worth remembering that we're still not talking about a huge pool of homegrowns. Out of 102 or so total teenagers signed--about 80 if you leave out the U20s--how many played significant minutes last weekend?

    Kellyn Acosta
    Moises Hernandez
    Kevin Ellis
    Will Trapp
    Bill Hamid
    Gyasi Zardes
    Diego Fagundez
    Scott Caldwell
    DeAndre Yedlin
    Russell Teibert

    Two more were late subs--Allen and Sean Okoli. And when Toronto gets off their bye week, Doneil Henry and Ashtone Morgan will probably join that list, and maybe Shane O'Neill too (I don't know how Colorado is playing him).

    So out of about 100 prospects, we've ended up with about 15 players who have seen (or will likely see) playing time after their team's first game of the season. For youth development, that's not a bad ratio.
     
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  8. Balerion

    Balerion Member+

    Aug 5, 2006
    Roslindale, MA
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I don't think we can really evaluate the PT numbers this season until USL Pro kicks off in a few weeks. Here's a list of players I could see getting regular PT for affiliates (or LA II):

    CLB Friedman
    CLB Walker
    DC Robinson
    DC Shanosky
    DC Martin
    DC Seaton
    HOU Salazar
    LA Sorto
    LA Mendiola
    LA Jamieson
    LA McBean
    PHI Hernandez
    PHI McLaughlin
    PHI Pfeffer
    POR Gallego
    POR Evans
    SJ Thompson
    KC Kempin
    KC Palmer-Brown
    TOR Roberts
    TOR Aparicio
    TOR Hamilton
    VAN Carducci
    VAN Adekugbe
    VAN Sampson
    VAN Alderson
    VAN Clarke



    Obviously, not all these players will go on loan and not every loan will be productive, but I can see the overall MLS+USL playing time for HGPs take a big leap this year.
     
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  9. Hararea

    Hararea Member+

    Jan 21, 2005
    Exactly how many MLS teams are serious about U8 academies? We're not talking about La Masia-style long term residency programs here. You yourself stated that most of the players we're talking about were signed after the minimum one year of academy soccer. The system we've got is about finding a stud prospect and polishing him up.

    The Red Bulls started their academy in 2003. They've had plenty of time and a huge population base, but they've simply failed to carry out a process where youth teamers have grown into first team regulars.

    The Canadian academies may be on a better course, but on the US side, a lot of the excuses ("give us more time, we weren't serious before") have worn thin. Xolos wasn't even founded until 2007, yet by 2009 they had already managed to identify a previously unwanted teenager in the US and help him debut for the national team by 2012.
     
  10. bwidell

    bwidell Member+

    Apr 19, 2005
    Manchester, NH
    Club:
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    New England started two: Fagundez and Caldwell.
     
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  11. chapka

    chapka Member+

    May 18, 2004
    Haverford, PA
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The game changed for MLS academies in 2008, when the homegrown player rule was introduced--then again, a few years later, when it was significantly relaxed to make more players eligible for homegrown status. Before that time, no MLS team had an academy in any real sense. They had youth teams, which could be useful for marketing purposes, but those players would still be eligible to be drafted out of college like anyone else. The Red Bulls weren't planning to use their academy to sign youth players in 2003, because it would not have been possible for them to do so under MLS rules. Whatever they had was purely for marketing purposes.

    Most teams started looking seriously at youth development in 2008 and few got up and running much before 2010. I don't know the details of every team's youth programs, but the Union's starts at age 6 with camps and supplemental training for kids from local programs; the full youth program starts at the U14 level and the goal is to fill it with kids identified in the younger programs, the best of whom will be channeled into the Union's residential high school. This system wasn't fully up and running until the beginning of the 2013 season.

    That's why we're "polishing" kids up today--because the academies haven't been around long enough for us to do anything else. The Galaxy haven't signed any of the kids they've been bringing through their U-12 teams, because the U-12 teams haven't been around long enough. So what you're left with are the one-to-two-year "polishing" projects, which are necessarily going to be less effective. The kids you've had more time to identify and train are still in the pipeline.

    Not being serious isn't an excuse, it's a reality. There were no actual MLS youth academies--even where a team ran a youth club and called it an "academy team"--until MLS provided a realistic way to sign youth prospects, and most have only been running for three or four years in any serious format. And yes, they have also identified international-level players, like Juan Agudelo and Andy Najar, and it's a good bet that they'll identify more in the future.
     
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  12. Hararea

    Hararea Member+

    Jan 21, 2005
    Actually, those Galaxy U12 kids aren't still in the pipeline. Even most of their U16s get displaced.

    If things weren't serious before, then they still aren't serious now. Before the homegrown rule finally got approved, you don't remember the folks in New Jersey whining about not being allowed to sign Exantus, Ferrari, and their other academy kids?
     
  13. chapka

    chapka Member+

    May 18, 2004
    Haverford, PA
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'm not sure what you mean by "displaced." Most youth players, in most programs, don't make the cut. That's not unique to MLS. Part of the purpose of a youth academy is to identify the few kids with promise who can hack it as pros.

    If you're talking about poaching, US child labor laws make that inevitable. LA still retains that player's MLS rights, is my understanding.

    And some players do make it through. Bradford Jamieson and Raul Mendiola are LA's newest homegrowns. Jamieson played in Chivas' U-16s; Mendiola played for the Galaxy's academy for three years.

    I'm not sure what you're saying here. Things weren't serious before about 2008, because until 2008 youth players couldn't sign for the senior team, period. Then starting in 2008, youth players could sign with the senior team. This changed the way clubs looked at academies. I don't see how you could argue that didn't make a difference.

    Exantus and Ferrari are examples of this. They're players who couldn't sign with New York in 2006 and 2007 because MLS rules didn't allow it. As a result, Red Bulls had no incentive to invest seriously in youth development. Exantus was one of the spurs for the creation of the homegrown player rule, as one of the first youth players an MLS team actually wanted to sign.

    Exantus and Ferrari show why the pre-2008 academies weren't serious: because they didn't provide a path to the first team. New York went to MLS in 2006, and MLS said the only way Exantus could sign with the league was signing a Generation Adidas deal and entering the draft. Under that policy, no team could justify investing in a youth academy for anything but marketing purposes.
     
  14. Hararea

    Hararea Member+

    Jan 21, 2005
    Which is to say, both of them were playing elsewhere as U16s, let alone U12s. The "just wait till our U12s grow up" argument is a red herring.

    I think you're painting that difference as being far bigger than it was. Prior to the homegrown rule, Hamid and Najar were already in DC's academy, and Agudelo was already in NYRB's. If anything, the "not-serious" versions of these academies did better than the serious ones have done.
     
  15. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'm not sure this is the case? A team has to maintain a player's homegrown status by continuing to train them even after they've left the academy system. So if the Galaxy are having their players poached by a Liga MX team, I believe they lose their rights unless they continue to bring the player into Galaxy related training.
     
  16. chapka

    chapka Member+

    May 18, 2004
    Haverford, PA
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Mendiola and Jamieson are both '96es. That's the point: when they were playing U12 soccer in 2007, the Galaxy didn't have a U-12 team, or any professional academy, for that matter.

    How could the difference have been any greater? Before the homegrown rule, why would any club spend money developing a player for a college or for the draft?

    It couldn't be simpler. Before the 2007 season, developing youth players for your first team squad was not possible in MLS, period. If you started a youth team, you were doing it for marketing reasons, or as a profit center. You couldn't tell those players you could sign them to your MLS club any more than you could tell them you could sign them to Barcelona or get them elected to Congress or fly them to the moon. If they wanted to play in MLS, they had to either (1) get a Generation Adidas contract and enter the draft, or (2) finish four years of college and enter the draft.

    The homegrown initiative was announced on November 10, 2006. According to Wikipedia, at least, Agudelo switched from his pay-to-play youth club to the Red Bulls academy in 2007, Bill Hamid joined DC's academy in 2007, and Andy Najar joined DC in 2008. Before November of 2006, there was no reason for those players to want to play for an MLS academy, other than fandom or local pride. After November of 2006, there was.
     
  17. chapka

    chapka Member+

    May 18, 2004
    Haverford, PA
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I don't know for sure. My impression was that if they made the player an offer, they retained their MLS rights even if the player turned it down and signed overseas. But I don't know that for a fact.
     
  18. COMtnGuy

    COMtnGuy Member+

    Apr 5, 2012
    Higher than you
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  19. Hararea

    Hararea Member+

    Jan 21, 2005
    Given that Mendiola and Jamieson weren't even Galaxy U16s, the existence of a Galaxy U12 team is irrelevant to them.

    If you want to say 2006, then fine. Previously, you were saying that "until 2008 youth players couldn't sign for the senior team, period."

    This means that the road has been fully clear for 7 1/2 years now.
     
  20. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Ahhh. In that case, you are correct. I was thinking you were talking about a situation where the player left before a team offered them a contract.
     
  21. chapka

    chapka Member+

    May 18, 2004
    Haverford, PA
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Yes, I probably should have said late 2006, when the rule was announced. That doesn't change the fact that MLS academies have not been developing players since November of 2006.

    The rule was announced in 2006, took effect in 2007, the first signing was made in November of 2008, and the second signing was made in 2009. Announcing the policy doesn't magically create a youth academy, and the initial policy required that players log a certain number of hours and a certain length of time (IIRC, between a year and 18 months) before they could sign. Teams couldn't sign players the day after the announcement, because first they had to set up youth systems for those players to play in for a year or more.

    So the rule was announced in late 2006, but the first qualified player wasn't signed until the 2008-2009 offseason. It was then significantly loosened and rosters were further adjusted, making homegrown signings easier and homegrown players easier to carry on a roster, resulting in the first year of significant signings being 2010.
     
  22. FlipsLikeAPancake

    Jul 6, 2010
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    MLS teams first started with U18 and U16 teams. While some teams began lower level teams, only this year has the national development academy expanded to a U14 division.

    To see really quality results, it is going to take time. The younger age programs are in their infancy, and those are the ones that will really make a difference. The 'polishing off' of players that are already 17 or so...that's mostly just demonstrates that MLS academies are quality recruiters, rather than producers of talent.

    But the younger you get, the higher the margin of error there is, and the wider the net you need to cast. There are always going to be kids that fall off and are replaced by kids that were late bloomers or overlooked.

    Comparing the minutes of homegrowns right now to players from, say, the superdraft is myopic in my view at this point. Currently, players that were drafted represent an age range of 18 to late 30s (a much wider age range than the current homegrowns, with many more players in their prime). Also, superdraft players do not have the limitation of having to have played for a select group of academies - they are drawn from a much larger player pool.

    As MLS expands in number of teams, and as MLS teams have more academy affiliations, the percentage of elite players that will have spent time in MLS academies will increase.

    Just looking at this page on this thread, the example of Thomas Redding comes to mind. He spent time at a Development Academy, but he wouldn't be an MLS homegrown player if Orlando City's MLS bid hadn't been successful. Instead, he either would have had to sign abroad (like Junior Flores) or been signed by MLS and subject to a weighted lottery (like Luis Gil) or gone to college and maybe have been signed as a Generation Adidas players after a year or two (like countless players).

    My point is that since only a fraction of current prime age players were in said MLS academy environments when they were young, I do not lament that homegrowns still play only a small percentage of the league's minutes. These programs are still nascent, and there are still lots of gaps, but those gaps are being filled.
     
  23. Hararea

    Hararea Member+

    Jan 21, 2005
    If that's your article of faith, fine, but there certainly isn't any evidence to support it.
     
  24. Hararea

    Hararea Member+

    Jan 21, 2005
    Right. As noted already, some academies started earlier. By 2006, the Red Bulls academy even had their U14's in place. Or are you still pretending that it didn't exist?

    http://www.redbullsacademy.com/academy/timeline.aspx
     
  25. SoccerPrime

    SoccerPrime Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 14, 2003
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

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