[MLS SPOTLIGHT]In some places, they call it President's Week, Others call it Ski Week. For a select few high schoolers, this is MLS Week, a chance for academy players to join their MLS clubs' first team in preseason training.
The New England Revolution brought in a pair of Revolution Academy players, U-15/16 goalkeeper Austin Aviza and U-17/18 midfielder Zach Herivaux, for the trip to the Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson, Ariz. They aren't missing any school as Massachusetts’ schools are off.
Also in Tucson is former U.S. U-17 defender Justen Glad, a high school junior who is training with Real Salt Lake. Just last summer, he scored the winning goal as RSL AZ won the Development Arcademy U-15/16 national title. For Glad, the trip to Tucson is a chance to go home. Tucon is a short hop from Casa Grande, where RSL's residency program is based.
Finally outdoors in Florida for the two-week Disney Pro Classic after three weeks indoors in snowy Montreal, the Impact brought down three academy players: Amine Meftouh, Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare and Victor Ndiaye. Also in Florida for a week of training and two games, FC Dallas called in U-17/18 forward Coy Craft and midfielder Aaron Meyer. Earlier, the New York Red Bulls brought academy midfielders Arun Basuljevic and Chris Lema down with them for training.
Red Bulls coach Mike Petke pointed out that it was a big difference between bringing academy players in for the odd practice or Reserve League game and having them going through all the same routines the first-team players are doing -- and showing they are doing the right things.
For MLS teams training at home, it's easy to bring academy players in and out. San Jose Earthquakes academy defender Josh Morton, who is committed to Cal, traveled with the first team to Fresno for the Central California Cup against the LA Galaxy and scored a late consolation goal.
Galaxy II, the Galaxy's new USL PRO team, had been to Fresno two days earlier for a game against the PDL's Fuego and brought four academy players.