Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Home-grown signings provide new outlet
by Paul Kennedy, January 11th, 2012 11:12PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  college men, columbus crew, mls

MOST COMMENTED

[MLS SPOTLIGHT] The Columbus Crew announced the signing of the 2011 Soccer America College Player of the Year Ben Speas as a home-grown signing out of NCAA champion North Carolina. Speas, who also won a NCAA title the year before with Akron, is the latest college star to leave early and circumvent the MLS SuperDraft. As more and more homegrown signings are made, they reduce the significance of the SuperDraft, whose 2012 edition will be held Friday in Kansas City (TV: ESPN2, ESPN3.com, noon ET).

Speas, a member of the Crew's under-19 team that won the 2010 McGuire Cup, is the fifth homegrown player signed since the end of the 2011 MLS season and the fourth college player.

Ohio State's Matt Lampson also signed with the Crew. Connor Lade joined the New York Red Bulls, while Jimmy McLaughlin turned pro with the Philadelphia Union after one semester at Colgate, where he was the Patriot League Rookie of the Year. Jose Villarreal, 18, signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Speas is the 47th homegrown signing since MLS launched its player development initiative in 2008 to encourage MLS clubs to develop young players.

The most successful homegrown players to date are the D.C. United pair of Andy Najar and Bill Hamid. Najar has represented Honduras, and Hamid is training with the U.S. national team.

MLS academies have been around long enough that clubs are calling in their chips on players several years into or at the end of their college careers.

Matt Kassel, who signed with the Red Bulls last season out of Maryland, would have been one of the top picks in this year's SuperDraft but for the homegrown route available to him and the Bulls.

Other signings -- notably Diego Fagundez (New England) and Zach Pfeffer (Philadelphia) -- were still in high school when they debuted to rave reviews last season in MLS.

According to MLS rules, a club may sign a player to a home-grown contract without going through the SuperDraft if the player "has trained for at least one year in the club’s youth development program and has met League criteria." The program took off when MLS eliminated the restrictions on the number of players a team could sign. FC Dallas leads all MLS clubs with six home-grown players.

The success of the program has clubs testing the boundaries of just what is the definition of "trained for at least one year in the club’s youth development program."

The Union doesn't have an academy program in the Development Academy league but was allowed to sign Pfeffer and McLaughlin. The Galaxy, who made Tristan Bowen the first home-grown signing in 2008, has one of the best academy programs, but only recently did Villarreal join its academy program.



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
USL Discipline: Djiby Fall suspended for biting opponent    
Senegalese striker Djiby Fall has certainly made a name for himself around the USL since joining ...
Money Matters: MLS's most-valuable goal producers    
With the release of 2017 MLS player salaries by the MLS Players Union, it's time to ...
MLS Weekend: Three Games to Watch    
FC Dallas hosts Portland in a showdown of the top two Western Conference teams, former Red ...
What They're Saying: Bastian Schweinsteiger    
"I would say around 70 percent. It's still in the game you feel like you want ...
MLS: Revs' Dorchester stadium plans stall    
Talks between the Kraft Group, owner of the New England Revolution, and the University of Massachusetts ...
U.S. U-15 boys lose to England after two wins    
The U.S. U-15 boys national team, coached by Dave Van Den Bergh, fell 3-2 to England ...
Video Pick: Keeper catches cross, scores with punt    
Bolivar goalkeeper Matias Dituro scored a super long-distance goal against Club San Jose. After snatching a ...
What They're Saying: Giovani dos Santos    
"I have felt really good this season even though things haven't turned out the way we ...
CCL: Omar Gonzalez adds to packed trophy case    
Omar Gonzalez might have been disappointed at first when MLS salary rules pushed him out the ...
MLS Discipline: Rapids' Ford suspended for one game    
Reviews of incidents from last weekend's games has prompted the MLS Disciplinary Committee to issue a ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives