The great benefit of the MLS academy setup is that young players get a chance to play alongside and against pros, something Portland Timbers head coach Caleb
, who grew up near Kalamazoo, Mich., didn't experience until he was drafted out of Indiana by the San Jose Earthquakes. "That's a problem in this country, because most kids in other
countries, they taste professional soccer at a much earlier age," Porter said. "They rub elbows with professional players, they see them every week, there is a connection there." With the Timbers
Youth Academy -- which includes a heavy presence of players from Southwest Washington -- Foster Langsdorf
of Vancouver and Anthony Macchione
of Camas got to play against Morelia of Mexico in an exhibition and for the Timbers in the MLS Reserve League.
Read the whole story at The Columbian »