MLS Focus: Homegrown players face stiff competition

The 2017 season marks the 10th year of MLS's Homegrown program that began with the LA Galaxy's signing of Tristan Bowen.

D.C. United leads all clubs in Homegrown appearances and is one of three teams along with FC Dallas and the New York Red Bulls whose Homegrown players who played a combined 300 or more MLS regular-season games. Even though it folded in 2014, Chivas USA ranks 11th among MLS teams in the number of HG appearances.

Both FC Dallas and the Red Bulls have 10 Homegrown products on 2017 rosters. Real Salt Lake is third with eight.

D.C. United is projected to start midfielder Ian Harkes, while the same goes for right back Nick Lima at San Jose. Harkes and Lima, both four-year collegians, are among 20 new Homegrown players registered for the 2017 season.

In all, 15 Homegrown players are projected to start this season, but it remains difficult for young players to break into MLS. Armed with Targeted Allocation Money, clubs have signed 45 foreign players -- 13 at expansion teams Atlanta United and Minnesota United -- who are projected to start in 2017 but weren't in the league last season.

Andy Najar, DeAndre Yedlin and Matt Miazga are the best examples of Homegrown players whom MLS clubs have sold for transfer fees, but a majority of 22 former HG players playing abroad moved as free agents.

Note: Bold players projected to start in 2017.

D.C. United (350 MLS games)
GP PLAYER (CURRENT TEAM)
160 Bill Hamid (D.C. United)
79 Ethan White (New York City)
15 Collin Martin (Minn. United)
4 Jalen Robinson (D.C. United)
0 Chris Durkin (D.C. United)
0 Ian Harkes (D.C. United-2017 signing)
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82 Andy Najar (Anderlecht/BEL)
5 Conor Shanosky (Richmond Kickers)
5 Michael Seaton (Hapoel Tel Aviv/ISR)

FC Dallas (329 MLS games)
GP PLAYER (CURRENT TEAM)
94 Victor Ulloa (FC Dallas)
81 Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas)
51 London Woodberry (New England Revolution)
17 Jesse Gonzalez (FC Dallas)
5 Coy Craft (FC Dallas)
2 Aaron Guillen (FC Dallas)
0 Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas-2017 signing)
0 Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas-2017 signing)
0 Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas)
0 Bryan Reynolds (FC Dallas-2017 signing)
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31 Moises Hernandez (Comunicaciones/GUA)
26 Ruben Luna (no club)
9 Bryan Leyva (no club)
8 Alejandro Zendejas (Guadalajara/MEX)
4 Danny Garcia (San Antonio FC)
4 Jonathan Top (no club)
1 Bradlee Baladez (no club)
0 Richard Sanchez (Tigres/MEX)

New York Red Bulls (310 MLS games)
GP PLAYER (CURRENT TEAM)
129 Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution)
73 Connor Lade (NY Red Bulls)
35 Sean Davis (NY Red Bulls)
27 Alex Muyl (NY Red Bulls)
1 Tyler Adams (NY Red Bulls)
1 Brandon Allen (NY Red Bulls)
1 Derrick Etienne (NY Red Bulls)
0 Arun Basuljevic (NY Red Bulls-2017 signing)
0 Evan Louro (NY Red Bulls-2017 signing)
0 Adam Najem (Philadelphia Union-2017 signing)
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34 Matt Miazga (Vitesse/NED)
7 Matt Kassel (no club)
2 Amando Moreno (Tijuana/MEX)
0 Scott Thomsen (Orlando City B)
0 Santiago Castano (no club)
0 Giorgi Chirgadze (no club)
0 Mael Corboz  (Duisburg/GER)
0 Sacir Hot (no club)
0 Chris Thorsheim (Nykobing FC/DEN)

New England Revolution (278 MLS games)
GP PLAYER (CURRENT TEAM)
152 Diego Fagundez (New England Revolution)
121 Scott Caldwell (New England Revolution)
5 Zachary Herivaux (New England Revolution)

LA Galaxy (258 MLS games)
GP PLAYER (CURRENT TEAM)
107 Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)
57 Jose Villarreal (LA Galaxy)
19 Bradford Jamieson IV (LA Galaxy)
12 Jack McBean (LA Galaxy)
9 Raul Mendiola (LA Galaxy)
0 Hugo Arellano (LA Galaxy-2017 signing)
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50 Tristan Bowen (AFC Eskilstuna/SWE)
4 Oscar Sorto (Orange County SC)

Toronto FC (253 MLS games)
GP PLAYER (CURRENT TEAM)
95 Ashtone Morgan (Toronto FC)
28 Jay Chapman (Toronto FC)
17 Jordan Hamilton (Toronto FC)
16 Molham Babouli (Toronto FC)
0 Sergio Camargo (Toronto FC)
-----------------------------------------
70 Doneil Henry (West Ham United/ENG)
17 Matt Stinson (Vaughan Azzurri)
4 Oscar Cordon (Woodbridge Strikers)
4 Nicholas Lindsay (York Region Shooters)
2 Keith Makubuya (no club)
0 Josh Janniere (no club)
0 Quillan Roberts (no club)
0 Manuel Aparicio (Ordenes)
0 Chris Mannella (no club)
0 Quillan Roberts (no club)

Columbus Crew (213 MLS games)
GP PLAYER (CURRENT TEAM)
93 Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew)
27 Matt Lampson (Chicago Fire)
1 Ben Swanson (Columbus Crew)
0 Alex Crognale (Columbus Crew-2017 signing)
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50 Chad Barson (no club)
41 Ben Speas (Indy Eleven)
1 Aaron Horton (no club)
0 Ross Friedman (no club)
0 Kyle Hyland  (OKC Energy FC)
0 Matt Walker (no club)
0 Matt Wiet (no club)

Real Salt Lake (170 MLS games)
GP PLAYER (CURRENT TEAM)
75 Donny Toia (Orlando City)
48 Jordan Allen (Real Salt Lake)
35 Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake)
9 Sebastian Saucedo (Real Salt Lake)
0 Lalo Fernandez (Real Salt Lake)
0 Danilo Acosta (Real Salt Lake)
0 Jose Hernandez (Real Salt Lake-2017 signing)
0 Ricardo Velazco (Real Salt Lake)
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3 Phanuel Kavita (no club)
0 Nico Muniz (no club)
0 Benji Lopez (Santos)
0 Fito Ovalle (Sambenedettese/ITA)

Vancouver Whitecaps (162 MLS games)
GP PLAYER (CURRENT TEAM)
102 Russell Teibert (Vancouver Whitecaps)
8 Alphonso Davies (Vancouver Whitecaps)
4 Marco Bustos (Vancouver Whitecaps)
0 Ben McKendry (Vancouver Whitecaps)
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16 Sam Adekugbe (Brighton & Hove Albion/ENG)
15 Kianz Froese (Fortuna Dusseldorf/GER)
12 Brian Sylvestre (North Carolina FC)
3 Ethen Sampson (no club)
2 Caleb Clarke (FC Amberg/GER)
0 Bryce Alderson (no club)
0 Marco Carducci (no club)
0 Philippe Davies (Longueuil)

Montreal Impact (155 MLS games)
GP PLAYER (CURRENT TEAM)
45 Wandrille Lefevre (Montreal Impact)
19 Anthony Jackson-Hamel (Montreal Impact)
1 Louis Beland-Goyette (Montreal Impact)
1 David Choiniere (Montreal Impact)
0 Maxime Crepeau (Montreal Impact)
0 Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla (Montreal Impact-2017 signing)
------------------------------
44 Maxim Tissot (no club)
38 Karl Ouimette (San Francisco Deltas)
7 Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare (AS Vitre/FRA)
0 Zakaria Messoudi (Odd/NOR)

Chivas USA (143 MLS games)

GP PLAYER (CURRENT TEAM)
85 Marky Delgado (Toronto FC)
8 Caleb Calvert (Colorado Rapids)
------------------------------
20 Gerson Mayen (Santa Tecla/SAL)
18 Josue Soto (Cimarrones de Sonora/MEX)
12 Bryan de la Fuente (FC Shirak/ARM)
0 Cesar Zamora (no club)

Chicago Fire (138 MLS games)
GP PLAYER (CURRENT TEAM)
93 Harry Shipp (Seattle Sounders)
14 Joey Calistri (Chicago Fire)
7 Patrick Doody (Chicago Fire)
3 Collin Fernandez (Chicago Fire)
0 Drew Conner (Chicago Fire)
0 Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire-2017 signing)
------------------------------
17 Chris Ritter (no club)
4 Victor Pineda (Orange County SC)
0 Kellen Gulley (no club)

Seattle Sounders (137 MLS games)
GP PLAYER (CURRENT TEAM)
34 Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders)
25 Aaron Kovar (Seattle Sounders)
8 Sean Okoli (New York City)
0 Henry Wingo (Seattle Sounders-2017 signing)
0 Seyi Adekoya (Seattle Sounders-2017 signing)
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56 DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG)
11 Darwin Jones (Tampa Bay Rowdies)
3 Victor Mansaray (FC Cincinnati)
0 Jordan Schweitzer (Orlando City B)

Colorado Rapids (107 MLS games)
GP PLAYER (CURRENT TEAM)
52 Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids)
0 Kortne Ford (Colorado Rapids-2017 signing)
0 Ricardo Perez (Colorado Rapids-2017 signing)
------------------------------
52 Shane O'Neill (NAC Breda/NED)
3 David Armstrong (Colorado Springs Switchbacks)

Sporting Kansas City (80 MLS games)
63 Kevin Ellis (Sporting KC)
10 Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting KC)
0 Daniel Salloi (Sporting KC)
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7 Jon Kempin (no club)

Houston Dynamo (69 MLS games)
GP PLAYER (CURRENT TEAM)
55 Tyler Deric (Houston Dynamo)
0 Christian Lucatero (Houston Dynamo)
------------------------------
13 Alex Dixon (no club)
1 Francisco Navas Cobo (no club)
0 Bradley Bourgeois (no club)
0 Sebastien Ibeagha (San Antonio FC)
0 Memo Rodriguez (Rio Grande Valley FC Toros)
0 Bryan Salazar (no club)

San Jose Earthquakes (47 MLS games)

GP PLAYER (CURRENT TEAM)
47 Tommy Thompson (San Jose Earthquakes)
0 Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes-2017 signing)

Philadelphia Union (35 MLS games)
GP PLAYER (CURRENT TEAM)
0 Auston Trusty (Philadelphia Union)
0 Derrick Jones (Philadelphia Union)
--------------
30 Zach Pfeffer (no club)
3 Jimmy McLaughlin (FC Cincinnati)
2 Cristhian Hernandez (no club)

Orlando City SC (33 MLS games)
GP PLAYER (CURRENT TEAM)
20 Tommy Redding (Orlando City)
6 Harrison Heath (Atlanta United)
0 Mason Stajduhar (Orlando City)
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7 Tyler Turner (no club)

Portland Timbers (6 MLS games)
0 Marco Farfan (Portland Timbers-2017 signing)
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6 Brent Richards (Reno 1868)
0 Steven Evans (Portland Timbers)

Atlanta United (first year)
GP PLAYER (CURRENT TEAM)
0 Andrew Carleton (Atlanta United-2017 signing)
0 Chris Goslin (Atlanta United-2017 signing)

Note: New York City and Minnesota United have signed no Homegrown players.
16 comments about "MLS Focus: Homegrown players face stiff competition".
  1. Quarterback TD, February 17, 2017 at 8:02 a.m.

    USDA is setting false expectations for Academy players by telling them it's a pathway to professional when in fact it's a pathway for less than 1% of players of which less than 1/2 of that 1% will make it.. one cannot blame the pro teams because it's a business and winning means more sales.. as far as young talents who are not selected life goes on you still have the college option.. you give it your best shot now move on like the rest of us..

  2. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, February 17, 2017 at 9:47 a.m.

    It is a pathway to the pro ranks. Of course you have to be good enough but everyone knows that.

  3. Quarterback TD replied, February 17, 2017 at 9:51 a.m.

    If everyone knows that then we should not be having this conversation. Right ?

  4. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, February 17, 2017 at 1:47 p.m.

    We shouldn't - but you chose to post something obvious so here we are...

  5. Fire Paul Gardner Now, February 17, 2017 at 9:49 a.m.

    We're starting to get more guys signing out at age 18, which is essential. Having guys waste four key development years in NCAA ball is sub-optimal. The college route is great for guys who aren't good enough to be pros because you get a college education but for elite players it's a waste. Imagine Pulisic spending this year as a freshman in college ball!

  6. Quarterback TD replied, February 17, 2017 at 10:03 a.m.

    There are always exceptions to the rule but when an organization like USDA is producing less than 1% of what it is advertising and recommending it, it's Fake News.. The USDA have cornered and customized the market to the point where almost every player looks the same on the field. There are no individual and independent thinking because kids are confined to a robotic type system.. Players who can get out of that box and excel are players who parents understand the game and spend time coaching their kids, sending them overseas to camps and breaking the norm by playing pickup games any an everywhere similar to what Beckham, Neymar and a host of other players did.. I really don't get why people are not seeing this.

  7. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, February 17, 2017 at 1:48 p.m.

    Sounds like your kid played DA and you assumed that meant he would become the American Messi and now that reality has hit you are blaming the DA.

  8. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, February 17, 2017 at 2:39 p.m.

    He said on another thread that his son plays DA. Now you know what is interesting Tom? You criticize me for assuming something (wrongly because in fact I didn't assume it) but then go on to list a bunch of incorrect assumptions about me. You are telling me 1% of players from most rec leagues become pros? That obviously isn't correct. DA may be flawed and need adjustments but it is in fact the highest level of youth soccer in the US at the moment. I have no stake in it whatsoever.

  9. Quarterback TD replied, February 17, 2017 at 3:03 p.m.

    Fire, it seems like you like to follow me but I have my own 2 canines at home and don't need another.. Also it seems like you are trying to always protect these organizations and clubs from their own failures.. I am guessing you probably in bed with them.. right Lola Sorry I meant Fire ?

  10. Bob Ashpole replied, February 21, 2017 at 10:15 p.m.

    You lost me when you said ethnic leagues are rec leagues because the teams don't travel.

  11. Quarterback TD, February 18, 2017 at 9:17 p.m.

    NBA teams do not like players straight from High School because they are too immature they prefer players that are groomed.. on the flip side colleges like HS players from private schools because they usually come from a more disipline coaching system.
    College soccer is only going to improve most D1 schools are putting an entire training staff around the sport. Me personally given the fact that MLS pays next to nothing for college draft players I prefer kids who already committed to college stay in college.. I have seen too many broken players making a living coaching because they did not make it pro.. one can only try so much but a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush..

  12. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, February 19, 2017 at 10:31 a.m.

    As usual, Mr. TD your comments are not supported by reality. NCAA ball has a smaller role in player development than it did 10 years ago and that will hopefully only continue. It's a terrible place for elite players to develop. It's not for future pros.

  13. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, February 20, 2017 at 9:56 a.m.

    Academy is HS age kids so what does college have to do with it? It isn't an either/or. At age 18, the kids who are good enough can turn pro and the ones who aren't going to make it as pros can hopefully play NCAA ball and get some money off the cost of their tuition.

  14. Quarterback TD replied, February 21, 2017 at 9:52 a.m.

    Fire, What !!! Are you insane or just talking because you have a hole in your head?? College pay millions to Basketball/tackle football coaches and million more for their program..Yes the players come in with talent but their development is improved tremendously over the span of 4 years by the time they reach draft status.. Soccer is picking up steam and college investment every year.. There are ex-Academy Soccer as well as excellent club coaches that are taking jobs as assistant and head soccer coaching jobs in colleges.. Some schools are even looking for international coaches.. US Colleges will be an extension of Academy shortly where a player can get a second chance at pro.. isn't there an MLS college draft ??

  15. K Michael, February 20, 2017 at 11:36 a.m.

    Great points by all; much of the discussion is on whether the DA develops pro players. The answer is kind of, sort of – it is by far and away the highest level of organized soccer in this country; the greatest aggregate concentration of skill, athleticism is in the DA, without question. Every parent knows this is where the best go. The second best place is a high level travel team/ ODP combo. All that said, just as AAU ball does not develop NBA players, the DA does NOT develop pros. Pros are pros for the work they do outside the training sessions, to include solo practice, pick-up play, watching/studying the game, thinking the game, training the physical and mental aspects, etc. Yet, the odds are highest that the next American star (ala Pulisic) was involved in the DA. Development aside, it is where the best will face the fastest, most skilled kids, in the best facilities, and the best organized training sessions. It is also the only soccer organization that actually does deemphasize winning at the younger ages u12-u15. It has put an emphasis very recently on ensuring that RAE and late-bloomers that display high technical and high IQ do not slip thru the cracks; the hiring of Bunce is proof of that. The Double PASS analysis entering its final year of evaluation is furthering the maturity of our DA with international standards. As far as percentages, even in the European academies, rare is the kid who breaks thru to the first team.

  16. Fly Bynyte, February 20, 2017 at 6:12 p.m.

    Funny thing is - the term 'Homegrown' tells you where you need to grow your pro soccer players! In the home! DAs is/are unproven. College and High Schools with their current rules are proven - failures (with exceptions). What works, teach your kiddo to play soccer, to do things with the ball at their feet, and one day, they may be become a foot ball player. This is not rocket science. When more parents focus on teaching their kids to play 'foot ball', rather than 'playing up', getting on a 'travel team', and being on the 'A' team, then we're going to begin to produce more 'homegrown' players. The drive to do crazy things with the basketball in their hands is what makes great basketball players - the drive to do crazy things with the ball on their feet is what makes great foot ball players!

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