The changing MLS: Influx of Young DPs, TAM-fueled trades and run on Homegrowns

MLS preseason camps open Monday around North America. That's just six weeks since Toronto FC won MLS Cup 2017 but three months since the end of the 2017 regular season.

2018 MLS Preseason: Schedule

Here's a look at the key offseason player developments that are changing MLS.

Influx of Young DPs. The signing of 18-year-old Ezequiel Barco, the 2017 Copa Sudamericana winner with Independiente for a reported $15 million, is the latest sign that Atlanta United is ready challenge for an MLS title in its second season.

“It speaks to the type of club that we’re becoming that Ezequiel chose to sign with our club over several European competitors,” Atlanta United technical director Carlos Bocanegra.

Barco is just one of four Young Designated Players MLS clubs have signed from South America and more should be on the way in the next few weeks.

New Youth Designated Players:
19 Diego Rossi
(Los Angeles FC, Uruguay)
20 Jesus Medina (New York City FC, Paraguay)
19 Josue Colman (Orlando City, Paraguay)
18 Ezequiel Barco (Atlanta United FC, Argentina)

TAM ignites trade market. MLS clubs using an extra dose of TAM injected into system to fund player movement have been created their one mini-transfer market, conducting deals that could have never done before with players and draft picks before.

Largest Allocation-Funded Deals:
David Accam (Philadelphia Union, $1,200,000)
Darlington Nagbe (Atlanta United, $1,050,000 + $600,000 conditional)
Walker Zimmerman (Los Angeles FC, $500,000 + No. 1 allocation pick)
Ola Kamara (LA Galaxy, $400,000 + Gyasi Zardes)
Benny Feilhaber (Sporting KC, $400,000).

Homegrowns in record numbers. MLS held the two stages to its SuperDraft -- Rounds 1-2 on Friday and Rounds 3-4 on Sunday -- but the important action has been on the Homegrown front.

MLS teams have already signed as many HG players -- 14 from colleges and 12 from academies or second teams -- as they did in all of 2017. Three collegians played at Wake Forest and two each at New Mexico, North Carolina and national champion Stanford.

Homegrown Collegians:
Grant Lillard (Chicago, Indiana)
Brandon Servania (FC Dallas, Wake Forest)
Kris Reaves (FC Dallas, Portland)
Jordan Cano (FC Dallas, SMU)
Jason Beaulieu (Montreal, New Mexico)
Kevin Politz (NY Red Bulls, Wake Forest)
Cam Lindley (Orlando City, North Carolina)
Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia, Wake Forest)
Foster Langsdorf (Portland, Stanford)
Aaron Herrera (Real Salt Lake, New Mexico)
Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake, Stanford)
JT Marcinkowski (San Jose, Georgetown)
Handwalla Bwana (Seattle, Washington)
Zach Wright (Sporting KC, North Carolina)
1 comment about "The changing MLS: Influx of Young DPs, TAM-fueled trades and run on Homegrowns".
  1. beautiful game, January 22, 2018 at 6:28 p.m.

    Spending a huge sum on an 18 year old Argentine while the domestic development program continues to be underfunded.

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