Kevin Jameson Braintree, Mass.
Are there any plans in the works for the MLS teams to start their own youth programs? Ultimately, I feel that this is the long-term answer to developing
players. What do you think? Ridge Mahoney:
Kevin, it's the best way to develop players, but until more MLS teams can generate significant revenues, or unless some big sponsor comes in to
underwrite such a program, the league have to rely on the current system. (Project-40, which is a combination U.S. Soccer Federation-MLS program that so far has signed 36 young players over 3 1/2
years. They are placed with MLS clubs and also see A-League time on the Pro-40 Select team.) One idea I like is for MLS rosters to be expanded to 25 players, with the additional five slots designed
for young players (under 21 or something similar). They would receive full-time professional coaching and training, but the catch would be how they would play in enough games. (If you have a
question for a Soccer America Magazine editor, click "Q&A with SA Editors" in the left column of the home page under "Interactive.")