- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On November 13, 2008
- 0 Comments
- Tristan Bowen
Small steps my friends, that is how Major League Soccer is doing it (unless you look at the current expansion situation). But in terms of growth in the US, small steps are the way to go for the league. We all know how important youth development is for the league and the country as a whole but yesterday we got word that things are about to get real big here.
The LA Galaxy have signed the first youth development player out of the youth system to a development contract. The Galaxy have signed forward Tristan Bowen to a multi-year contract, the club announced Wednesday. Bowen is also the first player in MLS history to be signed by a club through the league’s Youth Development Initiative that was unveiled just two years ago.
Big steps there for the league.
The 17-year old Van Nuys, Calif. native will occupy a spot on the Galaxy’s Developmental Roster after being selected as a member of Major League Soccer’s Generation adidas program, meaning that his salary will not count toward the club’s salary budget. Per team and league policy, details of the contract were not released.
“Tristan is an exciting and talented young player who has impressed me and all of our coaches during his time training with the club,” Galaxy General Manager and Head Coach Bruce Arena said. “He has many of the attributes which are required in order to become a good player in MLS and has shown the drive and desire to improve all areas of his game. We are excited to have him join the club and look forward to seeing him grow in a Galaxy uniform.”
Bowen has been a member of the US Under-18 and Under-20 National Teams. He was a member of the U-17 teams that represented the Galaxy at the 2007 and 2008 SUM Under-17 Cup in Colorado, as well as one of the top scorers for the Galaxy U-20 team that won the USL Super-20 League title this season.
Playing with the pros won’t be a huge reach for Bown, he has trained with the Galaxy for much of the season, played in four Reserve Division matches for the club at the end of the 2008 season, making three starts. He will be available to play on the main Galaxy team next year for his MLS debut.
From what I’ve heard and read about this kid is he is pretty ready to face the likes of those in the league. He has some good speed and is a decent finisher.
The best part though is he is home grown for the Galaxy. They didn’t have to draft him or go out and find him through a scout overseas. He is their own talent from within. That’s how things will slowly come about for MLS clubs with youth teams. I believe most, if not all have a youth system in place (or will have one in place soon).
I’ve talked about where the league needs to scout more in the future in terms of international players, but really they needa scout more in the home grown talent here in the States. Let’s face it, we know there is plenty of good athletic kids out there that could play the game and that are playing the game right now. Just look at the US residency program, right there you know is enough young talent that could cut it in the league today.
So congrats to Bowen and the Galaxy. Its a big step for a league that is taking this big project on here.
More info on the Youth Development Initiative:
In November 2006, Major League Soccer unveiled the league’s Youth Development Initiative that allows teams to train and acquire top young players from their local area outside of the annual MLS SuperDraft. The goal of this initiative is to enhance the quality of young players entering MLS and allow more of them to represent their hometown teams.