The Kids Are Alright

The Kids Are Alright

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On August 17, 2010
  • Academy Signings

Victor Pindea becomes the next homegrown talent in Major League Soccer. (Photo via the Chicago Fire)

It seems like lately all the rage is not just signing a Designated Player but signing something a little more long term for the clubs in Major League Soccer. Academy signings are happening left and right these days and can we even say its a bad thing? I don’t think so.

Yesterday the Colorado Rapids introduced their first academy player in Davy Armstrong, a midfielder who was literally brought up supporting the Rapids. He’s local; he and his family used to volunteer at Rapids games at the old Mile High Stadium; every thing about this kid screams Colorado Rapids.

New academy or homegrown rules are in place for teams to bring in the young talent from their own systems now and we’re all the better for it in the long run as we all should know by now. DC United will sign their third,¬†FC Dallas just promoted three at once to start the month, Chicago just signed their first, and with Colorado’s recent signing it brings us to about half of the league signing a homegrown talent.

Now not every homegrown kid will be like Andy Najar or Tristan Bowen. But clubs are figuring out exactly how to bring in these kids and produce their talents in a positive way. Some more than others are seeing results on the field even this year while the rest are taking it slow and developing their young players carefully.

Not every club is on board yet with signing one of their own for various reasons. Some clubs are¬†timid about signing youth players right now while others possibly just haven’t had enough time to get their academy system producing yet.

Another thing I think we’ll also see more of is what FC Dallas is beginning to do in their system. They’ll soon launch a residency program of their own to go along with their Juniors program that continues to produce quality talent. I have a feeling we’ll see more clubs model their systems after ones like that or others like Vancouver who are known for producing quality youth players and then selling them off to European teams. It will be different for each club of course.

Its only a matter of time before these young stars really take over this league. The generational gap in the league is closing with this influx of youth talent. You also have to wonder what it will do for clubs who aren’t interested in getting two or three DPs each year like a New York or LA. Having these systems in place will continue to grow the sport like we’ve never seen before in this country too. That’s something we should all be very pleased to see.