If there were any clubs that you’d be shocked to hear signing a teenager it would have to be the New England Revolution. But even the Revs find ways of shocking folks at times. Yesterday they signed their first academy player to the league’s Home Grown Talent rule by adding 15 year-old Diego Fagundez to their roster.
But that news isn’t the biggest here. Sure adding the league’s youngest player since Freddy Adu is a big deal. No, the other bit of news that has poured out is even bigger really. MLS’s board of governors is expected to vote this week to lift limits on the number of homegrown players clubs can sign.
They’ve already done this once before this season and now it appears they’re letting the clubs go full speed ahead here. I can’t say enough how big of a change this will be for the league.
I figure this is how the league is going to start expanding rosters for next year and beyond. This along with the new NCAA rules allowing amateur players to play alongside pros as long as they aren’t paid, means MLS teams can give opportunities for young academy players without their losing their college eligibility. Teams can now bring in players for US Open Cup games, CCL games, possible SuperLiga games (if that tournament doesn’t go away), and international friendlies.
A lot of folks wondered how expanded rosters would work with the salary cap. Seeing how the league doesn’t count Home Grown Players against the cap this seems to be how things will go. Clubs will be able to add a few players here and there via this route which will help lead into the new reserve league that will likely start up again next season.
Teams like New York, Dallas, and D.C. will be able to continue to sign local talent that they’ve been producing. This will also be a huge boost to clubs like Real Salt Lake, Dallas, and expansion side Vancouver who have residency programs.
I’d imagine by the start of next season we’ll see each club in MLS with Home Grown Players signed to their rosters (maybe with the exception of a Portland, I’m not sure about their youth system just yet).