2011 MLS Season Previews: Home Grown Player Watch

2011 MLS Season Previews: Home Grown Player Watch

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On February 21, 2011
  • Ethan White, Home Grown Players, Josue Soto, Moises Hernandez, Philippe Davies

Ruben Luna continues to impress in preseason play. (photo via FC Dallas)

As Major League Soccer grows, so does it’s academies. We’ve seen some solid early returns out of the various academies so far with the likes of D.C. United’s Andy Najar, New York’s Juan Agudelo, and even guys like FC Dallas’s Ruben Luna.

I felt it was important to take a look at potential Home Grown players that could do well in 2011, similar to how Najar did last season for United. Some will be names you’ll expect while there could be a couple surprises considering clubs like Dallas, New York, Houston and D.C. all are using at Home Grown talent more than others.

Clubs continues to sign Home Grown talent left and right, just last week two more were signed as Dallas picked up their record 6th Home Grown Player and Kansas City signed their second. Only a few clubs have yet to sign any HGPs, and a couple of those are recent expansion clubs.

It is possible that one or more of these guys listed below will have little to no impact on their club’s overall season, however the potential is definitely there for another Home Grown player to win Rookie of the Year.

1. Ruben Luna (FC Dallas) – I mentioned him above but there is little doubt in my mind that this could be a big season for Luna. He missed the cut on my shortlist for Breakout Players of the upcoming season. From what I’ve seen, heard, and been told this preseason, Luna looks like the real deal for Dallas. He won’t be a Golden Boot winner right away but the kid has every tool possible to do just that down the road.

2. Ethan White (D.C. United) – There were a few Maryland games that I was able to catch last season and while the Terps had plenty of weapons I routinely found myself watching White. Will he have the same impact as Najar on this club in 2011? Its certainly possible. His defensive abilities alone are a nice upgrade for the Black-and-Red. D.C. will improve this season and White will be one of the many reasons as to why they improve.

3. Moises Hernandez (FC Dallas) – When one club has more Home Grown players than any other club, you are bound to see more than one name on a list like this. Hernandez has made some serious strides this winter in becoming a very good player for Dallas off the bench. With a loaded defense, Hernandez is in a perfect position to learn from quality veterans and potentially fill in when players are hurt or are resting. There is a real hunger in this kid to prove himself and do well too, which is always good to see out of a young budding star.

4. Josue Soto (Houston Dynamo) – Houston rapidly became a young team over night this winter and one of their more recent signees could be a good one for them. I saw plenty of Soto over the last couple years while he was at SMU. The tools are there for this kid to do well in this league and under someone like Dominic Kinnear we could see it before long.

5. Philippe Davies (Vancouver Whitecaps) – The Whitecaps had a nice advantage coming into MLS this year, they already had a strong youth system in place. Davies is the first of their academy system to get through to MLS and so far this preseason he’s already showing how good of an addition he’ll be to the Caps this season. In a recently friendly he assisted on two goals in a 2-2 draw for the Caps.

Others to watch: Conor Shanosky (D.C. United); Sacir Hot (New York Red Bulls); Zach Pfeffer (Philadelphia Union); and Diego Fagundez (New England Revolution)