Major League Soccer’s Homegrown rule is far from perfect, but it’s a decent base line to judge how far our domestic top flight has grown.
Given the talk about Alphonso Davies and Weston McKinnie amongst others, we thought we’d design a best squad culled from the academies of MLS (or at least those who’ve signed via the Homegrown Player system).
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It’s harder than many would think, given the misconceptions about the depth of MLS. The league has produced several strong goalkeepers to go with players who’ve gone on to spend time with Tottenham, Chelsea, Anderlecht, and Porto amongst others.
Goalkeepers: Tyler Deric (Houston), Jesse Gonzalez (Dallas), Bill Hamid (DC),
Backs: DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle), Matt Miazga (Red Bulls), Erik Palmer-Brown (KC), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake), Tommy Redding (Orlando), Ashtone Morgan (Toronto)
Midfielders: Andy Najar (DC United), Wil Trapp (Columbus), Shane O’Neill (Colorado), Russell Teibert (Vancouver), Jordan Allen (Real Salt Lake), Scott Caldwell (New England), Harrison Shipp (Chicago), Victor Ulloa (Dallas), Kellyn Acosta (Dallas), Dillon Serna (Colorado), Diego Fagundez (New England), Sean Davis (Red Bulls)
Forwards: Juan Agudelo (Red Bulls), Jordan Morris (Seattle), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)
MLS Homegrown XI
This one’s trickier, thanks to a non-surprising dearth of left backs. That’s not an MLS problem, but a world problem.
So if you’ll allow us to use Kellyn Acosta at left back, a la the United States set-up, we’d be pretty happy. That keeps Tommy Redding as our awesome third center back and allows us to move Scott Caldwell into the XI.
Yedlin — Miazga — Glad — Acosta
Caldwell — Trapp
Najar — Fagundez — Zardes
That’s actually one heck of a lineup, and a great sign that the top flight’s academies are following a fine path. American soccer, generationally, has seemingly been one cycle behind its fans’ expectations, but we imagine this XI is going to look downright filthy come 2025 or so.