With morning kickoffs and a centralized facility, the MLS is Back Tournament has induced nostalgia for anyone who's spent time at youth soccer tournaments.
It's therefore fitting that eight Homegrown Players made their MLS regular-season debuts in the group stage, with those games counting toward the 2020 standings. Three additional players made their competitive debuts in the Knockout Round, so their debut won't yet register on that stat ledger.
Here's the comprehensive list:
Jack de Vries, Philadelphia Union
Sebastian Berhalter, Columbus Crew SC
The 19-year-old son of US men’s national team manager Gregg Berhalter, Sebastian Berhalter followed a maiden appearance as a sub in a rout over FC Cincinnati with his first start in a 2-0 win over the New York Red Bulls.
Aidan Morris, Columbus Crew SC
Columbus’ 4-0 victory over Hell is Real rivals FC Cincinnati was the perfect time to bring on the 18-year-old Aidan Morris, who made a 13-minute cameo. He followed that with a 23-minute appearance in the Crew's next match.
Kevin Paredes, D.C. United
A 17-year-old midfielder, Kevin Paredes came off the bench in all three of D.C. United’s group-stage matches. He was one of the better players on the field in an otherwise disappointing 1-0 loss to Montreal in their Group C finale.
Cameron Dunbar, LA Galaxy
A 17-year-old winger, Cameron Dunbar started in LA's Group F opener, playing 67 minutes in a 2-1 loss to the Portland Timbers on July 13.
Patrick Metcalfe, Vancouver Whitecaps
Josh Atencio, Seattle Sounders
An 18-year-old midfielder, Josh Atencio came on for the final moment of Seattle’s final group match, a comfortable 3-0 win over Vancouver on July 19. Atencio signed his Homegrown Player contract only a month prior.
Thomas Hasal, Vancouver Whitecaps
Thomas Hasal leaped into action to replace injured goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau mid-game on July 19, and was exceptional in his first start, a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Fire that booked Vancouver’s place in the Round of 16. The 21-year-old goalkeeper didn't allow a goal in regulation time, but was bested in penalties by Sporting Kansas City ‘keeper Tim Melia in the Knockout Round.
NOTE: The next three players came on during Knockout Round games and therefore still technically await their MLS regular-season debuts
Ethan Dobbelaere, Seattle Sounders
Ethan Dobbelaere came on late in the Sounders’ 4-1 loss to LAFC in the Round of 16. It was a short wait for the 17-year-old midfielder’s first appearance as a pro, after signing a contract on June 15.
Cameron Duke, Sporting Kansas City
Blake Bodily, Portland Timbers
Blake Bodily also made his debut at the quarterfinal stage, helping the Timbers preserve a 3-1 victory over NYCFC. The 22-year-old former Washington Huskies standout is the sole player included who's still in Central Florida, with the Timbers set to face Orlando in Tuesday’s Final presented by Wells Fargo.