While front offices around MLS have been hitting the pavement with international and domestic signings, they’ve also been procuring young stars for the long run.
Ahead of the 2020 season, over 20 Homegrown Players have signed first-team deals as their professional careers get underway. Some emerged straight out of the US Soccer Development Academy, while others went to college soccer first. Many, unsurprisingly, have U.S. youth national team experience.
Here’s a full rundown, as organized club-by-club, of all the HGPs signed for 2020.
Zico Bailey came through the LA Galaxy academy, but his Homegrown rights were acquired by Cincinnati via trade back in December. An outside back, he’s previously played collegiately at Cal State Fullerton and professionally in Sweden.
Chicago Fire FC
Nicholas Slonina poses after signing for Chicago | Courtesy of Chicago Fire FC
Nicholas Slonina is an 18-year-old defender whose younger brother, Gabriel, signed as a Homegrown goalkeeper with the Fire last year. A player for the long run, Slonina has represented the US U-17 national team.
Columbus Crew SC
As active as the Crew have been on the trade market and internationally, they’ve also locked up two young academy products. The first was US U-20 midfielder Aidan Morris, who was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year at Indiana, while the second was North Carolina midfielder Sebastian Berhalter, son of US men’s national team head coach Gregg Berhalter.
A pair of young attackers have signed Homegrown deals for D.C. United across roughly the last four months. Moses Nyeman and Kevin Paredes are both 16 and will compete for playing time in 2020 under head coach Ben Olsen.
Marcelo Palomino is an 18-year-old with a bright future | Courtesy of Houston Dynamo
Marcelo Palomino was the Dynamo’s first Homegrown signing under new head coach Tab Ramos, who previously coached the midfielder with the US U-20 national team. Palomino is a three-time Dynamo Academy Player of the Year.
After impressing with LA Galaxy II in the USL Championship, 20-year-old goalkeeper Eric Lopez was inked to a Homegrown deal earlier this week by LA. He was once the youngest signing in USL Championship history.
Inter Miami CF
Drake Callender came through the San Jose Earthquakes academy, but saw has Homegrown rights traded to expansion side Inter Miami last November. He’s been playing collegiately at University of California, Berkeley and is part of the US U-23 national team player pool.
New England Revolution
Several attack-minded players have signed Homegrown deals with New England over the last two years, and the latest is Damian Rivera. He’s the first team’s youngest player and has featured for the US U-17 national team.
New York City FC
Tayvon Gray could feature in several positions for NYCFC | Courtesy of New York City FC
Tayvon Gray has turned plenty of heads for the US U-17s, and now he’s part of NYCFC’s first team. He signed late last November, and brings versatility as a central defender, outside back and holding midfielder.
New York Red Bulls
Orlando City SC
As active as the Lions have been in acquiring South American players this offseason, they also inked two Homegrowns to deals in December. They’re midfielders Jordan Bender and David Loera, with Bender coming through Orlando City B and Loera emerging from North Carolina State University.
The Union seldom shy away from giving youngsters a chance in MLS, and the next two could be midfielder Cole Turner and attacker Jack de Vries. They both signed last summer, though officially joined the roster Jan. 1 and have played extensively for their USL Championship affiliate, Philadelphia Union II.
Real Salt Lake
After scoring at a goal-per-game rate for UCLA in 2019, Milan Iloski inked a Homegrown deal for RSL. A forward with US youth national team experience, Iloski spent three seasons playing college soccer.