MLS Insider: A look at the next generation of Homegrown stars

Art by Chris Visions | | @chrisvisi0ns

 DeAndre Yedlin. Bill Hamid. Gyasi Zardes.

What do three of Major League Soccer’s brightest young stars have in common? They’re all products of Major League Soccer’s youth academy programs, an initiative dating back to 2007 that’s beginning to shape the future of the league.

But before Yedlin played in the World Cup, Hamid became an MLS All-Star or Zardes started up top with Robbie Keane, they were wide-eyed teenagers climbing the ranks of the academy system. In the latest episode of the Emmy-nominated MLS Insider series, the next generation of MLS stars line up at this month’s adidas Elite Soccer Program in Portland, and fans get a candid look at the Philadelphia Union’s unique YSC Academy, where the area’s best young players come to balance their athletic and academic careers.

For more background on the Union’s academy, check out this article on, and don’t miss this profile of Hamid, the first Homegrown player to appear in 100 MLS games.

And don’t forget the rest of the MLS Insider series, which you can find here. Past episodes include a look at the excitement surrounding Orlando City’s newest Designated Player, the return to MLS of seven US national team heroes and the rise of Sporting Kansas City’s Graham Zusi from the basement to the big time.