Ranking the top 5 Homegrown Players in MLS history

Considering the fact that Homegrown Players will populate about half of this year's 22 Under 22 list, it only made sense to rank the top products of that signing mechanism since the rule was instituted a decade ago.

Even though some of the current HGPs carry an astounding amount of potential, we opted to confine the qualifying requirements for the list to achievements already on the ledger at this time. Kellyn Acosta and Gyasi Zardes narrowly missed making this list, while the youthful likes of Tyler Adams, Alphonso Davies and Jordan Morris still have more than enough talent and time to breach the current top five.  

No. 5: Diego Fagundez

Fagundez in action for the Revolution. | USA Today Images

The shifty playmaker became New England's first Homegrown in 2010, and no other HGP can match his total of 216 career MLS matches. 

Still just 23, Fagundez has already chalked up 48 goals and 40 assists in MLS play, putting him a good 2019 season away from cracking the league's all-time top 50 in both categories. Using his attack production trajectory, he also looks a great bet to join the 20 current members of the league's 50 goal-50 assist club by early in the 2020 season.   

Because the Revs have more often than not missed the playoffs during his tenure (and he was left on the bench for the entirety of their 2014 run to the MLS Cup final), Fagundez has yet to raise any championship silver. However, he did help steer the club to a U.S. Open Cup runner-up finish in 2016. 

No. 4: Bill Hamid 

Hamid concentrating during a D.C. United match. | USA Today Images

The D.C. United netminder was the third-ever Homegrown Player signing all the way back in 2009. Since then, the local product has started each of his 193 MLS games, logging 73 wins and 51 shutouts to date. 

All three of those sums mark club records, and Hamid also stands 14th all-time in league play on both the shutout and save lists. A year after backstopping the Black-and-Red to a 1-0 triumph in 2013 Open Cup final, Hamid added both Best XI honors and the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year prize to his trophy case. 

Hamid has also recorded two clean sheets in his six U.S. national team caps, including one on the way to celebrating the 2017 Concacaf Gold Cup title.

No. 3: Andy Najar

Najar featuring for Honduras. | USA Today Images

The Anderlecht right-sider was the second D.C. United Homegrown player, joining up six months after Hamid. Najar scored five times as a 17-year-old during that 2010 season to win the MLS Rookie of the Year award. 

Najar followed it up with a five-goal, six-assist campaign the next year. After the 2012 season, he made the switch to the Mauves, and has been a regular starter when fit for the Belgian power ever since. In addition to helping Anderlecht win three league titles, Najar remains the only HGP to have ever played in the UEFA Champions League. 

The 25-year-old also has four goals in 35 Honduras caps, and with two appearances at Brazil 2014, is one of only two Homegrowns to have featured at a FIFA World Cup. 

No. 2: Matt Miazga

Miazga (L) defending Brazilian star Neymar. | USA Today Images

Currently on loan to Ligue 1 side Nantes from Chelsea, the New Jersey native has grown into quite the dependable defender. Miazga became a lock starter while helping the New York Red Bulls take the Supporters' Shield in 2015, earning the big move to Stamford Bridge.

Though he's only managed a pair of Chelsea appearances thus far, Miazga is currently in his third season of being a lineup mainstay out on loan. The back liner spent two seasons with Eredivisie battlers Vitesse, helping the Arnhem outfit book a pair of Europa League invites and hoist the first piece of silver in club history with a 2017 KNVB Cup triumph.  

While Miazga has but nine USMNT caps at this time, he is now arguably first choice on their right center back depth chart. Like Hamid, the 23-year-old was a member of the 2017 Gold Cup title squad. 

No. 1: DeAndre Yedlin

Yedlin at Newcastle United. | Reuters/Matthew Childs

There have been a few learning curve bumps along the way, but the first Homegrown in Seattle Sounders club history has developed into a bonafide English Premier League right back with Newcastle.  

Yedlin started 55 of his 56 Sounders games, making the MLS All-Star team in both seasons spent in Seattle. He was a member of the club's Supporters' Shield/U.S. Open Cup double-winning side in 2014. A move to Tottenham offered precious little playing time, but he got his first taste of the EPL on loan to Sunderland. 

A permanent transfer to Newcastle followed, where Yedlin immediately helped the Magpies win the Championship crown to earn Premier League promotion. Since returning to the English first division, the Seattle native has started 36 of the 41 matches he was healthy for and netted his first EPL goal at Manchester City last month.   

A veteran of 54 U.S. national team caps at the "grizzled old age" of 25, Yedlin already has three World Cup outings and five Copa America games to his credit. As he looks the favorite to be the right back starter for years to come, those totals stand a great chance of increasing. 

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