European clubs have either just kicked off their new campaigns or are about to, which makes it a fine time to check in on all the MLS academy products and former Homegrown Players now competing across the pond.
As MLS Next — the latest play in the league's development game — gets set for its weekend debut, what follows essentially represents all the strides that came before it. This list, which just gets longer and longer every year, features both big names you know well, rising prospects you may need to acquaint yourself with, and everything in between.
Philadelphia Union academy — Manchester City
After spending last season on loan in the Bundesliga, the US netminder will stick with Manchester City to provide competition for occasionally flighty starter Ederson. As long as he remains the back-up, expect Steffen to draw all the domestic cup assignments.
Seattle Sounders Homegrown — Newcastle United
The right back speedster could be heading exit stage left after four up-and-down seasons with Newcastle. Turkish giants Besiktas (who have US teammate Tyler Boyd) have reportedly joined a crowd of potential suitors around Yedlin, who is entering the final year of his Magpies deal. For now, the American remains at St. James as the club prepares for Saturday's Premier League opener at West Ham United. And, as it so happens, he played the lion's share of minutes in their final two warmup friendlies.
New York Red Bulls Homegrown — Chelsea
After two largely solid seasons spent on loan to Reading, where will the US defender lace them up this season? With parent club Chelsea's season about to begin, that's a really fantastic question. The word going around is that he'll be loaned out again, but the rumor mill has been quiet as a mouse at hinting at possible destinations.
FC Dallas academy — Queens Park Rangers
After earning 27 straight starts in a loan stint with Scottish side Kilmarnock last season, the young left back will be sticking with Queens Park Rangers for this go-around. Hamalainen (who made his competitive Finland debut this week) has been issued shirt No. 25 and looks to be on a trajectory to join Geoff Cameron in the starting lineup at some point this season. The Championship crew will open their season against Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
New York Red Bulls academy — Rotherham
The once-capped US right back made 27 starts last season to help Rotherham ride the promotion elevator to the Championship. Olosunde beat out veteran Billy Jones for the job (pushing him to left back) and the Millers have not added any competition during the offseason, so it appears the 22-year-old will keep his lineup job. Whether he recovers from a minor ankle knock to start Saturday's season bow at Wycombe Wanderers is another matter.
NYCFC academy — Reading reserves
The young striker made a quick splash for Reading's Under-18 team upon arrival last season, and has now been promoted full-time to the reserves. McGiff (who scored mere seconds into his first friendly outing of the preseason) stands a fair chance of starting when the junior Royals start their Premier League 2 season at Norwich City on Monday.
Chicago Fire academy — Fulham Under-18
Though the netminder will probably spend most of his season starting for Fulham's Under-18's, he has also been seeing some practice and preseason pitch time with the reserve side. In other words, he's on a good course.
Vancouver Whitecaps academy — Leicester City reserves
Odunze enjoyed a decent start with Leicester City's Under-18 team last season. It started him on a good trajectory that has continued in the fall; he's started most of the reserve's preseason friendlies and has often trained with the first team. It's not yet clear which side he'll begin the season with, but one would imagine he'll split time across levels.
Vancouver Whitecaps Homegrown — Bayern Munich
What does a 19-year-old phenom do for an encore after celebrating a Bayern Munich treble triumph? One would assume Davies will try to continue displaying why he's among the most exciting left backs in the world and hunting for more silverware. Less than a month away from becoming the fourth Concacaf player to become a Champions League winner (joining Jovan Kirovski, Keylor Navas and Dwight Yorke), the Canada star and his teammates will begin their Bundesliga title defense against Schalke on September 18.
New York Red Bulls Homegrown — RB Leipzig
With his Champions League quarterfinal heroics still fresh in the memory, the RB Leipzig midfielder will soon go about reclaiming the full-time starting role he'd held before suffering a real nag of an injury last year. His next chance to lock that down? Saturday's DfB-Pokal visit to Nuremberg.
NYCFC academy — Borussia Dortmund
If the preseason is any indication, expect the 17-year-old Borussia Dortmund wunderkind's profile to soar even higher this season. Reyna has already bagged three goals in BvB tune-up friendlies, and if Jaden Sancho does depart for Manchester United as rumored, he might even become a regular starter. The Bundesliga runners-up get back to proper action with a DfB-Pokal tilt at Duisburg on Monday.
Gio Reyna opens the scoring for Borussia Dortmund! 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/qHhXGpwMPz— Future USMNT (@FutureUsmnt) August 12, 2020
FC Dallas academy — Bayern Munich II
A gaggle of clubs in Germany and England have spent the summer hovering around the the Bayern Munich II defender (who made his first team debut in June) like vultures. With David Alaba angling to leave Allianz Arena, and with Jerome Boateng and new signing Tanguy Nianzou currently on the mend, all those loan and transfer suitors are probably going to have to cool their heels. If you didn't catch the implication, don't be stunned to see Richards dress for the European champs when they open their Bundesliga crown defense against Schalke on the 18th.
LA Galaxy academy — Wolfsburg II
Following a star turn with the Under-19's last season, Llanez has split time between Wolfsburg II and the first team during the preseason. Let's not get ahead of ourselves with excitement just yet, though; the precocious US winger will almost certainly begin the campaign as a starter for the reserve side.
D.C. United academy — Wolfsburg II
Despite making 11 fairly impressive starts upon his promotion to Wolfsburg II last season, the 19-year-old center back is currently in a tough preseason fight for a lineup place. We'll definitively find out how the first round went when the Regionalliga Nord runners-up open the season this weekend.
Vancouver Whitecaps Homegrown — Saarbruecken
After he notched 10 assists in 27 total games to help Saarbruecken win promotion to the 3. Liga and make a shock DfB-Pokal run to the semis last term, the club re-signed Froese to a one-year extension. Summer additions to their attacking midfield corps have greatly increased the fight for minutes, but the Canada international helped his cause with a goal in their last preseason friendly.
Toronto FC academy — Zwickau
The Canada international looks a safe bet to retain his right back starting job for closing day 3. Liga survivors Zwickau (who are led by American manager Joe Enochs). Godinho and the Swans will start fresh when the new season kicks off Unterhaching on September 19.
Real Salt Lake academy — Bayern Munich II
A couple months ago, the midfielder seemed destined to play with Bayern Munich's Under-19's again this season and was even being talked about as a loan candidate. Fast forward to the present, and it sure looks as though Booth will be sticking around to suit up for reigning 3. Liga champs Bayern II this season.
LA Galaxy academy — Schalke II
The 19-year-old striker, who got his feet wet in Germany with five goals in 20 games for Schalke's Under-19 side last season, has been moved up to the second team. Hoppe accounted for five goals during the preseason (including one in each of their last three tune-ups), so his outlook for a starting role — if not also a call-up to first team training — is rising fast.
Compiled some clips from Matthew Hoppe’s 1 goal, 2 assist performance last week vs SF Baumberg. He’s a menace on the press and clever offensively without the ball. Excited to follow his progression with Schalke II this season. pic.twitter.com/35FFze49Yd— Don't Tread On Us (@DontTreadSoccer) August 29, 2020
D.C. United Homegrown — Victoria Koeln
Already well-traveled at 24, the forward is set to start his first full campaign with 3. Liga middlers Victoria Koeln. Seaton got off to a solid start in Germany (two goals and two assists in nine outings last season) and his primary competition for starts turns 37 in November, so he stands a puncher's chance of earning regular playing time.
San Jose Earthquakes academy — Hannover 96 II
After showing well for Hannover 96's Under-19's last season, Ritchie has been bumped up to the second team. Left back is quite arguably the team's thinnest position, so the 18-year-old could see more chances this season than one would normally expect an 18-year-old to get in this situation.
D.C. United academy — Wolfsburg II
Heads probably turned when the midfielder, who just turned 18, was assigned to Wolfsburg II upon his summer arrival. Judging from his preseason usage, Kayo should get his first chance to show that shipping him straight to the reserves was a shrewd move in Sunday's league opener at Hildesheim.
Philadelphia Union academy — Rot-Weiss Oberhausen
The 18-year-old defensive midfielder has just landed at fourth flight Rot-Weiss Oberhausen, so it's probably best to temper early expectations. His settling in period begins when they host Schalke II in Sunday's season starter.
LA Galaxy academy — Wolfsburg U-19
Unlike fellow new Wolfsburg recruit Kayo, the teen left back will start his Old World adventure with their Under-19 side. Of the three players vying for the starting role at his position, Hernandez-Foster is both the oldest and the most experienced at this age level.
FC Dallas academy — Holstein Kiel U-19
Yet another new transplant to Germany, the center back will start his Holstein Kiel tenure with their Under-19's. Carrera has been impressive during the preseason, and it looks very likely he'll get a starting nod when they kick off their season a week from Saturday.
Colorado Rapids academy — Eintracht Norderstedt U-19
This summer, the 20-year-old winger was promoted from the Under-19's straight to the Eintracht Norderstedt first team. Williams watched their fourth flight opener from the bench, and it would be quite impressive to see him carve out a decent amount of pitch time in the very competitive Regionalliga Nord.
Toronto FC academy — Lokomotiv Leipzig
The Canada youth international winger didn't produce much for FC Cologne II last season, so they allowed him to head east to join Lokomotiv Leipzig on a free transfer. Now in a different fourth tier league, Boakye has a goal in four appearances and made his first start for the club on Sunday.
FC Dallas academy — Juventus
The US midfielder has just arrived to begin a season loan at Italian kings Juventus. As fellow new catch Arthur, Rodrigo Bentancur and Adrien Rabot should probably be considered ink starters, McKennie will presumably need to battle Aaron Ramsey and old hand Sami Khedira for sub minutes and spot starts. The Old Lady typically runs deep in three competitions, so a decent amount of minutes should be up for grabs as the 22-year-old tries to impress the Serie A giants to ratify their buy option on him.
Ramiro Funes Mori
FC Dallas academy — Villarreal
Villarreal's Argentina center back spent the summer rehabbing from thigh surgery, but returned to full training on Monday. However, Sunday's La Liga opener against Huesca surely will come too soon for him to appear.
LA Galaxy academy — Salamanca B
The 19-year-old left back is set begin his second season with Salamanca B, who play in Spain's third flight.
Sporting KC academy — La Masia academy
The 16-year-old attacking midfield prodigy departed this summer to join Barcelona's famed La Masia academy.
New York Red Bulls academy — Lille
The $11 million summer capture returned from six months on the shelf with a hamstring injury to make his Lille debut before the international break. The Mastiffs seem to view Weah as the third center forward choice for their 4-4-2 set behind Concacaf rival Jonathan David and veteran Turkey sniper Burak Yilmaz, at least for the moment.
FC Dallas Homegrown — Boavista
The US right back is the latest player to join this list after completing a transfer to Boavista, who have filled a major lineup hole with the capture. Cannon & co. will start their fresh league slate with a visit to Nacional on September 19.
Toronto FC academy — Belenenses
A veteran of 65 Liga NOS matches, most of them coming for Braga, the center back is about to begin his first full season with Belenenses. At the moment, odds are he'll be in the lineup when they get the ball rolling with a visit to Vitoria de Guimaraes a week from Friday.
Carlos Dos Santos
Philadelphia Union academy — Benfica reserves
The US Under-20 netminder is entering his second year with Benfica's reserve side, for whom he started six matches last season.
FC Dallas academy — Porto reserves
After playing for the Porto Under-19's last season, the teen forward is currently in preseason training with the Portuguese champs' reserve side.
New England Revolution academy — Sporting CP U-17
The teen midfielder will soon begin his third season with Sporting CP's Under-17 group, having cemented a lineup place last term.
Real Salt Lake academy — Jong PSV
The 20-year-old midfield playmaker, who had his PSV Eindhoven contract extended through 2022 in March, is on the right track toward an Eredivisie debut. Ledezma scored a nice gut-busting goal in Jong PSV’s preseason tilt against Gent, but was then pulled with a knock near halftime of their season opening defeat to Excelsior. He's back in training, though, and the local media sees the club loaning out Ritsu Doan to Arminia Bielefeld this past week as opening a door to the first team for the young American.
New York Red Bulls academy — Jong PSV
The Jong PSV left back is beginning his second year in Eindhoven. Gloster was with the Farmers first team during preseason, but has returned to the reserves and came off the bench in their season opening loss.
LA Galaxy academy — Jong Ajax
Following a decent, but unspectacular debut campaign with Ajax's reserves, the midfielder was brought along with the senior team on their preseason training trip to Austria. Mendez saw a bit of game action with the Dutch giants there, but one would assume Mendez will soon be back with the second flight reserve side.
Real Salt Lake academy — Telstar
Unable to secure a UK work permit after his summer move to Championship club Norwich City, the US Under-20 striker was loaned out to Dutch second tier side Telstar late last month. Having just settled in, he's still awaiting his debut for the club, who are off to a 1-0-1 start to the season.
LA Galaxy academy — Volendam reserves
In his second season with Volendam, the teen left back has jumped from the Under-19 side to the reserve team, which plays in the Dutch third flight. He did not dress for their season opening draw against Sparta Rotterdam II, but appears to be heading in the right direction.
D.C. United Homegrown — St. Truiden
The 20-year-old midfielder established himself as an important regular toward the end of his loan stint, compelling St. Truiden to take up their buy option in July. Durkin has started three of their first four games of the new Jupiler League season
Vancouver Whitecaps academy — Antalyaspor
After bagging 11 goals in a season-and-a-half with Ankaragucu, the veteran Jamaica forward jumped ship for Super Lig rival Antalyaspor this summer. Orgill will be battling with the likes of Lukas Podolski and Sidney Sam for playing time (or perhaps running alongside them) with the Scorpions, who kick off the new season against Genclerbirligi on Sunday.
LA Galaxy academy — SönderjyskE
On the heels of a disappointing season (no goals in 22 games) with Eredivisie side VVV Venlo, Wright made a free summer move to Superliga club SönderjyskE this summer. The 22-year-old attacker came on late in their last preseason tune-up (a 1-0 defeat at St. Pauli) ahead of Friday's season opener against FC Midtjylland, and should see plenty of pitch time for his new crew.
FC Dallas academy — Hobro
Pretty much everyone and their mothers expected the 21-year-old midfield engine to be sold by relegated Hobro by now, but the wait continues. Cappis is coming off a very solid debut Superliga season that compelled plenty of transfer interest in and outside of Denmark, but his club seems to be taking its sweet time handling business. In fact, they even forgot (or intentionally neglected?) to renew his work permit in time, which has the youngster suddenly in hot water with Danish authorities, unable to train with the team and fearing deportation.
Montreal Impact academy — Helsingoer
The young backline handyman made the jump from relegated Hobro to second division rival Helsingoer a couple weeks ago. Onkony, who went the distance in central defense in their early Danish Cup ouster last week, looks to have a hold on a starting job for the moment.
Sporting KC Homegrown — Austria Vienna
The young US defender is set to begin his second season on loan from Manchester City to Austria Vienna, who open the new league season with Friday's trip to LASK. After starting 19 league games for the Violets last term, Palmer-Brown is once again in the mix for a lineup place.
New York Red Bulls academy — Sigma Olomouc
The forward has returned to Sigma Olomouc after spending the back half of last season on loan to Slovakian side Pohronie. It has not been a pleasant return, however, with international player representation body FIFPRO recently issuing a statement urging the club to cease what it calls "abusive and discriminatory treatment" of Tandir.
Vancouver Whitecaps academy — Valerenga
The Canada left back is about midway through his third season as a Valerenga lineup mainstay. Despite dropping two of their last three, Adekugbe and the Bohemians are currently five points back of the last Europa League slot.
Seattle Sounders academy — Molde FK
The winger joined Molde FK last August, just in time to help them claim their fourth Eliteserien crown. That put Wingo on the shortlist of Americans to have celebrated both MLS Cup and Norwegian top flight crowns with Ramiro Corrales and Robbie Russell. This season, he's been converted to right back, starting seven of the second place side's last 13 league games.
Shaft Brewer Jr.
FC Dallas academy — Fram Larvik
It took over a year for the US Under-20 wingback to find a new club after being let go by LAFC last summer. Brewer latched on with Norwegian third flight outfit Fram Larvik last month and has now started consecutive games.
D.C. United academy/RSL academy — Orebro
Following a hot-then-cold 21-month stay with Swedish giants Malmo, 2020 has been a year of upheaval for the US winger. Gall spent from April to August on loan to Norwegian middlers Stabaek (Bob Bradley's former crew), and upon his return was immediately loaned out to Allsvenskan survivalists Orebro (Alejandro Bedoya's old side). Combining all three of the year's stops, he has one goal in 11 games.
LA Galaxy academy —Ujpest
After spending several months with the Partizan Belgrade Under-19 team, the teen midfielder signed his first pro deal to join 20-time Hungarian champs Ujpest. Milasinovic often trains with their reserves, but has only seen action with the U-19's thus far.
Vancouver Whitecaps academy — Haka
The 21-year-old defender made a parachute move from relegated VPS to top flight Haka in January, and immediately made himself at home. Hakkinen has started 16 of the club's 20 games across all competitions.
Chicago Fire FC academy — VPS
Speaking of VPS, they snatched up Garrett on a freebie in July. Formerly a winger, the 24-year-old has been shifted to left back for the last four of his eight straight starts since signing.
Toronto FC academy — Zalgiris
The 21-year-old winger is on loan from Latvian side Spartaks to Zalgiris until the end of the year, and things are going well for him south of the border. Ennin has notched four goals and three helpers as a platoon starter for the A Lyga title chasers and bagged the winner in their recent domestic cup quarterfinal win.