Wilf Thorne / Houston Dynamo

MLS clubs turning to academies for players

In the past four years, the methods of developing talent in the United States have seen drastic changes. Most MLS teams have academy programs of various shapes and sizes up and running, and 27 players produced through these academies have signed home-grown deals. This week, Maryland midfielder Matt Kassel became the latest MLS player to sign under the home-grown rule when he agreed to terms with the New York Red Bulls.

Overall, three teams have taken the most advantage of the new rule thus far: FC Dallas leads the way with five Home Grown signees, while D.C. United and Houston have added four each. Prior to Kassel joining, the two most recent signings were by Houston, which inked Alex Dixon, a junior out of North Carolina; and Josue Soto , a senior who played at SMU.

D.C. United’s Andy Najar became the first home grown player to win Rookie of the Year in 2010, and it’s almost certain he will not be the last. Najar, along with budding New York Red Bulls forward Juan Agudelo, are two of the brightest talents produced by MLS academies to this point.

Here’s the list of players who have signed from their respective team’s academies. A few have played in college – they are listed in parentheses.

FC Dallas: D Moises Hernandez, F Ruben Luna, MF Victor Ulloa, MF Bryan Leyva, F Jonathan Top

D.C. United: MF Andy Najar, MF Conor Shanosky, GK Bill Hamid, D Ethan White (Maryland)

Houston Dynamo: MF Francisco Navas Cobo, GK Tyler Deric (North Carolina), MF Alex Dixon (North Carolina), MF Josue Soto (SMU)

New York Red Bulls: F Juan Agudelo, F Giorgi Chirgadze, MF Matt Kassel (Maryland)

Chivas USA: MF Bryan de la Fuente, MF Cesar Zamora

Toronto FC: D Doneil Henry, MF Nicholas Lindsay

Los Angeles Galaxy: F Tristan Bowen (traded to Chivas USA)

Colorado Rapids: MF Davy Armstrong

Chicago Fire: MF Victor Pineda

New England Revolution: MF Diego Fagundez

Philadelphia Union: MF Zach Pfeffer

Sporting Kansas City: GK Jonathan Kempin

Vancouver Whitecaps: MF Philippe Davies