Every MLS season, several Homegrown Players make the most of their opportunity and see their role vault from the periphery into the limelight.
As the Concacaf Gold Cup break arrives, here are 10 Homegrowns who are growing in influence with each passing game. These youngsters, if you’re not already paying attention, are worth a check-in.
Aaronson, back in 2018, made the decision to bypass an Indiana University commitment and sign with the Philadelphia Union. After an extended spell with their USL Championship side, Bethlehem Steel, the 18-year-old midfielder has become an integral part of Jim Curtin’s Eastern Conference-leading team. Aaronson has made 13 starts and scored on the road at Atlanta United, playing in a variety of roles alongside veterans such as Alejandro Bedoya and Haris Medunjanin.
Cole Bassett looks upfield with the Colorado Rapids | USA Today Sports Images
Only 17, Bassett is playing beyond his years for a surging Colorado Rapids team that looks reinvigorated under interim head coach Conor Casey. Signed in August 2018, he made six appearances last year and nabbed his first professional goal in a win against FC Dallas. That foreshadowed what was to come, as he’s on track for around 1,300 minutes this season and already has one goal and two assists.
By now, most American soccer fans know some version of Busio’s story: the North Carolina teenager heads to Sporting Kansas City’s academy, signs a Homegrown Player deal and gets into Peter Vermes’ good graces. That simplified version doesn’t quite do the 17-year-old justice, though, as he’s now scored three times this season and even featured in Concacaf Champions League action. Busio was integral for the U.S. U-17 national team this past spring before they fell to Mexico at the Concacaf championships.
The son of former MLS MVP David Ferreira, he signed a Homegrown Player deal with FC Dallas way back in November of 2016. Ample patience is starting to pay off as Ferreira, 18, is often FCD’s starting striker under first-year head Luchi Gonzalez. He has four goals and two assists through 15 matches, though could easily hit double-digits. Across his previous two seasons, Ferreira totaled just 22 minutes of game action.
After drifting in and out of the lineup in 2018, Herrera has locked down the starting right back role for Real Salt Lake. Through 15 games, he’s already started as many games (14) as last season. A versatile outside back who loves to boom forward and join the attack, he signed in December 2017 after playing three years of college soccer at New Mexico. That makes him 22 and one of the older players included here.