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Homegrown talent

D.C. United’s Homegrown Players the biggest first-team contributors in MLS

With the recent news that the D.C. United U-16's are No. 1 in the nation among teams in its age division, we’ve got Academy on the brain. So, we thought it would be fun to look at Homegrown Player contributions to first teams around the League and see how United stacks up against other clubs (Hint: We’re tops).

WHAT WE EXAMINED

  • The total number of Homegrown Players (HGPs) a club has signed directly to its first team through the 2012 season
  • How many of the aforementioned players are still on their hometown clubs’ respective rosters
  • How many games played, games started and minutes logged these remaining HGPs have contributed to their teams in total

WHAT WE LEARNED
1. D.C. United is one of two clubs to retain 100% of its HGP signings*
FC Dallas (7), Toronto FC (7), New York Red Bulls (5) and Vancouver Whitecaps FC (5) have signed more HGPs directly to their first teams through the end of the 2012 season; however, no team has retained all of its signings other than D.C. United (4 out of 4) and the Columbus Crew (4 out of 4). The sole HGP left on New York’s roster through the end of 2012 is Connor Lade, while Toronto’s, Vancouver’s and Dallas’ retention rates are 57.1%, 60% and 71.4%, respectively.

2. D.C. United leads MLS in current HGP contributions to its first team
No other club in the League can boast as many games played, games started and minutes logged through 2012 amongst its retained HGPs than D.C. United. And no other side even comes close. This is, perhaps, the most compelling statistic.

United’s Bill Hamid, Andy Najar, Conor Shanosky, and Ethan White have contributed, in total, a whopping 166 games played, 153 games started and 13,677 minutes logged since each joined the senior squad. The team that comes closest is Toronto FC; four of its seven HGPs are still on its roster, and these four players have notched, in total, 90 games (59 starts) and 5,838 minutes logged.

3. D.C. United is the only club with a HGP selected as MLS Rookie of the Year
Since the Homegrown Player rule came into effect in 2006, D.C. United is the only team to have a former Academy player named MLS Rookie of the Year; then 17-year-old Andy Najar was given the accolade in 2010.

Additionally, United has had a Rookie of the Year finalist in each of the last four seasons – Chris Pontius (2009), Najar (2010 winner), Perry Kitchen (2011) and Nick DeLeon (2012). United is also the only side to have had that many consecutive campaigns with a Rookie of the Year nomination.

The future is bright for the Black-and-Red, and its cultivation of young talent is just one reason.

* With at least four HGPs signed directly to the first team

READ: MLS Homegrown Player Signings