Seattle Sounders defender DeAndre Yedlin could find himself in the first MLS Homegrown Game as part of the 2014 MLS All-Star festivities in Portland (John Hefti/Icon SMI)
Major League Baseball has its Futures Game. The NBA has its annual Rising Stars rookies vs. sophomores clash. Now MLS is adding its own All-Star week event to showcase the up-and-coming generation of talent coming through the league.
MLS announced the creation of the Homegrown Game (in conjunction with a sponsorship deal with Chipotle) on Monday, an exhibition during which the league's top young talent that has come through the academy pipeline will be put on display. Details of the event -- including time, location, process of players being chosen, format, etc. -- will be revealed at a later date, according to an MLS announcement.
From an MLS press release:
During the AT&T MLS All-Star Week in August, Chipotle will sponsor the inaugural Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game featuring the nation’s top Homegrown players from MLS Club rosters. Homegrown players from across the league will be chosen by MLS to participate in the game. Details on how MLS fans will be able to watch the game will be released at a later date.
Homegrown players were a rarity in the league just six years ago, when Tristan Bowen signed the first such deal with the LA Galaxy in 2008. Since then, scores of players have joined the league through the growing academy system, including recent U.S. national team call-ups Bill Hamid (D.C. United), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders) and Shane O'Neill (Colorado Rapids) and current Stoke City (on loan at FC Utrecht) forward Juan Agudelo.
The Homegrown Game will be the first additional player event to accompany the All-Star Game, which has pitted MLS against a foreign opponent since 2005. In the showcase event of 2014 All-Star week, MLS will take on Bundesliga power and reigning European champion Bayern Munich at Providence Park in Portland, Ore., on Aug. 6.