Meet the New MLS Homegrown Players for 2021

by J.R. Eskilson
February 1, 2021
Meet the New MLS Homegrown Players for 2021

The start of the MLS season is still up in the air as the bargaining agreement between the players and the league is still being negotiated as we head into February. Even with the uncertainty, there has been some movement on the player signing front with franchises looking down youth prospects to Homegrown contracts. 

Including players signed toward the end of last season, there have been 24 players signed from academy or USL teams to first team contracts. Ten of the MLS franchises have utilized this mechanism to help fill out the rosters for the upcoming season. 

This list will be updated with new Homegrown signings during the preseason.

 

Atlanta United

Jackson Conway, 19 (12/3/2001), Forward 

  • Joined Atlanta United Academy in 2016, previously played for Georgia United
  • Signed Homegrown contract on Dec. 3, 2020
  • Part of U.S. Youth National Teams in the past 
  • Scored five goals in 22 starts for Atlanta United 2 in 2019

 

Efrain Morales, 16 (3/4/2004), Defender 

  • Signed Homegrown contract on Aug. 12, 2020, effective Jan. 1, 2021 
  • Joined Atlanta United Academy in 2016 for their inaugural season, part of first U12 team 
  • Played in four games with Atlanta United 2 in 2020
  • Member of the U.S. U17 Men’s National Team 

 

Machop Chol, 22 (11/14/1998), Forward 

  • Joined Atlanta United Academy in 2016, part of the first U18 team 
  • Played for Wake Forest for the last four seasons 
  • Born in Sudan, emigrated with his family to the United States in 2000 
  • 10th (and most recent) Homegrown signing in club history 

 

Austin FC 

No New Homegrown Signings for 2021 season (as of Jan. 29, 2021)

 

Chicago Fire 

No New Homegrown Signings for 2021 season (as of Jan. 29, 2021)

 

FC Cincinnati 

No New Homegrown Signings for 2021 season (as of Jan. 29, 2021) 

 

Colorado Rapids 

No New Homegrown Signings for 2021 season (as of Jan. 29, 2021) 

 

Columbus Crew SC 

No New Homegrown Signings for 2021 season (as of Jan. 29, 2021) 

 

FC Dallas 

Justin Che, 17 (11/18/2003), Defender 

  • Joined FC Dallas Academy in 2009, played in 84 games at the Development Academy level 
  • Part of the U.S. Youth National Team at the U16 level 
  • Named to USL League One Team of the Year, played in 16 games for North Texas SC
  • Signed Homegrown Contract on Oct. 2, 2020 
  • Speaks Russian, German, and English 

 

DC United 

Jacob Greene, 17 (3/23/2003), Defender 

  • Joined DC United Academy in 2014
  • Signed Homegrown contract on Nov. 25, 2020 
  • Played in 15 games for Loudoun United at the USL Championship level 

 

Houston Dynamo 

Daniel Rios, 17 (3/29/2003), Midfielder 

  • Signed Homegrown contract on July 10, 2020, effective January 1, 2021 
  • Part of the U.S. Youth National Team player pool 
  • Joined the Dynamo Academy in 2010 

 

Juan Castilla, 16 (7/27/2004), Midfielder 

  • Signed Homegrown contract on June 14, 2020, effective January 1, 2021 
  • Youngest Homegrown Player signing in club history 
  • Joined Dynamo Academy in 2016 with the U12 team 
  • Played for Crew Academy in 2018/2019
  • Born in Cali, Colombia 
  • Part of the U.S. U17 Men’s National Team player pool 

 

LAFC

No New Homegrown Signings for 2021 season (as of Jan. 29, 2021) 

 

LA Galaxy 

Adam Saldana, 18 (2/7/2002), Midfielder 

  • Signed with LA Galaxy on Jan. 19, 2021
  • Started 16 games in 2020 with LA Galaxy II in the USL Championship 
  • Previously part of the U.S. U17 Men’s National Team 
  • Joined LA Galaxy Academy in 2018, previously played for Real So Cal 

 

Jalen Neal, 17 (8/24/2003), Defender 

  • Signed with LA Galaxy on Jan. 20, 2021 
  • Part of the U.S. U16 Boys National Team 
  • Played in 12 games with LA Galaxy II in the USL Championship in 2020 
  • Joined LA Galaxy Academy in 2016 

 

Marcus Ferkranus, 17 (5/10/2003), Defender 

  • Signed with LA Galaxy on Jan. 22, 2021 
  • Part of the U.S. Youth National Teams 
  • Played in five games with LA Galaxy II in the USL Championship in 2020 
  • Joined LA Galaxy Academy in 2017, previously played for Real So Cal 

 

Inter Miami 

Felipe Valencia, 15 (3/1/2005), Forward 

  • Signed with Inter Miami on Dec. 18, 2020 
  • Made 12 appearances in the USL League One during the 2020 season 
  • First Homegrown Signing for Inter Miami 
  • Part of the U.S. U15 Boys National Team 
  • Previously played for Kendall SC 

 

Edison Azcona, 17 (11/21/2003), Midfielder 

  • Signed Homegrown contract on Jan. 26, 2021
  • Made his debut with the Dominican Republic National Team in 2020
  • Scored three goals in 16 appearances with Fort Lauderdale CF in 2020 
  • Joined Inter Miami Academy in 2019, previously part of Orlando City Academy and Boca United 
  • Finalist for the USL League One Young Player of the Year, named to the USL League One All-League Second Team 

 

Ian Fray, 18 (8/31/2002), Defender 

  • Signed Homegrown contract on Jan. 26, 2021 
  • Joined Inter Miami Academy in 2019, previously played for Miramar United and Weston FC 
  • Made nine appearances with Fort Lauderdale CF in the USL League One in 2020
  • Named to the USL League One All-League Second Team in 2020, finished fourth among defenders in passing accuracy (86.5 percent) 

 

Minnesota United FC

No New Homegrown Signings for 2021 season (as of Jan. 29, 2021)

 

CF Montreal 

No New Homegrown Signings for 2021 season (as of Jan. 29, 2021)

 

Nashville SC 

No New Homegrown Signings for 2021 season (as of Jan. 29, 2021)

 

New England Revolution 

No New Homegrown Signings for 2021 season (as of Jan. 29, 2021)

 

New York City FC 

No New Homegrown Signings for 2021 season (as of Jan. 29, 2021)

 

New York Red Bulls 

No New Homegrown Signings for 2021 season (as of Jan. 29, 2021)

 

Orlando City 

No New Homegrown Signings for 2021 season (as of Jan. 29, 2021)

 

Philadelphia Union 

Paxten Aaronson, 17 (8/26/2003), Midfielder 

  • Signed Homegrown contract on Aug. 19, 2020, effective Jan. 1, 2021
  • Younger brother of Philadelphia icon Brenden Aaronson
  • Made 14 appearances with Philadelphia Union II in 2020, scored a goal and recorded an assist 
  • Joined Philadelphia Union Academy in 2015, played for U13/14 team 

 

Brandan Craig, 16 (4/7/2004), Midfielder 

  • Signed Homegrown contract on Nov. 12, 2020, effective Jan. 1, 2021 
  • Made 14 appearances for Philadelphia Union II in 2020, became youngest captain in history when he wore the armband against Atlanta United 2 on Sept. 2, 2020 
  • Member of the U.S. U15 Boys National Team 
  • Joined the Union Academy in 2016, played for every age group (U12-U19) 

 

Jack McGlynn, 17 (7/7/2003), Midfielder 

  • Signed Homegrown contract on Aug. 17, 2020, effective Jan. 1, 2021 
  • Made 14 appearances for Philadelphia Union II in 2020, scored five goals and recorded three assists 
  • Joined Philadelphia Union Academy in 2019, previously played for BW Gottschee Academy 
  • Part of the U.S. Youth National Team pool 

 

Quinn Sullivan, 16 (3/27/2004), Midfielder 

  • Signed Homegrown contract on Nov. 12, 2020, effective Jan. 1, 2021
  • Made nine appearances with Philadelphia Union II in 2020
  • Joined Philadelphia Union Academy in 2016, played for every age group (U12-U19)
  • Previously played for Fishtown Athletic Club, teammates with Brandan Craig 
  • Chris Albright is his cousin 

 

Portland Timbers 

Hunter Sulte, 18 (4/25/2002), Goalkeeper 

  • Signed Homegrown contract on Nov. 12, 2020, effective Jan. 1, 2021 
  • Born in Anchorage, Alaska. First player from Alaska to sign a Homegrown contract, believed to be the second player from the state to sign with an MLS Team (Ely Allen) 
  • Listed at 6’ 7” on the Timbers, tied for tallest player in the league (Axel Sjoberg) 
  • Joined Timbers Academy in 2016 after being scouted at an ODP camp
  • Turned down a scholarship offer from Georgetown 

 

Real Salt Lake 

Bode Davis, 18 (2/22/2002), Forward  

  • Signed Homegrown contract on Sept. 22, 2020, effective Jan. 1, 2021 
  • Joined Real Salt Lake Academy/RSL-AZ in 2016, played for the club’s U14 team 
  • Made 15 appearances with Real Monarchs in the 2020 season 

 

Jeff Dewsnup, 16 (5/21/2004), Goalkeeper 

  • Signed Homegrown contract on Jan. 11, 2021 
  • First Herriman, Utah-native to sign with Real Salt Lake 
  • Joined Real Salt Lake Academy in 2018, previously played for La Roca 
  • Part of the U.S. U17 Men’s National Team 

 

San Jose Earthquakes 

No New Homegrown Signings for 2021 season (as of Jan. 29, 2021)

 

Seattle Sounders 

No New Homegrown Signings for 2021 season (as of Jan. 29, 2021)

 

Sporting Kansas City 

Grayson Barber, 20 (5/3/200), Midfielder 

  • Signed Homegrown contract on Jan. 20, 2021 
  • Joined Sporting KC Academy in 2015
  • Played three years with Clemson, named to the All-ACC Second Team in 2019 
  • One of two South Carolina-natives on MLS rosters (Robbie Robinson), according to Elias Sports Bureau 

 

Osvaldo Cisneros, 16 (3/13/2004), Forward 

  • Signed Homegrown contract on Jan. 20, 2021 
  • Joined Sporting KC Academy in 2016 as a 12-year-old 
  • Native of Omaha, Nebraska. One of two Nebraska-natives on current MLS rosters (Brent Kallman), according to Elias Sports Bureau 
  • Part of the U.S. U17 Men’s National Team 

 

Wilson Harris, 21 (11/28/1999), Forward 

  • Signed Homegrown contract on Oct. 21, 2020
  • USL Championship Young Player of the Year in 2020 
  • Sporting KC II MVP in 2020 
  • Became the youngest player to scored 20 career goals in the USL Championship 
  • Joined the Sporting KC Academy in 2017, previously played for Real So Cal 

 

Brooks Thompson, 18 (5/28/2002), Goalkeeper 

  • Signed Homegrown contract on Jan. 20, 2021 
  • Joined Sporting Kansas City Academy in 2018, previously played for IMG Academy (Florida) 
  • Native of Floyd Knobs, Indiana 
  • Made six appearances for Sporting KC II during the 2020 USL Championship season

 

Toronto FC 

No New Homegrown Signings for 2021 season (as of Jan. 29, 2021)

 

Vancouver Whitecaps FC 

No New Homegrown Signings for 2021 season (as of Jan. 29, 2021)