As the MLS season comes to an end this weekend, it kicks off the offseason that is rife with speculation as teams add players from abroad, through the draft and any other mechanism that is conjured from league HQ.
MLS teams will soon start dipping into the college ranks, not just for the draft, but also foreligible homegrown signings for either seniors or underclassman ready to make the jump. Of course, it’s tricky to know which players are eligible or available to sign contracts because the rules are vague and can be applied differently on a case by case basis.
Casting those doubts aside, below is a list of potential Homegrown signings, based off speculation and a player’s ability.
D Grant Lillard, Indiana (Chicago Fire)
The Fire recently announced that Veljko Paunovic will take over as head coach, and he’ll need to renovate the roster. He could turn his attention to a pair of young and promising players at Indiana, as Lillard and left back Andrew Gutman shored up a strong Hoosier back line this season. If Paunovic wants a cornerstone young player to sign to renovate the Fire defense, Lillard would be a good start. Only a sophomore, the defender would always have the option of returning to IU for another season.
D Bradley Bourgeois, Tulsa (Houston Dynamo)
After 81 games of a standout career at Tulsa, Bourgeois could be one of Owen Coyle’s offseason additions as they look to make a run at the playoffs in 2016. Bourgeois is tidy, comfortable on the ball and good enough defensively that if he’s not signed to the Dynamo, he’ll be picked in the draft.
F Jordan Morris, Stanford (Seattle Sounders)
The will-he or won’t-he saga surrounding Jordan Morris will either write a new chapter or see the Seattle native return home to the Sounders and accept what has been reported as the highest homegrown contract offer in league history. The U.S. national team striker has his sights set on the College Cup first and foremost with a quarterfinal matchup at Wake this weekend. If he decides to pass, the Seattle could sound out interest from UCLA sophomore Seyi Adekoya or Seattle forward David Olsen.