Who goes from Academy to USL?

Three coincidental bits of reading today (for two of them, thanks to Jason Davis for mentioning them on today’s show):

  1. At The Athletic, Will Parchman ranks all 23 MLS-affiliated academies.
  2. At SoccerWire, Charles Boehm has news of a new D.C. United partnership and a nice pyramid graphic showing players progressing from these partner clubs to the new USL side in exurban Loudoun County to the Chris Durkin-esque heights of the senior side. (A few stray thoughts on this later.)
  3. On a local message board, one anonymous parent reacted to this news by asking which Academy kids get to play for the USL side.

My first reaction: What do you mean — who gets to play for the USL side? It’s pro soccer. Who gets to play pro soccer? Really good players!

Second reaction: Wait a minute. Who does get to play for the USL side?

So I figured I’d do a case study on Will’s No. 1 academy — New York Red Bulls. Who’s playing for NYRB II?

The results:

Former Academy players – 8 

  • Amando Moreno (signed directly from Academy; years ago)
  • Ben Mines (signed directly from Academy)
  • John Murphy (signed directly from Academy)
  • Evan Louro (homegrown contract after college)
  • Kevin Politz (homegrown contract after college)
  • Steven Echevarria (homegrown contract after college)
  • Andrew Lombard (free agent after college)
  • Chris Lema (free agent after college)

Played for PDL Under-23 team – 3, all from 2018 draft

  • Brian White
  • Jared Stroud
  • Jose Aguinaga
  • (also: Lema, Louro, Politz, Echevarria, Murphy)

Lived in NY/NJ, then drafted – 3 

  • Ryan Meara
  • Ethan Kutler
  • Jordan Scarlett

Developed in OTHER MLS academies – 2

  • Jean-Christophe Koffi (D.C. United)
  • Tommy Redding (Orlando)

Then two other draftees, four free agents who just finished college, and six from foreign clubs.

I used a loose definition of an NYRB II player. A couple of these guys have recently been called up to the MLS side, and they’re not the only players to move up in the last few years. (Think Tyler Adams.)

So that’s eight Academy alumni out of a pool of 28 players. The ages of those players: 23, 22, 22, 22, 22, 21, 18, 18.


Check my work here.

Back to the Boehm piece (January 2018 podcast guest): D.C. United’s partner clubs here are:

  • Arlington: Current DA through U15
  • Loudoun: Current DA through U15
  • PPA: No current DA
  • Pipeline: No current DA
  • Virginia Development Academy (itself a partnership that includes my hometown club, Vienna): Current DA through U19

So what does this mean for VDA’s older age groups?

(Side note here: VDA’s girls moved from the DA to the ECNL, but they didn’t rename themselves “VECNL,” which sounds like a horrible health insurance company. I didn’t include girls’ DA teams in the breakdown above because United’s program here is boys-only. We’ll talk about the Spirit some other time.)



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