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Ranking MLS Academies

There is not an easy way to do this. What occurs here is a quick, dirty and rough way to compare the effectiveness at MLS Academies and how they produce league talents.

Yedlin is just one of many HGPs. Which club was best at producing Home Grown talent?
Yedlin is just one of many HGPs. Which club was best at producing Home Grown talent?

FC Dallas just released another Home Grown Player. It is something that they've done too often and it is the thing that they are changing with new leadership. Down in Big D they've produced a lot of young men that earned a pro contract. Then they don't play. This is not just related to Dallas. Portland, Chicago, Philly and San Jose didn't have an HGP play in an MLS match last year. Dallas beats that, significicantly.

With an ever increasing focus on this way to get "free" talent into the league, talent that understands what it means to play Sounders Soccer (other teams play their brand), there is a question - which MLS club is doing this best?

It is nearly impossible to answer. Master player ratings are rare in soccer. Those that do exist are proprietary and have only a loose correlation to points earned. Opta data is also only a recent thing for the league. In order to stick with Opta powered data this rudimentary analysis uses's ratings. Please note earlier caveats.

Starting with the HGPs listed by MLS, I multiplyed each player's average WhoScored rating by their number of appearances in MLS in 2013. I then found a "total score" by adding the players' scores for the club that developed the player. For example, New England's Scott Caldwell had 205.53 points (31 apps, 6.63 avg) and Diego Fagundez had 226.05 (33 apps, 6.85 avg), for a total of 431.58. This gives us a snapshot of which MLS sides are doing the best. There are some additional caveats. Andy Najar isn't with D.C. anymore and they developed him (kinda). Juan Agudelo's off in England now. Red Bull deserves some credit for that.

Team Academy 13
LA 580.43
Columbus 458.09
New England 431.58
D.C. 354.64
Seattle 232.98
Colorado 189.25
Vancouver 163.68
New York 160.58
Dallas 148.03
Toronto 144.76
Montreal 127.94
Chivas 108
RSL 86.58
Sporting 13.18
Houston 12.44
Chicago 0
Philly 0
Portland 0
San Jose 0

Most of clubs are dominated by a single player. Take Seattle Sounders FC, at this point they only have Yedlin. He did really well. But that may/may not be a symbol of their development.

Only four teams had more than one player earn 100 points - LA Galaxy, Columbus Crew, New England Revolution and D.C. United if Najar is included. Including Najar at the value of the highest rated 2013 HGP puts them at number one, barely. Agudelo earning a similar bonus rather than his ~110 pushes Red Bull past Seattle. They would still have only on 100 point HGP. That 100 point space is where a player who is fairly regularly in the lineup appears. Rotational players are at about 70 points.

Now due to 2013 injuries and loans, as well as the short period of time of the HGP program this is NOT a definitive list. Every club has at least one HGP this season. Checking back during the World Cup break and at the end of 2014 should give a better idea as to which organizations are producing talents and which are lucking into a single player or two.

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