Major League Soccer on Monday morning announced the advent of MLS NEXT, a new paradigm for player development in the United States. Launched in 2007, the U.S. Soccer Development Academy ceased operations earlier this year, paving the way for MLS to create its own player development platform, utilizing the league’s vast resources to build upon previous successes in producing professional players while innovating to develop future generations of Homegrown MLS stars.
As part of the rollout, several of the league’s marquee Homegrown Players reflected on their own professional pathway. Sounders FC’s Jordan Morris, who grew up in Mercer Island, described his journey from youth standout to star for his hometown club.
“When I was 17, I made the switch [from Eastside FC] to the Sounders Academy team,” recalled Morris. “From there, I got to train with the First Team and see what that lifestyle was like. That’s really where my want to be playing for the First Team came from — being around the team, being in training, playing in some reserves games and being around the locker room.”
According to Morris, that early exposure to the upper echelons of professional soccer served as a catalyst for his dream of one day pulling on the Rave Green jersey and playing matches at CenturyLink Field.
“It was just super exciting,” he said. “I knew that I wanted to be there some day.”
You can learn more about MLS NEXT HERE.