Gmtm Logo
SIGN UP
Gmtm Logo

Is playing College Soccer the best route to making the MLS?

ByJohnathan Wright

3 min read

Is playing College Soccer the best route to making the MLS?

Earlier this month, we witnessed the 2021 Major League Soccer (MLS) SuperDraft take place. A night full of joy where college soccer seniors are one move closer to stepping on the pitch for an MLS franchise.

However, year in and year out, fewer college soccer players are seeing the field in an MLS game. So much so that the MLS shortened the draft this year. In 2020 the MLS SuperDraft consisted of four rounds. This year they reduced that number to three-rounds because so many organizations were taking the option to "pass" on their selection, which means that a team decided not to select anybody during that pick.

According to americansocceranalysis.com, from the 2013-2019 MLS drafts, there were an allowed 632 draft picks. Of those allotted picks, teams passed on 10

of them, meaning that 576 players were selected. The players that went on to sign a contract for an MLS team was 46.7
. This means that if a player gets chosen in the MLS draft, there is less than 50
that they will sign a professional contract for an MLS organization, and that number is continuing to drop.

The Philadelphia Union, who won the 2020 Supporters' Shield, for having the best record in the league, did not make one selection in the 2021 MLS draft. Their logic behind that is that they would rather sign a player directly from their development academy due to them already having an understanding of their system.

For example, Philadelphia Union's ex-player, Brendan Aaronson; he joined the Union's academy system in 2015, while he was still a high schooler. After his time in the academy, he was given a homegrown contract.

A homegrown contract is when they sign a player from their development academy directly to their first-team roster. Due to Aaronson's remarkable two season with the Philadelphia Union's first time, he has now signed a contract for RB Salzburg.

Are MLS Academies Sideling College Soccer?

The Brendon Aaronson example is not an uncommon occurrence in the modern American soccer game. Many analysts believe that the MLS draft is outdated, and it is time for high school soccer players to skip college soccer altogether and turn pro from the academies - similar to how it works in Europe.

Since 2017 every MLS franchise has their own youth academy. What make MLS teams so motivated to sign homegrown players is that there is no limit in how many of them  a club can sign each year. According to mlssoccer.com, players signed as homegrowns are not counted against the team’s salary budget.

The MLS has seen significant growth in the number of homegrown players signing first-team contract. Below you will see a visual representation of the number of homegrown players in the MLS from 2016 to 2020, data is from totalfootballanalysis.com,

To become a homegrown player a player needs to play for an MLS development academy for at least one year starting before the age of 15. It is also mandatory that they live in the club's region. Once a player graduates from the youth academy, they can then be given a ‘homegrown contract’ depending on if the team has an interest in them.  


College Soccer Will Never Be a Bad Choice

Although their may better option to ultimately earn playing time on a professional pitch, college soccer will never be a bad option for young players. It allows them to continue chasing their dreams, while also earning an education.

Here is an excellent story from Darren Eales, the winner of the 2020 NCAA silver award winner, sharing his college soccer experience, via NCAA Soccer,


Johnathan Wright is a contributing soccer writer for GMTM. He played college soccer for the University of Louisville and now is a freelance writer covering the sports of soccer and basketball for multiple media companies. Johnathan is also currently earning a Master of Science in Sport Business with a concentration in Sport Analytics from Temple University.


ALSO READ: 5 Tips To Help Get Recruited To Play College Soccer | GMTM

Are you an Athlete?

Create a free profile to access the largest network specifically designed to connect athletes to opportunities. Get started.

RELATED ARTICLES
American Football: How To Play Professional Football In Another Country?

American Football: How To Play Professional Football In Another Country?

Yes, it is definitely possible to play American football overseas. However, this is not common...

ByScotty Jenkins | Thu Jan 26 2023
Why The Transfer Portal Is So Important For College Basketball Coaches

Why The Transfer Portal Is So Important For College Basketball Coaches

2019 was a transformative year in NCAA athletics. The NCAA Transfer Portal, a database which allows...

ByKeiwaine Hicks | Sun Dec 11 2022
How similar is the NCAA Transfer Portal to free agency in professional sports?

How similar is the NCAA Transfer Portal to free agency in professional sports?

The NCAA Transfer Portal is a great platform that is beneficial to student-athletes. It allows...

ByScotty Jenkins | Fri Dec 02 2022
College Soccer: What is the difference between NCAA Division-I & NAIA?

College Soccer: What is the difference between NCAA Division-I & NAIA?

Many soccer athletes across the United States aspire to play their sport at the college level, and...

ByScotty Jenkins | Sat Nov 26 2022
What is a 'Draw'? And Why Ties Still Exist in the World's Most Popular Sport

What is a 'Draw'? And Why Ties Still Exist in the World's Most Popular Sport

When it comes to the growing popularity of soccer in the United States, perhaps one of the...

ByScotty Jenkins | Wed Nov 23 2022
Which College Sports Mascots Are The Most Polarizing?

Which College Sports Mascots Are The Most Polarizing?

They’re one of the most crucial aspects to a college sports viewing experience. The players?...

ByAndrew Pistone | Mon Nov 21 2022
Soccer Coaching: The four most popular formations and why they work

Soccer Coaching: The four most popular formations and why they work

In soccer, formations define the different positions on the field taken by each player of a...

ByScotty Jenkins | Fri Nov 18 2022
What It's Like To Play Professional Volleyball In A Different Country

What It's Like To Play Professional Volleyball In A Different Country

At some point throughout their lifetime, every athlete has the dream to play professionally, even...

ByScotty Jenkins | Wed Nov 16 2022
Four Of The Most Important Skills Every Soccer Goalkeeper Has To Develop

Four Of The Most Important Skills Every Soccer Goalkeeper Has To Develop

Goalkeepers are really the only ones on the field who you can't compete without. Don't have a...

ByScotty Jenkins | Wed Nov 16 2022
What are College Football’s New Overtime Rules?

What are College Football’s New Overtime Rules?

In the 21st century, major sports have had to walk an interesting tightrope. They’ve had to balance...

ByAndrew Pistone | Mon Oct 24 2022
Transfer Portal: Does Every Athlete Who Transfers Find A New College To Play For?

Transfer Portal: Does Every Athlete Who Transfers Find A New College To Play For?

On the 15th of October, 2018 the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) introduced a...

ByScotty Jenkins | Wed Oct 19 2022
How To Participate In The U.S. Aerials Ski Team Digital Combine On GMTM

How To Participate In The U.S. Aerials Ski Team Digital Combine On GMTM

If you’ve ever tried the sport of skiing, you’ve certainly felt the rush that comes when you speed...

ByScotty Jenkins | Thu Sep 29 2022
College Football's "Dead Money": Why Fired Coaches Keep Getting Paid

College Football's "Dead Money": Why Fired Coaches Keep Getting Paid

We’re at the point in the college football calendar where teams are assessing whether they’d like...

ByAndrew Pistone | Wed Sep 28 2022
Soccer Recruiting: What College Coaches Look For In High School Recruits

Soccer Recruiting: What College Coaches Look For In High School Recruits

Realistically, soccer coaches and managers look out for different things in soccer players during...

ByScotty Jenkins | Wed Sep 28 2022
The Future Of Sportscasting Is In College Classrooms

The Future Of Sportscasting Is In College Classrooms

Whenever fans watch college sports, it’s obvious that their entire focus is on the athletes on the...

ByAndrew Pistone | Mon Sep 26 2022
College Football: Five Stars Who Could Have Benefitted Most from NIL Ruling

College Football: Five Stars Who Could Have Benefitted Most from NIL Ruling

The NCAA's Division I Board of Directors announced a new...

ByBryan Armetta | Sat Sep 24 2022
College Sports: How To Pick The Right School To Attend

College Sports: How To Pick The Right School To Attend

Picking the right college can be a tough task for any high school senior, but it can be a unique...

ByAlexis Peltzer-Harding | Fri Sep 23 2022
USA Bobsled and Skeleton Hosts Third Annual Digital Combine For Hopeful Olympic Athletes

USA Bobsled and Skeleton Hosts Third Annual Digital Combine For Hopeful Olympic Athletes

Coaches from the United States’ Olympic teams are serious about helping athletes from different...

ByScotty Jenkins | Thu Sep 22 2022
How Recruits Can Ask A School For More Athletic Scholarship Money

How Recruits Can Ask A School For More Athletic Scholarship Money

Athletes and parents often ask for college scholarship money during the athletic recruiting...

ByScotty Jenkins | Wed Sep 21 2022
Running: Can a long distance runner turn into a sprinter?

Running: Can a long distance runner turn into a sprinter?

Long-distance running is very different from sprint. It is interesting to see how athletes...

ByJamison White | Tue Sep 20 2022
Is playing College Soccer the best route to making the MLS?

Is playing College Soccer the best route to making the MLS?

Earlier this month, we witnessed the 2021 Major League...

ByJohnathan Wright | Sat Sep 17 2022
College Basketball: What Is The NCAA Transfer Portal And How Does It Work

College Basketball: What Is The NCAA Transfer Portal And How Does It Work

With the ever-changing NCAA and college athletics scene, transfer athletes have become more and...

ByScotty Jenkins | Thu Sep 15 2022
U.S. Ski & Snowboard Partners With GMTM For Future Athlete Identification

U.S. Ski & Snowboard Partners With GMTM For Future Athlete Identification

Have you watched the Olympic Winter Games and thought, ‘I want to do that’? Now you have the...

ByTiffany Allen | Mon Sep 12 2022
College Football: Why Head Coach Salaries At Top Schools Keep Going Up

College Football: Why Head Coach Salaries At Top Schools Keep Going Up

What does one normally associate with the position of college football head coach? Leaders of men....

ByBryan Armetta | Sun Sep 04 2022
How Athletes From Different Backgrounds Are Discovering Handball On GMTM

How Athletes From Different Backgrounds Are Discovering Handball On GMTM

Cinch Smith took a familiar route to find a place in college baseball. The 6’1” right-handed...

ByScotty Jenkins | Thu Sep 01 2022
5 Tips To Help Get Recruited To Play College Soccer

5 Tips To Help Get Recruited To Play College Soccer

The college soccer recruiting process can be extremely competitive, and unfortunately, it does not...

ByJohnathan Wright | Mon Aug 29 2022
Five Benefits Of Playing Sports At A Division-III College

Five Benefits Of Playing Sports At A Division-III College

With limited exposure to most casual sports fans and stadiums that are smaller than some Texas high...

ByScotty Jenkins | Thu Aug 25 2022
How To Participate In USA Team Handball’s Collegiate Athlete Network

How To Participate In USA Team Handball’s Collegiate Athlete Network

The handballers that represent the United States in international competition come from a variety...

ByScotty Jenkins | Wed Aug 24 2022
A Few Reasons Why Americans Are So Obsessed With College Sports

A Few Reasons Why Americans Are So Obsessed With College Sports

Of all the interesting traditions Americans have, few are more difficult for a foreign audience to...

ByScotty Jenkins | Tue Aug 23 2022
Does Having a Top Recruiting Class Promise Success?

Does Having a Top Recruiting Class Promise Success?

Although the success of a football program is built on wins and losses, recruiting has never played...

ByBryan Armetta | Sat Aug 20 2022
With Oklahoma and Texas to SEC, what happens to the Big 12?

With Oklahoma and Texas to SEC, what happens to the Big 12?

Conference realignments are a part of college sports. As different schools gain and lose...

ByAria Modirmassihai | Sat Aug 20 2022
Step-By-Step Guide to the College Sports Recruiting Process

Step-By-Step Guide to the College Sports Recruiting Process

Young athletes all over the world dream of playing their sport at the college level....

ByScotty Jenkins | Thu Aug 18 2022
NCAA Eligibility Center: Five Things Every High School Athlete Should Know

NCAA Eligibility Center: Five Things Every High School Athlete Should Know

First things first, here's a couple vocabulary lessons The NCAA Clearinghouse is a not-for-profit...

ByScotty Jenkins | Thu Aug 18 2022
Every College Tennis Rule That Is Different Than The Pros

Every College Tennis Rule That Is Different Than The Pros

College tennis is a unique and great experience for both athletes as well as fans. For those high...

ByCoby Seaver | Wed Aug 17 2022
Track & Field: Will there ever be another Usain Bolt?

Track & Field: Will there ever be another Usain Bolt?

The world of athletics will never forget the man who rose to dominate the sport for several...

ByScotty Jenkins | Wed Aug 17 2022
How College Athletics Work At A Liberal Arts School

How College Athletics Work At A Liberal Arts School

Athletes have unique abilities that go well beyond the classroom and their respective playing...

ByScotty Jenkins | Tue Aug 16 2022
Four Ways College Basketball Coaches Will Show Interest In Recruits

Four Ways College Basketball Coaches Will Show Interest In Recruits

Postcards from sunny, resort locations such as the Bahamas or Hawaii. Pictures of the team smiling...

ByKeiwaine Hicks | Sun Aug 14 2022
Division-II Sports: How do D2 athletics compare to NCAA Division-I?

Division-II Sports: How do D2 athletics compare to NCAA Division-I?

NCAA Division-II sports are at the intermediate level of competition in the National Collegiate...

ByScotty Jenkins | Thu Aug 11 2022
Baseball Recruiting: Big Leaguers Who Played Multiple Sports In College

Baseball Recruiting: Big Leaguers Who Played Multiple Sports In College

Throughout the history of America’s Pastime, there have been several notable multisport baseball...

ByScotty Jenkins | Wed Aug 10 2022
College Soccer: Explaining how the best collegiate players turn professional

College Soccer: Explaining how the best collegiate players turn professional

For soccer players who want to play professionally, the path differs greatly from other major...

ByScotty Jenkins | Wed Aug 03 2022
How Lacrosse Has Continued To Grow In Popularity Across America

How Lacrosse Has Continued To Grow In Popularity Across America

Lacrosse is frequently referred to as “the fastest sport on two feet” and its growth over the last...

ByScotty Jenkins | Wed Aug 03 2022
5 Mental Tricks To Help a Volleyball Player Who Is Struggling

5 Mental Tricks To Help a Volleyball Player Who Is Struggling

No matter who you are, no matter what kind of athlete you are, no matter how talented you are,...

ByRebekah Morris | Thu Jul 28 2022
Differences Between the NAIA to the NCAA

Differences Between the NAIA to the NCAA

Everyone is familiar with the NCAA and its 3 subsequent divisions as where the top collegiate...

ByAria Modirmassihai | Wed Jul 27 2022
Four Keys To Staying Healthy On And Off The Field

Four Keys To Staying Healthy On And Off The Field

This weekend's tragic death of a Virginia Union University football player has brought up the often...

ByMatt Wright | Tue Jul 26 2022
College Wrestling: NCAA Innovations That Every Wrestler Should Be Paying Attention To

College Wrestling: NCAA Innovations That Every Wrestler Should Be Paying Attention To

As one of the world’s oldest sports and centerpiece of the Olympics, wrestling is rooted in deep...

ByScotty Jenkins | Mon Jul 25 2022
College Basketball Scholarships: Four Unknown Truths Every Recruit Should Know

College Basketball Scholarships: Four Unknown Truths Every Recruit Should Know

For many people in the basketball community, a college basketball scholarship is held in the...

ByKeiwaine Hicks | Wed Jul 20 2022
Is It Possible To Play Two Sports In College?

Is It Possible To Play Two Sports In College?

If you are passionate about two sports it can be heart breaking to decide which one to pursue in...

ByLily Ford | Wed Jul 20 2022
5 Best Volleyball Drills and Workouts to Improve Blocking

5 Best Volleyball Drills and Workouts to Improve Blocking

In volleyball, blocking is the first form of defense. Your blockers, where you place them, and...

ByRebekah Morris | Tue Jul 19 2022
How To Do A Volleyball Jump Serve: Step-By-Step Instructions

How To Do A Volleyball Jump Serve: Step-By-Step Instructions

The Jump Serve, also called the spike serve, is an essential skill for any player to learn. Players...

ByRebekah Morris | Sun Jul 17 2022
Soccer Coaching: What is each position in soccer responsible for?

Soccer Coaching: What is each position in soccer responsible for?

A proper soccer team will function at an optimal level when players in the team's setup understand...

ByScotty Jenkins | Sat Jul 16 2022