Goats Add Another Home-Grown Player
With the addition of striker Tristan Bowen, Chivas USA now has six players who came into MLS with experience on an MLS academy team before turning pro.
MLS created the home-grown player rule in 2006, allowing eligible players from academy teams to be signed directly to professional contracts without having to enter the MLS SuperDraft.
In November 2008, Tristan Bowen officially became the first home-grown player signed by the league when he reached a deal with the Galaxy. While Bowen got the headlines, he wasn’t technically the first player to be signed directly from an academy. In March of 2008, Gerson Mayén signed with Chivas USA from the club’s U-18 team.
Along with Mayén, Chivas USA have four other first-team players who came through the Chivas USA youth system. Midfielders Bryan de la Fuente and César Zamora were both fixtures for the Goats’ U-18 team before being called up to the full team last season.
Winger Jorge Flores famously got into the Chivas USA academy through the Sueño MLS contest. “Sueño”, as he’s known on the training ground, eventually signed a professional contract on July 25, 2007, and is developing into a key member of the first-team.
Defender Carlos Borja originally signed for the Red-and-White midway through 2006, coming directly from the Chivas USA U-19 Team. After spending 2008 and 2009 in Mexico, Borja returned to Chivas USA in 2010, and broke into the starting eleven as a central defender last season.
Zamora, de la Fuente, Bowen, Flores and Mayén have all received multiple caps for the United States U-20 team, and along with Borja represent a growing trend in MLS. With more and more teams taking advantage of the home-grown player rule, the amount of young, local players in the league is ever increasing.
All six of Chivas USA’s home grown players are also from the Southern California area and reflect Chivas USA’s commitment to the community and growing identity. They also serve as role models for the current members of the Chivas USA academy, and act as prime examples of what can come from chasing dreams.