Major League Soccer today announced that the MLS Homegrown Team will take on Tigres UANL, the reigning Mexican league’s Under-20 champion, in the fifth annual MLS Homegrown Game presented by Energizer® on July 31 at 8 p.m. ET at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground, part of a week of events during 2018 MLS All-Star Atlanta. In addition to the live national broadcast on Univision Deportes Network (UDN), the MLS Homegrown Game will be streamed live on Twitter for the first time in the history of the event.
Tickets, starting at $15, may be purchased on Ticketmaster.com and includes entrance to the Special Olympics Unified Sports® All-Star Soccer Match presented by MLS WORKS and ESPN, held immediately prior at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground. Tickets are now available by CLICKING HERE.
The MLS Homegrown Game presented by Energizer® is the latest initiative between Major League Soccer and Liga MX after the two leagues announced an increased partnership in March including a focus on youth development highlighted by an annual showcase match. Joining a list of formidable opponents to participate in the MLS Homegrown Game, Tigres UANL’s Under-20 team brings an accomplished track record to the match. The club captured the Liga MX Under-20 title last month and features numerous players that have received time with both the Tigres reserve squad and the first team side that has captured the Liga MX title in three out of the previous six tournaments.
Atlanta United Academy Director Tony Annan will serve as the head coach for the Homegrown Team against Tigres. Annan, who helped build Atlanta’s academy from the ground up and brings over 20 years of youth development experience to the match, is one of only six coaches to hold licenses from the U.S. Soccer Academy Director’s Course and the Elite Formation Coaching License course (EFCL). With a focus on cultivating talented academy products, Annan has helped Atlanta identify and develop standout youth players from the academy to the first team, coaching the club’s U-17 squad to a national title in the first year of the program.
One of the many highly anticipated events during the week of events surrounding 2018 MLS All-Star Atlanta, the MLS Homegrown Game presented by Energizer® provides an annual platform in which to showcase MLS’ burgeoning young talent and demonstrate the growth of the League’s youth development system. MLS academies continue to attract and cultivate topflight prospects and have now produced over 150 Homegrown Players who have signed professional contracts with MLS clubs. Vital to the long-term success of their clubs, Homegrown Players now serve more important and visible roles than ever, with academy products logging a record number of goals, assists, minutes and games played in 2017. Of note, the 94 assists compiled by Homegrown Players in 2017 is more than double the total compared to 2016.
Homegrown Players have also become significant contributors at the international level with the U.S. and Canadian youth and senior national teams relying on some of the league’s most exciting and promising young players. In the past year, 13 current Homegrown standouts have been called to represent the U.S. Men’s National Team, including MLS Homegrown Game alumnus Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls), Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas) and Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake). In addition, 11 current Homegrown Players played for the United States in the 2017 FIFA Under-20 World Cup while seven Homegrown Players represented the U.S. at the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup. Outside of the U.S., five Homegrown Players were called to represent the Canada Men’s National Team at the 2017 Concacaf Gold Cup, with Alphonso Davies (Vancouver Whitecaps FC) winning the tournament’s golden boot.
“The continued growth of Major League Soccer’s youth academy system and development of the future stars of the sport remain at the forefront of the league’s long-term initiatives,” said Todd Durbin, Executive Vice President of Player Relations and Competition. “The MLS Homegrown Game offers a unique opportunity to showcase the talent our clubs have produced. We are excited to have the Tigres Under-20 team as this year’s opponent in another example of how MLS continues to build upon its partnership with Liga MX in the area of youth development.”
MLS Homegrown Players are a specialized group of players that have been a member of an MLS club’s youth development program for at least one year and have met the necessary training and retention requirements. Players that meet those qualifications can sign a professional contract with the club’s senior team without being subject to the SuperDraft.
Media planning to cover the MLS Homegrown Game presented by Energizer®, the Special Olympics Unified Sports All-Star Soccer Match presented by MLS WORKS and ESPN, along with the 2018 MLS All-Star Game may now apply for credentials by CLICKING HERE.
MLS All-Stadium credentials, team season credentials and credentials from previous MLS and SUM events will not be recognized for any of the media events surrounding the All-Star Game. Credential applications must be received by Wednesday, July 18.
MLS Homegrown Game History
- 2017: MLS Homegrown Team 2-2 Chivas de Guadalajara U-20s
- 2016: MLS Homegrown Team 0-1 Mexico U-20s
- 2015: MLS Homegrown Team 1(4)-1(5) Club América U-20s
- 2014: MLS Homegrown Team 0–0 Portland Timbers U-23s