We've had several readers ask about the young players down at the RSL-Arizona Academy program, and whether any of them seem likely to be signed by the big club as a "homegrown" player who can to bypass the MLS SuperDraft and sign directly with his academy parent, in the interest of fostering local talent.
General manager Garth Lagerwey said it's possible but too early to tell, with a dozen of the academy players — including Salt Lake City's Phanuel Kavita and Provo's Maikon "Mikey" Orellana — having trained at various times with RSL during its preseason camp at Grande Sports World in Arizona only the past few days.
But the team has been impressed with the progress of its academy, which has been designated an official US Soccer Development Academy and produced teams that have fared well at top youth-level tournaments as well as a number of players who have earned college scholarships or places on youth national teams.
Much like the Winter Sports School in Park City for aspiring skiers, it's a fascinating residency program that includes a flexible education curriculum based around the sports training — as Orellana explains in the video — and interim director Mike Munoz is hoping to attract more players from Utah for the 2011-12 season.
Tryouts are coming up in April, and prospective players can call 1-877-909-9777 for more information.
Maybe by then, RSL will have chosen one of the existing academy residents to be the first homegrown player on its roster. Twelve teams in the league have signed a combined 27 homegrown players since the league enacted the rule allowing them in 2006.
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