The Los Angeles Galaxy will become the first team in Major League Soccer to sign a graduate straight from its youth academy when it officially signs forward Tristan Bowen, sources with knowledge of the deal told SBI on Monday.
The deal, a Generation adidas contact, will make Bowen the first player to graduate from youth academy level to the professional level since MLS began its player development initative after the 2006 season. It remains unclear when the club will formally announce the signing, but sources have confirmed that the club has agreed to a deal with Bowen.
Bowen will train with the Galaxy but cannot play in any games since the signing will have taken place after the Sept. 15 MLS roster freeze date.
Bowen was the first player to sign with the Galaxy’s player development program, Galaxy Rios, back in 2007. A U.S. Under-18 national team striker, Bowen first caught the Galaxy’s attention when he attended a team tryout as a 16-year old and made the final cut before the club realized he was underage.
The MLS Player Development Initative is set up to encourage teams to set up and cultivate youth academy programs for the purpose of developing talent that can be added to senior rosters. Under the curent guidelines, MLS teams can sign as many as two academy graduates a year (academy graduates are defined as players who have spent at least two years in a team’s youth academy program).
A team is allowed to sign and keep one academy graduate signed to a Generation adidas contract at any one time.
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