As the 2013 MLS season approaches, we're counting down the days to March 2 and running the proverbial rule over each player on D.C. United's roster. Today's subject: brand new homegrown forward Michael Seaton.
If you stick around these parts (by the bye, thanks for reading!), and if Michael Seaton grows from a 16-year-old homegrown signing for D.C. United into a real first team player, you're going to have to get used to my saying this: He is MLS' Martin Van Buren. Van Buren was awesome in a lot of ways - he has a New York street gang named for him, and he might be responsible for the global usage of the term okay." But for our purposes what matters is that he was the first U.S. president born after the American Revolution. When he signed for the Black-and-Red earlier this month, Seaton became the first MLS player to be born after the league started play in 1996. He's our Van Buren.
So it's no question why I would love to see him wear #8 (which is available due to the departing Branko Boskovic). Alas, it appears he will wear #29, and so he gets the countdown treatment today.
Michael Seaton's signing was almost certainly facilitated by the then-rumored and since-confirmed affiliation between MLS and USL Pro. In fact, we hailed it here as the start of MLS 3.0. We won't spill too much more digital ink on the subject, so suffice it to say that I think we'll see the rate of homegrown signings increase across the league as the integration of the MLS Reserve League and USL Pro comes to fruition. Every year, somebody writes about the obsolescence of the SuperDraft. I think that talk is way premature, but this development does more to reduce the significance of the college entry draft than just about anything in MLS history. With the opportunity for more meaningful reserve/USL games, more MLS teams will sign homegrown players knowing they will be able to develop them in-house (or in an affiliated house, at least). Academy systems will expand, and more and better homegrown talent will come into the league. The SuperDraft isn't going anywhere anytime soon, but the further into the future we go, the thinner each draft class will be, and the more talent will have already been groomed from within MLS.
The future is now, and his name is Michael Seaton.