It’s really, really long (rather unnecessarily so), but ESPN Soccernet’s Leander Schaerlaeckens, who has written some fairly poor stuff in recent months, has a very good overview on the development of MLS academies. It’s mostly fawning, but mostly for good reason, with plenty of interviews and facts about the growth of the academies across MLS.
One sentence in there might prompt Paul Gardner to froth at the mouth, though: “The tempo and the level of training is a lot higher than normal [youth] training sessions,” says Urbano Castro Jr., United’s youth development coordinator. “We’ve had guys that came out from top-notch regional teams and they’ll step into our training and they’ll kind of struggle just because it’s faster, more physical.”
[Emphasis mine in the hopes of baiting Gardner, should he happen to read this blog.]