3 Impact Homegrown Players In Major League Soccer's Western Conference

Decision Day in Major League Soccer is on the horizon, and there is still plenty to be decided at the tail end of the league’s 24th season. The topsy-turvy Western Conference continues to keep fans guessing, Carlos Vela now has one hand firmly grasped on the Golden Boot award despite the advances of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Josef Martinez, and Minnesota United have clinched their first-ever playoff birth, among other noteworthy storylines.

Right in the midst of all the drama have been Homegrown players growing up right in front of our eyes and playing significant roles for their respective teams. With the regular season reaching its end in just over a week, it’s time for the latest edition of FloFC’s Homegrown check-in to highlight three players out West who have emerged this season and look to have exciting careers ahead of them.

Edwin Cerrillo | FC Dallas

It’s no secret by now that FC Dallas are masters at pumping out Homegrown talent. Paxton Pomykal, Jesus Ferreira and Reggie Cannon, and Brandon Servania have all had banner years for the North Texas club, and there appears to be no end in sight in terms of their youth pipeline.

Edwin Cerrillo became the club’s 24th Homegrown signing heading into the 2019 season and burst out of the gate with seven starts in the team’s first 10 matches. To put the success of their youth development in perspective, they have signed two additional Homegrown players since Cerrillo made the step up, so there is plenty of competition between the youngsters for minutes.

Following his inclusion in the U.S. Under-20 World Cup squad, Cerrillo got the nod in central midfield for the Homegrown starting XI against Chivas and recently earned a call-up to the U.S. Under-23 team alongside his three teammates. He has struggled to secure playing time of late due to the play of Servania, Ferreria and co., but he remains a valuable option for head coach Luchi Gonzalez as they aim to hold onto their spot for the postseason. Not bad for an 18-year-old in his first professional season.

Sam Vines | Colorado Rapids

The Rapids have two of the top young talents at their disposal in Cole Bassett and Sam Vines. Bassett made the cut for FloFC’s previous Homegrown check-in and has continued to impress at just 18 years of age, but it’s his teammate on the back line who finds himself in good company on this list.

The 20-year-old has been churning out top performances while his team is consistently under assault by superior opposition. Vines was handed the opportunity to feature at left back thanks to an injury suffered by Deklan Wynne and hasn’t looked back ever since with 21 starts and 24 total appearances. He’s been stout in his defensive duties, and he can also ping a perfect cross-field ball when needed.

Vines had the honor of donning the captain’s armband during the second half of the MLS Homegrown Game against Chivas Guadalajara back in July.

Theo Bair | Vancouver Whitecaps

If you were to envision a flawless first MLS goal, it likely wouldn't come close to Theo Bair’s crafty turn and thunderous volley in August.

With just seven wins and the second-worst goal differential in the league (-22), there simply hasn’t been much to smile about for the Vancouver Whitecaps this year. One positive has been the grooming of Bair, their 20-year-old frontman who has shown signs of becoming a dependable option up top in the coming years.

The Ontario native signed a Homegrown contract in July of 2018 and has logged minutes in 15 matches in his first professional campaign. His first start for the Caps didn’t come until July 13, but he has since earned a spot in the starting XI on seven occasions and has tallied a pair of assists.

Roma Defender Chris Smalling Has Been Stellar In Italy

As if he’d not made enough of an impression since joining AS Roma on loan from Manchester United in the summer, defender Chris Smalling really stood out as an exceptional talent on the week of his 30th birthday. 

Hofstra Coach Simon Riddiough Doesn't Need The Power 5 To Define Success

By Jerry Beach

Simon Riddiough, the head coach of the Hofstra women’s soccer team, spent about two minutes of a 21-minute interview Tuesday afternoon discussing why he’s content at the Long Island school and not planning to see if he can replicate his success with a higher-profile Power Five school that would offer the resources and opportunities to make a deep NCAA Tournament run that are generally lacking in the mid-major arena.

Carlo Ancelotti, Aurelio De Laurentiis & Napoli Are In Complete Chaos

It’s hard to believe that only as far back as April 22, 2018, Napoli beat Juventus 1-0 in Turin to move top of the table with only four games remaining. Maurizio Sarri — himself now in charge at Juve — had broken the club record points total in each of the previous two campaigns, and would do so again in 2017-18, but the Naples men ultimately finished second, albeit with yet another unseen total of 91 points.

Canada Has An Opportunity To Prove Their Standing On Friday Against USMNT

This is the moment of truth for Canada's men's national team. 

Concacaf Nations League Returns For Final Group State In November

After nearly a month of waiting for the Concacaf Nations League to kick back into gear, the tournament is finally back this week with the final two matchdays in group play. 

Seattle Sounders & Toronto FC Clash With The MLS Cup On The Line

Just over a week after the Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC went on the road and upset the favorites, MLS Cup 2019 is on the horizon as the 24th season in league history comes to a close. CenturyLink Field in Seattle will be the epicenter on Sunday at 3 PM when the two sides face off in the MLS Cup final for the third time in the past four years. 

Paulo Fonseca & The Unlikely Resurgence Of AS Roma In Serie A

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Potential USMNT Contributors From The Nations League Pre-Camp

November 15 could be a day of reckoning for Gregg Berhalter and the United States men's national team. After last month's 2-0 defeat to Canada — the first loss to their neighbors in 35 years — Berhalter needs a win in Orlando to help rectify the USA's position in the first-ever Concacaf Nations League. Anything other than a win would mean that Canada will advance to the semifinals, a shocking result for the U.S.

10 Things In Italy: Mario Balotelli, de Ligt Handballs & Conte's Inter

With the action in Italy heating up both on and off the field, it’s time to get you caught up with what’s been happening in the world of Serie A and, as always, “10 Things” is here to bring you right up to date.

Concaclusions, Ep. 9: Pulisic Strikes Again, Jiménez Haunts Arsenal

Another round of club play is in the books, and several of the region’s top players were in the headlines once again through clutch goals, quality performances, and even uncharacteristic errors.