A Glendora native, Marky Delgado became a Homegrown Player with former MLS club Chivas USA in April 2012, becoming the youngest player to sign a professional contract in club history at 16-years-old. Delgado then became reunited with Toronto FC head coach Greg Vanney – who was an assistant coach at Chivas USA while Delgado was there – when Toronto selected the young talent in the 2014 Dispersal Draft.
“I've known him since the academy; for a number of years,” Vanney said of Delgado recently. “He's always had the capacity to do an incredible amount of work on the field. He's a technical player; he's composed, I think, beyond his years, in terms of around pressure; he has very good technique. I honestly don't know how he dropped the position he did where we were able to take him.”
Delgado will have another chance to shine for his club when Toronto FC hosts the New England Revolution on Sunday, Sept. 13 at 5 p.m. ET (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes).
Highlighting a different path to club and international recognition is Polster, a native of Las Vegas, Nevada, whose route to MLS and U.S. acclaim came via college and the MLS SuperDraft. After a four-year career at unheralded Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, the 22-year-old was selected seventh overall in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft by the Chicago Fire. Polster has been one of the bright spots for the Fire this season, leading all MLS rookies in games started (23) while earning Rookie of the Year plaudits due to his deft passing and box-to-box ability. Thanks to his club success thus far, Polster earned a call-up to the most recent U.S. U-23 training camp roster, his first international call-up at any level.
The U.S. call-up allowed Polster to participate in last week’s 1-0 loss against England’s U-21 team, and earn the start in today’s 2-0 win over Qatar – the last U.S. U-23 tune-up match before Olympic Qualifying. Polster’s performances will hopefully earn himself a role in next month’s CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament and ultimately a seat on the plane to Rio de Janeiro next summer.
Polster should be available for selection in the Fire’s critical Viernes de Fútbol matchup with the New York Red Bulls on Friday, Sept. 11 at Red Bull Arena (7 p.m. ET, UniMás).
Both Delgado and Polster found their way to MLS in their own way, highlighting two very important and critical ways to develop young talent in North America: MLS Academies and college. The young standouts have used their unique experiences and differing developmental paths to flourish for their individual clubs while also earning the ultimate recognition of playing for one’s country