SAN JOSE, Calif. – Major League Soccer today announced that the MLS Homegrown Team, coached by U.S. Soccer and MLS legend Landon Donovan, will take on the Mexico Under-20 national team in the third annual Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game on July 27 at 6 p.m. PT at Avaya Stadium as part of the 2016 AT&T MLS All-Star Week. For the first time in its history, the Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game will be broadcast live on national television on UDN.
Tickets may be purchased at www.ChipotleHomegrown.com and include entrance to both the 2016 Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game as well as the Generation adidas ESP Showcase Match being held immediately prior at 3 p.m. PT at Avaya Stadium.
Now in his second year as the coach of the MLS Homegrown Team, Donovan will host a live Q&A session on his Facebook page (facebook.com/landondonovan) today at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT to talk about his coaching experience, player selection process, and answer questions about the match.
CLICK HERE for video soundbytes from Landon Donovan, Mexico National Team head coach Juan Carlos Osorio, Mexican Federation Sporting Director of National Teams Santiago Baños and Mexico Under-20 national team head coach and players.
One of the most highly anticipated events of the year, the Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game provides an annual platform in which to showcase MLS’ burgeoning young talent and demonstrate the growth of the league’s youth development system. MLS academies continue to attract and cultivate topflight prospects and have now produced over 150 Homegrown Players who have signed professional contracts with MLS clubs. Vital to the long-term success of their clubs, Homegrown Players now serve more important and visible roles than ever, with academy products logging a record 54,000 minutes played in 2015, more than quadruple the minutes played from 2011.
Homegrown Players have also become significant contributors at the international level with the U.S. and Canadian youth and senior national teams relying on some of the league’s most exciting and promising young players. In 2016, four Homegrown standouts: Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas) and Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC), combined for a total of nine caps for the senior U.S. Men’s National Team, while Morris, Acosta and Trapp also proved indispensable for the U.S. U-23s in recent Olympic qualifiers. Five Homegrown Players have been tapped for the Canadian Men’s National Team so far this year, with Maxime Crepeau (Montreal Impact), Sam Adekugbe (Vancouver Whitecaps FC) Wandrille Lefevre (Montreal Impact), Kianz Froese (Vancouver Whitecaps FC) and Marco Bustos (Vancouver Whitecaps FC) all suiting up for The Reds.
“The development of Major League Soccer’s youth academy system remains at the forefront of the league’s long-term initiatives” said Todd Durbin, Executive Vice President of Player Relations and Competition. “The Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game offers a unique opportunity for the exceptional players our clubs have produced. We are excited to have the Mexico Under-20 national team as this year’s opponent as it promises to be a competitive match.”
“Maintaining a healthy lifestyle includes eating nutritious food, and we’re proud to serve athletes of all ages great-tasting food made from high-quality ingredients,” said Mark Crumpacker, Chipotle’s chief creative and development officer. “Our unique menu lets our customers pick and choose exactly what goes into their meal, allowing each customer to create a completely customizable meal that can accommodate any active lifestyle or training plan.”
The most formidable opponent to feature in a Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game to date, the Mexico U-20s will bring another level of competition to the annual summer showcase. One of the most accomplished youth national teams on the world stage, the Mexico U-20s lay claim to 13 CONCACAF U-20 Championship titles, most recently winning the past three editions of the tournament in 2011, 2013 and 2015. Some of Mexico’s brightest youngsters will hope to suit up in San Jose, including U-20 centerpiece and Pachuca midfielder Pablo Lopez, Club América’s Ulises Torres and Chivas forward Kevin Magaña, among others. In an interesting twist of fate, the MLS Homegrowns could face one of their own as Real Salt Lake academy product Sebastian Saucedo – who is currently on loan with Liga MX club Veracruz – received his first call-up to the Mexico U-20 squad last November.
MLS Homegrown Players are a specialized group of players that have been a member of an MLS club’s youth development program for at least one year and have met the necessary training and retention requirements. Players that meet those qualifications can sign a professional contract with the club’s senior team without being subject to the SuperDraft.
Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game History
2015: MLS Homegrown Team 1(4)-1(5) Club América U-20s
2014: MLS Homegrown Team 0–0 Portland Timbers U-23s
ABOUT MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
Headquartered in New York City, Major League Soccer features 20 clubs throughout the United States and Canada. The 2016 season marks the second year of the most comprehensive U.S. media rights partnership in the history of the league, as eight-year agreements with ESPN, FOX Sports and Univision Deportes have commenced. For more information about MLS, visit www.MLSsoccer.com.
Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO, started Chipotle with the idea that food served fast did not have to be a typical fast food experience. Today, Chipotle continues to offer a focused menu of burritos, tacos, burrito bowls (a burrito without the tortilla) and salads made from fresh, high-quality raw ingredients, prepared using classic cooking methods and served in a distinctive atmosphere. Through our vision of Food With Integrity, Chipotle is seeking better food from using ingredients that are not only fresh, but that — where possible — are sustainably grown and raised responsibly with respect for the animals, the land and the farmers who produce the food. In order to achieve this vision, we focus on building a special people culture that is centered on creating teams of top performers empowered to achieve high standards. This people culture not only leads to a better dining experience for our customers, it also allows us to develop future leaders from within. Chipotle opened with a single restaurant in 1993 and operates more than 2,000 restaurants, including 20 Chipotle restaurants outside the U.S. and 15 ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen restaurants, and is an investor in an entity that owns and operates three Pizzeria Locale restaurants. For more information, visit Chipotle.com.