At the tail-end of the 2016 season, the Quakes had very, very little to show from their youth academy. Midfielder Tommy Thompson was the team’s lone Homegrown Player and had played less than 2,000 career minutes across his first three seasons.
But 2017 was different on this front for a variety of reasons. The Quakes signed Nick Lima ahead of the season and made him the regular starter at right back from Day One. Thompson was also given a significantly bigger role in the team’s attack, setting career-highs in just about every statistical category.
Despite an injury hamstringing (pun intended) the final-third of his season, Lima finished the year with 22 appearances, 20 starts, 1,809 minutes, two goals and one assist. He was the first Homegrown Player to ever score in a Quakes kit, and it took him just 144 minutes into his pro career.
Thompson exceeded all expectations heading into his fourth season as a professional. At just 21 years old, No. 22 appeared in all but two games during the regular season, scoring a terrific goal against Atlanta United FC and providing four assists.
Next year should see an even bigger contribution from Homegrown Players, with the aforementioned duo expected to grow in their respective roles and two additional Academy products joining the First Team ranks.