FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution (Major League Soccer) and Real Boston Rams (USL Premier Development League) have entered into a partnership that makes the Rams the official USL PDL affiliate of the Revolution.
The affiliation agreement allows college-aged Revolution Academy youth team products the opportunity to play for the Rams during their PDL season. Additionally, members of the Revolution Academy’s youth teams’ technical staff will assist the Rams’ coaching staff to help oversee the Revolution players’ continued development during the summer months.
“We’re pleased to establish a partnership with Real Boston Rams,” Revolution general manager Michael Burns said. “Previously, our college-aged Academy players did not have a local outlet to play games during the summer under our supervision since they could not play with our reserve team. With this agreement with Real Boston Rams, we now have the opportunity to continue our Academy players’ development locally through their college years and help them maintain their Homegrown protected status with our club.”
“We are delighted to partner with the New England Revolution,” Real Boston Rams general manager John Barata said. “The Revs are one of MLS’ leading clubs in player development and our affiliation agreement is the perfect complement as both clubs have congruent development goals. We look forward to building a long-term alliance that will provide multiple benefits for both clubs as we grow and develop professional soccer players in our region.”
In order to be signed by an MLS first team without going through the MLS draft process, academy products must maintain Homegrown protected status throughout their time in college. This can be accomplished by training with their club for a designated number of days throughout the year, or continuing to play for a team in the club’s developmental pyramid, including USL PDL and Under-23 teams.
In previous years, a select number of Revolution Academy players – all high-school aged – could play in MLS Reserve League games as members of the Revolution. However, because of NCAA rules, college-aged Academy products cannot play with their MLS teams in the reserve league; they can only train with their professional first teams during school breaks, or play with the club’s development partners, to maintain Homegrown protected status.
With the agreement with Real Boston Rams, college-aged Revolution Academy products will now have the opportunity to continue playing under the auspices of the Revolution, allowing them to maintain Homegrown protection while playing competitively in the summer. They may still maintain their Homegrown protection by training with the Revolution for at least the prescribed number of days.
“Our relationship with the Rams provides a valuable opportunity for our returning college players to train and play meaningful games locally during the summer,” Revolution director of youth development and Under-16 head coach Bryan Scales said. “Our first-team and Academy coaches, in conjunction with the Rams’ technical staff, will be able to train and monitor the development of our college-aged players as they progress from the Revolution Academy, to college, through the Real Boston Rams, and eventually into MLS with the Revolution.”
Real Boston Rams’ season begins May 11, 2013, with their first regular-season game against CFC Azul, and runs through the beginning of August when most players return to their colleges for preseason training. The Rams play their home games at Oliver Ames High School in Easton, Mass.