You've probably heard that Sheanon Williams, the 19-year-old from Dorchester who starred as a right back on the US U-15 and U-20 squads, signed with MLS last week and was allocated to Real Salt Lake yesterday. And there's no doubt that you've already heard about another 19-year-old - Caio Correa (Nantucket High School) - setting it off down in Brazil. And it's certainly no secret that another Dorchester kid, Ryan Johnson, had a pretty good '09 season.
What do all three have in common? They all played high school soccer right in the shadow of Gillette Stadium. And all three waved the Bay State goodbye likely without a serious gander from the local XI. So what does that say about the Revolution scouting department?
Well, the first thing is this - the Revolution don't sign high schoolers. Plain and simple. Look at their draft record. Not a single underage soul to be found. Of course, selecting kiddoes before their senior proms is high-risk in every sport. There's no debating that. However, when some of the most promising high school talent reside in New England, the question that has to be asked: why don't the Revs sign these guys before they dart to college or overseas?
Steve Nicol & Co. doesn't make many huge gambles on draft day. Clint Dempsey is the only pick that comes to mind that could be considered somewhat risky. Excluding Deuce, the protocol appears to be "draft safe and you'll be OK." Hence, plenty of ACC talent and a handful of small-school diamonds in the rough. All in college.
It should be noted that the club has taken a few local guys in the draft. Michael Parkhurst and Mike Videira both played locally. Both went on to - you guessed it - ACC schools before their selections in the 2005 and 2008 drafts, respectively. But, when you talk about high school talent, there isn't a single example of Nicol or even Mike Burns actively scouting area high school matches.
Of course, I don't know this for sure. Who's to say they aren't scouring the fields in Mashpee, Dorchester, or Martha's Vineyard in search of the next Taylor Twellman? Maybe they do, and simply go the conservative route every time and check back in with their high school finds during their collegiate careers.
Now that the Revs have an in-house youth academy, maybe the front office believes that they already have the best of the best high schoolers. Who knows?
Listen, all I can go by are the facts. And the facts reveal that the Revolution have never drafted a player straight out of high school. With so much local talent available, it's a shame they haven't already.