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New England Revolution working to develop homegrown players

Revolution working to develop homegrown players
Revolution working to develop homegrown players 02:04

FOXBORO - Arlington native Noel Buck was just 12 years old when he joined the New England Revolution Academy.

"You make sacrifices to get to certain places," said Buck. "That's the sacrifice I made."

Fast forward to now, and the soon to be 18-year-old is now preparing to head into his second season with the Revolution.

"We basically put a plan together," admitted Curtis Onalfo, Technical Director of the Revolution. "We said, 'look, you're 15 years old but by the time you're 17 we want you to have 60 games as a professional and that will position you.'"

The young players who come up through the Revs development system, Revolution 2, are called "homegrown."

"They tell me to sort of find the habits or follow someone a little bit who you want to emulate and want to be like," said Jack Panayotou.

Panayotou, a native of Cambridge, recently became just the tenth homegrown star to sign with the Revs.

While just 18 years old, he says the academy helps you grow in ways that you just wouldn't be able to if you played for a high school or local club team.

"It's a professional environment," explained Panayotou. "As I've kind of come through the ranks I don't think it's been a huge jump from each rank. From 17s to 19s, 19s to second team. Second team to first team."

"It wasn't always easy," said Noel. "Playing there was difficult, especially as a young kid while balancing school and like whatever else you've got (going on) but was a big help."

It's these early opportunities that the Revs hope will lead to more success for the club for years to come.

"If you strive for excellence each day and keep getting better and you look back over six months, a year, two years you start seeing progress," said Onalfo. 

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