Maybe they would have done it if this was Los Angeles.
Jack Harrison, the English-born midfielder widely expected to be a top pick in the upcoming MLS SuperDraft, is officially not going to be New York City's first Homegrown Player.
Created in 2008, the Homegrown rule allows MLS teams to sign players directly from their youth academies and affiliates, bypassing the standard amateur draft process.
The franchise's Homegrown claim was denied under league rules. As widely reported recently by SBI Soccer and others, the attempt was mightily dubious, having been based on just a scattered series of appearances for Manhattan Soccer Club during Harrison's prep days. MSC is an NYCFC youth affiliate.
If he had been approved as a Homegrown, Harrison would have been ineligible for the SuperDraft and the Generation adidas program. As it stands, Harrison appears set to sign a Generation adidas deal, according to SBI.
Born in Bolton, Harrison starred for Wake Forest University, and was named the 2015 Gatorade National Boys Player of the Year after posting 8 goals and 11 assists in just over 1600 minutes. As a prep athlete at the Berkshire School in Massachusetts, he was named State Player of the Year, stacking 24 goals and 23 assists in three seasons.
Major League Soccer, especially in its earlier years, developed an unfortunate reputation for playing fast and loose with league regulations to enhance its profile as opportunities arose. Considering everything the league has done to benefit, say, L.A. Galaxy -- don't tell me that Targeted Allocation Money wasn't specifically created so the Galacticos could sign Gio Dos Santos -- it's actually good news for the league as a whole that NYCFC's Homegrown claim on Harrison was denied.
The 2016 MLS SuperDraft will take place on January 14th in Baltimore. Stay tuned to SB Nation for all the latest updates in the run up to the league's first big event of the new year.