The New England Revolution have announced a partnership with local side Real Boston Rams as their official USL Premier Development League associate, a practice that many MLS sides have adopted recently.
This affiliation presents the opportunity for will allow a loan system for both coaches and players. College-aged Revolution Academy alumni will be able to play for the Rams during the PDL season, and coaches from the Revs Academy youth team will also get the opportunity to help the Rams and oversee the development of the aforementioned players.
"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."
This presents an excellent opportunity in player and coach development for both teams. Under the current rules, academy products who have moved on to college are unable to play in the MLS Reserve League, and are only allowed to train with the Revs during breaks or play with a development partner to ensure homegrown status. Having that type of partner allows the Academy products to gain an incredible amount of experience playing in a competitive division while maintaining eligibility for both NCAA competition and a homegrown contract.
It also allows the coaches the chance to monitor and guide the players during that season, and also to scout other players on the Boston Rams who show promise. This comes out as a win-win situation for both the teams, MLS, and U.S. Soccer as a whole; increasing the number of homegrown players and the level of competition in both leagues can only result in good things for the future.
Rams general manager John Barata describes the deal as "the perfect complement as both clubs have congruent development goals." He also added "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."
This opens a new chapter into a world of opportunity for the Rams and the Revolution, along with the young, bright prospects of MLS. Local talents now have a gateway into MLS-level coaching and possible discovery by professional scouts, while Academy products will have the chance to gain a massive amount of experience without losing their homegrown status or their college eligibility.
The Rams' schedule runs from May 11th to the beginning of August, and should allow the players to return to their College teams before or during preseason.