SANDY, Utah (Wednesday, July 10, 2019) – Real Salt Lake GK David Ochoa has been named to the MLS Homegrown Team for the 2019 MLS Homegrown Game presented by Energizer. The roster features some of Major League Soccer’s brightest young talents who will take on the Chivas de Guadalajara U-20s in the sixth annual MLS Homegrown Game presented by Energizer on Tuesday, July 30 at 3 p.m. MT at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex outside Orlando, Florida.
“This is a great opportunity for David. He continues to show progress and it’s great that the league is recognizing him for his work,” Real Salt Lake Head Coach Mike Petke said. “After already playing in the U20 World Cup this is a good chance for him to gain experience and showcase himself.”
Ochoa, 18, signed with RSL prior to the 2019 season. He made his professional debut in 2018 with the Real Monarchs as an Academy call-up on April 22, 2018 and has since made nine starts in 2019 for the club in USL Championship. This season he has a 4-3-2 record with three shutouts and a 1.44 GAA, including a shutout win over New Mexico United on Saturday.
“It’s a bit surprising, but I’m really happy and excited to be a part of a special group of the best Homegrowns in the league,” Ochoa said. “It’s a great platform and it’s great to see that I’m on the same path as the other RSL players that have had the opportunity to play in the Homegrown Game.”
In addition to his success at the club level, he was also a key contributor for the U.S. U-20 National Team in its run to the quarterfinals of the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland, playing in two matches in the tournament. He helped the U.S. contingent qualify for the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup, earning shutouts in both matches he appeared in, including a 1-0 shutout of Honduras in the CONCACAF Championship semifinal round.
In previous years, Real Salt Lake has had DF Carlos Salcedo, DF Justen Glad, DF Danilo Acosta, MF Jordan Allen, DF Phanuel Kavita, DF Brooks Lennon, MF Jose Hernandez, DF Aaron Herrera and FW Sebastian Saucedo named to the roster for the Homegrown Game. Ochoa is the first of RSL’s 10 representatives in the MLS Homegrown Game to have played at the Zions Bank Real Academy in Herriman, Utah.
This year’s team, to be coached by Orlando City SC Academy Director Marcelo Neveleff, features some of the league’s most accomplished young stars. The Homegrown Team is highlighted by five players who helped the United States to a record third straight quarterfinals appearance at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup including Ochoa, defender Aboubacar Keita (Columbus Crew SC), FC Dallas midfielders Edwin Cerrillo and Brandon Servania, and forward Justin Rennicks (New England Revolution). Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gianluca Busio, who could represent the United States at the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup in September, joins the Homegrown Team after becoming the youngest player in league history to score in three straight matches earlier this season.
Orlando City SC forward Benji Michel will represent his hometown at the Homegrown Game, another accolade after receiving his first call to the United States U-23 team in June. Joining Michel from the U.S. U-23 camp on the Homegrown Team is Philadelphia Union 18-year-old midfielder Brendan Aaronson, who has emerged as a regular starter for the top team in the Eastern Conference this season.
Representing Canada at the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup and on the Homegrown Team is Toronto FC 18-year-old midfielder Noble Okello. Okello was also one of four players on the Homegrown roster to play for Canada’s U-20 team at the Concacaf U-20 Championship including forwards Theo Bair (Vancouver Whitecaps FC) and Mathieu Choinière (Montreal Impact), and defender Daniel Kinumbe (Montreal Impact).
Joining a list of formidable opponents to participate in the MLS Homegrown Game, Chivas de Guadalajara’s Under-20 team brings an accomplished track record to the match. The club captured the Liga MX Clausura 2019 Under-20 title and features numerous players that have received time with both the Chivas reserve squad and the first team side that has captured three titles over the previous three years. The Chivas U-20 traveling roster will be named at a later date.
Orlando City SC Academy Director Marcelo Neveleff will serve as the head coach for the Homegrown Team against Chivas. Neveleff previously served as the first team assistant coach for the New England Revolution and was part of the staff to coach the United States at the 2017 Concacaf U-20 Championship.
2019 MLS Homegrown Team Roster
Goalkeepers: Matt Freese (Philadelphia Union), David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake), Mason Stajduhar (Orlando City SC)
Defenders: Aboubacar Keita (Columbus Crew SC), Daniel Kinumbe (Montreal Impact), Erik McCue (Houston Dynamo), Noble Okello (Toronto FC), Donovan Pines (D.C. United), Bryan Reynolds (FC Dallas), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids)
Midfielders: Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union), Cole Bassett (Colorado Rapids), Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City), Edwin Cerrillo (FC Dallas), Thomas Roberts (FC Dallas), Brandon Servania (FC Dallas)
Forwards: Theo Bair (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Handwalla Bwana (Seattle Sounders FC), Mathieu Choinière (Montreal Impact), Omir Fernandez (New York Red Bulls), Benji Michel (Orlando City SC), Justin Rennicks (New England Revolution)
MLS Homegrown Game History
2018: MLS Homegrown Team 1-1 Tigres UANL U-20s
2017: MLS Homegrown Team 2-2 Chivas de Guadalajara U-20s
2016: MLS Homegrown Team 0-1 Mexico U-20s
2015: MLS Homegrown Team 1(4)-1(5) Club América U-20s
2014: MLS Homegrown Team 0–0 Portland Timbers U-23s