Orlando City has struggled to develop the Homegrown pipeline throughout its history in Major League Soccer. Forward Benji Michel is the only former Homegrown who's become a key player in the first team setup, though he never became a high-level start in MLS.
This is hopefully starting to change.
Orlando has a bounty of young players chomping at the bit to break into the first team. There are currently six Orlando Homegrowns on the roster, and only Michael Halliday has really broken into the first team --- and he has the clearest path to playing time this season.
But who else could become impact players for the Lions?
Homegrown players are a key part of the modern MLS infrastructure. It's an essential way to build depth at a low cost and a vital piece to player development and sales in the modern version of the league.
Head coach Oscar Pareja helped FC Dallas become one of the best academy pipelines in the league. He knows how to get young players into the team, but who could be next in line for his Orlando side?
The biggest potential player waiting in the wings is attacking midfielder Favian Loyola. The 17-year-old creative midfielder signed his first team contract in December. Loyola impressed at youth level and was named the MVP of the MLS NEXT All-Star game last year.
He'll probably take some time with Orlando City B in MLS NEXT Pro to develop into a real MLS player, but he's one of the most intriguing Homegrowns Orlando's seen in years.
The other most intriguing Homegrown on the radar is center back Thomas Williams. Williams signed his first-team contract in 2021, but still hasn't become a regular feature in the first team. The 18-year-old defender is a tantalizing defensive prospect with his impressive height and technical promise.
He's still extremely young and has time to develop with OCB, but he could be a gem of Orlando's future plans in the very near future.