Excerpt from one of Ives' full-fledged articles in the Herald:
"Thanks to a series of policy changes by MLS, these aspiring professional soccer players have a far more direct path to the pros than ever before. The league's new player development initiative, launched last fall, will now allow MLS teams to sign players directly from their own league-approved youth programs. As one of the few teams in MLS to already have a qualified player development system in place, the Red Bulls will be one of the first to be allowed to sign their own youth team players, beginning with one player next year."
Couple this with an article straight from the DCU FO itself:
"Last week, two members of D.C. United's U-16 team got a taste of some of the exciting changes happening in the Youth Academy when they got a unique opportunity to train with the likes of Ben Olsen, Bobby Boswell, Troy Perkins and the rest of the club's first team. D.C. United U-16 teammates Shane Cooke and Bill Hamid joined the full squad for three days of training to help them get a feel for what playing with the first team might be like - an opportunity Maessner believes is priceless for his young players."
Cooke is a midfielder and Hamid is a goalkeeper (DCU always seems to be well stocked) and from what I can glean from the article, it seems their talent merited a good look from the DCU senior coaching staff. Furthermore, DCU's U-16 team is already member of the new Youth Academy system currently being inaugurated by US Soccer.
Very encouraging stuff.