MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As Tim Carter watches what’s unfolding before him, he can’t help but think back to everything that had to happen beforehand.

“I’ve spent basically a year laying the groundwork,” he said.

Carter was hired as Academy Director more than a year ago — a full year of planning and coordinating before the first games were played in September. He’s charged with overseeing what is an ambitious program — a pipeline to the pros, starting with U13 and U14 teams this year.

“For an MLS club, it’s directly tied into developing talent for your team,” Carter said. “And so you have, everywhere around the world you have academies connected to professional teams, with the objective of trying to develop players that one day will step on the field with your first team.”

Every MLS club is required to have a development academy. Minnesota had tryouts to select players from 14 different local youth clubs.

“Are they all the best ones? At this age it’s hard to tell who’s the best. Good early doesn’t mean good late. That’s something I learned many years ago,” Carter said.

“We certainly want to provide the best young talent in Minnesota a pathway to reach a professional level, and that’s our goal, and we couldn’t do it without the youth soccer clubs being a part of that.”

Minnesota will phase in additional U15, 17 and 19 teams in the years to come. All part of what they hope turns into a farm system for future MLS success.