MLS Notes: Bliss joins U.S. U-20 staff, Portland's first Homegrown deal & more

MLS Notes: Bliss joins U.S. U-20 staff, Portland's first Homegrown deal & more

U.S. Under-20 National Team

MLS Notes: Bliss joins U.S. U-20 staff, Portland's first Homegrown deal & more

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Columbus Crew technical director Brian Bliss can add U.S. Under-20 national team assistant coach to his resume after becoming the first assistant appointed to Tab Ramos' staff on Wednesday.

Bliss will maintain his duties with the Crew while assuming the added international responsibilities. He is currently with Ramos to help lead the U-20 camp that is taking place in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and he will also be present at the MLS Combine, which happens to take place in the same city and begins on Friday.

Bliss, a former U.S. international, was an assistant coach for the Kansas City Wizards from 2000-2006 before taking over the head coaching duties on an interim basis for a brief period. More recently, he has had a big hand with the Crew's U-20 program and youth teams.

Here are a couple of more items from around MLS:

PORTLAND SIGNS FIRST HOMEGROWN PLAYER

University of Washington forward Brent Richards became the first Homegrown Player for the Portland Timbers franchise after signing a deal with the club on Wednesday.

The circumstances surrounding how Richards could sign a Homegrown deal with Portland are a bit unique, considering he had no affiliation with the club's youth academy. He was a standout performer for the Timbers' U-23 PDL side for the last three years, and he was also a member of Eastside United, a Timbers-affiliated youth club, during Portland's USL days.

Richards had an extremely productive four years at Washington, where he led the Huskies in scoring every season he was there and finished his career with 31 goals. He scored 10 goals this past season.

WARNER TRAINING IN ENGLAND

Collen Warner became the latest American to train abroad this winter, taking his game to England in the build-up to the MLS preseason. The Montreal Impact midfielder just started a 10-day stint with League Championship club Brighton & Hove Albion as he gets ready for his first year in Montreal and third season in MLS.

Warner had been with Real Salt Lake for the past two years, but he was left unprotected for the expansion draft and was scooped up by Impact coach Jesse Marsch and his staff.

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Think Bliss is a good hire for the U-20s? What do you make of Richards' Homegrown deal? Think Warner will have a breakout season in Montreal?

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