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If Jack Harrison signs with NYCFC, we riot

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NYCFC is trying to claim the Wake Forest star as a homegrown player in the wake of the Union being denied rights to Keegan Rosenberry.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

In the world of smoky backroom wheeling and dealing over undisclosed rules associated with the MLS Homegrown Player Rule, Wake Forest phenom Jack Harrison could end up being a New York City FC homegrown player because he was a part-time player for a youth affiliate of the second-year MLS club.

Harrison, who quit the Manchester United Academy to attend school at the prestigious Berkshire School in Massachusetts, was a guest player for Manhattan Soccer Club for three seasons when he wasn't playing for his high school.

New York City FC officials reportedly think this tenuous connection to the budding star from Bristol, England is enough to snatch him away from the MLS SuperDraft where he would likely be a high pick, should he choose to leave school early and sign a Generation Adidas deal.

It's all a joke, right?

Georgetown senior right back Keegan Rosenberry actually wore a Philadelphia Union jersey, for the Union reserves and for the Union Academy way back when it was a part-time "club and country" setup. Yes, he was a part-time player called into the Academy as players are called into international teams, but his connection to the club was clear.

The Philadelphia Union's claim on him as a homegrown was reportedly denied, leaving him to enter the SuperDraft instead of filling one of the many empty roster spots on the first team.

Rosenberry is a Ronks, Pa., native who played his club soccer with Union youth affiliate Penn Fusion and also starred in high school soccer with Lancaster Mennonite. He didn't live with or attend school with other Union youth players in a full-time Academy arrangement the way those in the system do now but neither did Zach Pfeffer, Jimmy McLaughlin or Cristhian Hernandez, who were all signed out of this part-time Academy system as homegrown players.

Madison, who may also be headed to the SuperDraft, is reportedly still eligible to sign a deal out of the same part-time setup that Rosenberry was in, so there are other factors and a lack of transparency in the process leaves questions hanging. One wonders where Penn State junior Connor Maloney might fall after he finishes his senior season next fall as one of the last holdouts of the old system.

Harrison may not end up playing in MLS at all, given the offers that are surely to come from abroad and the three years of eligibility still remaining in college. If he does and it's for New York City FC as a homegrown player, the league has a lot of explaining to do, especially to those of us who have been waiting a long time for the Union to sign another homegrown player to the first team.