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A look at the standout MLS Class of 2010

TimReam (

A year ago, the 2009 MLS rookie class was being lauded as one of the best in recent memory. Little did we know that just a year later the MLS Class of 2010 would be even better.

The current crop of MLS rookies has enjoyed a stronger season than many would have imagined, with many rookies playing key roles, including some holding down major parts on strong teams. Led by the impressive trio of Tim Ream, Danny Mwanga and Andy Najar, the MLS Class of 2010 is shaping up to be the deepest and strongest class in league history. We won't know for several years just how strong the group is, but it is already off to a flying start.

I gave my take on the MLS All-Rookie Team for Fox Soccer, and even more impressive than the collection of talent on that squad was the fact that there were several worthy candidates who fell short of the team. That sort of depth in a rookie class would have been unimaginable as recently as three or four years ago.

Give my selections a look and share your take on this year's rookie class. Is it the best you've ever seen? What rookie impressed you the most this year? Which rookie was the most surprising?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I do love a good debate. And I see that Boosted has picked up on einar’s favorite rhetorical device: Just making ßhit up. “…they do so sans the mistakes and inconsistencies.” Now you’ve lumped Gonzo Opara in with Ream. (And I love how einar makes up a “midseason loss of form” for Ream and attributes it to Ives.) Preposterous. You’re rooting against the Red Bulls because of perceived media bias. And it’s true: SBI was basically a Red Bulls blog before Ives went big. The bias is there. The media are largely in New York You’re, and we get to see the Red Bulls. Not saying your guy isn’t R.O.Y. material; just saying the “inconsistencies” label is complete hokum and virtually impossible to disprove. If you can name ONE shakey play of Ream’s — one goal that was his fault and his alone — I’ll say he’s as inconsistent as einar’s spelling. I have no doubt that Ream has made mistakes; I’m just betting that you’ve never seen one. You’re like Christine O’Donnell professing innocence about gay-baiting her primary opponent. “Who says my opponent Mike Castle IS GAY? I would never say MIKE CASTLE IS GAY. Did someone else say MIKE CASTLE IS GAY? I would never say MIKE CASTLE IS GAY. Who would ever suggest that MIKE CASTLE IS GAY?”

  2. Have to agree with einer on the point that NY and LA get WAAAAY more attention on this site then Dallas.

    -Lets be honest Ives-

    He mentioned Zach Loyd (ROY dark horse) but a better example would be George John as he is never mentioned in the same breath here as Gonzo, Opra, Ream but does everything they do sans the mistakes and inconsistencies.

    Unlike einer I do believe Ream is a very good player and has all the potential in the world and is a legit ROY candidate. I didn’t get the pleasure to watch Gonzo perform last year… what I’ve seen this year (including watching him front row last Sunday) hasn’t been that impressive but he’s young and BIG and hopefully will progress too.

    But back to Dallas… Ives you have no excuse not to watch Dallas play now because of the playoffs, Your not going to (nor should you ) take my word for it so just WATCH George John do his thing and then give him his long overdue spotlight props

    (SBI-Boosted, I’ve watched Dallas plenty, and while they’re better than I thought they’d be, I’m not nearly as sold on them as you clearly are. As for George John, I rated him highly coming out of the draft, raved about him at the combine, but I also have reservations about his ability to deal with top forwards and want to see how he holds up against the Saborios and Buddles of the world when the time comes.

    As for NY and LA getting way more attention than Dallas on SBI. Name me a site outside Dallas where that isn’t the case?)

  3. it only sounds that way cuz u cant hear my tone of voice. he had a dip in form in the season like ives said because of how petke played. Calling him a US captain is too soon. Thats like me saying najar is going to change the style of the USMNT even though he hasnt chosen a country yet.

  4. well SBI u clearly saw your argument of rookies being in subpar teams go to shambles with my argument. and furthermore there is a difference between shaky moments(rare) and a stretch in the dip of a performance. I love how Reams plays but i am simply making an argument that he did not do enough to gain ROY as a defender. It is time for a player other than a defender to win it this year. I am not being biased or just hating on him. he just didnt do enough to impress me in my opinion.And lets be honest. Zach loyd can be up there too right? but he isnt going to be one of the finalists because more of the attention is on new york than dallas

    (SBI-Einar, you need to stop smoking that good stuff if you think you were close to winning that argument. You made no case for someone other than Ream to win it, and no, simply rattling off names of former winners doesn’t get it done. As for Zach Loyd, he had a good season, but was hardly a lockdown defender or the leader of that back-line. He’s a talented kid with a bright future (who probably finishes fifth on my ballot and made my All-Rookie Team), but to compare his season to Ream’s is laughable.)

  5. I have no problem with Najar or Mwanga as rookies of the year. I just think that the casual dismissal of Ream as inconsistent isn’t accurate. It sounds like an emotional decision rather than a factual one. From the very first time I saw this guy play, he was calm under pressure. I’m sure he’d trade being a rookie of the year for a future USMNT captain.

  6. quite simple. his year was not as good as Gonzalez’s ROY. but that can be large due in part that Gonzalez has Berhalter to look up to. And Ream has had Petke? :p Also y not give Mwanga or najar credit even though they were in bad teams? That argument is awful. Cuz that means no credit should go to Sean Franklin in 2008 and Maurice Edu in 2007 for their ROY wins.

    (SBI-Einar, debating isn’t really your strength, is it? I never said don’t give Mwanga and Najar credit because they’re on bad teams, but it isn’t as if either was a leader on their teams all year? Mwanga was very good for Philly, but was far from their most important player (or else he would have started more games). Najar, while extremely exciting to watch, still took time to settle into the team, and even after settling in with the team he wasn’t always a factor. Ream started every single game and was the Red Bulls’ best defender all season. He got rave reviews from opposing players and coaches, and save for a few hiccups in mid-season, was stellar. I really don’t get why you keep bringing up Omar Gonzalez. He was a rookie LAST YEAR. He’s not up for it this year. Get over it already.)

  7. @ Conrad so FC Dallas has 28 GA. that means Zach Lloyd should be rookie of the year over Ream. The point is. To be a rookie of the year as a defender u have to be phenomenal like an Omar Gonzalez. Truth is who plays better in their roles? Ream did great. But najar and mwanga were phenomenal in their position. In terms of individually pushing their teams performance. And what midfielder or forward has done that the last 2 years? none. so their is your evidence.

    (SBI-So you want to give credit for Mwanga and Najar for setting the standard on two bad teams. And the reality is Mwanga did not “push his team’s performance”. LeToux was the catalyst of that team all year. Najar certainly raised the bar for DC, but his team set it so low how do you use that to give him a boost?

    Einar, since you’ve tooted the “Ream is inconsistent/overrated” horn several times this year, could you care to offer your examples for why it is you feel that way? I watched every game he played this year, and while he certainly had some shaky games, and made his share of mistakes, he was excellent far more than he was “inconsistent”.)

  8. de la luz is a not so often used sub, but it seems like Backe likes him. Juan Agudelo could prove to be his downfall.

    Bright Dike is now a Timber I think?

    Dilly Duka made a handful of appearances for Columbus, maybe 4 or 5?

    Don’t know about the rest

  9. Not to pick on Einar, but I have to expose this conventional wisdom as bullßhit: “Ream was inconsistent.” I’ve heard this before, and I don’t believe there’s a shred of evidence to support this. In all of MLS, there were only three teams with fewer goals allowed. The Red Bulls (with Ream as full-time starting central defender) had ELEVEN clean sheets. (And Condoul, while a gifted shot-blocker, is not what you’d call a positional mastermind.) Albright was inconsistent; Miller was inconsistent. I attend three games in Harrison and watched a half-dozen more on TV. I’ve never seen Ream play his midfield into trouble; I’ve never seen him get burned. This guy is as good a defender as MLS has ever produced. Better than Najar or Mwanga, I couldn’t say.

  10. I know I’m biased, but Collen Warner has shone well for himself in a fair number of games for a rookie in a strong RSL midfield. His CCL play has been impressive and could develop into another Andy Williams or Javier Morales.
    Thought he might warrant a mention.

  11. It’d be cool to see a feature about the top U.S. rookies abroad, as well. Whether now as a “preview,” or at the end of the European season in the spring.

  12. So the first round of the draft was loaded full of talent plus the guys that Columbus picked. Anyone want to fill us in on the performances this year for the following:

    6th, Phi, Okugo

    8th Colu Dilly Duka

    11th Sea Estrada

    12th Colu Bright “the legend” Dike

    13th Chi Bone

    16th NY Austin de La Luz

  13. agreed. the stronger the north american region becomes will ultimately help MLS and USMNT. It doesn’t help to have US and Mexico being the only powers in the region.

  14. If I didn’t know better from listening to the Euros, I would think that the US is developing soccer players.

    Look at how much playing time these guys got, plus the 2009 class playing time.

    Who did they replace ? A mass exodus to other leagues, or just plain beat out existing players ?

    Seems like the latter to me, meaning this league is getting better every year. Everything that I read says 2011 will be similar.

  15. that redbull uniform has got to be the worst thing ever……classy stadium but….really they would look better playing in pink!!!

  16. Impressive since all of these players came up through the NCAA or US Youth system. Actually, I think Najar is the only one not to play college soccer. I remember some seasons where only one or two guys would make an impact right out of the NCAA.

  17. I will celebrate heartily when Canada makes the World Cup… it is good for MLS and good for USMNT to have good a Canada soccer program

  18. I was able to watch a number of RBNY games over the season (compared to mostly highlights of the other rookies), and was very impressed by both Ream and Tchani.

  19. good crop of rookies this year no doubt but I really hope the rookie of the year award goes to najar or mwanga. It cant be a defender this year again. Becuz even Ream who was the best rookie defender this year undoubtedly was inconsistent at times and not nearly had the year Gonzalez had last year

    (SBI-Einar, let’s face it, you’ve spent the better part of this season throwing jabs at Ream and the sense I get is that it bothers you to no end that he gets compared to Gonzalez. Ream struggled for a stretch in mid-season (at least partly because of the struggles of his partner, Mike Petke, who was subsequently benched), but for a majority of the season he was head and shoulders above the rest of the Red Bulls’ defenders. He was clearly the defensive leader on a conference-winning team. You can argue that Gonzalez had a better season but I would argue that Gonzalez had shaky moments as well and played in a better defense and in front of a better goalkeeper than Ream. The comparison isn’t between them though. It’s between Ream, Mwanga and Najar, and while the other two may be more exciting prospects, the better actual body of work during the year was put together by Ream. Period.)

  20. As a TFC and Canadian fan I don’t care for the draft.

    I expect in the years to come the academies of the Canadian MLS franchises will be our key source of emerging talent both league-wide and for the national program. Nicolas Lindsay, Doneil Henry and Ashtone Morgan are just the tip of the iceberg!


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