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USMNT looking for infusion of young, creative talent as four-year cycle continues

DeAndre Yedlin USMNT Costa Rica



HARRISON, N.J. – The U.S. Men’s National Team’s main focus since its World Cup exit has been about testing out some of the pool’s younger players.

Now, it’s all about that group seizing the opportunity and running with it.

U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann gave several youngsters a look in Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat against Costa Rica at Red Bull Arena, but once again the inexperienced Americans were unable to fully seize the moment.

Still, it was a needed move as Saturday’s defeat to Mexico made one thing quite apparent: the U.S. is still relying too heavily on stars of yesteryear like Clint Dempsey and DaMarcus Beasley.

“It’s going to get better. It’s naturally going to get better as the games come and they get tougher,” Jozy Altidore said. “I know, when you think about it, as they get tougher you’d think maybe it doesn’t get easier, but it will get easier.

“Guys get a little more comfortable in their role. Somewhere along the way there’s going to be some fresh blood that comes in and helps us.”

Tuesday’s clash with Costa Rica provided yet another opportunity for youngsters to assert themselves. Gyasi Zardes, perhaps the U.S.’s best newcomer in 2015, got a look as a striker, while DeAndre Yedlin continued to feature in the wide midfield position. Bobby Wood, a goal-scorer against Mexico, got another half up top on the heels of a hot summer.

But yet the team’s younger core has yet to hit its stride. The previous generation – the Dempseys, Altidores, and Michael Bradleys – continues to lead the way. Meanwhile, the Under-23 and Under-20 stars are still looking to find their feet before making the leap to the senior team.

Klinsmann believes the development of those promising prospects will come with some more time, though.

“The weight on their shoulders is just different and that’s why we need to be patient with DeAndre Yedlin. We need to be patient with Gyasi and Bobby Wood,” Klinsmann said. “We cannot expect that suddenly these youngsters can carry the weight in bigger games. That process for us is just normal.

“We wish there would be more of these guys so we could bring them through, but sometimes there’s a step backwards and you go two forwards. We did two backwards, and now we better hurry up and take a couple of steps forward.”

One player that Klinsmann believes has begun to make the leap is Wood, whose goal against Mexico, summer performances vs. a pair of traditional European powerhouses, and club form has propelled him into the conversation as a potential starter.

At this time last year, Wood was largely seen as unpolished and unconfident. Now, with goals against the Netherlands, Germany and Mexico on his resume, Wood is getting closer and closer to being a legitimate option at the forward position.

Still, Klinsmann needs to see more of the forward and how he stacks up against veterans like Altidore, Dempsey, and Aron Johannsson.

“Six months ago, you would have probably said, ‘Why is he always helping that kid?’” Klinsmann said of Wood. “Then suddenly came two goals in June and now he starts now picking it up again. All these younger players, they go through up and downs. Obviously the team right now knows this well. We just have to help them and that’s what we’re doing.”

Altidore wants players like Wood to break in, and also hopes to see an increase in the team’s attacking talent.

Citing Lee Nguyen as an example, Altidore said the U.S. needs to add players that are creative, that can pick out key passes, and create havoc for opposing defenses. Altidore believes those players are there, and it’s just a matter of identifying them and getting them up to speed with the team.

Luckily for the U.S., there is time. World Cup qualifying begins next month, but the 2018 tournament in Russia is still almost three years away. That should give the youth ample opportunity to develop and grow into more regular roles.

“Every cycle is a rebirth. You have to shake things up,” veteran goalkeeper Tim Howard said. “You have to try new players. Other players get older and some of your best players who are top dogs today are going to be old as dirt in 2018 and are not going to be in form. There’s that balance of getting that result today versus trying to bleed new guys in. “

Added Altidore: “At the end of the day, there are a lot of experienced guys that have played at high levels. I think we need the young guys to step up and add that injection to the team. We need them to step up and everybody needs to hold their own out there.”


  1. If you are coaching a team for the long run — which is not all that common in professional soccer — you need to be improving your lineup all the time. You need to take any opportunity to upgrade a position and you can’t get too committed to individual players. It has to be very much “What have you done for me lately?” You don’t want to wake up one morning to discover your whole team is over the hill.
    It isn’t anything like college sports where players graduate every year and you have to replace them.

    If that’s all true, why is Jurgen saying the things he has? Shouldn’t he have been replacing players all the time, if there were better ones available?

    And another thing, a national team is no place to develop players. Work them into a lineup certainly, but not teach them how to play the game. Jurgen keeps talking about players who are really just prospects — guys with obvious talents but who have real learning to do. Surely he should be concentrating on players who are in their prime. Why isn’t he?

  2. I find it interesting that people keep citing Dempsey when we talk of veterans that we may have seen the last of with the national team… I’d absolutely agree on the “over reliance” point, we need goals from someone else and hopefully someone younger. That said, I’ve seen the suggestion in multiple articles that he’s one of those like DMB that may have played their last match vs. Mexico or the like. Really? He has 9 goals in 9 games THIS year and won the Golden Boot in the Gold Cup, the only highlight of that disaster.

    We need some help in the scoring department from the youth and Dempsey can’t do it forever. He also had a weak showing vs. Mexico, but how about we focus on how no one is helping him rather than how our most productive attacker is done.

  3. Begin the day with Java. Reflect upon the past. Hope for a better future. But never forget to live in the present.

    Enlighten your soul with positivity. Negative thoughts beget negative thoughts.

    The USMNT will be fine.

  4. Ouch. Those two recent games were very painful. Our Concacaf rivals have Klinsmann figured out. We send our backs out on an attack into their five man or six man backfield, they counter and easily get behind our centerbacks. Then if we get the ball back they press our backfield and don’t allow our midfield to distribute the ball. Conclusion, we lose.

  5. I’m curious who posters and pundits would choose for January’s Camp Strudel. Here’s a list of MLS players who might be considered, and I’m leaving off all of the old veterans who have returned to MLS in the last year or two–not that they should necessarily be kicked out of the program, but because it’s not that fun to include them at this point (Altidore, Bradley, Dempsey, etc).

    Forwards: Sapong, Agudelo, Zardes,Bruin, McInerney, Shelton, Davies, Amerikwa, McNamara
    Midfielders: Nagbe, Pelosi, Lletget, Gil, Powers, Feilhaber, Shipp, Finlay, Rolfe, McCarty, Nguyen, Rowe
    Outside Backs: Remick, Wynne, Rogers, Beltran, Loyd, Sarkodie, Lade, Klute (I’m sure I’m forgetting players here)
    Centerbacks: Evans, Alashe, Besler, Hedges, Farrell, Miazga, Edu, Gonzo,

    There are some good prospects there, young and medium aged. I find myself wanting to see more of our midfielders who have converted to centerbacks–that’s an athletic and technically skilled (for centerbacks) bunch: Farrell, Edu, Evans, Alashe
    I also would like to see a forward who works hard and holds the ball up. Sapong deserves another chance and Bruin has grown.
    I really want to see Nagbe integrated. I don’t care if he doesn’t score a million goals–As Doyle likes to say, he tilts the field by his presence and opens up space for others….

    • Bring back Johnnny Bornstein.
      The man has paid some seriouos dues, and is now starting regularly in Liga MX, at outside back. Speaks fluent Spanish (he is a Jewish white boy from California, but his grandma is Mexican) and could help integrate the other Hispanic players in the pool.
      Klinsman needs to really put his money where his mouth is re: bringing the Mexican-
      Americans into the team and developing more possession oriented, attacking football.
      He has over-relied on the Ger-mericans because he feels more in his comfort zone with German-English speakers. That’s childish.

      • taco,

        JK has pushed having more latin flavor in the US setup more than most. Have you seen the US under whatever teams ?

        His original assistant was Martin Vasquez who was eventually ruthlessly fired. And he has guys like Tabare and Javier Perez around if you want to fill a quota.

        You haven’t been paying attention.

  6. We need Bielsa at this time. Look at what he did for Chile, he built a concrete foundation for Chile based on youth. Look at how Chile is progressing now. We need that type of coach.

    • David N.

      1.) The USSF couldn’t afford him,especially if they have to pay off JK.

      2.) You think JK is an egomaniacal control freak with a monstrous ego? Wait til you get load of Bielsa,

      3.) Why on earth short of a deficit causing payoff would he want to come here?

    • Against Mexico, he had clear looks, almost scored in the first half, and had 2-3 shots on goal. Turned his defender and won a dangerous free kick opportunity in the second half. Blistered a shot on Moi Munyoz that almost broke his wrists, and was one of the few players in the middle or final third that held up the ball strongly, and distributed with some accuracy.

      What game did you watch?
      Put the right people around him and he wil score in bushels and bunches.
      He’s got another 2–3 World Cups in him.

  7. I don’t mind when pundits and posters decry the lack of young players coming through the ranks but when the USSF does it pisses me off. They are the ones that are supposed to do something about the problem and if it is still a problem after all these years don’t talk about it, replace the people who have failed to do their job. No country in the world has as many youth soccer players as the USA, and even though their are many hurdles to getting them to the height of their skills I refuse to believe that we can’t get a dozen or so players their every cycle. It seems to me that the more the federation tries to fix the problem the worse it gets.

    • Quantity doesn’t really matter though – the coaching is so poor at a young age for most of these players that they’re never going to reach their full potential.

      • And yet somehow we managed to find players like Wynalda, Donovan, McBride, Dempsy, Beasley, Bradly and a few others back in the day. Where are their replacements? Presumably quality has improved since then right? If not, whomever is in charge of quality needs to get the sack.

  8. Doubt that Adu is on Klinsmann’s radar.

    If Klinsmann is going to give someone a second chance, I would think that it will be Julian Green.
    Green is still young and at some point may develop into an international caliber player. Any signs of quality, even in the Bundesliga’s 4th division, will rush Klinsmann to get Green back in camp.

  9. I know I will get tarred and feathered for asking this, but does Adu get another look at some point (assuming he does not leave Rowdies to sign for a team in Mongolia 2nd division league)? I know it’s NASL, but in a few highlights I’ve seen, he’s doing pretty well.

    • “From the few highlights I’ve seen”

      That’s always been Adu’s problem…he’s about highlights, not about being a complete player. Plays no defense, has no work rate, not enough speed to play on top.

  10. I am a little confused by the calls for younger talent, then people harp on Williams, Morales, Corona, Agudelo, Brooks, Alvarado, and/or Garza (to name quite a few) when they have a bad game. The USMNT is clearly playing without any sort of game plan, so how do you expect the young guys to fit in so quickly if the veterans do not even understand how the team is playing. Klinsmann sets up these new players to fail and we act shocked when they do fail. You are telling me Williams, a defensive, box-to-box MF failed at DM when the team clearly had no game plan? You call for Alvarado’s head, but expect him (at 23) to play well next to a CB pairing with little to no leadership experience?

    Don’t expect many players to “step up” until things drastically change for the USMNT. New players just thrown into the mix with no understanding on how to play are destined to fail. Very rarely (Wood, Bardes) does it work out.

  11. ‘“Six months ago, you would have probably said, ‘Why is he always helping that kid?’” Klinsmann said of Wood. “Then suddenly came two goals in June and now he starts now picking it up again.”‘

    i just hope bobby wood remembers to thank klinsmann for helping him. what a philanthropist. what a genius!

    • Wood was out of contract and on nobody’s radar that I can remember when Klinsmann brought him in and played him against both Holland and Germany. After those two games Wood got a contract in 2 Bundesliga. Coincidence?

      • probably? this isn’t real madrid we’re talking about; union aren’t really the type to snatch up a guy due to his performance in two games.

  12. There are several people claiming the players are upset with JK…but where’s the evidence?

    The fact is, USMNT are playing below their level due to factor(s)…whether it’s: unhappiness (with something but grow-up), preparation (coaching & player attitude) or tactics (mostly on JK).

    No, we don’t have top notch players when looking across the globe…but we have a talent pool close to Mexico…but USMNT is not playing to that ability now. If JK knows there’s an issue with the players (whatever it is) then he needs to adjust tactics more.

    • Needs to sign with a pro team and play first.

      I mean, last time he played with us he went down untouched. He needs to prove he can hold up in games before we should bother.

      Don’t like saying it but he’s turned into this generation’s JOB.

      • Oh I’m not suggesting he should play. Just thinking about what could have been. How much he was exactly the type of player we are missing this week.

      • stu was one of my favorite players, but how does he fit into this article? he never was a “creative” player–more of a box-to-box like bradley, and i think he’s 30 years old by now.

      • He was known for his passing and many thought he was the best passer for the US since Reyna. I remember he once pointed out that statistics showed he was one of the best tacklers in the EPL because he didn’t want to be seen as one-dimensional.

  13. The experimentation should ahve taken pace and given you answers before the Gold Cup, WCQ is the time you should ahve answers and only swap in as players are injured/out of form/or someone is playing to well not to include.

    Klinman experiments too much (which was a problem for him in Germany as well) because he thinks constant changing motivates players (as opposed to cause disputes like Besler, Fabian, Donovan ect). It’s time for Klinsman to go.

    • Altidore doesn’t have a skill issue as much as an attitude issue. Though if he doesn’t want to be there (like it seems lately) then yes…don’t play him.

  14. The thing is that with Klinsmann in charge, the US hasn’t developed any good young players. I don’t see anyone to replace any of the aging or not so aging veterans. Bruce Arena brought into the squad Donovan, Beasley, Cherundolo, Boca, Onyewu, Dempsey, Mastroeni… With Bob Bradley we got Bradley, Altidore, Holden, Feilhaber, Edu, Beckerman… All those players have been mainstays of the team for years.

    Now four years into the Klinsmann’s reign, the national team still has to rely on Bradley, Beckerman, Dempsey, Altidore… With the exception of Wood and Yedlin, I don’t see anyone on the horizon. The only player development that’s going on for the USMNT apparently takes place in Germany — and for that US servicemen stationed there in the 80’s and 90’s deserve much more credit than Klinsmann.

    And why the heck is Berti Vogts still sitting on the US bench? I thought he was brought in just for WC-14 because of his alleged superior knowledge of Portugal and Germany (apparently, Klinsmann’s own knowledge of Germany wasn’t sufficient). What other national team coach needs a technical advisor?

    • Player development just doesn’t happen at the national team level. It happens with the clubs. Klinsmann has his faults (and I think it’s time for him to leave) but blaming him for the lack of talent coming through the ranks is absurd.

      • First, player development does happen at the national team level. Not only there, of course, but at least to some degree. Second, isn’t Klinsmann also the US Soccer Technical Director? As such, he must bear at least some responsibility for player development, especially considering that he has put his people in charge of various US youth teams.

      • I whol

        He’s been in charge a little more than 4 years. Our players are lacking in technical development, which happens overwhelmingly at a young age (before 14-16).

        The lack of good players in their primes (21-28) has nothing to do with Klinsmann. IMO it has everything to do with US soccer switching from a primarily federation-driven development scheme to a primarily club-driven development scheme in a period where the clubs weren’t really ready. Long-term, it was good and necessary, but short term we got a bunch of guys who are solid professionals but not standout performers.

    • Why is it that everyone tries to rewrite history in order to try and make their points?
      While Bob Bradley may have brought Beckerman into the Sr. US National Team, he didn’t feel that Beckerman was good enough. JK on the other hand gave Beckerman the vast majority of his playing time with the national team. Edu & Holden haven’t been a mainstays of the USMNT since 2011.
      As with every national team the coach, when first taking on the job, inherits the previous coaches player pool. Meaning that the best players available to them are the ones identified and initiated by the previous coach.
      Quality players JK has brought into the team include Fabian Johnson, Brooks, Johannsson, Yedlin, Zardes, Williams, Morales, Alvarado, Wood, Morris, & Gyau. The vast majority of these players are young professionals that will likely be the “Core” of the USMNT in 2018 and beyond when the next coach takes over.
      As for player development….that takes place at the CLUB Level, not the National Team Level. If you want to blame someone for the lack of High Quality national team players, blame MLS. The Job of the national team is to take the best available players and devise a system and strategy which will yield results. Has JK failed in this endeavor in the past couple months…..YES he has. And he should be held accountable.

      • “Fabian Johnson, Brooks, Johannsson, Yedlin, Zardes, Williams, Morales, Alvarado, Wood, Morris, & Gyau”

        Right now, this is just a list of players. Nothing more. You are assuming they’ll become the core of the US team. Maybe, maybe not. But so far, how many of them have become mainstays of the US team? How many of them have distinguished themselves playing for the USMNT? Arguably just one — Fabian Johnson who first played for the USMNT at the age of 24, and I doubt very much Klinsmann had anything to do with his development. A bunch of other German coaches probably deserve a lot more credit.

      • “Bruce Arena brought into the squad Donovan, Beasley, Cherundolo, Boca, Onyewu, Dempsey, Mastroeni… With Bob Bradley we got Bradley, Altidore, Holden, Feilhaber, Edu, Beckerman… All those players have been mainstays of the team for years.”

        so by your own logic, at the time those guys were brought in by those coaches, they were just a list of players. can’t have it both ways man. you either get credit for bringing in players who may eventually work out, or you don’t get credit until they turn into core players in which case you cannot use it as an argument against JK. those players Lost listed could 100% be core players in 2018 and beyond. i’d bet JAB, Yedlin, AJ, and Morales for sure. the others i would just bet a little less 🙂

        Arena had nothing to do with the development of ANY of those players aside from maybe LD and Beasley. but even then, the argument can easily be made they developed from the US program in Florida more than due to Arena.

        for Bob, idk how you can even remotely say he was a part of any of their development aside from his son. and even then, Michael was off to Europe where he did most of his development. all of those guys became core players well after their first call up.

      • When comparing the Arena/Bradley era with the JK era everyone seems to forget that Arena/ Bradley had the benefit of the very best of Landon.

        And you can argue that he wasn’t MLS developed since he was in the Bradenton residency program and then signed with Leverkusen 2 and was there for nearly two years before he was loaned to the Quakes.

      • Again it is not JK’s responsibility to DEVELOP players. Development is done at the Club Level.
        As far as these players distinguishing themselves…that is a bit subjective. Fabian, Brooks & Yedlin all performed well during the 2014 World Cup. That alone is a distinguishing mark. JAB even scored during it (not many US players have scored in a WC).
        Additionally, the fact that they are young (except Fabian & Aron), they have not had as many opportunities to represent the USMNT, and when they have it has most often been as substitutes for many of the players you listed as the current Core Players. Over the next 3 years as the elder statesmen (Jones, Dempsey, Beasley, Beckerman, etc…) are phased out these are the players who’ll receive a bump in their playing time.
        I realize reading comprehension is difficult, but I did qualify my “List” of players as “will likely be the core”…but I never said that they “Would be the Core”. It is impossible to predict what will happen in the future. But based on the limited performances to date the list of players I put forth appear to be the front runners for this cycle (baring injuries, or something else to derail their careers).

      • Not only have you added some important information, I’;m glad you pointed out the rewriting history aspect. This is what bugs me, people who cherry pick or even mis-state facts to make their case. Also, including Michael Bradley as a find by Bob Bradley is really priceless. I wish I had a dollar for every time someone wrote that the only reason Michael B was on the team was because his father was the coach. Now he has become a valuable find.

  15. Klinsman – “We need younger players”

    Translation. These old guys suck that’s why we lost. If only we had better younger players then we would have won.

  16. “Somewhere along the way there’s going to be some fresh blood that comes in and helps us.” – Jozy Altidore.

    Somewhere along the way there’s going to be some fresh blood that takes your place. That will help us.

    • Please don’t get rid of Jozy unless you really think there is a better choice. For example, name one in MLS who scores more goals per game (barring Wondo who is now getting too old for real consideration) or some European based player in a good league who can stay healthy.

      • Bjorn Maars Johnsen, he has a better goal scoring ratio AND his goals are mostly quality goals, not tap-ins, which to me is the most important aspect of evaluating a scorer.

      • not sure if serious…

        johnsen plays in bulgaria. i guess “good league” is relative, though.

        he’s also only 2 years younger than jozy, so he’s not exactly still a kid.

      • The only reason he is there is because he has a bad contract, otherwise he would have been at Porto by now. Let me ask you this, a contested header, or 20 yard lob or even a 40 yard laser shot to a corner of a goal is less than a tap-in of a MLS or 1/2BL or Championship league? If you think it is, please explain why.

      • “bad contract”? porto apparently didn’t think he was worth paying 500K for; not like they just couldn’t afford it.

        and no, i’m not even going to touch your “goal-value” question. it’s ludicrous and meaningless.

        i do hope that he moves to a better league soon, as (a) it will mean he’s improving and (b) it will allow for more objective comparisons.

      • Seems like the type of player who could come to MLS for a year or so. If he lights it up, he gets the call up and the possibility of a jump to a big contract in Europe. Looks like his latest transfer fell through because nobody would pony up 500Eur for him. Surely some club in MLS can afford that.

      • i think Zardes, Rubin, Johannsson, Wooten, Wood, Morris and a few others should be challenging his spot. International strikers don’t get multiple goalless tournaments forgiven.

        More importantly I don’t see a need for Jozy until we have some speed next to him; either on the wings or more ideally in a CAM or SS. Jozy was great when Charlie Davies and Landon Donovan was stretching the field for him to work in. Currently he is useless as a bad hold up striker. Maybe after we break in multiple pacey attackers like Nagbe, Gyau, Finlay or Bobby Wood I don’t see the need to call in Altidore.

      • Yes, that. Having Altidore and Dempsey on top affects the entire team. Defenses know they’re not going be beaten by speed, so they can press up higher, compacting the midfield, and giving the US little room to work in the midfield.

    • i’m pretty sure jozy really wouldn’t mind another striker stepping up. klinsmann seems to have finally learned that jozy plays better with a partner up top; also, every time someone else starts (and disappoints) at forward, it makes jozy look a little better.

  17. I think the issue at the core of the JK connundrum is that he really doesn’t respect or understand the American player. He wants to coach a team of European type players, and that just isn’t what we have right now. Finding a bunch of Germans with American passports is the type of thing I would expect of the team back in the 80s. This is a mentality which won’t help us develop into a nation that has its own style. Playing possesion, combination based soccer is not beyond the american player. Look around MLS there are several good teams playing that way. KC, LA, Columbus, and NYRB all see to do a good job with that style. Several of them even play with Americans at creative positions in midfield and forward. PErhaps we need to go back to an American coach who gets how the players in his pool think and work. They may buy into that more than this BS that JK is spitting these days. He has clearly lost the ability to inspire this group. Bring on the Peter Vermes era. Lets get a coach who played in a world cup for the USA a chance.

    • I think he understands the American player better than we want to believe. I think we rate success in MLS far too high and it has given us over-inflated expectations that no coach would be able to attain. MLS is a good league but not a great league-the majority of the best players in the league are imports and not our own US Nats. We clamor for strikers–the top scorers in MLS are all non-US, we look for creative mids and we have Nguyen and that’s about it (Feilhaber is a little too old at this point), and defensively we have Besler and Gonzalez….these top level US guys we are looking for don’t exist and MLS sure isn’t holding any gems.

      • Harrison Shipp looks pretty good. I agree that the MLS is not the Champions league, but we can still assemble a good team out of the players we have. playing 3 d mids is silly, not putting faith in the defenders who have come through for you in big games is stupid. Giving starts to a guy just because he plays for a big club in Mexico despite making error after error is not productive. You can trash MLS all you want, but at the end of the day MLS is the only league that is in the business of developing american talent, so we need to embrace it. Being embarassed that MLS is not the champions league will not make the national team program any better.

      • I’m not embarrassed by MLS but I want more from it. I think MLS is more of a business than a development for our players-they spend a lot of money on overpriced foreign talent and have dragged their feet on developing academies and the like–what favors have they done for the US National Team in developing younger players?…I think MLS is more interested in developing larger profit margins and we should rightly question if MLS is the right place for younger players to go

      • Would it be too much to ask one team to buy a couple stud CB’s and let them play together week-in, week -out?
        Galaxy needs to buy Besler or SKC needs to buy Gonzalez.

      • “I think MLS is more interested in developing larger profit margins and we should rightly question if MLS is the right place for younger players to go.”

        I second this sentiment. And, no, I am not an MLS hater either. It is the primary league I have watched since its inagural game. I love the league…but the further you look into it, the more you realize that it IS primarily a business and Garber would sacrifice any young american talent for marginal big name. This says nothing of how and where resources are allocated. If academies were given DP money…

      • Maybe this is false memory, but it seems like we developed better talent during the residency program than now that each team has an academy. I know it throws a much wider .net but do players get anywhere near the training time?

      • Against Mexico he played DMB, Besler, Cameron, and Johnson on the back line. DMB and Besler are MLS and Cameron was in MLS until going to Stoke. My recollection is that for most WC games, 7 out of 10 outfield players were MLS.

      • People kill me with this notion that being 30 is too old, and yes im referring to Feilhaber, a player that many agree can help us out if for nothing else in getting us qualified for WC ’18. His creative abilities could be tops in the pool if given a chance but again, it seems JK doesn’t rate him from a personal standpoint instead of a playing one. If being 30 is too old then why were Beckerman, JJ, CD, Brad Davis summoned to compete at this level? It’s because the majority of them could play and Benny will only be 32 at the next WC, which CD, Becks, BD and JJ all were! There is no question that youth needs to be infused into this team quick, but all the same if there are high level player s that can help out now you can’t overlook them no matter the age.

      • That’s a fair statement-Beckerman did come in late to the US side and was a standout performer at the last world cup and I still see value in JJ at this point so no reason to disregard Feilhaber simply due to age.

      • Benny seems to rub coaches the wrong way. that’s his issue. Bradley famously told Benny, publicly to the press, that he should “grow up”. that was even two years after his golazo in the 2007 GC final. i love Benny but i think there is an attitude variable in there that we aren’t privy to. so i think Lee, Mix, and even Corona seem like more viable options in that role. granted, JK doesn’t play any of those guys in that role anyway.

      • ^that is thee difference…..some of the world’s best athletes/champions were ass holes but they won and were who they were because they were hard to deal with. It’s one thing to have an attitude problem and quite another to be a disruption to the team neither of which has been, from what i know, BF to be branded as. Maybe it’s an american thing because although may have called BF out on his attitude needing adjusting he kept calling him up if i remember correctly.

      • Ronniet,

        Or maybe Vermes doesn’t have as many alternatives to Benny as JK he is forced to make that work.

        I noticed Nguyen looking pretty slick vs Costa Rica the other night. And apparently Nagbe may be on his way.

        Benny has great talent but he has also wasted a lot of it and I hope he get down on his knees and thanks God every night for Vermes.

      • yes, he has. and like i have said, i would not mind Benny on this team. we could use him. that said, it says something when two different coaches of the USMNT both think he has an attitude issue.

        SKC does not have the luxury of simply picking someone else like the US did under Bob and even for most of JK’s tenure thus far. some could still make a valid argument JK still has other options he can go with, like Lee. in other words, it’s easier for the USMNT coach to replace him than it is for SKC. certainly Vermes deserves credit for getting the best out of Benny though.

      • that’s a fair point and one i hadn’t thought of so kudos to you….i still feel like at this moment with how this team is playing and being unable to score or create anything that no creative players can be overlooked and that includes BF. I’m clearly a big fan of his because of what he’s done in the past and even more so on his current form. It just baffles me that a guy like Jozy who has been red carded for and suspended for abusing officials(happened again last night with him on the substitutes bench) continues to get opportunities compounded with the fact that he’s regularly out of shape, form and injured.

      • yeah, i certainly agree it would not hurt to bring him in. that said, i don’t think it is worth comparing the situations of Benny and Jozy. too different. up top, we just don’t have options, unlike in midfield. hoepfully Jozy will snap out of it.

      • Bryan, how can you not compare the 2 situations?? When you look at the fact that Jozy had to be sent home for attitude problems by JK and has recently been red carded 3 times for abusing referees(once from the bench last night)you can almost say that Jozy’s petulance is worst. And i’m sorry, but i don’t see this plethora of midfielders that can do what BF does to keep him out of the team. Mixx is a no show in MLS, Corona is playing irregularly in Mexico, Williams wet the bed vs Costa Rica and Lee is still unproven on this level although he showed signs against the Ticos. Not that great!!!

      • it’s not comparable if you look at how the US has been set up for years now…which is with Bradley playing the advanced role and a #6 or #8 as his partner. so when i say it isn’t comparable, i say that with the reality that we have been using #8/#6 combos in central midfield. up top, we don’t really have anyone to replace Jozy in that system.

        now that that is changing, you could start to compare them, for the reasons you laid out. but i simply meant based on the past. one thing is for sure, Jozy is no longer deserving of a locked spot in any roster. i have no problem with AJ and Dempsey playing up top together with Wood, Zardes, etc. serving as alternate options.

      • Earlier this season Feilhaber said that just recently he realized the importance of fitness and playing defense. Considering the emphasis that Klinsmann puts on things like that, I think you have your answer. Maybe if Benny continues to show he can be fit and willing to play defense, he will be called in again. Klinsmann called him in a couple of times in the past and a while back called him a taker, not a giver, so he didn’t care for his attitude either.

      • so whats JK’s excuse for continuing to call up Jozy??? I’m sorry but he is never fit, jogs all game long, falls down at the whiff of any contact and correct me if i’m wrong, had to be sent home because of an attitude problem. Keep making excuses for JK but his decisions and double talk are beyond embarrassing now and are affecting the team.

      • “so whats JK’s excuse for continuing to call up Jozy??? ”

        A lack of alternatives.

        AJ, Gomez.EJ Gordon, Boyd, Agudelo, Wondo have all failed to knock Jozy out of his spot for whatever reason.

        Rubin, Morris and Wood appear to be on their way but aren’t there yet..

      • so because there is seemingly a “lack of options” as you put it, you continue to call up a player that has shown to be very ineffective via being consistently out of shape, turning the ball over regularly, falling down when breathed on and above all else is not scoring goals?? That’s a recipe for success if ive ever seen one and goes against the mandate that was put forth by JK when he took over the team for being called up but we know now that his word is not his bond!!

      • and there will continue to be a lack of options when you don’t try new players. Young blood should have been infused in this team directly after the WC but yet the reliance on the old guard has landed this team where it stands today, in shambles.

    • David K,

      Every player in the USMNT player pool is an American

      If JK doesn’t understand American players explain to me how the following unlikely players have done well under him?

      Beckerman, Zusi, Besler, Yedlin, Zardes, Morris, Shea, Wood,

      • He also has an American wife, but understanding women is a whole different area. I would also point out that he served as a consultant to Bruce Arena and the Galaxy for a couple of seasons, so it’s not like he was unfamiliar with US players before he became national team coach.

      • People also forget he brought Landon Donovan to Bayern Munich at a time when American players were a lot less respected than they are now..

    • you do realize against Mexico only FJ and Jones were those German-Americans you speak of, right? are you going to argue, with a straight face, that FJ should not be on the field? Jones is starting to look more like a depth option, but again, in that game, with Bedoya out, it made sense.

      for CR, it was Jones and Williams who started. again, we discussed Jones but starting Williams in that game made complete sense (just not next to Jones). we need a true #6 to replace Beckerman. Williams considers himself a true #6 and, for the most part, plays that role for his club. it made sense to see what he had. sadly, he didn’t look good.

  18. Look no further than the CB position for evidence on Klinsmann’s inability to decide on and stick with a starting XI. Gonzalez and Besler were not aging players when they were pulled from the lineup in favor of Alvarado and…? Continuity is far more important than experimentation, in most cases, and JK’s lack of it through his tenure has caught up to him.

    • but continuity of a mediocre backline isn’t desirable for the long-term. Besler got burned on Mexico’s 2nd goal cause he was caught ball watching and Omar has not shown he is any better. so Besler/Omar is not an option that I like. that said, i do not think Alvarado should be starting either. when healthy, the backline should be JAB/Cameron.

      JK has no valid explanation for just now getting Cameron into CB. further, from what I have seen, Orozco seems to show enough to warrant #3 CB. he has his bad moments, but if you look at his overall play from his last handful of games, he puts in positive shifts. certainly a bench option.

      • I wish people would look at the entire situation. When the chips were down (Mexico) he played Cameron and Besler because Gonzalez hasn’t been playing as well and Brooks was injured. Both are veterans who played together in the World Cup, albeit Cameron was not at CB (but has played there all season for Stoke) Cameron wasn’t available for the Gold Cup, so he went with Brooks and Alvarado, hoping they would be stalwarts for the future. Brooks still looks promising/likely, but the GC showed Alvarado isn’t ready yet and it looks like Klinsmann recognizes that but still values his long term potential. At one point Klinsmann is criticized for not developing young players, then many of the same people will criticize him for playing Brooks and Alvarado.

      • good point on Cameron being unavailable for the GC. i completely looked over that. i think the main issue i have with the handling of Cameron is he could have played CB a few times in friendlies.

        and i agree with you about the hypocrisy surrounding developing young players but then getting mad when they don’t play a perfect game.

    • “Gonzalez and Besler were not aging players when they were pulled from the lineup in favor of Alvarado and…?”

      Two very talented yet limited and somewhat inconsistent players..

      Alvarado and Brooks at least are younger and have the potential to get a lot better by the time 2018 rolls around.

      • “Alvarado and Brooks at least are younger and have the potential to get a lot better by the time 2018 rolls around.”

        Using that logic, lets just bypass Brooks and Alvarado and go straight to Matt Miaza and Cameron-Vickers for 2018.

  19. I believe that while young players should be brought along slowly, you certainly need to get them time on the field, getting used to the speed of the game. A knock on Nguyen is that the game is too fast for him to be creative. While that may be the case, you’ll never really know until he is able to get comfortable on the field through extensive minutes (in a position of strength!).

    New players need to be instilled with confidence to be able to show their true colors on the field. Lee looks like he is desperately trying to make one great play that will put him over the top, and not letting the game come to him. I think this is across the board. JK needs to give some of these new guys some confidence.

    After reading these few articles, I’ve come back from the ledge on JK. I don’t think he is a good technician, but he may have some new ideas now that the heat is on. Hearing these guys speak, it really is what is seems, time for the next generation to step it up and start to contribute.

    • And yet look at how he has handled Zardes. He had him in the last January camp, played him in the next two friendlies, then started him, started him some more, and now he is a regular. For whatever reason, he obviously does not rate Nguyen as highly. Maybe he is wrong in his evaluation, but when you look at how he has brought along other young players like Brooks in addition to Zardes, you can’t say that his treatment of Nguyen is a pattern or is his usual approach.

      • Nguyen is older than Zardes who isn’t exactly a kid either.

        JK brought Lee into camp earlier but he came up hurt in camp. Once Lee healed up he took a while to round back into form.

        Now he’s back in form and he looked pretty good to me vs. Costa Rica the other night

        Nguyen’s other problem is that he basically plays the roles filled by either Mikey,Clint or AJ. But I think you’ll see a lot more of him going forward.

        As for bringing along players what about Cameron?

        Cameron and JK agreed early on that his best role was at CB. Geoff finally gets regular playing time at CB for Stoke and I think we’ve all seen the last two games what that means . .

      • I watch Lee every week and watched Benny when he was with the Revs. Lee can more than hold his own given 1/2 a chance. That’s a 1/2 chance he has yet to get. He also plays box to box and you will never get that from Benny. Finally, benny will every now and then hit a killer pass. Lee does it all the time

        I don’t believe for a minute JK likes creative players or there would be more of them on his teams. If Lee had turned in the stinker WIlliams did on TUesday, he would be done forever. I have zero respect for Klinsmann’s rating at this point. He never gets it right and once yur on his good guy list, you can do no wrong. Others need not apply. Juan A is younger that Jozy and a talent. Why isnt he part of the youth movement?

        This is just spin to get our eye off his losing results of late

      • You haven’t been watching SKC if you think BF isn’t getting down and dirty nowadays. He has been praised by Vermes for his new approach to playing both sides of the ball and doing so very effectively.

      • Exactly, Nguyen is 29, so we are in trouble if we think Nguyen is our future creative option. His window of opportunity with the national team is about two years.

      • i don’t think you can say with certainty that his window of opportunity is 2 years when we had 3-4 players aged 32 at the WC. it should be dictated by form but that doesnt seem to mean a lot in the US program nowadays

      • Lee will be 33 or so in Russia if he makes the team and if the US gets there and if we aren’t at war with Russia by then.

        Assuming he retains his form and his health then he may be able to get it up for one last hurrah. One thing in his favor is that most of what he has going for him is between his ears and that usually ages well.

        World Cup history is full of guys who were around the approximate age that Lee will be who did very well. Jurgen Klinsmann scored three goals in 1998 at about the same age. Of course one of them was against a very bad US team.

        The odds are against him but so what?

  20. It seems to me that JK is talking out of both sides of his mouth. On the one hand, he is credited for expanding the player pool and creating depth. On the other hand, after a year of poor results we don’t have enough rising talent to replace the aging MLS stars of yesteryear. So which is it?

    • It’s both to a large extent. We do have more players in the pool that are capable of filling-in for injuries and guys who are out-of-form, but I don’t really think we have added much in the way of creative talent. Part of the problem is that guys keep getting injured. Gyau, Boyd, Gatt, I don’t know if any of them are answers, but it sure would be nice to get a look at them right now.

      • Fidlay would fit what JK wants to do really well, but JK going to JK. He is a much better midfielder than Yedlin, and then Yedlin could play his actual position.

        He is also playing his best players out of position, Johnson and Bradely. I have a hard to saying there isnt talent when you sabotage your best players

      • Simple, if he isn’t calling up someone, it’s because he doesn’t think they are good enough yet. As long as he is the coach he has a right to decide who is good enough, and, complain as much as we want, he knows the game better than us.

        As do European scouts, who will offer something if the player is good enough. They work in the global player market, for clubs who need to win, so their choices are as objective a read we have on how good a player might be or become. Nothing for Finlay yet, nor any other ones in the MLS hot-cold category.

        He keeps playing Bradley in an advanced role because he has had success doing it. He is more influential there and that is why it’s his position in Toronto too. Bradley himself, in his interview with SI last week, said that from a deeper position he won’t look to drive the game forward as much, and that he is comfortable playing higher up.

      • +1. JK knows what a lot don’t want to admit and it is that our player pool has expended but not for the better. People say there is a European bias against Americans and I say that’s insane….these clubs are multimillion dollars businesses and are looking for any edge to win games….if the American player was good enough (and at a good price/bargain as Americans are undervalued) why wouldn’t they buy them?

      • It always amazes me how someone can say definitively that player A in MLS is a lot better than player B, often not in MLS, who is currently a US international. You think that you would want to at least see player A in practice with other US internationals before deciding that he is better than other players in the pool. That is one of the things Klinsmann does and it is one of the major reasons we have January camps, so MLS players can be evaluated against other US internationals.

      • it amazes me you think Bradley is successful from that spot based on either USMNT or TFC. He isnt terrible, but he isnt what deemed him the best player on the team at one time and one playing in Serie A

      • I didnt, I said he was a better midfielder who fits what JK is trying to do. Yedlin is an outside back, one that is so talented that he is being paid a lot for it, why not play him in his best spot, and have that spot filled for the team for a decade?

        I propose playing your most talented players in their best position, CRAZY IDEA

      • I wouldn’t have a problem with Yedlin as a wing if Johnson played wing. They have similar athletic ability, but FJ is a much better offensive player yet plays as a back.

      • Because of Fabian.

        Yedlin was not at right back because that was Fabian’s spot where he was great in the World Cup.

        Are you telling me that before the latest bust up, Yeldin was a better right back than Fabian?

        Of course , right back may now be Yedlin’s.

        Yedlin has played right midfield and shown well there in the World Cup and a few other times for the USMNT.

        It is not yet clear where his best position ultimately will be..

        Finlay has had a good season but what makes you think Finlay is not the new Chris Pontius?

      • How about World Cup veteran Julian Green?

        Hindsight is 20/20, but JK’s decision to include Green on the Brazil 2014 roster was ridiculous.

      • That one is a dead horse. Even the most ardent Klinsmann/Green supporters from 2014 have stopped trying to justify that deal.

      • Green scored an important goal one that kept the US in the game vs Belgium..

        Given that the US scored only 5 goals that means his inclusion was justified.

        What ever has happened since the end of the World Cup is irrelevant and Green has time to get himself back into form and if that happens well who knows……

      • Even if you can justify taking a fourth division player over LD based on one shank goal, why did he take Wondo and Davis?

      • Green scored a goal in extra time when Klinsy had no reason not to throw everything on the field.
        He had no intention of using Green until then, frankly had he included Donovan he would have likely used him once Altidore went down (likely to free Dempsey up further up the field).
        But the whole thing reminds me of when the NY Jets had Tebow. Late in a losing season coach Rex Ryan refused to use Tebow because if he had suddenly started performing well and winning then the coach would be blamed for not using him earlier, that was the same poisoned chalice Donovan would have been to Klinsy. He didn’t want to use him and if he wound up having to use him and he played well then Klinsy would be questioned for not using him earlier.

      • RoryBOD,

        “He had no intention of using Green until then, frankly had he included Donovan he would have likely used him once Altidore went down (likely to free Dempsey up further up the field).”

        So now you can read minds?,

      • “Back into form”?

        You are suggesting that Green at some point was an international (World Cup) caliber player?

        There is no argument that can be made to justify the argument that Green at any point in his young career has ever played at an international or World Cup caliber. International or World Cup caliber players at some point in their careers are able to show sustained quality above the 4th division of the Bundesliga, no?

        If you cannot definitively give an example of sustained quality in a division above the 4th division of the Bundesliga, then there is no argument.

        You have mistaken 1 good/run with actual sustained quality.

      • So you are saying because he has not done it before that he cannot ever do it?

        That’s an interesting perspective on players.

        At one time he was in the kind of form that drew positive attention from Pep Guardiola.
        He has the talent to do it so if he gets back to that he should be fine.

      • ” So you are saying because he has not done it before that he cannot ever do it?”

        That is absolutely NOT what I said. I hope that he can and will develop into an international caliber player. The USMNT needs all the help it can get. Green has never reached that level of form or quality.

        “At one time he was in the kind of form that drew positive attention from Pep Guardiola.”

        …and he still does draw positive attention from Pep Guardiola.

        I argue that Green has NOT regressed from when he was first being mentioned as a possible prospect for the USMNT. The problem with Green, in my opinion, is that he has not progressed to become even a fringe international caliber player.

        So when you write, “Green has time to get himself back into form”, my disagreement is that he has never shown to be at a higher form than where he currently is right now. His form now is the same it was in all of 2014, no better no worse.

      • SDIC,

        ““So when you write, “Green has time to get himself back into form”, my disagreement is that he has never shown to be at a higher form than where he currently is right now. His form now is the same it was in all of 2014, no better no worse”

        He’s been worse since he went to Hamburg, which proved to be a disaster.
        When Green was showing the form that drew positive attention from Pep he was scoring lots of goals for Bayern 2.

        He’s not doing that as much now that he is back from Hamburg.

        His time at Hamburg proved to be a cluster and he has regressed.

        He needs to get back to where he was scoring regularly for Bayern 2, otherwise he ain’t going anywhere.


      • I think most of us figured that it was part of the deal to get Green to join the US program. A couple of WC’s ago England took Theo Walcott when he was only 16 I think. At least Green contributed and didn’t hurt the team. As I remember, Walcott didn’t play one minute.

      • i’d take it a step further and say the talent pool has grown wider, but the level of that talent just isn’t a cut above the rest. it’s just more of the same. we need some players to emerge who take the game to the next level.

    • The depth though really isn’t there from what I have seen. We have a lot more players to choose from but are they better than the ones they are trying to replace?

      • If you won’t bring in someone like Will Trapp for a meaningless friendly against Costa Rica then when will you make the switch?

      • Upstate Ryan,

        The USMNT player pool in 2015 is deeper than it was 10 years ago in the sense that if the #1 guy at a given position goes down chances are greater than they were that there is a #2 guy of more or less equal quality to step in and play for him.

        Ten years ago, in 2005, if the #1 guy is a given position went down, it was likely that the gap between #1 and #2 was much greater than it is today.

        This does not necessarily make for a better team in the World Cup. .

        When you go down the list is the #1 guy in 2002 better than their
        comparable #1’s in 2010 and 2014?

        And more important how tough was the opposition and how well did the team as a whole handle them in the World Cup?

        Judged only by how they performed at their respective World Cups, the 2002 team were more talented than the 2014 and the 2010 teams.

        And ultimately it doesn’t matter since today’s players and today’s team do not have to be better or worse than the 2002 team.

        They just have to be better than Mexico, Colombia, France, Australia or whoever they have to play to win whatever tournament they are in.

        And as far as I can tell that particular talent gap, between the USMNT and the traditionally more talented opponents has not really narrowed.

    • What really needs to happen is like what happened last cycle, some older players disappear, Boca, Beasley, if they show some life they come back, if not, we move on. This is where I am a little concerned with the catch 22 set up by his incrementalist approach and the fact we spent the summer and Mexico on the old guard instead of testing younger players.

      I think he can get away with being conservative on changes because it’s going to be a cupcake semi round like a Gold Cup group stage — which we made it through fine even with older players. But if we really wanted to push this along, we’d be bringing in lots of new kids because we clearly need some work. Some of that is January camp but what we really need right now is to see which younger players hold or crack in a real game that counts.

      To me it’s worth risking a few qualifying points to take some personnel chances. You can always get on the batphone like we did with Beasley and bring the older players back, if we need results.

      And while I am sure JK will field a competitive type team for Copa America at home, what we really should do is run out kids or creative risks in games that count but don’t impact qualifying.

      Sorry just what he is saying sounds nice but then he also sounds so incrementalist about it, that it’s like, is he really going to undertake enough change? Last cycle was a younger team and he had to crack fewer eggs to make the omelette, while bringing in all the passport players. We don’t have as many of those in the pipeline and he’s going to have to jerk the chains of some veterans to get the roster back right. Does he have the guts?

      • Klinsmann implied that his plan was to win the GC, which meant using the established players and then start integrating younger players over the next 3 years. For example, he asked DMB to unretire specifically for the GC, not for anything else. Because of the playoff, that meant the plan had to be postponed several months.

  21. A midfield of Yedlin, Shea, Jones, and Williams was never going to be 10% as creative as what was actually needed. Klinsmann seems to be talking about playing one way, and then putting out personnel to play a different way.

    Either play proactive soccer and use a mix of creative mids and high-pressing players (in which case you’ll need to play either Bradley or Jones, not both, alongside a creative force like Ngyuen or Feilhaber), or play reactive soccer and use speed on the counter. Don’t do a mix of both.

  22. Gyasi Zardes isnt a youngester, staup, he is a year younger than Jozy, whos career is already on the downhill

    Jozy has been resting on his laurels for over a year now,

    • Exactly – Zardes is 24. Only in the US, is that considered young for a soccer player. Anywhere else, he’d be a veteran in his prime. That fact our young players used to waste their key development years in college is a reason for that but it looks like that trend is starting to wind down thankfully, Jordan Morris notwithstanding.

      • I think college may be not so good for soccer, but for the players who play in college and get a degree, it is a big positive.

        College soccer can be improved: I think the most important changes are 1) longer season(spring and fall) and 2) limited substitutions. Each of those changes would improve skillful play and reduce the emphasis on 100 miles per hour running to put opponents under pressure. The college coaches, at least those I know of in NJ, are more than competent but are hampered by NCAA rules.

      • I’m hopeful in the future (through football and basketball) that the NCAA will have to change their rules on amateur status and that kids who may have played professionally for a year or two at 18 and 19 and find out that pro soccer is not their future would be able to return to college and still be eligible to play and receive some tuition reimbursement.

      • Don’t get me wrong – if you can get a free education by playing soccer that’s great. But not for elite players that aspire to be professionals. 99% of college players aren’t going to be pros and playing in college is great for them. But for elite players, it just isn’t good enough.

      • Isn’t it funny though that the player on the u/23 who is most technically gifted and maybe also,the most tactically aware, is the one in college.

      • Jordan Morris probably runs a sub 4.5 40. How many college soccer players can say that? I can think of hundreds of college football players who run that fast. Speed kills. If we could field a team who ran a sub 4.5 40 and had endurance to cover about 9 miles a match we would probably never lose even if they lacked technical ability.

      • The MLS pay scale is so low that even a good player would have to consider taking the scholarship rather than going pro. Few MLS players can afford to retire at the end of their career so a college degree will be extremely useful.

      • Players coming out of a good college program are likely to do better than those coming out of a bad academy. Until recently, after the formation of MLS academies and homegrown players, Most MLS clubbs and 90 percent of the US team came from colleges. We fielded 6 WC teams with the majority of players coming from the college ranks. We cannot “go around” the NCAA. but we can help the NCAA by trying to change the structure of competition to be more in tune to current USSF training and playing regimes. The NCAA still holds tightly to a amateur purview for all sports as it is in it’s charter. Prior attempts to change it through O’Bannon’s lawsuit, etc have failed in the courts and probably future ones too. It is the 800 lb Gorilla and will stay that way until high schools and their athletic departments stop feeding players to colleges, which is NEVER going to happen. High school soccer coaches are directed by their schools to always encourage gifted soccer player to apply for athletic scholarships offered by colleges and not to an academy.

        I do not believe in the common perception going around that good players should skip college. Likewise the kool-aid coming from those who believe the prime of a player is under 25 is equally preposterous. Physiological you do not hit your athletic peak until the late 20’s. The problem is the time between when you finish college and that peak.

        The big problems here is professional teams wanting exceptional players as early as they can get them. This is not a competitive aspect, it is a financial one. A player having the skill to play well in a league is WORTH more than one who is slightly older simply because they can be sold for more money and have a slightly longer shelf life.

        The financials of soccer in South America right now is dismal. Many clubs right now do not make money and are financed either by rich owners or loans against assets. TV revenue is down, gates are lower than ever and the only bright side ,especially for smaller clubs, are selling players, either to larger clubs or abroad. Players are bought and sold out of the academies as much as they are sold from league teams

        We get the perception that a player is better coming from an academy, but in reality, pro teams want the younger player because its an economically better deal for them. If a player tanks from an academy at a pro team, so what. The team will find another cheap one. If he’s good he will be resold at a profit. This is hard reality in pro soccer. One of the main reason there are not a lot of Americans in Europe outside the work visa, or cultural adaptation is we arrive later in age to Europe than other countries because we predominately come from college soccer backgrounds when entering the pro ranks. This usually is a three year difference, which is a whole contract cycle. Our US player with football skills honed in college may be equal or even better than, say a Croation, but in competition for slot on a European team, the age difference translates into a financial difference, an 18 year old. is not desired because he was so good he signed a pro contract at that age, but that his future value has a bigger upside.

        This is pure economics and as football is a business and much of that model is asset and value based (with assets being players to be bought and sold) US players, as good as European one, will have a lesser value to European clubs.

        So when you think that colleges players are detrimental to the US soccer development, think again.

      • but until MLS academies start producing talent, college will remain the primary development route. some of our better talent has come from college. until that changes, not much to say other than trying to improve the college game.

      • LOL
        like college is such a waste. hopefully Morris sticks to his dream and proves that there is more than one path. Duke, ND, virginia, Cal, SLU, Akron, Creighton and Clemson have outstanding programs.
        Oh, and that guy Dempsey turned out pretty good after college.

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