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Report: Sebastian Soto to accept Chilean National Team call-up

Sebastian Soto has long been considered one of the most promising young strikers in the U.S. Men’s National Team talent pipeline, but a new report suggests the USMNT is set to lose Soto to a South American rival.

The Norwich City loanee has reportedly accepted an offer from Chilean National Team head coach Reinaldo Rueda to switch allegiances and join La Roja, AS reported on Tuesday. The report suggests Soto is aiming to be a part of Chile’s 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying squad, which is slated to begin matches in October.

Born in California, Soto is currently on loan domestically with Dutch second-tier side Telstar. After failing to break through with German 2. Bundesliga side Hannover, Soto made the move to Norwich City this summer on a permanent deal. However, due to work permit issues, Soto was loaned to the Netherlands in order to earn first-team minutes.

The 20-year-old has represented the U.S. Youth National Teams in the past, most notably scoring four goals for the Under-20 team at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Soto has since scored one goal in two appearances for the U-23 side but had yet to receive a call-up from the USMNT.

While a first-team place with Chile seems like a stretch for a player who has yet to establish himself on the club level, Soto is a promising young striker prospect and Chile is lacking in young strikers, so the pursuit of Soto would make sense from a long-term standpoint.

FIFA recently passed changes to its rules regarding dual national players and their ability to avoid being cap-tied, but Soto’s situation isn’t quite as clear because he has already represented the United States in international competition and would require a Change of Association in order to play for Chile.

Chile remained 17th in the latest FIFA Rankings, six places higher than the USMNT and fifth amongst Conmebol’s 10 teams. The Chileans continue to rely on veteran and all-time leading goalscorer Alexis Sanchez to lead the attack, but will need the next group of young players in order to help build for the future.

Outside of Sanchez’s 43 international goals and Arturo Vidal’s 28 tallies, no player in the Chilean player pool has reached double digits for the National Team so far.

Comments

  1. if a stack of club resumes decided the region we would be the 1st or 2nd best regional team. i think with the right NT coach we in fact would be. but it is not so simple.

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  2. making “no one sees anything in this guy” arguments literally when he’s accepting a competing NT callup doesn’t logically follow. acting like 9 is a settled position is similarly amusing when the starter had no goals in the gold cup knockouts and 1 goal that didn’t richochet off his face in a Nations League group with Cuba and Canada where we scored 15. we sound like the dude saying he never liked that girl (dating another guy) anyway. his club career hadn’t launched yet, but he’s 20.

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  3. last point — though this will show up highest — but it should hint at players being less than impressed with the present regime when they are employing some combination of (a) threats to leave or (b) outright heading to some other team, after having a list of USA YNTs on their resumes til they got to this point. this conveys to me they think the coach can be pressured, or that they find the coach unimpressive. otherwise it wouldn’t make a ton of sense to risk missing the USA or play games. Klinsmann would have already capped them and we wouldn’t even have this discussion. Arena would have dropped them first hint of disloyalty. it’s a weird combination where the coach can be sometimes pressured but does not punish the threats. and if you were worried about dual nationals leaving, he doesn’t address it in an orderly fashion starting with the best prospects, but instead seems to respond to who best organizes their public relations challenge. dest had a better agent who got it in the press discussed on NT games. dest was not the first U20 we needed to lock down, as a matter of talent. nor did he actually play like he was the first one who needed up — he played like the hit and miss kid who sometimes looked good but also ukraine scored on. i long for some order and consistency. to feeling like if richards and weah and soto are the class of a tournament they are the net up.

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    • and as i discussed on another thread, i worry the coaches have become fanboys snob-cheerleading where their players sign for name brands, as opposed to cold blooded analysts paying attention to how they actually perform, and longer term how these deals actually play out. Robinson signed Fulham. GB cheered. Robinson hasn’t dressed in league yet. why not instead rigorously act like the coach who cut him before Gold Cup, waiting for objective signs he has evolved? we’ve turned into lame fanboys obsessed with reputation. how about actual performance?

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      • You’ve seen Soto play three times and you’re calling coaches fanboys? I’m so tired of your Pulisic argument everyone isn’t Pulisic. Soto will probably never in his career be at CPs level at age 17. Not that he can’t have a good career he just doesn’t have those gifts. There are only so many friendlies and if you’re using them to cap tie players when does your team ever get cohesion. What does it do for team moral when guys know that the only reason this guy or that guy is in camp is because he’s got two passports? Then your right back to the divided locker room that cost Klinsmann and Arena and got us out of the WC.

      • there are “only so many games” because we spend most of them running out a starting lineup “playing to win” with players who then can’t win tournaments or qualify and barely escape groups with cuba and canada. if you did like we used to, and spent gold cup trying out players, or more liberally trying players at friendlies, then 20 games in a year should be plenty of time. i don’t understand trying to drill chemistry into veteran units that cannot win. more pointedly, i don’t trust GB is the man to drill any unit into anything.

  4. i see amusing comments about why is chile reaching out. do people realize that you can commit dual national players ahead of their true senior ascendance? or does it offend monomaniacal implementation of meritocracy to secure as many dual nationals as possible? it’s not like we sign a $10m contract and need to kick the tires first. you bring them into camp and play them 30 minutes and see what they have. legally they could switch but for most players that will morally bind them for good. but this is the trump era so amateur hour remaking the wheel seems to be the spirit of the day. so let’s pretend like reputation and club form are everything and NTs only ever call players who absolutely earned it, and never to lock them down while they figure that part out.

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    • I understand that position and on paper it makes sense. But what you’d end up with is getting caps turned down by teenagers because they don’t want to be committed and you get veterans upset and losing team buy in because players that haven’t earned anything are taking their spots and/or minutes. You might also run into problems with clubs questioning why are taking my established veteran to play a match with a bunch of kids that aren’t going to be competitive just cap tie people. You are going to gain some and lose some no matter what you do. You just have to look at what was the main reason and can we or do we want to fix that in the future? Do we want ever 17 yr old with dual nationality blackmailing the federation into GC or WCQ appearances just in case they develop probably not. If the reason they left was something cultural or communication related then yes those are things that going forward need to be fixed.

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      • on a normal NT like what Klinsmann ran, pulisic gets capped before he even gets off his first team in club, Morris is in from college, and players like Green, FJ, AJ, etc. are converted in bulk. you trade in the false assumption minutes = talent. or location = talent. how about what your eyes actually see. you act like i am the lazy one but you’re the one basically telling me what a database says as opposed to how they looked on the field. i think a computer could just rank club teams and count minutes and spit out a decontextualized list of reputations. soccer is more complicated.

      • but then i am the one getting to watch people who, say, scored on belgium in a knockout of the world cup, or france right before they won the world cup, sit behind someone whose high water mark is scoring on trinidad in the group round of gold cup. but you’re right, of course, green can’t keep a club job, and zardes must be great because he is beloved on perenneial dog columbus. far be it from me to notice who can actually score on a good national team. not like that decides which ones we can get results on and which ones beat us 3-0 without them scoring or anything. but you were busy telling me how zardes is the proven one….

    • There seems to be slight bit of projection in this comment – the top one referencing being in the Trump era (just to distinguish which comment I’m referring to from the all the other thinking-out-loud-reworking-your-argument-to-fit-the-debate comments) …just sayin’

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      • on an objective planet trump has crashed a market, crashed a pandemic, and been impeached. only one of those even has a political element, and he made the phone call in question and said exactly what we all think he did. on an objective planet he’s the worst president in decades. it requires an act of faith and ignoring facts to suggest otherwise. i in fact see his lousy administration as akin to GB telling me the system is starting to work and acting like he’s smart, when mexico owns us and he got out of nations league on a tiebreaker. these are facts. if you want me to trust in you, provide me better facts. bradley barely lost a game his first year. those are facts. you want faith. i am not religious. show me results and numbers. until then i am watching GB struggle and start zardes and you want me to pretend we are well coached and set at striker. that is as convincing as the guy with most of the worst one day market tumbles in US history.

  5. i would expect more of these since GB is going to drag his feet on bringing kids up. and he does such a great job of identifying veterans.

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    • Right! GB should have called him in this year by this time….oh wait. Well, last year. Oh wait Soto was on the bench of his 2, Bundesliga team, Well, GB should have called him up immediately following the U20 WC. There! That! stop dragging your feet GB, sheesh!

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      • funny but he brought in dest — who made his own dual nationality threats — and weah and richards and soto were demonstrably better players than him. curious precisely who you are defending here? zardes? ha. jozy? ha. sargent? wood? y’all throw around club form while all the goals come from out wide. maybe club form doesn’t work for us here.

      • to underline my thoughts, he goes for boyd and dest but not for soto or some of the other kids with options. it’s not consistent. it is justifiable if one takes reputation or club minutes as a proxy for NT play. but if you have watched NT for any length of time there is plenty of history of twellmans who were club stars who could never convert it to international ball. it’s a false assumption we understood to be untrue 20 years ago based on players occasionally not playing to form. i wonder if in the obsession to mimic europe we are getting dumber on some of the practical lessons we learned as a plucky underdog team.

    • You are using three games at the U20 as your be all. Berhalter has literally thousands of hours of footage on all of those players. I know it’s popular to say Soto only didn’t play because of contract disagreements but if he was good enough to play he would have played. Hannover could have gained promotion with a couple more results you aren’t going to give up that kind of payout for petty reasons. There’s probably a reason Dest and Soto were for sale during the same cycle and one went to Norwich and ones going to Barca or Bayern, I’m going out on a limb and trust those scouts more than your observations for four matches a year and a half ago.

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      • you ignored my point. Dempsey was a USMNT stud when Spurs barely used him. Wood, Green, and others have goals recently when called, regardless of their club situation. conversely, Brooks is a mediocre disappointment, and Wondo and Twellman back in the day could barely score for the US while dominating MLS. you are assuming we should reify the false assumption that club form tracks to international play. there is no proof that talented players in poor club situations suck for the NT. there is no guarantee that club performers continue that for the US or Zardes would be a god. we need to switch to viewing club ball as “scouting fodder” and away from it as a strict barometer of what can be expected internationally. he was as good for the U20s as Sargent the previous cycle — who is being integrated — and weah, who has scored for the US. in a rigorous program where we elevated the most impressive U20s, he would have been obvious. in a fanboy team that elevates reputations, he suffers for his career choices. but we just saw above his career choices would not dictate what he would offer the team. i could understand your point if we were talking some no name kid struggling for club minutes arguing he belonged. but his club situation has to be balanced against U20 world cup is a showcase and what he showed.

    • There is a vast difference between Dempsey coming off the bench for Spurs than Soto not getting on the bench for 2Bundesliga. Dempsey was already established as a top two player on the NT Soto wasn’t even a top 2 player on our U20s.

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      • clint dempsey was still in college at soto’s age, and his U20 record was less impressive. he then got to ease into pro play at New England. in fact it’s kind of giggle inducing to pretend the kid who started in NER is the same player who we had later on. he evolved into a finisher and great player from starting as a cute dance-with-the-ball player similar to agudelo. suggesting otherwise is inaccurate.

      • You referenced that Dempsey still played when he was on the bench at Spurs. Yes Dempsey was in college at Soto’s age and he wasn’t being called in based on that he some day might do something. Dempsey did play in the U20 WC but didn’t join the NT until he had established himself for his club
        ———————————
        Let’s look at the Champions Ukraine. Bulesta and Popov their two top scorers no NT caps, in fact no one who scored for them has been capped. Ukraine is just three points behind the US in the FIFA rankings. They would also likely have a number of dual nationals with Russia but their not capping all their U20 hero’s.

      • Being a big fan of Dempsey, I ;have to set the record straight. Before he went to Spurs Fulham had basically frozen him out. He spent from one to two months of not playing while Fulham and Spurs were playing in pre-season and Dempsey was in limbo. Dempsey wasn’t signed by Spurs until after the season actually started. He then had to gain match fitness. His first appearance came a week or two after he signed and was as a late game substitute. He was a substitute a couple of more times before starting. Despite his late start, he ended up being the r4rd highest scorer and 3rd on the team in assists. Remember, too, this was the year that Bale had his breakout year, scoring about 20 goals and the other forward was Defoe. Both of those players were black holes–once the ball went to them, it usually didn’t come out until they shot. When both of those were injured, in a Europa League game in Switzerland Dempsey stepped up and scored a brace. The idea that Dempsey was less than a starter just isn’t accurate. He wasn’t a starter at first because he joined the team late and was not in game shape.

      • I missed a typo in my first response to johnnyr–Dempsey was 3rd in scoring for Spurs after Bale and Defoe, not 4th.

      • i am a fulham fan. your analysis is trash. dempsey was fine in fulham and owed them contract years. dempsey asked for a transfer. jol didn’t want to give one. dempsey tried to force one. dempsey only then got sent to train with the youth team ie frozen out. dempsey eventually got his way. suggesting he was out of favor at fulham is a fib. it’s more like they were very happy but not pleased with the timing or intensity of the transfer request. imagine you are fulham — and you pretend to be informed so surely you can — is a player saying could i have a transfer supposed to be end of discussion? can’t they as the contract holder say, “not this window?” i am convinced the people who make these arguments are “dempsey” fans and not “fulham” fans. a fulham fan would see the team’s point. but they let him go and after spurs went south we even welcomed him back on loan to bridge him to seattle. but let’s not pretend what happened. and my points hold. he was not some dream player at 20 — my point about giving time. and he became a platoon player for spurs.

  6. Sad to hear mainly because of his potential. But we don’t know how good he is. He didn’t play in Germany because of the contact situation not necessarily because of lack of talent.

    If you read the article, it seems that playing for Chile will give him a better chance of obtaining a work permit in the UK, especially since he would be able to start right away at Chile on the higher than USA FIFA-ranked senior team. So he seems to be making this decision based on his overall career not necessarily because he is unhappy with USMNT. I guess, if the article is correct, then I can kind of understand the decision; though I don’t agree with it.

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    • Bummed if this is true, because of his performance at the u20 World Cup last year, his potential for the US Men’s National Team, and the fact that we are extremely thin at the striker position. I rate him as high as I rate Sargent. Soto just needs an opportunity, on both the club level and National Team level.
      This seems to be a decision based on bettering his career, by increasing his chances of senior team caps for a National Team, and as a result, obtaining a work-permit for the EPL.
      That said, I take the same position with him, as I do with all other players that have dual citizenship…if you don’t want to be here, good riddance, and don”t let the door hit you on the way out.
      As a fan of the US Men’s National Team, I want players that want to be part of said team, and want to fight, and earn, their spot on the field. Competition from within the ranks will be our biggest developer of talent and will serve the team best, both in the near and long term, future.

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      • Papi Grande, how do you rate Soto the same as Sargent? One is starting for a Bundesliga club and the other is…Soto. They are literally not on on the same level.

      • they had similar goals totals in U20 world cups 2 years apart. the U20 world cup is a serious event with fuller participation than the olympics. most teams tend to take who performs well there seriously because it’s some of the same opposing players we see in a couple years. and, yes, some players get flushed, but it’s amusing to do that to someone who’s literally 20 and just got loaned out like 2 months ago. maybe write him off AFTER a couple years and he plays for Chile and can’t dribble. until then, he was one of my top 3 from U20 along with weah and richards and none of them can get GB love and hmmm they all on paper suffer from either injuries or club minutes. but in reality they are in demand such that they are in ligue 1 and B.1 at top clubs. but we should instead bring in aaronson and some other teen we saw playing at MLS. you know, the people who got cut trying out for the U20s. this is a completely sensible way to run a development system. and the idea GB sees things we don’t places too much faith in someone whose results basically track the expectations form book. even sarachan occasionally got an upset…..

    • Master of the Obvious, both Sargent and Soto, have performed well at a major FIFA event, namely the u20 World Cup.

      To this point, the only difference between the two, is that one of them has been given a chance, the other has not. Don’t get me wrong, Sargent has earned his opportunity, but the professional soccer landscape in Europe has many variables to it, and the path to first team minutes, is by no means a linear progression that is determined solely on physical talent.

      Soto has run into the challenge where his last team chose not to play him because they no longer saw value in him, as he chose not to renew his contract with them, and as a result, would be leaving.

      His team then made the business decision to investment time and energy in another player that the team could benefit from down the road.

      Unfortunately, there is no way to compare apples to apples when comparing the two. The closest way to do that would be there time performing at the FIFA u20 World Cup, and both performed well there.

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      • it is even possible sargent turns out and soto doesn’t, and that the similarities ended there. but after one year with one snotty team i refuse to write him off. i also on a more meta level am not going to follow the “club form” reputational rollercoaster up and down as teams like or dislike a club player. dempsey at spurs is basically the same as dempsey at fulham. with hints at talent already i am not going to down dip because this coach down dips and then up climb when the next coach gets more excited. take a longer term look and trust your own eyes. we shall see what happens. but writing someone off at 20 is silly.

  7. Chile are in big trouble. They don’t anyone coming through that’ll be anywhere close the their golden generation of players. They’re basically grasping on to anything they can to see if one or more players can make a difference. I’m in Chile, and I’d say from media and fans alike, they don’t really care nor have much confidence in Soto making much difference and want Rueda out as coach ASAP. Soto might end up getting more playing time with Chile as oppose to USMNT just because of how awful their young players are.

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  8. I have no problem letting Soto walk — none of us knows what’s inside the kid’s head so it’s pointless to speculate. If anything, perhaps we should feel flattered that this player (correctly) felt his chances of of meaningful first team-minutes was better with the two-time defending Copa America Champions than they were with the senior USMNT. Or maybe he just wanted to play for Chile — goodbye and good luck, either way.

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  9. He played for the U23s in the fall which would be a natural progression for a 19 yr old who wasn’t playing for his club. Didn’t Chile reach out after the U20 WC to try to bring him in for the Olympics?

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    • U23 is where you sit and wait while Bradley or Yedlin or Zardes gets to trip over a ball in your place. we have plenty of U23s pre-dating GB who are integral to the team. if you’d said U20 it might make sense but U23 is like an off ramp, not an on ramp.

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      • I was just saying that if his reason is feeling slighted it’s pretty silly and no he’s not better than Zardes. Sorry he’s just not. I’ve like Soto for awhile but he’s not. Zardes game is pretty underrated because his first touch in hold play is poor. His IQ is really high, he’s able to move and stretch defenses really well because he knows the runs to make and times them so well. The youngsters don’t do that very well, hence why you see Gyasi get starts over Sargent.

      • i understand you to be touting the zardes and jozy “proven” pair who i assume you argue “re-proved” their value with no knockout round goals in gold cup while we finished second, and one goal on purpose in 2 games with canada in NL. that sounds like a real basis for running the table in the ocho.

  10. He could not make it in B-2. Chili must think he has growth potential, but when playing against adults, he has yet to show that.

    Perhaps he feels slighted by no call-ups by the US, but he really has done little to show he deserves it.

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  11. I can understand it when players have dual nationality because their US service man father married a local woman and they are born in a particular country and then return to play for that country. I just don’t see how someone born and raised in California could turn their back on their country. Even if it meant playing in the World Cup vs. not playing in the World Cup, speaking for myself, I couldn’t do it. And I don’t respect people who do that.

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    • So how would you suggest German people should feel about a guy like Jermaine Jones or John Brooks? After all, they were raised in Germany, with almost exclusively German experiences in their upbringing and soccer education… should German people be disgusted by their disloyalty?

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      • The big difference with your scenario is that all of our german-americans had at least ONE american parent so there was the feeling of being half american! Plus, all of our german amercians, except JAB, were not even remotely close to being called in by the german federation!

      • Not sure why you think Jones wasn’t even close to being called in for Germany. He won three caps playing for Germany!

    • I’m not telling Germans how to think about players born there who play for other teams. Germany really doesn’t need most of those guys, so most Germans probably don’t care. What they think and how they feel is their business, not ours. There are some foreign born Americans who have a strong connection to the US and not their native country. Until recently, people want to come to this country but you shouldn’t underestimate the draw we have. I had a friend from Holland who worked all over Europe and lived in several different European countries. Once he came here he decided he wasn’t going anywhere else. This is common. It’s why so many big stars, yes, often at the end of their careers, come to MLS and not Qatar where they could maybe make even more money, or China, same thing. So, I think it is very understandable why people who have a choice choose to play for the US because we are often a more desirable country than so many others.My feelings about Soto are my feelings. Whether you agree with them or not, I still don’t have respect for US players who turn their back on the US. Maybe if more of you had served in the military, e3specially overseas, you would shsre my opinion.

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      • I think it’s bizarre to frame this is as some sort of military-style treason. Soto is making a career choice, not burning the American flag or renouncing his citizenship. It’s soccer, and career windows are short…. I don’t expect the guy to stand out in the rain waiting for a slim chance of a USMNT call-up that may never come. There are no merit badges for this. Just lost opportunities.

  12. @Joe Chile has lost a lot of good players from the last eight years. Vidal is the best player they have n my opinion. Soto has been a let down and he cant even make a Bundesliga 1 or Dutch Eredivisie starting XI. I am not sad, he wont be missed.

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      • Chile is in a bad place right now. Golden Generation to old and young prospects flaming out everywhere. Youth teams finishing last in groups and getting dominated over the last few cycles. It happens. They need whatever they can find. Don’t blame Soto or Chile. We used to do the same thing. Don’t think it’s a big loss for us, but would rather it not have happened. As we continue to get stronger this will happen more and more. Get used to it.

    • I’m not trying to be nitpicky here; I’m just pointing out that he can’t even make the starting eleven for an Eerste Divisie club! At this point in time, I feel this is no great loss. Maybe that’ll be different later in his career. I have no reason to get upset right now.

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      • I get bored with the club snobbery. If club location and form decided everything we’d have been the second best team in the region last cycle. Merely playing for x minutes for team y didn’t put us ahead of Honduras or Panama, who actually had a lot of MLS or even USL players, as well as guys in random leagues. We again have the second best team resume on paper in Concacaf. That got us barely out of a Nations League group with Canada and Cuba. At some point it will dawn on us that a functioning system, chemistry, and identification of players who perform for the NT, is more important than press release anecdotes about your club situation. The other teams don’t care that you play B.1. They care if you gave up 3 goals to varying players from Costa Rica in a qualifier. THAT gets them salivating. When we figure out this old lesson we used to know, we will go back to winning.

  13. I don’t think Soto isn’t good enough for Chile at this point. This would be a disappointing development for the USMNT program we’re pretty thin on strikers.

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    • we don’t seem to look past next week, an ironic posture considering the bonanza coming up through the development ranks. yes, we have jozy and zardes now, but this is their last cycle, and even then they drive us nuts. but to me GB has basically settled on them driving us nuts with sargent as the other option.

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    • We need to stop getting out of sorts when players who the federation has taken care of on youth levels by the way, get it in their heads they don’t want to play for the US anymore, let them go….good riddance!Soto did well at the U-20 WC but hadn’t played a game at a meaningful level since, so I don’t get the whining from people about him!

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      • Long term it’s like get over it, but short term this is someone who was one of the better players on our U20 that we managed to lose by not calling afterwards, there should be accountability. If we just get all snooty about how he left and it’s his problem then the coach can just proceed to lose several such players without any cost. I think losing a bunch of player jousts isn’t a good look either. One of these on a marginal guy, meh, but several and someone turns out good, and you’re a leaking boat. I also inherently flinch at anything that sounds like people claiming the wisdom of GB, who is a mess.

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