Analysing the MLS SuperDraft: The GA debate

Discussion in 'MLS: News & Analysis' started by ENB Sports, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. ENB Sports

    ENB Sports Member

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    Mock drafts and prospect lists are now showing up including ones produced by the main media and the league media itself. Most players listed are non-seniors so to be drafted need to be given a Generation Adidas contract.

    As with everything MLS I shake my head at the media always expressing classic cliche lines like this 18 year old player is pro ready with are friend Ives or MLSSoccer.com being the worse at this. A NBA comparison to MLS draft analysis is Paul Sturgess should be to top rated prospect in Basketball not because of what he's done but because he is 7 foot 7. Although I would just blame paper talk for being stupid but then the draft comes and the MLS gives many of these players GA contracts and they are drafted.

    Common Sense tells me GA is a failed system mainly because MLS does not sell players, there is not a huge demand for US players in leagues outside the MLS and with such limited resources/time being used by MLS in scouting investing in potential is destined to be an expensive mistake.

    Yes there are exception like Adu and Shea but since 1997 the MLS has given 172 players GA status which includes guarantee contracts that are higher than most establish players in the league. On average during their first season these players have played 12 games and 769 minutes. Career Stats are not much better with an average 78 total games and 4846 minutes.

    Although I think the most interesting comparison is when you compare these GA players to Seniors players drafted in the exact same draft. Since 2007, when the MLS started releasing player salaries, of the top 120 players drafted 53 have been GA's and 67 Seniors. Of those picks the league paid the GA's a guarantee of $6,369,202 compared to the seniors who got $3,257,990 for their first season of play. The GA's played a total of 758 games and 47746 minutes in their first season compared to the the Seniors who played 1197 games and 77334 minutes. In the second season the GA's played 750 games/50929 to Seniors 957/62427 and third season in the league GA's 547/38239 to Seniors 765/55269 and so far career totals are GA's 2591 games and 177052 minutes to seniors 3913 games to 271212 minutes.

    Here are a GA/Senior player comparison breakdown since 2007
    2012 - http://enbsports.blogspot.ca/2012/11/mls-super-draft-review-generation_2621.html
    2011 - http://enbsports.blogspot.ca/2012/11/mls-super-draft-review-generation_8356.html
    2010 - http://enbsports.blogspot.ca/2012/11/mls-super-draft-review-generation_3068.html
    2009 - http://enbsports.blogspot.ca/2012/11/mls-super-draft-review-generation_8533.html
    2008 - http://enbsports.blogspot.ca/2012/11/mls-super-draft-review-generation_30.html
    2007 - http://enbsports.blogspot.ca/2012/11/mls-super-draft-review-generation.html

    Even beyond the stats is that on the site transfermarkt.de who judges player market value has the GA and Seniors almost currently equal in Total player value. Which completely contradicts the MLS GA campaign since the main reason we have the GA system in place is so the MLS can protect it's rights of these NCAA/US base players on the open football market.

    I'm actually a strong supporter of the US college system as a development league for the MLS and those who disagree I believe don't understand the professional game. Professional soccer isn't a sport played by 17/18 years old like all professional sport it's a sport played by Men.The average age for a professional soccer player in leagues around the World is 25 years of age. Your average senior complete his college career around 22 which a normal time to start a pro career well a GA is 19 which is young for a professional. For example Last season the EPL only had 7 players under 21 play more than 20 games - (Phil Jones, Steven Caulker, Victor Moses, Aaron Ramsey, Grant Hanley, Davide Santon and Jason Lowe) where the MLS had 15 players do the same this season (Diego Fagúndez, Luis Gil, Andy Nájar, Jack McInerney, Fabián Castillo, Kevin Rowe, Juan Agudelo, Perry Kitchen, Andrew Wenger, Gershon Koffie, Danny Mwanga, Reggie Lambe, Ashtone Morgan, Amobi Okugo, and Zac MacMath). The reason clubs play young players is not to bring success on the pitch but to increase the exposure of players for the transfer market. So the fact the MLS is encouraging the signing and playing of young players but at the same time not actively trying to sell these players provides me just another example the league doesn't fully understand the global game.

    Since the MLS doesn't have a proper youth or reserve league or loan system a complete college career can gives scouts around 100 games of visual and statistical data to evaluate a players potential pro career and based on the numbers above the league has saved over $3,000,000 by doing this. So my view is if scouted correctly the college game can provide a great resource in finding talent although we need to get rid of the GA system since players need to evaluated on performance and no longer speculation especially by so called authority who know very little about the game.
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  2. patilluky

    patilluky Member

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    Very interesting
  3. tab5g

    tab5g Member+

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    There is not one reason that MLS clubs play young players, but a big factor in this for MLS (relative to bigger, more established leagues, and your post only compares it to the EPL, and not to say the Dutch league or the Mexican or the Argentine) is that MLS doesn't have or use the resources (relative to the EPL, specifically) to stock up on a deep roster of established/older players.

    But yes, I do agree that MLS likely does need to be "trying to sell these players" (although I am not certain we can say they are not "actively" at least trying to do that in some ways). Although, I don't think all of the league's business and player decisions are because the league "doesn't fully understand the global game" -- I think that it has more to do with the reality of how MLS has (and kinda must have) chosen to structure and run its league.

    Hypothetically, the more players MLS sells, the more players they would need to buy (or acquire freely somehow). And MLS doesn't have the popularity, revenues and resources to really be a buying league, either. Until such a time as MLS has a bigger/better reserve league system and until MLS clubs have bigger, more established and more productive academy systems (and/or until American families don't want their kids to go to college) MLS is going to have to continue to rely on a drafting system of college players (and a portion of that process will involve something like the GA program that attracts non-seniors and guarantees them the opportunity and free resources to pursue finishing their degrees at a later, post-playing point in their lives).
  4. Baysider

    Baysider Member

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    Interesting post.

    When you look though the draft list, the thing that strikes me is how much of crap shoot the draft is. Maybe the answer is that we just don't know how the players are going to turn out and so we shouldn't pretend that we are smarter than we are.

    This may also be why the GA program is being reduced (in favor of homegrown players).

    An alternative story is that we're just doing GA wrong. I forget the name of the guy, but there was a 17 year old DMid that Salt Lake took with the first pick. This was a crazy pick, not because he didn't turn out, but because it was the wrong kind of bet. With 17 year olds, you know there's a lot of uncertainty; you might get a star or you might get a dud. What you want is a large potential upside. It's better to pick a very young forward than a very young DMid. And my sense is that GA forwards have done better than senior forwards. The seniors who get a lot of minutes tend more to be on the defensive side of the ball.


  5. ENB Sports

    ENB Sports Member

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    In comparison the Dutch League had 44 players under 21 play 20 or more games last season although the league also sold 33 players for profit which generated for $120,000,000 and made the teams in the league $75,000,000 in profit where the MLS sold two players for profit (Cameron and Pappa (who actually went to the dutch league)) over the same season. The dutch league also has an average age of just under 24 and the players they sold were just older than that so my guess is if the dutch league could not generate this money these players would remain and the average age would be a lot older.

    The assumption is it's better to have potential than an average player which is huge misconception in all sports especially in a league that has difficulty judging potential. The MLS needs to realize what is has and then concentrate on getting the most out of it. The truth is there is great depth in American Soccer in 2011 NCAA Division 1 Soccer alone had 880 players complete their senior season of soccer and if you include D2, D3, NAIA, and CIS which means each year there are over 2000 players who could try out for a MLS team, play for minimum salary, and potentially provide depth. Instead the MLS gives 10 players who have never played professional football a guarantee of $1,500,000 and then maybe 80 other players an opportunity to try out.
  6. SJTillIDie

    SJTillIDie Member+

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    If you make your calculations per capita, then there is only a big difference in games played their first season, which is to be expected b/c the GA kids are younger, less physically and mentally developed, and more inexperienced than the seniors. Then in the second and third years according to your figures they play about the same number of games per capita.

    year 1 758/53 GA vs. 1197/67 SR = 14 games for each GA to 18 for each senior
    year 2 750/53 vs. 957/67 = 14 games for both
    year 3 547/53 vs. 765/67 = 10 games for GA, 11 for SR
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  7. ENB Sports

    ENB Sports Member

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    Which is kind of my point. I'm not saying GA players don't deserve to play in the MLS. My view is they should play in the MLS after their senior season.
  8. rslfanboy

    rslfanboy Member+

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    Uggggghhhhhhhh.:cry::mad::(

    John Ellinger, former US U-17 coach wasted his first pick on Nik Besagno, who couldn't even get regular playing time on arguably the 2nd worst team in the league for 3 years. John Ellinger was an assistant in Dallas, but I think he just retired.

    From wiki:
    Maybe Jason Kreis is a one-trick pony, we'll find out the next couple of years, but I daily thank Jesus Christ for Jason Kreis.
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  9. scoachd1

    scoachd1 Member

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    The problem with you analysis is that you are comparing GAs to underpaid players from the college draft rather than comparing the to replacement players MLS would have to scout and sign from abroad. The reason GAs look so bad is because they are paid much closer to world market rates than college grads that MLS gets through the draft. Unlike college players who must make a decision within a few weeks after the end of their senior season, GA have all year to visit foreign teams and trial. If MLS wants to keep them, they have to come reasonably close to what these players would get from abroad.



    I think MLS is a great believer in college soccer as well. I am as well for some or the reason state here. Players need games, and there is not really that good of a place for players to get them in this country for college age players. A lot of the pipe dreams regarding home grown players were because people failed to understand the huge jump their is from our U18 leagues to the top 40 D1 programs and from the top 40 D1 programs to the professional level.

    That said, your analysis assumes players would still be available to MLS if the league did not going to sign them as GAs. I don't think this would be the case for most. So instead, the question becomes whether the league is better using this money to bring in more players from outside the country than signing some of the most promising younger ones.
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  10. MUTINYFAN

    MUTINYFAN Member

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    This post is spot on with the trends I have been noticing. My brother has beliefs similar to you and believes that GA should be abolished along with the Academy system. He has pointed out and your stats support that the ideal MLS player should turn pro after his senior year. The future or past stars of MLS are the players who are 23 during their rookie year ex. Graham Zusi, Luis Silva, Austin Berry, Beitashour, Geoff Cameron, Dane Richards, Omar Cummings, Daniel Woolard, The Farfan brothers, Seth Sinovic, Shalrie Joseph, Bright Dike, Calen Carr, Sean Frankin, Michael Lahoud, Casey Townsend, Alex Caskey, etc. The list goes on and on..... We all know the downfall of Toronto FC are their academy players. FC Dallas has already cut two of their academy players and will soon realize that these type of players are not wise investments.

    Your post prove that We should reward four year college soccer players with better pay instead of relying on the failed GA model. The Beasley, Donovan, Convey, EJ generation was a one off. The future of MLS is the four year college soccer player. The GA program should be abolished and the funds should go towards DP contracts for Zusi, Austin Berry, Calen Carr and Bright Dike. Hopefully more players are encouraged to stay in college soccer longer. I used to think the college game was not good but instead it is getting better and better. However, as we increase our reliance on four year college soccer players the Mexican national team has surpassed us as we have failed to match their development models. Hopefully the NCAA rules change for soccer to bring us up to par with Mexico again and also Brazil and Spain
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  11. ENB Sports

    ENB Sports Member

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    I do assume that if you look at American players who went the European route its hard to justify any of them in retrospect would be worth a GA Contract and even if they were there is no track record to show that the MLS would actively sells these players to recoup the investment.

    Yes there are exceptions like I as mentioned before Brek Shea but even with that situation so far the MLS has made a mistake. Shea potential market value has almost been cut in half because of the poor season he had this year and he's one year older. What the league should of done was try to sell Brek Shea last off season and then used the est. $2,000,000 from the sale to provide 20 new entry level contracts to college seniors which would provide the league a greater amount of depth. Than this off season they should sell Bruin and Mattocks and so on and so on and so on. Which is the common business practice for most clubs in the World.

    Alliteratively if MLS has no interest in selling players they should use the money they spend on GA players to bring in established foreign players who are at the end of their career like the LA Galaxy did this season with Wilhelmsson which would provide no return but greatly improve the overall quality of play.
  12. ENB Sports

    ENB Sports Member

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    Its difficult to compare the Mexican league because they do the split season thing but in the current apertura there is only 7 players under the age of 21 who have played half their club minutes or the equivilant of 20 games in a 38 game season.

    The Mexican Olympic who won gold wasn't even that young team had an average age of over 23 (because of the 3 seniors) and only 4 players were under 21 and none played significant minutes.

    The Mexican League also generated $15,000,000 in player sales this off season and $244,046,288 since 2006 compared to MLS who has generated $33,107,985 since 2006

    So maybe one of the reason why the MLS is behind Mexico in League play and National team is due to the fact the MLS generates such little revenue when it comes to the global transfer market which means MLS is force to play on a tight budget which means comparably the quality to play is worse.
  13. Autogolazo

    Autogolazo BigSoccer Supporter

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    1. The "league" can't force an individual team to sell its player, and therefore can't act like clubs abroad, so not a good comparison. Otherwise, the league would've forced NE Revs to sell Shalrie to Celtic a few years back and pocketed a nice two-thirds of the transfer fee.

    2. Since GA is not about developing American players, nor is it only for college players since some come directly from U.S. programs, why not use it to attract more guys like SKC's Oriol Rosell, who came from Barcelona B or Monteal's Felipe? Make it a true global scouring for players under a certain age and run it separately, so that this confusion of having guys like Joao Plata or Bonfigli thrown together with the college kids at combines and put into the regular draft ceases.

    GA is only flawed on the front end because using mostly college players to draw upon is too narrow a pool, and on the back end because of the outrageous cap hit penalizing success.

    It shouldn't be about a team saying "Psst, we want to draft Tyler Polak, could you make him a GA?" but instead, the league should say "here are the 30 players age 20 or under from all over the world who have signed pre-contracts with the league and are going into the GA draft. Each team can select one GA player per year, who will then sign a formal contract with MLS once selected." In other words, a separate GA draft.

    My theory about the failure rate of GA players is that the pool is too small each year to be throwing out six-figure contracts to just anybody, not that a 20 or 21-year-old can't play a "man's game." Guys like Mattocks and Bruin and others have proven they can.
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  14. LongDuckDong

    LongDuckDong Member+

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    Isn't some of that $244,046,288 going between teams within the league? My understanding is that the Mexican league transfer balance (total league in - league out) was near zero.

    Regardless, MLS makes $350 million/year. I don't think an inconsistent additional $35 million per year would make much of a difference.
  15. chapka

    chapka Member+

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    I'm not sure your statistics actually measure anything, frankly. As far as I can tell, you're not comparing the players' first seasons in the league, but the first, second, and third season in which the player got any minutes. (For example, you list Chris Seitz's first, third, and fourth seasons, because he played zero minutes in the second).

    This is obviously going to distort the figures, because someone who joins a team as a 17-year-old is more likely to have a season with only a few appearances than someone who joins as a 23-year-old. A 17-year-old who's not quite ready will get 10 minutes in a season; a 23-year-old who's not quite ready will get cut.

    Worse, this means your data doesn't include seniors, even first-round draft picks (like Colin Rolfe and Andrew Duran in 2012) who haven't played a single minute in the league--something that's much rarer for GA players.

    On the other hand, you list Mo Edu has having "no" minutes, and therefore no value, in the third season of his contract--since he'd already made a $2.6 million transfer to the Premier League.

    Here's another way of looking at the 2008 draft class. In 2008, MLS drafted 10 GA players and 46 seniors. Out of that draft class, in 2012--the last year of a standard 4-year MLS contract:

    6 of the 10 GA players are still playing in MLS, with one likely to transfer abroad this offseason.
    4 of the 46 seniors are still playing in MLS
    2 of the 46 seniors moved abroad (Andy Iro to League One and Pat Phelan to Finland)

    That seems like a better metric to me than whether the GA players got some garbage time minutes in their rookie year or sat on the bench the whole season.

    Even your own stats, distorted as they are, show that in 2008 you were much better off with a GA (averaging 6,200 minutes over the first three seasons) than with a senior (averaging about 4,700 minutes). Those numbers would only go up if you considered the fourth contract year as well, since all but four of the 9 seniors you list have washed out or transferred. Your "overall" results are skewed by recent classes--but all that proves is that seniors who play in their first year play more minutes than GAs, not that they are a better value over the four years of their contract.

    Finally, you say that 22 is "a normal time to start a pro career." Which, as far as I know, isn't the case anywhere in the world. It isn't backed up by your own figures, which say that the average player is 25--since we know that many players play past the age of 28. It isn't backed up by the facts, either.

    The most recent full German national team called up six out of nineteen players who were 22 or younger. Manchester United has 30 players on its first-team roster; 9 of them are 22 or younger. 22 isn't a normal time to start a pro career anywhere but in the United States.
  16. chapka

    chapka Member+

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    Oh, and one more:

    This is another fallacy. If Dallas decides not to sell a player for $1 million and instead picks up the last year of his contract for $100,000, that doesn't mean they've "lost" $1.1 million. That means they got a player they value at at least $1m a year for $100,000 a year. The players teams keep have value just the same as the players they sell.
  17. SweetOwnGoal

    SweetOwnGoal Member

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    Yep.

    I normally don't link myself, but last year we (CanadianSoccerNews.com) did a fairly exhaustive analysis of the last 12 Superdrafts. The motivation was to see if we could find trends and to place a relative value on what a first round draft pick was worth (The original idea came from debate about who "won" a player for draft pick trade).

    I don't pretend this has all the answers. It's just another way to look at it. But, if you're interested you can look at the end result of our work here: http://www.canadiansoccernews.com/content.php?2415-The-SuperDraft-in-numbers

    We just did an early look at the 2012 class here: http://www.canadiansoccernews.com/content.php?3984-A-look-back-at-the-2012-SuperDraft

    Speaking to the quoted part we found that only 43.3 of top 5 picks played in more than 75% of games over his career (we defined a "career" as being six seasons long and a season was 30 games -- so, a "exceptional" draft pick would play in a minimum of 135 games over his 6+ year MLS career. 123 games over a 5-year, 101 over a 4-year...etc. We went on to define players as having been "solid" "poor" and "failures").

    In terms of exceptional picks we found that drop off was alarming -- Picks 6-10 yielded just 28.3% exceptional players and 11+ picks just 12.5%.

    There area lot more numbers to look at through the links provided.

    As I said, I don't normally link myself. However, part of the reason I did so today is that I'm looking for people to contribute their knowledge to the data that we've mined. I don't pretend this has all the answers and I'm looking to improve the way we look at it (I'll be publishing a full update in early January. So, feedback is (very) welcome.
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  18. Heist

    Heist Member+

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    Wouldn't you also want to know how these players played 3-4 years later? I don't know the answer, but that seems more relevant than how many games they played in years 1-2-3.
    Also, comparing all GA players to only those who completed their senior year (as it seems you did although I can't tell) probably isn't the best way to do it. I do agree with your overall premise that GA is not a great program and not a great return on investment. The idea I think is to keep younger players from heading overseas before the draft starts. Perhaps part of the reason GA is smaller than it once was is that players that would have been GA are now "homegrown" players.
  19. Heist

    Heist Member+

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    Thanks for all that work.
    I just looked through it briefly. I know DC United better than other teams. Seems like Ryan Nelsen (although he went on to play many of his games in England) should be an exceptional pick as should Chris Pontius. I'm not sure if % of games played is the best way to judge players in all cases. Then it could have as much to do with injuries as skill for good players. Eskandarian and Adu both would have some argument that they were very good picks too. Who knows what Esky could have done without injuries and Adu was pretty good for DC early on.
  20. ENB Sports

    ENB Sports Member

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    I agree the seitz season thing was a an error in the analysis i can edit that change. In terms of players who haven't ever played any minutes Rolfe and Duran made a combined $92,000 where GA Enzo Martinez made $91,000 so its basically a write off in total although the average again in favor of seniors.

    Of course each draft there are far more seniors who get drafted many don't get sign because contracts are not guarantee and some play games and minutes at minimum salary. The reason I did not include all seniors is I was trying to give an apples to apples comparison if I used the 130 seniors were who drafted compared to 40 GA's I would have to compare the totals to an average which makes the information a lot more difficult for people to grasp.

    Although even if the minutes are closer financially which is the point of the of the article is that a GA makes more than twice what a Senior make yet their output is basically the same. Overall your analysis of 2008 players is interesting although if you also included money earn my guess is the 10 GA players probably made more money out of the league than the 46 seniors

    If you include all players there is 7 GA's who I didn't include in my list because they have yet to play a minute Arguez (2007), Vaentino (2008), Nimo (2008), Lambo (2008), Herold (2010), Tetteh (2011), and Martinez (2012) they earned $495,000 in their first season of play (or the equivalent of more than 20 minimum salaries during that period)

    In terms of the Edu comment I also listed Tim Ream, who isn't a GA and also lost his third season because of the transfer to the EPL so that difference equals out

    Of Manchester United current roster 4 players are under 22 - http://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/en/manchester-united/startseite/verein_985.html
    also on any team in the world the salary's of these players are a small percentage compared to the more established senior players. Although under the GA system, Wenger is the 5th highest paid player on Montreal, Rowe is the 4th hightest paid player on New England, and Mwanga is the 2nd highest player on Portland. If GA's were paid $20,000-30,000 I'd have no issue with them being on the team although to my original point paying $100,000+ to a player who doesn't improve your club this season and you're not playing to sell is just bad soccer business
  21. ENB Sports

    ENB Sports Member

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    So far career totals are GA's 2591 games and 177052 minutes to seniors 3913 games to 271212 minutes. Although the reason I used the first three seasons is this tends to be the length of a GA Contract also people could argue that teams shouldn't expect anything from a GA in the first season but by year three they should be established and be worth the pick in the first place.
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  22. youth=glory

    youth=glory Member

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    Not sure if serious....

    This whole thread gives me a headache...yes some GA's have failed, but the whole reason you bring those players in when they are younger is because they have a much higher potential then a lot of the college seniors. For instance Townsend while a nice player has a lower ceiling than a guy like Mattocks. I'd also like to point out, in recent years it appears the GA's have been doing a lot better than 5 or so years ago. I will concede one point though, it appears senior CB's seem to be able to transition a lot better than GA CB's.

    Personally I think the easiest thing for MLS would be to scrap the whole program/draft. Then institute an NHL like draft. Every player is eligible after their freshman year (outside HG's), then MLS teams hold their rights and the players/teams can decide when it is best for them to leave school. Players could hopefully still train with the league during the summer and it would help fill up reserve rosters so an actual reserve league could be formed. (ie 20+ games)
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  23. jond

    jond Member+

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    College is not the future of development. It's only a decent option because we have a huge gap in development which needs to be fixed ASAP. 23 yr old college seniors coming to MLS aren't the future of the league. That's ridiculous. By the time you're 23-24 you don't have that much time to continue developing. Sure some will improve and impress over the next few years, more so defenders than attackers, as tactical understanding at a high pace and technical ability doesn't matter as much for defenders, but to act like waiting until guys are 23 to turn pro is a preferred route is ridiculous.

    The future of the league is having more Gil's, more Kitchens, more Agudelo's, more Najar's, with a far better reserve league set up and improved development of this age group. The future is also the ability to sign and develop guys like Pelosi, Bijev, Flores, Gatt, Cunningham, Lletget, etc..

    The future is a full reserve set up where prospects can go straight from academies to the MLS reserve league.

    The future is better coaching from outside the American setup where American coaches are behind many coaches elsewhere tactically.

    The future is having development spots on MLS rosters separate from the 30 man roster, where as now youngsters are getting cut at an alarming rate to make room for players who can now.

    College is only a decent tool for development by default.
  24. MUTINYFAN

    MUTINYFAN Member

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    But wouldn't you agree that the four year college soccer players is getting better and better. Graham Zusi and Luis Silva are the future of the USMNT midfield, Luis Gil cannot match up, Bright Dike is the next George Weah and Austin Berry is much better than Omar Gonzalez was as a rookie. Beitashour is our version of Danilo Silva. I am so excited about the future of MLS with these players, if only they would get paid better.
  25. jond

    jond Member+

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    United States
    Saying Zusi and Silva are the future is quite a leap, although I do really like both. I am impressed with Zusi's improvement. This isn't a USA forum but Zusi still has to prove himself above an average CONCACAF level country. It's why I really wish he played against Russia which is much tougher than a Guatemala or A&B. The other question is how much will Zusi still improve at his age? Silva has been great, but he has a ways to go to be considered a NT regular.

    Gil is one of our better talents, period. He might be the most technically sound 18 yr old since Landon. He has a very high ceiling and isn't near reaching it yet. That's the thing, Gil still has about four full season until he'd be the same age college juniors/seniors coming into MLS. You have to wait and see where he is at that point, and I'd wager he'll be better off for having been a pro for over half a decade at that point than if he went to college, although his choice was really Arsenal or MLS when he was 16.

    College has produced some good players, I don't disagree with that at all. Here's my take on it though. Naturally, because of the limited options development wise for 18/19 yr olds, a number of talented kids will head to college, some will get better and be better for it, others won't, which is natural, but when looking at a talent like Zusi, would he be a better player now if he was developed through a full reserve league, in a pro setup concentrating on only soccer from age 18-23, than if he went the college route? I'd say yes, he would.

    When I see good talent coming from college and hitting the league at 23 or 24, I ask how much better would those players be, given their talent level, if they were playing and concentrating on soccer around the clock in a full reserve league. If you have drive and talent you'll eventually do well, but that doesn't mean that talent was maximized. Until our 18-22 yr olds are in a position to only concentrate soccer and play reserve/NASL/USL games weekly without the limits the NCAA has on soccer, the talent won't be maximized.

    And that's the issue. We're not the NBA or NFL where there isn't competition world wide, or not much of it anyway. We're competing in a global sport where the 18-22 yr old counterparts are in pro setups, and are playing year round, and are concentrating solely on soccer. So even if the talent does find some success in college, and I do agree college is doing a better job developing, we're still behind compared to the rest of the world. The key development years aren't maximized in this country. Would talents like Zusi, Silva, Berry be better if their talent was cultivated in a more around the clock, concentrate only on soccer environment with more games almost year round? I believe the answer is yes. College is doing some good things for this talent, but to me the question is is there a way to do more with that talent, and there is, and it'll eventually come from a better pro setup.
    Ismitje and Kayak repped this.

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