A Little Olympic Perspective

Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by Dignan, Oct 11, 2008.

  1. Dignan

    Dignan Member+

    Nov 29, 1999
    Granada
    Club:
    FC Dallas
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Ok, so everyone is calling for various members of the gifted 2008 Olympic Squad to be immediately integrated into the national team. All the way from Adu to Holden and everyone in betwee. It got be thinking about the 2000 squad and their 4th place finish and how many of those players transitioned into national team players.

    Arguably I think this last team was quite talented and a bit unlucky not to do better. Yet, I don't believe that this will translate necessarily into national team success. For some it will, but not all. This is not to say that guys like Adu, Altidore, Wynne, Rogers, Stewart, Klesjtan, Edu, Orozco, Davies, et al, don't deserve a call up and a shot. Its just that it is somewhat naive to believe that all of these guys will have national team success. Of course they could be a golden generation of sorts. But even our U17 Golden Generation really only produced Donovan, Beasley, Onyewu, and Convey.

    Anyway just food for though, something to chew on, would like some others thoughts and anlysis.

    Overage players were:
    Freidel
    Agoos
    Hejduk

    U-23s
    Dunseth
    McCarty
    O'Brien
    Digiamarino
    Califf
    Olsen
    Vagenas
    Albright
    Corrales
    Donovan
    Victorine
    Whitfield
    Wolff
    Casey
    Howard

    Ok, well here you have O'Brien, Donovan, Howard, and Wolff who ended up arguably making major contributions to the national team and playing in World Cups and well doing something.

    Olsen and Albright were useful national team guys as well and very successful MLS guys. Mainly they provided depth for the nats and were never standout players, still they made it to the WC.

    Califf is a solid backup for the US now. It is still to be seen whether he will make a WC squad.

    Casey had his chances but he never materialized.

    Corrales, Vagenas, and Victorine have had solid pro careers.

    McCarty, Dunseth, and Whitfield all were average pros who retired fairly early.

    Digiamarino had a lot of potential, and signed with Leverkusenbut injuries scuttled his career.

    So out of 15 players we got 4 actual national team stalwarts. One being a goalie. So only three field players who made a serious international impact. We got 4 other guys who contributed to the national team at varying levels, and then we got a handful solid pro players, although I believe that almost all of these guys have at least gotten a look in a national team camp.

    Well, does this predict anything about the 2008 squad?
     
  2. ussoccerFan12358

    Mar 11, 2006
    Central NY
    I don't know much about the guys that didn't develop as well on that U-23 team, but a more personal analysis of the several guys being mentioned from this most recent Olympic team versus the prospects for the Sydney team would be much more revealing.

    Good thread idea, though.
     
  3. KALM

    KALM Member+

    Oct 6, 2006
    Boston/Providence
    If you look at where those players were within a year of the Olympics back then, O'Brien, Donovan, Casey and DiGiamarino were the only ~U-23 players in first division European leagues, and I imagine several of the rest were subs in a league that was much weaker than the MLS of today.

    Compare that with the 2008 squad where Guzan, Edu, Bradley, Rogers, Adu, Altidore, Feilhaber, Szetela, and Davies (and probably a few more like Kljestan by the end of the next transfer window) were all at first division European clubs within a year of the tournament, and, of the rest, pretty much everyone but Seitz and Ianni have been regular starters in MLS in one season or another.

    Not that I'm complaining. I think most of the better players have received or appear likely to receive fair consideration during qualification.
     
  4. olephill2

    olephill2 Member+

    Oct 6, 2006
    Oregon
    Club:
    Watford FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    So, basically our 2000 U-23 team had 7 players who would go on to become contributors to the senior national team over the years:
    • Donovan
    • Howard
    • Wolff
    • Olsen
    • Albright
    • Califf
    • O'Brien

    If you look at our 2008 U-23 team, I think it's clear the following players either have been or will be contributors to our senior team:
    • Michael Bradley
    • Freddy Adu
    • Jozy Altidore
    • Benny Feilhaber (has been)
    • Maurice Edu
    • Sacha Kljestan

    The jury's out on the following players, but they have the potential to become contributors to the senior team:
    • Chris Seitz
    • Michael Orozco
    • Marvell Wynne
    • Danny Szetela
    • Stuart Holden
    • Robbie Rogers
    • Charlie Davies

    Based on history, it's probably unrealistic to presume that all 13 of these guys will become contributors to our senior team (by contributor, I mean at least 20 caps), unless we think this group could be a golden generation. However, the results at the Olympics don't seem to indicate that.

    The good news, though, is that more of our 2008 U-23s have been in professional environments longer than our 2000 U-23s were at the same point in their careers. That has to count for something.
     
  5. Kevin8833

    Kevin8833 Member

    Jun 18, 2007
    Estero, FL
    It's not all about the results with so many factors in youth tournaments, but looking at a lot of these players individually the talent is extremely obvious and a lot of them will be very succesful with the full team in my opinion.
     
  6. Maximum Optimal

    Maximum Optimal Member+

    Jul 10, 2001
    Beasley is an interesting case. He played in the Olympic qualifiers but did not make the squad for the finals. Of course, he has gone on to a fine career with the senior team.

    Cherundolo also played in the qualifiers but suffered a knee injury that kept him out of the Olympics.
     
  7. Maximum Optimal

    Maximum Optimal Member+

    Jul 10, 2001
    From the 1996 Olympic squad, I remember the following going on to good senior team careers of varying success: Reyna, Pope, Maisonneuve, Hejduk, Kirovski.
     
  8. shooter6065

    shooter6065 Member

    Nov 16, 2000
    Chicago
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    As I recall, the only reason Tim Howard was on that squad was because Adin Brown was injured.

    Adin Brown was a top prospect at that time as European clubs drooled over him, including some big clubs. Comparisons were made of him as further ahead than Kasey Keller was at the same age. Alas, things did not quite pan out.
     
  9. olephill2

    olephill2 Member+

    Oct 6, 2006
    Oregon
    Club:
    Watford FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The other major flaw in the topic poster's thesis is that a lot of contributors to the national team from that generation (1977-1982) simply weren't on the Olympic team:
    • Carlos Bocanegra
    • DaMarcus Beasley
    • Steve Cherundolo
    • Brian Ching
    • Taylor Twellman
    • Jay DeMerit
    • Cory Gibbs

    So, if you add the aforementioned 7 players to my original list of 7 that have made a contribution to the Nats, then you're looking at 14 players from that 2000 Olympic pool who ended up contributing to the national team (to varying degrees). That number is much more in line with the 13 I pegged from our 2008 team with the potential to be contributors to the USMNT.


    Now, dignan opined that our 2000 Olympic team produced 4 major contributors to the national team (Donovan, Wolff, O'Brien, Howard). If you add in others from that age group who simply weren't on the Olympic team (Cherundolo, Bocanegra, Beasley), we see that 7 players from that age group became major contributors to the U.S.

    Looking at our 2008 Olympic crop, if I had to prognosticate, I think it's reasonable that the following players (and possibly more) could all became major contributors to our senior side over the next several years:
    • Freddy Adu
    • Jozy Altidore
    • Michael Bradley
    • Maurice Edu
    • Robbie Rogers
    • Sacha Kljestan
    • Charlie Davies
    • Marvell Wynne
    • Chris Seitz
    So the 2000 crop produced 7 major contributors, and a quick estimate on my part shows that 9 from the 2008 crop could do the same. Is that a significant difference? I don't think so.
     
  10. Dignan

    Dignan Member+

    Nov 29, 1999
    Granada
    Club:
    FC Dallas
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Good point all around, but I am not counting people who did not make the team (for whatever reason) because no on is calling for Nathan Sturgis and Eddie Gavin to be on the national team. Just the various guys who were elegible and were on the team. This is my point exactly. Just because you were on the Olympic team does not necessarily make you one of the best players of your generation. At the time of the 2000 Olympics Vagenas (who I think led us in scoring for the tournament) and Victorine were considered the best of their generation. Time proved otherwise.


    Your point also proves my point, that just being on the Olympic team will not guarantee success to the national level, and the calls for Rogers, Wynne, and Stewart to be automatically included in the NT picture are a bit naive. Of course there were omissions to the 2008 team who will go on to become national team players. The injury to Spector (who is already in the national team) highlights this. Guys like Ngyuen, Zizzo, Wolf (Kamani that is), Gavin were not in form for this tournament, but they are still very young and could mature into top players. Torres and Subotic turned down invites, but no one is questioning their pedigree.

    There are certainly also other players of this generation on no one's radar who will rise to the occasion eventually, like Jay Demerit. No one in a million years could have predicted that he would have ended up a Premier league starter.

    From this Olympic squad it is clear that Bradley, Klesjtan, Altidore, Edu, and Adu are shoe ins for serious national team duty. Frankly, the averages don't play out all that well for the others, but I am willing to give you Wynne and Sietz, and then see your 7 or 8 other guys from the generation who didn't make the squad.

    Oh and to be technical, Donovan and Beasley technically were not from the same generation as the 2000 team. Donovan and Beasley were 18 in 2000 and were both elegible and played in qualifying for the 2004 games.

    If you wanted to go strictly with generation you would need to look at only guys who were 20-23 at the time of the games. That means that Altidore and Adu technically don't count in your scheme since they will most certainly be playing at a shot for the 2012 games, as well as Torres.
     

Share This Page