Chicken or Egg: Who is responsible for youth development?

Discussion in 'USA Men' started by Eleven Bravo, Jun 18, 2018.

  1. Eleven Bravo

    Eleven Bravo Member+

    Atlanta United
    United States
    Jul 3, 2004
    SC
    Club:
    Atlanta Silverbacks
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    One of the most contested debates in American soccer is associated with youth development around the question who is responsible for improving youth development and should we be more proactive or laissez faire?

    Personally, I’m in the camp that MLS and USSF need to be far more proactive in developing youth in this country. Considering the fact more kids are playing soccer in this country than the size of some of the nations at the World Cup, it seems absurd to me that the nation with the greatest amount of resources can’t maximize on its potential. I would argue that we need to be much more aggressive and innovative in how we propel this nation to the next level; otherwise, we are more likely to be left behind.

    On the flip side, I’ve seen some arguments that counter that MLS and USSF should take a more proactive approach, and seem to favor a more laissez faire approach to youth development.

    More, while I would argue that it nonsensical to state that the player is not ultimately responsible for his individual development; however, when it comes to the collective development of the player pool, that responsibility falls on MLS and USSF. I’ve heard that MLS and USSF bears no responsibility or very little responsibility for the collective development.

    I’d like to hear discussion on this topic. I’ll post why I believe MLS and USSF need to be more proactive, how they can be more proactive, and the consequences if we are not more proactive, and I hope to hear others post the same. Meanwhile, those who have a counter opinion, I’d like to hear how the laissez faire approach and what they offer is a superior approach to improving US soccer. Either way, this is a discussion that needs to be had if we want to elevate US soccer.
     
  2. Eleven Bravo

    Eleven Bravo Member+

    Atlanta United
    United States
    Jul 3, 2004
    SC
    Club:
    Atlanta Silverbacks
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  3. Eleven Bravo

    Eleven Bravo Member+

    Atlanta United
    United States
    Jul 3, 2004
    SC
    Club:
    Atlanta Silverbacks
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Now, the problem with Reyna’s logic...

    MLS and US soccer are married to each other. When US soccer fails, MLS fails, and vice versa. A domestic league struggles without a strong national team, a national team struggles without a strong domestic league. The only exception to this rule is England, which is a point I’ll get to in a minute. Even strong national teams, Brazil, Argentina, etc. that don’t have the most recognizable leagues still have good leagues yet their domestic leagues are designed to improve their national team.

    In the case of England and the Premier League, it should be no secret the Premier League has hampered England’s national team. There’s a reason why they are clearly behind Germany, France, and Spain, and it’s because England was willing to forego national team performance to have the best league in the world. That’s their sacrifice. Now, the problem in America with using that same formula is that we are still a far cry from the Premier League. We cannot afford to neglect the national team without dire consequences the way that England has. This formula is absolutely disastrous for us to follow.

    I will declare openly this is the cause of why we are sitting home this World Cup. MLS is drastically improved in the past decade however US soccer is the worst it’s been since the 90’s, maybe even 80’s. This is because we sacrificed our national team for the domestic league. Ignoring this issue, or simply just take a laissez faire approach will ultimately lead to further regression of the USMNT.

    So, to Reyna and the naysayers, things are not okay. Yes, we have seen some reasons to hope in Pulisic, Weah, Sargent, McKennie, etc, but these players did not come up through MLS. That’s a lot different then how Donovan, Dempsey, Beasley, and company were able to get their start MLS. At this point, Teal Bunbury, CJ Sapong, and Gyasi Zardes are about the only American forwards playing in a league of over 20 teams.... that’s insane that’s the best our 20-30 age group can offer. Meanwhile, the promising prospects have been buried on the bench by good not great foreign talent.

    These players do not develop if they do not play. Training is important but a player is born in the game. For instance, why would any coach want to take a chance on Eryk Williamson, Jeremy Ebobisse, Brandon Vasquez, etc? They are unknown players and any coach is going to rely more heavily on known vs unknown. What separates Tyler Adams from Andrew Carleton, other than position, is game time. As Adams has played in competitive matches and has matured from these games, Carleton rots on the bench. Is Adams simply that much more talented than Carleton, or is he more the beneficiary of a coach willing to play his youngsters?

    Thus, my argument is MLS and USSF need to get together, come up with a coherent game plan, as they understand one cannot survive without the other, and aggressively and creatively attack this issue.

    What I would argue for?

    I would argue that it should be mandated every MLS team must field a reserve team in USL or D3.

    I’d also argue that the US Open Cup should be expanded into a tourney league with more games during the season as this provides clubs the best opportunity to experiment with players during the year.

    I’d argue for a minimum minutes for HGP, which I would compromise could come from a loan, reserves, or other youth team; otherwise these HGP should be allowed to find a new club. I’d add another compromise that clubs can appeal based on injuries, suspensions, national team call ups, and/or behavioral issues.

    I’d argue that HGP should consist of at least 20% every teams full roster.

    I’d argue that HGP and perhaps all domestic players should be cap exempt players. This is for the reason that if a team wants to build a superclub then the way to do it is through their youth academy. Parity needs to end where youth development begins.

    I’d argue to allow kids to sign with any academy in the nation. If clubs are not going to take responsibility to develop their youth then they should be able to sign with a club that values youth development.

    I’d argue that USSF needs to create an online coaching program to improve overall coaching across the nation. More, I’d like to see advocacy for high school and middle school soccer be played in both spring and fall.

    I’d argue that the USSF and MLS should plan a long term goal of creating a more legitimate u23 national league, consisting of MLS u21 teams, the best PDL and NPSL teams, and focusing expansion to teams in the main college towns. This would be the best way to tackle the “NCAA problem”.

    I’d argue these players “wage” should be a college scholarship to a local college as a way to intice youth players to sign with the club.

    I’d argue the USSF should bring back the u18 residency program; however, refocus its mission for players to be prepared to sign in Europe.

    I’d argue for USL games to have more week day games, especially for MLS reserve teams, so players can play both.

    I’d argue for a full time u23/B team to help bring in new players into the US pool in order to institute the team’s mission for players on the fringe.

    Ultimately, some of what I may argue for would have to be long term goals but they’re necessary to improve the the long term trajectory of the USMNT. We cannot afford to take a laissez faire approach or otherwise continue to witness this 1980’s version of US soccer. If we want the USMNT to reach the heights of the best nations in the world, something certainly attainable, then we need to get serious on how we can be more aggressive and innovative in tackling this issue.
     
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  4. manfromgallifrey91

    Swansea City
    United States
    Jul 24, 2015
    Wyoming, USA
    Club:
    Southampton FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    NCAA rules are really tricky, so I don't know if a team could pay for a kid to go to school. They'd probably have to set up a foundation and take applicants and pick x amount and award it that way.

    Looking long term it all starts to me with a better overall coaching plan. Have coaches come in and get training in exchange for volunteer hours, if they don't complete the volunteer hours at a local rec league they are on the hook for the costs of the courses (which really shouldn't a lot to begin with). Develop a better relationship with State's and try to bring inter-state organization tournaments to the forefront for scouting and coaching clinics/meetings. Set up a much better online way for coaches to communicate ideas.

    I do think the USSF should be very hands on with this part of it. The country is too big to really be totally hands on, but like a company you train people the way it should be done, and check in on them to make sure its happening that way. Set up regional headquarters and move some employees from Chicago to other locations so you are not really spending a ton more.

    And then the recommendations for U teams you make are great, and would add a good level of development for kids who may slip through the crack or for late bloomers.
     
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  5. An Unpaved Road

    An Unpaved Road Member+

    Mar 22, 2006
    Club:
    --other--
    Personally I do see the NT as the center of U.S. soccer that other levels (including MLS) should work to complement. So, yeah, prioritize young Americans and do what it takes to get them to the highest possible level. Don't give them handouts, but do go out of your way to help their development.

    Objectively, however, I'm not so sure my personal priority has to hold in order for a stronger domestic league culture to emerge. I remember reading that respectable World Cup runs in the past for the U.S. have never led to a sustained ratings boost for MLS. If the relative success didn't matter much, why should the failure? I think it's possible MLS could carry on for several more decades and eventually be like the NHL is now in that the superstars are largely foreigners and fans are okay with that given the cultural importance of winning the league. I imagine a little baby right now who grows up as a fan in one of the strongest MLS markets simply might never need the NT to carry his or her interest. And if club before country is the natural thing to do, why develop a young American when you could import an equally young foreign player who is ready to go as is?

    Again, not my personal view for how I want things to play out, but given our unique soccer culture as it is now maybe we should allow for the possibility of a non-traditional endpoint.
     
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  6. jaykoz3

    jaykoz3 Member+

    Dec 25, 2010
    Conshohocken, PA
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    First, Reyna's take is not Laissez Faire. Definition of Laissez Faire https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/laissez-faire

    Reyna is 100% correct in that playing time must be earned. Players aren't going to improve by being handed things. USMNT fans have been shouting to the rooftops and anyone who will listen that American players need to go to Europe so that they have to compete for playing time. Yet, here we are saying the exact opposite. WHICH IS IT!?!?!?! You can't have it both ways.
    Weah and McKenne started in MLS academies (RBNY and FCD). Of course that doesn't count to USMNT fans though.
    Adams is also 2 years OLDER than Carleton. His body is more physically mature, and can handle the rigors of the pro game. People seem to forget that Messi didn't start playing for Barcelona's first team until AFTER he turned 18. Players under the age of 18 playing professionally is not the norm, it's the exception. Freddy Adu has been playing professionally since he was 14. He was handed playing time. How'd that work out?
    Kids can do this, as long as their parents consent to it. MLS teams are allowed to bring kids from outside of their territory to their academies. Now there are limits for the larger market teams. SKC has been doing this for years. The Union have had players from Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida at their academy. MLS is also looking at loosening the reigns on the rules of this as well. Some markets just don't have the numbers (Columbus, Minnesota, SKC, Orlando, Portland, Seattle, New England) when compared to LA, NY, DC, Philly, & Dallas.
    The NCAA needs to tackle the "NCAA Problem." There is growing support among college coaches of going to a Fall/Spring format, and spreading the schedule out throughout the entire school year. Changes of this nature takes time though.

    MLS isn't getting a lot of players through the NCAA system these days either. Sure a few fall through the cracks, but those are quickly becoming the exceptions rather then the norm of just a few years ago. Most of the college players that weren't previously part of an MLS academy now end up in USL. Most MLS academy players who go on to play in college rarely stay four years before signing a home grown player deal.

    MLS can help in this area by giving it's clubs incentives to field PDL teams. Some teams already have their academy players play games in USL. Though it is limited to those players that are not already playing in the NCAA. NCAA rules prevent players from playing with professionals. Again, some teams already do field PDL teams (RBNY, Portland). The Union have an affiliation with Reading United.

    This is an area where MLS likely will tread with a soft step. Not all academies can support this step. Heck, not all academies can support a USL team (Orlando closing up shop this past year). For teams in NY, Philly, LA, and Dallas this makes sense, as those teams routinely sign home grown players every season. The New Englands, Columbus's, & Colorado's it probably won't make sense as they only sign one home grown player every few years it seems.
    HGP's already are cap exempt, and have been
    This is a good start of an idea. There should be a lot of caution in this approach though. There needs to be more to becoming a certified coach then just taking some online courses. Not everyone is cut out to be a coach, and there are lots of people who should never be a coach.
    USL is a business. Bethlehem Steel FC plays all of its home games during the day due to their stadium situation (no lights). This negatively impacts their ability to schedule games. More day games is not the answer. There are also minute restrictions put on players who appear in an MLS game on a Friday/Saturday and then play for the USL affiliate the following day. Not to mention the more recovery time between games the better.
    Who is this team going to play against? If there are no opponents to play, there is no point to having a team. Plus, most players 20-23 are already getting time playing professionally. If they're good enough to play for the National team they be getting called into the senior team camps. Playing against players their own age is not going to help them improve. The best players in that age bracket are already playing for the senior teams.
    It's USSF's job to put a framework in place that helps kids fall in love with the sport, and want to purse playing it at the highest level.

    MLS is responsible for developing players for it's teams, regardless of what nation a player chooses to represent internationally should he have the talent to play at that level. If their academies are consistently developing professional players, some of those players will go on to play for their country internationally.
     
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  7. bandwagongooner

    bandwagongooner Member+

    Dec 9, 2006
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    While I cannot find any data on UEFA licenses, I've read many articles in the past that focus on UEFA B and A licenses. Countries that have stronger national team pools have more coaches with licenses, better curriculum for the coaches, and lower cost to obtain the license.

    The USSF can make an impact by focusing on training coaches.
     
  8. Eleven Bravo

    Eleven Bravo Member+

    Atlanta United
    United States
    Jul 3, 2004
    SC
    Club:
    Atlanta Silverbacks
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Let me be clear on the playing time issue. Yes, I do believe that playing time should be earned. But there needs to be more than USL alone, which a lot of teams don’t even have, for these players to earn minutes in order to showcase why they deserve more minutes in the big time. That’s why I’ve pressed for the US Open Cup to expand into a tourney league. Sure, it’s treated almost as a reserve league but that has outstanding benefits for players on the fringe. One, it gives these players a chance to stay game sharp and two, it allows players to demonstrate they deserve more game time. In this dream scenario, I see Open Cup basically compromising of the players on the bench every game mixed in with a few USL/reserve standouts. How else can a play like Sebastian Saucedo, for one example, demonstrate that he should earn more minutes than some garbage time minutes where he doesn’t even have enough time to settle into a groove? If a player isn’t even good enough for that then go ahead and cut him and let him try to sign somewhere else.

    ...McKennie and Weah have a shaky history with MLS clubs at best. It’s evident these players blossomed from the environment with their club overseas who were more invested in their youth development.

    ...It’s evident the NCAA is not invested in improving soccer more than its current state. Now they may it may not go to the fall/spring schedule, however I’m not holding my breath. The issue here is that 18-22 year range where our players seem to get left behind from the overseas counterpart. The ideal here is to have players graduate from academy then go to u21 then USL then MLS, at varying rates of course. Now, the idea here is by partnering with a local college/university (offering to pay tuition), players might not be eligible to play club ball, but they will be exposed to the college life and get a college degree... something to intice players to choose this route than NCAA.

    ...on the u23/B team, they can play against a USL team for all I care; however, the aim is less on the results than integrating new players into the player pool. Note, at this point the player pool is wide open, however, after we begin to set a consistent 23, those chances for a guy that would only have a January Camp or nothing at all if they play abroad, a way into the first team, are going to become extremely hard to come by. Why is this important? It’s important for a player to learn what’s expected of him and learn to play the system the coach is hoping to implement.

    ...from my understanding, as the rules are always funny with MLS, HGP still count against the salary cap if registered as a senior player spot. The idea here is technically, if a MLS club could build homegrown players of the caliber of Neuer, Sergio Ramos, Hummels, Varane, Bale, Hazard, Pogba, Neymar, Messi, Salah, and Ronaldo they could play that in their XI. There’s a certain built in benefit that a team could technically be the best team in the world if they do so through their HGPs.

    ...I understand the logic behind issues with USL games; it’s something I would advocate for when possible and remove restrictions that a player can play for both.

    ...I agree on the coaching to some degree. This may be in levels of certification. For instance, a basic level can be completed all online but a Level A coaching license would require some face-to-face training and perhaps even letters of recommendations. Nonetheless, I’m looking to try and improve the basic level of coaching.

    ...on travel and academies, that’s a problem I didn’t address yet but should as it’s a good point. For instance, personally, even as much of a soccer fan I am, I don’t think I would let my daughter go to a residency program. So, I understand that academies are not going to be for everyone and more the problem lies mostly with geography. For example, I live in Greenville, South Carolina; definitely not New York City but definitely not podunk USA either. The ideal would be to extend residency academies to affiliated developmental academies, where say, Atlanta United set up a DA in Greenville, perhaps just partnering with the local club, and they have some say and influence in how the DA is operated and give resources to improve the DA. In that world, a kid from a Greenville, SC would not be limited due to not being from a big enough city to have a residency academy and be eligible for a HGP contract.

    ...Note, I understand this isn’t a short term solution for all these to be accomplished. But I would like to see someone with some authority come up with a big vision game plan on how to improve the overall product over the course of time.
     
  9. WheezingUSASupport

    Dortmund
    United States
    Aug 28, 2017
    Glad you created this thread. Completely agree with Reyna.

    I think the NCAA is a lost cause, the effort needed is very unlikely to happen.

    This year we’re seeing more MLS US U21 players getting decent minutes than we have in the past, so we are making progress.

    Our league is mimicking the makeup of the Premier League; although if MLS can be a top 5 League by the 2026 WC, and we see ~80+ US NTs getting time then I think we’ll be okay.
    England’s failures aren’t from their talent level; maybe playing for England isn’t as meaningful.
     
  10. Eleven Bravo

    Eleven Bravo Member+

    Atlanta United
    United States
    Jul 3, 2004
    SC
    Club:
    Atlanta Silverbacks
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    In essence, and to articulate more concisely the point, my questions I would want to ask Reyna and company.

    How is it defined that players have earned more minutes? It’s been said that American youth players must earn their playing time, please define how that is measured.

    What opportunities are there for players to earn more minutes if they are not considered up to measure?

    What are MLS clubs doing to provide those opportunities for more minutes?

    How can we trust that MLS, USSF, whoever the powers that be, to invest in the development of the USMNT when MLS clubs have demonstrated it’s easier for them to go abroad and field an almost entirely international squad?

    How are we going to ensure that the 2018 disaster never happens again?

    How are we going to build a USMNT program that can contend for the World Cup?

    ...if the answer on any party is not this is absolute priority then it’s unacceptable. Put someone in charge who wants to build a winning product.
     
  11. WheezingUSASupport

    Dortmund
    United States
    Aug 28, 2017
    I also think USL is going to play a major role in developing youth. The only problem is if the USL has relegation.

    Players in clubs like ATL2 would likely be relegated and face weaker competition.

    If MLS grows, so does USL from players who can’t cut it in MLS, but so will our young talent.
     
  12. TheHoustonHoyaFan

    Oct 14, 2011
    Houston
    Club:
    FC Schalke 04
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    There should be no special opportunities for a player who is not up to measure to earn more minutes. That is just not the way any sports pyramid works and certainly not soccer in any country in the world.

    If you can't beat out the players on your squad you go somewhere else. If you can't beat out players somewhere else then you need to drop down a level. There is no other way.

    Renya warned us about the lack of quality in the development system 9 years ago. He was pretty much ignored by the entrenched structures in the US soccer community.
     
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  13. ussoccer97531

    ussoccer97531 Member+

    Oct 12, 2012
    Club:
    --other--
    #13 ussoccer97531, Jun 18, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018
    Reyna said something interesting today, and I completely disagree with it. I'm not sure thats what he actually believes, but regardless, here's my opinion.

    If we are going to be a successful National Team at the top of the sport in 2022, 2026, 2030, playing in MLS is not feasible, or as the league is currently constructed and could be projected, its not feasible. Maybe it is if MLS somehow becomes one of the worlds best leagues, but currently it isn't and doesn't look like it'll be one of the best leagues soon.

    These MLS coaches and executives will preach how good MLS is, this and that, but its really not. If we want to be successful, our best young players have to get out of MLS and go abroad. One way to get to Europe is to start out your career in MLS, play 2, 3, 4 good years in MLS, and then transfer to Europe. What we saw from Yedlin, Miazga, EPB, looks like what we'll see from Adams. But MLS teams need to sign these top level young players with the understanding that they will be given playing time at a young age. If they are going to sign with a low-level football side instead of a big time European team, early playing time needs to be a given. You can't hold them hostage until age 21, 22, and then say they are ready to get some minutes.

    Because if thats what you do, they are never going to get to Europe, and we all know it. Once they don't get to Europe, we might as well be honest that their careers won't be maximized. European teams usually stop taking up interest in Americans in MLS at 23, 24, 25. Guys like Acosta, Trapp, Roldan, Parker, the clock is ticking. They might never get a good offer to go to Europe. If they get one now, they should take it. Teams have much more interest in younger players, whether they are 18, 19, 20, maybe 21 or 22. They are younger, easier to mold, make less money, lower transfer fees required, easier to get on a free. If this path is going to work, the type of path a player like Tyler Adams is doing well on, it pretty much requires that these players leave by the end of their first contract or no later than 1 or 2 years after that ends.

    Thinking that you can sit them on the sidelines for their whole first contract, and start giving them minutes at 21, 22 isn't going to work. You are ruining their careers, and its purely selfish. Its also likely to make young Americans in your academy less likely to sign. Look at SKC. They wanted to sign Sargent. I'm sure he saw what happened with his buddy EPB at SKC. He signed elsewhere. Does anyone think the kids in the FC Dallas academy don't see whats happening with Pomykal or the kids in the Atlanta academy don't see whats happening with Carleton? There will likely be consequences for these teams for their selfishness.

    I see an argument put forth often that these kids need to "earn their minutes", need to be pushed in training by all these high-priced foreign signings. First of all, MLS is not a good league. Just objectively, its not top 10, 15 in the world. If we were talking about a non-top 10/15 league that wasn't in our country, we'd call it was it is. A bad league. MLS is the first step for these kids in a long journey to the top. If our players are going to reach their potential, they are going to need to be motivated to reach their potential. But we shouldn't be trying to make it hard on them when they are just getting their start. They need to mentally tough and want to reach the top. Thats on them, but putting these fake "tough obstacles" in front of them at the start of their careers with these high-priced foreigners doesn't actually push them.

    The obstacles if they made it are going to be real top level players, kind of like what Pulisic faced with Dembele, Mor, Reus, Schurrle. He beat out some of these players, and was able to get minutes. Thats having to "earn your minutes." Lets not put unneeded obstacles in front of them that won't in any way help them out. If you think Pomykal's going to be a better player for playing less than 100 minutes this year because Akindele and co. were preferred and Carleton's going to be a better player for playing less than 200 minutes this because Kratz. and co. were preferred, you are joking yourself. Or you are buying into the Don Garber BS that MLS is a top level league where international stars are coming into MLS and making it a world class league.
     
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  14. jaykoz3

    jaykoz3 Member+

    Dec 25, 2010
    Conshohocken, PA
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Here's the MLS roster rules: https://www.mlssoccer.com/league/official-rules/mls-roster-rules-and-regulations

    As it has been explained to me, one of the incentives to signing grown players is that they don't count towards the salary budget, as the majority of them take up roster spots 21-30 (for salary budget purchases).
    MLS teams are already doing this. As an example Philadelphia has an affiliation with a club in North Carolina (Cape Fear Soccer Club), they also had an affiliation with a club in Florida for a period of time. Sporting KC has youth club affiliates in multiple states: http://sportingkcyouth.com/academyaffiliates/
    It looks like Atlanta Utd is just starting to build out their youth club affiliations, so it is likely only a matter of time until they add affiliates in nearby states.
    Here's an example: Jack Elliot suffered an injury early in the season. Mark McKenzie was given an opportunity to play. He hasn't left the lineup since. He seized his opportunity and took it. Now look at Derrick Jones, the Unions very talented defensive midfielder. His performances while with the Union first team have been inconsistent. He's been inconsistent while playing in USL as well. Jim Curtin has consistently said that he expects more out of Jones. He knows what Jones is capable of, and wants to see him perform at that level everyday (games and practice). He had an opportunity to get more playing time recently. He started an open cup game, but was not very influential. Because of that performance he did not feature against Toronto later that week despite Bedoya and Mundjanin being suspended.

    To further this, the Union have a pathway to the pros as they call it. Players start out in their Academy. As players improve, they are invited to train with the USL and MLS teams. Some Academy players earn playing time with Bethlehem Steel. This was the case with Anthony Fontana, Austin Trusty, Matt Real and Mark McKenzie. Some players then earn a contract to play for BSFC, and eventually if they show well enough they earn a home grown player contract with the Union. RBNY has a similar process.

    Another example would be Red Bull NY trading away their captain Dax McCarty in order to make room for Tyler Adams last season.
    Again, it's not MLS' job to specifically produce players for the National Team. MLS teams are developing players so that they can win games, and to build stronger connections with their communities. There are going to be American players developed who choose not to play for the USMNT. Just remember that. It's happened before, and will happen in the future.
     
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  15. WheezingUSASupport

    Dortmund
    United States
    Aug 28, 2017
    I’d be curious to hear what leagues you think rank over ours. MLS is not a top 10 league, but I think it probably ranks around 15th.
    Off the top of my head:
    Spain, England, Germany, Italy, France, Portugal, Turkey, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, China (just because of the $ they spend), and Japan are more talented overall than MLS.

    Denmark is on par.
     
  16. ussoccer97531

    ussoccer97531 Member+

    Oct 12, 2012
    Club:
    --other--
    Russia and Ukraine are also better. MLS doesn't have any teams that could compete with their best teams that regularly make it out of the group stage in Champions League. I think Denmark's better.

    Colombia, Switzerland, English Championship, 2. Bundesliga are debatable.

    MLS is somewhere in the 15-20 range, IMO.
     
  17. jond

    jond Member+

    Sep 28, 2010
    On My Squatty Potty
    Club:
    Levski Sofia
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Who's responsible for making this stuff up about Weah?

    His youth career was largely spent at Rosedale and BW Gottschee.

    He spent a single yr with NYRB.
     
  18. onefineesq

    onefineesq Member+

    Sep 16, 2003
    Laurel, MD
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    This needs to be stickied everywhere we have this conversation. I have been saying this for years, and it is so obvious a hypocrisy of the USMNT first (only) fans, but they continue to gloss over this in a veritable stupor. Yes, everyone can find a young American who got shafted by a coach in MLS. But guess what? That happens to players in every league, all around the world … including at the best teams in the best leagues, coached by the best managers (Kevin de Bruyne anyone?). It doesn't change the fact that the reason that most players don't play at any given moment is because they are not better than the competition at the spot. And if they aren't, they shouldn't be getting the bulk of those minutes. We either believe in fair competition, or we don't. We shouldn't pick and choose which leagues it is acceptable to have to compete for time, and which leagues it is not.
     
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  19. butters59

    butters59 Member+

    Feb 22, 2013
    Russia, Ukraine by a huge margin. Denmark is better. Greece, Croatia, Austria, Czech Republic as well. Not in top 25, probably.
     
    ussoccer97531 repped this.
  20. bandwagongooner

    bandwagongooner Member+

    Dec 9, 2006
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think you make a very compelling point about the choices young players face. If you're an academy player who can either (1) go to Europe or (2) sign with their MLS team, why would you sign with your MLS team?

    Looking at transfermarkt, in 2017/18 three sales to European teams occurred. Cyle Larin to Besiktas, Jack Harrison to Man City (from NYCFC, so who knows what's really going on there), and Jelle Van Damme to Royal Antwerp.

    In 2016/17, Fabian Castillo to Trabzonspor was the only sale I could find.

    In two years MLS sold one young American player to any European team (Harrison). It makes sense that any teenager with a chance to go to Europe should go as soon as they possibly can. Joining MLS seems like a sure way to be trapped in American soccer until you're in your mid-20s.
     
  21. ussoccer97531

    ussoccer97531 Member+

    Oct 12, 2012
    Club:
    --other--
    Thats almost entirely my opinion.

    A year or two ago, I might've said that a path that Tyler Adams (for example) is taking right now is smart. By the time he would've gotten regular first team minutes at Leipzig (for example), he'll already have 75 first team pro games, and can play for Leipzig's first team at that age, anyway. The difference will just be that it was from a transfer from NYRB as opposed to coming through the Leipzig academy.

    But the problem is that we see way too often this does not happen. Its too high risk. You very well may end up like Palmer-Brown where the only way you make it out of MLS eventually is your play in international competitions. And if you don't do that, your career is pretty much ruined as far as being able to eventually play in the Champions League, Premier League, La Liga, etc.

    Its true that a lot of the young players in MLS aren't that good, not that highly regarded. And in those cases, they aren't really the players I am talking about. The players that are owed playing time are guys like Pomykal, Carleton, Durkin, Adams who could've pretty much signed in any league they wanted to. Some of those guys get playing time, others don't. But it shouldn't be a some do, some don't proposition. That can be the proposition for the players who didn't have European options. All these guys need to be playing regularly. The fact that they aren't just spells out the problem. I don't think the best youngsters are going to risk it, if this trend continues.

    MLS teams need to start treating signing those players as if they signed a foreigner with a good CV. They need to take priority over most of the roster. And these kids will have the leverage in the future. Maybe not the ones who MLS is currently ruining, but the ones who will come after them. The next crop of top level youngsters are watching, and MLS is going to have a really big problem of signing the best young Americans if this keeps happening. A 50% success rate or 60% is not going to cut it. Don't try to sell us Adams and Durkin, while Pomykal and Carleton don't play. They all need to play. If these players fail and don't live up to the hype, thats their own fault, but them signing in MLS should afford them a chance. Anything less than that should not be accepted.
     
  22. Eleven Bravo

    Eleven Bravo Member+

    Atlanta United
    United States
    Jul 3, 2004
    SC
    Club:
    Atlanta Silverbacks
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I agree with all this 100%

    ...This is why though there needs to be a discussion on how do we get these players more minutes without sacrificing the competitive edge of making into the day to day line up. Hence, why I advocate expanding the US Open Cup into a tourney league to give more than one opportunity a season for these young players to make a name for themselves. If say, Brandon Vasquez (for example), was given 8 or 10 games a year in the Open Cup Tourney League then that would be invaluable to his development compared to not having those matches. He needs to play if he is expected to develop. And instead of always blaming the player, which I understand is sometimes valid, maybe we need to look at the system and say we need to figure out someway to get these youths more game time.

    That’s what pisses me off so much with Reyna’s attitude. It’s captain obvious that a player needs to work hard to play. But where Reyna is ignoring the issue is that only a few clubs have a pathway from academy to first team, except in the rare cases when a coach has shown a willingness to forego the risks and play their youths. He outright ignores that MLS should shoulder some blame if more youths are not forcing their way into the first team.

    And to another point, how quickly MLS is absolved of any USSF responsibility when the only reason they exist is because of the USMNT. If MLS is going to be so bold to make such a claim then USSF needs to do their part to sanction the league.
     
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  23. rhiggz

    rhiggz Member

    Oct 6, 2004
    Oregon
    Here's the thing about saying MLS isn't a good enough league for NT players, 3 of the MLS Best XI were American (none are USMNT regulars). You have to go back to 2013 to find an American MVP (Mike Magee). I would say that the quality of player development in the league has not caught up with the quality of the league. There are players that would be better off playing in Europe but I can't think of any US players playing in MLS that are "too good" for the league. That's troubling if we think players are staying in MLS too long or coming back from Europe too early since few of these players are actually among the best in the league. I think the biggest concern is about player development in MLS/US and not about the quality of the league because US players are mostly role players or roster fillers in today's MLS.
     
  24. bandwagongooner

    bandwagongooner Member+

    Dec 9, 2006
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think you're right about player quality, but that goes back to the chicken/egg. Are the players in MLS of that quality because they're not good enough or are they that quality because the player development isn't good enough?

    I think a lot of the 'blame' falls on MLS. Has there been a player sale since Dempsey where the purchasing team was happy with their buy? MLS collectively hasn't shown itself to be a good place to look for talent.
     
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  25. An Unpaved Road

    An Unpaved Road Member+

    Mar 22, 2006
    Club:
    --other--
    There's been a falloff in recent years. But after Dempsey there was Kljestan and Cameron. And Holden looked like a great buy until the injury problems set in. Tottenham made a little bit of money on Yedlin so I'm sure they were happy with their low risk buy in that respect.
     

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