2021 Breakout Youngster

Discussion in 'USA Men' started by Patrick167, Dec 11, 2020.

  1. Patrick167

    Patrick167 Member+

    Dortmund
    United States
    May 4, 2017
    U22 (1999 and younger) with less than 10 USMNT caps is what we are calling a youngster.

    Here are the previous winners:

    2016 Christian Pulisic
    2017 Weston McKennie
    2018 Tyler Adams
    2019 Sergino Dest
    2020 Giovanni Reyna

    Every year, it has been very clear at the end. 2019 probably saw the most front runners throughout the year though. In 2020, Reyna walked away with it from the start. The top contenders:

    Paxton Pomykal
    Chris Richards
    Richie Ledezma
    Uly Llanez
    Brenden Aaronsen
    Yunus Musah
    Mark McKenzie

    Maybe some new faces?

    Bryang Kayo
    Caden Clark
    Darryl Dike
    Konrad
    Johnny Cardoso
    Nico Gioachinni
    Sebastian Soto

    That might be the longest list of easily identified contenders for the first post ever.
     
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  2. CyphaPSU

    CyphaPSU Member+

    Mar 16, 2003
    Not Far
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    This is not an insignificant statement.
     
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  3. TarHeels17

    TarHeels17 Member+

    Jan 10, 2017
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I like the pace we've been setting of adding 1 locked USMNT starter per year, but I'm not sure it will continue. We have a ton of candidates but I'm not sure I see any of them becoming a key member of a top club this year. Going through your guys:

    Paxton Pomykal: Needs to be sold and become a starter, which will only happen in the summer and who knows when he'll be back
    Chris Richards: Not going to become a starter at Bayern, needs a loan to win
    Richie Ledezma: Torn ACL :(
    Uly Llanez: Doesn't seem like he's tearing up Heerenveen
    Brenden Aaronsen: Could win by becoming a starter at Salzburg
    Yunus Musah: Can't really give it to him if he's not committed and Valencia continues sucking
    Mark McKenzie: Needs to be sold to a top 5 league team and start
    Bryang Kayo: Is he on the precipice of breaking through?
    Caden Clark: Could happen if he tears up MLS
    Darryl Dike: Needs a 20 goal season, perhaps?
    Konrad: Needs a loan to happen
    Johnny Cardoso: Needs to be sold to Europe
    Nico Gioachinni: Can't do it in Ligue 1
    Sebastian Soto: Gets recalled, rotational player with goals for Norwich?

    There's a lot of things that have to happen. If I had to rank a top 5 in terms of likeliness, I'd go:
    1. Clark
    2. Aaronson
    3. McKenzie
    4. Richards
    5. Soto

    I'm not confident on any of them though. This is anyone's year.

    Other names I could see are Otasowie if he gets minutes at Wolves (which I can definitely see happening), Kobe (although it doesn't seem like Wolfsburg are keen), and Scally, if Gladbach like him as much as they say.

    Heck, if Sargent moves somewhere and starts scoring a ton, then he should win!

    Edit: Gotta add Reynolds in there if he's moving and gets playing time. We'll see where he moves in a few weeks and that should provide some clarity.

    Other Edit: Gotta throw Pepi in there as well. And Sealy for fun.
     
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  4. thedukeofsoccer

    thedukeofsoccer Member+

    Jul 11, 2004
    Youtube: Jimmy Dore, Secular Talk
    Club:
    AFC Ajax
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Had Ledezma before the injury. Had the best combo of situation & ability.

    If Weah would still count as a breakout, he'd be a top contender.

    Musah's already arguably broken out & isn't committed so I have him as n/a.

    Otasowie & Harper have been on the verge for a while. Seems very doable for them to get opportunities given club level, but who knows if they get a chance.

    If KDLF & Richards become regulars at their clubs they jump to the front of the line. But the proposition seems like fool's gold. Richards probably gets loaned.

    For an MLS guy to win they need a big move or season. Moves?- Aaronson, Reynolds, Bello, Araujo. Season?- Pepi, Pomykal, Paredes, Clark, Dike, Bassett.

    There's no clear favorite this yr. My top contenders are Otasowie, Weah, Pepi, Richards, Aaronson, Reynolds, Dike, & Bassett.
     
  5. gogorath

    gogorath Member+

    None
    United States
    May 12, 2019
    Don't you think this is a bit early?

    *checks calendar*

    Well, shit.

    The 2021 Breakout Thread is going to hinge as much on who you've counted as already broken out as who actually breaks out. Are we going from their current established baseline? Players like Musah and Aaronson have broken out to my mind, so they'd have to become stars at their clubs to earn it?

    There are so many options.
     
  6. Patrick167

    Patrick167 Member+

    Dortmund
    United States
    May 4, 2017
    I think the fact the players have broken out to such a high level and become lock starters on the USMNT is more a function of where our player pool was. Maybe it will continue, with some 14 yo now replacing Pulisic in 2023, but I kind of doubt it.

    Guys are going to break at the Club level and still be fitting in at the USMNT level. Look at Musah, Duke just rightly pointed out Valencia are crap. He should be committted or not by the end of this calendar year, so he is a candidate until he drops off. But you almost have to think he would have to star for the Senior Team in Qualifying or actually be sold by Valencia to Liverpool or somewhere like that.

    But it wasn't long ago that starting for a crap La Liga team was enough.

    Richards could go play 4000' at Union Berlin and be the starter at RCB for the USMNT. Would that be enough if Aaronson is sold to Leipzig for $40MM and starts a big chunk of USMNT games?

    Weah and Sargent have dropped off because of caps. With all the games this year, a bunch of U22 players are going to cap-out for next year.

    Kayo is quietly going the Pulisic, Reyna route of getting into first team training over the winter break (not as long this year), then poised to make an impact with a good Bundesliga team in the Spring. Wolfsburg is not Dortmund though.
     
  7. Patrick167

    Patrick167 Member+

    Dortmund
    United States
    May 4, 2017
    There are levels to the global soccer pyramid. Philly Union and Valencia are not Barcelona or Juventus. You can easily break higher from where those two were this year.

    Unlike the almost entire history of this distinguished award, there are going to be a ton of important USMNT games. We might have to consider performance in WCQ'ing even over club performance. An added wrinkle.

    And yes, it is December 11th...nuts.
     
  8. frankburgers

    frankburgers Member+

    May 31, 2016
    per thread, Aaronson and musah would qualify for this. For my take, I’ll leave those two out.

    I’ve got -
    Caden Clark - envision him having a 10g 10a season next year and off to Leipzig with a lot of hype.
    Florain balogun- I think he picks the USA as he sees he could legitimately be the starting 9 in Qatar.
    Bryang kayo- if he does go with the Wolfsburg first team over the break, I’ll really be on his hype train. I’m not sure if that happens though.
    Bryan Reynolds- his dynamism jumps off the screen. Those bids are coming and he’s going to Europe this winter. Very accelerated progression.
    George bello- bit forgotten after his injury but I think he works his way into a large transfer and on the plane to Qatar.

    others Who could win this-
    Nyeman. Kdlf. Llanez. Pepi. Tessmann.
     
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  9. deejay

    deejay Member+

    Feb 14, 2000
    Tarpon Springs, FL
    Club:
    Jorge Wilstermann
    Nat'l Team:
    Bolivia
    Number one is Richards. Bayern use every possible situation to give him PT. A club as deep as Bayern wouldn't do that unless they really believed in the kid. Plus, Alaba is likely to leave.

    Number two is Musah. He seems really integrated with our team and I find it highly likely he'll commit. Valencia is a top tier developer of players and they don't hand out starts to just anybody.
     
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  10. STR1

    STR1 Member+

    Atlanta United
    May 29, 2010
    McAllen, TX
    Club:
    Real Madrid
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Caden Clark
     
  11. dams

    dams Member

    United States
    Dec 22, 2018
    2022 for Clark. Unless somehow he breaks into the starting rotation of the senior team during qualifying, which seems unlikely to me. I am surprised he wasn't invited to the Dec camp however.
     
  12. slider4CU

    slider4CU Member

    Borussia Dortmund
    United States
    Apr 12, 2019
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Was sure last year it was Reyna.

    I have gone back and forth from Musah and KDLF. Ultimately I will land on George Bello. LB is probably the most open spot on the squad. He’ll take the reigns this year
     
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  13. dams

    dams Member

    United States
    Dec 22, 2018
    If we can get a breakout player at the level of our past winners we will be doing pretty good I think.
     
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  14. KALM

    KALM Member+

    Oct 6, 2006
    Boston/Providence
    If this trend dies this year, it will be because there are only so many locked in starting positions you can have on a team after numerous breakout youngsters have secured 5 of those spots 5 years in a row.

    More specifically, if Adams, Reyna, Pulisic, and McKennie hadn't already nailed down 4 of our front 6 starting positions, I would have said that someone like Musah or Aaronson wouldn't necessarily have to play at an elite level at Valencia or Salzburg to lock down a starting role on our team -- they'd just have to continue developing at the pace they're currently on. But now, they're competing with each other, and Morris, and Sargent or a domestic striker for a very limited number of starting spots.

    That said, we do have a few positions on the field where we don't have the same Champions League options that we do in the midfield. So if say Richards went on loan or McKenzie earned a transfer next season to a midtable side and looked steady enough for them (purely hypothetical since I have no idea if they're ready yet), they could become USMNT fixtures without needing to do as much as say Brenden Aaronson might.
     
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  15. RossD

    RossD Member

    Aug 17, 2013
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Have we defined what "break out" means? Does that mean a locked starter, locked top 23, go-to sub? I think 8 of 11 starters are locks with the only openings at striker, rcb and left fullback. And those positions have several guys fighting for those spots.
     
  16. LouisZ

    LouisZ Member+

    Oct 14, 2010
    Southern California-USA
    Club:
    FC Barcelona
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    #16 LouisZ, Dec 13, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2020
    There is no clear guidelines to win the yearly award. Should a breakout mean starting for a bottom dweller in a top 5 league? Or spot minutes in a top-3 team in a top 5 league?
     
  17. KALM

    KALM Member+

    Oct 6, 2006
    Boston/Providence
    #17 KALM, Dec 13, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2020
    I assume it's just the best performing player for club or country who meets the criteria spelled out in the OP (US U-22 with under 10 caps) at the start of the year and who hasn't already won the award. In other words, a young player who hadn't previously performed at a high enough level to earn significant national team minutes or BigSoccer recognition, but who has had enough of a breakout season to do so now.

    It's obviously going to be a judgement call whether playing well while starting for a bottom dweller is more worthy of recognition than earning spot minutes for a top team, or how much weight to give those achievements relative to national team performance, but those are the same decisions you'd have to make for any POTY type award.

    I haven't always closely followed these threads, but my recollection is that there's always some concern at the start of the year that someone might win this award based purely on youth potential or some marginal affiliation with some big club, but that every year someone has performed at a high enough level that we've never had to even consider getting into that debate at the end of the year.
     
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  18. deejay

    deejay Member+

    Feb 14, 2000
    Tarpon Springs, FL
    Club:
    Jorge Wilstermann
    Nat'l Team:
    Bolivia
    The weekend hasn't even passed and a kid steps in with Nagbe gone, starts the final, dominates and registers an assist. And he wasn't on a list that we considered long!

    We see you Aiden Morris.
     
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  19. deejay

    deejay Member+

    Feb 14, 2000
    Tarpon Springs, FL
    Club:
    Jorge Wilstermann
    Nat'l Team:
    Bolivia
    BTW may the kids keep proving us stupid in this way for a long time.
     
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  20. Patrick167

    Patrick167 Member+

    Dortmund
    United States
    May 4, 2017
    You know it when you see it.

    But no, you don't have to be a lock starter, but we are getting used to such things. It is a crowd sourced award, so the expectations of the "crowd" come into play. The winner has generally been obvious every year, even though you go into the year expecting anyone could do it.

    If you look at the list of past winners, it is unbelievable. There has to come a time where a less impressive "break out" has to be added. The common thread to all of them is they moved to a Champions League team (yes, Schalke was one not that long ago). Starting for Champions League teams have made you a no doubt USMNT starter so far, but it is going to depend on position going forward and whether you are better than a previous winner in camps. It might be hard, for example, to break out and displace Tyler Adams in one year.

    So, back to, we will know it when we see it. I'm just waiting for one year when it is close with a few kids.
     
  21. devad

    devad Member

    Nov 18, 2012
    Bryan Reynolds is my vote. These kids picking the right situation feels really really important.
     
  22. Clint Eastwood

    Clint Eastwood Member+

    Dec 23, 2003
    Somerville, MA
    Club:
    FC Dallas
    #22 Clint Eastwood, Dec 14, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2020
    What's true about the list and past winners was...................there were no surprises. These were kids at big clubs that had already started to make gameday squads and noise. We could sense that the moment was near. There might be Matthew Hoppe like surprises every year, but the winner of this award is almost pre-ordained. Everybody knew that Gio Reyna was one of a handful of favorites.

    So who is in that position for 2021?

    Yunus Musah 100%. Like............100%. An 18 year old starter in La Liga throughout 2021 will be hard to beat. If he commits to the USMNT, then he's the favorite. Hard for others to beat that. Because we can make a long list of "maybe" type of players. The Owen Otasowie types. You and others have done so above. Its a deep group. Yunus Musah isn't a maybe. He's being given the opportunity and has demonstrated his skill level at the La Liga level already. If I had to put a confidence score next to each candidate, his would by far be the highest. Once he commits, he'll become a USMNT regular right away. Just like Sergino Dest did.

    I would have had Ledezma as the #2 favorite if not for his injury. Already broken thru. Getting an opportunity. We could sense he was "on the cusp."
     
  23. rgli13

    rgli13 Member+

    Mar 23, 2005
    Memphis, Tn
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    richards. glad someone finally mentioned reynolds, though.

    aaronson is the only one i think will definitely become a regular...and immediately dismissed by bs cause austria.
     
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  24. Clint Eastwood

    Clint Eastwood Member+

    Dec 23, 2003
    Somerville, MA
    Club:
    FC Dallas
    As an FCD fan, I love me some Richards. I just don't know what kind of an opportunity he's going to get at Bayern. I saw today that Bayern is in the running for Leipzig centerback Upamecano. In order for Richards to win this award, he's gonna have to get loaned out this window. Maybe he will be.

    With Reynolds its all about the club he signs for. He might sign for a big club (he was just linked to AC Milan) and get stuck on the bench. Or he might sign for a slightly smaller club and get into the rotation much more. We'll see.

    We should throw Joe Scally out there with Reynolds. We know he's moving to Gladbach in January. They've already said that he's moving into the first team right away.

    I personally consider Aaronson to already have broken out. When you're a full time starter for a Supporter's Shield winner, and have been in the USMNT for about a year...........................I can't say you haven't broken out. If we'd actually had USMNT matches throughout 2020, he would have been in the rotation (particularly after the Pomykal injury). He would have been with the Olympic team. So he's one that I personally don't include in the discussion. For me anyway, he was a nominee for 2020......................and just lost to Reyna.
     
  25. gogorath

    gogorath Member+

    None
    United States
    May 12, 2019
    Yeah, I think from the formal definition, it's definitely a player who has effectively broken through that would be the favorite. That's why I take stock at Jan 1 about how good they are and go off that baseline.

    Musah's still a really good bet there. Richards is another.
     

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