Assessment of young Americans in Europe (as a group)?

Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by dspence2311, Jan 19, 2020.

  1. dspence2311

    dspence2311 Member

    Oct 14, 2007
    This is my first read started here. It is motivated by assessments I have read over the last few months of the pool of young Americans playing in Europe. It’s not about the “MLS versus Europe“ argument or “Gregg Berhalter system” or any of that. I am just curious how people think about that pool players, because they seem really, really promising to me.

    When I think about the players who are over there and what I have seen of them this year, I sense that I am more optimistic about their upside than a lot of the expert opinion here. What am I getting wrong?

    It almost seems tome like we ought to almost be able to field a good national team from that European pool alone, given how they are distributed across positions. Dest and Yedlin seem like solid outside backs to me. Brooks, Ream and Miazga seem pretty good at the middle of the back line. McKennie and Adams seem better than good as defensive midfielders who can also attack. Pulisic is the best of the attacking mids, but Holmes and Reyna also seem promising. Sargent and Weah look like forwards of the future to me.

    When you add in people like Morris and Pomykal, and you think about the 2026 WC at home, why wouldn’t we have reasons to feel optimistic? But there seems to be a lot of pessimism in discussions here. Is that more about USSF dysfunction, or am I too optimistic about the young players’ upside?
     
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  2. rgli13

    rgli13 Member+

    Mar 23, 2005
    Memphis, Tn
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    imo its anti-ussf/berhalter (specifically his preference for mls players over some of those euro options), and also injuries. adams hasnt been able to play with those guys, weahs been out, pulisic and brooks both miss time, etc.

    so strictly having our pool fit and available would make a huge difference, but theres still going to be the issues of berhalter forcing in a bradley or a zardes.

    again, thats just my take on "us" (bigsoccer) as a whole.
     
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  3. gogorath

    gogorath Member+

    None
    United States
    May 12, 2019
    You've hit the nail on the head in terms of why I am optimistic (as opposed to much of Big Soccer).

    The talent coming up now will be a significant improvement on the current pool, which saw the last quality generation age too quickly for the youth to fill in. While there were many micro issues in 2017 (Arena's tactics, for example) and still a much larger question of how to reach out overall potential, the reality is that players like Bradley, Jones, Donovan and Dempsey got old (and sometimes retired) before the generation of Pulisic, Adams and McKennie were ready to take over.

    Counting on young players is always risky in the sense of the "bust" rate is always higher than we want to think. Not all these players are going to make it, and most of them will probably never be as good as we've hoped.

    But I do think that are seeing the beginnings of a strong group of young players. This isn't just a set of player hyped because they are the best in the US (but not good overall), which we've seen occur for years.

    And I think there's a good chance -- and this is the important part -- that this isn't just a cycle of improvement or luck (though both may be involved) but we are seeing the beginning of some level of systematic change, specifically due to the rise of MLS academies, the DA, some youth coaching changes and some slow cultural change.

    Unlike other folks, I think Berhalter will integrate the young kids on a reasonable timeline, like he has with Dest, Sargent, and looked to be doing with Pomykal. It will be too slow for fans, who always look for the shiny new thing and value youth, but it won't be slow for a coach.

    The bigger question will be: will the coach and players perform well enough in qualifying for the kids to grow up? Will we be healthy enough to bring anything resembling an A team to WCQ?
     
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  4. Pragidealist

    Pragidealist Member+

    Mar 3, 2010

    The young players are exciting and can lift spirits. But the reason to be optimistic is the pipeline of US talent. A few of these will not hit. A few will have injuries kill or delay their careers. Some may struggle to find the right club situation and struggle breaking through.

    Developing talent is a volume and percentage game. Why I’m optimistic is there seems to be a steady stream of talent. MLS academies are finding local talent, developing it, and selling them to bigger leagues. MLS played more US youth than the ever last year. They sold more than before. Biggest leagues are scouting the US and providing a path to bigger teams


    That steady stream of talent with an attached revenue stream to support it- that is a reason to be excited.
     
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  5. Excellency

    Excellency Member+

    Nov 4, 2011
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    People mistake quantity for quality.

    The old college grad teams were produced through a rigorous process in which a few stars emerged from a pool of 2000 NCAA Div I players. Nowadays some scout in Europe sees a 14 year old and says gosh that guy is fast and strong I'll keep an eye on him and the same types come thru the academies and if they happen to have a European passport they can work on getting over there and do their best.

    Next you have to take into account the petty corruptions that creep in when soccer becomes big business like it always was in Europe. You may think Yedlin or Wes are good players but European football clubs need to cut corners like any competitive business and they do it all the time by signing up less than par players who can run and kick hard without much skill entering into it. Some of them are driven like rented mules, overplayed, etc. At the same time, the player views his national team duty as just one more way of doing business. The old school players had a different motive which was to bring US soccer into the limelight because for them it was what they were really good at in life. They had something to prove. Moreover, they tended to be players with exceptional skills over exceptional athleticism.

    Put it this way, Canada's starting xi was probably better - as a whole - than our starting xi in the LON group stage. Mexico creamed us. Canada today is kind of what we used to be - more skill, less mythical elitism.

    Bottom line: Your optimism should be based on how you feel about the management, not the players.
     
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  6. IndividualEleven

    Mar 16, 2006
    This looks like the strongest group since the cohort that included the likes of Dempsey, Jones, Donovan, Holden, Beasley, Gooch, and Howard.

    Time will tell whether the current group represent a golden generation or instead a new normal of talent that will see us have 30 players in the top-5 leagues.
     
  7. grandinquisitor28

    Feb 11, 2002
    Nevada
    It's the strongest prospect group ever, period. Will they actually be the strongest generation ever? Not sure. But I don't think there's any debating the idea that we've never had a generation that was this deep in prospect talent ever because we haven't. It's up to them whether they become the best generation of pros ever, that's a question we don't know the answer to, but as actual prospects, it's not really close. The only collection that's anywhere near close is that 1982-1987 group, and that wasn't as deep and didn't have as much potential cream either.

    There's a reason I've been arguing that if these guys stay healthy, and continue more or less on their development curves, they'll be extraodinariy. You know how good they are just simply from the fact that 3 of the best of them have crashed out (for now) due to injury (Taitague-though he's finally healthy, for now), due to failure to develop (Wright), and due to mental make up and incompetent support systems in place (if you want to be kind to Carleton). Seriously, three years ago, Carleton, Wright, and Taitague would all have been in the top six-eight of our prospects from this new golden generation and since then things have gone completely off the side of the road for all three of them, and yet the generation is so deep that we're all still drooling at the potential. That's incredible. If the Donovan generation had seen 3 of the top guys get smashed before they'd really even made in roads into the pro's it would've been catastrophic to that generation (eventually it would happen with Mathis, Wolff, and O'Brien all being ruined more or less by injury), but w/this group, people barely talk about any of those three anymore other than in hushed whispers (w/reference to the fact that Taitgue has strung together a couple of consecutive weeks without injury), or in man the barricades defenses mounted by the usual suspects.

    Just really have my fingers crossed that these guys can stay healthy, continue to develop, and have the right mental approach, and I feel the same about Carleton, Wright and Taitague who are all still exceptionally young, even if things look dire for two of the three, and injuries appear to be magnetically attracted to the third.
     
  8. dams

    dams Member

    United States
    Dec 22, 2018
    My sense is that some of the long time posters on here that have been at this for a while have been burnt so many times in the past by young prospects that did not pan out that they maybe have tempered their enthusiasm a bit. I have always followed the USMNT team on the field but have really only started to go down the rabbit hole of watching youth development since Couva. So what I see is simply a bunch of players that are talented young and hungry and contributing (or knocking on the door) in the top leagues in the world without the context of "I've seen this before". Even looked at in the historical context however, you have to get the feeling that it's different now. That more Americans are succeeding abroad than ever before and that more and more are going to be showing in the top leagues every year. It will now be up to the Fed to do the right thing and make sure that we have our absolute best players available on the field. We are quickly approaching the point where if they bring in all the young players that are starting in top leagues there is not going to be much room left for domestic players. We will see if they change the "rules" then. A couple of key MLS guys is fine, maybe even a good thing. If they insist on having an MLS centric team, when we have a full team of guys starting and playing well in the top leagues in the world, it is a massive problem. We will find out, maybe sooner than we think.
     
  9. dams

    dams Member

    United States
    Dec 22, 2018
    #10 dams, Jan 20, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
    Yeah this is important and I think it is real. I also think, and it seems like some might disagree, that there is a marketing component in all of this. I feel that teams look at the US as an untapped market and that US kids might be given every opportunity to shine now where as in the past there might have been the opposite bias. This seems particularly true in the Bundi.
     
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  10. dspence2311

    dspence2311 Member

    Oct 14, 2007
    Are there “rules” favoring MLS, or just a coach preference right now? Because if there is some sort of institutionalized preference or quota, that would be a scandal IMO—a breach of the duty to put the best possible USMNT on the field.
     
  11. Maximum Optimal

    Maximum Optimal Member+

    Jul 10, 2001
    For a sense of "progress" I would compare the back half (the reserves) of the 2002 WC squad versus the back half of the 2010 vs the back half of the projected 2022 squad.

    Everyone focuses on the stars, but it is really the improvement in depth that is a better yardstick of progress.
     
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  12. Maximum Optimal

    Maximum Optimal Member+

    Jul 10, 2001
    I'll give an example of what this assessment looks like:

    How does Jackson Yueill compare to Pablo Mastroeni and Ricardo Clarke.
     
  13. russ

    russ Member+

    Feb 26, 1999
    Canton,NY
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I could see him giving away an insane red and/or getting stripped for a Senegal goal.
    So about the same...
    Also, isn't Yueill an example of an MLSer taking time from BL2 and League One stalwarts?*

    *Along with Mike Bradley.
     
  14. Maximum Optimal

    Maximum Optimal Member+

    Jul 10, 2001
    I'm not really getting into the Michael Bradley thing or MLS vs Europe thing.

    I'm just saying to evaluate progress I would look more at the back half of WC squads than the stars.

    So Yueill vs Mastroeni vs Clark

    Also Miazga vs Llamosa vs Goodson

    Zardes vs Joe-Max Moore vs Edson Buddle
     
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  15. bsky22

    bsky22 Member+

    Dec 8, 2003
    Here are two players deep at every position just using players with "first team minutes. The areas with the weakest depth are wings, attacking mids and defenders. Fortunately, those are positions where some of our top prospects are.

    Weah/Sabbi---------------Sargent/Sebatcieu---------------Boyd/Gooch
    --------------------------Pulisic/Reyna*-----Mckennie/Holmes---------------
    ------------------------------------Adams/Morales------------------------------------
    Dest/Robinson--Brooks/Ream--Miazga/CCV--Yedlin/Chandler
    ------------------------------------Steffen/Horvath-----------------------------------

    *I'd probably start Reyna out on the right wing and ultimately have Weah, Pulsic and Reyna interchange.

    Here is an XI of u23s not in the side above.

    Llanez----------------Soto--------de la Fuente
    ------------------Ledezma----vasilev---------------
    --------------------------Durkin---------------------------
    Gloster--Richards--Otosowie--Olosunde
    ---------------------------Scott----------------------------

    This excludes a handful of other players that may be useful. This group compares quite favorably to Berhalters "group" from MLS. That doesnt mean some MLS guys couldnt be quite helpful to the side. The two that stand out to me are Morris and Cannon. Not a fan of Long, but could provide depth though I prefer Alvarado by a good amount. A guy like Pomykal should get a shot to fight for a spot in a crowded midfield.
     
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  16. bsky22

    bsky22 Member+

    Dec 8, 2003
    The problem with your examplea is that you are using Berhalter's poor selection from last year instead of our actual best players. I think if you do that projecting 2.5+ years out to the WC, it looks very, very different.
     
  17. TimB4Last

    TimB4Last Member+

    May 5, 2006
    Dystopia
    Max's choices are sub-optimal?
     
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  18. russ

    russ Member+

    Feb 26, 1999
    Canton,NY
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I know, and I'm just saying I don't see much progress. Yet.
    And we won't know until a WC now because league of nations sucks up so many dates where we could schedule friendlies against Euro squads.

    MLS is going to comprise more of our team for the foreseeable future simply because it is easier to call up MLS players and they are less likely to develop injuries that render them incapable of playing in midweek friendlies/LON.
     
  19. Maximum Optimal

    Maximum Optimal Member+

    Jul 10, 2001
    Not really. I'm using my projection of who makes the 2022 squad. Right now it looks to me that Yueill, Miazga and Yardes will make it as backups at their positions.

    I'll add as a corollary that if those three got forced out by superior options, it would be a sign of progress relative to the 2002 and 2010 squads. If those three make it, I would be inclined to say not much change from 2002 and 2010.
     
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  20. juvechelsea

    juvechelsea Member+

    Feb 15, 2006
    in short, it's that i think this unit coming in has a ton of talent, but (a) GB will slow walk it where maybe it doesn't help us to 2022 and (b) every team has a range of outcomes, i think this team could be excellent, but the coach has to be out of its way and optimizing it. i think GB is that rare lousy coach who could push this team towards the bottom of the outcome range on selection and tactics. and actually make qualification a risk again. i don't think with this talent pool that should even be a question. but for that to be true you have to play them and use sensible tactics.

    you need to realize if we're running roldan and yedlin and brooks etc. out there, that is not that new generation, that is the 2018 bunch. i have confidence in the kids. i don't have confidence in this veteran bs.

    part of the GM game is realizing when to pivot to that star prospect in AAA and when it no longer suffices to have a "solid pro" instead. for a team that sucks we have a little bit too much comfort with "old shoes." give me the vaporflys.

    i get my astros are now a laughingstock but what we also did besides watch signs and bang trash cans was commit to the set of #1 picks we made for about 3 years, getting bregman and correa and others. when you have that kind of bubble, you can arrogantly talk about how hard MLB is and go with proven vets, or you can acknowledge that the kid coming up who projects as .300 hitter is simply going to make the .270 veteran look silly, but has to be given an opportunity to show as much.

    this is not universal, i am talking about a half dozen or so U20s we could all probably name.
     
  21. bsky22

    bsky22 Member+

    Dec 8, 2003
    In addition to the 7 foreign based players invited into the current u20 camp, wikipedia's lists Sousa, fe la Fuente, Gomes, Hawkins, Harper, and Kelman in camps.

    https://www.ussoccer.com/stories/20...-player-training-camp-and-two-games-vs-mexico

    GOALKEEPERS (4): David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake; Oxnard, Calif.), Chituru Odunze (Leicester City/ENG; London, England), John Pulskamp (Sporting Kansas City; Bakersfield, Calif.), Patrick Schulte (St. Louis University; Saint Charles, Mo.)

    DEFENDERS (10): Jacob Akanyirige (San Jose Earthquakes; Pleasanton, Calif.), Nico Benalcazar (Wake Forest; Wilton, Conn.), Kevin Bonilla (FC Dallas; Dallas, Texas), Nathan Harriel (Philadelphia Union; Oldsmar, Fla.), Ian Hoffmann (Karlsruher/GER; Bethany Beach, Del.), Blake Malone (North Carolina; Las Vegas, Nev.), Kurowskybob Pierre (Real Salt Lake; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Andre Reynolds II (Chicago Fire FC; Chicago, Ill.), Stuart Ritchie (Hannover 96/GER; Pleasanton, Calif.), Leonardo Sepulveda (Salamanca/ESP.; Corona, Calif.)

    MIDFIELDERS (5): Cole Bassett (Colorado Rapids; Littleton, Colo.), Leon Flach (St. Pauli/GER; Bad Schwartau, Germany), Aidan Morris (Columbus Crew S.C.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Marcelo Palomino (Houston Dynamo; Houston, Texas), Thomas Roberts (FC Dallas; Little Rock, Ark.)

    FORWARDS (5): Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City; Greensboro, N.C.), Cameron Harper (Celtic/SCO; Roseville, Calif.), Matko Miljevic (Argentinos Juniors/ARG; Miami, Fla.), Dante Sealy (FC Dallas; Frisco, Texas), Marlon Vargas (Seattle Sounders FC.; Bakersfield, Calif.)
     
  22. russ

    russ Member+

    Feb 26, 1999
    Canton,NY
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Which would be indicative of status quo. The problem is many of the touted Euro youth once they find their level as a senior player may not be a significant improvement from those three.
     
  23. juvechelsea

    juvechelsea Member+

    Feb 15, 2006
    MLS v Europe is a fake lens because Richards and McKennie academied here, Adams transferred out, and others may leave this year.

    your domestic league is always going to be the default "backbone" of the team. other countries' leagues don't have to take us. players at different phases of their career may prefer to be here or away. to me you want as many different development machines humming at once as possible. to me snobbery is stupid because it assumes one part-working machine we don't own is all we need. as long as FIFA has an 18 year old rule we have to focus on domestic first.

    the history of the NT is we took off with MLS around. that professionalized the pool. everyone more or less could afford to stay in the sport and become what they hoped. but the rest of the region is professionalizing too, using their own leagues and MLS and abroad. so you need to think of new ways to be a step ahead. it no longer suffices that we will be full professionals and TnT will be a mix of amateurs and lower division Brits. now even Curacao can compete running out many Dutch players.

    you can then put the "cherry on top" of getting more players abroad at better teams. but this doesn't happen waving a wand. it is the product of the YNT system.

    so you need to come up with a superior pro product through development, fitness, coaching, etc. and we have picked this moment to take a flyer in silly tactics, to dismantle centralized development, and basically to propose "the market + GB will handle it."
     
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  24. bsky22

    bsky22 Member+

    Dec 8, 2003
    So you are projecting that Zardes will be ahead of two of Sargent, Sebatchieu, and Soto. All three are young and improving while I havent seen any improvement in Zardes in years. I'd take the first two over him right now.

    That is what this thread is about. My view on the premise is that our current crop of prospects has more quality, quantity and opportunity than ever seen in the past.
     

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