play college or go to europe

Discussion in 'College & Amateur Soccer' started by Tootsie, Sep 23, 2003.

  1. Tootsie

    Tootsie New Member

    Sep 23, 2003
    As a new comer to the message boards, I have enjoyed the variety of opinions, and would now like to ask a question to get feedback on a topic of playing in college or going to europe.

    Here is the situation: I am the mother of a boy that plays for a team ranked in the top 20 and has been on the starting 11 since he came to college. He has not yet finished his sophomore year of playing eligibility. He has received an offer to go to Europe and play for the reserves of a team that plays in the top league of the country. If he plays good for a year or two, then he has a good chance of moving up to the top team. If he doesn't, then he could flounder on the reserves with no chance of going back to college to play, and MLS being the best next hope.

    Thanks for your opinions and your help!
  2. Dsocc

    Dsocc Member

    Feb 13, 2002
    If he's looking to play professionally, that's probably a better option than leaving school for an MLS P-40 contract, which would pay significantly less. Even if it doesn't pan out, it would still be possible to enter the MLS draft when his contract expires. Sounds like this isn't so much a decision about staying in school but of which professional option is the best choice.
  3. Dave Marino-Nachison

    Jun 9, 1999
    I'd say Dsocc has it about right. Without knowing who the kid is or where he is considering going, I'd sum it up this way:

    If he goes pro now, he'll almost certainly get significantly more money than MLS will offer him after graduation (or whenever he decides to leave school). He isn't guaranteed an offer of any kind from MLS, and now he's got one from Europe -- which is probably worth enough to help him finish school after a few years if he wants to stop playing.

    He will also probably get better training and a great cultural experience. If he's up to that -- and he's dead set on becoming a pro -- then I wouldn't recommend waiting. It will, however, be important for him to remember that he will probably be paying his dues for a while, with no guarantee of ever making it to the first team (at least, not for the club that wants him now).

    On the other hand, if he plays four years of college ball he will at least have a degree should he decide that pro soccer isn't for him, as well as the college experience. MLS is less money, but if he beats the odds and makes the team then rosters are small enough that he'd have a great shot at first-team play right away. On the other hand, he'll likely be behind in his player development and unless he's a high-profile player he'll have fewer overseas options at 21 than at, say, 19 or so. The A-League is still an option, but generally speaking the money is often neglible though the play isn't of poor quality.

    In the end, I'd say that if your son is determined to be a pro, has a decent offer on the table that covers a few years of play (seems like lots of players in similar situations get about three-year deals) and is up to life in a foreign land, I'd give it a shot.

    Hope this is useful to you, and good luck whatever he decides.
  4. Attacking Minded

    Attacking Minded New Member

    Jun 22, 2002
    Does he want to be a soccer player or a lawyer? Because one system is focused on one thing and, despite what your son's coach might tell him, the other system is focused on the other thing.

    Accademics first or training first?
  5. denver_mugwamp

    denver_mugwamp New Member

    Feb 9, 2003
    Denver, Colorado
    I don't think you've given us enough information...

    There's a whole lot of variables here and I don't think anyone can give you very good advice until they know all the details. Here's some questions I would ask:
    (1) How long is your son locked into a contract with the team in question?
    (2) What will happen to him if he doesn't make the 1st team?
    (3) What is the reputation of the team towards developing young talent?
    (4) What is the level of play in the league? Not all leagues in Europe play at the same level.
    (5) Does the pay in Europe make it possible for him to finish his college education if he suffers a career-ending injury?
    There's a ton of questions that need to be answered here. Your son would do well to consult a player's agent--one who is familiar with both the European and American situations. A small bit of advice now can save a ton of grief down the road. Ask Landon Donovan.
  6. LuvDaBears

    LuvDaBears New Member

    Sep 4, 2002
    Do you guys have any good info on player agents for soccer? I'm sure there are lots of sharks out there. My son also wants to play pro, and college soccer pretty much sucks all the way around.
  7. denver_mugwamp

    denver_mugwamp New Member

    Feb 9, 2003
    Denver, Colorado
    Try this maybe...

    US National Soccer Team Players Association
    Mark S. Levinstein
    Acting Executive Director
    725 Twelfth Street, N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20005

    Might be a good place to start. Also, most MLS and A League clubs aren't as snobby as the bigger sports teams. A phone call to your closest professional soccer team might get you some advice on how to proceed.
  8. Dsocc

    Dsocc Member

    Feb 13, 2002
    Re: I don't think you've given us enough information...

    Donovan's probably not the best example. He could have collected a lot of money for just playing on the reserve squad, although his MNT opportunities would have suffered (along with longer term financial rewards). A better example would be Phil Salyer, who left Maryland for Europe, but came back to MLS (Dallas), only to be assigned to the developmental roster.
    A good deal depends on the player's credentials with one of the youth national teams. The better the resume, the more marketable. For that you can ask Donovan or DaMarcus Beasley.
  9. Frank Cunha

    Frank Cunha New Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Go to College and get a education
  10. FritoBandito

    FritoBandito New Member

    Sep 2, 2003
    a good example of european success...

    would be Taylor Twellman (sp). He left Maryland after his Fr. year and went to play at 1860 Munich. He never made it to the 1.Bundesliga team, but did have some success with the reserve team (called amateure at 1860). He had a tough two years adapting to life there and being looked over because local boys will get more opportunities in their own country. However, he came back a scoring machine with toughness and a never quit training attitude that led to his success in the MLS. Joe Vide, who is at UVA now played on the junior teams (below the level of Taylor's team) at 1860 Munich. Their experiences might be useful to your son.

    However, I'd have to say that the number of success stories are rare.
  11. Preston North End

    Feb 17, 2000
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The title of the thread should be "Play in MLS or go to Europe"

    If your son has a contract offer from a team in Europe he could be good enough to see time in MLS in 2004. Not significant time and probably not as much as he might get with a Reserve team in Europe.

    College shouldn't even be in the equation, unless getting a degree in four (five?) years is important to your son. That's my first piece of advice.

    He could always come back and finish is degree or even study overseas while with the reserves, or while in MLS. This is why college should be taken out of the picture.

    Depending on what country he goes to, the level of play and training in MLS is better than many Reserve teams in Europe.

    There is a long list of players that have gone from NCAA Top 25 schools after two, three, or four years into MLS starting line-ups or being a key reserve. IMHO this is better than playing reserve ball in Europe, at least for player development.

    There is also a long list of players that have not made it. But if you can't make it in MLS you aren't necessarily going to make it in Europe. At least in the top leagues and the top divisions.

    There have been a small number that have tried Europe and the experience didn't work for them, just as it is now working and has worked for some.

    Steve Cherundolo, Conor Casey, Claudio Reyna and Cory Gibbs went from NCAA Division One to European clubs (the first team, not the reserves) before their eligiblility was up and have done well.

    If you look at the ones that have made it or are doing well, most, if not all spent time in MLS or were U.S. Youth National Team Players before heading to Europe.

    You are now, however, seeing more players head over before they enter college; such as Frank Simek, Danny Karbassiyoon, Ken Cooper, Jon Spector, etc. Just like Jovan Kirovski and John O'Brien did.

    Taylor Twellman, Nelson Akwari (limited time in Europe), and Philip Salyer needed to come back.

    Even Joey DiGiamarino, after a couple of years in MLS needed to come back.

    Nothing is given. Instead of speaking with us dopes on a message, speak with coaches - that have international experience - that have seen your son play. Piece of advice #2.

    However, I'm a firm believer that if your son wants to experience European football and it's his dream to play there - he should sign on the dotted line come January 1, 2004 when the transfer window opens. Piece of advice #3.

    I'm also a bit greedy and the money would definitely be better in Europe.

    I also wouldn't quite say "MLS being the next best hope" if it doesn't work out for him in Europe. To me that sounds a lot like you and your son feels MLS is not good. MLS is not a bad league to play in. Strip out the top 8 foreign players from each club in the English Premier League, replace them with stiffs from the 2nd levels and you have MLS (insert Germany, France, Spain, Netherlands, Italy, etc for the EPL).

    Spend three years in Europe making around $500K, on a contract through 2007. "Fail" (if you want to call it that), come back to very competitive MLS and play for four years, on a contract through 2010 making $400K. Then go back to Europe at the ripe old age of 27. I'm assuming you son was born sometime in 1984.

    Frankly, I would do it more for what would make me happy. That would be the bottom line advice for your son. Piece of advice #4.
  12. roarksown1

    roarksown1 Member

    Mar 30, 2001
    Playa del Rey, CA
    Hamburger SV
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I've done both - GO TO EUROPE! The girls are much more fun...

    Oh, you mean soccerwise...
  13. Frank Cunha

    Frank Cunha New Member

    Sep 17, 2001
  14. Frank Cunha

    Frank Cunha New Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Dani career over at 26, for party too much

    09/20/2003. If former Portuguese international Daniel Carvalho (Dani) could be summed up in one phrase it would be; wasted talent.

    While millions across the world play soccer, only a select few actually make it to the big time. Without intensive training and a strong work ethic, stardom in this sport is unlikely but there are always exceptions to every rule. Case in point; Dani.

    He has been blessed with natural talent. While many aspiring footballers may have a strong work ethic, Dani is the opposite. He has all the makings of a star player but lacks a professional approach to the game. As a youth player, Dani excelled and was tipped to be a future star. He was a stand out at the 1995 Under-20 World Championships in Qatar winning two individual honours and guided Portugal to 3rd place. Despite playing in the midfield, he was the tournament's second leading scorer and was voted second best player in the tournament by FIFA.

    He followed that up by being named Portugal's MVP in a fourth place finish at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

    In 1995/96 West Ham United took the starlet on loan from Sporting Lisbon. He made a positive start to his playing career in England scoring the game winning goal against Spurs and instantly endeared himself to the fans. His film star good looks brought him modeling and record deals. British pop star Louise Nurding publicly admitted her infatuation with the Portuguese player. "Oh, yes, that Portuguese guy who plays for West Ham, I think he's really cute. That's the first time in ages I've seen a guy and gone, 'Wow, he's gorgeous.'

    Eventually, his playboy lifestyle brought him into conflict with the club as he reportedly turned up late for team practices. Despite endearing himself to the club's supporters, West Ham terminated their loan deal with the player and sent him back to Sporting Lisbon.

    In 1996/97, he signed on with Ajax where he spent four seasons. At Ajax, he was again very inconsistent and failed to hold down a regular first team place despite his immense talent. He had gained the reputation for being the most popular reserve player in the history of Ajax. His video biography sold record copies in Amsterdam.

    "I wish I looked like that," is what Richard Witschge told the media when informed of the number of biography sales. While he was adored by fans (particularly women) this admiration was not held by the Ajax training staff. Dani's poor commitment to training is what eventually led to his Ajax exit in 2000. He was told by Ajax officials to look for a new club, as he was no longer welcome at the Amsterdam Arena.

    From Ajax, he moved back to Portugal with Benfica. He lasted 5 games in Lisbon and was indefinitely suspended by the club without explanation. Dani was reported to have skipped several training sessions and repeatedly broke the club's curfew policy. When a Portuguese sports daily reported his wild night at a Lisbon nightclub, Dani was done at Benfica. Dani argued his side of the story on a Portuguese TV talk show where he stated "Benfica know the kind of player I am and my history, why did they buy me from Ajax if they don't want me to play? Benfica obviously have another agenda." Benfica players Sabry, Maniche and Miguel were also punished by the club for their involvement with Dani's evening escapades.

    Despite being at Benfica for a short time, he had already overstayed his welcome and was transferred to Atletico Madrid Dani was now out of the media spotlight and playing in the Spanish second division. He flourished in his first season with Atletico Madrid scoring a goal on his debut. He became a regular in the first team and was voted Fan's Player Of The Year by club's supporters. Ateltico also achieved promotion to the Spanish Premier League that season; Dani was a key contributor to their successes.

    The following season Dani saw little action as an early season knee injury and a slow return to fitness kept him out of the lineup. Atletico Madrid's patience with Dani grew thin and they released him in July saying that his wages were too high for a fringe player.

    It was no surprise that Dani did not receive any offers for his services from Europe's top clubs in the summer. The talented playmaker has developed a poor reputation because of his unpredictability and his playboy lifestyle. Reports are now surfacing that Celtic are interested in his services and have extended the player's tryout at the club.

    The truth is that Dani has all the talent to be a star at Celtic, but his discipline leaves a lot to be desired. At 26 years old, he is not getting any younger and Celtic could be Dani's last chance to live up to his potential
  15. Roehl Sybing

    Roehl Sybing Guest

  16. Attacking Minded

    Attacking Minded New Member

    Jun 22, 2002

    So he can one day grow up and be a . . . . lawyer? . . . . accountant? . . . . . food scientist? . . . . . . historian?

    I would give up my my degree, my entire career, all my experience working in an office and take a hammer and bust my left nut just to be a professional soccer player.

    PS - 1/3 of Dominoes Pizza drivers in DC have a college degree
  17. Roehl Sybing

    Roehl Sybing Guest

    I know, I am terrified at the prospects.

    All of a sudden it's a horrifying thing to have a college degree, as if it's just plain impractical to be smart. Why do we put our children through school again? I say what's the point?
  18. Attacking Minded

    Attacking Minded New Member

    Jun 22, 2002
    Not me. I've got a degree. I wish I was a pro soccer player.

    Oh this is sarcasm! I get it now. You're trying to show how smart you are! See, I didn't get it until you said that it would be impractical to be smart because of course it's practical to be smart. Everyone knows that! HAHA! I get the ironic statement now. So how about you give up whatever it is you do and go get another degree. Wouldn't that make you smarter? I mean, you do want to be smarter, right? So how much smarter do you want to be or are you satisfied with how smart you are now? I'll tell you what. I will send you $10 to start an education fund for you but if you decide that you are smart enough and don't want to get another degree then you have to give me $100.

    So are you smart enough or do you want to be smarter?

    I say if he wants to become a soccer player then the guy should go become a soccer player. If he wants to get a degree then go to college. Time is ticking away and I would hate to see the kid regret wasting his time in college when he could have been a pro soccer player. He should figure out what he wants out of life and do it. He can't have it all.

    I'd hate to be the guy that gave up a chance at a pro career and ended up on BS arguing if Furman soccer or Clemson soccer has slipped more in the past two years.
  19. Viking64

    Viking64 Member

    Feb 11, 1999
    Tarheel State
    Hard question.

    If he wants to make a career of soccer, I'd say go to Europe.

    If he wants to play soccer, and then do something else, might still go to Europe, but could also go to MLS.

    If he wants to enjoy being young and not have high pressure real world worries, play soccer, have a girlfriend, etc...stay here and then try MLS.

    If he goes to Europe, even if he doesn't make it a long time in his boots, he still has the experience of being part of a quality organization. Odds are he'll get a good look from MLS, and at the very minimum get a starting gig in the A League if he gets released from Europe. Then after his playing days are over, there is coaching, managing, soccer operations, add a marketing or management degree...Europe is also the business mecca for soccer. He can come back a youth select team coach if nothing else.

    If soccer is not his long term career choice, he can try Europe or MLS, play for a while, make some money have a go of it, then go do something else.

    The "problem" with Europe is that it's "real life" on steriods. The "kids" he'll be playing against are veterans compared to him, because this is their one shot at a good life (at least in their eyes). Some of the time he'll be playing world superstars trying to regain their roster spot. At the reserve level they will stop at nothing to keep you behind them, and the pressure is extreme. He will face bigotry and backstabbing, fair and unfair competition, and mind games with breakfast. One day they will all line up outside the coach's office and find out if they are on the big squad, or are now heading for Job Club.

    Your average American 18 year old (in his likely case) has not faced that kind of reality. He'll grow up in a hurry, have some great experiences to help him, but "a barrel of laughs" is not going to be one of them.

    I can't say more about the soccer part than everyone has said. But as a might be thinking about this too.
  20. galperin

    galperin Member

    Feb 1, 2001
    Maineville, OH
    My advice...he should go to Europe. He can always come back to MLS.

    He can finish college after his playing days are done.
  21. Emre5

    Emre5 New Member

    Mar 25, 2003
    chelsea,the death of

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