The "Real Players Don't Play in Youth Championships" Myth

Discussion in 'Youth National Teams' started by JohnR, Sep 13, 2003.

  1. JohnR

    JohnR Member+

    Jun 23, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    You see this quite frequently, the notion that youth competitions are silly because the best young pros don't enter.

    Here are some of the attendees at the '99 U20 championships -

    Ashley Cole
    Roque Santa Cruz
    Damien Duff
    Robbie Keane
    Diego Forlan
    Julius Aghahowa

    That's $100 million worth of players right there.

    The '97 tournament had

    Pablo Aimar
    Michael Owen
    Nicolas Anelka
    Juan Roman Riquelme
    Walter Samuel
    Thierry Henry
    John O'Brien
    David Trezeguet
    Mikael Silvestre
    Kieron Dyer
    Bennie McCarthy

    That's $200 million worth of players.

    It's true that the U17 tournament has far fewer major pros, but scanning the results of the 90s I see -

    Juan Veron
    Del Piero
    Julio Cesar
    Nuno Gomez
    Pablo Aimar
    Iker Casillas
    Sebastian Deisler
    Landon Donovan

    Some real quality there, too.
  2. Emre5

    Emre5 New Member

    Mar 25, 2003
    chelsea,the death of
    where did this myth come out of/?

    That is indeed an impressive list.
  3. Isisbud

    Isisbud New Member

    Mar 10, 2003
    Owen? So he played in the U20 WC AFTER the senior WC? Doesn't seem correct. That would be like Rooney now playing for a kiddie team, even though he has played for senior Englander.
  4. Spartak

    Spartak Member

    Nov 6, 1999
    AC Milan
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    1997 is BEFORE 1998. Some math I learned in school ;)
  5. Karl K

    Karl K Member

    Oct 25, 1999
    Suburban Chicago
    Of course, another interesting list would be top players who NEVER kitted up for their youth national teams.

    And an even more interesting list would be those youth national team players who never earned a senior team cap...and even some who never got a minute of 1st division professional action.

    I don't think there's any doubt that a number of top players have played with youth national teams over the course of their career.

    By the same token, there are probably quite a few who didn't and did well, and quite a few who did and in the end didn't amount to much.
  6. Karl K

    Karl K Member

    Oct 25, 1999
    Suburban Chicago
    OK, admittedly it is the USA's team, but here was the roster for the '01 cycle U-17 team.

    Capano, Craig	M	5'4"	115	07/07/85
    Chun, David	D	5'8"	130	03/30/84
    Diaz, Erwin	F	5'9"	145	07/11/84
    Griffin, Gray	D	6'0"	170	01/02/84
    Harvey, Jordan	D	5'9"	150	01/28/84
    Johnson, David	M	5'11"	160	01/16/84
    Johnson, Edward	F	6'0"	170	03/31/84
    Johnson, Paul	F	5'9"	150	01/22/84
    Lancos, Chris	D	6'1"	160	07/12/84
    Magee, Mike	F	5'9"	150	09/02/84
    Mapp, Justin	M	5'10"	140	10/18/84
    Marshall, Chad	D	6'2"	165	08/22/84
    Quaranta, Sant	F	5'11"	155	10/14/84
    Schuerman, Adam	GK	5'10"	180	06/04/84
    Simo, Chefik	M	5'11"	165	02/28/84
    Stone, Jordan	M	5'9"	145	03/16/84
    Wahl, Tyson	D	6'0"	160	02/23/84
    Williams, Ford	GK	6'2"	165	02/20/84

    Of course, we'll never know about the potential of Gray Griffin.

    But right now, looking at this list, is there ANYONE who you absolutely can say will be a great player?

    Magee, Mapp, Quaranta and Johnson may get senior team caps before their careers are through, but I wouldn't be surprised if all four of them were marginal senior Nats players.

    Admittedly, this was a weak cohort. But I wouldn't be surprised if other top soccer nations had an analgous roster at some point in their youth national team programs.
  7. davide

    davide Member

    Mar 1, 2001
    Slow down. These players are still very young and although they might not be great players yet, they do have some talent.

    It's way too early to label them as future marginal National team players.

    There aren't many proven commodities from this age-group on any National team.

    Quaranta: An 18 year-old and the youngest player in the National team player pool. He's had a rough year in MLS, but still has very good skills. He'd probably already have a cap if he wouldn't have picked up an injury before the Wales game.

    Mapp: Another 18 year-old with silky smooth offensive skills. He logged 1300+ minutes in MLS this year. His promising year with the Fire should earn a look from Arena this winter.

    Magee: He's played 1400+ minutes for the MetroStars, scoring 6 goals as a rookie.

    Ed Johnson: He's struggled on a poor team, but he's still gotten 700+ minutes of PT for the Burn. However, Johnson's been rock solid for the U-20 team over the past two years, so there is still potential. Arena once called him the best young goal scorer in this country. He needs to step up next season.

    David Johnson: A very versatile midfielder that earned a professional contract in Holland. He will be in the National team pool, if he ever breaks into the full squad at Willem II.

    Chad Marshall: A talented central defender that recently gained some attention from Spanish clubs. It'll be a struggle for MLS to get him off the Farm, but he would have been a top 5 pick in '03. His college coach is extremely high on him.

    Chefik Simo: A highly skilled left back that is currently rehabbing from injures sustained in a car accident last year. He was a starter on the U-20 team before the injuries and perhaps had the most upside of any left back in the US system at the time.

    Jordan Stone: Another MLS player that's gotten 688 minutes of PT.

    All of these guys are be important players on the U-20 National team.

    Adam Schuerman, Chris Lancos, Craig Capano and Jordan Harvey are still in the U-20 pool as well.

    Capano should make the U-20 roster in '05.

    Pre-Bradenton, fewer players were able to make the leap from the U-17 NT to the U-20 team.

    2001 U-17 to U-20 in 2003 (10)
    Edward Johnson
    Santino Quaranta
    Jordan Stone
    Justin Mapp
    Chad Marshall
    David Johnson
    Chris Lancos* (made qualifier roster)
    Ford Williams* (competing w/ Baumstark)
    Jordan Harvey*(made qualifier roster)
    Mike Magee* (should make UAE roster)

    1999 U-17 to U-20 in '01 (7)
    Landon Donovan
    Devin Countess
    Nelson Akwari
    Alexander Yi
    Oguchi Oneyewu
    Bobby Convey

    1997 U-17 to U-20 in '99 (3)
    Danny Califf
    Taylor Twellman
    Nick Downing
  8. ChrisE

    ChrisE Member

    Jul 1, 2002
    Nat'l Team:
    American Samoa
    When Beasley goes to Europe, I can imagine Mapp competing with Brad Davis for the lion's share of USMNT minutes at left mid for several years. He's not yet 19, but has held down a starting spot on the Eastern Conference leaders, while being played out of position. I would imagine, that when he gets to move to left wing next year, he'll start looking pretty good.

    Craig Capano and Jordan Stone I don't really know about, but likewise, both are still 18, and have a lot of growth yet to do. I think Stone's at least got the potential to be an improved Chris Armas, though I actually hope that's not good enough to make the nats in the future.

    Eddie Johnson, Q1, and Magee are nothing to be scoffed at either. Although Johnson and Quaranta seem to have character issues, if either one ever puts it together, they could hold down a spot on the nats. Magee I think is going to be a lot more versatile than a lot of people expect.

    Basically, I don't think it's fair to expect more 2 nats players from any U-17 cycle, considering that Armas, Pope, McBride, etc. have been in the team for, what, 8 years? And, obviously, you picked a down cycle, between the team that provided at least three steady nats players (Beasley, Donovan, Convey, plus potentially Beckerman and Onyewu) and one that included, among others, everyone's favorite fourteen year old.

    edit: I see someone's already provided a much better analysis.
  9. beineke

    beineke New Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Very interesting point about their progress from U-17 to U-20. With Olympic qualifying coming up, I thought I'd extend the comparison. At the bottom of this post are the US squads for the Olympic finals in 1996 and 2000. I believe that these are the former U-17's among them.

    Reyna (from '89, technically over-age)
    Baba (from '89)
    Wood (from '89)
    McKeon (from '91)
    Vargas (from '91)
    Fisher (ALTERNATE -- from '91)

    Agoos (from '85 -- OVER-AGE)
    O'Brien (from '93)
    Howard (from '95)
    Califf (from '97)
    Donovan (from '99)
    Beasley (ALTERNATE -- from '99)

    Now, in order to make an apples-to-apples comparison between residency and non-residency groups, we need to restrict our attention a bit. From the 1996 group, we can only consider the U-17's who played in 1991 and 1993. Likewise, from the 2000 group we can only consider the U-17's from 1995 and 1997. That leaves us with:

    1996 -- 2 team members, 1 alternate
    2000 -- 2 team members, no alternates
    2004 -- 7 projected squad members

    For the projected 2004 squad, I used one of Sandon's. It includes Countess, Onyewu, Yi, Convey, Beasley, Donovan, and Magee; leaving out Mapp and Beckerman.

    Again, it appears that residency U-17's have a markedly better chance of reaching the Olympic level.

    Imad Baba (m), Frankie Hejduk (m-d), Miles Joseph (m), Kasey Keller (g),
    Jovan Kirovski (f), Alexi Lalas (d), Brian Maisonneuve (m), Matt McKeon (d),
    Clint Peay (d), Brandon Pollard (d), Eddie Pope (d), Claudio Reyna (m),
    Damian Silvera (m), Rob Smith (m), Chris Snitko (g), Nelson Vargas (m), Billy
    Walsh (m), AJ Wood (f)

    alternates: Hamisi Amani-Dove (m), Jeff Cassar (g), Mike Fisher (m), Joe-Max
    Moore (f)

    1 Brad Friedel, 18 Tim Howard, *22 Matt Napolean*

    2 Brian Dunseth, 3 Chad McCarty, 4 Jeff Agoos, 15 Evan Whitfield, 6 Frankie Hejduk, 12 Ramiro Corrales, 8 Danny Califf

    10 Peter Vagenas, 5 John O'Brien, 7 Joey Digiamarino, 9 Benjamin Olsen, *21 DaMarcus Beasley*, 14 Sasha Victorine, *19 Brian Winters*

    13 Landon Donovan, 16 Josh Wolff, 17 Conor Casey, *20 Chris Brown*, 11 Chris Albright
  10. Karl K

    Karl K Member

    Oct 25, 1999
    Suburban Chicago
    My point was not to diss them, believe it or not. Rather it was to stand as a bit of a corrective.

    There has been a lot of handwringing -- very unnecessarily it seems to me -- about our performance in Finland. This reaction seems to be way out line relative to what the U17 national team really is -- here and elsewhere, and even though great players have cycled through it.

    U17 teams are YOUTH teams. A some cases a very very few....will go onto to stardom. A great many will not. To expect them to play great, especially at 17 when they are not full formed at that age, is completely unrealistic.

    Yep, that's right. If a U17 team produces two or three 1st choice starters for the USMNT, then it has been a successful team, no matter how well it does, or doesn't do, in the U17 WC finals.
  11. flmls

    flmls New Member

    I think this is a good list of players you had on here. I know a lot of euro's who say that no one ever takes the youth games seriously and that their best players do not play in these tournaments, guess they're wrong, eh?
  12. JohnR

    JohnR Member+

    Jun 23, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Taking the Tournament Seriously

    Yeah, that's the main point that I tried to make.

    Particularly at U17 age, talent identification is hard. So a lot of U17 stars won't cut it later at the senior level.

    But that doesn't mean that the countries aren't trying. You can see from the list of players that it's not true that the best players don't play in these tournaments.

    Another myth, by the way, is that the Euros don't care about youth games. That is total crap. When I was in Spain a couple of years back, the club U14 championships were live on National TV. You damn well better believe that those players -- and the coaches -- cared about the result.

    You damn well better believe that when my son's U9 team played a bigger Spanish U10 squad that came in with shoulders lowered and elbows high, that said Spanish team was into winning. And when they were up 7-0 and plastered one of our kids with a forearm to the nose while contesting a header, with their coach yelling at them to notch up the intensity, yes indeed they cared.

    And when a major Barcelona newspaper carried the result the next day, along with an article (!) that gloated about how these Spanish youths taught the Americans how to play soccer properly, oh yes they cared.
  13. Attacking Minded

    Attacking Minded New Member

    Jun 22, 2002
    Re: Taking the Tournament Seriously

    Great list John. The factiod that people usually cite is that out of the 1000+ players that have played for England's U17 team none have ever started for the national team . . . . . . . From that people, myself included, have inferred more than is realy there.

    I also see many British and other European players.

    As far as the youth teams I still think it's safe to say that even if some of the best 16yo English kids had been identified, they wouldn't leave their club teams to play on the U17 team.

    I think the club coaches keep these youth games in perspective. I know old retired men will care deeply about being the first old man to spot the next great player on Barcelona's youth team. I know that other fans will come out to a "meaningless" youth game. I am sure that newspapers will publish the results and pictures. Even my local news papare shows HS soccer on the front page (albiet below the fold). But again, I think the coaches from professional clubs keep these games in perspective.
  14. JG

    JG Member+

    Jun 27, 1999
    Re: Re: Taking the Tournament Seriously

    There isn't really such a thing as the England U17 team...the UEFA age groups are slightly different than FIFA and until recently the UEFA tournament that corresponds to FIFA U17 is U16.

    Michael Owen had 15 goals in 11 caps for England U-16.
  15. davide

    davide Member

    Mar 1, 2001
    Re: Re: Taking the Tournament Seriously

    Well, Wayne Rooney played for the England U-17 squad in the 2001/2002 European Championships.

    I'd love to hear the names of players from any country that are so established at this age that they're turning down callups to stay with their club.
  16. beineke

    beineke New Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Re: Re: Re: Taking the Tournament Seriously

    From the BBC in early 2001...

    A host of star players have represented England at under-16 level. They include Tony Adams, Andy Cole, Nick Barmby, Sol Campbell, Emile Heskey, Michael Owen and Joe Cole.

    Nowadays, such a list would certainly include Rooney and Steven Gerrard. Wes Brown and Phil Neville played for England U-16's, too.
  17. Attacking Minded

    Attacking Minded New Member

    Jun 22, 2002
    Well I see Irish players on the list so I assume that there is some sort of English youth team.

    I'd love to hear the names of youth players that are so well established that when their club coach tells them the'd rather stay home they decide not to. I'd also like to hear of a well established FA that tells it's professional teams to give up control of their youth players. Sorry but neither one is very likely.
  18. davide

    davide Member

    Mar 1, 2001

    Name any English club/coach that has encouraged a 16 year-old prospect to NOT play for their country when they are called?

    Which specific players from England have refused to play in the UEFA U-17 Championships?

    Which specific players from any European country have refused to play in the UEFA U-17 Championships to stay with their club?

    The FA's are in control.

    The only reason a player might turn down a callup would be to play with the first team. They aren't turning down callups to play in youth club games. Heck, they don't even have professional contracts at that age.

    Now, there was a player from Spain that was involved in a club/country struggle at the '01 FIFA U-17 Championship. IIRC, the Spanish player broke into the first team at his club and they didn't want to send him U-17 World Cup in T&T. The Spanish FA called him up anyway.
  19. Aalborg

    Aalborg New Member

    May 2, 2002
    You are right they care, they want to whoop every American youth team that they can. My U-13 youth American team beat FSV Mainz 05 4-2 a few years ago and the coach was so pissed he never shoke my hand after the game.
  20. beineke

    beineke New Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    It's clear that U-17 teams are pretty much A-teams, but what about U-20 teams?

    I came across a piece today that says that Argentina's U-20 coach is about to provide a list of 30 players that he wants to bring to the UAE. Clubs, however, are allowed to decide which guys will actually play ... at the very least, a young Boca Juniors star named Tevez will be refused.
  21. davide

    davide Member

    Mar 1, 2001
    Yeah, U-20 is trickier because the elite players are established at their club and perhaps even regulars on the full National team.

    IIRC, Roque Santa Cruz refused to play for Paraguay at Arg '01 even though he was eligible.

    I don't think we'll see players like Diego (Braz & '85), Wayne Rooney (Eng & '85) or Cristiano Ronaldo (Port & '85) playing in the '05 U-20 World Championships (or Qualifiers), even though they'll be technically eligible.
  22. Attacking Minded

    Attacking Minded New Member

    Jun 22, 2002
  23. Attacking Minded

    Attacking Minded New Member

    Jun 22, 2002
    One more thing . . . .

    Really? Anyone care to comment?
  24. NGV

    NGV Member+

    Sep 14, 1999
    Like davide says, it's a lot more likely that a club will want to refuse a U-20 than a U-17; and, of course, Boca has a lot more incentive to try to hold back its stars (not to mention a lot more clout) than an MLS club would. But those facts don't seem to prove much about how seriously other national associations take youth championships, which I believe the was the main point of this thread.

    You'll probably be hearing more about Tevez in the future - he's pretty much tearing it up in Argentina, and a lot of people seem to think he deserves a shot with the full national team sometime soon.

    By the way, Attacking Minded, what the heck are you talking about? Do you have any evidence that U-17s are often prevented from competing in world championships by their clubs, or even a single specific example of this? What's the point of quoting davide's comments about U-20s in an discussion about U-17s? And who are the "Irish" players you mentioned as playing for England youth teams?
  25. Martin Fischer

    Martin Fischer Member+

    Feb 23, 1999
    Kampala. Uganda
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Maybe, but keep in mind that these are the same fans who were demanding that Juan Roman Riquelme start with the National Team -- until it was demonstrated Riquelme was not good enough to start for Barcelona. Riquelme was just as impressive, if not more so, in Argentina than Tevez is now, so Tevez could be the next Mardona or a European journeyman. Only time will tell.

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