U23 late bloomers

Discussion in 'Youth National Teams' started by Sandon Mibut, Aug 1, 2002.

  1. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

    Feb 13, 2001
    I’ve been thinking about some potential late-bloomers for the Olympic team. By this, I mean guys who are in college who are too old for the current U20 team but are age-eligible for Athens – meaning they were born in 81/82 – who might deserve a look from the U23 team but haven’t gotten one yet.

    I mean, I look back at the last Olympic cycle and there were a lot of guys who were age-eligible but never got a look from Clive. This includes Ryan Suarez, Mark Lisi, Carl Bussey, Brian Namoff, Jim Curtin and Jimmy Conrad. Presumably, there are a lot of similar players in college soccer right now who are age-eligible for Athens but haven’t been called in yet.

    Thus far, Mooch Myernick has called in 20 different players who will be in college this fall to the U23 team. In alphabetical order, they are:

    Guy Abrahamson, Rutgers (Sr.)
    Kenny Arena, Virginia (Sr.)
    Brian Carroll, Wake Forest (Jr.)
    Ned Grabavoy, Indiana (So.)
    Alecko Eskandarian, Virginia (Jr.)
    Adolfo Gregorio, UCLA (Jr.)
    Nate Jaqua, Portland (Jr.)
    Ricky Lewis, Clemson (Jr.)
    Logan Pause, North Carolina (Jr.)
    Trevor Perrea, Duke (Sr.)
    Paul Souders, Clemson (Jr.)
    Curtis Spiteri, Portland (Sr.)
    David Stokes, North Carolina (Jr.)
    David Testo, North Carolina (Sr.)
    Jason Thompson, Eastern Illinois (Jr.)
    Scot Thompson, UCLA (Sr.)
    Mike Tranchilla, Creighton (Sr.)
    Doug Warren, Clemson (Sr.)
    Jason White, Princeton (Sr.)
    Chirs Wingert, St. John’s (Jr.)

    For the record, I have no problem with any of the above players getting call-ups, but I think there are some others out there, especially ones who weren’t regular on the last U20 team, who deserve a look.

    So, as a public service to Mooch and Dave Sarachan (you’re welcome, boys!) and my fellow BS posters, I offer the following 11 players. (BTW, I’m limiting this to 81/82s because the younger college players are still eligible for the 20s and have more time to get noticed. Of course, someone is welcome to start a list of 83/84 players who so far have been overlooked by Rongen.)

    GK – Mitchell Watson, Sr., NC State (3/26/81)
    LB – Jacob Ward, Sr., Azusa Pacific (5/5/81)
    CB – Dustin Branan, Sr., Brown *
    CB – Matt Oliver, R-So., Virginia (11/5/81)
    RB – Will Thornton, Sr., Connecticut (1/27/81)
    DM – Frankie Sanfilippo, R-Jr., San Jose St. (9/8/81)
    LM – David Wagenfuhr, Jr., Creighton (6/22/82)
    RM – Marcus Storey, So., North Carolina (11/9/82)
    AM – Matt McCausland, Jr., San Diego (9/16/82)
    F – Hamid Mehreioskouei, Sr., Bradley (2/15/81)
    F – Jordan Quinn, Sr., South Carolina (1/28/81)

    *Don’t know his exact birthdate but I know he’s an ‘81.

    Watson – As bad as NC State has been the past 3 years, they’d have been much, much worse without Watson. A 3-year starter, he’s certainly been tested, facing twice as many shots as anyone in the ACC the past 2 years. The interesting thing about the backup GK spot on the Olympic team is that it’s wide open and if Watson or anyone else has a strong pro season next year, he puts himself in contention http://gopack.ocsn.com/sports/m-soccer/mtt/watson_mitchell00.html .

    (As an aside, if I’m a GK coming out of college next winter, I sign with an A-League team where I know I’ll play since there aren’t any MLS teams with glaring holes in goal, which means a lot of time on the bench.)

    Ward – He’s pretty unknown because he plays at an NAIA school but he’s big, fast, left-footed and likes to attack. He’s been solid for 3 years at college and played very well in the PDL this year. And it’s not like he’s got Roberto Carlos in front of him on the U23 depth chart at left back.http://www.apu.edu/athletics/soccer/mens/bios.shtml#anchorward

    Branan – At 6-3 he is very strong in the air but he has good enough foot skills to play holding MF. Only knock is pace – not slow but not exceptionally fast - but he’s been all Ivy League the past couple of years and made the PDL first team last summer. No link available.

    Oliver – A former member of the U18 team, his stock slipped when an injury cost him his natural freshman season two years ago. But he had a strong rookie year last fall, making SA’s All Freshman team. He’s not the biggest center back but he’s a great man-marker and reads the game very well. http://virginiasports.ocsn.com/sports/m-soccer/mtt/oliver_mahatha00.html

    Thornton – Has started every game of his career his first 3 seasons at UConn, including 2 Final Fours and won an NCAA title. Overshadowed by Chris Gbandi and other Huskie players but he’s got nice pace and is good going forward. http://www.uconnhuskies.com/sports/MSoccer/2002/roster/thornton.html

    Sanfilippo – A great athlete with good pace and toughness, he was a highly rated defensive back in HS football but opted for soccer. He covers a lot of ground, can run all day and isn’t shy in the tackle but he’s not the most technically gifted player with the ball. http://www.sjsuspartans.com/article.asp?articleid=5228

    Wagenfuhr – A hard-working lefty with a nice left foot who is also a good crosser. Sometimes plays D-mid and occasionally plays left back. Got a brief look from the 20s under Wolfgang but not enough to really show what he could do. http://gocreighton.ocsn.com/sports/m-soccer/mtt/wagenfuhr_david00.html

    Storey – The ACC Freshman of the Year last fall who has won an NCAA title and 2 USYSA national championships since graduating from HS. Probably the fastest player in college soccer, he can play up top or flank mid. http://www.fansonly.com/schools/unc/sports/m-soccer/mtt/storey_marcus00.html

    McCausland – A good little central midfielder who has helped USD to a couple of strong seasons his first 2 years there. A smart passer and has the pace to play wide. no link available

    Mehreioskouei – Has played second fiddle to Gavin Glinton in his career but he’s put up good numbers and creates as many goals for teammates as he scores. Has also played very well in the PDL the past 2 summers. http://www.bubraves.com/soccer/archive/2001-2002/roster/hmehreioskouei.html

    Quinn – A prototypical target forward (he’s 6-3) who has quietly scored a lot of goals against good competition (the Gamecocks usually played one of the country’s toughest schedules.) http://uscsports.ocsn.com/sports/m-soccer/mtt/quinn_jordan00.html

    (Karl, only 3 ACC players – I’m doing better, huh?)

    Some of these guys may not really blossom till they get to MLS, a la Suarez and Curtin, but I bet at least a couple of these guys make a push for consideration. With a full MLS season before qualifying starts, presumably in the spring of 2004, the rising seniors and any underclassmen who turn pro will have a season of pro play to both develop and show they deserve a look.

    Also, it wouldn’t take much to name another team of 11 college players to look at so certainly these aren’t the only potential late-bloomers out there. Here are some others to keep an eye on and I welcome other suggestions.

    Denny Clanton, D, Dayton; Roger Levesque, F, Stanford; Ryan Giggs, F, Virginia; Chase Hilgenbrink, D, Clemson; Aaron Paye, F, Farleigh Dickinson; Matt Pickens, GK, SW Missouri State; Chris Sawyer, GK, Notre Dame; Abe Thompson, F, Maryland; Jeremiah White, F, Wake Forest
  2. GoDC

    GoDC Member

    Nov 23, 1999
    Hamilton, VA
    Sandon, you should be a paid scout for US Soccer and MLS. Maybe the Mel Kiper of the Superdraft!!!
  3. davide

    davide Member

    Mar 1, 2001
    Mira anyone?


    Mira Mupier, a forward from Houston was the leading scorer for UNCC last season with 9 goals as a freshman in only 11 starts. He's also won the golden boot at the Youth Championships in 2001 and 2002 for the Houston Texans. They don't list a bithplace or birthdate (either late 82 or 83), so I can't tell if he is eligible for the U-20 team. Can anyone comment on this players skills?
  4. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

    Feb 13, 2001
    Mira Mupier's DOB is 1/25/83 according to the USYSA form from last week's championships. A buddy of mine went and slipped me a roster he got at the championship game. I'll ask him about Mupier but he certainly sounds like one to watch. I wonder if Rongen liked what he saw.

    BTW, if you wanted to start a list of 83/84s it sounds like Mupier and GersMan's boy Ashley Kozicki would be a good place to start.
  5. metroflip73

    metroflip73 Member

    Mar 3, 2000
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Umm, Ryan Giggs from UVA?

    Uhh, a little help here?
  6. Colin Grabow

    Colin Grabow New Member

    Jul 22, 1999
    Washington, DC
    Dayton Daily News, Feb. 26, 1998:

    2 headed for Spain

    Team Dayton soccer teammates Jason Tackis of Fairborn and Mira Mupier of Xenia are headed to Spain for an international youth soccer tournament in April.

    The two high school freshman are the only Ohio representatives on the Region II Olympic Development Team that will play in the Lopez Ufarte tournament. The six-day event will be in Irun, a Spanish town near the French border.

    The two under-15 players advanced from the district to state to regional levels in the Olympic development program.

    The Region II team earned the trip to Spain by beating other regional teams at a Thanksgiving tournament in Cocoa, Fla. Tackis and Mupier are part of an elite group of 60 regional players who hope to compete for spots on the national team.

    Tackis, a center midfielder, played on Fairborn's varsity team. His younger brother, Jeremy, also plays on an outstanding Team Dayton team. His under-10 team posted a 10-0 record last fall and didn't allow a goal. They are the sons of John and Jackie Tackis.

    Mupier, also a center midfielder, played on Xenia's varsity and reserve teams. He's the son of Robert and Veronica Mupier.

    Tackis and Mupier are playing indoor soccer at Fairborn's Sportsplex. Their Team Dayton under-15 squad is gunning for the State Cup this spring.

    Nothing to indicate that Mupier is a foreigner, and thus ineligible for the U-20s, especially with parents named Robert and Veronica. Then again they could be immigrants from the Caribbean. Who knows?
  7. eneste

    eneste Member

    Mar 24, 2000
    Pittsburgh, PA

    Just a thought but if Sandon, davide, Wanderer and the rest of the Junior Teams all-stars did an internet radio show during the next Superdraft that would be super hot sh|t! :)
  8. fidlerre

    fidlerre Moderator
    Staff Member

    Oct 10, 2000
    Central Ohio
    i agree, sandon is the mel kiper of usa soccer.

    i think he might even know more than mel does...

    but does he have the hair :D
  9. davide

    davide Member

    Mar 1, 2001

    Ok, so Mira Mupier is eligible to play for the U-20 team. Unfortunately, he isn't even listed as part of the current regional pool at the region III website. But, at least he was part of the region II pool when he lived in Ohio and tried to get into the National program at that time. Will Rongen give Mupier a late look before qualifying? It's probably too late now. Plus, Rongen might not even like him, but his success at the college level and goal scoring at the youth championships indicates he might have a strong future.

    Ryan Giggs was meant to be Ryan Gibbs. Gibbs is Alecko Eskandarian's speedy foward partner at UVa.
  10. DigitalTron

    DigitalTron New Member

    Apr 4, 2001
    Arlington, VA
    Heh, high praise for Mr. GIBBS. One bit of info that most probably do not know is that DC United scrimmaged against UVa at UVa and UVa won. It was early in the preseason with most of the first team United players out (USMNT, injuries, etc.) but Gibbs totally abused Craig Zaidie (not that this is uncommon ;)) and even managed to beat Brandon Prideaux with his speed.

    Obviously it meant more to the college kids than the MLS guys, but still, Gibbs was by far the best player on the pitch that day, and clearly more effective than his much heralded teammate Aleko Eskandarian who also had a decent game. I've often wondered why Gibbs gets absolutely no press.

  11. iusccerfan

    iusccerfan New Member

    Jul 6, 2001
    Any thoughts on Abe Thompson from Maryland? He was a regular on the U17s in NZ, and got called up to camps with the U20s until he suffered a series of Maryland style broken bones in his foot. He told me he's back at full strength now, and he is one of the most effective players (not flashy... effective) Ive seen in awhile. I think if he shows he is back to form this college season he deserves a chance with the U23s and a shot with the pros. Just a thought...
  12. The Wanderer

    The Wanderer New Member

    Sep 3, 1999
    He's going to be a solid to good MLS forward IMHO. I doubt he'll ever make an impact on the national team, but that doesn't mean he won't be good--just look at Ralston for instance.
  13. The Wanderer

    The Wanderer New Member

    Sep 3, 1999
    Re: Re: U23 late bloomers

    Ali Curtis is pretty fast too. But I'm sure you've seen his first touch and passing. Maybe this is why Gibbs isn't rated higher? Pure speed only gets you so far if you have second rate ball skills(I'm not saying this is true with Gibbs though). Look at Dante Washington with the Crew. An incredible physical specimen if there ever was one playing soccer. But he has weak skills/mental decision making or else he would have been snapped up by teams abroad in a hurry.
  14. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

    Feb 13, 2001

    The PDL First and Second teams were announced by the USL team today.

    Mike Tranchilla (1st) and Jason Thompson (2nd), who have already been called in to the U23 team, were honored today.

    So were several of my Late Bloomer XI: Jacob Ward (1st team), David Wagenfuhr (2nd) and Hamid HisNameIsTooHardTooSpell (1st).

    Also, 2 players I listed as "others to watch" also made the PDL team - Denny Clanton (1st) and Chris Sawyer (2nd).
  15. The Wanderer

    The Wanderer New Member

    Sep 3, 1999
    Just curious. Why does this article say that they are U15 players and then some are talking about them for the U20s? Not trying to be an a$$, just wonderin'.
  16. Mr. Cam

    Mr. Cam Red Card

    Jun 28, 2001
    Soccer School?

    If a GIFTED 10 year soccer player has MLS or USMNT aspirations, what Academy\Soccer school in Southern California would you send him to???
  17. Foosinho

    Foosinho New Member

    Jan 11, 1999
    New Albany, OH
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Look at the date on the byline.
  18. The Wanderer

    The Wanderer New Member

    Sep 3, 1999
    Re: Soccer School?

    The one that John O'Brien went to or was coached at. I can't remember which one it was at the moment. If you have any connections to Latin American countries it'd probably be worth it for the kid to spend a summer time in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, etc. playing pick up soccer. If the kid can find a group of kids his age that want to play pick up ball, that is extremely advantageous. It will allow him to play without having to worry about losing the ball, let him make his own decisions regarding passing, etc., which is exactly what happens out on the soccer field. Unlike American football, very little coaching is done during the game and it's basically up to the players.
  19. The Wanderer

    The Wanderer New Member

    Sep 3, 1999
    Gotcha Foosinho. Thanks.
  20. GersMan

    GersMan Member

    May 11, 2000
    The Clint Greenwood Soccer Academy. He is the former youth coach for Landon Donovan and Raul Palomares. Seems to emphasize one-on-one coaching.

    They also organize an international tour each year and emphasize:
    * Speed of Play
    * Match Preparation (before & after)
    * Mental Demands of Soccer Abroad
    * Tactical Awareness and Game Sense
    * Technical Sharpness and Ability

  21. The Wanderer

    The Wanderer New Member

    Sep 3, 1999
    Nice one Gers. BTW, Mr. Cam, expect to pay out the wazoo for something like this. Unfortunatley with MLS not having youth development and the sporadic nature of quality youth players this is what most kids have to deal with at this stage in the U.S.'s development.

    Playing pick up soccer all the time can not be underestimated either. This is how most Argentines, Brazilians, Latin Americans et al learn the game. It's not until later on in their teen age years that they begin to be picked up by professional clubs(around 15 IIRC). Drop the kid off(or stay with him depending on age) at the local Mexican immigrant kick around on a regular basis and watch how much he can pick up just by watching and playing. He certainly won't get picked on for being a ball hog lol.
  22. FlashMan

    FlashMan Member

    Jan 6, 2000
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'm so happy you actually mentioned McCausland, as not only is thia a player I've actually seen, but also someone I've thought of as a potential MLS player, etc. (I think I'm thinking of the same guy - at USD).

    I've seen him play about four times. I wouldn't really call him an "AM" myself, but more of a right mid, where he normally ends up. Has a nice touch, mainly right footed, and is a smart player - good speed - who gets behind defenses quite often. Has a tremendous shot which I've seen him nail a couple of times for goals from long distance. A bit of a scrapper (who in college isn't?), who sometimes gets lost in teh long ball often played by USD, but always shows well and makes a difference. Also a bit on the slight side as a freshman, seemed to fill up a little by last year. Am anxious to see how he looks this fall.

    He also has a lovely mom who I happened to sit next to one game! ;)

    Great job Sandon!!
  23. Warzycha

    Warzycha Member

    Apr 22, 2002
    Denver, CO
    There is a kid from Indiana named Danny O'Rourke who is a pretty good central defender (sophomore to be). He got a lot of pub in the NCAA Final Four this past year. He should get a look!
  24. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

    Feb 13, 2001
    I'm a fan of O'Rourke. Nothing pretty but one tough SOB.

    That said, he's an 83 and HAS gotten a look from Thomas Rongen with the 20s, thus missing not 1 but 2 of the criteria for our "late-bloomer" team.
  25. Dsocc

    Dsocc Member

    Feb 13, 2002
    Me too. He's a defensive midfielder. He plays well in a 3 back system, which is mainly what IU plays, as did PDL Chicago FR. He's less comfortable when he needs to slide to a centerback in a 4 back system. He actually would be better groomed as more of a center/attacking mid.

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