U23 roster for England tour

Discussion in 'Youth National Teams' started by Sandon Mibut, Jul 29, 2002.

  1. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

    Feb 13, 2001
    From US Soccer Wire - You guys know which name I'm excited about!

    U.S. Under-23 MNT Roster
    GOALKEEPERS (2): Doug Warren (Clemson), Jason White (Princeton);

    DEFENDERS (8): Nelson Akwari, Ian Joy (Kidderminster FC – Scotland), Ricky Lewis (Clemson), David Stokes (North Carolina), Scott Thompson (UCLA), Zach Whitbread (Liverpool – England), Chris Wingert (St. John’s), Alex Yi;

    MIDFIELDERS (6): Kenny Arena (Virginia), Kyle
    Beckerman (Colorado Rapids -- MLS), Brian Carroll (Wake Forest), Ned Grabavoy (Indiana), Logan Pause (North Carolina), ), Seth Trembly
    (Colorado Rapids -- MLS);

    FORWARDS (4): Edson Buddle (Columbus Crew),
    Alecko Eskandarian (Virginia), David Testo (North Carolina), Jason Thompson (East Illinois).

    Whitbred, baby! He's playing up (he turns 18 in the fall) but this is first appearance with the US and this should be a good indicator he's gonna play with the 20s this fall, assuming he's the real deal.

    Also interesting that Grabavoy, an 83, is also playing up, especially since the 20s are playing this week.

    Besides Grabavoy and Whitbred, this is the first look with the 23s for several of these players including Jason White, Ian Joy, Scot Thompson, Kenny Arena, Logan Pause, David Testo and Jason Thompson.

    I doubt many of these guys will make the final cut but I'm glad Mooch is looking at them.

    I'll share some other thoughts on these guys in my next post.
  2. TexanSoccer06

    TexanSoccer06 New Member

    Hmmm no non UK based foriegn players called in...smart move by the Feds not to get clubs all pissed off
  3. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

    Feb 13, 2001
    Here's what I know about each of these guys.

    Grabavoy - Interesting that of all the 20s, he's the one (besides Whitbred, baby!) that gets called in to play up as he isn't a likely starter for the 20s and while he should make the team, he is by no means a lock. (If David Johnson impresses Rongen, Grabavoy could be squeezed.) Grabavoy is a nice central playmaker with a great touch but he disappears at times. For the Olympians, he's got Convey, Martino and perhaps Donovan in front of him and he doesn't really have the wheels to play elsewhere so if he isn't the "10" I don't see him making the final 18.

    White - a rising senior at Princeton, he's been a solid college 'keeper. With Countess, Warren and Cronin ahead of him on the depth chart, he's a long shot for the 23s qualifying roster and even then, I wonder if he isn't behind guys like Portland's Curt Spiteri and NC State's Mitchell Watson. Still, he's earned a look with solid college play and he was a very good youth club player as well.

    Joy is kind of a mystery. He's played at obscure places in Europe all his career and he's been getting called into various U-whatever camps since he was 16 but never makes a final roster even though the teams in his age groups aren't exactly strong at center back. Don't know enough about him to make a definitive statement but with the holes in the back, a couple of strong showings puts him back in the mix.

    S. Thompson - I've seen this guy play a couple of times for UCLA and always wondered why other youth coaches never gave him more of a look. (Wolfgang briefly looked at him with the 20s but he didn't stick.) He's kind of like a slightly less-talented version of Onyewu with nice size and good speed who can play centrally or wide right. Like Joy, a couple of strong showings will really help his cause.

    Arena - Unlike most BS posters, I wasn't bothered by Arena's inclusion on the U20 team as his position, D-mid, was a weak spot for that team and he earned his keep with a series of solid games. He's smart, as would be expected given his lineage, tough as hell and very good in the air. It should be noted that in the games that mattered with the U20 team - qualifying and Argentina - the US went 2-0-1 with Arena in the lineup and the tie came after a rare mistake by Countess gave Ukraine a goal. That said, Arena isn't that fast and his ball skills are average and with the Dmids in the current U20 pool, I doubt he'll make the team.

    Pause - Another guy who got a brief look from Sunholz with the 20s, his biggest strength is his versatility: he can play left mid, either center mid spot and I've heard UNC is flirting with him at left back. Besides helping UNC to a title last year, he had a strong PDL season this year. Like most of these guys he's a long shot but on an 18-man roster, versatility is a great assett.

    Testo - I really like this guy. He reminds me of a poor man's version of Clint Mathis. He can play either as an attacking mid or withdrawn forward and he hits a nice long shot. He makes the players around him better and just as importantly, he has that Mathis attitude. He spent his first two years at South Carolina (like Mathis) and I think it's no coincidence that after transferring to North Carolina that the 'Heels finally won some hardware after years of under-achieving. Testo will have a very good MLS career but with all the attacking depth in the U23 pool his odds of making the final 18 for qualifying are pretty long.

    J. Thompson. I've only seen this guy play once and for most of the game I wasn't impressed and then, boom, he scores a goal out of what seemed like nowhere. I talked to a coach afterwords and they said that's what he does. He is a goal-scorer of the poaching variety. He played this summer for the Boulder Rapids which yesterday made the PDL Final Four and he finished in the top 10 in the PDL in scoring. In college, in a mid-level conference, and in the PDL, he's put up nice numbers and I'm curious to see what he'll do at this level. Another long shot for Athens but he could make a nice MLS player. Or, he could be Johnny Torres.
  4. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

    Feb 13, 2001
    Well, besides Whitbred, baby!

    (This guy better not suck or I'm gonna be pretty effin' pissed off!)
  5. Karl K

    Karl K Member

    Oct 25, 1999
    Suburban Chicago
    Sandon, thanks for the info.

    As Jason Thompson could be the next Johnny Torres, could Zach Whitbread be the next....Jovan Kirovski?

    Here's hoping the answer is a resounding NO.

    Meanwhile, I am both pleased and distressed to see Edson Buddle in this group. That he is in this tour suggests he is somewhat of a bubble player for the 23s.

    I have seen him play twice in person now, and twice on TV, and in my mind he is the closest thing we have in our national team pool -- even in the current senior pool -- to a Mark Viduka-like player, who is strong like bull, can hold the ball, AND turn, shoot AND finish.

    I hope he tears it up over there, and makes the decision-making process of the Arena-Mooch-Rongen braintrust triad REALLY hard.
  6. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

    Feb 13, 2001
    Karl, don't make me come out to Chicago and kick your ass! Bite your tongue. But man, if you're right, I'm gonna be bummed.

    I'm not quite sure who I'm so intrigued by this guy. (I think I may need therapy for it.) I guess 17-year old 6-3 left-footed Americans who have already played with Liverpool's reserve team don't come around every day.

    Yes, the Kirovski point is valid as he when he was with ManU's reserves he was considered as bright a prospect as Beckham, Giggs, Scholes and Butt, but I'm hoping - even though I have nothing to base this on - that since he's a back he won't have as big an ego issue as Kirovski. I mean, the fact that he's willing to play for the US instead of wait for a call-up from England suggests he isn't too arrogant and the that UK herritage will prevent him from the work-permit issues that negatively impacted Kirovski's career.
  7. Dave Marino-Nachison

    Jun 9, 1999
    Part of the reason Joy may be something of a "mystery" is that he isn't particularly big for a center back. Obviously height isn't everything, but I've never seen him listed as more than 5' 10" and he plays in a country where there are a lot of big center backs.

    As a slightly undersized inside defender perhaps he simply has an excellent feel for the game. If that's the case he should have a long pro career despite any size issues, perceived or otherwise.

    Anyone know if he is related to former MLS player (or just draftee? can't remember) Jake Joy?
  8. Oakland Stomper

    Oakland Stomper New Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    As I understand it, Ian Joy is not in fact a centerback. Rather he is a left-sided defender/midfielder.

    Remember that he's playing at what is essentially the equivalent of our D-3. The level of coaching/player development at these clubs varies from poor down to criminal. My point being, I don't see him improving his skills enough to be a memeber of the U-23's (much less the full national side) as long as he remains at Kiddeminster.

  9. cldiscodan

    cldiscodan New Member

    Feb 12, 2002
    Martino was left off. I assume this means that the Crew needed his services and that his MLS performances have ensured him a place on the team. This was not the case for Beckerman, Trembly, and Buddle.

    Yi and Akwari are still sticking around. Although I like these guys, if they don't show something this could easily be the last go for these junior national team vets.

    My olympic lineup (with subs):






    --------------Casey(Buddle, Johnson)------------

    I think Davis might beat out Convey and we will have to replace Yi with someone.......but who?
  10. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

    Feb 13, 2001
    Uh... Kelly Gray?
  11. Excape Goat

    Excape Goat Member+

    Mar 18, 1999
    Real Madrid
    At least, he chooses the US over England.
  12. fidlerre

    fidlerre Moderator
    Staff Member

    Oct 10, 2000
    Central Ohio
    the forward position is kinda crowded in columbus right now. losing buddle is not that big of a deal when you have cunningham riding the bench in favor of washington.

    the same cannot be said for the #10 spot on the crew. martino has been impressive during his time there and perez has not, so i am not surprised to see martino stick with the crew.

    regarding buddle. i think he is a very talented player. i gotta agree with everything karl said. the kid is huge (met him the other week) and he is fast and he can tear a hole in the net. i hope he shows well on this tour...
  13. Karl K

    Karl K Member

    Oct 25, 1999
    Suburban Chicago
    Remember, pal, I'm WITH you on this one, so be gentle.

    This kid clearly has to have SOME talent, else he wouldn't be in the position he is in now. "Intriguing" is a understated word in this case.

    But also keep in mind that a good part of life is expectations management. So much can happen in the years 18-22 for soccer players graduating from the youth ranks into the professional environment.

    That he has decided to go the USA route suggests that either (a) he is not, say, at the level of a Rio Ferdinand or even an Ashley Cole, (b) he is, but others have told him he isn't or (c) he believes he isn't, and he approaches that level.

    My guess is (a). Then if not at that level, then what?

    We will have to see how it plays out.
  14. The Wanderer

    The Wanderer New Member

    Sep 3, 1999
    Karl, did you get a chance to see some of Conor Casey's video highlights for Hannover from last season? Casey has Viduka like talent also.
  15. The Wanderer

    The Wanderer New Member

    Sep 3, 1999
    Sandon, this tour won't cap tie him to us either. If he rips it up then you can bet the Englanders will be all over him from then on also. There's still a long way to go in this battle, and I would definitely not count my chickens before the proverbial eggs have hatched.
  16. beineke

    beineke New Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Perez is also out with a sprained MCL -- there's no way that the Crew would part with Martino right now.
  17. luvdagame

    luvdagame Member+

    Jul 6, 2000

    i am intrigued by your olympic team. it looks like there will be tough decisions to make in several places. my one problem is with donovan at attacking mid. personally i think he was a bust at this position at the u20 world cup in argentina, and i have only seen occasional sparks when he has been played at this position since then. i think he has to be up front paired with casey or buddle. if we can't find anyone better for the amid position, we'll be sacrificing him there and will lose our best way to torment a defense.

    one other question. johnson hasn't played much this year. hasn't he kind of regressed in his development?
  18. The Wanderer

    The Wanderer New Member

    Sep 3, 1999
    Not really. He's behind Quaranta, but it's nothing that he can't overcome if he starts seeing more time for the Burn between now and the end of the season. I'd say he's still on track to have a true break out season next year, much like Quaranta.

    donovan is wasted at a mid in a 4-4-2. If you stick him in the hole in a 3-5-2 or a 4-3-3 he can be a strong player. Otherwise I think he needs to go up top in a 4-4-2.
  19. Oakland Stomper

    Oakland Stomper New Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    LD's best role.

    I would not say that LD was a bust as such in Argentina '01, rather he didn't play anywhere near what we and others expected. Why?

    Well if you look at the team, they played a 4-2-3-1 a bit like France played in WC '98, during qualifying and looked fantastic. Then the manager (it was Sunholtz right) for some reason throws the whole thing into a mess and goes with a 3-1-3-1-2 (3-5-2) right before the tourney. This was bonehead move, it ruined our rhythm, and we looked like we had absolutely no clue or had never played together.

    I would suggest that LD is clearly best as a withdrawn striker, with the freedom to roam the field and find the best opportunities. In this role he is unique in the American game. His talents are very much compromised by playing him anywhere in midfield.

  20. Karl K

    Karl K Member

    Oct 25, 1999
    Suburban Chicago
    Right, as I was writing the Viduka analogy, I thought of Casey too.

    I haven't see him since the Olympics, where he really didn't impress all that much. The lastest reviews, though, have clearly been good.

    I think it is unfortunate that Buddle is in Columbus, with its crowded front line and Brian McBride basically ahead of him. This kids needs to play, and a lot.

    He has some physical gifts, that if coupled with some game-brains and smarts, could be pretty stunning. Against the Revs, I saw him hold the ball while THREE guys were draped on him, and still make a productive pass. As a back-to-goal target forward, and a guy who can get a head of steam up, he seems to me a compelling player.
  21. davide

    davide Member

    Mar 1, 2001
    Donovan started in Argentina at forward paired with Casey. He came back to center midfield looking for the ball when he wasn't getting any service. So, I don't see how he can be called a bust when it wasn't the coaches intention to play him at that spot. It wasn't all his fault. Sunholz wanted Trevor Perea at that position, but he as injured.

    Since then, Arena has played Donovan as an attacking midfielder quite a few times on the National team (Gold Cup, MLS Pre Cup friendlies, Germany friendly). IMHO, Donovan improved quite a bit as an attacking midfielder during the past year. He's got much more experience to handle the position now. He's probably BA's #3 option on the senior team at the spot behind JOB and Reyna.

    So, since this position is arguably the weakest position in the whole National team program (only the 3 above and Mathis had flashes during WCQ seem to be able to play it), I'd prefer that LD take that position for the Olympic team. However, it would be great it Martino and Convey could develop there as well to give us some depth. Convey should get a chance to play this spot for the U-20s. Martino is playing well in MLS. But Donovan proved in the Gold Cup he can play there.
  22. The Wanderer

    The Wanderer New Member

    Sep 3, 1999
    I saw that very play also Karl. :) Quite impressive, and he and Casey are going to be slugging it out for the big forward spot for years to come. Competition can be a wonderful thing.
  23. phills

    phills Member

    Nov 24, 1999
    I don't agree that this is a bubble team. They don't need to spend money on bubble players. Just bring them to camp. Also If you put Kyle Martino on a team in the western league would he be getting as much playing time? Take Colorado- Is he going to take carlos Valdrama, henderson, or chung's place. They are all his position and they are all on the all-star team. The other western league teams are also very strong. I agree that buddle has alot of good players in front of him too. All the project 40 that are playing alot either have gotten in because of injuries or they are on a team in the eastern league.
  24. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

    Feb 13, 2001
    Name your ideal 18 for qualifying and then see how many of them are on this trip to England and then tell me if this is still mostly a team of bubble players.
  25. monster

    monster Member

    Oct 19, 1999
    Hanover, PA
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    INteresting how Soccer America calls Akwari and Yi "free agents" and the UCLA site calls them "former Bruins." Headed to MLS in the winter after the Italy situation?

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