Young Yanks Abroad Explosion?

Discussion in 'Yanks Abroad' started by JohnR, Aug 15, 2003.

  1. JohnR

    JohnR Member+

    Jun 23, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I might be wrong, but I forsee enormous growth in young U.S. soccer players heading abroad.

    I've been thinking about this for a while, what with Spector, Simak, and so forth. But the Kenny Cooper deal put me over the edge.

    Nothing against these kids, but the real difference between them and 25 or 50 or 100 other top young U.S. players is the European passport that enabled them to get by the U.K.'s labor laws.

    It took a little while, but England's major clubs have realized that a top 100 U.S. player is a fine "free agent" prospect. Better to sign one of them than to try to pry away one of Liverpool's top youths. So England now is on a feeding frenzy for any U.S. youth player with a Euro passport.

    From there, I think it's only a short step for Holland, Belgium, Italy, and other countries with less restrictive labor laws to say, "Hell, yes, why not us, too?" Particularly if the U.S. U17 team continues to do well in the U17 World Cup.

    The U.S. market has been ridiculously underserved for a while -- professional opportunities for the 300th best U18 in England while the 15th best U18 in U.S. must make do with college. I see that changing, rapidly, as the European clubs realize the bargains that exist here.
     
  2. arkadygelman

    arkadygelman New Member

    May 22, 2003
    D.C. give or take
    I've always been wondering why more Italian, Dutch, and Belgian teams don't follow the half-example Germany has been setting in picking up U.S. guys without EU passports. Neither of those three countries imposes restrictions of EU players on it's teams.
     
  3. Treetaliano

    Treetaliano Member

    Jun 29, 2002
    San Diego
    Italy does, and always has. In fact, it got more strict this year.
     
  4. panicfc

    panicfc Member+

    Dec 22, 2000
    In my chair, typing
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think Italy does have non-EU restrictions, well they limit the number on the first teams I believe.

    Holland has a minimum salary requirement of $388,000 now for a non-Euro. So that is a restriction.

    Belgium: They are just weird I think. The doors are open, they have huge American investment in the country, but its sort of a closed-shop I guess.

    What about Switzerland or Denmark?
     
  5. arkadygelman

    arkadygelman New Member

    May 22, 2003
    D.C. give or take
    How is it that so many African and South American kids come out of the Italian system? Guys like Martins at Inter and Claiton at Milan. And Torino has two or three Nigerian youngsters I think.
     
  6. panicfc

    panicfc Member+

    Dec 22, 2000
    In my chair, typing
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'd guess the South Americans can get Euro passports, and the Africans are filling up the quota of Non-Euro spots.
     
  7. denver_mugwamp

    denver_mugwamp New Member

    Feb 9, 2003
    Denver, Colorado
    Probably no explosion...

    Sorry, I just don't see it happening. There's too many players out of contract already every year and the money just isn't there for most clubs. I expect maybe two, three or four of the top players to go to Europe each year at the most. And most of them will betaking the MLS route to develop their skills. Of course that doesn't count the players with European connections. Most of them will get snapped up right away younger. But overall it's a good thing. I wonder how many kids about 6'3" or so will give goalkeeping a serious thought because of Timmy. I think it's realistic to think that every kid who makes it in Europe will generate a few hundred more kids committing themselves to the sport.
     
  8. lond2345

    lond2345 Member

    Aug 19, 2002
    USA
    i am not that big of a fan of youth yanks going abroad THAT GO STRAIGHT TO YOUTH SYSTEMS! many have failed.

    I rather see players like convey who have a shot of going straight into the first team, rather than seeing players like Spector going to the man u youth system and not to see first team playing action for a long time (when they could be playing in mls and getting years of league experience like convey did)
     
  9. appoo

    appoo Member+

    Jul 30, 2001
    USA
    For Better (MLS) or Worse (the Jonathan Spectors of the US Youth System) FIFA has forced our youngsters to tough it out in MLS at least until they turn 18. Unless they have an EU passport. You won't see U18 kids going out to Europe. But you also won't see Bobby Convey's or DMB's in the MLS becasue they won't stay until they are 20. It'll be a league full young prospects and average veterans. The league needs to open its checkbooks if wants to keep their American stars on this side of the Atlantic.
     
  10. JohnR

    JohnR Member+

    Jun 23, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Youth System

    Isn't the 18 thing just for signing a pro contract?

    If I were a European club, I'd say to a top U.S. 16/17 year old who I really liked (example - Jamie Watson), "Hey, kid, I can't sign you yet. But I'll tell you what. Rather than have you sign in MLS for $25K a year and share a studio apartment, come over here, train with the amateurs for a year, and then we'll sign you up for some real money, OK?"

    Would make sense from both perspectives, no?
     
  11. empennage

    empennage Member

    Jan 4, 2001
    Phoenix, AZ
    What's wrong with having players fail? Young players with potential fail in sports all the time. How many thousands of minor league baseball players never make it to MLB?

    We can't expect every player to succeed, but we can send some of our best players to places with good development systems. Some of these players will make it, most will not. It happens in every sport, and I think that the level of US pro soccer players will get better because of it.
     
  12. lond2345

    lond2345 Member

    Aug 19, 2002
    USA
    why didn't you post the other part of my post? which was that it is better to stay here and get years of mls experience instead of going into a youth team and not seeing first team action for a long time and failing.
     
  13. CJCourtney

    CJCourtney Member

    United States
    Aug 29, 2000
    Stuttgart, Germany
    Having followed young Americans Abroad for more than a few years I tend to see it this way:

    The entire development of youth players, be it at at home or abroad, is much like agriculture. Many seeds are planted but not all grow up to produce anything. The key difference here is that these "seeds" exercise their own free will and choose their own path.

    Some will choose a higher risk path of signing a youth contract with a European club - many see the payoff as worth the risk. I personally admire the kids with the guts to leave home and reach for the brass ring. Some will choose to stay at home and develop in a familiar atmosphere. More than a few stay at home to play for a coach they admire and respect, knowing they'll be challenged but getting a fair shake.

    Will European clubs come looking for bargains in the US? Some already do and several recent signings should prove the point. Clubs look abroad for what they cannot find enough of at home - quality, athletic, and coachable talent with well developed skills who can fill a role in their system. They too are planting seeds knowing not all will end up with the first team some day. I do not expect a flood of young Americans heading for the youth sides of Real, Juventus, and Arsenal but I notice the reputation of American talent has grown noticeably.

    It seems to me that teams in Belgium, Holland, etc tend to look for players in Africa and Eastern Europe. There they find bargain talent and kids who will knock themselves out to make the team. A kid from Cameroon or Ghana playing for the Anderlecht reserve side will do whatever it takes to stay in Belgium and make a living. If he makes it, he can bring the rest of his family along to a better life. If that is not an incentive to have a good work ethic, I don't know what is. I think good advice for any young American kid signing for such a side would be to work as hard and be as coachable as the African kids.
     
  14. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    The Euro passport thing is a pretty big ``only.''
    The truth is hundreds of american youth players are getting the chance to devo in MLS, and it's working. The best will move overseas. And, like LD and TT, (better than most of those mentioned) some will return for a few years after realizing MLS is not a bad place to begin.
     
  15. appoo

    appoo Member+

    Jul 30, 2001
    USA
    The case with Landon is pretty unique I think. If he had gone to another league (say...Newcastle) then all you'd be hearing is "Donovan thinks Newcastle has good chance to do well in Champion's league"

    or "Donovan, Van Niestelrooy, Henry, and Owen to fight battle for goal title". No one denies that he has the talent to be one of the best. He just chose the wrong club to start out with, which forced him to look at his options.
     
  16. supersoft

    supersoft Member

    May 3, 2002
    Baltimore
    Better? Better for whom?

    I don't think you're saying that all kids who go into MLS "succeed" and all who go to Europe fail ... And you can't present any evidence that MLS is better. It's early in the game yet and Convey and Howard are the first to go. Way too early to say.

    Maybe you mean that it's better for yourself?

    You get to watch our talented kids play against mediocre competition and succeed or fail before your own eyes. Not hidden in the bowels of some youth academy thousands of miles away. You and the rest of us MLS-watchers are the beneficiaries.

    But don't pretend it's about what's best for the kids when it's about what's best for you.
     
  17. arkadygelman

    arkadygelman New Member

    May 22, 2003
    D.C. give or take
    So true.
     
  18. panicfc

    panicfc Member+

    Dec 22, 2000
    In my chair, typing
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think this is more a statement on Donovan's maturity than Bayer being the wrong club.

    He wasn't ready for the foreign land, language and people. They weren't there to coddle him, and he spent a lot of time traveling for the US teams as well.
     
  19. Fah Que

    Fah Que Member

    Sep 29, 2000
    LA
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Dudes, Italy no longer have foreigner restrictions. It used to be 3 non-EU in serie A&B and 1 non-EU in divisions below, but they abandoned it last year.

    Although the board of each team can set their own restrictions. Some have policies to have at least 50% Italians on the team and some have politicies to carry only EU players in their youth academy and their FA doesn't care.
     
  20. panicfc

    panicfc Member+

    Dec 22, 2000
    In my chair, typing
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I beg to differ. After the WC debacle they brought in new regulations not allowing new foreign players in excess of what each team currently had.

    So if you have 5 foreign slots, you could replace the 5. If you had none, Modena I believe - you couldn't add any or you could only add one.

    They don't want the non-Euro's messing up the Italian lack of attack any more.


    :D
     
  21. voros

    voros Member

    Jun 7, 2002
    Parts Unknown
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    But then the problem becomes the attractiveness to the kid involved. Sure England, Italy, Spaina nd even Holland seem like no brainers but after that, what is the huge upside to a young kid to make that move.

    Switzerland? Sure to some kids the idea of Europe itself sounds attractive, even if it's Denmark or something. Nut I don't think that would be the majority view.

    I still think we've got this whole thing bass ackwards. Argentina, Brazil, Holland, Portugal they all use their domestic leagues to provide opportunities to their talented youngsters, and then transfer them off when the big boys come a calling.

    With us, many people seem to want to force our youngsters overseas, and if it doesn't work out, then they can come back to MLS (Twellman, Donovan, DiGiamarino, Salyer, etc.). I think this is the wrong track.

    But again, I think the choice is up to the kids. Constantly beating the drumbeat of shame (and it's going to get louder if Freddy goes to MLS) at Landon Donovan for having the petulance to play soccer at home, is thoroughly unfair. Is Landon Happier in San Jose than he was at Leverkusen? I think that answer is obvious, so I think it's awfully rude of us to demand he returns to a situation that made him miserable because he apparently owes it to us, US Soccer, Bruce Arena and whoever.
     
  22. panicfc

    panicfc Member+

    Dec 22, 2000
    In my chair, typing
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Voros you raise some great points. Who knows what these players wants to achieve in life. I think that if you want to be the best, you need to play with the best. Some guys are happy being big fish in small ponds, while others look for the challenge.

    As for the Danes and Swiss - the opportunities are there for the taking. Would a young American get the opportunities that they get in MLS - maybe, maybe not. But in most cases the training in those countries is going to be very professional, very competitive and at a higher level than what they are getting over here.

    I personally wish BL.04 would sell Landon for a large amount of cash to Liverpool and let him do his thing for them. Bayer would get the cash they need, Liverpool gets a dynamic player and someone we would all be happy buying the latest shirt for.

    Spain...no La Liga on Fox yet :D
     
  23. mpruitt

    mpruitt Member

    Feb 11, 2002
    E. Somerville
    Club:
    New England Revolution
    honestly I think for a lot of these kids staying home might be for a couple of reasons.

    1. Branderton, granted many of them could probably go over seas after Bradnerton (sorry if i'm misspelling this, its late.) but they know that so far the u-17 school has been a ticket to the USMNT.

    2. College. As was pointed out before if you grow up in Ghana or South America you may be a little more inclined to go overseas for a better opportunity. With such an emphasis on education inthis country, maybe would you make the surer bet of getting a soccer scholorship, and still having the chance to play professionall with a college degree then bailing on college and maybe some high school for a mere chance of making it abroad?

    In terms of a youth explosion. I think that Convey if he does well, or even if he doesn't is going to be setting some precident and is going to be an interesting barometer for kids in the US.
     
  24. panicfc

    panicfc Member+

    Dec 22, 2000
    In my chair, typing
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    More great points. The comforts of home and the value of an education - hard to argue.

    About 14 years ago I had the opportunity to go work in Germany, I was gung ho - but my wife was pregnant and she didn't want to go over and have the baby there.

    It would have been a wonderful experience for all of us, but she didn't want to be on our own, without the support of family, etc.

    Well now we don't want to go in case her family needs some support on their end as they get older. Its tough moving abroad to pursue a dream, and its not for everyone, but if you want to be the best soccer player you can be - its really the best place to go.
     
  25. matabala

    matabala Member+

    Sep 25, 2002
    QUOTE]Originally posted by CJCourtney
    The entire development of youth players, be it at at home or abroad, is much like agriculture. Many seeds are planted but not all grow up to produce anything. The key difference here is that these "seeds" exercise their own free will and choose their own path. Some will choose a higher risk path of signing a youth contract with a European club - many see the payoff as worth the risk. I personally admire the kids with the guts to leave home and reach for the brass ring. Some will choose to stay at home and develop in a familiar atmosphere. More than a few stay at home to play for a coach they admire and respect, knowing they'll be challenged but getting a fair shake.[/QUOTE]

    Not exactly sure what you're going on about with this "free will" thing. Been reading too much Kant lately? What is there about exercising their own free will and choosing their own path in being recruited and lured to Europe at a very tender age by often unscrupulous scouts or agents. No 16-year old African kid is "choosing his own path". That's for the Johnny Appleseeds or Thoreaus of this world. No African youngster is going to turn down the chance to play European football, even though the percentage of those who will eventually earn a decent living from it is very small. This isn't a question of choice. Please show me a 15-year old African who would choose NOT to sign a youth contract with a European club.
     

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