From College to the Pros - The US soccer ladder

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I mentioned in my last post, from a few weeks ago, that I recently became the proud parent of twins. As they approach eight weeks of age I've slowly realized how completely they have changed my life. Add to that the normal ebb and flow of life and my passion for posting to this blog has diminished.

At one point I thought and hoped that this blog would help morph into a career in professional soccer. That hasn't happened and I think that dream is slowly passing as I become more interested in other things.

All I know is that I can no longer dedicate the time required to keep posting and to keep up my database. In other words, I no longer feel I can hold your interest and sound somewhat knowledgeable.

In the time I've been running this blog others have popped up that provide better, more complete, analysis of the college game and college players. So, it is with that in mind that the referee around here is producing the following...

Sometime in the future my red card suspension may end, but until then you'll know where to find me...not here. If you're interesting in picking up and carrying on the torch, please email me at the address in the right margin. Thank you to all of my sponsors who have helped things carry on. Thank you to all of my readers whose interest and encouragement were amazing.


Monday, October 26, 2009

US U-17 World Cup Kicking Off...soon!

Well folks, you may have noticed a total lack of new content around here. My wife and I welcomed twins into the family at the end of September and sleep deprivation has ensued. So, blog is not getting a lot of attention.

But I do want to call your attention to this, the US U-17 Men kick off their World Cup in about an hour and 15 minutes, at 1 pm central time. You can catch the match on ESPNU, Galavision and They're playing Spain so it should be entertaining.

Want to learn more about the team? Read this from Hopefully the attacking style discussed in the article works for the team. The US U-20 team had a poor performance in their World Cup last month, so I hope to see better from the U-17s.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Great Post On The US U-20 Team's College Members...

Remember how the US can't field an entirely professional U-20 World Cup team like most of the rest of the soccer world? Want to know more about those players joining the team from the college ranks? Here you go: has done an outstanding job.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

MLS to Break During Group Play of 2010 FIFA World Cup...

No, this isn't college soccer related but it is music to my ears. I just got a press release from MLS saying the following:

Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber announced today that for the first time in its history, MLS will not play League games during the group phase of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The group phase includes the first 48 games of the 64-game tournament that begins on June 11, 2010 in South Africa. The last MLS game prior to the World Cup will be played on June 10 and MLS will not schedule any additional League games until after the group phase concludes on June 25. MLS does not plan to schedule games on the days of either World Cup Semifinal nor the World Cup Final.

It is about time! Now they need to figure out that other international dates when the US team is in action should be off limits. But I'll take what I can get for now.

Another nice little gem:
MLS clubs to play each opponent twice in balanced 2010 regular season

Hopefully they don't schedule the games back-to-back the way the Rapids are playing against Toronto twice in a row and then San Jose twice in a row. Balance the schedule from front to back MLS!


Friday, August 28, 2009

US U-20 World Cup Squad Announced...

Unlike the senior team, Coach Rongen is announcing his roster almost a month before the first match of the U-20 World Cup. Yup, kick off for the Americans in this youth World Cup is September 25th.

GOALKEEPERS - Sean Johnson (Central Florida), Josh Lambo, Brian Perk (UCLA)

DEFENDERS - Gale Agbossoumonde, Kyle Davies, Jorge Flores, Ike Opara (Wake Forest), Anthony Wallace, Sheanon Williams

MIDFIELDERS - Daniel Cruz, Mikkel Diskerud, Dilly Duka (Rutgers), Jared Jeffrey, Aaron Maund (Notre Dame), Brian Ownby (Virginia), Dillon Powers (Notre Dame), Michael Stephens (UCLA)

FORWARDS - Sam Garza (Denver), Peri Marosevic, Brek Shea, Tony Taylor (Jacksonville)

I've highlighted the college players in the above list. 42% of the players are playing college ball. I've got to imagine the professionals will make up more of the starting eleven with the college guys filling in as needed. It is just hard to imagine how the Americans will compete against the rest of the world when 42% of the team doesn't play professionally and the rest of the world does.

Also of note, Soccer by Ives has the US vs. Germany game on ESPN Classic as opposed to as I listed in my last post. Not sure when will update their website to show the correct television schedule on their schedule page.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

US U-20 WC Television Schedule Announced... announced the U-20 Men's television schedule yesterday. Here is the only problem, the first game is on-line only.

9/26: USA vs. Germany - LIVE at 9:55 a.m. ET on, 9:55 a.m. ET/PT on Galavision

9/29: USA vs. Cameroon - LIVE at 12:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2, DELAYED at 5 p.m. ET/PT on Galavision

10/2: USA vs. Korea Republuc - LIVE at 12:40 p.m. ET on ESPN2, DELAYED at 4 p.m. ET/PT on Galavision

Why is the match against Germany on-line only? ESPN2 for Cameroon and Korea is great...but what is up with Germany only being on-line? That is arguably the biggest match of all three. Well, we'll have to figure out a way to watch, won't we.

U-20 World Cup is coming up quickly!

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

I Want Another World Cup In The USA, Do You???

If so, go to the website: Sign the petition.

Watch the video:

Pass it on...

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Comments: The Beckham Experiment...

I believe there is little chance that someone reading this blog would not have heard of this book by now. Right? 1% chance. If in all honesty you have not heard of the book pictured above please leave me a comment. Anyway, I just finished it and I am posting some quick comments for two reasons. 1) I really enjoyed it. 2) I got the book for free from Press Box Publicity so I want to give them a shout out.

Back to reason #1; I really enjoyed the book. When I first heard of it and agreed to accept an evaluation copy I was skeptical. I wondered about how much access Wahl would have to Becks and the Gals. I wondered what kind of dirt could there be about the most celebrated soccer player to land in a US soccer league since Pele. Let's just say I had my doubts and I didn't think I'd learn anything I didn't already know.

Well, I was wrong. Before I received my book I started reading clips on blogs and then the whole controversy started up between Becks and Landycakes...I started to get excited. Once I received the book I dove right in and I finished it in a couple weeks. Recently I haven't finished a book in under a month so you can see I was drawn in. Despite some of the most juicy tidbits showing up on countless blogs, there was still more for me to discover during my read.

The biggest things I came away with; Alexi Lalas isn't as big a nut job as I once thought and didn't destroy the Galaxy on his own, Landycakes has bigger balls than I once thought but the hummingbird tattoo still drags things down a bit, Beckham brings a lot of baggage and hangers on everywhere he goes, if MLS ever makes this kind of signing again I hope they learn that just because your a famous player doesn't mean you should be allowed to make team decisions, and some other things I can't remember now.

I encourage you to check out The Beckham Experiment, by Grant Wahl if you are a fan of MLS, want to learn the behind the scenes of Beckham's signing and the further destruction of the LA Gals, or just want to see a book that doesn't paint David Beckham as a god in his MLS kingdom. Well done Grant Wahl, a great book.

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

The List...

Loyal readers and new followers...if there are any. For the past couple years I've written this blog quoting some list, a database of players I keep. I've not really shared it with too many people to this point thinking there is some proprietary knowledge held in it. Well, I've realized there isn't. It is a list of players and some information I've added to each player's history as I can find it on-line. However, as the world of soccer has expanded in the US, so too has my list and my ability to keep up with updates and tracking down players has dwindled. With that fact I realized that it is time for Bonji to harness the power of the Internet by crowd-sourcing my list.

So here it is folks, all 1,220 rows of names. As I make updates, they'll get updated on here. The permanent link will be on the right margin.

I know some of these kids have quit playing, left college for the pros, or just fallen off the face of the earth after an unimpressive career. I slowly weed them out. But that is where you can help! If you know something, tell me. I've got an email address published on the right, email me. If you like doing updates and tracking this stuff, maybe you can work with me. I just want to get this info out there and improve it. So help me do that. If you do have some new information, please send me a link to a source. I want to keep some academic rigger.

Let me remind you, players get on the list by doing something like winning an honor, getting a call up to a US Youth Team, playing on a foreign national team before coming to college in The States. So, please don't send me players to add because you like them, or because they're your brother, etc. If someone wins the Golden Glove at the adidas esp camp and then enrolls in Harvard...tell me about it.

Thanks and enjoy!

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Take Another Look At US Soccer...

Let's all be honest with each other, got a little stale having not changed in a long time. In today's instant info society it seems like some sites change once every two years. I think US Soccer had fallen down and couldn't get up since back before World Cup 2006. Anyone know/Remember the last update? Well, anyway...take a look at the new and improved site. Thoughts?

Also, U-17 World Cup draw is this Friday...tomorrow! At least I think that is what I read...I'm having trouble finding the link. Oh, here we go. The draw will be held in Abuja, Nigeria tomorrow, Friday. Nice.

The U-17 men did very well at the Copa Macae tournament in Brazil...they emerged as Champions! Well done.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Players Starting the Fall Season With Some Extra Practice...

While most of the news these days is about David Beckham's return to MLS, the US' performance in the Gold Cup and MLS' drop in attendance, I'd like to remind everyone that we still have the U-17 World Cup and U-20 World Cup coming up this summer/fall. As part of that, many college players are getting some extra credit training in this summer. While their peers are playing on club and/or PDL teams, there are many college players training and playing matches with the young nats.

Tomorrow, July 21st 2009, the US U-20 team heads to Argentina for a 10-day camp with a couple international matches as part of the Copa Cuidad de Rosario. College players making the trip: Brian Perk - GK UCLA, Gale Agbossoumonde - D UCLA, Ike Opara - D Wake Forest, Dilly Duka - M Rutgers, Brian Ownby - M University of Virginia, Dillon Powers - M Notre Dame, Michael Stephens - M UCLA, Sam Garza - F University of Denver and Tony Taylor - F Jacksonville University. Wow, UCLA is going to have some fit players when they return to NCAA action this fall.

Do you think it will help their campaign to have some many players coming in from National Team camp? There is downside, if these guys perform well and make the U-20 WC team they head to Egypt in late September and could be gone for up to one month.

At the same time the US U-17 men are down in Brazil training and playing in the Copa Macae. These guys are still on their club teams and haven't quite reached college. Most of these guys have been part of the US U-17 Bradenton Residency program but I did see one or two who haven't. It was also interesting to see a couple names from the recent Development Academy Starting XI; Riley Wolfe & Victor Chavez. Another common thread...Parade's annual All-American list.

I don't know about you but I am excited for these events later this year.

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Zizou Visits Denver, Plays With Young American All*Stars...

For those who don't subscribe to the Rapids' Undercurrent Blog you will have missed this gem. Yes, Zinedine Zidane just happened to stop by the adidas ESP camp going on here in Denver and actually played with the All*Star team of the annual event.

This kind of blows my mind. Every summer the adidas ESP event is a premier invite only camp that works with the best of the American youth soccer field. What an amazing opportunity for these kids to meet one of the greatest players of all time and actually play with him. Hopefully some of the players gleamed a bit of skill from the master while playing alongside him.

The Rapids' blog even shows a photo of Zidane working some young American keeper.

So who else has been an ESP All*Star? I'm glad you asked.

Current college and US Youth standouts: Ofori Sarkodie, Christopher Schuler, Andre Akpan, Danny Barrera, Will Bruin, Bill Dworsky, Casey Townsend and more.

Professionals: Edgar Castillo, Charlie Davies (participated in the 2003 ESP event but wasn't an All*Star), Salvatore Zizzo, Brad Ring and more.

So there you go, perhaps a future MLS players will be able to say he learned a move from Zizou in 2009 in Denver. That will be cool.


Premier Soccer Academies - gone?

It is sad to read about the demise of what I thought was a good idea. I had visions in my mind of starting something similar here in Denver using the great Dick's Sporting Good Soccer Complex. Unfortunately it looks like it is harder to make a go of than I thought. Bummer.

Monday, June 29, 2009

US Men Impress In South Africa...

While this post won't be specifically about college players moving into the professional ranks I will try to work the theme of the blog in here. However, I mainly want to get my thoughts on paper regarding the US' improbable run to the final of FIFA's Confederations Cup.

Here is a question to the US soccer fans reading...what were your expectations going into the 2009 Confederations Cup? Did anyone expect them to reach the final? I didn't. I expected the results we saw against Italy and Brazil in group play and that is where I figured this would end. But it didn't, while the US did get blasted in the first two matches they came back against a strong Egyptian team and did enough to move on. The circumstances were somewhat similar to how the US got out of their group in the 2002 World Cup if I recall correctly. Unfortunately for American soccer fans we're becoming accustomed to backing into the next round, but I'll take what I can get.

When the US did sneak out of the groups and into a match against European champs Spain, I once again doubted the US' ability to advance. I almost went to a Rapids game instead of watching the match on DVR, however circumstances forced me to miss the Rapids game and I ignored omnipresent media and was delighted to watch the US beat Spain. That was the upset to end all upsets...until Brazil beat the hosts to set up a final that would require an even greater feat.

The US has only beat Brazil once on the soccer field and that was our home field during the Gold Cup. For those looking for a comparison between the Gold Cup and the Confederations Cup, there isn't one. The Gold Cup is our region's championship (which invited Brazil the year the US beat them). Brazil came into that event with an undoubtedly different agenda than the one they took into the Confederations Cup, FIFA's championship for regional champions. Yesterday the US needed to upset Brazil, away from home, in a tournament with an internationally recognized prize.

It is a game and anything can happen, but I certainly didn't expect the US to beat Brazil so when the stars and stripes walked into the locker room up 2-0 at the half I was shocked. I had flashbacks to Wednesday night and I thought it was really possible. Well, we all know what happened next and it sucked to witness, but at the end of the day at least I have the memory of going up two - zero against Brazil...the best.

I am kind of disappointed to see all of the facebook posts about the US team chocking yesterday. The US didn't choke, they just couldn't achieve a second miracle in a row.

This tournament proved we can compete, we can come back from being down in the group, we can beat the big teams. We're 11 months out from the 2010 World Cup and I think we all believe we'll be able to advance out of the group. FIFA will have to take the US more seriously during the draw so that we don't get another group of death. When we match up with Spain in the second round there will be hope as opposed to pessimism. I'm hopeful going into the rest of qualification and next summer. I hope you are too.

I said I'd weave in the blog's theme, so here we are the players who played college ball and are now performing on the world's stage:
Oguchi Onyewu - Clemson
Jay DeMerit - University of Illinois Chicago
Carlos Bocanegra - UCLA
Benny Feilhaber - UCLA
Jonathan Bornstein - UCLA
Ricardo Clark - Furman
Conor Casey - Portland
Clint Dempsey - Furman
Charlie Davies - Boston College
Sacha Kljestan - Seton Hall
Heath Pearce - Portland
Marvell Wynne - UCLA
Brad Guzan - South Carolina
Luis Robles - Portland

So there you go kids, if you want to be on the national team go to UCLA. Seriously though, while it is probably not statistically significant it is cool to see the programs putting kids through to the top. Also, while not statistically significant, most of these guys left college early to pursue their game, so it probably gives credence to the argument for certain kids with gobs of talent to either skip school, or stay a short time.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Now This Is What I Like To See...

Climbing the Ladder has done it again. If you're not familiar with the blog, get familiar. Scaryice rules that roost and is the best at tracking and analyzing MLS and US Soccer stats. Seriously, I don't know any other blogger/writer doing what he's doing over there.

This time he's putting together college teams who have graduated and gone onto MLS. I love this kind of stuff and frankly I wish I had done it before scaryice, but I can't and didn't so go check his story out.

Sorry about the lack of posting recently (for the past three months or so). "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." — Ferris Bueller

Right now my life is moving too fast to stop and look around, or blog. But take heart, I've been busy updating my lists and I'll have those ready before the college season kicks off.

How about those Rapids too? The team is finally clicking after years of hearing how much talent is on paper. Looks like Smith was the right piece in the puzzle to get the most of these guys. Omar Cummings, an American college product, is coming into his own and roasted DC United. Although, seeing their goals against number on the table begs the on earth are they top of the Eastern Conference? It is funny how the balance of power switches between conferences. Wasn't it last year that the West sucked and the East dominated?

Other American college players leading the Rapids; Nick LaBrocca, Jordan Harvey, Cory Gibbs, Ugo Ihemelu, Matt Pickens, Conor Casey, Colin Clark and Pablo Mastroeni. The Rapids have struggled since the signing of John Spencer to find an International player who can fit into the team and really help it succeed. Now it seems like they don't need that and can go it alone with the college kids supported by select other signings. I also believe we're seeing the proof in the pudding of what Fernando Clavijo and John Murphy always said, that these kids can play, and I'll add, just not under those two coaches.

And how about those Nats? Did anyone out there believe they would move onto the semi-finals after seeing the first two performances? I did not.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Who is going where?

One of the toughest parts of following youth and college soccer in the US is that it doesn't get the same attention as the other bigger college sports like football and basketball. America's fascination with the next big thing doesn't translate to soccer the way it does for other sports. My blog tries to help peel back the curtain and many other blogs/on-line sources help piece together the puzzle. The net of it all is that there hasn't been a place to go and find the information on parts of American youth soccer that are easy to find in other sports.

Well folks, that could be changing. ESPN Rise Magazine is tracking where the high school boys soccer class of 2009 is going to college. I don't remember seeing this type of compiled list in the past, but it is a great step in the right direction. This takes ESPN up a notch in my book.

This is going to be a great resource for me filling in my database. Too often I have to hunt for players after the season starts using Google and the process is time consuming and often doesn't bear fruit. Now the info is all in one place. Thanks Rise! They also have a list of the class of 2010 commitments.

Now it is easy to check out how your alma mater's freshman class is coming together. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

US U-20's To Train In Florida

The USA Under 20's will be training in Sarasota, Florida from May 23rd to May 28th.

Roster By Position (Club; Hometown):
GOALKEEPERS (2): Josh Lambo (FC Dallas; Middleton, Wis.), Brian Perk (UCLA; Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (6): Kyle Davies (FC Dallas; Danville, Calif.), Jorge Flores (Chivas USA; Anaheim, Calif.), Aaron Maund (Notre Dame; Dorchester, Mass.), Ike Opara (Wake Forest; Durham, N.C.), Anthony Wallace (FC Dallas; St. Petersburg, Fla.), Sheanon Williams (unattached; Boston, Mass.)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Danny Cruz (Houston Dynamo; Glendale, Ariz.), Dilly Duka (Rutgers; Montville, N.J.), Jose Gonzalez (Atlante FC; Soquel, Calif.), Jared Jeffrey (Club Brugge; Richardson, Texas), Gerson Mayen (Chivas USA; Los Angeles, Calif.), Alfredo Morales (Hertha BSC Berlin; Berlin, Germany), Brian Ownby (Virginia; Glen Allen, Va.), Brek Shea (FC Dallas; College Station, Texas), Guillermo Torres (Longview Lobos HS; Longview, Texas)
FORWARDS (3): Fuad Ibrahim (Toronto FC; Richfield, Minn.), Peri Marosevic (FC Dallas; Rockford, Ill.) Tony Taylor (Jacksonville University; Jacksonville, Fla.)

Interesting things to note?

1. The return of Jose Gonzalez.
- Jose Gonzalez is an Youth Soccer Internet Legend. He became one when stories about his path to U.S. citizenship came out of his hometown of Santa Cruz. He came here with his parents illegally as an infant and his father passed a U.S. Citizenship test in March of 2006 just in time for Jose to travel with the US Under-18's to Slovakia for a tournament. Then his story continued as he won the ESP Camp Golden Ball as a Sophomore in High School. He dropped off the map after High School but it was found out that he is playing with the youth squads of Atlante F.C. of the Mexican First Division.

Read about his story here:
and here:
and here:

2. No Mikkel Diskerud.
- If you have missed out on his story you will have to check this thread from

He is a 19 year old Norwegian-born Arizonian (sp? :D) who has played for US U-20 squad and the Norwegian U-19's. He has yet to make his final decision on which National Team he will represent. Good news is that he was invited, but is too busy with his club to attend the camp. He has scored 3 goals from Midfield this year.

3. No Bryan Arguez, Vincenzo Bernardo, or Guiseppe Nazzani.
-There are some questions over whether these players are ready to play for the U-20's or whether Rongen has lost interest. It would be a real shame if Bryan Arguez failed to make the 2009 World Youth Championship team after being an underage player on the 2007 team.

4. Ike Opara is back.
- He is arguably the best Under 20 defender in the NCAA right now so it is good news if he is healthy.

5. Guillermo Torres
- He appears to be the little brother of Jose Francisco Torres. Hopefully he has as much or more talent than his older brother. This is his first ever USYNT Camp.

6. Gerson Mayen
- He was rumored to be attracting attention from El Salvador(country of his parents), but he is apparently still interested in representing the United States. This is great news as he has 4 assists in MLS this season and has shone in his few starts and multiple substitute appearances.

7. Sean Johnson, Gale Agbossoumonde, Amobi Okugo, Sam Garza, and Billy Schuler
- They are not here after participating in Qualifying.
Agbossoumonde and Okugo (both 1991's) are with the USA Under 18's on a trip to Portugal:

Contact me at USvsIreland AT

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

So much for the US becoming the regional youth champions...

The CONCACAF U-17 championship was canceled due to the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico. It seems like the right thing to do, but I was really looking forward to seeing the US youth match up against our rivals to the south in the final. The rivalry between the two CONCACAF powers is intense and it is good to indoctrinate our players at a young age. The current U-17 team getting a chance to match up again a strong opponent in Mexico would have been a great event for the young Americans. Ohh well, another time.

Mexico went 3-0 in their group posting a +11 scoring differential. The US went 3-0 in their group posting a +10 scoring differential. I guess Mexico beat us there.

So no U-17 CONCACAF Champion will be crowned this time around. Until 2011.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

U-17 CONCACAF Championships -> U-17 World Cup

Well folks, the US has done it again. As you'll see in the right margin the US U-17 team has been to every U-17 World Championship since FIFA started hosting the tournament in 1985 and this summer will be no different. With two wins in the first two matches at the CONCACAF Championships, currently being playing in Mexico, the US stamped their ticket to this summer's World Cup in Nigeria. In the first match the US demolished Cuba by a score of 5-0. Next they beat up on our neighbors to the north by a score of 4-2.

The American's potent offense is being led by Jack McInerney who has four goals and two assists in the first two matches. McInerney is a Georgia native who has been part of the US U-17 residency program since the fall of 2007. That is when he first landed in my database.

Next up for the young Americans is Honduras. They play tomorrow. The US already has a ticket to the tournament semi-finals booked. If you want to follow along with the tournament, head on over to the official CONCACAF website.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Kyle Davies Returns To US

It looks 19 year old centerback Kyle Davies has given up on playing in England for the time being. He's signed a 4 year deal with Major League Soccer. Real Salt Lake one the lottery and now have his player rights.

With an English mom and a Welsh dad, was this the best of moves for Davies? He was getting regular playing time with Southampton's reserve squad this year. And with his contract coming to end he would've been free to move to another club in search of playing time. Will he progress as well in the MLS? Will he see any playing time this year?

A bit from Southampton's web site :

Saints' American defender Kyle Davies has returned home to the States after signing a 4-year deal with Real Salt Lake.

The MLS side swooped to sign the 20-year old centre-back, who recently captained the USA Under-20's side in their CONCACAF Championship, as a pick in this year's draft lottery.

Davies was out of contract with Southampton in the summer, but Major League Soccer's transfer window closed on April 15th, meaning that the Utah-based team had to move early to seal the transfer.

This however means that Saints will receive compensation for the player who joined the Saints Academy as a Second Year scholar in 2007, but has found regular first team opportunities limited by more senior players.

Head coach Mark Wotte explained more about the background to the move by saying that he felt that it would hopefully be a win-win situation for all parties involved.

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Friday, April 03, 2009

Enjoying the MLS Season?

Hello folks. Sorry for the slow rate of posting recently. In many ways life has prevented me from focusing a lot of attention on FCTP recently. Apologies.

If you don't know about the MLS Confidential blog, you should learn about it. It is run by Soccer America, the longest serving American Soccer media outlet I know of. The blog features the thoughts of Ridge Mahoney, a great soccer journalist. In his most recent post Mahoney talks about young American players moving to Europe.

I find the following quote particularity interesting.

MLS, and U.S. Soccer, regularly take broadside hits for their efforts to find, develop and groom players, but ours is not a soccer culture, where being steeped in the game nurtures understandings and appreciations most American players need to be taught. Just about every player who heads overseas talks about feeling out of place, surrounded by so many teammates for whom so much about the game is second nature, learned by absorption as much as instruction.

That is the truth, isn't it? American kids who have lived soccer for their first 18 years are living in a "new" soccer nation if you listen to MLS. However, this isn't a soccer nation. MLS is still the outsider to the American sports landscape. Maybe in 50 years people won't remember a time when there wasn't professional soccer on our shores but even then there will not be the history the sport has in Europe. Will American kids ever grow up with the sport at a level where it is "learned by absorption as much as instruction?" That is really the difference between our young players and the rest of the world.

I hope that will change someday. I hope my kids grow up with an understanding and appreciation of the beautiful game. Anyway, be sure to subscribe through Google Reader or a similar service to MLS Confidential. It is one of the best blogs out there.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

New Feature...Rookie Life...

Looks like is coming out with a new on-line video feature, Rookie Life. This is right after the hearts of our readers here at FCTP. Check out the trailer and support this cool new feature once it comes out next week.

MLS Rookie Life from The Offside Rules on Vimeo.

Thanks to The Offside Rules for pointing this out.

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Saturday, March 07, 2009

US U-20 Team Off To A Good Start...

Last night the US U-20 team kick started their quest to reach the U-20 World Cup this summer with a 3-0 pasting of Jamaica. Goals from recent MLS draftee Peri Marosevic, Rutgers Freshman Dilly Duka and UNC man Billy Schuler carried the US to the comfortable win. The match featured more professionals than college kids but the US educational system was represented. The US can clinch with a win on Sunday against Honduras.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Former #1 Pick Available On Waivers...

As I am a Colorado Rapids fan you can assume this post has a component of bias in it. On the other hand, is there any bias? Doesn't Real Salt Lake deserve some heckling for taking Nikolas Besagno first overall in their first MLS SuperDraft? Hindsight is always 20/20 but at the same time most outside observers knew RSL was taking a big risk. After all, Brad Guzan, Chad Barrett, Michael Parkhurst, James Riley, Chris Rolfe and other current MLS players were available in this draft and there to help the expansion club.

At the time Besagno was 16 years old and coming straight from the US U-17 residency program. While some players have come from the residency and flourished, a seemingly equal number have struggled. To give RSL credit, 2005 was one year after Freddy Adu was drafted and drew big numbers to see the young phenom...but did RSL actually think Besagno was another Adu? That is the judgment I fault. The club was clearly trying to pick another youngster with tons of potential that could grow into a starting role. But with 16 year olds how can you really judge professional potential. Foreign leagues are riddled with former phenoms who never quite panned out.

It looks like another young American who didn't live up to his promise will be headed to the USL to try and resurrect his career as Nikolas Besagno was waived by RSL yesterday and is available in today's waiver draft. If another club doesn't take him, he'll be looking for work elsewhere.

Here are the other players available in the waiver draft with the club they're leaving in parentheses:

Kai Kasiguran (Chicago Fire)
Tyler Kettering (Chicago Fire)
Kraig Chiles (Chivas USA)
Anthony Hamilton (Chivas USA)
Roberto Nurse (Chivas USA)
Keith Savage (Chivas USA)
Brian Grazier (Colorado Rapids)
Justin Hughes (Colorado Rapids)
Kwame Sarkodie (Colorado Rapids)
Cesar Zambrano (Colorado Rapids)
Sean Bucknor (FC Dallas)
Andrew Daniels (FC Dallas)
Jamie Watson (FC Dallas)
Chase Wileman (FC Dallas)
Pat Carroll (D.C. United)
Ryan Cordeiro (D.C. United)
Craig Thompson (D.C. United)
Rod Dyachenko (D.C. United)
Mike Zaher (D.C. United)
Stephen Wondolowski (Houston Dynamo)
Vardan Adzemian (LA Galaxy)
Charles Alamo (LA Galaxy)
Michael Gavin (LA Galaxy)
Mike Munoz (LA Galaxy)
Sam Brill (New England Revolution)
Brandon Manzonelli (New England Revolution)
Brandon Tyler (New England Revolution)
Joe Germanese (New England Revolution)
Gary Flood (New England Revolution)
Nik Besagno (Real Salt Lake)
Kevin Reiman (Real Salt Lake)
Brennan Tennelle (Real Salt Lake)
John Cunliffe (San Jose Earthquakes)
Michael Ghebru (San Jose Earthquakes)
Ned Grabavoy (San Jose Earthquakes)
Kilian Elkinson (Toronto FC)
Derek Gaudet (Toronto FC)
Joey Melo (Toronto FC)

Above I highlighted some players I think could end up back in MLS. I think this list has more quality than in the past due to the elimination of the reserve league. MLS teams are having to discard "project" players for those who can play on the first team and contribute now. That is a mistake in my opinion because not all players reach their full potential in the first three years in the league. Unfortunately at this time the USL will become the player development grounds, outside of MLS' control. If these players improve after a season or two in the lower divisions, hopefully they'll be able to pop back up to the big leagues. Time will tell.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

A Few Questions With Brandon Manzonelli

Brandon Manzonelli was nice enough to take some time out of his day to answer a few questions for our blog. Thanks to Brandon for the time and answers.

Me: Would you mind giving a small background of how you got to be where you are?

While I was playing at Scott Gallagher, Manchester United came and put on one of their soccer schools. The coaches really liked my style and told me if I ever came to England to contact them and they would get me a trial with the youth team at Man. Utd. I went to England a few months later and the coach who told me this had moved to Blackburn Rovers. I trained with them for a few days and they told me they wanted me to come back in a few months for a full trial. When I returned I trained for a full week and they wanted to sign me. Before I signed anything I had also trained with Manchester City and had plans to go train with Bolton and Preston North End as well. Before further exploration in English clubs, Villarreal called and said they wanted me to come over to Spain in 2 days. I went to Spain, trained for a week, played in a tournament, scored against Barcelona, and after a total of 2 weeks in Spain, signed a 3 year contract. I played in Spain for a year but was not able to obtain a European passport so I was not able to play there anymore. I came back home, trained at a couple mls clubs, a couple belgian clubs and ended up signing with the New England Revolution last May.

Me: Who has had the biggest effect on your career so far?

I think my mom has had the most effect on my career as she has helped me achieve my goal of a professional soccer player at such a young age. She flew everywhere from Spain, to England, to Belgium, to France in order to help me get where I want. She allowed me to leave my family and my hometown of St. Louis to Spain for a year at just 16 years old. She believes in me the most which helps me perform.

Me: Your fans know that you have trained in Europe. Which country's league do you think is best suited to your game? (Apart from MLS)

MLS is a nice league, but I don't think it suites me as a player. My style is more technical and face paced. I believe Spain was a great place for me as well as England as there is such great skill in each of these leagues and I am a very skillful player myself.

Me: Which professional player do you model yourself after? Whose playing style do you try emulate?

I used to try and emulate Cristiano Ronaldo during his early years at Manchester United. After viewing his achievements as World Player of The Year, I think it was the right choice. HAHA. I enjoy the way he plays as well as it creates a major impact on the game which to me is the most important thing.

Me: Which part of your game do you have to improve the most?

I need to improve mostly on my left foot. I wish I would have practiced on it a bit more when I was younger but it can still get better the more often I use it.

Me: How have you enjoyed your experiences at the Milk Cup with the current Under 20 National Team? Which players impress you from your time playing with them? Who should we (the fans) be looking out for?

The Milk Cup was a great tournament. I think Perry Marosevic who had just been drafted into the MLS and Anthony Wallace who plays at FC Dallas. Another is Vincenzo Bernardo who plays at Napoli in Italy. There are many talented players on the team but these are players who stood out the most to me.

Me: I’m sure you saw the recent USMNT match against Mexico. How did it feel to make an impact in the game (providing two assists in a 3-0 win) against their U-20’s in July?

It was one of the best feelings playing against Mexico in July. I was very proud to represent the USA against them and I was happy to do well in that game.

Me: What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t pursuing a professional soccer career?

I'm not sure what I would be doing if I wasn't playing soccer. I had wanted to play professionally since 6th or 7th grade so I didn't think about too much else. I even promised my teachers and friends that I would play professionally before I finished high school and it just stuck in my mind as what I wanted to do.

Me: Would you advise young players to take your route (straight to the pros) to the top or go to college?

Playing professionally as soon as I did is not for everyone. There is a lot of sacrifices you must make in order to achieve this and some people may regret not going to college or leaving home and everything they've been around all their life. You've got to have a certain passion and love for the game to play professionally and I think this is how many players excel to the highest levels of soccer.

Me: Do you have any trials lined up? Where will we be seeing you in the next few months/years? Where do you see yourself in five years?

I am currently talking to a few clubs in Europe but we'll see where I end up. In 5 years I hope to be playing in Europe and making my way to the top.

Thank you Brandon!

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Saturday, February 07, 2009

The Felix Garcia Conundrum

Apologies for being away for so long, I have moved countries and restarted my education in a new (extremely hard) school.

I think that many soccer fans look at problems and fail to understand the complexity of them. Hence the use of the word "conundrum" in the title. According to Meriam-Webster dictionary it is defined as " a question or problem having only a conjectural answer b: an intricate and difficult problem." This is crucial to understanding the scope of Felix Garcia's situation with the Houston Dynamo. It is an extremely intricate problem, and as we are fans with little inside knowledge we can only use what we know to express an opinion on the situation.

Here is what I wrote about Felix in September:

Felix Garcia
Club/College: PDL Laredo Heat
Age: 18; July 30, 1990
Position: Forward
Squad Chance: Almost a lock.

Felix Garcia is a wonderkid. He has been a favorite of Thomas Rongen's so far in this cycle. While all reports say he is "raw," he is a 6 footer with a lot of skill that is waiting to be honed in a professional environment. Apparently he is only a senior in HS this fall, so unless he drops out or graduates early he could still be an amateur by Summer 2009. He is reportedly getting looked at by MFL teams and I'm sure Rongen has been called about him by MLS teams.

To give you a rundown on what has been going on with Felix I suggest you read this article by Bernardo Fallas of the Houston Chronicle:

Basically the very talented Felix signed with Houston, then went AWOL: "Since last week’s introduction, Garcia has walked out of an informal practice and skipped a meeting and mandatory physical. He also left town without notice, which caused him to miss the first week of training camp, actions that might hurt his chances of ever stepping onto the field donning the orange jersey."

No one knows for sure what the problem is. Apparently he is very close to his family and girlfriend saying this at his signing ceremony: "I feel very happy to be here. I came here to play soccer and enjoy my life with my girlfriend. I want to take the opportunity to thank those that had something to do with this. It's a dream come true, and I can't wait to get on the pitch." (

It's obvious that the desire is there, and he has never had problems before with the U-20's otherwise the very professional Rongen would have dropped him without a second thought. He has a reputation of being humble and hardworking. Whatever the problem is, it is complex, but it is nothing that should stop Felix from fulfilling his dream.

I hope that fans are patient and realize that Felix can be a great player for the Dynamo. I hope that Houston are in constant contact with Felix and make arrangements to help his family and girlfriend move to Houston if needed. I hope that they involve Rongen (who seems to be Felix's professional mentor at this point) in this transition. I hope that Felix realizes that the best thing for himself, his family, and his girlfriend is for Felix to make his way back to Houston and start his professional career. And mostly, I hope that this is not the last blog post you read about Felix Garcia.

Contact me at USvsIreland AT

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

American Boomerang: Cam Weaver

Soccer By Ives is reporting that San Jose has signed young American striker, Cam Weaver, from Norwegian club FK Haugesund. Does that name ring a bell? Back in 2006 he flirted with MLS after finding success with USL club Seattle Sounders. He trained and played with the Rapids reserves and as a Rapids fan I was excited by the prospect of a strong American striker. Then he signed in Norway. I was extremely bummed at the time. Now I'm excited to see him come back to MLS to see what he can do.

According to Wikipedia he's had a successful couple years in Norway, scoring 21 goals in 51 matches. You've got to assume similar production in MLS will bring him into the US National Team spotlight at a critical time during the run up to the 2010 World Cup.

I think this is a great signing for MLS and San Jose similar to some of the other boomerangs like Robbie Rogers and Kenny Cooper. We'll see if he can bring some of his Norwegian scoring back to the USA.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Not All Professional Soccer Players Follow The Same Path...

Head on over to for the story of Collin Burns. This is a reminder to all the young players out there not to be discouraged by someone telling you, "no".

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Better Late Than Never - Recapping The 2009 Draft

If the most exciting day of the MLS offseason is the day before the draft, when more people than usual are dreaming of 4-4-2's and discovery options and Kansas City Wizards depth charts, the most terrible day is the day after the draft. This is the day when anybody who felt like it was worth some of their time to think about the draft realizes that thinking about drafts may be fun, but leaves you with a terrible pit in your stomach afterwards. They're just not important enough to be worth the time in the end, and it looks like it will be ANOTHER season without any franchise asking you to be their scouting coordinator.

(Before I go farther, let me just give myself a pat on the back for correctly and completely nailing three picks in Thursday's draft. You might say "wow, three out of sixty, in a draft with hardly any trades, big whoop". But let's consider the degree of difficulty involved. I missed the first 10 picks, based on lacking things like a "strong and explicit understanding of team needs" and "inside information". But I got 11, 21, and 55. Try to find another draft watcher who got those three right, including nailing a non-combine pick late in the fourth-round. The Revs taking Tyrel Lacey may inspire me to do mock drafts for another five years, since the shine of nailing #70 pick Lars Lyssand to San Jose in 2002 was wearing off.)

The most obvious talking point after this year's draft was the apparent resurgence of the combine as a key measure of a player's draft value. There are a lot of intuitive reasons why this is a bad idea, and they all seem to be pretty much accurate. Throwing a bunch of players together for a couple of pick-up games and thinking you can find the best player seems awfully unlikely, which is probably not much consolation for players who were passed over after sterling college careers. So, clearly, it is not so easy to erase the image of a player wandering around a torn-up Florida pitch with a lost expression in his sad eyes, or stepping on a ball and falling down and splitting his shorts or whatever, because players seemed to clearly rise and fall based on the agglomerated general perspectives of the combine.

I suppose I could give MLS teams more credit, and say, they invited these particular kids because they had already been heavily scouting them. So, maybe, the Revs were already smitten with Ryan Maxwell and just needed to make sure he wasn't homicidal or wouldn't poop in Oscar Castillo's hamper over the weekend (the old Najeh Davenport trick). But I don't buy it. If they loved Maxwell, then why invite him to the combine at all, and just invite other teams' interest? Maybe a bunch of teams were on his trail, but it seems unlikely. Maxwell did not have an amazing college career (perfectly good, but not amazing), he's Jamaican, he's 26 this coming season, he hasn't been called up by The Boyz since he was a teenager. It just doesn't add up together. Nothing against Maxwell, who appears to be a fine student, good guy, and better player than I probably am even in my dreams, when I'm dribbling circles around Luther College. That said, there doesn't seem an argument for taking him at #15, unless you thought the combine proved something important. Sure, he was fast and he can maybe replace Khano Smith someday, but shouldn't the Revs aspire to do more than find a facsimile of the man who still holds the mark for the worst free kick in world soccer history? While the level of athleticism required to jump from college to MLS keeps getting more daunting, you still need soccer players most of all, and production still is the best way to evaluate skill. Maxwell may prove me wrong, but I just can't believe he wasn't a fourth-round pick or undrafted without the combine, and that's no way to do things.

I'm probably the only person in the world to, secretly and only half-jokingly, believe the NFL might be better off just randomly distributing the best 800 college players to teams and letting them bring them in for a few weeks and work them out. The NFL has the opposite problem of MLS, in that they seem to care far too much about their draft, and spend insane amounts of money and effort over a period of months trying to convince themselves that they can forecast success and overlook college production. And while every NFL player comes through the draft process, unlike MLS, it isn't all that clear that doing well or badly in drafting is the end-all, be-all, except for the odd franchise top pick quarterback who turns out. The NFL has ample opportunity in it's liberal free agency to build a team. Arizona may have highly drafted stars like Larry Fitzgerald, but they also blew a top pick on Matt Leinart and Pittsburgh hardly ever has a top pick.

For MLS, there seems to be a general agreement that the SuperDraft will never decide individual teams' league fortunes. There is a risk, however, that this process is continuing to overlook players who can improve the general state of play a little and maybe even be sold off at some point, simply because they don't show well in a chaotic few days of ragball or don't get invited to participate at all. MLS might just be better off just sending 150 top senior players from all college levels to random teams, and instructing those clubs to have an intensive week-long training stint where those players and other trialists can be seen in a more comprehensive and conducive setting. A player like Nelson Pizarro, for example, was a great player for Lincoln Memorial last year, but nobody paid any attention to him, until he won a place on KC's reserve roster after shining in one of those questionable open tryouts where half the players are freelance journalists. He had proof he could play already - it would have been nice if someone had given him the time of day (although I guess it's nice to make him pay for his spot, instead of being paid to try out). Sure, the random allocation idea is overall pretty silly and unfeasible, but it's smart to consider what's best for the league, and if the combine is assisting that goal. How does the league get the best talent they can afford, from the biggest star to the end of the bench? These questions probably matter more than which kid gets picked #52 by the FC Philadelphia SC.

On the other hand, 10 of the 15 teams get my approval, so perhaps my mild outrage is misplaced. Also, I don't know which players have told MLS they'll be following their dream to play in Finland's Second Division, so don't bother. So, any pick analysis is ultimately left wanting for more info.

Teams I thought would do well I think they did: Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Salt Lake, Toronto

It's hard to evaluate MLS trades, because you never really know how much money changes hands and what it's eventually used for. It seems like Chicago didn't get a whole lot for an above-average keeper. But, if he was never going to sign for them, at least they were able to get a local GenAd player with some potential in Husidic. And if the allocation money allows them to keep Bakary Soumare for an extra few years, it would be super worth it. The other picks seemed pretty solid, especially Jata, who is poised to become the Luke Wilson of MLS. I always like what Dallas does in the off-season, so it's a shame about their usual in-season. Marosevic is still only 19 after three improving seasons at Michigan. Shriver was a good choice who should have been at the combine. Los Angeles took highly productive players, which I appreciate. They gave up a bit for Delagarza, especially to a close rival, so it will be interesting to see if he's worth it. Boateng and Patterson were both great value for where they were picked. I bet one of them turns out well, either in MLS or abroad. New York made a smart play swapping picks with Dallas at 11 and 14. Seemed minor, but it gave them the choice of two slippers - Hall or Frei. Hall is a youth nat and first-team All-ACC player, so whether he works out or not, that's good value. I think Ogunbiyi has a shot, but I thought the other two picks were banal combine selections. Salt Lake is getting a lot of stick for Alexandre, and I'm qualifying this thumbs up. Think of it as a thumb sideways. Until Buzz Carrick informed me that Alexandre was going to be a d-mid, I didn't get the pick either. A one-year scoring wonder in D2 is not a first-round prospect. A physically gifted midfielder, with a longing to commit violence on the field, who can ALSO score 23 goals for a top D2 team. Maybe not first-round either, but interesting, and I give RSL credit for that. Bhembe is the best Swazi in MLS ever, but at 26, can he even be called a prospect? Toronto does a good job in drafting, now can they develop some on-field cohesion? White was risky at #4, but since they got Frei at #13, I see no reason to quibble. Wow, they took two Canadian residents. Whoever hit MoJo on the head with a chapati pan and explained why domestic players could be particularly useful should get a raise. I'm not sure where Cronin fits in given their roster, but collecting skilled players never hurts, and Grella was a shrewd pick where they got him.

Teams I thought would do well but now I think they didn't: Colorado, Columbus, Kansas City, New England, Seattle

Colorado is really not a good drafting team, so they shouldn't be in this category should they? I thought they did well because of the production of their recent lower-round picks, but I suspect that was just due to Clavijo's lazy-susan roster management style. Getting Pickens was probably a great move, but I can't give them a thumbs-up because their actual picks seemed lazy, with only the last two striking me as good value. For example, Adjeman-Pamboe had basically one good college season. Columbus seemed like they didn't care much, making three ho-hum combine picks. They didn't need much and had no high pick, but complacency kills. I do like Clements though - if they had taken him first, I'd be more generous. Kansas City's draft lived up to all the boring, boring Wiz jokes. A whole slew of older, hard-working players, and nothing to get the juices flowing. Besler had an excellent college career, but not so excellent that I can see taking him over some of the young stars available at that pick. Seemed like a reach based on need, although I approve of getting a hometown kid. I don't really have a problem with their picks, productive players all, but there seemed to be an opportunity to be more proactive and get better value at the top. New England - I've covered what I didn't like. I like the Alston pick, he can play left, Albright can play midfield - whatever, you just have to collect talent. I'm dinging them solely on the Maxwell pick, because it makes me mad. The rest of the picks seemed fine. I thought Seattle was going to be all hopped up to win right away, but the picks looked more like Sigi woke up from a nap and scribbled some names down. I'd be nervous about Zakuani, and heights, if I lived in the Space Needle, because the record of #1 forwards is terrible, and SteZak will be making a lot of money in two seasons. I thought the entire remainder of the picks were overdrafted. Can Karkas make two Azusa Pacific roster stickers in two seasons?

Teams I thought would not do well but now I think they did: Chivas, DC, Houston, San Jose

I like what Chivas did. People are cracking on them for passing Frei, but maybe they have another keeper in mind. For me, Lahoud is not a slam-dunk, but he should stick around just based on his versatility and athleticism. I liked the trade down to get two additional players for a team that can't keep a full lineup together, and the difference between 19 and 35 in an MLS draft is pretty small. And both later picks interested me - two non-combine players whose production deserved more attention. DC needed to do well, and I think they did. Wallace gives them speed and Pontius gives them heart, both of which are sorely needed on the Lovebugs. Kocic and Adams may never sign, but at least DC made sure to get two pre-signed players first this time, so they are talented and acceptable risks. Houston getting Danny Cruz was fortuitous for both parties. Cruz may have shed more tears at the draft than Rashard Lewis chopping onions, but I bet his being passed over by everyone ends up reflecting worse on them than him. Look, he's 19, did the business at UNLV, and has enough burn to play for the youth nats. History says these sliders usually pan out better than a combine crush. Meanwhile Cruz gets to be the top pick of a team with a good coach and not a lot of depth. The Tracy pick was wise too, because anyone else they wanted they could sign post-draft, while Tracy's rights had to be locked with a pick. San Jose redeemed last year's tomfoolery. I love both picks, and had both players in my first-round. If you squint, the thin and blonde Ring might get you imagining Dario Brose, and I wouldn't be surprised if Amarikwa, six-months in, is giving everything they would have gotten from Sealy, but at a much lower price.

Teams I thought would not do well and didn't disappoint me: Boo, none

Friday, January 16, 2009

2009 MLS Super Draft Wrap Up...

FCTP 2009 MLS SuperDraft Review

I guess I'm still in the post draft hangover stage of feeling like I typed a little too much yesterday but I also want to get some thoughts down on "paper". Yesterday was a good draft. Not a lot of trades and no real head scratching surprises. I got excited about how my Rapids compensated for a lot of low picks by using a trade and allocation money to shore up the goal keeper position. To do this review I thought I would go back to my points rating post from the other day.

You'll remember I came up with the following ranking of teams draft picks:

Toronto FC
New England Revolution
FC Dallas
D.C. United
Kansas City Wizards
Seattle Sounders FC
Los Angeles Galaxy
Chivas USA
Colorado Rapids
New York Red Bulls
Chicago Fire
& Real Salt Lake
Columbus Crew
& San Jose Earthquakes
Houston Dynamo

Ok, now here comes a change up. You folks didn't get a chance to read what I was working on in this space up to this point, because Ives just published his draft review and it basically negated mine. I'm not going to try and reinvent the wheel. I was trying to do something similar but Ives said it more eloquently and he's more educated on the draftees then I am. So, go read his review and then come back.

Ok, hopefully some of you actually came back. Ives says well what needs to be said. Toronto did very well but we predicted that, didn't we? So let's compare my rankings pre-draft with Ives' rankings post draft. My ranked team on the left, Ives on the right.

Toronto FC - Toronto FC: We matched. My rankings were weighted towards the teams with more first and second round picks and Toronto had the most. Well played by them stacking up all those picks. Now the best prospects need to turn into players for the men up north. There is a high likelyhood that one or more of their picks will wind up playing well for the team. Well drafted TFC.

New England - D.C. United: Looks like NE squandered their picks and DC did better than expected with what they had.

FC Dallas - LA Galaxy: Again, LA did better than I thought they would and FCD did ok.

D.C. United - New York Red Bulls: Can Jeremy Hall fill in for recently traded Dave VDB? I'm not so sure, I actually think Ives has New York a little high on his list...home team bias? Babajide Ogunbiyi is a good prospect but we'll see if he can get onto the field much as a rookie.

Kansas City Wizards - Chicago Fire: I'm not sold on Baggio Husidic. He certainly looks talented but will he be able to come in and make an impact. The Fire don't need him this year with Blanco coming back but still, will he be ready to take charge when Chicago needs him? We'll see. I don't agree with Ives that moving up to #20 gives them a good draft grade. Meanwhile I do like KC's picks more than Ives. Besler was early at 8th overall but maybe someone on the floor was telling KC they were going to take him...who knows. Zusi and DeMartin could look bargains once the season starts.

Seattle Sounders FC - New England: I agree that NE could have done better, I mean they were #2 in my "mathmatical" analysis. I think I was pretty good with Seattle and Ives does give them a B which is the same as New England. We'll call this one a push.

LA Galaxy - FC Dallas: Interesting that these two teams find themselves paired up again, isn't it? Ok, maybe not.

Chivas USA - Seattle Sounders FC: Some people are putting a lot of stock in Michael Lahoud but I am questioning his size. We'll see who's right in the long run. Regardless as Ives points out how do you pass on Frei when you got your taste of a great, young keeper in Brad Guzan. It would have been poetic to see Frei follow in Guzan's footsteps all the way until Frei leaves for Europe and gets a solid allocation out of it. No? Allas, they didn't and right now you're left wondering who from this draft will make an impact for Chivas USA in the future.

Colorado Rapids - Colorado Rapids: Ding, ding, ding...we match. I think Colorado did a good job with what they were working with. For the price of an allocation they get a solid MLS keeper, who is up and coming in the US National picture, to replace apparently want away Bouna Coundol and not as good Preston Burpo. The Rapids found the best way to get a starter in the second round out of the MLS SuperDraft. Good on ya. In the 4th round their PR department enjoyed touting being the first team to have four selections in one round...ok...big deal. They got a bunch of guys who could make the team and who will put pressure on the current Rapids development guys to accept the low ball salary renewal offer because you've got a bunch of young, hungry kids on your heels. Jordan Seabrook turned some heads at the combine so I hope he can turn into an impact rookie for the Rapids. God knows they need someone to step up and start scoring goals.

New York Red Bulls - Kansas City Wizards: Again, New York did better than my analysis predicted but I don't think as well as Ives thinks. Time will tell. Kansas City left us scratching the head with Besler at #8 overall. I'm sure he is going to work to prove us all wrong.

Chicago Fire - San Jose: I agree with Ives that SJ moved up. Just having two picks is tough as my analysis showed putting them at the bottom. Ring and Amarikwa could seem like great pics sometime down the road. Again, Chicago showed either my analysis was bunk or they're crafty because I agree they did better than this ranking showed they could. Good job.

Real Salt Lake - Chivas USA: Did Salt Lake just pull another Bessagno draft? Time will tell if Jean Alexandre was worth the high pick. Ives doesn't think so as he put RSL to the bottom...frankly where they belong. Chivas USA dropped in my analysis as discussed by Ives.

Columbus Crew - Houston: As Ives points out Houston didn't "need" a lot from this draft and they took one guy with a lot of talent on paper who won't count against the salary cap. Then they took a flier on the best name in the draft pool who just signed a European contract today, Marcus Tracey. Now, in the off chance that Tracey doesn't like Europe and wants to come home, Houston will own his rights for two years. We'll see if that happens. Columbus didn't have a lot of chances to impress in this draft and as Ives points out, they lived up to my ranking...or worse.

San Jose - Columbus Crew: San Jose did better, Crew did worse...kind of.

Houston - RSL: Houston did as expected...RSL did worse. And I love to see RSL do poorly at anything.

So there we have it folks. Another draft gone by. I love the draft because we get to see some kids come up through the ranks and then land with teams. I also love it because it means training camp is right around the corner. Players are reporting for duty here in Colorado in 10 days is memory serves. I'll be out at Dick's Sporting Goods Park by late March. Thank god.