Curb Your Enthusiasm: US Youth National Teams, Prospect Hype, and Youth Development Thread [The DA is DEAD updates]

Titans Bastard

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Sanogo was called to the US U19 camp earlier in January. He was also in the first U20 camp of the cycle in Jan 2022, but was reportedly bad enough that he hasn't been back. We'll see if he made enough of an impression, but he wouldn't be the first paper tiger to put up big numbers in the U19 Bundesliga.

I'm also under the impression that Kobi Henry is simply behind our other CBs.

Fletcher is an '05 and seems more like one for the next U20 cycle. I don't have a good read on his upside yet, but if he's top notch we'll see quite a bit of him for DC this year. He was in the U19 camp too.

Hopefully Dallas terminates Sealy's loan. PSV lost interest a while ago and he's just reserve team roster filler at this point. They clearly aren't going to exercise the purchase option and I hate it when young players are in environments where they are not valued and their development is not prioritized.

Who even knows if Borto is good or not. But according to TM, Fulham extended him through June 2027 which is quite a long contract for a youth player — a positive sign for how they see him.

I'm pretty sure that Obed Vargas, at the age of 17, is already the greatest player in the history of Alaskan soccer.
 

ThePrideofShiner

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I'm pretty sure that Obed Vargas, at the age of 17, is already the greatest player in the history of Alaskan soccer.
His younger brother, Abad, signed with the Sounders Academy last year and is allegedly better than Obed. Abad is a '08er.

Also, re: Danny Leyva: I keep seeing things that say the Sounders are going to loan him somewhere and that teams in Mexico are interested. They basically want to do right by Leyva and find him an opportunity to play since he is unlikely to break into the starting 11 for Seattle.

Edit: The Leyva stuff is suddenly mentioned on the Twitter machine.


View: https://twitter.com/JeremiahOshan/status/1616217402924204032
 
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Titans Bastard

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Alex Freeman '04 is more of the outsider here; neither he nor Halliday have played much in MLS. I haven't seen Freeman but by reputation he's a converted winger, more of a Bryan Reynolds marauding attacker type RB.
In the past week, it has come to my attention that Alex Freeman is the son of former NFL player Antonio Freeman.
 

rguilmar

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There are a lot of camps over the next month and rosters are starting to come out.

The U-17s, who will be traveling to Guatemala in February for the CONCACAF U17 championship:



I know some of these players by reputation but have zero first-hand opinion about any of their abilities. One player to note is left back Christian McFarlane, who is a 2007-born player "playing up" with a mostly 2006-born group. He's been to one or two English YNT camps in recent months, but returns to the fold here. Cruz Medina, a winger, has growing hype.


The U-19s also have a camp. Unlike UEFA, the U-19 nomenclature in CONCACAF is not part of any official competitions, so the U-19 program only ever has friendlies and camps. The current U-19 program is being run as a U-18/U-19 hybrid, which basically means there are players born in 2004 (almost like U-20 B-team players who are on the younger side of the cycle) and players born in 2005 (who are too old for U-17s but eligible for the next U-20 cycle).



I wouldn't expect too many of these guys to be able to make the U-20 World Cup roster. However, there are a lot of center forwards here, and with good reason: the U-20s just don't have a lot of good forwards. Ricardo Pepi is young enough to be on the team, but is seen as having advanced past the U-20 level, and behind him it's been bleak. Paxten Aaronson played as a forward in qualifying, but that's really not his position. So maybe someone here will make a statement and be a serviceable 9 for the U-20s.


Speaking of the U-20s, they should have a roster coming out soon.
U-17 roster for the CONCACAF tournament is out, slightly trimmed down from those in camp- including McFarlane not going to Guatemala- with Keyrol Figueroa the one player added. Feel free to double check my math.

View: https://twitter.com/footy_access/status/1620792840728231936?s=46&t=gOivQ8eriI0iilOJb3E7SQ
 

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If he starts getting senior call-ups for England, fine, but that is a very crowded field. And he would need assurances of having more of a role than "we'll insert you for the last 10 minutes in some random Euro qualifier", a predatory cap-tie. Meanwhile he could walk in as the presumptive starter for the USA as of right now, and everyone else would have a LOT to prove on the field in order to overcome it.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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If he starts getting senior call-ups for England, fine, but that is a very crowded field. And he would need assurances of having more of a role than "we'll insert you for the last 10 minutes in some random Euro qualifier", a predatory cap-tie. Meanwhile he could walk in as the presumptive starter for the USA as of right now, and everyone else would have a LOT to prove on the field in order to overcome it.
Kane will be entrenched as the starter at least through Euro 2024 but after him its not really that strong of a CF group compared to other positions in the England setup - Callum Wilson, Ivan Toney, DCL, etc. Southgate is a moron who tends to greatly favor players he already knows, but in theory the opportunity is there for Balogun (or Eddie Nketiah) to compete for the backup role and position himself as a strong contender for the CF role in the post-Kane world, whenever that comes.

If he doesn't get a callup this spring from England, the US should really put on the full court press and try to get him in over the summer.
 

InstaFace

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Kane will be entrenched as the starter at least through Euro 2024 but after him its not really that strong of a CF group compared to other positions in the England setup - Callum Wilson, Ivan Toney, DCL, etc. Southgate is a moron who tends to greatly favor players he already knows, but in theory the opportunity is there for Balogun (or Eddie Nketiah) to compete for the backup role and position himself as a strong contender for the CF role in the post-Kane world, whenever that comes.

If he doesn't get a callup this spring from England, the US should really put on the full court press and try to get him in over the summer.
In theory, yes, but Balogun would have to displace multiple current starting strikers for EPL teams. That is several tiers of difficulty above where he's performing right now.

But if we compare "Balogun, good striker in Ligue 1" to the other options...

- Dike in West Brom (ENG-2)
- Pepi at Groningen (NED-1)
- Ferreira at Dallas (USA-1)
- Vazquez at Cincinnati (USA-1)
- Wright at Antalyaspor (TUR-1)
- Sargent at Norwich (ENG-2)
- Pefok at Union Berlin (GER-1), but he's a backup / turned back into a pumpkin

...then it's pretty easy to make the argument that he's likely to be the pick of the bunch. It's sorta like the line, "if you have 2 QBs, you don't have any". We have a plethora of "good, professional strikers with varying styles who are perfectly good pros, but aren't going to make a difference at the levels we aspire to". Balogun (and Dike, if he stays injury-free, and arguably Pepi) are the ones with the upside high enough that if they reach it, they could be a difference-maker at the level we need.

Callum Wilson: 30yo starter for likely-UCL club in the EPL
Ivan Toney: 26yo starter for mid-table EPL club
Dom Calvert-Lewin: 25yo mostly-first-choice starter for Everton in the EPL (?)
Harry Kane: 29yo starter for usually-UCL club in the EPL
Marcus Rashford: 25yo starter for Europe-bound EPL club
Danny Ings: 30yo mostly-starter for lower-table EPL club
Eddie Nketiah: 23yo rotational starter for likely EPL champions

Like, OK, there's nobody who's young there, who knows how it's going to look in 4 years. But Balogun is a few years behind Nketiah, as you observe - he's 21, and unless he's on a track to be starting for a UCL team in 2 years, I'd have a hard time betting on him making it into the England picture.

Either way Jed is right: we gotta get him partying with McKennie, Dest, A-Rob, etc.
 

Titans Bastard

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Folarin Balogun just notched a hat trick, including this peach, that makes him the leading scorer in Ligue 1, just ahead of Mbappe.

The opportunity to get him to commit to the US may have passed at this point.

View: https://twitter.com/rehnato/status/1620866875650613248
Yeah I don't see a way he makes his way to the USMNT over England.
I don't think anybody should be especially confident of predicting what Balogun will do. There's no way we can know.

Here's a case for optimism

— Instagram-minded USMNT fans have noticed that several players have been heavily interacting with him, specifically Weah and Musah (who was at Arsenal with him for many years).

— English football culture is only vaguely aware that there are leagues and teams outside of England and don't much care what happens in them. Scoring lots of goals for Reims won't be as convincing for them as it might be for us.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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— English football culture is only vaguely aware that there are leagues and teams outside of England and don't much care what happens in them. Scoring lots of goals for Reims won't be as convincing for them as it might be for us.
I’m less convinced on this point than the other. It’s true for the English fan base certainly, but less so for Southgate. Bellingham is locked on, he called Sancho when he was still in Dortmund, he called Abraham and Tomori in from Serie A. France might be a bridge to far but I think he’ll get his England chance if that’s truly what he wants.
 

rguilmar

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U-17 CONCACAF World Cup qualifying tournament kicked off today. I can’t find a clip of it but Cruz Medina’s second goal for the US was an absolute rocket.
 

rguilmar

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The US won 5-0. Probably the biggest news is Keyrol Figueroa, Maynor’s son, played for the US. I believe this gets close to a provisionally cap tie, or officially does it, which is driving Hondurans mad.
 

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My understanding is, yes, this is an official youth match, so he's now provisionally cap tied, and would have to file a one-time switch to play for Honduras.

Smart by him, though. Honduras will always be there if he doesn't end up in the senior USMNT picture.
 

rguilmar

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Almost a complete line shift in game 2 and the US jumps on T&T early. Up 3-0 25 minutes in. The technical skill of the kids is pretty obvious. I’m enjoying watching Christopher Aquino if only because a nice left footed shot is a thing of beauty.
 

rguilmar

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Figueroa scored again tonight for 7 in the tourney. Final is Sunday against Mexico.
He’s been impressive and you can see why Honduras is melting down over potentially losing him. And it looks like he’s pretty solidly red, white, and blue.

View: https://twitter.com/usynt/status/1628957333564047360?s=46&t=8oatN2yFnnpTs89aJVIh9Q


That being said, it is so tough to project kids at this age. Some still have a lot of growing to do, some are already physically imposing, and it’s hard to tell how much these physical differences are making some players look better now but with a lower ceiling because they’re just so physically dominant.

I was so impressed with Hall last night. Nothing spectacular just so calm and collected and cleaned up every mistake.
I agree. He’s been like that all tournament long. He’s captained the team a few times.
 

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One of two things will be true for Figueroa:

1) he will be so good that he will have a solid USMNT senior career, including competitive appearances
2) the option of the one-time switch back to Honduras will be there for him

Makes total sense to answer the call until the call stops coming.
 

InstaFace

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...if a 10 is "Gio Reyna taking a senior call-up from Portugal in 2021"? Probably like a 4. We should expect prospects at that level to get call-ups to every national team they're eligible for. Get a feel for the program, how they're viewed in each, where they feel they fit.

What I don't like is, the Italy U-19 call-up smacks of trying to do a predatory cap-tie. Canada didn't try to cap-tie him.

Now, remember that our U-20 team is bound for the U-20 WC, but they did not call him up from the Espanyol U-17s for qualifiers last summer or the prep tournament in November. He was brought into the U-20 training camp in April-May, and didn't make the squad (which is hard to do as a winger, to be fair - Cowell, Fletcher, Sullivan, Paredes, B-Guti, etc). We also have a U-19 team he's eligible for, and he didn't make the squad for their tournament last September. So while it would be pretty cool if he can break into La Liga, it seems the view of the USYNT is that he is unlikely to be at that level, and right now is behind a lot of other names for us. (or he wasn't released, which is always possible, but he's not in his club's first-team picture so I think it less likely)
 
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rguilmar

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One a scale of 1 to 10, how worrying is this?

I’m going with 1 because I considered him a lost cause a while ago. I am a little encouraged to at least see that the US is still on his radar. He has gotten minutes for Espanyol’s A team in La Liga, at least last season, and he did provide a little spark so I admit to being a little miffed as to why the powers that be at US soccer haven’t rated him higher.
 

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I’m going with 1 because I considered him a lost cause a while ago. I am a little encouraged to at least see that the US is still on his radar. He has gotten minutes for Espanyol’s A team in La Liga, at least last season, and he did provide a little spark so I admit to being a little miffed as to why the powers that be at US soccer haven’t rated him higher.
Let's not pump it up too much - he has 0 La Liga minutes and only 3 bench appearances since his two cameos last August. Plus a Copa del Rey early-round sub spot. He's gotten some starts since the new calendar year for Espanyol B, in the Spanish 4th division (Segunda Federacion). If he were looking like he's on a path to get into our senior winger picture (our deepest position), he'd be on the bench for the Espanyol first team regularly and getting sub minutes by now. At the very least he'd be an every-week starter for the B team, rather than a part-time starter as he is now.

Like, let's compare Koleosho (Sept 2004, € 1.0M) to his competition in USYNT AM / Winger spots, ordering them oldest to youngest:

Kevin Paredes (May 2003, € 5.0M): 2020 with Loudon United, regular DC United starter since May 2021, bought by Wolfsburg Jan '22, got some bench/subs last spring, but has been part of their first-team picture since the start of this season in Aug '22 (285' Bundesliga mins so far).
Dante Sealy (Apr 2003, € 0.4M): FC Dallas academy, FCD's USL affiliate for 2019, MLS since Sept 2020, spot appearances in 2021, signed with Jong PSV in Aug 2021, so lots of PSV U21 starts in 21-22 (1500'), less this year (800'), no first-team debut.
Caden Clark (May 2003, € 2.8M): Spent 2020 with the NYRB 2s, until making MLS in Oct 2020. Regular starter in MLS since he was 17, and recently (at 19) finally getting some time with Leipzig in the Bundesliga (on the bench so far).
Brian Gutierrez (June 2003, € 2.0M): Chicago Fire academy, homegrown signing for 2020, regular starter in MLS since ~May 2021. Not much rumored transfer interest.
Ale Alvarado (Jul 2003, € 0.3M): LA Galaxy 2 from mid-2020, signed with Vizela in Portugal. Basically didn't appear for the club in 21-22 (except 1 emergency start), but this season has been a regular starter in their U23s, though he hasn't even made the first-team bench since November.
Paxten Aaronson (Aug 2003, € 4.5M): Philly Union academy, reserves (2020), hg contract Aug 2020, MLS debut May 2021, regular starter ~May 2022, acquired by Eintracht Frankfurt this January; made the bench last week. 90' for the USMNT in January vs Colombia.
Cade Cowell (Oct 2003, € 5.0M): San Jose signed him as a homegrown in Jan 2019 (!), MLS since 2020, starter since 2021, has 3700' of MLS experience.
Quinn Sullivan (Mar 2004, € 2.0M): Philly Union academy, reserves (2020), subs and 4 starts in 2021; nearly all substitute appearances in 2022 (while putting in weekly 90s for their MLS Next Pro team). So, not yet a first-team starter.
Rokas Pukstas (Aug 2004, € 1.0M): after Barca Residency in 2020, signed with Croatian club Hakduk Split, spent 21-22 on loan, but made the squad (at barely-18) starting Sept '22 and has been a regular first-team starter the last few months in Croatia.
<--- Koleosho goes here
Owen Wolff (Dec 2004, € 1.0M): Columbus Crew academy, trial with Austin FC in 2021, HG contract Sept 2021, first start May 2022, regular starter since then
Marcos Zambrano (Jan 2005, n/r): Philly Union academy via Colombia, July 2020; some MLS Next Pro minutes in mid-2022, before signing with the Benfica U23s, where he's got 4 sub appearances in 5 games
Esmir Bajraktarevic (Mar 2005, € 0.4M): Revs academy, Revs 2 in Next Pro 2021-2022, spot MLS minutes in 2022, 3x USA U-19 caps
Rodrigo Neri (May 2005, n/r): Spain youth club to Atletico Madrid U17 (21-22) and now U18 (22-23), no senior team squads; 5x USA U-19 caps
Obed Vargas (Aug 2005, € 2.0M): Sounders academy, USL from May 2021, MLS debut July 2021 at age 15 (!), regular MLS starter first half of 2022 before a back injury.

...hmm, you know, I guess it's pretty hard to say he's outclassed by that pool. He's clearly behind guys a year his senior, like Paxten and Cowell, but I can't find anyone his age or younger who's zooming past him, either (if Vargas were healthy, he might). There's Marcel Ruszel (Jun 2004) who's a starter for Torino's U19s. But yeah, based on how Koleosho's career is going, you'd expect him to be competitive even for a spot on our U-20s. I think I'll join you in wondering why he hasn't been given more of a shake with our U-20 squad, especially since that has so many of our best prospects on it.
 

Titans Bastard

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One a scale of 1 to 10, how worrying is this?

Almost all opinions you'll see about Koleosho on Twitter are based on vibes or club resumé because few have seem him play.

Based on the few informed opinions I have seen regarding him, I'd say it would be be nice to keep him in the fold because you always want more irons in the fire, but if he were to choose another program I wouldn't lose sleep about it.
 

Titans Bastard

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The USSF announced rosters for both the U20 and U19 national teams yesterday.

The U20s:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Antonio Carrera (FC Dallas; Frisco, Texas), Gaga Slonina (Chelsea/ENG; Addison, Illinois)

DEFENDERS (7): Brandan Craig (Philadelphia Union; Philadelphia, Pa.), Mauricio Cuevas (Club Brugge/BEL; Los Angeles, Calif.), Marcus Ferkranus (Los Angeles Galaxy; Santa Clarita, Calif.), Jonathan Gomez (Real Sociedad/ESP; Keller, Texas), Michael Halliday (Orlando City SC; Apopka, Fla.), Thomas Williams (Orlando City SC; Titusville, Fla.), Joshua Wynder (Louisville City FC; Louisville, Ken.)

MIDFIELDERS (5): Alejandro Alvarado Jr. (Vizela/POR; Los Angeles, Calif.), Jack McGlynn (Philadelphia Union; Middle Village, N.Y.), Rokas Pukstas (Hajduk Split/CRO; Stillwater, Oklahoma), Obed Vargas (Seattle Sounders FC; Anchorage, Alaska), Owen Wolff (Austin FC; Austin, Texas)

FORWARDS (5): Paxten Aaronson (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER; Medford, N.J.), Diego Luna (Real Salt Lake; Sunnyvale, Calif.), Kevin Paredes (Wolfsburg/GER; South Riding, Va.), Quinn Sullivan (Philadelphia Union; Philadelphia, Pa.), Darren Yapi (Colorado Rapids; Denver, Colo.)

Thoughts:

This is the last camp before the U-20 World Cup begins in mid-May. Because MLS is in full-swing, there are some players who were not released, most notably:
GK Chris Brady (Chicago), CB Jalen Neal (LA Galaxy), LB Caleb Wiley (Atlanta), CM Daniel Edelman (NYRB), AM Cade Cowell (San Jose), AM Brian Gutierrez (Chicago). Perhaps there were other non-releases but these are the guys I'm pretty sure would be here if they were available.

Anyway, the fact that Slonina and Paredes were released for this camp is a strong indication they will also be released for the WC. I was unsure with Paredes in particular, since he is featuring regularly off the bench for Wolfsburg now.

The only player who is a complete newbie to the U20s is Darren Yapi, who looks like he's going to be the center forward for this team. Yapi is a late '04, only six weeks too old for the next U20 World Cup. He's begun the 2023 season starting games for the Rapids and while he hasn't scored yet, he's been unlucky not to do so and he's looked pretty good. It's been a real struggle to find a useful non-Pepi center forward in this age group.

I think that these two GKs plus Brady will be the trio for the WC (if Brady is released). Cuevas and Halliday are fighting for the starting RB spot but both will probably make the squad. Ferkranus/Williams/Wynder are fighting for two CB spots since Neal is a lock. Gomez will likely make the squad but is competing with Caleb Wiley for the starting job at LB.

At CM, things are very competitive. Edelman (not present) and McGlynn are locks. Pukstas wasn't very good in qualifying as a backup 6 because he's not actually a 6, but he's broken into Hajduk Split's starting lineup recently. Obed Vargas is playing up a cycle and was a breakout last season and is just returning from injury. Owen Wolff starts most games for Austin and has recently broken into the U20s after not making the qualifying roster. Alvarado looked tidy in qualifying but has been doing nothing for a small Portuguese club, rarely making the bunch. Niko Tsakiris (San Jose) made qualifying and looked intriguing as another '05 playing up a cycle, but he has an adductor injury and I'm not sure he'll be ready to go. Noel Buck '05 (New England) and Ben Cremaschi '05 (Miami) are also options but are probably ones for next cycle as well.

Paredes should really raise the ceiling of our attack, which looked quite potent in qualifying to begin with. Cowell will be in the squad at the WC. I'm not sure where Gutierrez will fit in, since he's rarely actually with the U20s because Chicago never releases him. Sullivan and Aaronson are good players. We have a lot of options.


Here's the U19 squad:

GOALKEEPERS (2): Gavin Beavers (Real Salt Lake; Las Vegas, Nev.), Charles DeMarco (BW Gottschee; New York, N.Y.)

DEFENDERS (7): Reed Baker-Whiting (Seattle Sounders FC; Seattle, Wash.), Tyler Bindon (Los Angeles FC; Redondo Beach, Calif.), Alexander Freeman (Orlando City SC; Plantation, Fla.), Drew Murray (Oakland Roots; San Jose, Calif.), Nolan Norris (FC Dallas; Celina, Texas), Walter Portales (Club America/MEX; Los Angeles, Calif.), Fritz Volmar (St. Louis CITY SC; St. Louis, Mo.)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Favian Loyola (Orlando City SC; Orlando, Fla.), Bryan Moyado (Los Angeles FC; La Puente, Calif.), Sergio Oregel Jr. (Chicago Fire FC; Chicago, Ill.), Miguel Perez (St. Louis CITY SC; St. Louis, Mo.), Paulo Rudisill (LA Galaxy; Irvine, Calif.), Marcel Ruszel (Torino/ITA; Barrington, IL)

FORWARDS (5): Zach Booth (Leicester City/ENG; Eden, Utah), Kristian Fletcher (DC United; Bethesda, Md.), Rodrigo Neri (Atletico Madrid/ESP; Madrid, Spain), Korede Osundina (Orange County SC; Redmond, Wash.), Marcos Zambrano (Benfica/POR; Gladwyne, Pa.)

This is a mix of 04s, 05s, and one 06. The U19s don't have any competitive tournaments, but are a way to keep players involved. The U20s are primarily 03s and 04s, with a few 05s sprinkled in. The U19s focus on 04s who aren't at the U20 NT level yet but who are a year younger than the majority of the U20s, as well as 05s who are too old for the U17s and who will form the foundation for the next U20 cycle at the 2025 U20 WC.

Most of these guys are currently toiling in youth teams or the reserves somewhere. Miguel Perez '05 was a relatively obscure player who St. Louis signed to a homegrown contract, and he's come out of the gate receiving playing time this season and has held his own. Kristian Fletcher '05 comes off the bench for DC United. Reed Baker-Whiting '05 has gotten appearances for Seattle, but that stopped for the time being as he converts from a midfielder to a right back. Osundina '04 plays fairly regularly in USL.
 

InstaFace

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Paredes, Gaga and Obed? God, those games are going to be SO fun to watch. That is a stacked U20 squad. Who are we even playing against this window?

I just hope Pepi is released for the WC this summer, that's really the only position of weakness, as you note. He's an every week starter in the Eredivisie so it's no wonder he's not coming this time around.

For the U19s, it's basically a B-team of the U20s, isn't it? About the only names I recognize are RBW, Rudisill, Rodrigo Neri, and of course Kristian Fletcher.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Paredes, Gaga and Obed? God, those games are going to be SO fun to watch. That is a stacked U20 squad. Who are we even playing against this window?

I just hope Pepi is released for the WC this summer, that's really the only position of weakness, as you note. He's an every week starter in the Eredivisie so it's no wonder he's not coming this time around.

For the U19s, it's basically a B-team of the U20s, isn't it? About the only names I recognize are RBW, Rudisill, Rodrigo Neri, and of course Kristian Fletcher.
Playing England and France U20s, then Serbia U21s.

Latter is interesting because Euro U21s are as of the beginning of qualification, so that’ll be a lot of 22/23 year old Serbian pros.
 

Titans Bastard

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Paredes, Gaga and Obed? God, those games are going to be SO fun to watch. That is a stacked U20 squad. Who are we even playing against this window?

I just hope Pepi is released for the WC this summer, that's really the only position of weakness, as you note. He's an every week starter in the Eredivisie so it's no wonder he's not coming this time around.
I think Pepi is seen as somebody who has fully graduated to the senior team. I like U20 WCs and I'd love to see Pepi play in it, but I don't think there are any indications that it would happen. Beyond the USSF perspective of whether he should be at the U20 WC or on one of our USMNT summer rosters, the U20 WC starts a week before the end of the Eredivisie season. Since Groningen are in a serious relegation scrap, a release seems doubtful.

By the way, only five players in the Eredivise have more goals than Pepi right now and all of them are on top half teams. Pepi's been rather productive given that the team around him sucks. He'll be with a new club next season and I have my fingers crossed for a real breakout.

For the U19s, it's basically a B-team of the U20s, isn't it? About the only names I recognize are RBW, Rudisill, Rodrigo Neri, and of course Kristian Fletcher.
IMO, being a U20 B team is part of the purpose of the U19 squad. U20 WCs happen every two years so a "cycle" mainly includes two birth years. In this case, it's the 2003s and 2004s. A few top 2005s, like Vargas, Wynder, and Tsakiris — and perhaps a few others — are in the mix as well. The U19s are a B team for the U20s, but they don't bother with 2003s. 2003s are already advantaged in the U20 cycle because they are a year older and have had an extra year of development. The idea is to catch 2004s and 2005s who make a huge leap toward the end of the cycle.

The U19s also exist just to keep guys involved with the USSF program. A player born in an odd year is very unlikely to make it with the U17s: it's much harder for 16 year olds to compete with 17 year olds than it is for 19 year olds to compete with 20 year olds. Consequently, the U19s give the 2005s (a) a chance to make their case to play up a cycle, but mostly (b) a way to establish themselves as part of the early core for the next U20 cycle. Given that we have so many dual nationals, it is good to create positive experiences for these kids with the US program. Other countries are always circling around these kids so we don't want to go radio silent on them for three years until they are old enough for the U20s.
 

nayrbrey

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For US Youth Soccer, until last fall I didn’t realize the US ODP program was still a thing. I assumed the MLS academies had replaced it.

The reason why I am now aware is that the GK on my sons U14/13 Town as well as State Select team, is also in the regional ODP pool.

He took a trip with a U14 ODP team to Spain last week during school vacation and last night at practice said they went 2-0-1 Vs Spanish youth teams.

They lost to a U14 team and beat a U14/13 mixed team as well as a U13 team. He said the mixed team was so mad they were getting beat by the USA kids.
Not sure what level the kids they played against were, but thought it was pretty cool that they were able to have success.
 

SocrManiac

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My team did something similar in the mid 90’s. We went to England. The games were usually called at halftime because the scores were so lopsided and the players mixed teams for a second half friendly. Nice to see this progress.
 

67YAZ

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No U20 WC for the Chicago duo of Guti & Brady.

While Guti shines in Shaqiri’s absence and probably should be the focal point of all Fire attacking moves, Brady has been having some bad gaffes. He’s screwed up 2 long shots and last weekend came out to punch away a corner, but got beat to the ball by an attacker. Brady is on the hook for 4, arguably 7, dropped points already. The mentality is great, the physical tools are immense, but he’s got a lot of work to put in.

 

Titans Bastard

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I believe this is the first time an MLS club has ever denied the release of a player for a youth World Cup. It's a shame, especially for Gutierrez. Brady too, but he'd have been Slonina's backup.

This decision is a huge indictment of Shaqiri. I don't think it's too early to call him a real bust.
 

InstaFace

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yeah I have no issue with holding back Brady (as their starting GK) from being the backup GK for the U-20s, but holding back Gutierrez is a real disappointment. Although some people here think he wouldn't automatically start for our U-20 squad since we can throw Paxten and co out there and we have real depth of AMs. But Guti both needs and deserves the exposure.

USA's 3 group-stage games are on 5/20, 5/23 and 5/26, with R16 5/30-6/1, QFs 6/3-6/4, SFs 6/8 and F/3rd 6/11. We have Fiji in our group so it's very likely we advance at least to the R16, and I think our team's good enough that QFs is an average expectation.

Chicago has a match on Wed 5/17, then on Sat 5/20, Sat 5/27, Wed 5/31, Sat 6/3, Sat 6/10. If Guti were to play @ Charlotte on 5/17 and then travel, he'd miss vs ATL 5/20, @ NWE 5/27, probably miss @ TOR 5/31, and likely be back for @ CIN 6/3.

Bottom line, time for Matt Crocker to come in and start knocking heads :)
 

InstaFace

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If he's in good form, I'd have seen worse call-ups (e.g. Donovan Pines for the 2021 Gold Cup). I expect our A-team will play Nations League, and the Gold Cup will be a B-team audition tournament. Gutierrez isn't that close to being an AM on the senior radar, but once you take out Gio and B. Aaronson and Malik Tillman, our B-team AM depth is like,

Mihailovic at AZ Alkmaar
Taylor Booth at Utrecht
Paxten Aaronson at Frankfurt (but isn't a first-teamer yet)
Alan Sonora?
Quinn Sullivan??
Caden Clark??? (may or may not be in witness protection)

Like it's not a ridiculous assertion that Gutierrez can hang with those guys after the first two, or especially if one of the first two is banged up.
 
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rguilmar

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I think the conventional wisdom is that the Gold Cup isn’t ideal compared to the Nations League for European based players for a couple of reasons. First, the timing later in the summer comes closer to overlapping with their preseasons (depending on team and league). This goes double for the guys who are joining new teams or still scratching out a role with their current clubs. Second, the Gold Cup is potentially a much longer tournament, six games versus two, which denies players much rest during the offseason.

Other players are likely ahead of Gutierrez on the B squad depth chart, but injuries and club situations might boost him up. Honestly, he’s close enough where Crocker could use whatever influence he has to have him called up so MLS clubs get the message about releasing players. I’m not sure it’s the right thing to do but it’s an option.