Curb Your Enthusiasm: US Youth National Teams, Prospect Hype, and Youth Development Thread [U-17 WORLD CUP UPDATES]

Titans Bastard

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Ledezma on for Mendez. Let's go.

The US isn't entirely out of this.
 

Titans Bastard

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Well, that's it, 2-1 final. Third straight QF in the U20 WC, and third straight QF exit.

Some quick thoughts:
  • This team would have been beastly with Tyler Adams at DM
  • Players I'm most excited about in no particular order: Pomykal, Weah, Richards, Llanez, Ledezma.
  • Mendez is an interesting one. He has such a distinct set of skills and shortcomings. A real boom-or-bust prospect because he's so good in certain ways, yet if his fitness and work rate remain poor he won't have much of a career.
  • I was high on Durkin after the U17 WC, but his lack of mobility is a problem that is really going to limit his ceiling. He now looks like the heir to the Wil Trapp throne of defensively soft DMs.
  • Players seem to like playing for Ramos, but he continues to be tactically irritating. I think it's likely that after four cycles, he'll be heading for new pastures.
  • Four '01s who are eligible for next cycle: Ochoa, Llanez, de la Fuente, Araujo (who didn't play)
 

Titans Bastard

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I don’t mean to slight Soto, I’m just have a wait and see attitude with him. I want to see how his passing and hold up game develops. He seems to be a pretty good finisher.

One point in his favor is that he’s only been a forward for a few years so it’s possible he’ll learn some of the nuanced CF stuff in time.

I also have hopes for Gloster. He’s not especially flashy but seems solid on both sides of the ball.

Dest improved as the tournament went on after a rough start also.

There are definitely more decent irons in the fire than normal, and some good players not on the team as well.

Long-term, if this is the new median for a U20 group we will be in good shape. If this turns out to be a Golden Generation, that would be disappointing.
 

67YAZ

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A successful tournament, even if it’s a relative disappointment. The only let down is that once they beat France, they couldn’t blitz to the final. I can’t call that a failure.

I’m glad Tab is moving on. Youth national team coaching is tricky. You have to do a lot of teaching, but time is too limited to see big results. And the clubs don’t want you screwing around with their prized prospects’ development, either. Still, you have to find ways to put the kids in positions to grow and be successful. I think Tab was just not tactically savvy enough and a bit too wedded to “my guys” to get the most out of his teams.

But can USSF really hire someone definitely better than Tab? Probably not if they still pay relatively low and require relocation to Chicago. Here’s hoping.

I like how Dest grew into the tournament. It would be wonderful for him to continue to progress and nail down the senior fullback gig. We really need it.
 

Titans Bastard

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There is another U23 camp starting today in Utah. The USSF just released the roster:

GK
97 J.T. Marcinkowski (SJ Earthquakes)
?? Andrew Thomas (Stanford)
97 Justin Vom Steeg (LA Galaxy)

DF
98 Marco Farfan (Portland Timbers)
97 Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake)
97 Aaron Herrera (Real Salt Lake)
99 Jack Maher (Indiana)
99 Sam Rogers (Tacoma Defiance)
98 Auston Trusty (Philadelphia Union)

MF
00 Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union)
00 George Acosta (unattached)
97 Mukwelle Akale (Villarreal)
97 Cameron Lindley (Memphis 901, on loan from Orlando City)
97 Sebastian Saucedo (Real Salt Lake)
97 Eryk Williamson (Portland Timbers)
97 Jackson Yueill (SJ Earthquakes)
97 Gedion Zelalem (Sporting KC)

FW
97 Brooks Lennon (Real Salt Lake)
97 Benji Michel (Orlando City)
02 Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez (Seattle Sounders)
02 Giovanni Reyna (unattached)


An eclectic group, as U23 camps often are. You never know who is going to be available. There are a lot of MLS-based 97s, as well as some guys who didn't make the cut with the U20 team, and a few top U17s.

Jason Kreis has a lot of players to sort through.
 

Titans Bastard

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US U17 central midfielder Adam Saldana signs a USL deal for LA Galaxy II.


11 of the 20 players on the U17 qualifying roster are now pro, which is quite a change from historical norms. In the last 3-4 years, there's really been a big change in the number of American players getting experience chances in the pro game at a young age.
 

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Ricardo Pepi '03, who is currently leading USL League One in scoring, has been bumped up to an MLS contract with the FC Dallas organization.


I'm not sure that he's quite ready for MLS minutes at this very moment, but he's progressing well. He's a forward in the Sargent mode: has the body/strength to be a #9, is still learning the nuances of hold-up play, has good feet/finishing for a big man.
 

Titans Bastard

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MLS is back in action with a shortened slate of games:

Pepi '03 didn't wait long for his debut, coming on as a sub for FC Dallas tonight. More importantly, Dallas won 3-0 starting Jesus Ferreira '00 up top and an all-U20 academy central midfield of Paxton Pomykal '99, Brandon Servania '99, and Edwin Cerrillo '00. It really does seem like FCD is starting to realize the assembly line potential of their academy this season.

Julian Araujo '01 got the start for LA Galaxy in a 2-0 road win. Really have my fingers crossed for him and Sergino Dest at RB.
 

Titans Bastard

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Hah, I just came here to post the same thing. This is worth 2 minutes and 20 seconds of your time. What stands out about Pomykal is that he receives the ball cleanly, he always knows exactly what he's going to do next, and he's good in tight spaces.

Last year it felt like Pomykal was stalling with injuries and a general lack of progression. In limited minutes, he wasn't influential in the center and didn't seem to be fast enough to be a real winger. But now he's just exuding confidence and he's added some serious defensive bite to his game, too. He covers ground and wins more duels than a player of his build should.

I'm excited about him.
 

Titans Bastard

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Sergino Dest is starting Ajax's first preseason game. I don't expect him to make the first team right off the bat, but it's good to see him involved.
 

Titans Bastard

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Andrew Carleton was dropped from Atlanta's traveling squad for this past Wednesday's game because he forgot his passport.


This is just one incident among many. If you are wondering what happened to the hype around Carleton, it's because motivation, work ethic, and professionalism matter a hell of a lot in player development.
 

Titans Bastard

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Danny Leyva '03 made his first start for the Sounders and scored a beauty of a chip that was disallowed because another player had fouled the goalkeeper.

 

Titans Bastard

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Boy, if Bayern aren't first in line in the Bundesliga then I don't know what the point of that whole Bayern/Dallas relationship is.
Bayern already bought Chris Richards from FC Dallas. A few others have trained with them, like Thomas Roberts, an 18 year old attacker who has mostly played for FCD's reserve team so far.

I am curious to see how things develop. It's tricky because it's not just a partnership with a Bundesliga club, it's BAYERN. Pomykal is very good and you could definitely argue that he's already Bundesliga quality, but is Bayern the best next stop for him? I think going to a club roughly in the quality tier of RB Leipzig like Adams did would be good. A CL heavyweight is asking a lot, and could pose some playing time problems.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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I agree from the perspective of his development, I was thinking more from Bayern's perspective on that one. From the Dallas side, if their pipeline really starts going I'd hope the relationship is more "the relationship lets Bayern get good first looks" and less "right of first refusal for Bayern". The former would be vastly better for their transfer balance.

From Paxton's perspective, getting BL minutes as soon as he can would be preferred. Bayern aren't as much of a loan army kinda club, although they will loan out eg. Gnabry/Renato Sanches type players.
 

Titans Bastard

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Good article here on how youth-oriented, or not, MLS clubs are.


Some positive signs:




The growth of the lower divisions as vehicles for development has been enormous:



Comparison to a few other leagues. About what I would have expected, although I would have thought the Liga MX number would be lower. Why is Liga NOS (Portugal) so far down the list? Maybe it's just because the Big 3 sign every decent young player and stash them in reserve teams.




The author put out a few more graphs on Twitter. This one tells a big story:

 

Titans Bastard

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The 2019 under-17 World Cup begins in late October. Today, the US learned their group stage opponents:

Netherlands
Japan
Senegal


It's always wise to ignore the "name brand" of youth WC opponents because teams can be significantly better or worse than one would expect from the overall soccer pedigree of the country. That being said, this probably won't be an easy group. Both Netherlands and Japan won their confederations' qualifying tournaments. Senegal only made it because Guinea were thrown out for cheating.
 

Titans Bastard

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The latest U17 camp:


GOALKEEPERS (4): Aaron Cervantes (Orange County Soccer Club; Chino Hills, Calif.), Bryan Dowd (FC United; Willow Springs, Ill.), Damian Las (Chicago Fire; Norridge, Ill.), Seth Wilson (FC Dallas; Frisco, Texas)

DEFENDERS (10): Axel Alejandre (FC United; Chicago, Ill.), Sebastian Anderson (Colorado Rapids; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Adam Armour (North Carolina FC; Cary, N.C.), Nicolas Carrera (FC Dallas; Frisco, Texas), Mauricio Cuevas (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.), Tayvon Gray (New York City FC; Bronx, N.Y.), Kobe Hernandez (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.), Mason Judge (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER; Tampa, Fla.), Joshua Ramsey (Solar Soccer Club; Plano, Texas), Jonathan Tomkinson (Norwich City FC/ENG; Plano, Texas)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Maximilian Dietz (SC Freiburg/GER; Frankfurt, Germany), Ethan Dobbelaere (Seattle Sounders FC; Seattle, Wash.), Gilbert Fuentes (San Jose Earthquakes; Tracy, Calif.), Bryang Kayo (D.C. United; Poolesville, Md.), Daniel Leyva (Seattle Sounders FC; Las Vegas, Nev.), Adam Saldana (LA Galaxy; Panorama City, Calif.)

FORWARDS (6): Jack de Vries (Philadelphia Union; Wayne, Pa.), Tyler Freeman (Sporting Kansas City; Shawnee, Kan.), Andres Jasson (New York City FC; Greenwich, Conn.), Noah Jones (RB Leipzig/GER; Berlin, Germany), Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez (Seattle Sounders FC; Kent, Wash.), Griffin Yow (D.C. United; Clifton, Va.)



Some thoughts:

  • In the big picture, the U17s looked fairly solid in qualifying and seemed to be the most talented team despite losing to Mexico in the final. They need help at CB and Wicky has really brought in a lot of new guys getting their first U17 camp to compete for the position. All three are from the Dallas area:
    • Carrera just got US citizenship a couple of weeks ago
    • Ramsey impressed for Solar U19, who just won the national DA title over some more touted MLS youth teams
    • I don't know a lot about Tomkinson, but he just moved to an EPL academy.
  • Kobe Hernandez is pretty good, but he can also be deployed at LB, which might be his stronger position. Gray is a decent CB option, but can also be played at DM. I'm not as sold on Alejandre and Judge. Spots are up for the taking.
  • GK: the starter is always going to be Las. The giant Chituru Odunze, who is not at camp, was the backup in qualifying. He and the other three at this camp are competing for two backup spots to Las.
  • The starting RB in qualifying was Joe Scally (NYCFC), but he's injured right now. I also thought he was disappointingly shaky defensively when I watched him. Cuevas is young relative to this squad, but I liked what little I've seen from him. Anderson hasn't been as highly rated, but he's been getting a bit of run with the Colorado Rapids.
  • LB: If we can somehow shore up CB with other players, Hernandez-Foster could be used here. George Bello, who has been injured for a while, is also a potential answer here; he just returned to training for Atlanta. Adam Armour seems okay, but nothing special. Other interesting options not in camp: John Tolkin, who hasn't been great for the U17s but he looked improved in recent performances for NYRB II, and Jonathan Gomez, a very young LB who is on the fast track in FC Dallas' system.
  • CM: Leyva is the stud here, and is a key player despite being an '03 among mostly '02s. Kayo, Saldana, and Fuentes were on the qualifying roster, so probably have an inside track. Dietz and Dobbelaere are outsiders getting a shot and I don't know much about them. It looks like Gianluca Busio wasn't released; he'll be a lock for the squad and a possible starter at the most advanced midfield position in the 4-3-3.
  • Winger: The big name in the pool is Gio Reyna, who is with Dortmund's first team on their preseason tour. Yow seems likely to make the team and maybe to start, while guys like de Vries, Freeman, and Jasson are fighting for spots on the bench.
  • CF: I feel comfortable saying that Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez (in camp) and Ricardo Pepi (not released) are the top two forwards in the pool and will both make the WC squad. They'll compete for time, though it's also possible to play Pepi as the CF and shift AOC to the wing. It looks like Noah Jones from RB Leipzig is the backup CF at this camp without Pepi. I don't know much about him but Leipzig don't seem to be treating him like a top prospect.

The U17 WC starts in late October, so there won't be many more camps.
 

Titans Bastard

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The USL is reported to be launching a youth league for the 2020/21 season.


Participation from USL clubs is optional, nor are there any rules outlawing pay-to-play. All that makes complete sense; youth development requires a lot of investment before any payoff, and USL clubs have limited budgets.

More pathways directly to the pros in smaller cities would be great. I'm not under the illusion that this will be any great shakes right away, but I welcome movement towards lower-division clubs being serious players in youth development.

A handful of USL clubs have entries in the DA — Sacramento, St. Louis, San Antonio, Tampa Bay, Charlotte, Richmond, etc. I'm not sure how that will be handled.
 

Titans Bastard

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There's another U17 camp coming up very soon. We're getting close to the WC.


GOALKEEPERS (3): Aaron Cervantes (Orange County Soccer Club; Chino Hills, Calif.; 3/0),
Damian Las (Unattached; Norridge, Ill.; 18/0), Chituru Odunze (Leicester City/ENG; London,
England; 6/0)

DEFENDERS (8): Sebastian Anderson (Colorado Rapids; Highlands Ranch, Colo.; 0/0), Adam
Armour (North Carolina FC; Cary, N.C.; 16/0), George Bello (Atlanta United; Douglasville, Ga.;
6/1), Nicolas Carrera (FC Dallas; Frisco, Texas; 0/0), Mauricio Cuevas (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles,
Calif.; 5/0), Tayvon Gray (New York City FC; Bronx, N.Y.; 15/0), Kobe Hernandez (LA Galaxy; Los
Angeles, Calif.; 20/2), Jonathan Tomkinson (Norwich City/ENG; Plano, Texas; 0/0)

MIDFIELDERS (5): Maximilian Dietz (Freiburg/GER; Frankfurt, Germany; 0/0), Ethan Dobbelaere
(Seattle Sounders FC; Seattle, Wash.; 0/0), Gilbert Fuentes (San Jose Earthquakes; Tracy, Calif.;
19/0), Bryang Kayo (D.C. United; Poolesville, Md.; 5/1), Adam Saldana (LA Galaxy; Panorama
City, Calif.; 23/2)

FORWARDS (7): Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City; Greensboro, N.C.; 13/7), Andres Jasson
(New York City FC; Greenwich, Conn.; 8/0), Noah Jones (RB Leipzig/GER; Berlin, Germany; 0/0),
Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez (Seattle Sounders FC; Kent, Wash.; 21/9), Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas;
McKinney, Texas; 12/4), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund/GER; Bedford, N.Y.; 14/7), Griffin
Yow (D.C. United; Clifton, Va.; 12/7)


Overall this is a fairly strong group by the standards of this U17 cycle. George Bello is finally back from injury and should take over LB, especially with KHF ensconced in one of the CB slots. That being said, there's new blood at CB as well. Carrera just got US citizenship, although I've seen significantly diverging opinions on his potential. Tomkinson rose to prominence in the DA for Solar, just moved to Norwich, and has been brought back for the second camp in a row.

CM feels a little light without Seattle's Danny Leyva, but he'll be around. He's just absent because he regularly makes the 18 in MLS.

At forward and wing, the core guys are there (Reyna, Pepi, AOC, Busio). Yow is also a good bet to make the team. Jasson and Jones feel more like they are still in tryout mode within this group.
 

tmracht

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Man that forward group, if one of Busio, Gio or Pepi really progresses that would be so nice.
 

Titans Bastard

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The USSF announced a U23 camp roster today.

GK
Matt Freese '98 (Philadelphia Union)
J.T. Marcinkowski '97 (San Jose Earthquakes)
Andrew Thomas ?? (Stanford)

DF
Kyle Duncan '97 (NYRB)
Justen Glad '97 (RSL)
Chris Gloster '00 (PSV)
Niko Hamalainen '97 (Kilmarnock)
Aaron Herrera '97 (RSL)
Mark McKenzie '99 (Philadelphia Union)
Donovan Pines '98 (DC United)
Auston Trusty '98 (Philadelphia Union)

MF
Brenden Aaronson '00 (Philadelphia Union)
Edwin Cerrillo '00 (FC Dallas)
Hassani Dotson '97 (Minnesota United)
Alex Mendez '00 (Ajax)
Djordje Mihailovic '98 (Chicago Fire)
Brandon Servania '99 (FC Dallas)

FW
Omir Fernandez '99 (NYRB)
Jesus Ferreira '00 (FC Dallas)
Brooks Lennon '97 (RSL)
Sebastian Saucedo '97 (RSL)
Sebastian Soto '00 (Hannover 96)
Mason Toye '98 (Minnesota United)
Haji Wright '98 (VVV-Venlo)


It's a reasonable squad. Although far from the best possible U23 effort (Pulisic, McKennie, Adams, Weah, M. Robinson, Pomykal, Dest, Sargent, Cannon, Yueill, Ebobisse...) it's probably a rough approximation of what will be available for Olympic qualifiers next march: guys based in MLS + second-tier Euro based talent + first-tier Euro based talent that hasn't broken through to the first team. The good news is that I think the pool is deep enough that we will at least have competent players at each position, even if some of the prime talent isn't released.

GK — we are probably softest here. Some guys are playing in USL, but no one is getting minutes in MLS or a comparable league abroad.

RB — Our two top candidates are with the full NT right now (Cannon & Dest). Herrera has been a solid starter for RSL, while Duncan is a backup at NYRB. If Cannon isn't sold over the winter, which is a possibility, FC Dallas will release him for qualifiers.

CB — Miles Robinson is with the full NT. CCV likely wasn't released. Trusty and Glad would be a solid and rather experienced pairing for this age level. Trusty has been in poor form lately, though, which could open up opportunities for others. Assuming Euro guys like CCV and EPB are unavailable, in March I'd shoot for Robinson & Glad. And honestly, that might be the best pairing on the merits, too (though it's close and highly debatable — nothing wrong with CCV).

LB — Gloster moves up from the U20s. Hamalainen is a wild card, as he's played for Finnish youth teams in official competitions and was even capped by the senior team in a friendly. I'm not sure if he's filed a one-time switch or just testing the waters. I'm also not sure if he's that good; he was on loan at LAFC early in the season but couldn't get any playing time. Antonee Robinson is eligible here, but getting him in March would be tough. There are a few other options floating around MLS but none demand inclusion right now.

DM — Tyler Adams is by far the best DM in the entire player pool, to say nothing of the U23s. But I think at this point Servania is the next best. He acquitted himself respectably at the U20 WC, and has since pushed into FCD's starting lineup. Cerrillo does some DM things too, but he's below Servania in the pecking order in Dallas. Dotson is an unheralded draft pick who has been a nice surprise for Minnesota. He's the sort of guy who sneaks onto tournament rosters because he's versatile enough to play CM, RB, and LB.

CM/AM — Mihailovic, Mendez, and Aaronson all have nice qualities and hopefully one of them really takes a step forward over the next six months to be the sort of player who can really influence a game on anything close to a consistent basis. There are some other interesting CMs and AMs in the pool who won't be available for qualifiers (McKennie, obviously) or who aren't here for whatever reason (Pomykal, Yueill, Parks, Ledezma)

Wingers — None of Saucedo, Lennon, or Fernandez are full-time starters in MLS, but all play with some consistency. I'm a bit surprised that Jonathan Lewis isn't here given that he wasn't on the full NT squad. Jonathan Amon could factor in if he's ever healthy. The best options in the pool are Pulisic and Weah, who won't be available for qualifiers.

Forwards — Sargent is with the full NT, so we have Soto, Wright, Ferreira, and Toye. Soto had a nice U20 WC and is on the verge of a move...somewhere. I'm not very excited about Wright, personally. I am excited about Ferreira, who is on the verge of being eligible for the USMNT (word is that he has his citizenship now, but is waiting on a FIFA waiver for complicated reasons). Last year Toye just seemed like a raw athlete to me, but he's been quite productive in limited minutes in 2019. He still has a ways to go, but has become a more interesting prospect. The missing player who has a good chance to factor into qualifiers is Portland's Jeremy Ebobisse.
 

Titans Bastard

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And right after that, the USSF released the first U20 roster of the 2021 cycle. Tab Ramos is still at the helm, as his contract runs through the next U20 World Cup. It remains to be seen if he'll see out that contract, as it seems increasingly clear that the new brass doesn't see much of a role for him going forward. I do hope Ramos lands on his feet; I was a merciless critic of him for a long time, and while I still don't think he's some great manager, I do think he's improved tactically. Most of all, his man management skills seem strong, at least on the youth level: cycle after cycle, these kids love playing for him, and he gets them to form a strong bond with each other and to play hard. Some of this comes down to talent in the pool, but reaching the U20 QF for three straight tournaments is also a good look. Also, from what I understand, the communication problems with dual nationals aren't originating on his end.

Anyway, I don't know if I've come to like Tab straight-up, or if he just sucks less than many other USSF personnel, or if I've been Stockholm Syndrome'd by following this stuff for too long...but I'm sending positive vibes now.


Two things to note about this camp:
  • It's all players born in 2001. The '02s won't join the pool until after the U17 World Cup this fall.
  • The camp is in Slovenia, so the roster is more of a dive into Euro-based players.

GK
David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake)
Patrick Schulte (Saint Louis University)

DF
Kwabena Boateng (UC Irvine)
Kevin Bonilla (FC Dallas U-19)
George Campbell (Atlanta United)
Nathan Harriel (Philadelphia Union U-19)
Ian Hoffmann (Karlsruhe U-19)
Stuart Ritchie (Hannover 96 U-19)
Leonardo Sepulveda (Salamanca B)
Travian Sousa (Hamburg U-19)

MF
Cole Bassett (Colorado Rapids)
Justin Haak (NYCFC)
Marcelo Palomino (unattached)
Matteo Ritaccio (Liverpool U-18)
Thomas Roberts (FC Dallas)
Tanner Tessmann (FC Dallas U-19)
Indiana Vassilev (Aston Villa U-23)

FW
Konrad de la Fuente (Barcelona U-19)
Johan Gomez (unattached)
Cameron Harper (Celtic U-20)
Jalen Hawkins (Ingolstadt U-19)
Charlie Kelman (Southend United)

I've read that Uly Llanez had to withdraw due to injury. I've also read that Matko Miljevic, an attacking mid who has debuted for Argentinos Juniors and played with Argentine YNTs in the past, was invited and wanted to come, but was not released. I also heard through the grapevine that Tab came close to bringing in Arsenal's Folarin Balogun, but there was a late change of heart.

Anyway: Ochoa returns from the last U20 WC, where he looked like our best keeper, so he'll definitely be the front-runner going into the cycle.

Bonilla and Harriel aren't on pro deals, but both have played extensively for MLS reserve teams in the USL. They are options at RB, but unless he's injured or moved up into older age brackets, Julian Araujo is likely to be the #1 RB all cycle. Araujo was not released for this camp.

CB is shaping up to be a big problem spot this cycle, but maybe someone will emerge. Campbell recently signed a pro deal, and I think Sepulveda is a CB, too. I'm guessing Boateng is a CB based on his height, but I've never heard of him before. Please be awesome.

Ritchie and Sousa are LB options. I'd speculate that the '02 LBs like Bello and Hernandez-Foster will turn out to be more interesting, but who knows.

I don't have any strong takes on the CMs. Bassett has played a lot for how young he is, but it's partially because the Rapids are bad and we don't know if he'll progress past his current level. The FCD duo are both talented, but inconsistent, so we'll see if they can consistently influence games.

Forwards: Kelman is playing first team minutes in League One. It looks like Gomez officially left the FC Dallas academy and may be signing abroad. That pretty much makes sense, with Ferreira and Pepi already under contract there. I've heard good things about Harper, who is a winger, though I've never seen him play. Konrad was a big disappointment to me at the U20 WC. He struck me as a guy who hit physical maturity quickly and I fear that his ceiling is limited.
 

Titans Bastard

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Last year Toye just seemed like a raw athlete to me, but he's been quite productive in limited minutes in 2019. He still has a ways to go, but has become a more interesting prospect.
And he's scored a pretty sweet brace in the first 30 minutes at LAFC tonight.

Toye has only played ~450 minutes in MLS this season, but he has six goals and three assists.
 

Titans Bastard

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The U17s have beaten Mexico 2-1 and Netherlands 3-1 so far.

The U20s beat some sort of Croatian XI 2-1.
 

Titans Bastard

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Due to an injury to a starter US winger Josh Pynadath came on as a sub for Jong Ajax, making his debut in the Dutch second division. It also means that there are four Americans on the field in the ongoing Jong Ajax vs. Jong PSV game: Pynadath, Mendez, Ledezma, and Gloster.

Nice.
 

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Illuminating interview with Peter Zopfi, chair of US Youth soccer. My take away is that the youth soccer landscape is a Balkanized mess, and Zopfi sees his role as trying to broker discussions and raise issues - no necessarily to push for change. And since he was elected to the post, my guess is that the folks involved were looking for a passive figurehead the would largely preserve the current situation. So much more is possible.
 

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U17 central midfielder Bryang Kayo has left DC United's academy and signed a pro deal with Orange County SC in the USL. Word is that he has a deal agreed with a Euro club, but he can't go until he turns 18, so he'll draw a paycheck and hopefully get some minutes in the meantime. DC United understandably was not interested in using him in USL games once it became clear he would leave.


LA Galaxy signed 18 year old attacking midfielder Jorge Hernandez to a USL deal. He has been in their academy for a while and had featured rather heavily in the USL on an amateur basis.

 

Titans Bastard

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Former US U17 and Boca Juniors academy attacking midfielder George Acosta has signed for Inter Miami. He's a Miami native, and he's recently been with USL's Austin Bold, with whom he will stay until the end of the year.

 

67YAZ

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Mexico hire Hugo Perez as a youth scout. Perez, of course, played for the USMNT and coached youth national teams, helping to develop guys like Pulisic and Adams. He kicked off his work at a youth camp for El Tri in SoCal last week.

Maybe losing Perez is not a big deal in and of itself, but it is indicative of how aggressive Mexico is starting to recruit Mexican-American kids. We're getting our butts kicked.
 

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DC United signed Moses Nyeman today, who is considered to be one of the top 2003s in the pool. He's a CM who might wind up as a #10 or perhaps a #8. Nyeman has a green card but is supposedly getting his citizenship soon. The USSF has included him in U16 camps even though he's not yet eligible to play in official games for youth teams.

Thus far in 2019, Nyeman has already featured quite a bit for Loudoun United in the USL.

View: https://twitter.com/dcunited/status/1179773763862351872
 

Titans Bastard

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Over the international break, the U23s have a 10 day camp that includes a game against El Salvador.

The roster:

GK
Matt Freese '98 (Philadelphia Union)
J.T. Marcinkowski '97 (San Jose Earthquakes)
David Ochoa '01 (Real Salt Lake)
Brady Scott '99 (Köln)

RB
Kyle Duncan '97 (NYRB)
Aaron Herrera '97 (RSL)

CB
Justen Glad '97 (RSL)
Mark McKenzie '99 (Philadelphia Union)
Chris Richards '00 (Bayern Munich)
Miles Robinson '97 (Atlanta United)

LB
Chris Gloster '00 (PSV Eindhoven)
Sam Vines '99 (Colorado Rapids)

CM/AM
Christian Cappis '97 (Hobro IK)
Hassani Dotson '97 (Minnesota United)
Chris Durkin '00 (Sint-Truiden)
Richie Ledezma '00 (PSV Eindhoven)
Alex Mendez '00 (Ajax)
Djordje Mihailovic '98 (Chicago Fire)

Wingers
Johnny Cardoso '01 (Internacional [BRA])
Omir Fernandez '99 (NYRB)
Brooks Lennon '97 (RSL)
Jonathan Lewis '97 (Colorado Rapids)
Sebastian Saucedo '97 (RSL)

FW
Sebastian Soto '00 (Hannover 96)
Mason Toye '98 (Minnesota United)


Some thoughts:

  • Eligible players on the full USMNT squad include Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Josh Sargent, Reggie Cannon, Jackson Yueill, and Brenden Aaronson. I doubt the first three would be available for qualifiers but the others might be.
  • Even without the senior team guys, other injured eligible players (Adams, Weah), Sergino Dest, and other guys who aren't here for one reason or another (Pomykal, CCV, Servania, Ebobisse, et al), I think this squad is fairly solid. We have notably better depth this cycle than the last.
  • Johnny Cardoso is an out-of-nowhere pick. He wasn't on anyone's radar, but it turns out he just made his Brazilian league debut.
 

Titans Bastard

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CB Auston Trusty and RB Manny Perez have been called up to replace Miles Robinson (called up to full team) and Kyle Duncan (injured)
 

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The U17 World Cup begins in two weeks and the US roster was released today.

GK
Aaron Cervantes (Orange County SC)
Damian Las (Fulham [ENG])
Chituru Odunze (Leicester City [ENG])

DF
Sebastian Anderson (Colorado Rapids)
Adam Armour (North Carolina FC)
George Bello (Atlanta United)
Nico Carrera (FC Dallas)
Tayvon Gray (NYCFC)
Kobe Hernandez-Foster (LA Galaxy)
Joe Scally (NYCFC)

MF
Maximilian Dietz (Freiburg [GER])
Ethan Dobbelaere (Seattle Sounders)
Bryang Kayo (Orange County SC)
Danny Leyva (Seattle Sounders)
Adam Saldana (LA Galaxy)

FW
Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City)
Andres Jasson (NYCFC)
Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez (Seattle Sounders)
Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas)
Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund [GER])
Griffin Yow (D.C. United)


We'll see how they do. The qualifying team was fairly solid and looked better than Mexico even if they lost in the final. Since then, six players have been replaced with seven newcomers (WC rosters have the third GK): Cervantes, Anderson, Bello (who was injured), Dietz, Dobbelaere, and Jasson. I wonder how much of this has to do with the fact that Raphael Wicky was hired not long before qualifying and didn't have time to make his preferred roster adjustments until just recently, or whether it has to do with the fact that Bradenton is closed and the U17 manager doesn't feel mostly beholden to the guys who were chosen for the program at age 15.

This squad appears to have pretty solid depth. How good the best players will become is still a mystery.

The competition in the group, on paper, should be stiff. We'll be going up against the UEFA champions (Netherlands) and the AFC champions (Japan).


Reyna is probably the biggest name on the team right now. I also like to keep track of the youngest players on U17 squads because odd-year players playing up with even-year players isn't common at this level and often portends good things. Pepi and Leyva are the two '03s in the team. The midfield has been a lot better since Leyva was introduced.

Busio has the most MLS experience, but has been a strange player. He's been rather productive in terms of goals, but is the sort of player who somehow scores on a relatively consistent basis without looking that great or being influential in the game. He did look better in the run of play in a few starts down the stretch, which optimistically is a sign that he's adjusting to the level of play and making strides.

I'm also looking forward to seeing what AOC, Las, Bello, and Hernandez-Foster bring to the table.


This is probably a combination of the depth of the group and changes to the way US clubs provide opportunities to young players, but this group as dramatically more pro minutes under their belt than past U17 squads.

View: https://twitter.com/NatFan9/status/1182402025281216512
 

Titans Bastard

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Pomykal signed a new deal with FC Dallas through 2023, with an option for 2024. That doesn't mean he'll stick around for the duration, but it does rule out a sale this winter. I think there's still room for him to grow in MLS since he wasn't totally consistent over the course of the whole year, but if things go well he should be drawing and Dallas should be accepting offers for him as soon as next winter.

View: https://twitter.com/FCDallas/status/1182322206770126848