Curb Your Enthusiasm: US Youth National Teams, Prospect Hype, and Youth Development Thread

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.
 

Titans Bastard

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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.