USMNT: To Rüssia With Love

Titans Bastard

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No rest for the weary.  I don't like to dwell on defeats; better to ponder a hopefully brighter future.  I can't complain about the US effort in this 2014 World Cup.  They gave us compelling soccer, great heart, and a good performance to get out of the Group of Death and to push a very tough Belgium team to the limit.  We suffered from an early injury to a key player who was irreplaceable from our player pool and we still gutted through four tough games.
 
As a long-time US soccer fan, I've been overjoyed to see people flocking to the US team's banner, moreso than any WC before and I'm glad that this team has delivered a compelling and exciting performance.  I don't really believe in "This Is The Turning Point" type stuff -- it's a long, slow growth curve -- but I do perceive that things may have accelerated a bit.  Of course the large majority of people watching WC games will fade away until 2018, but some will remain.  That's what progress looks like for us and that's a good thing.
 
Anyway, I don't want this to be a real post-mortem thread, as I imagine there will be other places for that on this forum.  Instead, I want to kick off a preview thread what's going to happen over the next four years and what sort of changes we might see.
 
Manager & Staff
 
First of all, Jürgen Klinsmann signed an extension through 2018 last December and also signed on as the US technical director.  There was some loose talk before the WC that if we crashed out badly he might be shown the door.  I didn't think that would happen and it's obviously not going to happen now after a respectable run in the WC.  As TD, he'll have more influence over our youth national teams, youth coaching standards and curricula, and the Development Academy, which is the USSF organization that involves the top youth clubs in the country, including MLS clubs.  It's hard to know exactly what he'll be doing with those initiatives, but they certainly fall under the purview of TD in general.
 
A key question going forward for Klinsmann is his technical staff with the national team.  He suddenly dumped his longtime assistant Martin Vasquez in March.  Vasquez was perceived to be a Klinsmann blind spot, a hapless assistant who followed him from Bayern Munich with a (very unsuccessful) stop as the manager of Chivas USA in between.  His choice of Berti Vogts as a short-term advisor seems to have been the catalyst for installing Beckerman as the DM in the formation behind Jones and Bradley, which was effective in consolidating our team defense and allowing Jones and Bradley to roam more freely.
 
Vogts probably won't be around next cycle, but I think it's important to keep an eye on who fills out Klinsmann's staff.  I think Klinsmann will always be a better motivator and big-picture guy than a true X's and O's guy.  I'm not saying he's a tactical idiot or anything, but I don't think it's his strength.  It wasn't Vasquez's strength either.  So hopefully he chooses wisely.
 
 
Schedule
 
We have an extremely busy cycle coming up with the special 100th anniversary Copa America being hosted in the US in 2016.  Here are the key dates for us going forward:
 
2015
1/9-1/25 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in TBD
5/30-6/20 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand (if we qualify)
7/7-7/26 CONCACAF Gold Cup in TBD (probably USA)
 
I'm going to ignore U-17 World Cups because I think they're mostly pointless and not particularly relevant.  But I do like U-20 World Cups, which I think are more of a legitimate gut-check of a generation's talent.  There's certainly a gap between "good with the U-20s" and "ready for the NT", but three years out we could identify some talents who will be ready by 2018.  Julian Green is age-eligible for this tournament, by the way, but he's "cup-tied" because he played in qualifiers for Germany.
 
The 2013 Gold Cup winners play the 2015 Gold Cup winners for CONCACAF's place in the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia.  Since we won in 2013, we can avoid a playoff if we win in 2015 as well.  The 2015 GC will be of interest as the first competitive matches of the cycle and the first real test for new players.
 
2016
spring, TBD...CONCACAF U-23 Olympic qualifying
6/3-6/26 Copa América Centenario in USA
8/5-8/21 Summer Olympics (U-23) in Rio de Janeiro
Jun-Oct - 2018 World Cup qualifiers, CONCACAF semifinal round (based off of last cycle)
 
I'm really hoping that we qualify for the 2016 Olympics.  I think that the Olympics are a great experience for rising U-23 talent and a good proving ground and springboard to the full team.  I think we have a pretty strong group coming together, so I'm hopeful.
 
The other big event is the 2016 Copa America.  The US will probably put together a reasonably strong team, not sure how other countries will treat this tournament.  Should be fun either way.  We certainly won't lack for opportunities to test players.
 
Last cycle the World Cup semifinal round began mid-year 2016 and I imagine the format will stay the same.  The change to a first-round group stage (from which the top countries were exempt) was well-received as it allowed the smaller countries more meaningful games.
 
2017
winter - CONCACAF U-20 Championship in TBD
summer -  U-20 World Cup in South Korea
6/17-7/2 - Confederations Cup in Russia
summer - 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup
Feb-Oct - 2018 World Cup qualifiers, CONCACAF final round (a.k.a The Hex)
 
Another U-20 cycle will conclude in 2017 and it's far too early to say anything about this group.  Keep in mind, though, that Brooks, Yedlin, Green were young enough to be eligible for the 2013 team so there could be usable talent for 2018 here.
 
The highlighting event, if we qualify, is the Confederations Cup.  If we qualify, we'll probably send a lesser squad to the Gold Cup, which will also serve as one of the qualifying events for the 2021 CC.
 
And the real story here is the Hex, when our qualifiers get real.
 

Titans Bastard

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Current Players
 
Here are the ages of the current WC team in 2018:
 
GK
Tim Howard (39)
Nick Rimando (38)
Brad Guzan (33)
 
Chances are that this will eventually become Brad Guzan's cycle, but there's no need to prematurely write Tim Howard off.  Other goalkeepers have lasted a long time.  Howard's greatest strength, however, is his athleticism and when that starts to fade I suspect he'll be overtaken.  If so, will he stick around as a backup or follow in Brad Friedel's footsteps and focus on his club career?
 
Rimando will fade away from the NT scene, so we'll need one or two new GKs to step in.
 
DF
DaMarcus Beasley (36)
Geoff Cameron (32)
Matt Besler (31)
Fabian Johnson (30)
Omar Gonzalez (29)
Tim Chandler (28)
John Brooks (25)
DeAndre Yedlin (24)
 
Respect the Bease.  He's had a great run and who thought he'd contribute as much as he has to this team over the past few years?  He'll be exiting the player pool shortly, but deserves a long salute on his way out.
 
The good thing about having to totally rebuild the center of defense this cycle is that we're in good shape for 2018.  Cameron will be getting a little old at 32, but that's not a death knell for a center back.  Our current quartet will remain in contention and there will be newcomers competing for places as well.  I think we can only go up from here.  You could really argue that Besler was our player of the WC.
 
On the flanks, Fabian Johnson will still be an option.  While Yedlin is already very well-known in MLS after just 1.5 seasons with Seattle, he's introduced himself to USMNT fans as well.  I think we all expect him to play a big role next cycle, hopefully allowing Johnson to slide over to LB.  Chandler will also be in his prime.
 
MF
Jermaine Jones (36)
Brad Davis (36)
Kyle Beckerman (36)
Alejandro Bedoya (31)
Graham Zusi (31)
Michael Bradley (30)
Mix Diskerud (27)
Julian Green (23)
 
 
This will still be Michael Bradley's midfield, but there's going to be a lot of change.  Jones and Beckerman will be phased out.  Bedoya and Zusi won't be too old, but one would hope that we'd have developed stronger options by 2018.  I like them both for what they are, but I'd like it better if they were depth options.
 
Julian Green will hopefully have more finishes like he did today.  Diskerud will be in his prime - can Klinsmann find a role for him and/or can he force his way into the picture?
 
FW
 
Clint Dempsey (35)
Chris Wondolowski (35)
Jozy Altidore (28)
Aron Johannsson (27)
 
The Donovan era ended a little sooner than expected and the Dempsey era will have to come to a close eventually as well.  I have a hard time seeing Clint lasting until 2018.
 
Jozy and AJ headline the list of forwards for next cycle and both will be prime age players.  We will need to build out a larger cadre of forwards, though.
 
 
Phasing out players
 
 
I wouldn't expect all players who are too old for the 2018 World Cup to be dropped immediately.  There are still important tournaments to be won in the meantime, such as the 2015 Gold Cup, which would ensure participation at the Confederations Cup, a valuable preparation experience.  Every cycle there are also players who provide meaningful contributions during World Cup qualifying but who eventually fall off as well.  Fringe guys like Davis and Wondo should be dropped immediately in favor of younger players, but others may stick around for a while.  You want to give young players a chance to integrate into the team, but you want to make them earn it as well.
 
Some other fringe players who didn't make the team in 2014
 
Landon Donovan (36)
Oguchi Onyewu (36)
Clarence Goodson (36)
Herculez Gomez (36)
Michael Parkhurst (34)
Eddie Johnson (34)
Brad Evans (33)
Benny Feilhaber (33)
Michael Orozco (32)
Jonathan Spector (32)
Maurice Edu (32)
Sacha Kljestan (32)
Stuart Holden (32) -- fuck, how much could we have used an in-his-prime Holden at this WC?
Edgar Castillo (31)
Tim Ream (30)
Jose Torres (30)
Eric Lichaj (29)
Danny Williams (29)
Brek Shea (28)
Joe Corona (27)
Terrence Boyd (27)
Josh Gatt (26)
Juan Agudelo (25)
Luis Gil (24)
 

Zomp

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Titan just want to thank you for all of your work on here.  I honestly get most of my national team's news through you so please keep up the tremendous work.
 

soxfan121

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The core of the 2018 should be a strong one. Adding a few more players to the prospect pool (get married to a nice girl from Leominster Diego Fagundez! Get your paperwork sorted out Gedion Zelalem! Notice what happened to Rossi, Shawn Parker!!) will help but the 2014 roster contained at least two CB (Gonzalez, Brooks), two FB (Johnson, Yedlin), a CM (Bradley), some attacking talent (Johannsson, Green) and a striker (Altidore). 
 
Finding new running mates for Bradley will be key. Finding depth on defense will be important. Recruiting or developing attacking talent is essential. Health for Altidore...well, that might be too much to hope for, given our luck with strikers at the WC.
 
The future is bright. Green scoring on his first touch and generally looking like the most exciting thing since the invention of sliced bread is going to be worth riding along to the next World Cup. Yedlin being ridiculously fast and getting better should be exciting. I believe that in 2018..we will win.
 

Titans Bastard

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2018 Player Pool: GKs
 
I want to preface this by saying I'm just a guy who likes soccer, watches it, and plays it a very low level (though I scored a great poachers goal on a diagonal near post run in my rec league last weekend - I think I'm turning into a much lazier version of Chicharito).  I do have opinions, but I don't consider myself any great shakes at analysis, so view this as more of a watch list for 2018 prospects than anything else.  I'd encourage you all to watch Americans play abroad and in MLS and get a glimpse of these guys at the club level for yourself.  There are some stinker games in MLS like every other league in the world, but relative to the low expectations that most have I think you'd be surprised at the quality in the league.
 
Aside from the foreign-born players and Alejandro Bedoya, every member of the 2014 team got their pro start in MLS.
 
Anyway, the goalkeepers: (2018 ages)
 
Incumbents:
Tim Howard (39, Everton)
Brad Guzan (33, Aston Villa)
Nick Rimando (38, Real Salt Lake)
 
Rimando won't last and we'll just have to see how long Howard can maintain an elite level of performance.  We are in pretty good hands with Brad Guzan as well.  Feel confident knowing that Guzan continues to go more and more bald, joining the tradition of Howard, Keller, and Friedel.
 
Challengers:
 
Clint Irwin (29, Colorado Rapids)
Bill Hamid (27, D.C. United)
Sean Johnson (29, Chicago Fire)
Luis Robles (34, New York Red Bulls)
Zac MacMath (26, Philadelphia Union)
Chris Seitz (31, FC Dallas)
Cody Cropper (25, Southampton)
 
With keepers, I generally throw my hands up in the air and say who the fuck knows.  Keepers improve in fits and starts.  There's a requisite amount of athleticism and reflexes needed and that's the easiest to measure.  But consistency, focus, and command of the box is harder to measure and improves at strange times.  GKs just develop on a different timeline and sometimes they disappoint you for a long time only to come good.  Guzan himself was a disappointment at Aston Villa as a backup for four whole seasons before finally seizing the starting role where he's been good.
 
Guys like Hamid and Johnson haven't lived up to their hype yet, but there's still time.  Chris Seitz was a golden boy back in the day, but at age 27 he's paid his dues and this season has pushed aside Peru's #1 to become the starter at Dallas.
 
Clint Irwin was an undrafted player who found himself in a Canadian semi-pro league after college, which is sort of like a baseball player signing in the Italian league.  He moved to the Charlotte Eagles of the US third division, where he was a backup in 2012.  The next year he trialed with the Rapids, who signed him as their #3.  Matt Pickens got hurt early in the season, the #2 pissed away his chance, and the next thing you know Irwin took his chance and somehow became one of the top keepers in the league.
 
GKs are a strange breed.  Setting aside Rimando, there's no heir apparent to the heir apparent (Guzan).  But that's okay.  Give it time - it's always worked out for us in the past.
 
 
Cropper is the frontrunner for the Olympic U-23 team and Southampton seems to like him.  But as a general rule, don't get too excited about anybody until they start producing on a first-team level (or score sick goals in WC extra time like Julian Green).  On the positive side, he's already balding at age 21.
 

DJnVa

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I hope in JK's exit interview with Yedlin he gives him a list of all the teams in Europe that would love to have him come over.
 

SoxFanInCali

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Quintanariffic said:
TB - 
 
Any reason why you'd pencil in Guzan as the heir apparent for 2018 when he'll only be a year younger than Timmyyyyy?
Guzan is 6 years younger than Howard.
 

Cellar-Door

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Quintanariffic said:
TB - 
 
Any reason why you'd pencil in Guzan as the heir apparent for 2018 when he'll only be a year younger than Timmyyyyy?
He's 5.5 years younger.
Guzan: September 9, 1984
Howard: March 6, 1979
 

McBride11

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TB amazing as usual, how you manage to follow all of these people is beyond me.

Bradley is talented and can certainly make good passes, although personally I put him behind Reyna and Ramos when it comes to technical abilities for a US playmaker. He also relies a lot on his motor and his incredible fitness, which being 30 at the next WC may not be what it was in this WC. (Although it wont be played at the equator either).

My question; is Mix the guy to take over that role? Do we have enough faith in Bradley to maintain his fitness and continue in this role? Is there someone else in the pipeline we dont know about who has a promising playmaking career ahead?
 

Titans Bastard

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2018 Player Pool - RBs
 
Incumbents:
 
Fabian Johnson (30, Borussia Mönchengladbach)
Timothy Chandler (28, Eintracht Frankfurt)
DeAndre Yedlin (24, Seattle Sounders)
 
None of these players are going anywhere, which is great.  Well, Johnson might be going to LB or the midfield, but that's only because we have some good cover here.  As good as FJ has been at RB, we may well end up requiring his abilities elsewhere.
 
 
Here's a brief timeline on DeAndre Yedlin:
 
Fall 2012 - completes his sophomore year at the University of Akron
Jan 2013 - signs with Seattle as a homegrown player
Feb 2013 - not selected for the CONCACAF U-20 championship by manager Tab Ramos
Mar 2013 - immediately wins the starting role with Seattle, who release incumbent RB, a fringe player on the Swedish national team
Jun 2013 - Ramos wises up and takes him to the U-20 World Cup
Jul 2013 - named to the MLS All-Star team
Jan 2014 - first call up to the USMNT
Jun 2014 - World Cup debut
 
That's just the last 18 months.  I've heard that Yedlin may be eligible for a Latvian passport, which would make a Euro move a little easier.  But if he's good enough, it won't matter.  All that said, Yedlin still has some learning to do on the defensive positioning side.  I am enthusiastic about Yedlin, though, because he's made clear strides in his 1.5 years as a pro.
 
Chandler has been a frustrating player in multiple respects, but he's a solid Bundesliga guy who in theory should be good depth.  It's been a long time since he's had a really good game in a US shirt, but it's good to have him around as an option.
 
 
Challengers:
 
Eric Lichaj (29, Nottingham Forest)
Andrew Farrell (26, New England Revolution)
 
 
I don't think anyone really views Lichaj as the answer at this point, but he's a solid player who could foreseeably be called up to provide depth at both fullback positions (but mostly RB).  If he hadn't gotten hurt this spring, he may have been a superior option to Chandler, especially considering Chandler was coming off of an injury and probably wasn't 100%.
 
Farrell is an absolute physical beast who might wind up playing CB long-term, but he's spent most of his pro career at RB so far.  At RB, he'd be the opposite of Yedlin - not offering as much going forward, but could be a shut-down defender.
 

Mighty Joe Young

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BigSoxFan said:
"Cup-tied"
I've seen this phrase over the past few weeks and I have no idea what it means. Can someone briefly explain?
It means a player is ineligible for Champions League (or Europa League) on his current team because they already played in this year's tournament for another team. (Or something like that)
 

Cellar-Door

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BigSoxFan said:
"Cup-tied"

I've seen this phrase over the past few weeks and I have no idea what it means. Can someone briefly explain?
I think you mean cap tied. It means that you have played in a qualifier or tournament game and under FIFA rules you can now only play for the country you represented.
Cup tied is when club players transfer after having played in a tournament for one club and can't then play for another in the same tournament.

Edit- for example we cap tied Brooks and Green this World Cup. They had only played friendlies for us before and were technically still eligible for Germany until they took the field.
 

Titans Bastard

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2018 Player Pool CB:
 
Incumbents:
 
Geoff Cameron (32, Stoke City)
Matt Besler (31, Sporting Kansas City)
Omar Gonzalez (29, Los Angeles Galaxy)
John Brooks (25, Hertha Berlin)
 
Well, what can be said that we don't already know?  No one is aging out of the pool, at least not immediately.  Cameron will be a bit on the older side, but it's nothing extreme.  It's a nice stable of CBs who are now fully battle-tested and have largely acquitted themselves well on the WC stage.
 
Don't be surprised if Besler moves to Europe within the next six months.
 
Challengers:
 
Maurice Edu (32, Philadelphia Union)
Tim Ream (30, Bolton Wanderers)
Matt Hedges (28, FC Dallas)
Andrew Farrell (26, New England Revolution)
Will Packwood (25, Birmingham City)
Shane O'Neill (24, Colorado Rapids)
Erik Palmer-Brown (21, Sporting Kansas City)
 
I've listed Edu for fun here because Philadelphia's interim manager just had him and Amobi Okugo swap CB and DM.  There's always been a school of thought that defense would be a better fit for Edu because his quickness would be a strength and his lack of technical ability would hurt him less.  He's played CB in a pinch in the past, but if this experiment goes well I could see him providing depth for the NT.
 
I wouldn't count out Tim Ream, either, who has had a career renaissance at Bolton this season.  If you like CBs who can pass out of the back, Ream is your man and he's finally shed the "soft" label.  He's even played some LB and DM.
 
I like Shane O'Neill quite a bit.  He's a Colorado Rapids academy product who moved from FW to CM during his youth days and finally to CB as a pro.  He's taken to the position extremely well and was called up to January camp this year.  He has all the physical attributes you'd want, reads the game well, and has pretty good technique from his FW/CM background.  He and Brooks would make quite a tandem at the Olympics in 2016.
 
Packwood is a local boy from Concord.  He has recovered from a nasty leg injury (broke tibia + fibula landing awkwardly) and returned to Birmingham's lineup.  Still unclear if he's lost any athleticism, but fingers crossed.  If you see value in having a player on the USMNT with a solid porn name, you should root for this kid.
 
Palmer-Brown is the latest prodigy.  At 17, he recently became one of the youngest players to start in defense in MLS history.  He totally shat his pants in his debut, but has looked pretty solid since.  Physically and technically, he has all the tools.  If he's ready in time for 2018, it won't be until later in the cycle, but pay attention to EPB.  Juventus has been chasing him fairly relentlessly over the past six months, but I don't think he can transfer until he turns 18.
 

theapportioner

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Titans Bastard said:
First of all, Jürgen Klinsmann signed an extension through 2018 last December and also signed on as the US technical director.  There was some loose talk before the WC that if we crashed out badly he might be shown the door.  I didn't think that would happen and it's obviously not going to happen now after a respectable run in the WC.  As TD, he'll have more influence over our youth national teams, youth coaching standards and curricula, and the Development Academy, which is the USSF organization that involves the top youth clubs in the country, including MLS clubs.  It's hard to know exactly what he'll be doing with those initiatives, but they certainly fall under the purview of TD in general.
 
I'll echo that your posts have been amazing. Given Klinsmann's ties with Germany, as technical director he should set up some strong relationships with Bundesliga squads so that many of the most promising youths could go over to Germany and gain experience there.
 

Titans Bastard

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2018 Player Pool: LB
 
Incumbents:
 
DaMarcus Beasley (36, Puebla)
Fabian Johnson (30, Borussia Mönchengladbach)
 
I'm carrying Johnson over to LB because I think it's likely he'll gravitate here sooner or later.  We don't have much depth at LB - we never do.  Using Fabian here turns a perennial problem into a strength.
 
Beasley will obviously not make it to 2018.  He's done way better as our LB than anyone ever expected, so I'll be sad to see him go.  But Father Time beckons.
 
Challengers:
 
Edgar Castillo (31, Atlas)
Robbie Rogers (31, Los Angeles Galaxy)
Chris Klute (28, Colorado Rapids)
Greg Garza (26, Tijuana)
 
This is why I think Fabian will wind up at LB.  I'm not particularly excited about any of these players.
 
Of note, Bruce Arena is testing Rogers at LB for the Galaxy right now and it's gone fairly well.  It's a move that probably should have happened long ago.  We'll see how it goes.
 
Klute and Garza have done some good things at the club level, but I have trouble envisioning them reaching the NT level.
 
 
The good news is that four years is a long time.  Maybe a left back will come out of the woodwork?
 

Titans Bastard

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Cellar-Door said:
I think you mean cap tied. It means that you have played in a qualifier or tournament game and under FIFA rules you can now only play for the country you represented.
Cup tied is when club players transfer after having played in a tournament for one club and can't then play for another in the same tournament.

Edit- for example we cap tied Brooks and Green this World Cup. They had only played friendlies for us before and were technically still eligible for Germany until they took the field.
 
FYI, Green was already cap-tied to the US before he set foot on the field at the World Cup.  This is because he had played in official youth qualifiers for Germany.  In order to play for the US, he was required to file a one-time permanent switch.  As soon as the paperwork went through, he was bound to the US even if he was never called up by us again.
 
Green is also cup-tied for the 2015 U-20 World Cup despite being age-eligible.  This is because the aforementioned official youth qualifers were for Germany in the UEFA U19 qualifying competition, which serves as the qualifier for the U-20 World Cup.  Since he's already appeared for one country in the overall U-20 World Cup process, he can't play for the US in the same competition even if he's filed paperwork to switch allegiances.
 
Brooks has never played in official youth games for Germany, so he did not need to file a switch and was not cap-tied to the US until he subbed on for Besler against Ghana.
 

soxfan121

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Titans Bastard said:
Cropper is the frontrunner for the Olympic U-23 team and Southampton seems to like him.  But as a general rule, don't get too excited about anybody until they start producing on a first-team level (or score sick goals in WC extra time like Julian Green).  On the positive side, he's already balding at age 21.
 
Awesome series of posts. 
 
Notable that there is a purge of sorts taking place at Southampton and when the dust settles, Cropper might have a stranglehold on the keeper role. Artur Boruc is a legendarily crazy (even for by keeper standards) individual and with the Saints selling off Lallana, Shaw, Lambert and Lovren (thus far), Boruc might be agitating for a move. The only other in-house options are elderly pensioners. 
 
Guzan hung around at Villa for a long time before grabbing that job. Hope Cropper can do the same.
 

Titans Bastard

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soxfan121 said:
 
Awesome series of posts. 
 
Notable that there is a purge of sorts taking place at Southampton and when the dust settles, Cropper might have a stranglehold on the keeper role. Artur Boruc is a legendarily crazy (even for by keeper standards) individual and with the Saints selling off Lallana, Shaw, Lambert and Lovren (thus far), Boruc might be agitating for a move. The only other in-house options are elderly pensioners. 
 
Guzan hung around at Villa for a long time before grabbing that job. Hope Cropper can do the same.
 
I think Cropper is too green to be entrusted with the job at a Premier League club next season no matter what happens with Boruc.  If Boruc is sold, someone else will come in.  What I'm looking for is how Southampton arranges their depth chart.  In 2013-14, they had an old veteran (Kelvin Davis) and another relatively young keeper (Paulo Gazzaniga) who were ahead of Cropper on the depth chart.  If Cropper moves up to #3 or especially #2 in the depth chart, I'd view that as good progress.
 

BoredViewer

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I don't think it's unlikely that Gedion Zelalem will be joining the NT, soon... he'll be 21 in 2018.
 
Also, Freddy Adu will be 29 in 2018... and he's still lurking around with an outside chance to work his way back into the picture.
 

Titans Bastard

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2018 Player Pool: Central Midfielders
 
Incumbents:
 
Jermaine Jones (36, out of contract)
Kyle Beckerman (36, Real Salt Lake)
Michael Bradley (30, Toronto FC)
 
This, initially, will be one of Klinsmann's biggest challenges in his second cycle.  Ultimately JK settled on a midfield engine room of Beckerman, Jones, and Bradley.  This whole scheme will need to be redesigned and rebuilt using new players because Jones and Beckerman will age out soon.  The midfield could well be a work in progress for a while.
 
Bradley is versatile enough to play as a defensive midfielder, as a box-to-box mid and as an almost-attacking-mid-but-also-box-to-box sort of hybrid whatever that he was doing at the WC.  He covered a lot of ground, but as the veteran and clear leader of the midfield, in the future it would be ideal if he had a more focused role that allowed him to be more of a tempo-setter than a true creative force.
 
Challengers:
 
Maurice Edu (32, Philadephia Union)
Sacha Kljestan (32, Anderlecht)
Stuart Holden (32, Bolton Wanderers)
Jose Torres (30, Tigres)
Danny Williams (29, Reading)
Amobi Okugo (27, Philadelphia Union)
Perry Kitchen (26, D.C. United)
Wil Trapp (25, Columbus Crew)
Caleb Stanko (24, Freiburg)
Kellyn Acosta (22, FC Dallas)
 
Edu/Kljestan/Torres/Holden are listed for completeness, but I don't expect much from them.  They have been thoroughly tested and have largely come up short (or in the case of Holden, chronically injured).  I wouldn't be shocked if Edu pops up here and there, perhaps even at CB as I've mentioned before.  But Edu and Torres?  Eh.
 
I think Danny Williams could get a decent run over the next few years.  You may recall him from one of Klinsmann's early and bizarre experiments at right midfield.  It was a disaster.  The good news is that his real position is DM.  Williams picks up minor injuries more often than I'd like, which hasn't helped his consistency.  But he's athletic and has some decent technical skills.  One to watch, not a slam dunk.
 
Okugo has been a good young player in MLS for a while, but his club still can't figure out if he's a CM or a CB.  I expect Klinsmann to experiment with him at some point.
 
Trapp and Acosta are the two youngsters I am most excited about.  They are both crown jewels of their respective clubs' academies.  Trapp took a two year detour at Akron (where he played with Yedlin - decent quality NCAA team!).  He's in his second year in MLS and is already the vice-captain in Columbus.  Acosta is two years younger and is on the shelf with a patella injury, but is one of the best players of his age cohort in the US.  Remember these two.
 

Billy R Ford

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BoredViewer said:
Also, Freddy Adu will be 29 in 2018... and he's still lurking around with an outside chance to work his way back into the picture.
 
Freddy Adu could sign a contract with a Mongolian 5th division side and still be defended as being in the picture.
 

moly99

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DrewDawg said:
I hope in JK's exit interview with Yedlin he gives him a list of all the teams in Europe that would love to have him come over.
 
It seems obvious that he would head to Europe, but I'm not certain if he will.
 
The Sounders had a net profit of $19 million last year and since Yedlin is a homegrown player who came through their youth academy, his contract doesn't count against their salary cap. If they sold him to a Euro club they would pocket the money but they wouldn't get another designated player exception to replace him.
 
Moreover I'm not sure he would benefit by being the 23rd player on Manchester United as opposed to being a star in MLS. If he does go I hope he goes to a lower ranked team that would actually play him.
 

Titans Bastard

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I'd rather just lump them all together than sort left/middle/right because I think reality is too fluid to make those kinds of distinctions.
 
Incumbents:
 
Brad Davis (36)
Alejandro Bedoya (31)
Graham Zusi (31)
Mix Diskerud (27)
Julian Green (23)
 
Well, Davis' cameo as a poor man's Steve Ralston has come to a close.  Excellent MLS player, but that's that.
 
Bedoya and Zusi are hard workers who will stick around for a while, but I think we'd all agree that their places in the team can be had if the right talent comes along.
 
Diskerud will need to leave Norway at some point in time if he wants to consolidate a spot on the team.  He's a luxury player right now.  He doesn't offer enough defensively to be a box-to-box guy at the international level (even if he can do it in Norway).  He's not well-suited to playing wide, either.  He's an intriguing player, but he's really just a late-game joker sort of sub for now.
 
Green, we all know by now.  Big talent, let's hope he breaks through at Bayern.  If not, he'll hopefully still be good somewhere else.
 
Challengers:
 
Brek Shea (28, Stoke City)
Teal Bunbury (28, New England Revolution)
Joe Corona (27, Tijuana)
*Darlington Nagbe (27, Portland Timbers)
Dillon Powers (27, Colorado Rapids)
Josh Gatt (26, Molde)
Kelyn Rowe (26, New England Revolution)
Harry Shipp (26, Chicago Fire)
Luis Gil (24, Real Salt Lake)
**Diego Fagundez (23, New England Revolution)
Paul Arriola (23, Tijuana)
***Gedion Zelalem (21, Arsenal)
 
*Not a citizen, but should be one by 2015
**Green card holder, even if he turns down Uruguay he still might not be eligible for the US by 2018.  I'm not optimistic
***Rumors that he recently received US citizenship....we'll see
 
 
Shea -- well known, kind of an idiot, physical freak with a donkey's touch.  Role player at best
 
Bunbury -- has been surprisingly good since Jay Heaps moved him to the wing.  His speed is dangerous and he just looks more comfortable than he ever did up top
 
Corona -- Klinsmann has always been a fan and he's fairly slick with the ball, but like Jose Torres there doesn't seem to be much "there" there.
 
Gatt -- incredible speed demon who keeps getting injured and missing important development time
 
Nagbe & Gil -- always seem like they are on the verge of being string-pulling #10s in MLS but neither has quite gotten there.  Still, both are very good players but I'm waiting for them to take the final step.  Nagbe is Liberian, but grew up in the US and should get his citizenship soon.
 
Powers & Shipp -- Powers was the 2013 Rookie of the Year and Shipp surely will be the ROY this year.  Both have great skill and questions about their athleticism.  They will both get a shot for sure.
 
Rowe -- I love this kid.  He's been great for the Revs, just needs to tighten up his game a bit.  He turns the ball over a bit too much, but he's a smooth, classy operator with a great shot from range.
 
Fagundez -- root for the DREAM Act specifically so this guy can play for the US
 
Zelalem -- lots of hype around him and he's looked good in highlights.  He doesn't have a man's body yet, but he debuted for Arsenal already in a cup.  Hopefully he pans out but I haven't been able to see him actually play all that much so I just know the hype.
 

Titans Bastard

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Incumbents:
 
Clint Dempsey (35)
Chris Wondolowski (35)
Jozy Altidore (28)
Aron Johannsson (27)
 
At some point, we will reach the end of Clint and it will be sad.  We have already reached the end of Chris Wondolowski and nobody is going to get too worked up about that.
 
Jozy and Aron will obviously be expected to carry the load at forward, especially from the outset.
 
Challengers:
 
Terrence Boyd (27, RB Leipzig)
Gyasi Zardes (26, Los Angeles Galaxy)
Juan Agudelo (25, out of contract)
Jack McInerney (25, Montreal Impact)
 
 
I'm a big fan of Agudelo and I think that if he stays healthy he'll really challenge for a place in the starting lineup.  He was just so, so good for New England playing as a complete center forward.  He's strong and can hold the ball, he can finish, he's technical, he's a good passer and has good vision.  Just stay healthy, Juan, and make a wise career choice.  His contract with Stoke was canceled after he failed to win his work permit appeal hearing.
 
Boyd will be a solid depth player next cycle, but I just don't think he has the quality to be a starter.  Good in the air, but not great at holding the ball for a big man.  Technical ability is so-so.  Not always the best decision-maker.
 
Zardes is either a great prospect or the worst player you've ever seen.  It depends on the day you catch him.
 
McInerney is turning into a great poacher with a real nose for the goal, but he's small and not especially fast so there will be a lot of question about whether he can translate to the NT level.
 

Investor 11

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Titans Bastard said:
2018 Player Pool - Attacking Midfielders
 
I'd rather just lump them all together than sort left/middle/right because I think reality is too fluid to make those kinds of distinctions.
 
Incumbents:
 
Brad Davis (36)
Alejandro Bedoya (31)
Graham Zusi (31)
Mix Diskerud (27)
Julian Green (23)
 
Well, Davis' cameo as a poor man's Steve Ralston has come to a close.  Excellent MLS player, but that's that.
 
Bedoya and Zusi are hard workers who will stick around for a while, but I think we'd all agree that their places in the team can be had if the right talent comes along.
 
Diskerud will need to leave Norway at some point in time if he wants to consolidate a spot on the team.  He's a luxury player right now.  He doesn't offer enough defensively to be a box-to-box guy at the international level (even if he can do it in Norway).  He's not well-suited to playing wide, either.  He's an intriguing player, but he's really just a late-game joker sort of sub for now.
 
Green, we all know by now.  Big talent, let's hope he breaks through at Bayern.  If not, he'll hopefully still be good somewhere else.
 
Challengers:
 
Brek Shea (28, Stoke City)
Teal Bunbury (28, New England Revolution)
Joe Corona (27, Tijuana)
*Darlington Nagbe (27, Portland Timbers)
Dillon Powers (27, Colorado Rapids)
Josh Gatt (26, Molde)
Kelyn Rowe (26, New England Revolution)
Harry Shipp (26, Chicago Fire)
Luis Gil (24, Real Salt Lake)
**Diego Fagundez (23, New England Revolution)
Paul Arriola (23, Tijuana)
***Gedion Zelalem (21, Arsenal)
 
*Not a citizen, but should be one by 2015
**Green card holder, even if he turns down Uruguay he still might not be eligible for the US by 2018.  I'm not optimistic
***Rumors that he recently received US citizenship....we'll see
 
 
Shea -- well known, kind of an idiot, physical freak with a donkey's touch.  Role player at best
 
Bunbury -- has been surprisingly good since Jay Heaps moved him to the wing.  His speed is dangerous and he just looks more comfortable than he ever did up top
 
Corona -- Klinsmann has always been a fan and he's fairly slick with the ball, but like Jose Torres there doesn't seem to be much "there" there.
 
Gatt -- incredible speed demon who keeps getting injured and missing important development time
 
Nagbe & Gil -- always seem like they are on the verge of being string-pulling #10s in MLS but neither has quite gotten there.  Still, both are very good players but I'm waiting for them to take the final step.  Nagbe is Liberian, but grew up in the US and should get his citizenship soon.
 
Powers & Shipp -- Powers was the 2013 Rookie of the Year and Shipp surely will be the ROY this year.  Both have great skill and questions about their athleticism.  They will both get a shot for sure.
 
Rowe -- I love this kid.  He's been great for the Revs, just needs to tighten up his game a bit.  He turns the ball over a bit too much, but he's a smooth, classy operator with a great shot from range.
 
Fagundez -- root for the DREAM Act specifically so this guy can play for the US
 
Zelalem -- lots of hype around him and he's looked good in highlights.  He doesn't have a man's body yet, but he debuted for Arsenal already in a cup.  Hopefully he pans out but I haven't been able to see him actually play all that much so I just know the hype.
First off, great posts. Really enjoying everything you've written especially as someone who is finding themselves sucked into the sport.

Without going all V+N, Fagundez is not dependent on the DREAM act or any version of. He has obtained his Permanent Residency as of 10/2013 I believe. His 2 paths to citizenship now are to wait the standard 5 years and apply for citizenship or if he were to marry his US citizen girlfriend he could apply after three years. So in a next case scenario you could see him as a USMNT eligible by the end of 2016
 

LondonSox

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Question why do you guys like Bradley?
 
He was absolutely horrible last night going forward. In extra time he was constantly hesitant, waiting for the challenge and taking the bad option.
I remember multiple occasions just in extra time where he ignored the easy pass, then came back to the same guy except now covered and tried to make a hard pass.
 
I thought he was an absolute disaster going forward, though worked his socks off.
 
If he's your midfield general there is no hope. In fact generally creativity there was the big issue.
 

Titans Bastard

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Investor 11 said:
First off, great posts. Really enjoying everything you've written especially as someone who is finding themselves sucked into the sport.

Without going all V+N, Fagundez is not dependent on the DREAM act or any version of. He has obtained his Permanent Residency as of 10/2013 I believe. His 2 paths to citizenship now are to wait the standard 5 years and apply for citizenship or if he were to marry his US citizen girlfriend he could apply after three years. So in a next case scenario you could see him as a USMNT eligible by the end of 2016
 
The idea is that he'd have an accelerated timeline if the DREAM act existed, although as time passes and his five year wait continues it matters less and less.
 
It's never been stated outright, but reading between the lines his parents probably weren't here legally, which is why his citizenship process has started so late despite living all but 1-2 years in the US.  If he gets married, that would be a definite plus.  The other problem is that if he moves abroad anytime soon, that could also pose problems with acquiring citizenship.
 
 
LondonSox said:
Question why do you guys like Bradley?
 
He was absolutely horrible last night going forward. In extra time he was constantly hesitant, waiting for the challenge and taking the bad option.
I remember multiple occasions just in extra time where he ignored the easy pass, then came back to the same guy except now covered and tried to make a hard pass.
 
I thought he was an absolute disaster going forward, though worked his socks off.
 
If he's your midfield general there is no hope. In fact generally creativity there was the big issue.
 
Keep in mind that at the World Cup Bradley has been playing a role that has rarely ever been tasked with for club or for country in the past.  When we've seen him at his best, he's been a box-to-box midfielder with four attackers ahead of him.  At the WC, he was played at the tip of the diamond with Dempsey up top and somewhat defensive-minded wing players like Bedoya and Zusi on his flanks.
 
I think he's very much a "midfield general", but his natural place is deeper than where he played in Brazil.  He was basically given box-to-box responsibilities AND the responsibility of a central attacking midfielder.  On top of the fact that he doesn't exactly have Wesley Sneijder's skillset, that's a big ask physically.  I think he did it about as well as he could.  I hope that we can develop personnel next cycle that allows Bradley to play more to his strengths, though.
 

DLew On Roids

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McBride11 said:
TB amazing as usual, how you manage to follow all of these people is beyond me.
 
 
I was pondering this yesterday while catching up on the Yanks Abroad thread and could only conclude that if Google Alerts every gets retired, we'll have to hide all sharp objects in his home.  The amount of info TB covers is ridiculous.  
 

cjdmadcow

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Great posts, TB
 
As an outsider I'd be interested in getting a better understanding of the relationship between MLS and the USMNT.
 
For the US players to improve and move upto the next level individually would you not agree that they have to play in one of the main European leagues - better coaching, tougher games, different playing styles - and if so, what is the opinion of MLS & JK to this? I'm guessing JK would be all for it, but MLS want their top players playing in the US to help build the league?
 
Is there potential for a 'club v country' situation to develop that is all too familiar over here?
 

JimD

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Nothing to add other than my thanks to TB for all of the work in this thread.  As a WC convert and relative football newbie, it is greatly appreciated.  I'm very excited for the future of the USMNT.
 
Oh, and I'll be rooting for Joe Corona just because that is such an awesome name.  :p
 

Titans Bastard

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cjdmadcow said:
Great posts, TB
 
As an outsider I'd be interested in getting a better understanding of the relationship between MLS and the USMNT.
 
For the US players to improve and move upto the next level individually would you not agree that they have to play in one of the main European leagues - better coaching, tougher games, different playing styles - and if so, what is the opinion of MLS & JK to this? I'm guessing JK would be all for it, but MLS want their top players playing in the US to help build the league?
 
You have it right.  JK wants top US players to challenge themselves abroad.  MLS wants to retain some USMNT stars because they are more marketable and recognizable than ever before.  Even though the league has been growing steadily, most people won't give MLS the time of day (see: this board, for example).  So there is a bit of a conflict.
 
I support top US players going abroad, but I also don't think that staying in MLS is the disaster that some make it out to be.  MLS lifers like Beckerman, Besler, and Gonzalez did just fine in this World Cup.  That being said, Besler and Gonzalez may well be out the door within the next six months.
 
The other thing to keep in mind is that you can only go where you are wanted.  Besler was out of contract before the 2013 season and got offers from the Championship and Belgium.  He passed because neither represented much of an upgrade, if any at all.  Gonzalez, who is technically not an MLS lifer, went on loan to the Bundesliga, but his stint at Nürnberg lasted about two days before he was injured in training by none other than Timothy Chandler.  Perhaps Besler and Gonzalez will be in greater demand after this World Cup.
 
Lastly, I think some players a wary of Brek Shea-ing or Maurice Edu-ing themselves.  Both went to Stoke, failed miserably, and fell off the USMNT map.  For younger players in particular, it's important to pick a club in Europe that is invested in your development and isn't just taking a random flyer on you.
 
 
cjdmadcow said:
Is there potential for a 'club v country' situation to develop that is all too familiar over here?
 
Not in the European sense.  Euro clubs hate national teams and just view them as injury risks for their stars.  In MLS, clubs want their players in the USMNT because it reflects well on them and generates interest.
 

Titans Bastard

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JimD said:
Oh, and I'll be rooting for Joe Corona just because that is such an awesome name.  :p
 
Would you like him even more if I told you that his full name is Joe Benny Corona?
 
Because it is.
 

Infield Infidel

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cjdmadcow said:
Great posts, TB
 
As an outsider I'd be interested in getting a better understanding of the relationship between MLS and the USMNT.
 
For the US players to improve and move upto the next level individually would you not agree that they have to play in one of the main European leagues - better coaching, tougher games, different playing styles - and if so, what is the opinion of MLS & JK to this? I'm guessing JK would be all for it, but MLS want their top players playing in the US to help build the league?
 
Is there potential for a 'club v country' situation to develop that is all too familiar over here?
 
Not speaking for TB, but there are two sides to the MLS coin when it comes to the USMNT.
 
On the good side, young US players need a place to play, and get noticed by clubs overseas. 75% of the current team got their professional start, or played extensively, in MLS. Clubs overseas so far haven't been so hasty to sign young american players to their academies (although that's changing). Also, MLS teams building their academies will help the USMNT by getting more young players into professional environments. MLS academies are in their primordial stage right now, but the more money flowing in, the better they will get. So that's all good, and it is much more important than the next part, because we need as many pro players out there playing as possible, and MLS is a conduit for that.
 
On the flip side, the MLS teams want popular USMNT players here, and has a growing amount of money to do that. For guys like Donovan (who could have stayed at Everton), or Dempsey, they are older and it's not really a big deal IMHO. For Bradley, he's a younger guy, but he played fine, and his mentality bridges whatever the effect a drop in competition could have on his game. Where his game is in four years will have a big impact on how these kinds of moves are received. I'm hoping he does some kind of loan deal in 2016 or 2017 to an overseas club. Other guys in their prime, like say Altidore, I don't think he'd handle it well. I'd rather the MLS teams sign the Henry's and Kaka's of the world than bring back in-their-prime USMNT players. 
 
But on the whole, the MLS brings much more to the table than they take off. Bradley, Altidore, and Dempsey all got their starts in MLS. 
 

86spike

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The NYTimes Sports section has a nice post-mortem up on the USMNT's tournament experience that hits a lot of good points about the team as well as the fan support:
 
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/02/sports/soccer/world-cup-2014-belgium-eliminates-team-usa.html?ref=sports&_r=0
 
I clicked on the comments tab and was kind of overwhelmed a bit with the outpouring of positivity about our team from readers around the world.  I'm a casual fan and found this tournament to be thrillingly fun.  The national pride angle isn't usually my thing, but damned if I'm not sitting here this morning reading posts from Europe, Latin America and Asia which laud our team and feeling a lump in my throat.
 
Great ride, USMNT!  Let's do this again next time!
 

SoxFanInPdx

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TB, great stuff as usual. Good call on Nagbe as a possible option. His speed and the way he holds possession would make him an ideal fit into Klinsmann's system I think. As a season ticket holder of the Timbers, he's a joy to watch in person. Does a lot of great things off the ball as well.
 

LondonSox

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As an England fan I can tell you I would trade our team of douche bag, overpaid, lazy tools in a cocaine heartbeat for the work ethic and heart of the US team.
 
Unfortunately (for now) the talent isn't there. It's also a real shame because if the US wins the next game gets bigger and there's more build up etc (because the games get less frequent).
 
Anyway, just take that with you, the English guy would rather have your team and manager.
 

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moly99 said:
 
It seems obvious that he would head to Europe, but I'm not certain if he will.
 
The Sounders had a net profit of $19 million last year and since Yedlin is a homegrown player who came through their youth academy, his contract doesn't count against their salary cap. If they sold him to a Euro club they would pocket the money but they wouldn't get another designated player exception to replace him.
 
Moreover I'm not sure he would benefit by being the 23rd player on Manchester United as opposed to being a star in MLS. If he does go I hope he goes to a lower ranked team that would actually play him.
Awesome work TB. This is actually whete MLS would hurt a lot with their special rules. If there is a very strong incentive to keep players, I would not feel as good about Benteke, Debruyne or Courtois if they were still playing at Genk. Only one of them plays on an exceptional team but they play at a much higher level than the Jupiler league or MLS.
One thing I am not yet seeing is anyone outside Green starting at a pro level at a very young age. Lukaku an Hazard were 16 when they played at at least MLS level. There are very few late bloomers in soccer. If you dont play at 19 in MLS, you wont be a star, you might still be a pro.

Hopefully there are some 15 year old who can be the USMNT Origi or Januzaj in Russia.
 

DJnVa

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Yedlin's future: http://www.sounderatheart.com/sounders-trades-transfers-rumors/2014/7/1/5863278/deandre-yedlin-transfer-price
 
He's probably better than MLS deserves at this point. Yes, he's definitely what MLS wants, but as Adrian Hanauer said on KJR with Gasman on Seattle Soccer Talk "there's always a number." We can only guess at what that number to take our Yedlin away is. Andy Najar was worth about $3 million when he was sold by D.C. United. Yedlin is going to get the World Cup bounce.
 
 
Then a twitter suggestion that the price will be about $5 million.
 
That's enough for a lot of Allocation Money, that magical off-cap stuff. And it is probably worth it. That's nearly 700k$ off cap. That's another $3 million to go toward other soccer related activities (coaches, trainers, lockerroom improvements, training ground improvements, USL PRO team, Academy, DP transfer fees).
 
 

DJnVa

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Also, Julian Green became the youngest player since Messi to score in the World Cup.
 

cjdmadcow

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LondonSox said:
... the English guy would rather have your team and manager.
 
I wouldn't be surprised in the least if Klinsman is the England manager at some point. I know he's fully committed in the US and has a senior development role to play but I get the feeling that the draw of reviving England would be attractive to him.
 
Maybe in 2 years time or so?
 

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cjdmadcow said:
 
I wouldn't be surprised in the least if Klinsman is the England manager at some point. I know he's fully committed in the US and has a senior development role to play but I get the feeling that the draw of reviving England would be attractive to him.
 
Maybe in 2 years time or so?
 
You don't think he will see the US through one more World Cup?
 

Cellar-Door

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cjdmadcow said:
 
I wouldn't be surprised in the least if Klinsman is the England manager at some point. I know he's fully committed in the US and has a senior development role to play but I get the feeling that the draw of reviving England would be attractive to him.
 
Maybe in 2 years time or so?
I really really doubt it.
The FA will never give him the control he wants.
Also England is a shit job. Huge expectations with a middling at best talent pool, and a fanbase that half of them think it is a betrayal to have a non-English manager, and all of expect the team to not only win, but play attacking football at the same time.
 

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Plus, I think Klinsmann loves being in America.  He gets to play the vision card here the way he couldn't in Europe.  This is the only place where, in 10, 20, 30 years from now, he can claim he built a superpower.
 

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BelgianSoxFan said:
Awesome work TB. This is actually whete MLS would hurt a lot with their special rules. If there is a very strong incentive to keep players, I would not feel as good about Benteke, Debruyne or Courtois if they were still playing at Genk. Only one of them plays on an exceptional team but they play at a much higher level than the Jupiler league or MLS.
One thing I am not yet seeing is anyone outside Green starting at a pro level at a very young age. Lukaku an Hazard were 16 when they played at at least MLS level. There are very few late bloomers in soccer. If you dont play at 19 in MLS, you wont be a star, you might still be a pro.

Hopefully there are some 15 year old who can be the USMNT Origi or Januzaj in Russia.
 
 
Honestly, I'm more concerned about what's going on before players hit the pros.  Is Lukaku good because he played professionally starting at age 16 or did he start getting into pro games at age 16 because he was good?
 
We need to make it easier for good teenagers to get into quality developmental situations in the pros (and I think that's happening), but we need to generate more really good teenagers in the first place.  That all comes down to youth coaching, especially at younger ages.  Once you fall behind, it's basically impossible to be a true star.  It's way too easy to start behind or fall behind in the US because the quality of coaching is uneven.
 
By the way, Green isn't starter (he's only ever made one sub appearance for Bayern), though obviously his competition at Bayern isn't remotely comparable to what most of our other players are facing.  Yedlin and Brooks are starters, though, and there are some others around their age as well.
 

DJnVa

Dorito Dawg
SoSH Member
Dec 16, 2010
43,590
Titans Bastard said:
 
We need to make it easier for good teenagers to get into quality developmental situations in the pros (and I think that's happening), but we need to generate more really good teenagers in the first place.  That all comes down to youth coaching, especially at younger ages.  Once you fall behind, it's basically impossible to be a true star.  It's way too easy to start behind or fall behind in the US because the quality of coaching is uneven.
 
 
We need more academies. I know the MSL teams have them, but that needs to flood down to other leagues--and I'm sure in some cases they do have them--hell, the NPSL team here now has one.
 
But there's no budget. Who's really out looking at the various U14 or U16 tournaments? And the few people that are looking, are they looking at the right things?
 
Hopefully JK now takes time to build on this--stressing that the work needs to be done at the youth levels.
 

OilCanMDS

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 29, 2007
422
Washington, DC
Great posts, TB.  I am always an optimist that thinks our next wave of talent is going to have a world class player in it.  I have been keeping tabs on some of the young US players that have made their way over to European clubs.  What do you think the chances are Junior Flores, Rubio Rubin or Marc Pelosi makes an impact at the next World Cup?  I know Pelosi is coming off a major leg injury, but I heard he is back training with Liverpool and seeing some game action for their youth team.