From College to the Pros - The US soccer ladder

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Let's check in with some of our other National teams, maybe they can win...

With such a poor performance by the US it is natural for me to start focusing on WC 2010. While I probably won't make the journey to South Africa, there are a bunch of guys on the US U-18 team hoping to be the next Eddie Johnson.

Right now the US U-18 squad is over in Portugal playing in the Lisbon international Tournament. They also played a friendly against Real Madrid Juniors on June 5th. The team hasn't won any games, but they're scoring goals and getting points on the board with draws. First the tied Real Madrid Juniors 3-3. In the Lisbon tournament they tied Sweden 2-2 and then Norway 1-1. On Sunday they lost to host Portugal 1-0.

All of the American goals in the above results were scored by two players; Josmer Altidore & Jonathan Villanueva.

Let's start with Altidore since he's more of a known quantity at this point. Josmer is still in high school. He's 16 years old. He's a member of the New York Red Bulls after being drafted this year by the Red Bulls in the second round of the SuperDraft. In 7th and 8th grade he was playing high school varsity soccer. He joined the US U-17 residency program in the fall of 2004. He scores goals like it is his job and in the next few years he will no doubt be scoring them in MLS.

Villanueva is a slightly different story. He hasn't gone pro yet. He is going to college. He finished at his own high school in Texas as opposed to moving to Florida. Strike that, he went to Bradenton, Florida and left after one year. Back in Texas he led his South Grand Prairie team to the regional quarter finals. In the fall Jonathan will go to the University of Virginia. He is considered the top soccer prospect in the country and could bring some of the prestige back to UVA soccer. Villanueva was names the top high school player in Texas and joins names like Kenny Cooper & Drew Moor, two MLS pro's. A midfielder, Villanueva has a list of honors a mile long. He is a two-time National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-American (2004-05), Adidas ESP Inivitee (2003-05) and Adidas All-Star (2005). He was voted Newcomer of the Year for private schools in his area as freshman in 2002. Villanueva played for one of the top club teams in the country, the Dallas Texans. He was a member of the ODP -- Region III (2000-2002) team as well as a five-time Coca Cola Classic League Champion (2001-2005). He helped lead teams to the Region III Championship titles twice (2003, 2005) and to a third place at the national championship in 2003. He helped his team to a national championship in 2005. Villanueva was a US National Team member in 2003. He is a two-time Premier League Champion as well as a four-time state champion (2002-05). He will certainly be one to watch in the college ranks come the fall.


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