From College to the Pros - The US soccer ladder

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

So much for the US becoming the regional youth champions...

The CONCACAF U-17 championship was canceled due to the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico. It seems like the right thing to do, but I was really looking forward to seeing the US youth match up against our rivals to the south in the final. The rivalry between the two CONCACAF powers is intense and it is good to indoctrinate our players at a young age. The current U-17 team getting a chance to match up again a strong opponent in Mexico would have been a great event for the young Americans. Ohh well, another time.

Mexico went 3-0 in their group posting a +11 scoring differential. The US went 3-0 in their group posting a +10 scoring differential. I guess Mexico beat us there.

So no U-17 CONCACAF Champion will be crowned this time around. Until 2011.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

U-17 CONCACAF Championships -> U-17 World Cup

Well folks, the US has done it again. As you'll see in the right margin the US U-17 team has been to every U-17 World Championship since FIFA started hosting the tournament in 1985 and this summer will be no different. With two wins in the first two matches at the CONCACAF Championships, currently being playing in Mexico, the US stamped their ticket to this summer's World Cup in Nigeria. In the first match the US demolished Cuba by a score of 5-0. Next they beat up on our neighbors to the north by a score of 4-2.

The American's potent offense is being led by Jack McInerney who has four goals and two assists in the first two matches. McInerney is a Georgia native who has been part of the US U-17 residency program since the fall of 2007. That is when he first landed in my database.

Next up for the young Americans is Honduras. They play tomorrow. The US already has a ticket to the tournament semi-finals booked. If you want to follow along with the tournament, head on over to the official CONCACAF website.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Kyle Davies Returns To US

It looks 19 year old centerback Kyle Davies has given up on playing in England for the time being. He's signed a 4 year deal with Major League Soccer. Real Salt Lake one the lottery and now have his player rights.

With an English mom and a Welsh dad, was this the best of moves for Davies? He was getting regular playing time with Southampton's reserve squad this year. And with his contract coming to end he would've been free to move to another club in search of playing time. Will he progress as well in the MLS? Will he see any playing time this year?

A bit from Southampton's web site :

Saints' American defender Kyle Davies has returned home to the States after signing a 4-year deal with Real Salt Lake.

The MLS side swooped to sign the 20-year old centre-back, who recently captained the USA Under-20's side in their CONCACAF Championship, as a pick in this year's draft lottery.

Davies was out of contract with Southampton in the summer, but Major League Soccer's transfer window closed on April 15th, meaning that the Utah-based team had to move early to seal the transfer.

This however means that Saints will receive compensation for the player who joined the Saints Academy as a Second Year scholar in 2007, but has found regular first team opportunities limited by more senior players.

Head coach Mark Wotte explained more about the background to the move by saying that he felt that it would hopefully be a win-win situation for all parties involved.

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Friday, April 03, 2009

Enjoying the MLS Season?

Hello folks. Sorry for the slow rate of posting recently. In many ways life has prevented me from focusing a lot of attention on FCTP recently. Apologies.

If you don't know about the MLS Confidential blog, you should learn about it. It is run by Soccer America, the longest serving American Soccer media outlet I know of. The blog features the thoughts of Ridge Mahoney, a great soccer journalist. In his most recent post Mahoney talks about young American players moving to Europe.

I find the following quote particularity interesting.

MLS, and U.S. Soccer, regularly take broadside hits for their efforts to find, develop and groom players, but ours is not a soccer culture, where being steeped in the game nurtures understandings and appreciations most American players need to be taught. Just about every player who heads overseas talks about feeling out of place, surrounded by so many teammates for whom so much about the game is second nature, learned by absorption as much as instruction.

That is the truth, isn't it? American kids who have lived soccer for their first 18 years are living in a "new" soccer nation if you listen to MLS. However, this isn't a soccer nation. MLS is still the outsider to the American sports landscape. Maybe in 50 years people won't remember a time when there wasn't professional soccer on our shores but even then there will not be the history the sport has in Europe. Will American kids ever grow up with the sport at a level where it is "learned by absorption as much as instruction?" That is really the difference between our young players and the rest of the world.

I hope that will change someday. I hope my kids grow up with an understanding and appreciation of the beautiful game. Anyway, be sure to subscribe through Google Reader or a similar service to MLS Confidential. It is one of the best blogs out there.

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