From College to the Pros - The US soccer ladder

Monday, July 20, 2009

Players Starting the Fall Season With Some Extra Practice...

While most of the news these days is about David Beckham's return to MLS, the US' performance in the Gold Cup and MLS' drop in attendance, I'd like to remind everyone that we still have the U-17 World Cup and U-20 World Cup coming up this summer/fall. As part of that, many college players are getting some extra credit training in this summer. While their peers are playing on club and/or PDL teams, there are many college players training and playing matches with the young nats.

Tomorrow, July 21st 2009, the US U-20 team heads to Argentina for a 10-day camp with a couple international matches as part of the Copa Cuidad de Rosario. College players making the trip: Brian Perk - GK UCLA, Gale Agbossoumonde - D UCLA, Ike Opara - D Wake Forest, Dilly Duka - M Rutgers, Brian Ownby - M University of Virginia, Dillon Powers - M Notre Dame, Michael Stephens - M UCLA, Sam Garza - F University of Denver and Tony Taylor - F Jacksonville University. Wow, UCLA is going to have some fit players when they return to NCAA action this fall.

Do you think it will help their campaign to have some many players coming in from National Team camp? There is downside, if these guys perform well and make the U-20 WC team they head to Egypt in late September and could be gone for up to one month.

At the same time the US U-17 men are down in Brazil training and playing in the Copa Macae. These guys are still on their club teams and haven't quite reached college. Most of these guys have been part of the US U-17 Bradenton Residency program but I did see one or two who haven't. It was also interesting to see a couple names from the recent Development Academy Starting XI; Riley Wolfe & Victor Chavez. Another common thread...Parade's annual All-American list.

I don't know about you but I am excited for these events later this year.

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Zizou Visits Denver, Plays With Young American All*Stars...

For those who don't subscribe to the Rapids' Undercurrent Blog you will have missed this gem. Yes, Zinedine Zidane just happened to stop by the adidas ESP camp going on here in Denver and actually played with the All*Star team of the annual event.

This kind of blows my mind. Every summer the adidas ESP event is a premier invite only camp that works with the best of the American youth soccer field. What an amazing opportunity for these kids to meet one of the greatest players of all time and actually play with him. Hopefully some of the players gleamed a bit of skill from the master while playing alongside him.

The Rapids' blog even shows a photo of Zidane working some young American keeper.

So who else has been an ESP All*Star? I'm glad you asked.

Current college and US Youth standouts: Ofori Sarkodie, Christopher Schuler, Andre Akpan, Danny Barrera, Will Bruin, Bill Dworsky, Casey Townsend and more.

Professionals: Edgar Castillo, Charlie Davies (participated in the 2003 ESP event but wasn't an All*Star), Salvatore Zizzo, Brad Ring and more.

So there you go, perhaps a future MLS players will be able to say he learned a move from Zizou in 2009 in Denver. That will be cool.


Premier Soccer Academies - gone?

It is sad to read about the demise of what I thought was a good idea. I had visions in my mind of starting something similar here in Denver using the great Dick's Sporting Good Soccer Complex. Unfortunately it looks like it is harder to make a go of than I thought. Bummer.