[USA CONFIDENTIAL] For the time being, more promising young Americans are trying their luck overseas than in MLS, but breaking into the first team at a foreign club, let alone landing a steady starting job, remains difficult. Only two Americans under 23 have started more than 30 league games. For more on the young Americans playing abroad ...
Part I: Young MLS talent
Of the 17 Americans under 23 who made league appearances at the top two levels of foreign clubs in 2010-11, only Norwegian-bred Mikkel Diskerud (Stabaek) and Joe Benny Corona (who helped Tijuana win promotion to Mexico's First Division) have started more than 30 games. Only seven have made more than 10 starts.
Even U.S. stars Jozy Altidore and Freddy Adu have had a hard time holding down starting jobs. Altidore and Adu have started an average of only eight and five games a season, respectively, since moving to Europe.
The third foreign-based U-23 on the U.S. Gold Cup team is defender Eric Lichaj, who started for the first time in 2010-11 in his third season in England.
Timothy Chandler, who debuted this winter at German club Nuremberg, turned down a Gold Cup call-up to rest.
The next season should see how far along such promising players as U.S. U-20s Sebastien Lletget (West Ham) and Joe Gyau (Hoffenheim) are.
U.S. U-23s Abroad*
GS Player (2010-11 Team, Country) Age
44 Mikkel Diskerud (Stabaek, NOR) 20
35 Joe Benny Corona (Tijuana, MEX) 20
24 Jozy Altidore (Bursaspor, TUR) 21
20 Freddy Adu (Rizespor, TUR) 22
19 Eric Lichaj (Aston Villa/Leeds, ENG) 22
11 Timothy Chandler (Nuremberg, GER) 21
11 Eugene Starikov (Tom Tomsk, RUS) 22
8 Daniel Williams (Freiburg, GER) 22
8 Joshua Gatt (Molde, NOR) 19
7 Gale Agbossoumonde (Djurgarden, SWE) 19
5 Conor Doyle (Derby County, ENG) 19
1 Tony Taylor (Estoril, POR) 21
1 Alfredo Morales (Hertha Berlin, GER) 21
0 Greg Garza (Estoril, POR) 19
0 Samuel Petrone (Mjallby, POR) 21
0 Adrian Ruelas (Santos, MEX) 20
0 Bobby Wood (1860 Munich, GER) 18
*Players under-23 who made first-team league appearances in 2010-11 for foreign clubs in the top two levels.
GS=career games started for foreign clubs in the top two levels.