Young Americans struggle for playing time

[MLS SPOTLIGHT] For a league whose future is dependent on producing young talent, in part to replace young stars who move to foreign destinations, MLS continues to struggle in the area of player development. Of the Americans playing their first or second season of pro ball, only a dozen have played 800 or more minutes so far this season. Of those, only two players -- second-year defender AJ Soares (New England) and rookie goalie Ryan Meara (New York) -- have started every game their team has played. Almost all the Americans coming into MLS are still via the college ranks. Homegrown Americans without college experience in their first or second MLS season have totaled 38 minutes.

Note: Year denotes first professional season.

(YEAR 1 & 2 PROS)

Chicago Fire
(2011) Jalil Anibaba 13-12 1-0 1095
(2012) Austin Berry 8-8 2-0 720
(2012) Hunter Jumper 2-0 0-0 27

Chivas USA
(2012) Casey Townsend 7-3 1-0 274
(2012) Cesar Romero 8-1 0-0 191
(2011) Scott Gordon 3-0 0-0 23

Colorado Rapids

(2012) Tony Cascio 14-13 2-1 1095

Columbus Crew

(2011) Eric Gehrig 8-6 0-1 621
(2012) Kirk Urso 6-5 0-1 453
(2012) Ethan Finlay 10-3 0-0 360
(2011) Justin Meram 5-3 3-0 267
(2012) Aaron Schoenfeld 6-2 0-1 194
(2011) Cole Grossman 2-1 0-0 135

FC Dallas
(2012) Matt Hedges 10-5 2-0 496
(2011) Bobby Warshaw 6-2 0-0 298
(2011) Jonathan Top 2-0 0-1 30

D.C. United
(2011) Perry Kitchen 14-14 0-1 1198
(2012) Nick DeLeon 11-10 3-2 832
(2011) Chris Korb 10-7 0-1 690
(2011) Joe Willis 9-9 1.60 810

Houston Dynamo

(2011) Will Bruin 13-12 6-1 1023
(2012) Warren Creavalle 1-1 0-0 90
(2011) Alex Dixon 2-0 0-0 50
(2012) Brian Ownby 1-0 0-1 12
(2011) Kofi Sarkodie 1-0 0-0 8

Los Angeles Galaxy
(2012) Tommy Meyer 4-4 0-0 339
(2012) Bryan Gaul 3-3 0-0 264
(2011) Hector Jimenez 1-1 1-0 90
(2012) Kenney Walker 1-1 0-0 45
(2011) Jack McBean 1-0 0-0 8

Montreal Impact
(2011) Jeb Brovsky 9-9 0-0 732
(2011) Zarek Valentin 6-6 0-0 515
(2012) Andrew Wenger 11-2 3-0 340

New England Revolution

(2011) AJ Soares 14-14 1-0 1219
(2011) Stephen McCarthy 12-12 0-1 999
(2012) Kelyn Rowe 11- 8 2-1 677
(2011) Blake Brettschneider 9-6 1-0 572
(2012) Alec Purdie 4-0 0-0 33
(2012) Tyler Polak 1-0 0-0 30

New York Red Bulls

(2012) Connor Lade 7-5 0-1 500
(2012) Ryan Meara 14-14 1.50 1260

Philadelphia Union

(2011) Michael Farfan 12-11 0-0 1009
(2012) Raymon Gaddis 7-7 0-0 569
(2012) Chandler Hoffman 3-1 0-0 80
(2012) Antoine Hoppenot 3-0 0-0 54
(2011) Zac MacMath 10-10 1.30 900
Portland Timbers

(2012) Andrew Jean-Baptiste 4-3 1-0 336
(2011) Freddie Braun 2-0 0-0 160

Real Salt Lake

(2012) Sebastian Velasquez 6-5 0-0 342

San Jose Earthquakes

(2012) Sam Garza 3-0 0-0 132
(2012) Cesar Diaz Pizarro 1-0 0-0 29

Seattle Sounders

(2011) Alex Caskey 9-4 0-2 389
(2011) Servando Carrasco 6-1 0-0 128
(2011) Bryan Meredith 8-7 1.30 675

Sporting Kansas City
(2011) C.J. Sapong 12-11 5-0 916
(2011) Soony Saad 1-0 17
(2011) Konrad Warzycha 1-0 0-0 1

Toronto FC

(2012) Luis Silva 9-5 0-0 499
(2012) Aaron Maund 2-0 0-0 92
Vancouver Whitecaps

(2011) Omar Salgado 6-5 0-1 385
(2011) Michael Nanchoff 1-0 0-0 1

21 comments about "Young Americans struggle for playing time".
  1. Luis Arreola, June 20, 2012 at 9:18 a.m.

    What a surprise. Chicago Fires only homegrown, Victor Pineda has not seen one minute of pro play but manages to be on the national teams and score for 3-4 years now. You would think that giving this kid some pro experience would onlyvraise his stock. The Fire is now fully sponsoring its top teams from what I hear starting this year. That's a huge step in the right direction. Hopefully it will not get corrupt.

  2. cisco martinez, June 20, 2012 at 11:45 a.m.

    When is the US going to start more academy's such as Bradenton camp in which produces current US standouts? Every MLS club along with the Olympic Development Program need to establish teams to compete against one another and at the same time use some of these elite players as youth reserves for MLS teams so they establish some experience. The current problem is that highly recruited high school players enter the collegiate level most players are not developed. They play along side players that are not as technically or tactically aware as the players they played with at the ODP level. The collegiate level is a mix of walk-ons, club, and ODP player all playing at different levels.

  3. cisco martinez, June 20, 2012 at 12:49 p.m.

    Well here are my credentials professor. A former player at San Jose State during its 20-1-1 season, a product of ODP Region IV, top recruit according to for the 2000 class, and former coach at SJSU. Here are just a few current standouts from the Bradenton Academy, Landon Donovan, Dempsey, Altidore, Oneywu, Convey, and Beasley just to name a few. Is it expensive, of course, however that is simply because at that time US soccer invested many resources into making the 82/83 be the year to win the World Cup. How do I know this, beacause I not only compete with Donovan at that time, I had many friends that were on the US National U-17 team that played in New Zealand where the US had its best finish in any Youth National Level.
    Playing at the collegiate level, you see many player come from club programs, walk-ons, ODP players, and experience collegiate players all playing at different levels on the same team. This is currently happening at many Division I schools, what I am advocating are MLS teams mirroring European youth programs, instead of sending elite youth players coming out to the collegiate level to compete with lower caliber players.

  4. Luis Arreola, June 20, 2012 at 5:56 p.m.

    Ric, Amen. The biggest problem is too many people are happy or satisfied with the mediocre and blatantly corrupt systems in place. It is all too obvious that youth soccer is a business first and second. Beware of especially those that say "we do this for the kids". Its a business in most other countries as well but with proven results like in Mexico's case. They are outright looking great with all youth levels.

  5. cisco martinez, June 20, 2012 at 6:49 p.m.

    There are more than just a few that have been successful in regards to the Bradenton Academy. Most MLS players and US internationals began in the 1999 class and continues to this day. As for ODP "pay to play," I can only speak for myself I had my father sending out e-mails and letters to get contributions from friends to get the opportunity to play at the ODP Level. Are the finances a barrier for inner city kids, possibly, that is why I advocate more investment for MLS teams to set up youth clubs similar to European clubs. It is "pie in the sky" or wishful thinking that MLS is self-serving; perhaps, however to be the Barcelona's, United's, Ajax, or PSV's of the world this country needs to invest in its players and its community to get results. There is no wonder why these clubs consistently perform at the highest levels and bring up top talents when they reach the international level.

  6. Gordon Hayes, June 20, 2012 at 10:17 p.m.

    Cisco - excellent posts - just to let you know no matter what you say Luis will never agree - he wants a US MNT of all Mexican Americans - I don't care the race, I just want them to be our best athletes and I am learning Ric is kind of his 'bodyguard' and a bit more prudent with his comments but not by much - I played DI and coached DI and you are right - there are walk-ons at every program and there can be many of them depending on the year. You are also spot on about the 2000 class but don't expect Luis or Ric to go with you on that unless they are hispanic. Luis never played the game and is a daddy coach and does not think anyone in the US knows anything about the game because they are not born in another country so I would not even get started with these guys - they just cry and cry and cry about corruption and racism - I am sure they will call me a racist for this post. You are definitely seeing things correctly.

  7. Luis Arreola, June 21, 2012 at 12:02 a.m.

    Gordon, If Ric is my bodyguard then you must be my evil enemy. I don't think Cisco is the type of person that will agree with most of you're points. Why don't you tell us what you think is a general aspect of the Hispanic player in regards to character. Lets see what Mr. Cisco thinks then about you. By the way, Gordon states that Hispanics in general show bad sporting behavior and that is something he does not want on our usnmt.

  8. Daniel Clifton, June 21, 2012 at 8:37 a.m.

    We can have all the Jurgen Klinsmann's we want, but if the development of young soccer players does not change in this county we will remain right at the level we are now. Things are not going to get better. MLS clubs I believe have to heavily get involved in finding and developing talent. The Pay to Play structure we now have is not going to develop the best young talent because such talent doesn't always come from families that can Pay. I don't understand what these MLS clubs are doing. I really enjoyed reading Ric Fonseca's blurb about finding out how much these youth soccer clubs make and in particular their directors. This is all about making money. Whenever you hear something like: "We are doing it for the kids.", a red flag should immediately pop up in your mind. If the MLS Clubs do not grab the bull by the horns and fashion true youth academies for the development of young talent I doubt the USA is going to improve much in the soccer world. It appears to me that the academy system that has been developed over recent years is just more of "Pay to Play" and now the kids who do it can't play high school ball. I have an acquaintance who is a former pro player who thought that soccer in the US will really start to improve when guys choose soccer so they can be the big man on campus in high school. So much for that idea.

  9. Kerry Ogden, June 21, 2012 at 8:51 a.m.

    Ric you hit the nail on the head, The MLS cries about cost but they're the one's imposing the cost upon themselves by paying rediculous prices for DP's & some of the international players while the rest of the playing field starves. What I would like to see, which I know won't happen is all-American fielded MLS Teams. It would cut cost drastically for MLS club, maybe increase ticket sales due to the fact that American's love American hero's not necessarily a field mainly consisted of International players. If the MLS truely wanted to help improve the quality of play for the USMNT this is the best place to start, here in the USA!

  10. cisco martinez, June 21, 2012 at 10:54 a.m.

    I would like to say I do not want to engage into the race-baiting. I will say that my main focus is to make the Youth, Collegiate, and MLS reserves more competitive in the US. How we do that of course is up to debate. So lets not get distracted as soccer fans, players, coaches on racial matters. We are for better or for worse Americans that come from differing backgrounds, "e pluribus unum."

  11. Luis Arreola, June 21, 2012 at 11:40 a.m.

    Cisco, I think the first step must be to truly scout the best players in USA to first know exactly the amount of talent we have before we determine exactly what we need to improve in development wise. Odp is a step backwards in this regard. The best talent historically has usually come from humble beginnings. There are too many talented players in USA that can't afford Odp prices. Odp talent has diminished dramatically each year. Illinois Odp is $450 for 4 Winter training sessions of 3 hours, $90 for 4 hours of scrimmage/combine and $400-$600 for 4 days of Regional play so far. There was a very low percentage of Hispanics this year. Odp has been a main source of player selection for our USA national teams. I know most or all of the talent in Illinois and Odp pool is B/C at best.

  12. cisco martinez, June 21, 2012 at 12:16 p.m.

    It is true ODP is expensive; it can be, but so are the club programs that are unfortunately profiting off one of the cheapest sports to play. The Chicago and Southern California programs are notorious for this. Does socio-economics play into who plays at a competitive level, it can. Although what I have noticed is even if finances are a problem, many clubs that do have the money and resources, will add on good players for big tournaments. These tournaments include, Dallas Cup, Pateodores, Surf Cup, and even smaller tournaments where college scouts can see players and recruit them. I was recruited at the ODP level (San Jose State & Cal) and also at the club level (Bradley) and I wasn't rich. A good friend of mine Raul Rivera was a part of the original class of 1999 Bradenton Academy, Alberto Gutierrez and Fausto Villegas both All-Americans from Chino and Half Moon Bay,played with me at SJSU, were both on the U-17 team that competed in Egypt, Alberto was not even seen at the ODP level.

  13. Luis Arreola, June 21, 2012 at 2:09 p.m.

    Cisco, I agree that nothing is impossible but it is made to difficult to get the best players noticed, regardless of economic status, in a country that is supposed to make it easier than the rest. You're dad did more than should be needed to help you succeed in the sport you loved as am I for my son who I have taken to Id2 and Odp tryouts and has been invited to all 4 U.S S.F. training sessions held in Iinois. He is on top Regional player list for 99's. Odp's talent level has no comparison with other 2 and is the only one to cost something. I take him there to not leave any stone unturned. Id2 put him on top list in Illinois but did not invite him to Camps in N.C. or California. Not sure why especially after looking at the list that were invited. He scored the most goals at the one day Id2 Illinois tryout. In all 4 U.S.S.F sessions he has trained and competed against 98's and 97's and never against his actual age with 99's. I have recommended other top players to Odp but they get easily discouraged once they find out the prices. I think that the biggest problem is that Hispanics are used to seeing top players get invited for free to these types of evaluations in thirty home countries. So Odp prices take away the credebility for them of a serious talent scouting system.

  14. Gordon Hayes, June 21, 2012 at 3:44 p.m.

    Cisco - I could not agree more with your comment to leave race out of it - well-said. I commented some time ago in absolute agreement with Daniel's post to what the former pro player referenced about not getting the best athletes to choose soccer and that we are losing that battle in the high schools and Luis chimed in on me about race and corruption - you can see it in every post of his - he cries corruption and victimhood when his son does not get picked SO I try and warn others of his motives and background so people understand the basis of his comments and that people do not get caught up in his race-baiting.

  15. cisco martinez, June 21, 2012 at 4:53 p.m.

    I just want to point out that coaches at the highest levels do not discriminate on the basis of race and if they do, they do so at their own peril. Th only reason I mention socio-economic is because you imply that hispanics do not get seen due to financial reasons and are therefore "easily discouraged." This may be a valid point, however I caution you once again, I am a Mexican-American, and I can name many examples of players that were "easily discouraged" and succeeded. Do not give yourself or your son the excuse that because he didn't make it or other sdidn't was due to race.

  16. cisco martinez, June 21, 2012 at 6:16 p.m.

    Luis, I can honesty say that when I competed at the Region IV level and didn't make the US National pool, it was simply because my Region IV coach (Erik Visser, USF coach and Cameron Rat, Santa Clara University) said, "my tactical and technical ability was very good, however to play at the next level I needed to work on my speed and endurance." And guess what I did, as funny as it may seemed I joined the Cross-country team in high school!

  17. Luis Arreola, June 21, 2012 at 11:24 p.m.

    Cisco, I am in no way making excuses for anything. Please don't be influenced by Gordon's ignorance rants. He only makes comments in response to mine and has nothing really to contribute to a discussion. My son is placed on top Regional list by an U.S.S.F. scout as a top center forward. Whatever Odp or Id2 thinks of him is second to this scout. I just wanteded to point out how inconsistent these tryouts can actually be andc therefore discouraging. I'm a fighter and won't let anyone put us down but not every dad has my energy or determination. I am worried for Hispanics generally. You are a great example of what Latinos can accomplish with determination to do so.

  18. Luis Arreola, June 21, 2012 at 11:32 p.m.

    By the way, NY son has only played as a forward for 1.5 years. Before this he was Center mid for one year and defender for a year before that. He was labeled top 99/98 goalie for 2 years before that. I am proud of him and everything he has achieved so far has been at an accelerated pace. I am always looking for an achieved Latino role model like yourself to present to my son and players. Hopefully we can get in contact sometime and I can send you some videos of my son in action so you can give me an evaluation. Thx for you're input and assurance.

  19. Gordon Hayes, June 23, 2012 at 5:47 p.m.

    "Cisco, I am in no way making excuses for anything."............."Id2 put him on top list in Illinois but did not invite him to Camps in N.C. or California. Not sure why especially after looking at the list that were invited. He scored the most goals at the one day Id2 Illinois tryout.".........hmmmmm.

  20. Gordon Hayes, June 23, 2012 at 11:20 p.m.

    Ric - you like to point out your resume and act like you are the sole expert on the game but, of course, as Cisco pointed out, there are others that have also been there and done that and at a much higher level as a player and coach than you will ever be myself included. You are also flat out wrong about Luis - he has said as much in previous posts so shame on you and your vast experience for speaking out of ignorance. I will give you one example - i pointed out to Luis that the most recent U17 team had 5-6 Hispanic players and a hispanic coach and how they got crushed by Gemany and his response was it should have been more Hispanics. So those are facts Ric so try and not be biased and try and see past the trees and dig for facts - anyone with your vast experience surely would know to do that. Other than that, your point is fine - if there is a problem with selection then address it but I too was a ODP coach and I, like Cisco, never saw one bit of 'corruption' or poor player selection. And so you know the facts before you spout off again - my original point was to get the best athletes to choose soccer - that was all I said - I think this was my first post ever and your buddy Luis' response - "I am tired of that bad excuse..."The best soccer players come from Hispanic countries usually"...."You are the problem. People that think like you are the ones in charge of youth soccer. Hence, the consequences.". So, you see Ric, you are wrong and were wrong without knowing the facts. Luis is a race-baiter and a victim - I hope you are not - but his influence, in my opinion, is a problem and is a problem with youth soccer and his lack of experience, his lack of belief in the white and black player, his blind racism and his arrogance based solely on his place of birth is part of the problem - many others have recognized it on these forums and Cisco recognized his victimhood in about two short posts. I too want what is best for the US program and want the best athletes to choose soccer regardless of race.

  21. Luis Arreola, June 24, 2012 at 1 a.m.

    Gordon, and so you're obsession continues with me. For somebody as educated as you you sure do misread a lot. I said A U.S.S F. SCOUT put him on top regional player list. Id2 has nothing to do with this. Somebody as experienced as you should know that Id2 and Odp recommend their top p scouted players to these U.S.S. F. Scouts you imbecile. Ric, don't waste you're time with this idiot. He looks out for my posts exclusively to make his stupid rants and doesn't contribute any real opinion to any of these blogs. He was an Odp coach?? No wonder..

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