Commentary

Teen stars sign with MLS clubs

By Mike Woitalla

In the wake of Atlanta United, set to begin MLS play in 2017, signing 15-year-old Andrew Carleton, comes news that D.C. United has signed 16-year-old Chris Durkin.

Both players are currently part of the U.S. U-17 national team residency program in Bradenton, Fla., and Durkin is U.S. U-17 captain.

Durkin, who hails from Glen Allen, Virginia, and spent five years in the D.C. United academy program, will train with D.C. United through the summer and return to Bradenton in August to continue preparations for qualifying play for the 2017 U-17 World Cup. He is expected to play for D.C. United in its U.S. Open Cup game at Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday.

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D.C. United’s youngest signings
Year Player (Age) MLS Games*
2004 Freddy Adu (14, 7 months) 142
2001 Santino Quaranta (16, 3 months) 186
2016 Chris Durkin (16, 4 months) --
2000 Bobby Convey (16, 7 months) 223
* Includes games for other MLS clubs

“We are excited that Chris will begin his professional career with us,” said D.C. United GM Dave Kasper. "His maturity, ambition and understanding of the game are unparalleled for a player of his age. Under the leadership of Academy Director Nolan Sheldon, Chris rapidly excelled in each of his five years in our Academy and was integrated into first team trainings and friendlies for the past year."

Carleton can be considered a Atlanta United Homegrown player because the club has merged with Georgia United Soccer Alliance (GUSA), for which Carleton starred in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.

“He probably has the biggest potential to be a professional out of all the kids in our club,” Georgia United technical director Tony Annan told Soccer America last year after Carleton’s goals helped Georgia United’s U-16s become the only non-MLS club to reach the Development Academy national championship semifinals.

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U.S. youth national team roundup

Reyna and Fuentes strike for U.S. U-15 boys in Croatia. The U.S. U-15 boys national team, coached by Dave van den Bergh, fell to host Croatia (2-1) and Serbia (2-0), and beat Montenegro (1-0) at a four-team tournament in Zagreb. Giovanni Reyna (NYCFC) scored the decider against Montenegro. Gilbert Fuentes of Northern California’s Ballistic United scored the consolation goal against Croatia. U.S. U-15 lineups.

U.S. U-19 women train in New Zealand. U.S. U-19 women's national team coach Jitka Klimkova  has taken a 20-player squad to New Zealand for a June 8-20 training camp that will include two games against New Zealand’s U-20 national team. Eleven of the U.S. players are collegians while nine are youth club players. Fourteen were born in 1997, four in 1996, and two in 1998.

GOALKEEPERS (2): Samantha Leshnak (UNC; Liberty Township, Ohio), Lauren Rood (Crossfire; Camas, Wash.).
DEFENDERS (8): Holly Daugirda (Utah Avalanche; Salt Lake City, Utah), Tierna Davidson (Stanford; Menlo Park, Calif.), Stefani Doyle (Dallas Sting; Lewisville, Texas), Shannon Horgan (Clemson; Long Beach, N.Y.), Ann Marie Jaworski (Shattuck St. Mary's; Grinnell, Iowa), Michaela Kovacs (Michigan State; Hudsonville, Mich.), Jacey Pederson (PSV Union; Palo Alto, Calif.), Ally Prisock (USC; Fontana, Calif.).
MIDFIELDERS (5): Breanna Dewaal (Utah Celtic FC; Sandy, Utah), Jordan DiBiasi (Stanford; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Kayla Hill (TCU; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Shannon Simon (Washington; Torrance, Calif.), Ella Stevens (GSA; Grayson, Ga.)
FORWARDS (5): Elizabeth Braby (BYU; Murray, Utah), Mallory Eubanks (Mississippi State; Lexington, Ky.), Marissa Everett (Oregon; Canyon Lake, Calif.), Cecilia Gee (Lamorinda United; Orinda, Calif.), Cyera Hintzen (Dallas Sting; Richardson, Texas).

U.S. U-17 girls beat Swiss U-19s twice. Coach  B.J. Snow’s team, which is preparing for the U-17 Women's World Cup in Jordan (Sept. 30-Oct. 21), beat Switzerland's U-19 team, which is is preparing for July's U-19 European Championship, 3-2 and 2-1. The Colorado Rush’s Civana Kuhlmann  scored twice and assisted while Taryn Torres (FC Dallas) scored the USA’s third goal its first win. Frankie Tagliaferri (PDA) and Rachel Jones (Tophat SC) scored in the 2-1 win.

June 2 in Chassio, Switzerland
Switzerland U19 1 USA U17 2. Goals: Megroz (pen.) 43; Tagliaferri 32, Jones (Spaanstra) 64.
Switzerland -- Honegger; Reuteler, Dubs (Lehman, 35), Fasel, Jenzer (Baumann, 52), Stierli (Ramseier, 49) Schürch, Zehnder, Spieser, Brunner, Hamidi.
USA -- Beall; Rodriguez, Bell, Smith, Wesley (Enge, 41), Harber (Spaanstra, 41), Tagliaferri, Smith (Pickett, 60), Torres (Howell, 60), Pinto (Brown, 41), Jones (Kuhlmann, 70).

May 31 in Morbio, Switzerland
Switzerland U19 2 USA U17 3. Goals: Lehman 63, Van Niekerk (Reuteler) 91+; Kuhlmann (Wiesner) 21, Kuhlmann (Pickett) 27, Torres (Kuhlmann) 77.
Switzerland -- Nadja (Honegger, 46); Baumann, Brunner (Spieser, 68), Fasel, Stierli; Ramseier, Jenzer, Zehnder (Lienhard, 36), Widmer, Surdez (Lehmann, 72), Megroz (Reuteler, 68).
USA --Ivory; Wesley (Torres, 46), Rodriguez, Girma, Wiesner (Rodriguez, 82), Canniff (Spaanstra, 36), Pinto (Tagliaferri, 46), Smith (Harber, 65), Howell, Pickett (Enge, 65), Kuhlmann (Jones, 82).

2 comments about "Teen stars sign with MLS clubs ".
  1. don Lamb, June 14, 2016 at 9:55 p.m.

    This is why the MLS academies are such a big deal for the development of American soccer. He is a 16 year old who has five years in the DC United system. We are still at the very beginning of this system, so those who have been asking "Where are the players?" after just a couple of years are starting to get their answers. The players were there. They were just 13-14 years old. We will see more and more young players signed. The wave will get stronger and stronger. Is this where our Messi is going to come from? No, but these types of academy products are going to be the driving force that creates the culture that will create the societal atmosphere that will help produce our great ones. The foundation has to be in place, and fortunately that process started recently. It still won't be complete/optimal for another decade or so and then it will be another 6-10 years before an entire generation of players will have come up knowing nothing but that established system. There is no quick answer, but the process has started. Those who say that all we need to do is scout the right places to find players who are currently there or that we just need to have an open first division are delusional. We have a long, long way to go to catch up to the player development systems of Europe and the passion of South America, but we have finally gotten started.

  2. Richard Brown, June 15, 2016 at 3:49 p.m.

    Argentina's Messi was discovered as a 9 yr old. Club took him from his parents if I remember right and they gave him growth hormones to help him grow.

    I think when a club signs a 15 yr old no one in his right mind will throw him in an MLS game that means some.

    You can play him in a friendly. But he still needs coaching more then game. So let him train and play on a reserve team until he is ready.

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