U.S. Abroad: U-20s flee college for pros

The exodus of college or college-bound players to Europe continues as two U.S. under-20 national team players have signed with clubs in Europe

Forward Emmanuel Sabbi  completed a move to Spain's Las Palmas after first indicating he would attend Akron. Goalkeeper Justin Vom Steeg, son of UC Santa Barbara coach Tim Vom Steeg, is leaving the Gauchos after one season to join German second division club Fortuna Duesseldorf.

Sabbi, 18, had committed to join the Zips but chose instead to continue his career in Spain. He was born in Italy to Ghanaian parents and raised in the Chicago area, where he played for Magic.

Vom Steeg made 20 starts during his freshman year at UC Santa Barbara in 2015, posting six shutouts and a 1.24 goals-against average.

Sabbi and Vom Steeg are the fourth and fifth U-20s to turn pro this summer after Hugo Arellano (LA Galaxy II), Auston Trusty (Philadelphia Union) and  Jeremy Ebobisse (2017 MLS SuperDraft).

In addition, FC Dallas U-18 star Weston McKennie, who originally committed to Virginia, has been training at Schalke 04, while PDA's Isaiah Young is no longer listed on Wake Forest's roster.

From the high school class of 2016, 31 players have turned pro, and that doesn't include McKennie, Young or Joe Gallardo, who left Mexican club Monterrey at the end of 2015 and is still looking for a team.

Danny Barbir
, West Bromwich (England)
Luca de la Torre, Fulham (England)
Kevin Coleman, Kaiserslautern (Germany)
McKenze Gaines
, Wolfsburg (Germany)
Brooks Lennon, Liverpool (England)
Ethan Lotenero, Belenenses (Portugal)
James Murphy, Sheffield Wednesday (England)
Matthew Olosunde, Man. United (England)
Joshua Perez, Fiorentina (England)
Christian Pulisic, Bor. Dortmund (Germany)
Emmanuel Sabbi, Las Palmas (Spain)
Haji Wright, Schalke 04 (Germany)

Juan Manuel Albizar, Queretaro
Benn Diaz
, Queretaro
Carlos Flores
, Santos
Ivan Gutierrez,
Jonathan Navarro
, Santos
Abraham Romero
, Pachuca
Brandon Vazquez,
Alex Zendejas
, Guadalajara

Danilo Acosta
, Real Salt Lake
Mason Stajduhar, Orlando City
Ben Swanson, *Columbus Crew
Auston Trusty, Philadelphia Union
*On loan to Pittsburgh Riverhounds

Eric Calvillo
, New York Cosmos
Alexis Velela, New York Cosmos
Christian Albelo
, Swope Park Rangers
Hugo Arellano
, LA Galaxy II
Pierre Da Silva, Orlando City B
Charly Flores, Rio Grande Valley FC
Ethan Zubak, LA Galaxy II

11 comments about "U.S. Abroad: U-20s flee college for pros".
  1. Bill Wilson, August 24, 2016 at 10:07 a.m.

    This trend bodes well for the USMNT pipeline in the future. Players who want to pursue a career in the sport are actually in the mainstream of world soccer development for the critical 17-21 year old period. Let college soccer continue to turn into the next step for AYSO or other recreational leagues as it should be. Kids can get their degrees through other paths.

  2. Ric Fonseca replied, August 24, 2016 at 2:22 p.m.

    "Let college soccer continue to turn it into the next step for ayso or other recreational leagues as it should be. Kids can get their degrees through other paths (sic)" !!! I am puzzled by this statement, could/would you please elaborate> I can understand the ayso comment, but as a life-long college educator and former coach/athletics director, I'd like to know what those "paths" are. Elucidate, please!!!

  3. Phil Hardy, August 24, 2016 at 11:32 a.m.

    Really fantastic news. Hope this either puts paid to college soccer or they finally get their acts in gear and make it something that actually develops a player, rather than steal their most formative years hardly playing.

  4. Ric Fonseca, August 24, 2016 at 3:01 p.m.

    Hear, hear, hear! Phil, if colleges/universities would do what they do for their freshmen basketball players (e.g. one and done) or fb and even baseball "student'athletes", now wouldn't that be something to behold! BUT.... if this were to pass, wanna bet that they wouldn't bend over backwards to treat intercollegiate soccer student athletes the very same way they given the sordid NCAA history to drag and dig its heels in the sand during the late '60's and into the '70s, when even ADs, and "sport-revenue producing" coaches, did all and everything they could to keep the "foreign" sport, also in the very same way they fought the full implementation of Title IX!?!?

  5. Ric Fonseca, August 24, 2016 at 3:04 p.m.

    Oooops, mean to also say in last lines, "even AD's and ... coaches" did everything they could to prevent the sport from growing, to include even prohibit any use of field space, very reduced budget for equipment, uniforms, balls, travel, meals, lodging, forcing many teams to raise funds, etc. I know, I lived/experienced all those shortcomings and indignities, yet we prevailed!!!

  6. Wooden Ships replied, August 24, 2016 at 4:14 p.m.

    Ric, you're citing what many don't know unless they've been there done that, coaching in college that is. The players were aware of some of it, but as coaches we had-needed to shield them from the whole story. There were many ways to explain the ugliness that soccer programs faced. Suffice it to say that Conflict Theory provides the best analysis. Even today, these inequities exist. Some places are better than others. I'm certainly not holding my breath in believing the NCAA or other secondary Ed sport authorities, anytime soon, will do right by the worlds most played game. I've not seen any evidence to feel otherwise and like you that's going back over 50 years. I like the attempt to have the season spread out, but I'm not optimistic of its passage.

  7. Wooden Ships, August 24, 2016 at 4:20 p.m.

    Forgot to mention that if you are a serious footballer, college isn't the best place for you. There are good coaches in universities, many that have played at the professional level, but the environment can't compare with the professional organizations.

  8. Ginger Peeler, August 24, 2016 at 8:03 p.m.

    You mean for men's soccer. Don't forget that women play the game, too. And they thrive in he college system.

  9. Wooden Ships replied, August 24, 2016 at 10:53 p.m.

    That's true Ginger I was speaking of men and their options and soccer in general within universities. For women there are less options and universities fill a bigger void.

  10. Ric Fonseca replied, August 30, 2016 at 4:32 p.m.

    Hola Ginger! this is written some days after your comment, but I would like to tell y'all a little story about Title IX from the annals of years of yore: When I was refereeing high school games in what is called the San Fernando Valley in the mid 70s and then into the mid 80s, girls soccer was only played in ayso; while coaching the first NCAA men's program at Cal St Northridge in '79-80, a group of young ladies approached me and my then assistant about putting together and coaching a women's "club team," which I said of course. Those ladies were all local SF Valley ayso and some independent team veterans, and so we did, had a couple of fund raisers, got permission from a very reluctant AD and PE Chairman (both baseball junkies) to use the fields. We then formed a league of sorts, played against UCLA, Westmont, Biola College, USC and several other local state univ teams and community colleges. Had a good season, the ladies were happy as hell, but I can tell you that in my mind, those ladies and those of the other teams we played were the actual PIONEERS of Title IX and of what have become the home teams of some of the most successful women's teams in So Calif if not the nation. Yes, some of the current head women's coaches still active include Jim Millinder, and yes, Leo Cuellar, Dan Nanini, Jean Paul Verhees, and many others. We played on "wanna-be" fields, raised our own funds, and I can tell you that even playing on UCLA's "North Field" was a challenge (and look at it now!!!)Lastly I can say to one and all, that I am very proud to have helped a bit along the way together, BUT allow me to close this by telling I w Nowoseniuk, to say that "...that's 4 years wasted in their development..." is as specious and insulting as going to college and even playing the four years, is NOT a waste of anyone's time, maybe I w's but certainly not those who have gone there and done that!

  11. beautiful game, August 25, 2016 at 11:24 p.m.

    Here, here Wooden Ships...it's the players decision about college ball or pro-ball. At the end of the day, each should follow their dream. I can't see a top level player achieving their pro goal after spending 4 years in college. That's 4 years wasted in their development.

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