U.S. recall for 'phenomenal' Darlington Nagbe -- Frank de Boer makes case

At the beginning of the season, it wasn't entirely clear if Darlington Nagbe would stay at Atlanta United.

Now, the 29-year-old Nagbe has been an essential part of the reigning MLS champion's recent return to form. Two days after the Five Stripes beat Club America, 3-2, head coach Frank de Boer described Nagbe's play as "phenomenal" and deserving of a call-up to the U.S. national team.

“My personal opinion is that if you see from the start [of the season], he's by far one of the best midfielders in the MLS,” De Boer said. “That's my opinion. But it's up to the coach of the national team to make his decision, and he has a different view right now.”

Nagbe was a regular on the U.S. national team under Bruce Arena in 2017 but since the USA failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, he has only played once, a 1-0 win over Paraguay under interim coach Dave Sarachan in March 2018.

Gregg Berhalter
said he did not call up Nagbe for the January camp -- his first as national team coach -- because he needed rest after the 2018 season during which he suffered a serious groin injury and which went into December. And Berhalter said essentially the same thing in March when he didn't call Nagbe into camp for friendlies against Ecuador and Chile. Nagbe was on Berhalter's 40-player provisional roster for the Gold Cup but did not make the final roster.

Nagbe told Atlanta reporters that he understood Berhalter's decisions and was concentrating on his responsibilities with Atlanta United, which will seek its second trophy of the year on Aug. 27 when it hosts Minnesota United in the U.S. Open Cup final.

De Boer says Nagbe's time will come.

“I think if he plays like this," he said, "[Berhalter] will pay attention, that's for sure. Because how he's playing right now and against Club America was phenomenal.”

19 comments about "U.S. recall for 'phenomenal' Darlington Nagbe -- Frank de Boer makes case".
  1. Wooden Ships, August 17, 2019 at 8:15 a.m.

    Schoon and I were just talking about this. He’s certainly better than MB and JM. Does he fit into the highly evolved and difficult to grasp system of Berhalter-pause for giggling-okay I’m settled. I want Nagbe to be more selfish and look to shoot when given the space, or create it inside 25. Not sure it’s in his DNA, but our mids have got to want to score. de Boer appears to have helped but is GB ready to move on from the aforementioned? I’d be pleasently surprised and hopeful if he is. 

  2. frank schoon replied, August 17, 2019 at 10:51 a.m.

    Ships, < difficult to grasp system of Berhalter-pause for giggling-okay I’m settled> I almost fell out of my chair ,laughing. LOLOLOLOLOL

  3. frank schoon, August 17, 2019 at 8:51 a.m.

    IT'S ABOUT TIME, Nagby is being talked about, he is without a doubt as I stated several months ago that he is the most improved American player. He was once a player who justs ran with the ball like a chicken with his head cut off, playing UPS soccer, when I first began to be aware of him playing on the National team. He began to improve his game somewhat under Tata, but his real transformation began under de Boer and kudos for Frank de Boer and his dutch assistant who also had played at Ajax teaching the Nagby the "finer" and deeper aspects of midfield play that American players are not being taught here. So much for the DA programs which to me is garbage.

    I hope there will be an American journalist( hint ,hint) with enough brains and game insight to get an interview with Frank de Boer and or Darlington Nagby on what he has learned from de Boer or what de Boer has taught him, what to look for ,what to do when receiving the ball; where he should receive the ball, whom he should look for , where and how he should position himself in order to receive the ball, when he should run with the ball, when to draw opponents, where and how should he create space for his teammate, whom does he look to pass to first , ask why hasn't he tried to shoot more on goal; what are some of the positioning games that he practices; what has he learned that is new and improved his own game; what has de Boer and his assistant directly told him. There is a whole book worth of questions a good American soccer journalist can ask. And more importantly it would an excellent interview for coaches to learn from and teach to their players...THIS IS HOW THE AMERICAN SOCCER DNA IMPROVES.

    The American soccer DNA will not get better by bringing over foreign expertise that currently run  USSF like these KNVB idiots from Holland who can barely pass a Wiel Coerver skill test. What a joke that is.
    Instead we need to bring over as I stated before foreign expertise who have actually done it all, like a Frank de Boer, who played and coached  Ajax, played for the Dutch National Team, Barcelona, learned his soccer from Ajax and played/coached by Cruyff and van Gaal.
    If you're going bring over expertise than bring over the best who can show players what to do with a ball instead of these Idiot licensed coaches for Holland who can talk a good game. It is high time the MLS bring over more coaches like de Boer, and Tata
    Expertise is needed but it has to come from those who actually did something...

  4. frank schoon, August 17, 2019 at 8:52 a.m.

    As you watch the midfielder Frenkie de Jong who was traded from Ajax to Barcelona a couple of weeks ago, notice how similar Nagby has copied his play. He has copied de Jong's style which is running into open space with the ball to get away from opponent, has no objective of trying to beat an opponent 1v1 , all his actions are made for him to move the ball avoid confrontation and move it to the next station. Naby has become a decent player because he knows what his limitations are and the only thing he needs to improve upon is shooting from the second line for he's never guarded and therefore is wide-open to shoot... 

  5. beautiful game replied, August 17, 2019 at 9:03 a.m.

    Nagby's performance with Atlanta is off the charts compared with his previous stints with the USNT. From the begining of his MLS career, he showed solid Soccer IQ which is better with Atlanta's coaching and mix of players. As for his shooting on goal abilities, you're asking too much of a player that has never showed scoring skills. If 1/4 of the MNT would have his Soccer IQ, the talk would become reality.

  6. Wooden Ships replied, August 17, 2019 at 9:27 a.m.

    You could ultimately be right bg in his shooting skills, however, I know how we use to train in striker training. Intense, repeated daily and I never noticed any of my teammates not benefiting. Curious to know if he’s ever undergone that type training. If I’m his manager he’s spending 15 minutes daily/exclusively in this area. 

  7. frank schoon replied, August 17, 2019 at 10:48 a.m.

    Ships ,right on. A defender facing Nagby right outside of the penalty area, wide open,  is not going say to  his fellow defenders ,don't worry about him he doesn't have shot so don't bother picking him up. All professional players on the field regardless of the position they play ,if open, have the capability of scoring a goal. And thats why your so right about making him practice shooting on goal for 15min. The very fact of a threat to shoot  forces opponents to adjust and create openings

  8. Bob Ashpole replied, August 17, 2019 at 1:24 p.m.

    As skeptical as I am, I agree that striker training should be tried.

  9. frank schoon replied, August 17, 2019 at 2:05 p.m.

    Bob, I don't understand the problem. Since I only have one distributor let say a MB, than he will only do passing drills and leave out the other players shouldn't be working on passing because the other players  are not playing the role of a distributor (passer). All players should work on passing. Or players who are not strikers should not be working on shooting at goal for they don't have the qualities of being a striker....I don't get the rationale ,here Bob. Similarly, when working on defense we should leave out the attackers for they aren't defenders... All players should be able to have decent shooting abilities regardless if they aren't of striker  quality...All players who are pros , when they walk on the field should be able to pass well and have a  decent shot. The only difference that sets them off from being a striker is that a striker  has extra qualities that makes him a striker, qualities that has nothing to do with shooting, but perhaps a better eye for positioning or how he uses his body,etc...But just simply shooting on goal has nothing to do with being a striker.....

  10. Bob Ashpole replied, August 17, 2019 at 3:23 p.m.

    What I meant by "striker training" was funtional training in scoring goals.

  11. beautiful game, August 17, 2019 at 11:49 a.m.

    Having "capibility of shooting" and scoring are two different animals amigos. Look at Barcelona's Bousquet who always meanders forward and has had plently of occasions to strike the ball on goal from the top of the box and hardly ever does it. And when he does, it's usually a weak effort. Most defenses have figured him out and drop off a few steps being more worried about his fellow accomplished strikers. Bousquet was never a threat on goal. Amigos, don't hold your breath on Nagby becoming a good shooter unless a divine miracle happens. Any good goal scorer has that extra gift of efficacy that most lack. Giving oxygen to this "Nagby" discussion is a waste of time when so many variables are part of scoring efficacy. 

  12. frank schoon, August 17, 2019 at 12:37 p.m.

    We all have to take a step back and look at the total picture of how Nagby has developed. When I first saw him several years ago for the first time playing for the NT, all I could think of watching was "no brains', just runs with the ball  towards the players he passes to, he always passed in the direction of his dribbles...it was a headless chicken. Now he's  after playing for Frank de Boer  he is finally really learning something of how to play efficient and functional soccer with a brain.

    Nagby is now 29, unfortunately, so all these years he didn't learn diddly squat from his coaches and trainers here  about how to become a better player and that is due to the LOUSY coaching and training here at the highest levels...and I"m not even going to mention the lower levels.....
    Under this short period since the beginning of the season Frank de Boer has made  Nagby so much better as player. 

    In sum,my suggestion is if were going improve our American players we have bring in great Expertise to improve our American players, for these idiots at these DA programs our clueless and lack real expertise.

  13. Bob Ashpole replied, August 17, 2019 at 3:21 p.m.

    Frank, I think in your frustration you are being too harsh in your criticism of all US coaches. I have met many coaches that I have admired over the years. 

    What I view as the first problem is the emphasis on winning youth competitions at all ages and levels. This encourages the biggest mistake--teaching team tactics at the expense of fundamentals. Too early and too much. Often for "select" teams the emphasis on team tactics begins at 10. Think how much better these players would be with another 2 years concentrated on improving fundamentals!

    The second problem I see is the lack of understanding and appreciation of positional play. Essentially we generally teach US players to play exactly opposite of principles of positional play.

    The result is a pool of players who can only counterattack and don't know how to break down a well organized defense.

    I come to the same conclusion as you do, Frank. We need to bring in people that understand positional play, not to coach our players, but to coach our coaches. With millions of players, we have to approach the problem with a "train the trainers" solution. 

  14. frank schoon replied, August 17, 2019 at 4:32 p.m.

    Bob as far as being harsh on criticism, one should consider that Nagbe in such a short time under de Boer's coaching/training has completely become a different player. Having met coaches you have admired  doesn't explain the overal lack of good training and coaching. If I bought bag full of apples and I found that all of them except for a few of  them is no concilation, I would describe the whole  bag of apples as a bad batch regardless of few good ones. 
    The points you make are good but when a player like Nagbe completely transform in the players he's become in such a short time span with de Boer, to me, says he's has a bad run of coaches in his life. And says a lot about the state coaches..... Like Van Basten and Cruyff states ' out of 10 coaches in your life 6 will make you worse, 2 will do nothing for you either way and the other could improve you".

  15. Bob Ashpole replied, August 17, 2019 at 4:40 p.m.

    Frank, I was just looking for recognition that 20% of US coaches are bright shiny apples.

  16. Valerie Metzler, August 17, 2019 at 3:44 p.m.


  17. beautiful game, August 17, 2019 at 9:35 p.m.

    Nagby was never in sync with the USNT because the squad's Soccer IQ was mostly missing...you amigos want him to be 1/2 of Platini? It will never ever happen. Be happy with what he has accomplished with Atlanta, and let's see if coach B brings him back and how he fits in. There's nothing else to discuss about Nagby. I've been a fan of his since the Portland days, but at Atlanta he is dynamite.

  18. Bob Ashpole replied, August 17, 2019 at 10:05 p.m.

    I got that impression too, but you can't see much off the ball with the typical US broadcast. Watching him play with his club was an eye-opener. I, however, blamed the coaching, rather than the players. I figured the players were following instructions.

  19. beautiful game, August 18, 2019 at 10:57 a.m.

    There is only one field player on the current USNT that can make things happen...end of story.

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