Written by Will Parchman

wild

Akron’s Jonathan Lewis was the final addition to the 2017 Generation adidas class just weeks before the draft. In keeping with recent years, the GA haul was trimmed of fat and left mostly with working muscle. There were only six players in the ’17 class, the second fewest in history behind only the 2015 group.

Among them, there was one conspicuous absence. The best striker in college soccer in 2016 – yes, including Abu Danladi – was not in this GA class. Gordon Wild stayed home.

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Written by Will Parchman

gallardo

However Orlando City is doing what it’s doing, its academy structure is certainly making one heck of a dent on the American soccer landscape.

Orlando City is a relative newcomer in a multitude of ways, and it only recently joined the Development Academy in concert with its addition to MLS two years ago. It quickly sent up a flare to the rest of the country when the club added Pierre da Silva to its U18 DA team and then promptly signed him to a Orlando City B contract. Da Silva, who’s firmly in the USYNT pool and has played at most every age level, clocked more than 1,600 USL minutes in 2016 and provided Jason Kreis likes what he sees, should make his debut at some point in 2017.

In the meantime, Orlando City might’ve recently secured the services of another da Silva. Because fellow USYNT attacker Joe Gallardo recently surfaced with the club’s U18 side.

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Written by Will Parchman

joe-gyau-borussia-dortmund-4

In 2009, an otherwise unknown club named SG Sonnenhof Grossaspach, named after a hotel, scored on Stuttgart.

Sonnenhof (as they shall hence be known, since “Grossaspach” is not particularly enjoyable to transcribe 30 times over) had spent the majority of its 15 years of existence in amateur regional leagues before being promoted to the Regionalliga Süd, German soccer’s fouth tier, in 2009. The club was still entirely anonymous, living underneath the sheen of the country’s growing prominence, but a goal against Stuttgart in 2009 changed some things.

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Written by Will Parchman

najar

Andy Najar is more important than you imagine. He is in many ways the MLS Alpha, the genetic ground zero of the league’s next phase of evolution. His headshot should be in a place of prominence in MLS HQ, because in some ways the coming age he foretells is more significant than the new winds that arrived behind David Beckham.

Now, approaching four years since he left the league, Najar is the first MLS Homegrown to have been sold on for profit. He’s no longer the only one, but the list is exclusive. Last summer, FC Dallas engineered a transfer that sent midfielder Alex Zendejas to Chivas for $500K, which followed on the heels of the club’s sale of keeper Richard Sanchez to Tigres two years earlier. Matt Miazga of course moved from the Red Bulls to Chelsea in 2016. And though he’s not listed on MLS’s official list, Carlos Salcedo signed a Homegrown deal with RSL in 2013 before being sold, again to Chivas, for an undisclosed amount in 2014.

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Written by Will Parchman

ben-yedder-stevan-jovetic-sevilla-real-madrid-la-liga-15012017_fekc2kjzrtv61t1zzbq9182p5

Imagine with me.

You are an alien freighter captain, and your ship’s flux capacitor shorts (or maybe it’s your cosmic deliminator, it’s hard to tell down there), and your interplanetary vessel flames out over a hamlet called Leicester, England. It is May of 2016, and the people there are celebrating their soccer team’s first division championship.

Given the situation, you might assume this was some variant of normalcy. Leicester City won the Premier League, and this had to happen sometimes, logically, because it happened. The thing your alien mind could not conceive (given the fact that you have time traveled and do not have the benefit of omnipotence, somehow) is that Leicester City engineered perhaps the greatest team championship in sports history precisely because things like this in times like these do not happen.

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Written by Will Parchman

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There is never much warning about Kekuta Manneh. Even among things that arrive with jarring suddenness, like fevers and flat tires, Manneh’s game is an abrupt soliloquy. There is rolling darkness and suddenly light, and Manneh is flying by and gone before both feet plant.

It is fortuitous, then, that Manneh found himself in Vancouver at the proscribed time. That is, under speed demon Carl Robinson, with a rumbling hot rod engine under the hood and a willingness to push tempo behind him along the flanks. It has not always worked. Vancouver of 2016 was by and large a faltering serious of foundation cracks, and Manneh missed the entire back half of it with a foot injury. If it was not a lost season for Manneh personally, then it certainly was for the organization.

And yet Manneh is waking up to an entirely new reality in 2017. His foot healing, Manneh was a surprise addition to Bruce Arena’s first January camp. On Wednesday, as camp rolled to its start, U.S. Soccer announced even bigger news. Manneh, supposedly, has U.S. citizenship. He’s USMNT eligible, provided FIFA gives the final stamp of approval. Which it almost certainly will.

If this does not seem like big news, it will soon enough.

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Written by Travis Clark

storm

Heading into Friday’s MLS Draft, there’s a position of strength that the teams selection can draw from: right back.

One of those senior candidates also happens to have one of the best names in the pool of potential draftees, North Carolina defender Colton Storm.

Currently out in Los Angeles for the combine this week, TopDrawerSoccer.com recently caught up with Storm, to chat about players he looks up to, and the Pennsylvania natives hopes for the weeks ahead, how he improved at Chapel Hill and his ties to Christian Pulisic.

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Written by Will Parchman

emo

Six months after joining Bournemouth, Emerson Hyndman is on the move again.

If it seems like just yesterday Hyndman joined Bournemouth, you’re not dreaming. The U.S. international, who has three caps incredibly enough, moved on after a lengthy half-decade stay at Fulham in June. At it happened, Hyndman walked for free. Bournemouth only needed to pay Fulham a training compensation fee it was almost certainly happy to part with considering the circumstances. And now it had a young player who should’ve be angling for starting minutes from the off.

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Written by Will Parchman

Iloski_Brian_20160917_MSOC_JL4494__1474406838

Taken in a yawning vacuum, news of Brian Iloski’s European gallivant this winter perhaps would not be cause for such ground-quaking alarm in SoCal. UCLA, where Iloski’s played as an oftentimes dazzling midfielder, is more or less constantly stocked with youth national teamers. Surely it could survive the year if Iloski fled. Right?

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Written by Travis Clark

thierjungLess than a week remains until the 2017 MLS Draft, with pro hopefuls getting one final shot starting this weekend at the Player Combine in Los Angeles.

California’s Christian Thierjung is among those players hoping to put his stamp with one final opportunity. After four solid years for the Golden Bears, the versatile attacker is looking to make an impression and climb the draft boards.

TopDrawerSoccer recently caught up with the California native ahead of the combine.

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