Written by Will Parchman

jones

Back in the fall of 2013, as the YSC Academy flung open its doors to student-athletes for the first time, I sat down with then-Union GM Nick Sakiewicz, in addition to some other major names, to dive into the academy’s nuts and bolts.

Sakiewicz has since departed the club under acrimonious terms, but the school is still bulling along. Before YSC, the Union didn’t have a dedicated academy arm, instead relying on a series of regional satellite clubs they’d bring in for broader club-based training sessions to scout. It was essentially the fading ODP model shrunk down to academy form.

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Written by Will Parchman

mike-a.myers-stadium-and-soccer-field

Two years ago, the University of Texas made waves when it accepted the verbal commitment of Solar Chelsea attacking midfielder Haley Berg. A 2017 and now the No. 27 player in that class, Berg’s story captured the attention of the country when the New York Times ran a profile on her recruitment story.

Texas, like many other programs in the country, didn’t wait until Berg was out of middle school to begin its recruitment. After weighing a number of options amidst the escalating arms race that is women’s college soccer, Berg, then 14, offered her pledge to Texas the summer before entering high school.

As of today, she still has another year in club soccer before she arrives on campus.

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Written by Will Parchman

process

There’s no way to know how many transfer requests and inquiries MLS’s New York City headquarters deals with on a daily basis. As a single entity, MLS is under no obligation to release that information, and in fact it probably behooves them to keep it under lock and key. To a certain extent it allows them to control market cost on transfers, and if nothing else it keeps outside clubs from knowing whether or not MLS players are being consistently low-balled by foreign markets.

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Written by Will Parchman

MLS: New England Revolution at Columbus Crew

In the sense that we are in the Embrace Debate Age of sports analysis, the MLS 24 Under 24 roll-out every year is a veritable gold mine of BanterZone Politics.

Given the fact that grading young players is something we do every day here at TDS, it’s an opportunity I’m loathe to pass up.

The 24U24 vote is contentious for two glaring primary reasons: because every player on the list has their own attendant rankings for each different person doing the analysis (which accounts for a tremendous amount of points of diversion), and because 24 isn’t really all that young. The thing you’ll notice, though, is that the top 10 (or at least my top 10) has gradually gotten younger over the years. This is Wil Trapp’s last year of 24U24 eligibility, but the average age of my top 10 is still around 21 years old. And three are American. Not bad.

In the sense that I’ll probably need to explain myself, at least to the extent I can, here’s my top 24. I released my entire ballot last year, but I’ve shortened it to just those who made my final cut this time around for the sake of brevity. Nobody has time for all that. And if you’re wondering why X Player isn’t on the list, these are players that turn 24 after the final day of the 2016 MLS regular season. Sorry Fab Castillo.

Anyhow, my top 24.

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Written by Will Parchman

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Dom Dwyer’s path to MLS is one of those circuitous only-in-America soccer stories that do not exist without our at times convoluted – if not creative – aisles to the top.

Dwyer was told to all but give up on pro soccer after breaking his foot three times while in academy soccer in England, and he leaped at the prospect of a free degree in the U.S. The ensuing trip took him to Tyler Junior College in the heat-drenched piney flatlands of East Texas, and then to South Florida for a year, where he scored 16 goals in 21 games, and then to the 2012 MLS SuperDraft.

Turns out the foot was just fine.

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Written by Will Parchman

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Emerson Hyndman arrived at Fulham in 2011 riding the great crest of the American-English soccer wave. To say nothing of the American youth boots already on the ground in Albion, the seismic NBC Premier League deal was only a year off, an agreement that gave Americans readier access to every one of the league’s games than even the average Englishman.

Hyndman’s signing was quiet, far more so than the relative trumpets that heralded Brian McBride and Clint Dempsey’s signatures for the Cottager senior team. It was a speculative deal in more than a few ways, Hyndman latching on with Fulham’s youth apparatus to see if he had the stern stuff required for the Premier League’s rocky paces.

At the time, five years ago, the English youth ladder still looked like the grand final destination for America’s best and brightest bristling to test themselves abroad. It was England, after all. The culture, the language, the prestige-limned clubs — that particular transition made more sense than anything. If you had a choice, or even if you were actively attempting to direct your steps abroad, you went to England.

A lot can happen in five years.

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Written by Will Parchman

maxresdefault

If perception is reality – it is – and people are generally lazy in forming those perceptions – they are – then MLS has an All-Star problem. A fairly sizeable one, in fact.

Most hard, angular opinions melt in the lamplight glow of experience, and in this we have the fundamental issue of politics. You can say anything to a braying audience from a dais, but to sit in a fresh Syrian immigrant’s living room and say the same toneless inanities is something else. People, or at least those people worth acknowledging, simply wouldn’t do it. You’d listen to their plight, their struggle, and experience their tears and drink their tea and soak in their hospitality and suddenly your world is a slate gray where once it was white and black.

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Written by Will Parchman

sp

Player tunnels in Germany are A Thing. In most of the soccer old world, the connective tunnel between the locker rooms and the field are a utilitarian thing. They are a means of locomotion, to transport you from one place to another. Considering many of the old European stadiums are 100+ years old – and player tunnels are of relatively little consequence besides – architects focus on other endeavors.

Not in Germany, friends. Not in glorious new Germany.

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Written by Will Parchman

arellano

Another member of the 2013-15 U17 World Cup cycle just signed a pro deal in lieu of turning to college soccer.

LA Galaxy Homegrown Hugo Arellano, the American captain at that most prestigious of youth tournaments, just signed for LA Galaxy II.

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Written by Will Parchman

valeri

Before Sunday, the Timbers had thrashed about wildly in the darkness without Diego Valeri.

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