Written by Will Parchman

blake

Remember when the Philly Union drafted Andre Blake, maybe the most pro-ready keeper out of college in a decade, and stashed him on the bench for the first 23 league games of his pro career? And then, after a 90-minute teaser, sat him for another 35?

Yeah. Those were strange, unfulfilled days.

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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

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

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

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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Written by Will Parchman

diskeruf

Wrangling over contract value in the pale light of the MLS salary dump tends to be a futile exercise, one in which I have admittedly engaged in the past. In the MLS-driven context that all things are generally Unknowable – allocation decisions and Discovery claims and Homegrown alterations and whatever else – the MLSPU salary release is a genuinely fresh gust of transparency in the stagnant desert of back room news.

It is hard not to smother it in coverage like a starving man might devour so many plates of meat, however overcooked.

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Written by Will Parchman

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We’ve known for some time that Argentine soccer is on fire, and that general practices for MLS GMs behoove those chiefs to reel in South American talent anyway. The best MLS clubs in the modern era were built on this.

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