What constitutes a successful season?
There are goals, of course, but the game is more than that. Assists? Sure. Off-ball runs? Positioning? A dedication to the defensive dark arts while working over an enterprising forward? Maybe so. There are a million points of light that contribute to an individual season on the edge.
Pulling them all together to determine whether one is better than another is the difficult part.
That’s what we’ve endeavored to do at TDS. Later this year, we’ll crown our first ever boys and girls TopDrawerSoccer.com Player of the Year Award presented by IMG. The award recognizes the top amateur boys and girls players in the country, and you can delve more deeply into the criteria here.
For now, we’re still assessing talent and taking stock in individual seasons of youth soccer enormity. But there’s still open space for challengers, especially on the wide open boys side. Here are two more players to add to the growing list.
Back in May, ballyhooed Sporting KC prospect Jaylin Lindsey made a bit of history with USL side Swope Park Rangers. When he was inserted late into a USL match, he became the first American born in the 2000s to play in a professional match. Of course, he did so on an academy contract, meaning he was able to retain his amateur status. And so he’s eligible for our prestigious year-end award.
When he isn’t making news in the USL, Lindsey is busy ripping up attacks in the increasingly relevant SKC academy. Lindsey is among the most positionally sound center backs in the DA, and SKC’s recent positive track record with defenders should leave him in good stead. After all, it seems increasingly likely fellow young CB Erik Palmer-Brown will be headed abroad sooner rather than later.
As for Lindsey, he wasn’t granted access to the U17 residency program this spring, but there’s no question he’s in line for the U17 World Cup next year. He’s been in with the U17s as recently as their AIFF tournament swing through India, and he’s impressed in DA showcase events this year.
The good news for Lindsey is that SKC isn’t shy about pulling the trigger on its young players. It signed Palmer-Brown at 16, and since Lindsey is a 2018 he’s in that same window of opportunity. As the brightest amateur talent in KC right now, Lindsey’s strong season is turning all the right heads.
There are few players in club soccer who stop you in your tracks and basically force you to watch. Macario is one of them. The Surf forward with a golden foot is nearly impossible to stop when she’s on her game, and the Brazilian-American has that Carioca style blended with American athleticism that makes her such a dangerous marker.
The peril, though, was a recent injury that severely set her back and imperiled her ability to vie for the 2016 TDS title on the girls side. She played in USYS competition to help get back to speed, and in limited minutes in the ECNL this year she’s been nigh unstoppable.
It’s blindingly clear that Macario is back.
That was never more evident than at the ECNL Playoffs in June in Oceanside. Playing with her Surf U17 side, the No. 3 player in the 2017 class was as good as advertised. After scoring 13 goals and providing nine assists in just 12 regular season matches, Macario scored an almost impossible six goals in four games, all of which were wins. The Surf outscored all four, including a stacked PDA team, a combined 15-3 to qualify for the ECNL Finals in July.
Macario was the best player on the field every time she stepped across the chalk. With her college commitment still up in the air, one of the best players in one of the best top-to-bottom classes in recent memory is making extremely good use of her junior year.