Jonah Freedman takes a look at next week’s CONCACAF U-20 Championship, arguing that it’s a big moment for the Major League Soccer Academy system. “The American and Canadian rosters feature a combined 13 players who have been groomed by MLS clubs in their academies or as Homegrown signings. And that’s unprecedented,” he writes. The U.S. team alone boasts four Homegrown Players: Columbus’ Wil Trapp, LA’s Jose Villarreal, and Colorado’s Dillon Serna and Shane O’Neill.
Freedman has a good point. (He’s so smart, that one.) This is the first cycle where we’ve seen the impact of MLS’s youth academy focus. I’d argue that it’s going to be another cycle or two before we’re fully aware of how successfully the academies are in changing the U.S. player pool, but this is a start and a good first test case. The roster Ramos called is mixed pretty evenly between academy products, college kids, and young men playing in Mexico and Germany.
The interesting thing will to see how much the system helps other national teams. I’ve argued before that MLS getting better could hurt the United States national team, and that could apply on a youth level as well. That said, I don’t think there’s as much of a chance of that happening as I do on the senior team.
When it comes to MLS and the academies, the vast majority of players they are training will end up playing for the American national youth team if they end up playing for any national team. At the youth level, it’s more the merrier since you never know how a 16-year-old teenager will do as he grows older. Next week in Mexico will provide a little window into the future.
NBC News is reporting that at least 19 people have been killed and another 50 are injured following a possible suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.
Multiple senior U.S. intelligence officials who are monitoring British authorities told NBC News that preliminary reports indicate that a single explosion took place outside the arena on the southwest side opposite the train station. The explosion occurred as the concert ended, catching people as they exited.
Soccer clubs, players and personalities around the world are reacting to the horrible event.
If you didn’t realize Juan Cuadrado still belonged to Chelsea, you’re forgiven.
The Colombian attacker will complete his second season at Juventus after the UEFA Champions League Final against Real Madrid, and won’t be headed back to Chelsea afterwards.
Juve has purchased Cuadrado, and the fee is $22 million, and Juve will pay it over three seasons. Cuadrado, 28, is now signed through 2020 with The Old Lady.
Cuadrado first went on loan to Juve in Aug. 2015, and has eight goals and 18 assists in 83 career appearances with the club.
Chelsea bought Cuadrado from Fiorentina for around $32 million in the January 2015 transfer window, but made just 14 appearances with the club.
Sky Sports is reporting that Jermain Defoe may head back to the south of England following Sunderland’s relegation.
Defoe, 34, spent two seasons with Portsmouth between 2008-09, scoring 15 goals in 31 appearances.
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The 56-times capped England striker had a clause in his Sunderland contract allowing him to leave the Stadium of Light were the Black Cats to be relegated, as they were this season. He’d have little interest in dropping into the Championship given his desire to stay a part of the England squad ahead of the 2018 World Cup.
Bournemouth’s strike corps includes Joshua King, who scored the most goals of any player not on a Top Seven side this season. King’s 16 goals were one more than Defoe’s 15, though the latter scored just one goal following a brace against Crystal Palace on Feb. 4.
Antonio Conte took league and national honors from the League Managers Association on Monday night.
The Chelsea boss was named Premier League Manager of the Year and Manager of the Year after leading the Blues to the PL title and an FA Cup Final in his first year on the job.
Brighton and Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton nabbed another Championship boss of the year award after leading the Gulls to the Premier League. He also won the honor with Newcastle United in 2010.
The League One winner is Chris Wilder of Sheffield United. Wilder won the honor with Northampton Town last season.
In League Two, Paul Cook of Portsmouth was named the winner.