Young LA Galaxy attacker Jose Villarreal has MLS tongues a-waggin’. And he should. The kid’s got something.
Seattle right back DeAndre Yedlin (pictured)? Same deal. There’s fresh talk of a United States under-20 call-up for the man who made such an impression at CenturyLink this year. (Dude, expect a wee bit of U.S. fandom blowback if you don’t do something to tame that ‘do. Just ask Brek Shea; people tend to think you have to “earn” the right to do kray-kray whack with the hair. Just sayin …)
And then there’s Jack McInerney, also known as the man dominating this blog over the past five days.
But if Jurgen Klinsmann has his way, we’ll all need to tap the brakes on these young bucks. He’s seen it before, young men appointed to greatness status before the sample of work is large enough to wear the label earnestly.
Klinsmann often mentions Jozy Altidore and the crushing weight of a $10 million transfer into La Liga for such a young (18 year old) talent.
Here is what Klinsmann told us yesterday during the on-the-record portion of the ranging discussion in D.C.
It would do all of them the best if you keep their feet on the ground. You don’t bring them up too fast to a level where they are maybe overwhelmed. I am not saying soccer-wise. They might be able to catch up pretty fast but are they able to deal, suddenly, with the type of recognition and exposure?
“We clearly saw with our Olympic team, they weren’t ready to get that exposure. They weren’t ready to see themselves on ESPN. They thought they were already there and it was too late to bring them back to the ground. Caleb [Porter, the U.S. under-23 manager] wasn’t able to do that in that moment and, boom, there goes your team chemistry.
“That was probably the best Olympic team over the last 20 years. There was so much quality in that team but they didn’t get their act together. So you want to be careful with the next generation coming through and don’t make them, at the age of 19 or 20, something they can’t be yet. Give them time, give them the up and downs. Keep them on the ground.”
A little off the point, but …
The Olympic dream collapse affected some more than others. Klinsmann was mostly talking about MLS men. Indeed, Brek Shea went into a funk that, along with some ongoing injuries, more or less took down his entire 2012 season. D.C. United’s Bill Hamid and Chicago’s Sean Johnson had some struggles as they reintegrated into MLS matters.
But D.C. United’s Perry Kitchen hardly missed a beat. Same with Philadelphia’s Amobi Okugo, who was soon off and flying toward a great campaign at PPL Park.