Kasey Keller

AP Photo/Martin Meissner

Keller says Pulisic could command $100M transfer fee

1 Comment

HARRISON, N.J. (AP) As Christian Pulisic warmed up for training ahead of Friday’s critical World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica, retired goalkeeper Kasey Keller marveled at the young American star who might wind up the country’s best ever.

“I’m truly blown away with where he’s at, where he can go,” Keller said Thursday at Red Bull Arena. “I could see Christian being bought for $100 million by a Barcelona, a Real Madrid, a Manchester United, a Chelsea, a Bayern Munich. He has an opportunity to be that first kind of marquee U.S. national team player that’s been bought for a ton of money and starred for one of the biggest teams in the world for a long time.”

[ MORE: Latest transfer news ] 

Even Pulisic acknowledges his ascent has been a whirlwind.

He left his Hershey, Pennsylvania, high school in February 2015 to join Borussia Dortmund’s youth program. He made his first-team debut in January 2016 at age 17, and two months later was called up to the U.S. national team. At an age when most American soccer players still are establishing themselves in youth programs, he has seven goals in 16 international appearances, including five in World Cup qualifying.

“For me, everything happened a little bit too fast. Of course, the past year’s been a roller coaster,” Pulisic said. “Being able to play at a club level, at a high level, and then getting called into national team, it’s amazing. But I’m just trying to stay as level grounded as I can, you know, finding the balance. I’m just honored that I’m here and so quickly I’m able to represent my club and country.”

By April he was a cover boy for an American soccer gear catalog, status usually limited to greats like Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.

“Of course, I hear about all this stuff. People talk about, you know, this kid. There’s hype, whatever, but I just try to keep it out of my mind as much as I can because that doesn’t really matter to me,” Pulisic said. “I put enough pressure on myself. I don’t need all this outside attention or whatever like that, so I just try to do the best I can for myself and the people around me.”

Able to dribble past defenders with speed and cleverness rarely before displayed by an American, Pulisic was given the national team’s No. 10 jersey – usually assigned to a top star – for the first time last September at 17 years, 349 days.

[ MORE: Mbappe reacts to PSG move, scores wild goal ]

Used primarily as a flank midfielder at first by Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel, Pulisic took on a more central role in the second half of last season when Marco Reus injured a knee. Pulisic had two goals in 12 appearances during his first senior team season, becoming the youngest foreigner to score in the Bundesliga, then added five in 43 games last year.

He scored against Bayern Munich in the German Super Cup to start the new season, then added a goal and assist in Dortmund’s Bundesliga opener under new coach Peter Bosz, a 3-0 win at Wolfsburg.

“He handles everything in the right way,” said U.S. coach Bruce Arena, who replaced Jurgen Klinsmann last November and has given Pulisic a more prominent role.

“I think he respects the senior players at his club, on the national team program. He just goes out and plays and enjoys himself and gets the job done. He’s pretty impressive for a player his age.”

After losing 2-1 at home to Mexico and 4-0 at Costa Rica under Klinsmann in the start of the final round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region, the U.S. has climbed the standings under Arena. The Americans won home games against Honduras and Trinidad and Tobago, and earned draws at Panama and Mexico.

Mexico leads with 14 points, followed by Costa Rica (11), the U.S. (eight), Panama (seven), Honduras (five) and Trinidad (three); the top three nations earn World Cup berths, and the fourth-place team meets Asia’s No. 5 in a playoff.

There is a scenario that allows the U.S. to clinch its eighth straight World Cup berth on Tuesday at Honduras. But it is more likely the Americans will need points from their last two matches, at home versus Panama on Oct. 6 and at Trinidad four days later.

The U.S. is 9-0-5 under Arena, two shy of the team’s record 16-game unbeaten streak (11-0-5) set under Arena in 2004-05.

“It’s been hard work to put ourselves in this position, to turn things around, and the foot can’t come off the gas now,” U.S. captain Michael Bradley said. “We’ve got to have this ruthless mentality that says in these last four games, when everything’s on the line, we’re going to use our good position and finish things off.”

NOTES: The Americans are missing two of their top defenders because of injuries: center back John Brooks and right back DeAndre Yedlin. Arena said he did not pick Eintracht Frankfurt’s Timmy Chandler because the oft-injured right back had not been with the team for any matches since he took over. “All the players that are on our roster for this competition have been with us this year, so I think it makes it easier for us to transition the team into these two games,” Arena said. … Six Americans enter the game with yellow cards and with another caution would be suspended for the next game: Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Paul Arriola, Alejandro Bedoya, Matt Besler and Geoff Cameron.

AP freelance writer Scott Orgera contributed to this report.

Keller, Hejduk, Conrad headline 13 new eligibles for National Soccer HOF

3 Comments

The newest eligibles for the 2015 National Soccer Hall of Fame were announced on Thursday, with U.S. national team stalwarts, goalkeeper Kasey Keller and defenders Frankie Hejduk and Jimmy Conrad, headlining the list of 13 first-time eligible candidates.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT news | USWNT ]

Goalkeepers Pat Onstad, Eddie Robinson and Zach Thornton; defender Gregg Berhalter; and forwards Jovan Kirovski and Diego Serna are the other men on the ballot for the first time. Forwards Tiffeny Milbrett, Natasha Kai, Lindsay Tarpley and Christie Welsh are the first-time eligible women.

Voting, which is done by Hall of Famers, administrators and media, runs through March 20.

[ MORE: Three questions still unanswered as USMNT builds toward 2015 Gold Cup ]

Thirty-one players, including, Chris Armas, Chris Henderson, Chris Klein, Jason Kreis, Eddie Lewis, Clint Mathis, Jaime Moreno, John O’Brien, Ben Olsen, Steve Ralston, Ante Razov, Tiffany Roberts, Tony Sanneh, Briana Scurry, Kate Sobrero Markgraf and Taylor Twellman, are on the ballot as holdovers, while Robin Fraser and Shannon MacMillan are in their final year of eligibility.

The builder ballot includes Bob Contiguglia, Don Garber, Richard Groff, Robert Kraft, Tim Lieweke, Francisco Marcos, Fritz Marth, Kevin Payne and Sigi Schmid

The 2014 induction class consisted of Brian McBride, Kristine Lilly and Bob Bradley.

Sounders admit Yedlin is in Europe to discuss unusual future deal

2 Comments

DeAndre Yedlin is leaving the Seattle Sounders, this we know. When he’ll be playing for another team is quite another story.

MLSSoccer.com has a report that includes an admission from Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer that Yedlin is in Europe to complete a move overseas.

[ REPORT: New England interested in Jermaine Jones, would combat MLS team for signature ]

But that move won’t come into effect immediately, and it won’t be a loan deal. Hanauer says that Yedlin will return to the States as Sounders property.

From MLSSoccer.com:

“DeAndre is overseas,” Hanauer said. “Obviously we’re not going to give out a lot of detail. … Certainly something we’re working toward is a potential transaction.

“This will be a deal where he won’t be immediately transferred and then loaned back,” Hanauer said. “It will be a deal that is constructed in a way that potentially he would be here through the end of the year, potentially longer.”

This follows up several reports that Yedlin, 21, would link up with Tottenham Hotspur. On Friday, Goal.com reported the transfer would be worth $3.5 million, and that the US defender would move to London in January. USMNT legend Kasey Keller issued words of warning to Yedlin on going to Spurs, but perhaps a better goalkeeper for advice is current Spurs man Brad Friedel.

The story is yet another case study in the development of US players. Is it better for Yedlin to play scarcely at Tottenham, go on loan to a ‘lesser’ European club or star week-in, week-out in Major League Soccer. Two years ago at this time, Yedlin was preparing for his sophomore season at Akron. Now, things are much, much different.

Report: DeAndre Yedlin close to Tottenham switch, urged to stay at Seattle

7 Comments

One of the U.S. national teams’ stars of the summer could soon be suiting up for Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.

Reports from various outlets suggest Spurs are closing in on Seattle Sounders right back DeAndre Yedlin and hope to have the deal completed in the next few days.

Goal.com believe that Yedlin will play out the remainder of the 2014 Major League Soccer season with Seattle and then move to the Premier League in January. Yedlin was not present at Sounders practice on Friday and according to reports head coach Sigi Schmid confirmed the youngster was “overseas right now.”

Since then Adrian Hanauer has spoke about Yedlin’s trip overseas and a club spokesman confirmed to ProSoccerTalk that Yedlin is “in talks with a major European team” and that he will arrive back this week and spend the rest of this season with Seattle. ProSoccerTalk have also been in contact with Tottenham but have yet to get an official comment.

The deal for Yedlin is thought to be the largest ever fee paid for a Homegrown MLS players, as Spurs are expected to pay $4.5 million for the pacey right back. Yedlin, 21, may be loaned out to another European club to start with but it is expected that Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino would give him a chance to establish himself in the first team.

Former Seattle and Tottenham ‘keeper Kasey Keller isn’t over the moon about the prospect of Yedlin following in the footsteps of Keller and Clint Dempsey as Americans to ply their trade in North London. According to the London Evening Standard, Keller believes Yedlin stick around in Seattle for the foreseeable future.

“Spurs is a tricky place to play,” Keller said. “They’re a team that has a lot of turnover in players. Spurs are a team that has the money, and they are always looking for a bargain, but it’s a tough place to go. I just want to see young American players play regularly, week in and week out. If that’s at Tottenham, great. But if it’s not, then it’s not the right move. It’s hard to develop if you don’t play. I’m not sure DeAndre would even qualify for a work permit. He’s never started a game for the national team, [England] is a tough place to get a work permit. My guess would be that if Tottenham is in the race, it would be to sign DeAndre and loan him out somewhere.”

Keller does bring up a great point. How often will Yedlin play?

Time and time again we have seen young American players move overseas and then a lack of opportunities to play have followed, stunting their development, even though their bank balance may look a lot healthier.

Yedlin could likely command a very large boost in wages from MLS after his stellar performances at the 2014 World Cup and you do have to question what he would gain at sitting on the bench at Spurs, who already have Kyle Walker locked in at right back, than staying and playing regularly for the Sounders.

Lets see how this one plays out as rumors about Yedlin’s future persist.

Voting on the U.S. national team all-time Best XI

19 Comments

Narrowing down the list of my voting opportunity for the United States national team’s all-time best 11 to a list of 15-or-so personal finalists wasn’t such a tall task. Not easy, but not insurmountable.

Bit eliminating the next four or five to arrive at the final list? Impossible!

U.S. Soccer is selecting an all-time Best XI as it continues to celebrate 100 years as a federation. I was asked to count myself among the media voters.

You can check it out here from U.S. Soccer, where all the finalists and voting details are listed.

As I said, it was tough as could be at the end. Just consider this: I had to choose four midfielders from between Landon Donovan, Cobi Jones, Claudio Reyna, DaMarcus Beasley, Tab Ramos and Clint Dempsey. (Those were my “finalists” from within the big list of finalists.)

Before you decide – because I know at first glance someone like Beasley may not be tops on your list of all-time U.S. greats, consider the criteria by which we were asked to cast our votes:

  • Starter or key contributor to overall success on the field, especially in World Cups.
  • Longevity, overall performance and talent on the field with the U.S. Men’s or Women’s National Team.
  • Impact on the legacy of the U.S. Men’s or Women’s National Team program

If you really consider the number of caps, the contributions to qualifying over the years, the Gold Cup contributions, the somewhat nebulous “legacy” factor and, of course, the actually World Cup tourney performance, there’s a lot going on.

Without further delay, here was my vote:

Goalkeeper: Kasey Keller

Defenders: Steve Cherundolo, Marcelo Balboa, Alexi Lalas, Carlos Bocanegra

Midfielders: Landon Donovan, Claudio Reyna, Tab Ramos, Cobi Jones

Forwards: Eric Wynalda, Brian McBride