* Soccer prospects rankings by leagues *
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12-03-2007, 11:11 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Edison, NJ
OK, the MLS season is over! RERANK! Tons of movement, plus the important question: Will they be going to Europe?
1. Michael Parkhurst, Center-back, Born: January 24, 1984, Team: New England Revolution (WILL GRADUATE)
Parkhurst had a brilliant second half to cap a great season. He was named the best defender in the league this season. Why? I have only one stat you need to know:
fouls - all season! Excellent defense and disciplined to boot. Parkhurst continues to be the heart and leader of the New England Revolution defense that was integral in their second straight trip to the MLS Cup. He was too good to not name #1 and the word is that once his contract ends next year, he's going right to Europe - provided no one makes a sweet deal for him now.
Will Parkhurst go to Europe? You bet. An Irish passport and a highly credentialed young career will definitely get you some looks in England.
2. Jozy Altidore, Striker, Born: November 6, 1989, Team: NY Red Bulls
What haven't I said about this guy? Altidore played a little left midfield towards the end as Bruce Arena wanted NYRB to have Angel, Francis Doe, and Altidore on the field at the same time - that and the regular LM was at LB. But I digress, Altidore has all the tools and talents you'd want in a 18 year old striker. He could fizzle like any prospect, but from what I've seen of him for club and country (earned his first USMNT cap against South Africa), he's for real. Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid has come calling; NYRB says they want to keep him; Altidore just wants to succeeed. Yeah.
Will Altidore go to Europe? Yes, and Altidore going to Spain would be something to behold.
3. Maurice Edu, Midfielder, Born: April 18, 1986, Team: Toronto FC
Edu has really shined in my eyes as a defensive midfielder. He didn't just get his first cap with the national team, he got more than one as the year went on. Edu deservedly won the rookie of the year award ahead of Dane Richards (too old for this list) and Adam Cristman (who I don't rate as one other MLS rookie). When you achieve so much in one season, you shoot up a list like this.
Will Edu go to Europe? Yes...but not yet. He's got the talent, but he needs some further development, I think.
4. Brad Guzan, Goalkeeper, Born: September 9, 1984, Team: Chivas USA (WILL GRADUATE)
Guzan is rising among the US ranks to challenge Marcus Hahnemann as the #2 GK. Guzan is coming off a brilliant MLS season where he was named the Goalkeeper of the Year. The guy has size (6'4", 210 lbs.), he's got great reflexes, and his command of the box is improving. What's his ceiling? I don't know, but he could very well be up there with Howard and Friedel one of these days. Arsenal is supposedly already interested, I see Guzan as the next successful GK to come out of MLS.
Will Guzan go to Europe? Arsenal's interested, but he's not leaving this year, I don't think. If he doesn't go in three years, I'd be very surprised.
5. Eddie Johnson, Striker, Born: March 31, 1984, Team: Kansas City Wizards (WILL GRADUATE)
Eddie had a very quiet - in terms of goal production - second half; but he was still a threat and this season was enough to name him as the MLS Comeback Player of the Year this season. A lot of US fans have soured on him, but EJ definitely found "it" again this season. I still think that if he goes to a more competitive league, he'll continue developing "it" to become the monster striker he can be (and one the US really could use).
Will Johnson go to Europe? Depending on the rumors, he's either going to Reading or Derby County as it is. I'd be surprised if he stayed in KC.
6. Jonathan Bornstein, Left-back, Born: November 7, 1984, Team: Chivas USA (WILL GRADUATE)
Bornstein didn't do anything to hurt his place this season at all. He's been solid for Chivas USA and even for the USA at left-back all season and all year. When you're solid, you're in a solid place on this list. How good will he become is the real question. He won't be a legend, but he could develop to be a damn good left back in the world of soccer. Given how left back is always a place where teams always try to improve, Bornstein will definitely have some interest in the future.
Will Bornstein go to Europe? Not yet. Ask me again in about a year or two.
7. Sasha Kljestan, Left midfielder, Born: September 9, 1985, Team: Chivas USA
Like Guzan and Bornstein, Kljestan was a key part of their team's success and came in second with the most assists in the league with 13. That is just as many as Landon Donovan and one less than Steve Ralston. Pretty good company for a guy in his sophmore season. It's hard to gauge his upside, to be honest. Is he at his celing now? Can he step it up further? He got capped three times, but it was at the Copa America where America fielded a C-team. If he continues to get capped and performs well, then great.
Will Kljestan go to Europe? It's hard to say, to be honest. I need to see more from him. He's going to really want it, if he wants it.
8. Nathan Sturgis, Defender (Central, Left-back, Right-back)/Midfielder (Defensive), Born: July 6, 1987, Team: Real Salt Lake
Sturgis was a real revelation at the World Youth Championships for the United States. He was solid as a rock on defense, especially at times when the team really needed to get a stop (like for stretches of the Brazil game). I'm confused as to why LA traded Sturgis and Robbie Findley; but it's RSL's gain! The reason why I am choosing Sturgis over Findley is because of how well Sturgis did for the US U-20s, Sturgis' versatility, and that I think that Sturgis has a higher upside. I would expect Sturgis to step it up and get more time for RSL next season.
Will Sturgis go to Europe? Now, no. But if he puts in a strong season or two, combined with his U-20 experience, he can definitely get some interest.
9. Juan Toja, Attacking Midfielder (Central), Born: May 24, 1985, Team: FC Dallas
The first half of the season for Toja? Absolutely fantastic, played like every ball mattered and he was great for FCD. But then Toja got injured and wasn't really the same afterwards. That concerns me. Does it tell me that Toja is injury prone? That he doesn't recover well? Or does it tell me anything at all? Maybe he'll do much better next season, but he needs to put together a whole season before returning to #2 on this list.
Will Toja go to Europe? He'll have to shape up in his second season, but I would imagine some teams were definitely impressed with his form in the first half this season. So, for now, no. Given he's on a loan, he'll definitely go back to South America at some point.
10. Francis Doe, Striker, Born: December 25, 1985, Team: New York Red Bulls
Yes, I'm picking Doe over Dax McCarty, Arturo Alvarez, Michael Harrington, Robbie Rogers, Anthony Wallace, etc. Doe is the reason why NYRB would be OK if Altidore left. For starters, Doe has international experience: he's been capped by the Liberian men's national team 7 times and put in 2 goals. Second, Doe has scored twice and earned an assist in only 8 appearances (4 starts) with the Red Bulls. Third, Doe has finishing ability, playmaking skills, and a scorer's nose for the net despite his small stature. Doe could be a complete forward who could use his spell in NYRB as a stepping stone for future greatness. It wouldn't be the first time he gets European interest - having done a loan spell in Greece.
Will Doe go to Europe? He's done it once, but it wasn't permanent. I can see the next time being permanent, yet NYRB won't give up both Altidore AND Doe at the same time. Unless they get large stacks of cash.
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