Sunday, July 14, 2019

Cap Cultivaters

The Gold Cup has come and gone, so I'll be kicking off a new Clipboard tomorrow. First though, let's wade in some stat nerd biz. I got into a discussion about MLS academies and the qualities of their scouting process. Personally, I'd say to come up with the top shelf prospects on a consistent basis, clubs need to make sure they don't forget to give at least as much value to technical and mental attributes as they do to athletic skills.

To have a long career, guys need to be able to receive and pass, they need to be able to think the game quickly, to play quick touches, to be able to train for improvements, to persevere, to battle hard, to problem solve, to maintain confidence, to be creative, and so on. That's why you see some attackers shine early before petering out and why defenders tend to bloom later. The guys at the back get smarter and more well-drilled, which means the guys relied on produce offense need to come up with new methods or new ways to set up their favorite tricks after their tendencies become more studied.

For academies to churn out pro players is impressive, but the ones who bloom high level players are the ones to watch as MLS proceeds forward. Ya gotta create your own players to win consistently, even if the checkbook can strike like Thor. Which teams create the biggest depth of quality  youngsters (spoiler alert: Toronto FC, FC Dallas, Vancouver and the Red Bulls)? And which ones can grow the most guys that can have lasting impact at the international level (spoiler alert: not necessarily all of those clubs)? And while we're at it, which ones will start creeping up the list before long (spoiler alert: Sporting KC, Real Salt Lake, Seattle, Philadelphia, Atlanta and the LA Galaxy).

With that set-up, here is the list of MLS teams with products that have achieved senior caps. Yes, I know some guys below were not around for too long and that not all international teams are created equal, but one has to draw the line somewhere.

I have not included any players that entered the corresponding clubs' academy past the age of 20. There are some included that started in another youth set-up before reaching the MLS academy. The four guys wearing an asterisk have played in a World Cup.

FC Dallas - 158
(Eddie Johnson 63*, Ramiro Funes Mori 24, Kellyn Acosta 23, Moisés Hernández 15, Weston McKennie 14, Kenny Cooper 10, Reggie Cannon 6, Emerson Hyndman 2, Rogelio Funes Mori 1)

Toronto FC - 128
(Doneil Henry 28, Jonathan Osorio 27, Russell Teibert 25, Ashtone Morgan 15, Mark-Anthony Kaye 10, Michael Petrasso 9, Raheem Edwards 4, Marcus Godinho 4, Jay Chapman 2, Jordan Hamilton 2, Ricardo Ferreira 1, Quillan Roberts 1)

Seattle - 92
(DeAndre Yedlin 59*, Jordan Morris 33)

New York Red Bulls - 90
(Juan Agudelo 28, Matt Miazga 17, Derrick Etienne Jr. 16, Tyler Adams 10, Andrew-Jean Baptiste 10, Timothy Weah 8, Matthew Olosunde 1)

Vancouver - 83
(Russell Teibert 25, Alphonso Davies 14, Dever Orgill 13, Randy Edwini-Bonsu 10, Kyle Porter 9, Marco Bustos 6, Sam Adekugbe 3, Kianz Froese 2, Ben McKendry 1)

DC United - 59
(Andy Najar 36*, Michael Seaton 14, Bill Hamid 6, Iyassu Bekele 2, Romain Gall 1)

Montreal - 52
(Karl Ouimette 18, Maxime Tissot 13, Anthony Jackson-Hamel 9, Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé 5, Wandrille Lefèvre 3, Ballou Tabla 2, Maxime Crepeau 2)

LA Galaxy - 51
(Gyasi Zardes 51)

Chicago - 51
(Jonathan Spector 36, Chris Rolfe 10, Djordje Mihailovic 5)

Real Salt Lake - 36
(Carlos Salcedo 32*, Corey Baird 3, Romain Gall 1)

Columbus - 19
(Wil Trapp 19)

Philadelphia - 15
(Zack Steffen 15)

New England - 12
(Zachary Herivaux 12)

Portland - 12
(Emery Welshman 12)

San Jose - 7
(Nick Lima 7)

Sporting KC - 2
(Erik Palmer-Brown 2)

- Greg Seltzer


DaMa said...

Interesting. And a bit disheartening. Play your kids! I guess it took a while for MLS to focus on development over just staying afloat... teams like KC and RSL are hard not to look at and think (given their history, community and support/success) these guys should be doing better at this.

Patrick said...

Did Spector ever play for the Fire?

Bradley and Altidore don't count for NYRB?

Greg Seltzer said...

Spector never played for the Fire, but he spent about a year in their academy before heading off to ManU.

Bradley and Altidore both went straight from Bradenton (IMG Academy) to the Red Bulls after being selected in the SuperDraft. No academy time for either.