Friday, March 6, 2009

3/6/09: Home Grown National Team Talent



Locally in Columbus there is alot of soccer talent not to mention in the state of Ohio. Aaron Horton (above) and Chad Barson (Top Right) are two of the best in the state and in the nation. Both have attended the National team academy in Bradenton, Florida and compete on national teams at their age level. (U-16 and U-18) The tandem has been wildly successful in their national team campaigns traveling the world beating the likes of Spain, Brazil, and Portugal's national teams. U.S soccer is really coming along due to the youth system that is being built upon in our country. Barson is part of the #1 ranked Akron Zips recruiting class for 2009 and is infact a member of the Columbus developmental academy team which in it's first year made the nationals.

The youth system is what makes clubs in Europe and South America so successful, kids grow up and dream of suiting up in a Manchester United or Boca Juniors jersey, while many youth in the states don't necessarily have that dream. If the MLS is going to have success it will have to start from the bottom and farm its talent. It can't attract the Messi's and the Fernando Torres's of the world at this point. But if the league can gather respect and talent in its own cities and put a fence around our borders the league will make huge leaps.

The United States talent pool grows larger every year and teams in Europe are taking notice. A.S. Monaco recently took notice and created a club team in the states and has already recruited Horton to play for it. This goes to show the respect U.S players are begining to get. If the Crew and the MLS are going to be successful they should go after youth in our country, our strong youth national teams show that soccer is making strides in the U.S (look at what our U-20 team has been doing).

Horton's Team Ohio FC competed in a invitational only competition held by Manchester United and his team placed 7th out of 18 teams in the world, Horton also finished as the tournament MVP and leading goal scorer. American's have game and the MLS could compete internationally if the talent in the youth system is kept in the states. The crew and other MLS teams have talent in their own backyard if only they would look a little harder and the league would allocate more money to youth development.

To take MLS to the next level will be a challenge but the United States has the money and intrest in the game to accomplish it. Horton and Barson have been Crew fans since they were children and have dreamed of suiting up for the Black and Gold one day, and i firmly believe they have the talent to. We can only hope the Crew can get to these youth first and offer competitive contracts before European club's come knocking, because it's only a matter of time. The trick is keeping that talent in the MLS and that excitement in our youth systems.

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