Welcome to Crewture.

Which stands for Crew and Culture, and follows Crew supporter culture. Created around the Nordecke creation and used to follow the rise of the supporters section which is now 10 years old.

Monday, July 28, 2014

7.28.2014: Emmanuel Dapaa Should Be Crew Academy Target

Columbus, Ohio area player Emmanuel Dapaa had 8 goals in 4 games at US Youth Soccer Championship
at U16 level this past week.

7.28.2014: Emmanuel Dapaa Should Be Crew Academy Target
By Ryan Kozlowski, Crewture Editor

Here's a signing the Columbus Crew should make in their backyard for the Youth Academy.

16 year old Emmanuel Dapaa, who plays for Ohio Premier out of Dublin, Ohio. A suburb just miles away from Crew Stadium.

Dapaa, a youngster who would be eligible to play for the United States (grew up here since three), Italy (was born there), or Ghana (parents are from there), was the leading goalscorer in the US Youth Soccer Championship (at all levels) with 8 goals. Oh, and he did that without playing the first game!

Eight goals in four games at the U16 National Championship isn't bad for a weeks work.

Also, Dapaa carried his side completely on his back. His impact was displayed the two times OPE matched up with the #1 ranked U16 side Baltimore Celtic.

The game Dapaa missed, A 4-1 loss to Baltimore Celtic to open the tournament for OPE, was a lot closer in the final when the two sides met again with Eman present.

In the rematch Dapaa, tied up the U16 final on a free kick, and kept OPE in the game for 110 minutes for a 1-1 result after extra time; but the Ohio Premier Eagles eventually succumbed 4-2 on PKs to the Celts.

Prior to Dapaa's breakout in this tournament, he had the 2013 Goal of the Year in US Youth Soccer. Also, a ridiculous 38 goals and 15 assists in his Ohio high school season last year, the most goals in 2013 in any Ohio High School Division. Eman also supposedly has had contact with Manchester United.

This past week, I saw Dapaa play twice. I filmed or produced 14 games from the U14 to U19 levels at the US Youth Soccer National Championships in Germantown, Maryland, 2 of Dapaa's. Dapaa was one of two or three players that really stood out for me.
Start at 2:21 (I filmed the flip celebration on his second goal, one of the better goals of this tournament):

Dapaa, and a similar striker for Baltimore Celtic, are who US Soccer should be fast tracking to the National Team. Also, a U-14 Striker Andrew Carleton.

Why go after German-Americans for the future, when there are Americans out there like Dapaa and Carleton (who is with the USMNT U14's) that could be focused on or groomed to be strikers that the National Team is missing.

Hopefully, since this is the US Youth Soccer National Championship, Dapaa is getting a look as well. Kids like this should be in MLS academies, until they can make the next steps to MLS and the USMNT.
Further, if the Crew don't know or care to get this kid in their backyard. They should probably just close their doors. Dapaa is an exciting player. If you're not interested in getting exciting strikers into your academy, and eventually on your first team, what's your business?

But, possibly it's not the Crew who don't want Dapaa, but Dapaa that doesn't want the Crew yet. According to a youth soccer parent, the Crew Academy, despite being free, isn't very attractive in the lower youth levels.
Eman is the real deal as they like to say. I've watched him play against my son's teams since roughly u12. Despite what you think, the best kids in Columbus/Ohio don't play for the Crew DA at the u-16 level. I can't comment on the older u-18 group because I haven't seen the kids over the last few years since my son is u-16 this year. I've watched the last 2 years of the Crew DA team play and know almost all the kids because my son has played or guest played with or against them...even the Crew Challenger ones that were brought in this November after their high school seasons ended. They seem to have made an impact and stabilized the team a bit although they are sitting in 3rd from last place in the table.

OP U-16 would handle the Crew DA pretty easily in my opinion. We'll never know though. In the U-15 age group Lesh's Blast team is far superior to anything the Crew has as well. You probably find this hard to believe but the top players in Ohio South aren't all clamoring to play DA for the Crew. Lot's of kids want to do multiple sports, play with and in front of friends in HS and maybe have steered clear for other reasons. I know a lot of unhappy Crew Pre-Academy families from the last year or two. Just for the record my son has never played Gold, Pre-Acad or DA but some of his ex-teammates have or still do.
If this comment was a shot on net, it would be right on target.

If Dapaa played for the Crew now he would have to give up high school soccer, high school basketball, and playing with the OP Eagles. All things he currently enjoys doing.

But, around 17 or 18, when he might need a few years of Major League Soccer before possibly jumping over to Europe, maybe then Dapaa makes the switch.

I doubt Eman is anywhere near as good at basketball as he is at soccer. If he also had LeBron potential that would be amusing, but I'm going to just go out on a limb and say he doesn't. So, eventually when it comes to a future, near graduation, he's going to have to seek out either the Columbus Crew or somewhere else.

If I was at Columbus Crew, or even my previous colleagues at Dayton Dutch Lions, where their whole money deal is (or was) trying to eventually sell kids to Europe to make money (and they have some connections overseas) I would be after this kid like Nick Saban after an Alabama blue chip. Hell, the kid was in the Columbus Dispatch for possible tryouts with Manchester United feeder clubs. What do you need to do to say "hello, I'm good over here?"

Does Dapaa need to score 10 goals in the US U16 Club Championship? Before you offer him and his entire family and friends free season tickets and access to anyone he wants. Either club should be bending over backward for this kid, because it's smart for business.

Even DDL, although MLS play is about 50 times more attractive than USL Pro obviously, could try to groom the kid for two more years, give him a year of USL Pro to dominate, then transfer him overseas. Or Columbus can give him a few years of MLS and do the same.

But, if OP Eagles are giving him the ability to be on the biggest stage at the U16 club level, and Columbus or Dayton cannot, then why move?

Either way, it still should be a priority of the Crew at that level.

Smart transfers are a good business model. The unheard of Giancarlo Gonzalez, when the Crew signed him, ended up being a World Cup defensive standout for Costa Rica. That was a smart transfer for Columbus; in for probably $250,000, out for possibly $5 million.

So would a kid like this in another way, as Dapaa has the potential in three or four years of being attractive to someone in Europe.

So, say the Columbus Crew lure him for free, four years down the road they could snag $4 million for him.

Yet, because most of the money goes to MLS MAIN when one of these transfers occur, I feel like there isn't as much of an emphasis on these two type of moves by MLS teams. Even if it helps the club for a couple of years on the field, do MLS teams get enough to do whatever it takes to grab these players? A greater free market economy in MLS, and more benefits for these moves (like getting 100% percent of the transfer) would lead to more growth and more ambitious owners in this league, doing everything in their power to get youth players like Dapaa and making more transfers like Giancarlo.

Either way, Crew or elsewhere, I think you'll hear more from this kid down the road.