TSG’s Media Ballot: 2013 MLS 24 Under 24

Big time wattage! Ohlmes Garcia...near the head of the glass

Big time wattage! Olmes Garcia…near the head of the glass

Each year, MLS asks media to vote on the top 24 players under 24 years-old.  They started the tradition back in 1981 when Freddy Adu took the top spot. The jury is still out on that one. Here’s last year’s ratings.

There are four categories to rank the players and it’s an admittedly difficult process as it’s possible to get as few as five observations of a single player–so much can and should be discounted. Further one of the five categories is personality–while the it’s supposed to be judged by things such as “marketability,” it’s again a difficult rating–and one that is weighted equally–because it’s mostly sound bytes and on-field charisma that carries the vote. You can’t go for beers for the players–and some it would be illegal to anyway.

So with best guestimate, here is the ballot that TSG is submitting.  It’s sure to be contentious.

TSG's ballot. Fire away at will. (Reply: Wax on, wax off)

TSG’s ballot. Fire away at will. (Reply: Wax on, wax off)

**Note: Will Bruin appears to be left off the global list emailed by MLS. He’s in the top 25. He turns 24 in season so that could’ve been it. **

32 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mark on 2013/08/19 at 8:56 PM

    No Hamid? I think Gershon Kofie could be on here too.


  2. Posted by matthewsf on 2013/08/19 at 8:57 PM

    These are totally subjective and very difficult. And I’d like to see other writers put them out there.


  3. Posted by Mark on 2013/08/19 at 8:59 PM

    Also, looking at last year’s list is a reminder that talented youngsters can disappear just as quickly as they rise.


  4. Posted by Mark on 2013/08/19 at 9:05 PM

    As for Zardes, I would be really excited about him if he were 18 or 19, not almost 22. He just seems out of tune with his body, like different parts are going in different directions at the same moment. Very frustrating based on the superior tools he obviously has.


  5. Posted by dth on 2013/08/19 at 9:14 PM

    I’m sure someone can run the statistics and figure out the standard deviations, etc., but it looks like you’ve got “tactical” ability rated the lowest of the five categories, which sounds about right given the weaknesses of the U.S. system.

    I also think you’re underrating Jean-Baptiste in the “physical” category. To me he’s the prototype for his position. I’d give him a 17.


    • Posted by dth on 2013/08/19 at 9:16 PM

      I might also ding Klute a point or two on physical because his acceleration is weaker than you’d like at FB.


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2013/08/19 at 9:17 PM

        I don’t know about that on that one. I think he baits people a bit. All of a sudden he’s by them and they’re like, “Which way did he go George…?” — but that’s a fair point too.


        • Posted by dth on 2013/08/19 at 9:19 PM

          His speed is a bit deceptive, but sometimes it looks a bit weak on defense. Mostly quibbling — Klute looks a really good prospect. I’d probably bump him up a point on technical and subtract a point on physical, but it’s quibbling.


  6. Posted by matthewsf on 2013/08/19 at 9:15 PM

    Yeah — maybe should’ve been higher. Can’t go back now. Very fair point.


  7. Posted by jw on 2013/08/19 at 9:15 PM

    Gil is way too low on that list.


    • Posted by cc on 2013/08/19 at 9:23 PM

      Not really. Gil does good on the National team but seems to be largely absent during club play. RSLTID!


  8. Posted by dth on 2013/08/19 at 9:21 PM

    Two other points:

    1) Would be really interesting if you had an all-worldwide Americans list. Brooks and Arriola would rate quite highly, I’d imagine.

    2) I’m really hoping things go well for DC on all fronts (for personal fandom as well as broader USMNT/MLS development), because Collin Martin, Conor Doyle and Jared Jeffrey should all stand good chances of joining this list with proper development.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2013/08/19 at 9:22 PM

      Do that list!!! I’ll publish it Darius. Jeffrey and Doyle were in the 30s for me. Totally debatable.


  9. Posted by Berniebernier on 2013/08/20 at 3:39 AM

    I know this has been covered other places but I would like to see this list changed to say under 21 or something similar. 23 is fairly mature for a soccer player.


  10. Posted by Berniebernier on 2013/08/20 at 3:53 AM

    I find the idea that it’s five equally rated categories to be be really deceiving given its 24 under 24. If you could start a team with any player (for sake of argument let’s assume they don’t transfer overseas) I imagine your list would look different.


  11. I’m a little surprised not to see Perry Kitchen in there…


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2013/08/20 at 5:48 AM

      He’s honorable mention. I like him but I think his ceiling limits him a bit.


  12. Posted by ae on 2013/08/20 at 6:20 AM

    Matt Hedges???


  13. Posted by mbw on 2013/08/20 at 2:51 PM

    I caught Philly in person recently and came away impressed by how much Okugo has learned about playing center half. He gave Thierry Henry absolutely nothing. To me he’s in the top three and maybe higher than that.

    Side note on the Union: If they had a center mid who could spring the counter, they would be a legit playoff threat. But they don’t, so they aren’t.


    • Posted by Crow on 2013/08/21 at 11:53 AM

      I agree. Henry used him up in the Spring but it’s incredible how strong Okugo has been the last two months. He was in a bit of a slump at the beginning of the year but has even improved on last year since then.


  14. Posted by Gordo Stretch on 2013/08/21 at 8:35 AM

    Wil Trapp only started playing regularly since early July due to U20 commitments, but he’s started the last 6 games and has been phenomenal. Give this another couple of weeks & Trapp will be consensus top 25.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2013/08/21 at 5:15 PM

      Don’t think so. Thought it was aggressive to out him in Honorable Mention. Going to write a column shortly about the duel challenges after a player has his first few good reps. He’s got to now process the game / beginner’s mistake less tolerated & in parallel other teams have scouted him. Trapp hasn’t went through that evolution yet.

      But I a fan. Here’s a piece we wrote on him here: http://theshinguardian.com/2013/01/02/wil-trapp-one-bus-leads-home/


  15. Posted by Cairo_East on 2013/09/16 at 9:14 AM

    Initial reaction: #’s 14 through 18 would have been in the top 10 just a few years ago. The league is developing.


  16. Posted by Cairo_East on 2013/09/16 at 9:18 AM

    Also, how far has Teal Bunbury fallen?


  17. Posted by tjh on 2013/09/16 at 11:42 AM

    I think Teibert’s Personality score is a bit low, just because he’s a Canadian playing in Canada, which makes him way more marketable locally. And the hair.


  18. Posted by bidder49 on 2013/09/19 at 1:00 PM

    Scott Caldwell? Big ask, given that d-mid. position is under-noticed, esp if played w. finesse instead of enforcer style, and on a team the media doesn’t see often. But I think he deserves at least honorable mention. It’s unusual for a rookie to oust several vets & win starter role, particularly at d-mid. Tactically excellent, reads game beyond his years, great distributor, clean tackler. Maybe not super high on the “marketability” side (quiet, not exuberant & in-your-face), but he’s smart, articulate and a good looking kid, so he’ll get there as people learn who he is. Would be nice if he scored sometimes, but frankly the Rev’s don’t need him to, w. all their roaming young attacking midfielders, it’s good he’s back buttoning things down. Future national team player.


  19. Posted by mbw on 2013/09/20 at 8:45 AM

    Here’s a lineup composed entirely of 24-under-24 rejects:

    Manneh Diaz Rowe
    Caldwell O’Neill
    Klute Hedges Salcedo Acosta

    Joao Plata, Soony Saad, and McBean/Trencito coming off the bench.


  20. […] almost time for the MLS 24 under 24 list. The Shin Guardian has published its votes, with Amobi Okugo at No. 6 and Jack McInerney at No. […]


  21. […] year, in an effort spearheaded by The Shin Guardian, we, along with writers like Charles Boehm, released a MLS “24 Under 24″ ballot ranking […]


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