While the US Soccer team was stumbling to another pair of losses in last week’s international window, young attacking mid Joe Benny Corona suited up for Mexico’s Under-22 team in a friendly. Would Corona, who is also eligible to play for the USA and El Salvador, have had a tougher decision if the USA was also playing a U-22 game last week? This begs the question – why doesn’t the US field a Junior Varsity (U22 or U23) team and schedule some friendlies? And what would such a team look like right now?
Rather than rehash and analyze the losses to Costa Rica and Belgium (is it hypocritical to admit that you sorta miss the empty bucket?), we thought we’d look at some hypotheticals. After all, the Olympics are next summer, and that is the official Under 23* tournament. US Soccer will be fielding some kind of qualifying roster soon. So realizing that some of the Olympic-age players are already firmly established on the full national team, realizing that the Fed has not yet named their Olympic Coach (or U20 for that matter), and admitting that I have not seen some of these players (other than highlights and on FIFA 11), here’s a stab at our current JV roster, with help from Wikipedia…
Goalkeepers: Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Samir Badr (FC Porto)
Defenders: Timothy Chandler** (FC Nuremberg), Ike Opara (SJ Earthquakes), Perry Kitchen (D.C. United), Daniel Williams (SC Frieburg), Sheanon Williams (Philly Union), Sean Cunningham (Molde), John Anthony Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Zarek Valentin (Chivas USA)
Midfielders: The Freddy Adu** (Philly Union), Brek Shea** (FC Dallas), Josh Gatt (Molde), Fabian Hurzeler (Bayern Munich), Joe Gyau (Hoffenheim), Mixx Diskerud** (Stabaek), Michael Stephens (LA Galaxy), Danny Cruz (Houston Dynamo), Sebastian Lletget (West Ham), Joe Corona (Tijuana)
Forwards: Juan Agudelo** (NY Red Bulls), Teal Bunbury** (KC Sporks), Will Bruin (Houston Dynamo), Adrian Ruelas (Jaguares de Chiapas), Bobby Wood (1860 Munich), Terrence Boyd (Dortmund), Villyan Bijev (Liverpool)
Even if you remove guys like Chandler, Shea, and Agudelo, who played for the senior team in last week’s friendlies, that’s a pretty intriguing roster. They look a little raw at the back, and pretty exciting up front – which is exactly why they should be playing competitively. The chances of seeing this particular team or something resembling them together are slim right, considering half of them play in Europe, some have dual-citizen eligibility, etc. But I would certainly tune-in or show up to see them play the day before/day after the senior team during the next international date. Coach Klinsi has said repeatedly that the younger players need to feed into the senior team, and he wants to develop a cohesive style and system.
So why not get the Olympic Coach named and try to schedule some JV matches pronto? We have international dates in October and November, with the annual winter camp looming… We are talking to you, Klinsmann and Gulati. And if you think this notional Olympic Roster is crazy or off-base, provide as an alternative. What would yours look like?
*Under 23 roster with three over-age slots: a rule we despise.
**Already capped with the senior team