The signing of Jermaine Jones may be a signal that the Revolution are learning to do other things right, but the one thing that they have always excelled at is selecting and cultivating young talent- scouting and evaluating free agents is another topic for another day…
I bring this up today because Major League Soccer has announced it’s “24 Under 24” for 2014- the 24 best players in the league under the age of 24 and the New England Revolution have three players on the list, all three in the top 16 as a matter of fact. Only two other clubs- Real Salt Lake and Vancouver Whitecaps have two players in the top and only Vancouver has more players on the list overall.
The New England players are:
Rowe, a midfielder and Generation Adidas player out of UCLA, is 22 but already in his third full season with the club and is closing in on 100 matches played for the club in all competitions. His passing ability and an impossibly “heavy” shot from distance make him a threat to both score on his own and set up his teammates. Adding a little more consistency to his abilities is probably all that stands between Rowe and a spot on the 2016 Olympic team and a full USMNT call-up after that.
Farrell, a defender and Generation Addias player from the University of Louisville, has all the tools: size, strength, pace, and a technical ability that seems out of place on the back line until you realize that he learned the game in Peru as the son of American missionaries. Farrell is reportedly already on Jurgen Klinsmann’s radar. If Klinsmann wants to attack from the back, having the 22 year old Farrell on the opposite wing from DeAndre Yedlin would be a nightmare for USMNT opponents.
A home-grown attacking midfielder, Fagundez is in his fourth seasons with the club and won’t turn 20 until next January. He has already scored more goals than any other teenager in MLS history with 22 (and has added 14 assists) despite only becoming a “full time” player last season. Fagundez has appeared four times for Uruguay’s U20, but wants to play for the USMNT and why wouldn’t Jurgen Klinsmann want a fearless, creative, and technically gifted player like Diego as qualification opens up for Russia in 2018?
In addition to these three standouts, the club also have-
And these are just the players on the “accelerated program.” Waiting in the wings and seeing plenty of playing time with the Rochester Rhinos this year were Alec Sundly, Josimar Sanchez, and Donnie Smith, all still under 24 years of age. There’s no guarantee that any of these players- or even the players above them in the pecking order- will go on to careers of super stardom in MLS or elsewhere, but if the Revoution continue to develop players well in-house, draft well out of the collegiate system, and continue signing productive veteran players (Andy Dorman, Lee Nguyen, Jermaine Jones, Charlie Davies, Daigo Kobayashi, Jose Goncalves, etc.) the future could be bright in New England.
PS: This was my 1,000th post on my website- WOO!!