MLS’s Next Exports

MLS’s Next Exports

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On August 26, 2010
  • Andy Najar, Brek Shea, Chad Marshall, Danny Mwanga, Geoff Cameron, George John, Omar Gonzalez, Stefan Frei, Steve Zakuani

Normally I tackle one of these kinds of posts each year it seems as there are always a group of guys that just look prime to go from MLS to Europe at the next chance. A year or so ago (okay December 08) I wrote that guys like Sacha Kljestan and Michael Parkhurst were on their way out of MLS.

After Geoff Reid’s talk yesterday about players heading to leagues in Sweden or Norway I felt like piggy-backing that post a bit to get back into this discussion today. The fact that I skipped an entire year on something like this was a bit shocking as I thought I’d keep up with it longer when I first started doing it. Silly me I suppose.

The summer transfer window just closed a couple weeks ago and now clubs have to wait before they can get their hands on some up and coming MLS talent. It seems like right now there are plenty of guys that could very well be gone from MLS next year if the league doesn’t step up and protect it’s own, which we know probably won’t happen.

A lot of talk has surrounded Landon Donovan in recent months but really anymore I don’t see him going back to Europe full-time. I think in January we’ll see him head back to England or where ever for a three-month deal only to return to LA for the start of the 2011 season. Plus I feel as though he went to England this past year and did what he’s been wanting to do for a long time, prove himself on a big stage. He’s done that and so I think he’s fine in LA for the time being. Some folks won’t agree with that but let’s face it MLS isn’t getting rid of it’s biggest star just yet.

Now some of my list below is built on a gut feeling and the others could be based on rumors flying around. All of these guys are young too as I didn’t go for any veterans that think they’ll just up and leave MLS. Which means I still believe guys like Shalrie Joseph won’t go even though you know they’d like to. Also I know a few of these guys are a couple years away from a move but I thought they were worth discussing. If you feel like I missed someone or think I’m totally crazy just share your thoughts below.

1. Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo) – His injury this year probably dampened his chances in a big way to score a huge contract or even a transfer this summer but one thing is certain about Cameron he’s vastly underpaid in MLS. He knows it and so does the rest of the soccer world. He hasn’t signed a contract extension with the Dynamo just yet either so don’t be shocked if his situation turns out to be similar to Stuart Holden and Ricardo Clark. I’d love to see Geoff stay here in MLS, believe me I would but we’ve seen this time and time again with clubs like Houston. They make good, young, and cheap players into very talented stars. Its always tough to hold on to something like that.

2. Danny Mwanga (Philadelphia Union) – I know he got talked into coming to MLS instead of going to Europe but believe me he won’t be in MLS very long with the way he plays. I give him one more year here tops. Maybe even less than that.

3. Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy) – Here’s a gut feeling kind of thing. Once his contract runs out with the club I see him as a goner. Defenders like Gonzalez are tough to come by and he’ll also continue to get more US National team play in the coming year as well I believe. The more folks abroad see him the more likely he won’t be in MLS with LA.

4. Brek Shea (FC Dallas) – Here is another talented yet cheap player that is continuing to get better. He had rumors a couple years ago about going to Europe but after the way he’s emerged this season it will be tough for Dallas to keep him long-term. He’s still very young and has room to grow in the right system.

5. Andy Najar (D.C. United) – You can’t be shocked to see this kid’s name listed here. Thankfully for D.C. fans they have him for at least another year as he can’t go anywhere else until he’s 18. But unfortunately for D.C. and anyone who enjoys watching him play in MLS he’s a star on the rise that will only continue to garner interest from abroad.

6. Toni Tchani (New York Red Bulls) – Some will say Tim Ream is more likely to leave MLS than Tchani but I disagree. Tchani may be a couple years off from a move out but believe me once this kid gets the proper playing time you’ll understand why I put him here. His size and skill are there and its only a matter of time before this guy gets attention abroad.

7. Stefan Frei (Toronto FC) – I could be wrong here about Frei but the talented Swiss player could make a move easily based on his passport. Then again if anyone watches him in goal they’d be silly to think he wouldn’t be a good fit abroad. He’s got the size and skill you want in a keeper too.

8. George John (FC Dallas) – This one may shock some folks but I’m a big George John fan, not because I see him all the time here in Dallas but because he’s really started to grow as a player here. His size is perfect and he’s only getting better, just like his club at defense. Part of me feel he could be the next Clarence Goodson from MLS.

9. Steve Zakunai (Seattle Sounders FC) – The speedy winger from Seattle is a guy that can be a game changer with his pace and scoring ability. Having some chances in Europe before (he was with the Arsenal youth system) before coming to the US to play college soccer at Akron. Now that he is making a name for himself here its only a matter of time before he hops back across the pond.

10. Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew) – Part of me thinks he’ll be in MLS for his entire career but the other part me thinks he’ll eventually try his hand at going to Europe. He’s only 26-years old but had enough experience to land in a decent league if he wanted to.

  • Dbrum02

    your probably right but i wish MLS would Create a HOME GROWN DP spot to keep our best young american players here.

  • ril

    what do you specifically mean by a home grown dp? i doubt that some of the younger, more talented players (i.e. holden, clark) would sign extensions when offered the opportunity to play in top tier leagues (i.e. English Premier League, German Bundesliga).