- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On April 12, 2011
- 1 Comments
- Juan Agudelo
I’ve been meaning to write up something like this for a few weeks now. Ever since New York Red Bulls star young striker Juan Agudelo scored a goal for the US National team against Argentina, I thought to myself, and said to others around me at the time, boy I hope this kid doesn’t bolt MLS too soon.
I bring it up because today there is some considerable buzz about Agudelo and his chances of getting scooped up by Spain’s Atletico Madrid. But apparently it is nothing new for Agudelo, or even Kansas City’s Teal Bunbury.
But for the moment let’s focus on Agudelo.
I know the kid has potential but damnit I want to see him succeed in Major League Soccer well before he decides to make his trade in Europe. Maybe it is a little bit selfish on my part but after seeing so many young guys go to Europe when they “think they are ready” and end up riding the bench everywhere they go over there makes me so hesitant for the “new future of the USMNT” to go too soon.
Like Steve Davis put this morning, I hope he makes smart choices about his career, or at least has someone smart guiding him along the way.
For me, it comes down to time. Young players like Agudelo need the proper time to mature as a player and the proper time to progress as a player. In MLS they can easily do that. A few names come to mind that thought they were getting all they could out of MLS and went to Europe too soon, all of which were young USMNT hopefuls that would lead us to a nice World Cup run.
Jozy Altidore has spent time bouncing around Europe and at least for now is with a top flight team in Turkey. It has taken him longer than I would have liked to get proper playing time over seas but at least he’s finally getting there I think.
Then you of course have Freddy Adu. While he is more worried about 2012 these days, his playing career continues to be a bit of a laugh. He may finally be getting play in Turkey with Caykur Rizespor, but you cannot tell me second division soccer in Turkey is better for his career than MLS.
My point is here with Agudelo, while yes he will be in Europe one of these days I just hope it isn’t too soon. MLS is proving to be a fine place for a young player who needs playing time to progress. As a USMNT fan we need him to have proper playing time between now and the next World Cup in 2014. We definitely don’t need him riding some bench in a second division while on loan from some club that thought they’d use him. The cash may be over there but can you really risk your career just for cash? I think looking at guys like Adu can tell you about the ugly side of that.
And like Davis points out in his post about this subject, if he does stick around until the next World Cup he’ll only be 22 years old. Yes, 22!