23 TICKETS TO SOUTH AFRICA
RECAPS
EXTRA TIME
Monday, July 10, 2006
The long wait until World Cup 2010 has already begun for Red, White & Blue supporters, but YA has no intention of waiting to handicap the field for the South Africa sweepstakes.

With coach (fill in the blanks)'s roster deadline only 45 months away, we felt it best to start rating everyone's roster chances as soon as possible. Of course, we will continue to update our airplane manifest as the tournament approaches.

We begin the new four-year cycle with our staff predicting 11 holdovers from this summer's squad, including two-time participants DaMarcus Beasley and Landon Donovan.

At the other end of the spectrum, only four as-of-yet uncapped players got the inaugural nod: Kenny Cooper, Jay DeMerit, Benny Feilhaber and Marvell Wynne.

Just to clarify: since this is officially our first 23 Tickets for World Cup 2010, we will use the "MOVING UP" category in this edition to spotlight some of the guys that finished just outside the team in our balloting.

As always, we welcome your feedback in the http://www.yanks-abroad.com/content.php?mode=contact&action=show§ion=generalYA mailbag[endlink].

PACK YOUR BAGS, BOYS
Oguchi Onyewu - D, Sheffield Wednesday (England)
Moving to a bigger club will certainly help his development, but he must remain a consistent starter. (RF) The experience the big man gets over the next four years will elevate him to a world class level. (MF)
Bobby Convey - M, San Jose Earthquakes (USA)
Bobbinho will be in his prime. (CW) I'm still trying to figure out why he wasn't a lock for every minute of THIS World Cup. (NT)
Clint Dempsey - M/F, Fulham (England)
The real face of the future of American Soccer: versatile, enthusiastic, spastic and loads of resolve. (AG) He needs to move to Europe soon. (PK)
Tim Howard - GK, Everton (England)
The only top tier guy we have who will be in his prime in 2010 - if he isn't a lock, we're in DEEP trouble. (NT) Timmy should get his game straightened out under David Moyes. (GS)
Jonathan Spector - D, Birmingham City (England)
Can play multiple positions and will likely have multiple years of European competitions on his resume given West Ham's rapid rise. The only question is where he'll play for the US in 2010. (NT)
Cory Gibbs - D, Chicago Fire (USA)
He'll be there if his knees hold out; not a better man marker do we have. (MF) The perfect companion to Onyewu in the middle. (AG) His absence dearly cost the team in Germany. (GS)

NEARLY A LOCK
Heath Pearce - D/M, CD Chivas (USA)
Young wingback with loads of pace, a move to a bigger club is possible and will help him tremendously. (RF) Come 2010, there won't be any left back concerns. (GS)
Freddy Adu - M/F, Philadelphia Union (USA)
Has been the most skilled American player for three years. Needs to get the hell out of Dodge, but not to Chelsea. Yet. A starter in 2010. The question is: Will it be for the US or Ghana? (CW)
Landon Donovan - M/F, Los Angeles Galaxy (USA)
He SHOULD be a lock, but he has to sort out his MLS comfort level issues first. (PK) Remember, the next coach will probably not be American, meaning he won't have vested interest in Donovan's "Golden Boy" status. (NT)
Steve Cherundolo - D, Hannover 96 (Germany)
Steve could be captain in four years, but I still look forward to a bit more competition at this position. (HK)
DaMarcus Beasley - M/F, Puebla (Mexico)
My shred of doubt isn't so much tied to his form slump; I think da Bease will be just fine (although maybe not under Ronald Koeman). However, the left side of the field only gets more crowded this cycle. (GS)

FAIRLY SAFE BET
Eddie Johnson - F, Aris (Greece) on loan from Fulham (England)
With McBride too old for 2010, Eddie becomes our best attacking option... he just needs to fulfill his potential. (PK) Please make me a believer. (HK)
Benny Feilhaber - M, New England Revolution (USA)
It might have flown under radar, but the progress he made on the Regionalliga Nord goat tracks this past season was remarkable. Next stop: the pristine pasture of Hamburg's AOL Arena. (HK)

IN A BATTLE
Jay DeMerit - D, Watford (England)
We could have used his spirit, and one of those demon spawn crashing headers in Germany. (GS) I haven't heard Jay say he'll be there yet, but as soon as he does, I move him to LOCK! (MF)
Marcus Hahnemann - GK, Everton (England)
Will be a backup again, but will still be the only person who can fix and protect the team bus. (HK) He will be the old pro in South Africa. (PK)
Conor Casey - F, Colorado Rapids (USA)
Should have been there this time. (CW) Hopefully, he will turn into a true forward - meaning consistent production. (MF)
Carlos Bocanegra - D, Rangers (Scotland) on loan from Racing Santander (Spain)
Steps it up for the 'Nats. Period. (MF) Wouldn't it be nice if Chris Coleman just left 'Los in the middle and got him a real partner? Just think of how good he could be if he wasn't always covering for Zat Knight. (GS)
Michael Bradley - M, Roma (Italy)
Obviously, there's a lot of projection involved here, but he's ahead of the competition to claim a spot. (NT) Now that he's wet his US feet, Bradley should play a more assertive game in Heerenveen this season. (GS)

WORK TO DO
Marvell Wynne - D, Toronto FC (Canada)
Straight out of a comic book, this athletically intimidating game reader has the potential to be a superstar if he can learn to cross dangerously and solidify his technical skills. (GS)
Chris Rolfe - F, Aalborg BK (Denmark)
Speedy player that could make for a great super sub to cause confusion in the opponent's defense. (AG) The kid works hard and will get even more savvy around the area. (GS)
Kenny Cooper - F, Portland Timbers (USA)
We need this guy to be as good as Manchester thought he was. (MF) Amazingly quick on the ball for his size. (RF) After a year or two in MLS, you have to think he will be back in Europe. (NT)
Todd Dunivant - D, Toronto FC (Canada)
While not as naturally gifted as Pearce, he should help push the early favorite to be his best - and vice versa. (GS) In four years, will be one of the few MLS-based players on the roster. (HK)
Brad Guzan - GK, Aston Villa (England)
The common wisdom is that he has the talent to grow into a prominent role with the National Team. (NT) A sophomore slump has him on the bench, but he'll shake it off. (RF)
MOVING UP

Chad Barrett - Ladies and gentleman, meet your new Brian McBride. He does all the little things, plays his heart out and draws my money to make the South Africa squad. (GS)

Chad Marshall - Has talented players ahead of him, a move to Europe soon would be good. Excellent size and reads the game well. (RF)

Lee Nguyen - Guus Hiddink sees something in him and as a result, so do I. (HK) Our 2010 bolt of lightning off the bench? Could very well be after a good spell with PSV. (GS)

Justin Mapp - Could be a star, it's just a matter of containing that talented left foot and speed. (RF)

Taylor Twellman - The Revs gunner just missed out this time, and has too much moxy to be counted out for 2010. (GS)

Eddie Gaven - Hasn't really bloomed as people have expected in MLS, but is still very young and oozes with potential. (AG)

Santino Quaranta - Hard to believe he's STILL only 21. There is undoubted talent, size, and speed... now, can he stay healthy and start to bring all of his skills together? (NT)

Ricardo Clark - With all of our central midfielders either gone or approaching 30, he could be the one to lead the next generation of US field generals. (GS)

OTHER BUBBLE BATTLERS

Josmer Altidore, David Arvizu, Nikolas Besagno, Adin Brown, Edson Buddle, Jose Burciarga Jr., Jon Busch, Danny Califf, Joe Cannon, Brad Davis, Alecko Eskandarian, Hunter Freeman, Rodrigo Hidalgo, Nate Jaqua, Will John, Quavas Kirk, Sacha Kljestan, Kyle Martino, Pablo Mastroeni, Mike Magee, Kyle Nakazawa, Pat Noonan, John O'Brien, Robbie Russell, Ofori Sarkodie, Matt Reis, Frankie Simek, Danny Szetela, Quentin Westberg, Tim Ward, Zak Whitbread, David Yelldell, Joe Zewe, Preston Zimmerman

note: Yanks Abroad's Rich Fidler, Mark Flannery, Aaron Gidding, Harris King, Peter Kratzel, Greg Seltzer, Neal Thurman and Chad Winger compiled this feature
yKxnfxMTaeCmCUYRZ
Wednesday February 29, 2012 12:50 pm
I agree I think we're at the point where we're just sttaring to see things change in the MLS. It's an interesting time to be a fan.I'm not one of these MLS are doing it wrong Eurosnobs when it comes to relegation/presentation issues, but I do think the whole draft system is something that will and should be phased out. It absolutely served a purpose in giving a growing, young league a system, a pipeline for young players to come through, but going forward if the MLS wants to improve, it absolutely needs the academy system.There's still a place for talented players to play college soccer and move into the professional game, but it can't be underestimated how important being a part of a full-pro setup from as early an age as possible is to the development of players. Ultimately, it can only benefit the USMNT.
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