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Sam Adekugbe

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The Caps have brought along 3 players so far. I hope to see more from all 3 at the MLS level but if USL is too low a level for them and they can't take a spot at the MLS level, what do you do? Move on.

Before his injury Sam had taken the LB spot from Harvey. 7 consecutive starts. Since then he's never quite made it back to his original form. He did light a fire under Harvey's ass and since the injury Harvey has been very good.

Levis looked great but got injured in his debut. That sucked because he looked great.

Davies has taken the supersub role from Manneh to the point that they traded Manneh. By that regard they have developed the equivalent of a high first round draft pick.

Can you name me any player who has left who is playing at a level at or above MLS? No you can't because they don't exist. Come on people. At some point you have to put the onus on the player to take the spot.

By the way the Canadians in MLS who lead in minutes played (Will, Cyle and Tesho) don't play for any of the 3 Canadian teams and none were developed by the 3 MLS academies.

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Its great that they are getting the kids up to USL level.  After that I say all bets are off.  Guys get stuck behind entrenched incumbents with the senior side or maybe they are not quite ready to make the jump and need a few more years at a level higher than USL etc.   Not every prospect is going to fit into your senior side, so u loan sell or set them free.  At least more guys are getting through the MLS academies to a USL/college level.  Too bad CPL wasnt around to give these kinds of guys another rung on the ladder to climb.  

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Yes a player has responsibility to do everything they can to develop. But, at what point do serious questions need to be asked of the Whitecaps development system that they are merely developing USL-level players, and have been since the academy started.

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1 minute ago, ThiKu said:

Yes a player has responsibility to do everything they can to develop. But, at what point do serious questions need to be asked of the Whitecaps development system that they are merely developing USL-level players, and have been since the academy started.

Bingo. And the ones who do push through to the first team seem to be at no credit to them... Davies, teibert etc. I'm worried Davies will stagnate like the others before him. 

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1 hour ago, Keegan said:

I'm worried Davies will stagnate like the others before him. 

Davies problem right now is production. He's clearly immensely talented and offers opens the game up off the bench, but at some point he needs to give Robbo a reason to trust him with 90 minutes. His talent just hasn't lead to any production through half a season of MLS minutes. Hopefully it's one of those when it rains it pours situations after he gets his first goal/assist.

I think Adekugbe made the right choice. At his age you need to go anywhere you can expect to start on a weekly basis. 

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I like a good Whitecaps hate Canada joke as much as the next guy, but I thought I should point out that they were the biggest contributor to the team for the minutes played at the Gold Cup. With homegrown guys (Davies, Adekugbe, and Teibert), a current non-hg player (De Jong) and even a former player (Aird). It's also worth noting that TFC had a couple of guys that left or were booted from the academy that played for the CMNT in the Gold Cup (Petrasso and Kaye).

The bottom line is that none of the MLS teams have all that stellar a record of playing and developing Canadians. Hopefully they can improve.

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2 hours ago, Kent said:

I like a good Whitecaps hate Canada joke as much as the next guy, but I thought I should point out that they were the biggest contributor to the team for the minutes played at the Gold Cup. With homegrown guys (Davies, Adekugbe, and Teibert), a current non-hg player (De Jong) and even a former player (Aird). It's also worth noting that TFC had a couple of guys that left or were booted from the academy that played for the CMNT in the Gold Cup (Petrasso and Kaye).

The bottom line is that none of the MLS teams have all that stellar a record of playing and developing Canadians. Hopefully they can improve.

So are you saying that the answer is that TFC needs to higher Aron Winter back?

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I really like his move to ??Allsvenskan side IFK Göteborg! 

I am very impressed with the way he played at the Gold cup and someone like him must be playing regularly and it just wasn't going to happen at VWF. 

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23 hours ago, ThiKu said:

Yes a player has responsibility to do everything they can to develop. But, at what point do serious questions need to be asked of the Whitecaps development system that they are merely developing USL-level players, and have been since the academy started.

So far all 3 of the MLS teams could fall into that category. Maybe it is the systems, maybe the players or a bit of both. I'm disappointed to say the least. I was expecting a lot more by now.

Edited by TRM

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5 hours ago, Blackjack15 said:

I really like his move to ??Allsvenskan side IFK Göteborg! 

I am very impressed with the way he played at the Gold cup and someone like him must be playing regularly and it just wasn't going to happen at VWF. 

Agreed, very underrated move here (if he can play). Much better spot for him than Vancouver imo. 

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9 hours ago, Kent said:

The bottom line is that none of the MLS teams have all that stellar a record of playing and developing Canadians. Hopefully they can improve.

I agree. The fact is that in their 10th, 9th and 8th seasons, none of the Canadian MLS clubs have developed a regular starter in the league. Sure, they've had a few players that have looked like they could have been MLS starters at one point or another (Teibert, Henry, Morgan), and others that look like they could be real stars in the future (Davies, Tabla, Edwards), but the reality is that the track record of developing talent is really not great right now. Especially when you compare the 3 clubs' academies to clubs like FC Dallas or RSL, who are widely considered the best academies in MLS, and are producing some great talent despite having started their academies around the same time. And no, I don't count Osorio in that group as he was primarily developed in Uruguay before spending a few months at TFC.

Even extending the conversation to the other Canadian clubs, FC Edmonton do not have a great track record of developing talent, and the Fury became Impact B and shut down their academy. 

Where I think the Whitecaps are failing right now is in even giving the occasional start or sub appearance to many of the players who have a lot of promise. None of Adekugbe, Froese, Bustos or McKendry have been given much of a sniff in the last few years. Yes, we can point to an 8 week stretch where Adekugbe won the starting LB role 2 years ago, but he's basically an afterthought on the club.

While I don't like the direction TFC have gone lately, at the very least Edwards, Chapman and Hamilton are getting some minutes and are being trusted with the occasional start, which is still better than what the Whitecaps are doing. And I think they are rewarding TFC with some good play at times. The Impact, man I don't trust their development of anyone not named Tabla. FC Edmonton seem to have developed as many alleged coke dealers as they have players who could have a career even at the NASL level. And the Fury are just nobodies in the development world.

Edited by shermanator

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I'm afraid Adekugbe has been the victim of a timid manager with the Whitecaps. Robinson has coached from fear rather than development. Adekugbe has clearly been the more talented of the LBs with the Whitecaps but veteran Jordan Harvey was always safer.

Robinson went the same way with Froese who is arguably better than one or two of the Whitecaps current starting mids - but again that would have required a degree of risk. 

And this isn't limited to Canadian players - the Caps have failed with Manneh, Dean, and other promising talents.

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1 hour ago, shermanator said:

I agree. The fact is that in their 10th, 9th and 8th seasons, none of the Canadian MLS clubs have developed a regular starter in the league.

Well the academies were basically disasters until they were relaunched in 2012 under the USSDA template. The kids in the u14 academies back then are u19 players now; so there hasn't exactly been a large sample size. If you look at academies across the US, only 3-4 have regularly produced MLS-level players, and they happen to be in insanely talent rich areas with millions of dollars a year in investment. If you rank MLS academies by quality of players produced both TFC and VWC are in the top 10, it's just that we are just now getting to the point where kids are developing from age 10 to 18 under the programs.

In the last 2 years we've gotten CMNT level players like Tabla, Davies, Edwards, and Adekugbe and we have 4-5 star prospects like Hundal, Chung, and Akinola on the way. The concept that some of those players shouldn't count because they were brought in from other academies is garbage. Borussia Dortmund is consistently ranked as a top 10 academy in the world, but if you look every single academy player on their first team roster that has been promoted in the last 3 years played most of their youth career at another club (Pulisic, Passlack, Larsen, Bonmann). Recruiting good players is half the battle.

We just have to be patient. From 2019 on you should except 2-3 new academy players to get MLS minutes every year from the MLS academies. And that wait is only because Montreal is 3-4 years behind VWC and TFC in terms of academy development. 

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1 hour ago, shermanator said:

I agree. The fact is that in their 10th, 9th and 8th seasons, none of the Canadian MLS clubs have developed a regular starter in the league. Sure, they've had a few players that have looked like they could have been MLS starters at one point or another (Teibert, Henry, Morgan), and others that look like they could be real stars in the future (Davies, Tabla, Edwards), but the reality is that the track record of developing talent is really not great right now. Especially when you compare the 3 clubs' academies to clubs like FC Dallas or RSL, who are widely considered the best academies in MLS, and are producing some great talent despite having started their academies around the same time. And no, I don't count Osorio in that group as he was primarily developed in Uruguay before spending a few months at TFC.

Even extending the conversation to the other Canadian clubs, FC Edmonton do not have a great track record of developing talent, and the Fury became Impact B and shut down their academy. 

Where I think the Whitecaps are failing right now is in even giving the occasional start or sub appearance to many of the players who have a lot of promise. None of Adekugbe, Froese, Bustos or McKendry have been given much of a sniff in the last few years. Yes, we can point to an 8 week stretch where Adekugbe won the starting LB role 2 years ago, but he's basically an afterthought on the club.

While I don't like the direction TFC have gone lately, at the very least Edwards, Chapman and Hamilton are getting some minutes and are being trusted with the occasional start, which is still better than what the Whitecaps are doing. And I think they are rewarding TFC with some good play at times. The Impact, man I don't trust their development of anyone not named Tabla. FC Edmonton seem to have developed as many alleged coke dealers as they have players who could have a career even at the NASL level. And the Fury are just nobodies in the development world.

Bruce Arena has come out and stated that the USL academies aren't competitive enough to bring players to MLS level.  He was disappointed in rhe level of play of USL with LA Galaxy academy prospects.  He thinks that there should be a better level between USL and MLS so players can have an easier jump.  I'm sure if he think USL is Div. 3 but he has a point, which applies here that the USL level players have failed to make the jump to MLS for most Canadian teams barring some exceptions.

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31 minutes ago, nolbertos said:

Bruce Arena has come out and stated that the USL academies aren't competitive enough to bring players to MLS level.  He was disappointed in rhe level of play of USL with LA Galaxy academy prospects.  He thinks that there should be a better level between USL and MLS so players can have an easier jump.  I'm sure if he think USL is Div. 3 but he has a point, which applies here that the USL level players have failed to make the jump to MLS for most Canadian teams barring some exceptions.

He's 100% right. We've consistently seen top USL players fail to make the leap to MLS, and the talent gap is painfully obvious watching even the top USL teams.

There are a few reasons why it exists: 

1) MLS teams rely largely on foreign players for creativity. In the USL, a league that is overwhelmingly American, number 10s are rare and teams value athletic ability above all else. 

2) The constant MLS expansion is draining the USL of quality players.

3) The relative weakness of players 16-23 on an MLS roster means that teams call their USL talent up earlier than teams would in Europe...to sit on the bench.

4) The standalone USL teams largely view winning as vital to the survival of the team. There is no long term development plans or "systems". They all basically play a 4-2-3-1 and beat up on 18 year old academy kids who can't defend lifted crosses to Drogba and whatever the name of FCC's huge striker is. That does nothing for either team in terms of development. 

5) Some MLS teams don't give a ****. Timbers 2 is basically a revolving door of players 24-50 on the Timbers roster. They have shifted all of their money and attention to their USSDA teams, and as a result currently have a first time coach making no money in charge of their USL team after the last coach left to coach an American college after the budget cuts. By the way the Timbers have 1 win in 19 games this season.

 

I hope the new USL division will eventually help separate the teams that take development seriously from the others.

Edited by harrycoyster

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8 hours ago, harrycoyster said:

Well the academies were basically disasters until they were relaunched in 2012 under the USSDA template. The kids in the u14 academies back then are u19 players now; so there hasn't exactly been a large sample size. If you look at academies across the US, only 3-4 have regularly produced MLS-level players, and they happen to be in insanely talent rich areas with millions of dollars a year in investment. If you rank MLS academies by quality of players produced both TFC and VWC are in the top 10, it's just that we are just now getting to the point where kids are developing from age 10 to 18 under the programs.

In the last 2 years we've gotten CMNT level players like Tabla, Davies, Edwards, and Adekugbe and we have 4-5 star prospects like Hundal, Chung, and Akinola on the way. The concept that some of those players shouldn't count because they were brought in from other academies is garbage. Borussia Dortmund is consistently ranked as a top 10 academy in the world, but if you look every single academy player on their first team roster that has been promoted in the last 3 years played most of their youth career at another club (Pulisic, Passlack, Larsen, Bonmann). Recruiting good players is half the battle.

I have brought up the point about players coming from other academies to MLS (second bolded sentence above), but it is in the context of saying the excuse in the first bolded sentence is not convincing. I haven't seen evidence yet that there is a benefit to players getting coached in the youth levels at MLS academies. For every Jordan Hamilton (brought up in TFC academy) there are many players like Doneil Henry, Ashtone Morgan, Raheem Edwards, Alphonso Davies, Ballou Tabla, Jonathan Osorio, etc, who are brought up in other clubs/academies that then come to TFC basically for the pro opportunity (and perhaps a bit of youth coaching at the tail end of their amateur development).

My main point is that if we sit around and wait for the magic of MLS academies to start coaching up amazing talents, we are going to be disappointed. We need to cast a wider net (which is essentially what is happening with MLS teams getting talents from other clubs/academies) by having more pro opportunities, and we need the overall coaching level to improve across the country. A rising tide lifts all boats. I'd honestly love for Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps to join their local youth leagues rather than USSDA so they can better help to raise the tide in their areas. That probably would incur some short term pain, but I think it could be worth it to them in the long run. Competing against other local kids might also help them in scouting new players as well, like Raheem Edwards and Jonathan Osorio getting discovered by competing against TFC teams in L1O and CSL.

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7 hours ago, harrycoyster said:

He's 100% right. We've consistently seen top USL players fail to make the leap to MLS, and the talent gap is painfully obvious watching even the top USL teams.

There are a few reasons why it exists: 

1) MLS teams rely largely on foreign players for creativity. In the USL, a league that is overwhelmingly American, number 10s are rare and teams value athletic ability above all else. 

2) The constant MLS expansion is draining the USL of quality players.

3) The relative weakness of players 16-23 on an MLS roster means that teams call their USL talent up earlier than teams would in Europe...to sit on the bench.

4) The standalone USL teams largely view winning as vital to the survival of the team. There is no long term development plans or "systems". They all basically play a 4-2-3-1 and beat up on 18 year old academy kids who can't defend lifted crosses to Drogba and whatever the name of FCC's huge striker is. That does nothing for either team in terms of development. 

5) Some MLS teams don't give a ****. Timbers 2 is basically a revolving door of players 24-50 on the Timbers roster. They have shifted all of their money and attention to their USSDA teams, and as a result currently have a first time coach making no money in charge of their USL team after the last coach left to coach an American college after the budget cuts. By the way the Timbers have 1 win in 19 games this season.

 

I hope the new USL division will eventually help separate the teams that take development seriously from the others.

There has been some really great points made on this column over the last few days about MLS Canadian teams and not developing players, including harrycoyster's post above.  The most striking argument I have read on here is that Canadian teams are simply not taking the risk to give academy players the time they need.  I find it interesting that certain teams, like Ajax and Barca (until recently) can bring players through and give them first team minutes on really good teams.  Barca may not be slotting those players into the first team now, but they are still selling them on for a good profit (and then  buying them...but that is another story).  In fairness, most European team's buy their players.  In the PL, I am hard pressed to think of any team aside from Southampton and Manu, who consistently bring one or two players up each year.   It could be that MLS academies are still developing, or that Canadian teams perfer to follow the tried and true buy your player route, but I think there is something more at play.  

IMHO, the problem rests with the salary cap/MLS ownership structure of the MLS.  I am actually a supporter of the salary cap.  However, all of the MLS restraints on clubs and players diminishes the club's interest in selling players on. At the moment, clubs can fill out their rosters with cheap players from their academies while spending the good money on known quantities.  If a player exceeds during their brief appearances, the club can take credit for that diamond in the rough.  But even then, MLS owns part of the player so if a team were to sell they only get part of the proceeds (a la Larin).  If the player is any good, but tails off in his second and third season, than the club is just as likely to trade them to another MLS team, and the player eventually ends up in the NASL or USL.  As a result, clubs never build up strong network internationally where they can market their outgoing player in the hope of a financial return.  With no incentive to make money on a player, the player - especially those who are not immediate standouts eventually become a liability under the salary cap.  Initially it is good for player and club.  Club needs cheap bodies to fill out the roster and stay under the cap, while players are dangled the chance to play at make a decent salary for their age.  The club holds on to them until the contract runs out, and lets them go instead of having to renew at a higher wage.  By then, the players are in their early 20's with little playing experience on their cv's.  

All to say, MLS clubs have little incentive to develop players other than to fill roster gaps.   

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2 hours ago, WheatsheafSK said:

There has been some really great points made on this column over the last few days about MLS Canadian teams and not developing players, including harrycoyster's post above.  The most striking argument I have read on here is that Canadian teams are simply not taking the risk to give academy players the time they need.  I find it interesting that certain teams, like Ajax and Barca (until recently) can bring players through and give them first team minutes on really good teams.  Barca may not be slotting those players into the first team now, but they are still selling them on for a good profit (and then  buying them...but that is another story).  In fairness, most European team's buy their players.  In the PL, I am hard pressed to think of any team aside from Southampton and Manu, who consistently bring one or two players up each year.   It could be that MLS academies are still developing, or that Canadian teams perfer to follow the tried and true buy your player route, but I think there is something more at play. 

Spurs (COYS!) have been doing a great job of this in the last few years, which is interesting because it seems to be based on a whole-club philosophy.  Among other contributing factors, they have a top recruiter that scouts really strong talent (can't remember his name), they have great academy infrastructure (facilities, coaching, and youth teams), and they have a 1st team coach (Poch) that is known for his willingness to give youth players a chance and uses all competitions to bring new players into the 1st team.

You can say what you want about Levy cashing in on star players fairly regularly, but with the youngest team in the EPL (by quite a margin) and a number of academy players on the first team, Spurs have shown the value of embracing the developmental path in a coordinated and integrated way.  2nd place in each of the last two years, with a wage bill much lower than their peers. 

MLS clubs won't be in a position to do anything that structured, but there are probably lessons that can be learned re the level of integration required and the capacity of the first team coach to impact player development over the longer term.  If anything, part of me thinks that MLS may have even greater potential to utilize a model like this given how hard it is to develop truly EPL calibre players.  The fact that Spurs can do this, consistently, while competing at the top of the table suggests that a better development model - not just improving a single aspect of the development system - may be more successful.

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This is a great move for Sam. He is a talent and it would be a shame if he just rots on the Caps bench. This is on Caps' management. Play your Canadians! take a risk! I was at the game on Sunday and our defenders looked bamboozled (technical term) by the Portland attack. One play in front of me saw Jordan Harvey deked out of his pants. Not to say Sam wouldn't have been burned but I'd rather see a Canadian have a shot at it then an American or a player from a random South American country. 

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12 minutes ago, Boominbooty said:

This is a great move for Sam. He is a talent and it would be a shame if he just rots on the Caps bench. This is on Caps' management. Play your Canadians! take a risk! I was at the game on Sunday and our defenders looked bamboozled (technical term) by the Portland attack. One play in front of me saw Jordan Harvey deked out of his pants. Not to say Sam wouldn't have been burned but I'd rather see a Canadian have a shot at it then an American or a player from a random South American country. 

Not that the Caps aren't worthy of some criticism when it comes to youth players, but Adekugbe has reportedly had his mind made up that he only wanted to play in Europe since before the Brighton loan. The Whitecaps offered Adekugbe some pretty significant minutes before the Brighton loan that he turned down.

In this specific case Adekugbe has less interest in the Whitecaps than they have in him.  

Edited by harrycoyster

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