On Monday, United State Men’s National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann released a 30-man preliminary World Cup roster that included 15 players from Major League Soccer.
A foreign coach, who encourages his players to ply their trades in Europe, picked half of his team from the domestic league. For MLS, this is a landmark moment in its young history. Even American coach Bob Bradley only selected nine players from the league in 2010. Of those nine, only four made it to South Africa. This year, you can certainly expect that number to double.
The league’s drastic improvement in four years is reflected on the roster. Players are more technical due to the league’s increase in quality, the intensity of play has increased their confidence and the league’s competitive nature has breaded admirable professionals.
MLS has to cherish this moment because it finally shows that its players are receiving the respect they deserve.
Previous USMNT coaches believed the players in the league lacked what it took to go up against the best in the world. Although some never said it, their player selections showed it. They picked players that rarely featured for their European teams or those who play in a second division in Europe.
However, it looks like the tide has turned in favor of MLS players. European-based players like Tim Ream, Brek Shea, Oguchi Onyewu, Sacha Kljestan and Juan Agudelo were dropped by the German. Klinsmann’s bold move is a sign that he believes MLS players are capable delivering better results in Brazil.
Over the years, MLS has been criticized for its mediocre defending, but at Brazil two MLS players might be peering up in the heart of Klinsmann’s defense. Omar Gonzalez and Matt Biesler proved to the German coach during qualifications that they can be trusted to guard Tim Howard’s goal. If the team makes it past the group of death with Biesler and Gonzalez anchoring the backline, some critics will be silenced.
Another big accomplishment for the league is Deandre Yedlin’s call-up. The 20-year-old will have to move mountains if he’s to make the final 23, but having him in the camp proves that the league is capable of creating talented youngsters that are ready to go up against the big boys.
Yedlin is a player with lots of talents, however, he also has his weaknesses. The attack-minded right back most likely won’t make it to Brazil, but his inclusion is a sign of things to come for young players in the league.
Those who believed the league is incapable of developing technical midfielders were disappointed when two names appeared on the roster. Real Salt Lake’s Kyle Beckerman and Houston Dynamo’s Brad Davis were out of the national team’s picture a few weeks ago, but recent performances got them into in the camp. Because of their inclusion Kljestan and Shea became outsiders.
Chris Wondolowski’s inclusion on the roster was the icing on the cake for the MLS. The goal-poacher was chosen ahead of a player Klinsmann has a lot of faith in, Herculez Gomez.
Klinsmann’s selection inadvertently proves that MLS has developed into a competitive league that is capable of creating and developing talented players.
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