Hey, it’s been a minute since we’ve had one of these. Welcome to Pitch Points, wherein I round up some links of interest to Nashville SC, US Soccer, and general soccer fans. If you’re not already following the site on socialchannels, please feel free to do so (and you can drop me any suggested links there).
Academies. This article($) in The Athletic is a pretty interesting look at how the Philadelphia Union recruited player from outside what you might consider their expected homegrown territory, and built their academy by taking advantage of a residency program. That’s going to be a huge priority for Nashville SC with the limited talent in the state as things stand today.
The imminent elimination of homegrown territories is going to be a blessing and a curse for NSC, in my eyes: it certainly gives them the opportunity to recruit academy prospects from the backyards of teams swimming in talent… but it also increases the competition in unassigned territories. Right now, Atlanta United is probably plenty fine recruiting from their territory. Without exclusivity in that region, suddenly they might look a little more national in their “homegrown” recruiting, making it a little tougher for Nashville to pull a kid from Mississippi, North Dakota, or wherever is currently free territory.
It shouldn’t surprise that SKC’s academy is one of the more successful in producing talent, given the way that organization seems to do it right from top to bottom. Signing teens with USL affiliates is obviously the next step in that progression. For what it’s worth, Hernandez is from Nashville. On a different timeline in an alternate universe, he could be in the Nashville SC academy.
DC United’s academy (notably: one of two in MLS that’s not free for participants, which is not a super-great look) is linking up with a futsal provider to diversify their training.
While on the topic of academies, I’m extremely happy to see USL clubs diving in with both feet on the concept. Certainly some (Richmond Kickers is basically the professional arm of a massive youth club, for example) have been on that train for a little while, but the more it happens, the better. This is going to be big for growth of the game (and improving the overall talent pool) in our country. This fits into that genre, as well.
USMNT. A lack of time to devote to multiple different topics has seen the national side of things neglected a bit around here as I look more local to Nashville SC. For that I apologize. Hopefully a few links will suffice for now.
Trying to project a Gold Cup roster. A solid group available, for sure.
That isn’t an example of it, but I want to briefly mention a frustrating thing for me: the variety of complaints about the rosters for the first few sets of friendlies under Gregg Berhalter. I understand why people want to see the best (or at least best-available) talent at any given camp, but – especially in the early days under a new coach, in uncompetitive friendlies – not every roster needs to be (or should be) constructed with the best 23 players. The presence of given players can be to have a first chance to evaluate them, it can be (particularly in the case of guys like Michael Bradley, with a bunch of the barrel-bottom Twitterati saying “why would you ever bring in a person who’s going to be too old for the next World Cup?”) to provide some sort of leadership or transition, etc.
Fortunately for us, Berhalter has been largely forthcoming about his reasoning for bringing guys in, but “Gyasi Zardes isn’t as good as [X]” isn’t a valid complaint about a friendly roster. “The purpose [X] can serve on this friendly roster could be more valuable than the purpose Zardes would serve” may be. It also may not be, and certainly the opinions of Berhalter are the ones that matter in that regard.
Just something to keep in mind.
This is almost two months old, but I didn’t get around to it at the time, but… here’s a look at US U-17 coach Raphael Wicky. He’s named his roster for the U-17 World Cup qualifying (the Concacaf championship).
#stadium_stuff. Public-private partnerships are key to actually getting things done. Nashville’s process may have been drawn out, annoying, and led to my ejection from Metro Council Chambers with crying baby issues on multiple occasions, but in the end, the result that’s best for the city, the citizens, and the team was achieved.
Outside of the stadium itself, its existence is aiding with growth in the Nolensville corridor. A big complex is going in near the Fairgrounds stadium site. That investment (in an under-invested area, no less) is not coincidental. The Nashville SC headquarters is on the move into the area, as well.
Meanwhile, Indy Eleven’s stadium proposal is cruising along without the carrot of MLS strictly necessary.
ETC.: MLS gon’ be makin’ booku bucks on transfers. … TFC on analytics I understand the trade-secret aspect of not being too detailed, but knowing what they value statistically would be fascinating to me. … Fluff on AGM Ally Mackay. … Heartbreaking and poignant on the terror attack in New Zealand last month. … If you want to watch me get some West Ham fans to spend half their show talking about lower-league soccer in the US, it’s your lucky day!