So many entities around the net publish their yearly list of “top 100 freshman” to watch during the college season.
It’s really just a list of those players with impressive “pedigree”.
- Have you been in ODP or National player pools?
- Have you been on a high profile club or team that’s won big titles?
- Have you received big high-school honors?
There’s no in-depth analysis of any player by any kind of authority.
I don’t blame these media outlets for doing this. It makes sense. If you don’t know the details of each player’s qualities and deficiencies in depth, how else can you attempt to make a list of the best freshman in the country?
The assumptions used are simply:
- If a player has a certain kind of resume, they must be the elite of the bunch.
- The players have been selected for certain honors by people who can identify quality.
Both assumptions are wrong!
This country does a horrible job of identifying selecting elite players, or those with elite potential.
Don’t just take my word for it though, ask yourself “What elite players have ever come out of this country“?
It’s not that we don’t have them! There are tremendous players with “World Class” potential in our youth and college ranks! We just don’t have many people who can identify true quality – or develop it for that matter.
For the players coming out of California, we at 3 FOUR 3 do know this year’s freshman class in depth. There are many good players, but we focus on the absolute cream. They are both technically and tactically superior than their counterparts. But by far the biggest gap between them and the rest is a much higher Soccer IQ.
Jose Altamirano (San Diego State)
Midfielder – San Diego, CA – Southwest High School
Multi-year member of US National Teams
NSCAA Youth All American
CIF player of the year
Last Club: Del Mar Sharks (non-academy)
Carlos Alvarez (UCONN)
Forward – Los Angeles, CA – Bishop Mora Salesian
US National Team (August 2008)
Mexico National Team (March 2009)
First Team All-CIF
Last Club: LAFC (academy)
Amobi Okugo (UCLA)
Midfielder – Sacramento, California
Member of US U-18 & U-20 national teams
Three time NSCAA Youth All American
Last Club: San Juan Lightning (non-academy)
Jonathan Prieto* (UCI)
Midfielder – La Habra, California – La Habra High School
US National Team camp (December 2008)
First Team All-CIF, Back to back CIF champion.
Last Club: FC Barcelona (non-academy)
These guys all have class and are on another level (for the record, the “top 100” missed both Carlos Alvarez and Jonathan Prieto). They all have high Soccer IQs, superb Technical Quality, and as a result are not intimidated in the least by being freshman. On the contrary, they have personality and will be leaders on the team.
Now, will their college coaches identify them as such? Will their coaches know how to utilize them? These are questions that remain to be answered.
If you get a chance when their games are in town, go take a look for yourself. We’d love to hear your opinions.
*Disclosure: Jonathan Prieto was on our club team.