The Best 50 American Soccer Players (June 2013 Edition)
World Soccer Source contends that the list of players included in “The ASN 100” produced by the excellent website, American Soccer Now, displays an unrealistic estimation of the skill-level of many of the players included on their list in comparison to the types of international competition that the United States Men’s National Team faces.
Valuing Major League Soccer statistics over the touch, technique, movement off the ball, athleticism, vision, and fundamentals of players in Major League Soccer or elsewhere can only tell one so much.
Once the United States faces better opponents, players without the technical qualities seen more in better soccer nations will be thoroughly outmatched on the field
American Soccer Now won’t rank players based on their technical ability and their ability to play high-level soccer against strong competition, as is the case with American Soccer Now’s high ranking of Graham Zusi compared to the visibly-superior Joe Corona, who is not only more skilled, but who performs well consistently against better Latin American competition.
While all of the players included on American Soccer Now’s list should be applauded as solid professionals, the overall make-up of ASN’s list places a low premium on technical ability and ranks many of the United States’ best players way too low.
For example, Freddy Adu was ranked 73rd by ASN in last month’s list after being signed by one of the two major Salvador, Brazil clubs, Bahia, in the Brasileirão.
In short, The ASN Top 100 and the people responsible for making it support the use of less-skilled players who don’t put the United States in a position to beat first and second-tier national teams.
*THE WORLD SOCCER SOURCE LIST IS NOT A LIST OF THE MOST SKILLED PLAYERS RANKED IN ORDER. THESE RANKINGS ARE BASED ON A COMBINATION OF FACTORS: SKILL, CLUB FORM, PROVEN INTERNATIONAL ABILITY, THE LEAGUE PLAYED IN, AND CURRENT INTERNATIONAL FORM.
-Every player, coach, fan, writer, commentator, analyst, etc has a different idea of what “best” means in terms of ranking soccer players.
-Some people want a player’s club or international form at the moment the rankings are done to be the most important factor.
-Other people believe the league played in is the most important indicator of a player’s skill and form.
-And, still other people contend that skill is the most important factor, with the obvious requirement that the player has actually demonstrated skill against real competition.
-Still others try to balance both skill, the league played in, and current form when evaluating players.
-This list attempts to balance skill, current form, and the league played in.
-World Soccer Source advocates actually calling up certain players to the national team over certain players who are ranked higher on this list. For instance, Hercúlez Gómez is ranked higher than both Mario Rodriguez and José Villarreal, but World Soccer Source believes the four USMNT strikers on the roster should be: Juan Agudelo, Terrence Boyd, Mario Rodríguez, and José Villarreal.
Zinedine Zidane had this to say about how to determine what “best” really meant:
The Best 50 American Soccer Players (June 2013)
1. Clint DEMPSEY (Tottenham)
2. Michael BRADLEY (Roma)
3. Landon DONOVAN (LA Galaxy)
4. Tim HOWARD (Everton)
5. Benny FEILHABER (Sporting Kansas City)
6. Jermaine JONES (Schalke)
7. Geoff CAMERON (Stoke City)
8. Fabian JOHNSON (Hoffenheim)
9. Joe CORONA (Tijuana)
10. Freddy ADU (Bahia)
11. Steve CHERUNDOLO (Hannover)
12. Juan AGUDELO (New England Revolution)
13. Terrence BOYD (Rapid Wien)
14. Jozy ALTIDORE (AZ Alkmaar)
15. Benji JOYA (Santos Laguna)
16. Hérculez GÓMEZ (Santos Laguna)
17. Brad GUZAN (Aston Villa)
18. Jonathan SPECTOR (Birmingham City)
19. Mix DISKERUD (Rosenborg)
20. Brek SHEA (Stoke City)
21. Eric LICHAJ (Contract not renewed by Aston Villa)
22. Omar GONZALEZ (LA Galaxy)
23. Eddie JOHNSON (Seattle Sounders)
24. DeAndre YEDLIN (Seattle Sounders)
25. Edgar CASTILLO (Tijuana)
26. Perry KITCHEN (DC United)
27. Joe GYAU (St. Pauli on loan from Hoffenheim)
28. Mario RODRIGUEZ (FC Kaiserslautern)
29. José VILLARREAL (LA Galaxy)
30. Stuart HOLDEN (Bolton)
31. Tony TAYLOR (Released by Estoril Praia)
32. Gale AGBOSSOUMONDE (Toronto FC)
33. Chris KLUTE (Colorado Rapids)
34. Teal BUNBURY (Sporting KC)
35. Kenny COOPER (FC Dallas)
36. Sacha KLJESTAN (Anderlecht)
37. George JOHN (FC Dallas)
38. Andrew FARRELL (New England Revolution)
39. Alonso HERNANDEZ (Monterrey)
40. Daniel CUEVAS (Santos Laguna)
41. Shane O’NEILL (Colorado Rapids)
42. Kofi SARKODIE (Houston Dynamo)
43. Lee NGUYEN (New England Revolution)
44. Zach LOYD (FC Dallas)
45. Jeremy HALL (Toronto FC)
46. Lamar NEAGLE (Seattle Sounders)
47. Caleb STANKO (Freiburg)
48. London WOODBERRY (FC Dallas)
49. Junior FLORES (Contracted by Borussia Dortmund)
50. Corey BAIRD