Sunday, July 20, 2008
Agorsor: A Natural Replacement For Altidore At New York?
Hot young Maryland prospect Chris Agorsor proved again last week why he could be one of the most exciting young prospects in US Soccer, helping his team win the Development Academy U-17/18 championship at the Home Depot Center in southern California. Jaime Cardenas of the LA Times has a great writeup on the tournament here.
So now Agorsor faces the same decision many young Americans have; play in college for awhile, go to MLS, or try your luck in Europe. Reportedly, the 5'9" forward has a firm offer from the University of Virgina and a number of European teams have show interest in him including NAC Breda, Tottenham Hotspur, Queens Park Rangers. He would be an instant starter at UVA but in Europe he would likely start out with the reserve team. The NY/NJ Red Bulls have also reportedly expressed interest in him where he could be a natural replacement for Jozy Altidore, who was sold to Spanish side Villarreal for $10 million.
From what I've seen over the years, I think Agorsor should start out with the Red Bulls where his chances at advancement would be much greater. He could do well at UVA but he would not be challenged at a level to accelerate his advancement. On a European reserve side, he could languish for years and never get his shot with the first team. Look at the fate of Donovan, Twellman, and others - seldom has an American teenage prospect risen from the ranks of a European reserve team to play first team soccer for the same club.
For a player like Agorsor, the "Clint Dempsey method" of earning your professional spurs in MLS, then going abroad will serve him better in the long run, provided MLS makes him a serious offer. After selling Altidore to Villarreal (not to mention losing Claudio Reyna to retirement), the league owes the Red Bulls an allocation like Agorsor. One more thing MLS should bear in mind is to offer him a real professional contract which reflects his true value and potential. If they offer him a low-wage developmental contract, its either bon voyage and off to Europe or hello Charlottesville.