Saad leaves Michigan to pursue pro career

Soony Saad (ISIPhotos.com) 

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

University of Michigan freshman Soony Saad, the leading scorer in NCAA Division I men's soccer in 2010 with 19 goals, has left Michigan to pursue a professional career. Saad confirmed his departure from Michigan to Fox Soccer and SBI on Thursday.

The Big Ten Freshman of the Year helped lead Michigan to the Big Ten Championship as well as the NCAA College Cup Final Four, partnering with senior Justin Meram to form one of the best striker tandems in the nation.

the 2010 Gatorade National High School Player off the Year, Saad carried over his high-scoring ways from high school to college, where he immediately established himself as one of the most dangerous forwards in the nation.

Saad identified four clubs he is in talks with for trials. Bayern Munich, Anderlecht, SC Freiburg and 1860 Munich are teams he has plans to spend time with in the coming weeks as he searches for his first professional contract.

What do you think of this development? Disappointed to see him leave college? Think he's ready to make the jump to the pros?

Share your thoughts below.

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72 Responses to Saad leaves Michigan to pursue pro career

  1. ACS says:

    good choice, was that the first place he was on trial, any others planned?

  2. MLS 4 Life says:

    Disappointing to see that MLS let this guy slip. Hopefully, MLS will still have a chance to sign him up.

  3. dman says:

    how saad….

  4. MLS 4 Life says:

    how soon-y…..

  5. k says:

    MLS will need to think about letting underclassman declare for the draft if they don’t want to keep losing good young players to other leagues.

  6. Lost in Space says:

    I hope it works out. A chance to train and play professionally at a young age could be very good for his development. If he makes it with Anderlecht he’ll have the chance to play in some very high level matches. If he does he could be another option for the USMNT.

  7. Peter says:

    I hope we will soon see Soony on the USMNT.

  8. soccerroo says:

    Not good for Michigan. But I think he will find a good club to develope with. Just wish he had played a couple of more seasons for Michigan.

  9. Pete says:

    Belgium is a good place for young players to go. If you live there for 3 years, you can apply for citizenship and get an EU passport like Gooch did.

  10. culeeero says:

    MLS can sign underclassmen to Gen Adidas contracts after the draft, just like they did with Bingham. Nothing stopping them from offering one to Saad — actually nothing to suggest that they haven’t, either. That he’s trialing with Anderlecht *and* had confirmed that he’s not returning to school suggests that maybe he has an offer on the table already.

    If I were MLS brass, I’d be encouraging kids to check out their trial opportunities in Europe. Why? Because with the return of the development league in MLS these kids will have *at least* as much playing opportunity here as they would abroad. Actually, with the upside of Gen Adidas kids generally, they probably have more. No better way to get that point across than to have some coach at Anderlecht tell the kid directly.

  11. Reece says:

    +1,000,000

  12. Colin says:

    Can’t they already?

  13. jonk says:

    Only if they are offered Generation Adidas.

  14. dman says:

    you could say the MLS is soon-y saad about this situation

  15. jonk says:

    MLS can’t offer every promising underclassmen a Gen Adidas contract. Supposedly they way they do it now is by soliciting input from MLS coaches on whether they think a guy is worth it, but even still there is only so much money to go around.

  16. b says:

    Yeah, just because you’re not offered a Generation adidas contract doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be allowed to declare yourself eligible for the draft.

  17. b says:

    Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, let him make the roster for the upcoming U-20 world cup first.

  18. Dainja says:

    Hmmm. i watched his game against Akron in the NCAA semifinals, and I was a bit underwhelmed. For a small kid, he doesn’t seem that fast, which isn’t a good combination. He has a nice touch true, but I was more impressed with his teammate Miram. I think he’s jumping the gun here. That being said, I wish him the best!! Like they say on Staten Isle…SOOOOOOOO(ney)!!

  19. Jacob ATL says:

    Watched a couple of games of his on the Big10 network cause I was hearing about his teammate, the other forward. Thought he was really good.

  20. ERic says:

    My only concern would be if Traffic had signed him.

  21. adam says:

    Yeah, he and Meram were all the Blues had, really. Rough spot for Michigan soccer.

  22. RLW2020 says:

    is there any reason why they don’t already? is it just because of low amount of draft picks?

  23. ACS says:

    +1000000000

  24. Josh D says:

    Too soon-y…

  25. Josh D says:

    You’d over flood the system. Instead of a usable sum of quality players, you’d get 500 a draft with real quality picks slipping through the cracks purely because MLS doesn’t have enough teams to get everyone. And once you apply for a draft, NCAA rules say you can’t play college ball again so they lose that too.

    MLS got this one right.

  26. msoccer10 says:

    As a Wolverine, I am very sad to see him go (not to mention Meram graduating) but as a US soccer fan I am hoping he does very well at the club level and eventually becomes the world class striker that the US Men’s team has never had.

  27. Adam says:

    Why don’t any of these guys sign with USSF D2 sides if they don’t get Gen Adidas? They will get playing time and can move up to MLS in a year or two. That seems like a better option than pulling a Freddy Adu and languishing on every bench in Europe before realizing you should have stayed home. Plus, I’d much rather drive to the HDC to watch our younger players than have to get up at 4:00 am to watch some obscure channel that costs more per month than going to the game at the HDC.

  28. fischy says:

    For all those predicting the loss of Saad, may I point out that this is a trial with Anderlecht. There’s no guarantee they make an offer and no guarantee that he accepts one.

    Remember that 5 MLS teams decide to skip the Bingham lottery. This would be exactly the kind of opportunity they envisioned. MLS shouldn’t this out. I’m fairly certian that DC United would love to have Soony. THe team and the league should be aggressively pursuing him now that he’ decided to go prop.

  29. Oranje says:

    MLS absolutely did not get this one right. Does this happen in football? Basketball? Why would soccer be any different?

  30. MSU Spartans says:

    M go-blow :-)

  31. wilyboy says:

    Agreed.

  32. fischy says:

    *now that he’s decided to go pro.

  33. wilyboy says:

    I’m just glad we have so many forwards that show promise at this stage. Let him do what he wants; we just have to hope one of them turns into an international quality striker. World class can wait.

  34. EMF says:

    I think this is a great thing for his development. If you are already a top player in your class, Pro training will benefit you immeasurably more than college playing. On the other hand, when you are a late bloomer and not ready for pro-training, college is adequate as you continue develop your skills. For players like Saad, he should be in a proper training environment to reach his potential.

  35. away goals says:

    Turns out there are outcomes in between “ussf d2″ and “the freddy.”

    Some of these outcomes (“the cd9″) can actually be quite favorable.

  36. trollbot says:

    Soony Saad, there’s a good old fashioned American name.

  37. Oranje says:

    Uh, the salary difference between a USSF D2 side and Anderlecht is just a teeny tiny bit apart.

  38. Aaron in StL says:

    It’s not like kids would start coming out freshman year just because… there would obviously have to be good reason.

    They could do it just like the NFL: go in front of a draft evaluation committee that projects your position, and you go from there. If it’s an N/A or undrafted, stay in school. Pretty simple

  39. jonk says:

    Can I be the first to say let’s just ignore this post.

  40. Tom says:

    Ever watch soony play??? he is not that good and was lifted by miram’s play all season. The reason he didn’t go back to michigan is because his flaws would eventually show and why not strike while the iron is hot overseas. Hence why he didn’t get a GA contract either….too much question on his capability long term. Not to mention he got cut from the U20 USMNT earlier this year.

  41. SayervilleFC says:

    Yeah, I wish more players had more American sounding names. Like Oguchi Onyewu. And Tabare Ramos. And Lee Nguyen. And Herculez Gomez. And Juan Agudelo. And Mikkel Diskerud. And, my God, you’re a moron.

  42. Richard says:

    Not true. Even in the game when Meram scored a hatrick, Soony did great and created for Meram… Both good players on their own.
    Getting cut from the U20 is not the worst thing in the world… He’ll pop back up in two years and everyone will be asking for a January call-up
    …Coming from a PSU fan that got crushed by these guys in the Big Ten final.

  43. Lenux says:

    Can’t stop inflating this player every week we come out with a new players. This is getting to common and that’s bad because I’m pretty sure many of these supposed rising stars are not going anywhere. Sorry is a sad reality let’s face it.

  44. adub says:

    hahah that is the best comment ive read

  45. Big Ten Soccer says:

    He is a gifted goal scorer and has scored at every level. Even his brief time with U-20s netted a goal. About time US coaches recognize a natural goal scorer than trying to make an athlete become a goal scorer. Not surprised he was cut by U20s. We recycle the same coaches and make the same mistakes in player development. 19 goals as a freshman in the Big Ten. That is rediculous! When is the last time a freshman in a BCS level conference scored 19 goals ?

  46. anon says:

    Or maybe the u20s are stacked with good forwards?

    Guys who have scored 4 goals in the Milk Cup?
    Guys who already have senior national team goals?
    Guys who are about to get pro debuts in Germany?
    Guys who already have 10 pro appearances with a storied club like Derby County?

    No, there are no sensible explanations: US SOCCER IZ IDIOTS.

  47. robert daniels says:

    I’d rather see him in MLS as opposed to riding the pine in Europe. It’s crazy to think though that the majority think its a bad move when a young player goes to Europe as opposed to MLS. It used to be the other way around. It shows how far we’ve come in w short time.

  48. robert daniels says:

    You really think that a guy that even trials for a club like Anderlecht couldn’t pull a gen adi contract? It’s mostly because he probably didn’t commit because he was always wanting to go over seas. This guy was a stud on every level.

  49. Hush says:

    I think a lot of U.S young players are deciding to jump to the professional level because they feel that coming out of college in their early 20’s seems to be a bit too old now a days. We all know the dream of a futbolero is to play in the best leagues and the best teams in the world, and playing in college hurts their chances just a bit since Europe teams usually are looking for 15-20 yr old stars. Good for them. My advice would be, try Europe and if it doesn’t work out, hey, you are still just in your mid 20’s,.. MLS considers that rookie material!;) Can’t lose!

  50. MensreaJim says:

    Well, this does happen in the NFL. But it is regrettable, none the less.

    And of course the NFL doesn’t have direct competition, either.

  51. stanley steamer says:

    i cant believe im saying this but our talent pool is keeping up with expansion. There are some pretty good young players that will ride pine this year bc their teams are so deep. (rbny will have a few)

  52. Big Ten Soccer says:

    SO zero goals in 10 appearances for Derby County for Doyle. The US being “stacked” with good forwards is an oxymoron. The Milk Cup ? You mean wins over powerhouses Northern Ireland and Denmark. I really like Agudela and think Salgado has a chance. I would bet you that Bobby Wood would not score 19 goals against top intercollegiate competition had he chosen to go that route and not sure the other players would either. We have not produced a striker in this country since Brian McBride because we follow the same pattern of trying to make goal scorers out of players we think fit the bill. Soony Saad will score goals wherever he goes. He is just that guy!

  53. hail says:

    Classy, msu. How’s the basketball going?

  54. b says:

    Well, his name is “trollbot” so what did you expect?

  55. b says:

    Okay but Conor Doyle is at Derby County, not U of Michigan. There is a big difference.

    Let’s see where Saad ends up before… holy crap I just read the rest of your comment and you appear to think “top intercollegiate competition” is actually worthwhile. Well, you are wrong. Anyone who wants to be a professional should get their asses out of there as fast as possible… just like Soony Saad.
    I just noticed your screen name is Big Ten Soccer, okay dude, call a time out before the clock runs down to 0 and sub in Bobby Wood, maybe then you’ll see how much better he is than the vast majority of college soccer players.

  56. b says:

    What makes you say “the majority” think that?

    Plenty of young Americans are playing in Europe and not “riding the pine” but playing with reserve teams and whatnot.

  57. anon says:

    re: Doyle; Yeah, but most of those appearances are sub appearances. He’s the leading scorer in the Reserve divsion, ffs.

    re: Wood; how the hell do you know? Everyone who’s seen him play is awfully impressed with him. I’m one of those people.

    I find your statement re: McBride curious. Altidore has the same goals/appearances ratio as McBride and the ratio tends to increase as forwards get older.

    It’s very possible that Saad will score goals wherever he goes–and I hope he does! But the competition at u-20 is very strong; to wit:
    Wood
    Agudelo
    Doyle
    Ruelas
    Gyau
    Gatt
    McInerney
    Salgado

    These guys are all pros; many have made professional appearances; Agudelo has scored a goal for the USMNT. It’s very good competition.

    So Saad needs to go abroad and impress in order to distinguish himself.

  58. A great young player could get some looks from Bayern, Arsenal, and who knows who! Maybe even get on the Reserves. Well some kids that do that might make the first team, and maybe you’ve got your next Theo Walcott; but for every young kid that ends up on the first team of a major club, how many end up left behind and end up working as bus drivers? I know lots of young players in GB toss their education away to try to make it

    Even though the USA has a lot of catching up to do in soccer, having our youth go to college is a GREAT thing because no matter how things turn out on the pitch, they are preparing for a bigger, better life. Maybe we should survey London bus drivers for perspective on this.

    So while I hope Saad develops and achieves great things, I think it is sad for a Freshman to drop out of school. I understand it, but

    Maybe we need a solution for the college-Pro gap in game quality, like doing away with the usual college conferences and having a truly elite college Premier level playing a pro-level standard; and maybe those teams should even take games against the MLS Reserves. Give guys like Saad all the development they can handle without having to leave school

    You know, spoken as a parent of a soccer player with high aspirations…

  59. Thorpinski says:

    Ives latest Tweet has Saad lining up tryouts in Germany with several clubs. The guy is a natural goal scorer and I hope he lands in Germany.

    I’ve seen him play and I definately think he has a bright future a head of him.

  60. Sir_Knox says:

    It does happen in NFL and NBA but you can’t declare until after sophomore year I think. They changed the rules after Lebron came thru.

  61. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    Ives, the Fox Soccer article on Saad said he was NOT expected to make the U-20 WC roster. Why in the world would he not? He scores like it’s going out of style. Also, why was he passed up for a GA contract?

  62. productive comment says:

    he scored on my friend in high school

  63. John says:

    too bad MLS hasn’t thought of doing something like the NHL does. kids can get drafted out of high school but still go to college to develop if they’re not ready for “the show” and the NHL team holds there rights for an “X” amount of years, i think it’s like 4 years but i could be wrong. for example the university of minnesota has something like 18 players on there roster of around 27 or so guys that have already been drafted by NHL teams.

  64. b says:

    Because the other forwards on the U20 team are much better than him.
    Because the other candidates for a GA contract were much better than him.

    Saad is decent and has some potential, but let’s not base everything on a few goals scored, or do you think Chris Wondolowski is the answer for the USMNT?

  65. pete says:

    Have to agree with you. Saw him play against Maryland. Was ok but needs more development. I think a lot of these kids are being misguided and hopefully he did not leave school too soon without a definite contract.

  66. DC Josh says:

    So a college freshman is good enough to play in the Bundesliga or Bundesliga 2? Why isn’t MLS jumping all over this kid? I know they are just trials, but still.

  67. DC Josh says:

    That’s what she said.

  68. DC Josh says:

    No other Division I player scored more goals than him this year, and he is a freshman. I wouldn’t call that a “few goals”.

  69. inkedAG says:

    I figure it like this. If a kid wants to try his hand in Europe, cool. If he wants to sign for MLS, cool. I really don’t think one person makes a team and I think all players should follow the paths they feel is right for them.

  70. D-Bo says:

    If Landon Donovan can’t get playing time with Bayern, how is this kid? Come to MLS!

  71. R Douglas says:

    Remember, a trial does not mean he has made it. All it means is that the clubs are willing to give him a look. With the right connections, most talented players can get trials. Let’s see if he lands anything before we anoint this a good move. I have watched Soony from his club days through this year at U of M. He is a great scorer but in my humble opinion, a good soccer player. He does not have great speed, he is not a threat 1 v 1, and he is not a great dribbler. He was in Bradenton with the U17 and not invited back. He went on the same tour of Europe twice that Cunningham and Gatt attended and did not close a deal although there are rumors he turned down an Academy deal with Mainz. He is not deemed worthy (at this time) of a GA deal and is not considered one of the top forwards of his class by the U20 staff. So, do I wish him not to succeed, no, but there has been feedback from many sources over that last few years that say that although he could maybe be a top talent, he is not an elite player right now. Do you go and take a flier and hope to land a deal by seeking out trials or do you stay one more year in college and see if the GA deal is forthcoming? Tough call. I wish him well. Only time will tell.

  72. juniorb@gmail.com says:

    Seriously, Meram lifted Soony? Meram refused to pass to Soony all season because he wanted to score more goals than him before he graduated. He didn’t want to be outdone by a freshman, but in the end Soony still outscored him.