Is Fagundez the best teenager to ever play in MLS?

DiegoFagundezNewEnglandRevolution2-ColumbusCrew (USATodaySports)

By IVES GALARCEP

As the 2014 MLS season approaches, New England Revolution star Diego Fagundez prepares to play the final season of his teens, and he stands to shatter every record the league has for production by a player in their teenage years.

His outstanding 2013 season, which saw him register 13 goals and seven assists, is the best season put together by a teenager in league history, which raises the question. Is Fagundez the best teenager to ever play in MLS?

In my recent Goal.com article on Fagundez, I discuss Fagundez’s standing as one of the league’s best young players, and also his undecided status from a national team standpoint.

Give the story a read, and then cast your vote on who you think is the best teenager to ever play in MLS after the jump:

  • Freddy Adu
  • Jozy Altidore
  • Bobby Convey
  • Diego Fagundez
  • Eddie Johnson
  • Andy Najar
  • Santino Quaranta
  • DeAndre Yedlin

 

Who did you vote for? What teenager impressed you the most in MLS?

Share your thoughts below.

 

 

 

 

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91 Responses to Is Fagundez the best teenager to ever play in MLS?

  1. testy says:

    Freddy was not a teenager.

  2. The hatr says:

    How old was Donovan when he joined the earthquakes?

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Right about 19?

    • Gary Page says:

      According to Wikipedia, he was 19. I’m pretty sure that he played in his first MLS all star game either that season or the next as he had a pretty immediate impact.

    • frank from santiago says:

      I was going to mention exactly the same thing about donovan. fagundez though is looking very,very good.

  3. slowleftarm says:

    Interesting, he seems to say that he will just go with whoever picks him first. He would merit a USMNT call-up in my opinion but it’s not an option at the moment since he’s not a citizen. Looks like it’s a race between him getting citizenship and Uruguay calling him up.

    • Nick F says:

      If you were Uruguayan, would he be Uruguayan enough by your standards?

      • slowleftarm says:

        Probably not, haven’t really thought about it. In my mind, no doubt he should play for the US.

        • Jake says:

          It doesn’t matter what’s in your mind. If he becomes a US citizen before he gets a Uruguay cap then he can make a decision. Otherwise he’s playing for Uruguay and there is no decision at all.

  4. adu2altidore says:

    Has to B Freddy then Jozzy

  5. Sabella says:

    The USSF should be assisting this young man in his US citizen application. I haven’t heard any recruiting conversations yet and I ask, how can that be with his goal production last year?

    • UclaBruinGreat says:

      If this was Mexico, he could probably gain citizenship in a month or so, right in time for whatever international game Mexico would be getting ready to play. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your views), the U.S. government doesn’t play ball like that when it comes to soccer players.

  6. Don the Jewler says:

    Seriously, Luis Gil not on the list?

    • Zac says:

      Yeah, what’s up with that? Gil is a great player. Probably going to man the #10 spot for the USMNT in the coming years.

    • atd says:

      Agree. He doesn’t put up the numbers the other guys do, but he got his name on the lineup card in ink for a team that was a few breaks away from winning a treble last year.

    • BrianK says:

      Don the Jewler,

      You sound like Paul Gardner. Why don’t you throw Joselito Vaca in there as well.

  7. Neruda says:

    Uruguay produce high caliber players. Fegundez could be in that mix and qualify for a call-up if he betters his numbers from last year. If he does the same or better than last year than it would be fair to call him the best teen player in MLS.

    I hope he can get his citizenship for the US soon enough to play a part in the next WC cycle. If you haven’t seen him play before than make sure you take in a Revolution game this year. He’s a treat to watch and his upside is very high. Another year like last year and he’ll have offers from Europe for sure.

    • Ed says:

      If he goes to Europe, Uruguay will call him up and that will end that. The best thing for the USMT is him staying in MLS until he can get US citizenship.

      • Ben says:

        Revs FO discusses Fagundez as a player with a “multi-year” deal (sounds in discussion like more than two years) and someone whom they have zero interest in selling – Bilello recently suggested that if they told Jonathan Kraft they’d sold Diego, they’d likely have to find new jobs. Which is good news for USMNT hopes, even if it may not be the best interest for an aspiring footballer (no disrespect to MLS, which I love, it’s just that players pretty much all seem to want to go to Europe at some point).

        • jonf says:

          i don’t believe that for an instance. if the krapps truly believe they are getting a good financial return, they will sell him in heart beat. the krapps make Chivas USA owners look like Roman Abramovich. jonathan krapp is total slum owner’s son.

          • Bob says:

            The Krafts are certainly open to criticism on some fronts, but selling players for a quick profit isn’t one of them. The have repeatedly denied European transfers for their core players (initials offers for Clint prior to selling to fulham, Twellman’s Preston North End move, offers for in-his-prime Shalrie Joseph). This left the players pissed at the organization (Clint’s still not over it, Twellman seems to have buried the hatchet, Shalrie was definitely upset for awhile). As a USMT fan you might be a little disappointed in guys not going to Europe, but as an MLS fan I respect retaining talent (and keeping a core in what were some very good teams).

      • Steven Erickson says:

        He’s applying for U.S. citizenship so he can’t leave the country (for work or live) until he gets it. The process could take 4 years. In other words, he will probably be with the Revs for the next 4 years. Most definitely, he’ll be in MLS until he gets his citizenship.

        • Neruda says:

          Well this is good news. I think MLS is getting more talented every year and keeping Diego is good for MLS and the US.

          • Sgc says:

            Diego only made 127k last year according to the Union numbers. The ‘keep him until he’s eligible’ plan might work, but it’s going to take a big pay raise, I think.

    • Mensrea says:

      No doubt they do produce fantastic players with their tiny population, but he moved here when he was 5.

    • Gary Page says:

      He needs to find a nice American girl to marry; that can speed up the process.

  8. JD says:

    Best, no. But it seems as though Eddie Gaven was a heck of a player as a teen and could’ve been included on that list.

  9. Manny says:

    Yesterday: “Jeez guys, stop pressuring our young teenagers. Let them develop. Cautionary tale.

    Today: “Who is the best teenager ever?!?!”

    Tomorrow: “Stop asking about Fagundez. Let him develop! Jeez, you guys!”

    Sunday: “Latest update on Julian Green”

    • Ali Dia says:

      We are kinda monkeys here, aren’t we…

    • kevin says:

      Ha! What say you Ives?

    • UclaBruinGreat says:

      This is an awesome post and spot on. That is the exact progression of Ives articles too. Kind of makes you think that Ives just writes whatever comes to his mind at the time and doesn’t really think about his contradictions. In this aspect, he is just like us fans.

      • Ali Dia says:

        A cynic might suggest he simply looks at the articles that generate the most comments. Or just finds something that will set slowleftarm off.

    • BB4 says:

      I dunno, I think in this case it’s recognizing the teenagers who have produced (and Freddy Adu) rather than saying how good they’ll be in a few years. No matter what Fagundez does from now on, he’ll still be in the discussion for best in MLS as a teenager. Although I guess he’s still a teenager for another year.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      ha, +1

    • SBI TroII says:

      Perfect SBI meme. #SBIBeLike

  10. Kiphino says:

    What about Jorge Campos? He was a teenager right, or did he just look and play like one?

  11. Matt B. says:

    Eddie Gaven, Luis Gil, and Landon Donovan all had better teenage years then Yedlin. The kid is talked about like he is the savior of the RB position, but he is not. Don’t get me wrong, he is good, but it seems we like to talk up our young players like they are world beaters, especially when they play for a big market team.

    • Tony in Quakeland says:

      Yedlin is much better than you give him credit for. Yedlin essentially walked onto Seattle and changed the way they play. He allowed the right side of the midfield to tuck inside and he essential ran the right side of the field. He got up and back tirelessly and improved all year long. Go to MLSsoccer.com and look up what the coaches and TDs they talked to said about him in the “Best young player” article. Look up Jeff Agoos, who signled out Yedlin as his favorite young player.

      Yedlin is good. He is going to crack the nats line up within a year and stay there a long, long time

  12. 2Shway says:

    One thing for sure Diego, if Uruguay come calling don’t turn it down for the USMNT. You’ll be cursed.

    Take the Najar route

    • Rev Fan says:

      He played a few games for Uruguay at the youth level but that never went anyplace. He did resign last year to a longer term contract though i dont know how many years. He has little tie to Uruguay other than was born there. Lived here for all but his first 4 or 5 years. He is far more American than anything else.

      My only knock on him is that hes small. He would get the crap kicked out of him in a bigger arena. Hes developing just fine here. I dont see him moving anytime soon

  13. Sunday D says:

    More American than Julian Green

    • chuck says:

      Do they sell those Americometers in Amazon? I might need one to test my extended family, cause u never know.

  14. Eric W says:

    Sure is!

  15. El_Guanaco says:

    Not much thought was put into this list apparently. Landon Donovan won a championship with SJ at 19 (12 goals, 12 assists). Demarcus Beasley was (and is) much better than most of the guys on your list. And although he only started one season in MLS, Michael Bradley seems like he’s good enough to earn a mention.

  16. MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

    MLS would probably make more off selling a Young Uruguayan player than selling a young American player.

    • Helium-3 says:

      Give him another year and when MLS sells him, it will be > $10 Million. Only reason he would not leave is if he’s waiting for citizenship.

  17. milkshake of despair says:

    To lazy to read the goal.com article. So not sure what the criteria is, but my vote is for MB90.

  18. Fed Up says:

    Michael Bradley?
    Landon Donovan?
    Eddie Gaven?
    Jozy Altidore?
    Freddy Adu?

    I could on. Ridiculous article. And days after you told people not to hype young players.

  19. Münster says:

    Certainly wears his hair like one, good god….

  20. 2tone says:

    Fagundez has gone record stating that he really doesn’t have a desire to go to Europe anytime soon. He wants US citizenship. He will be 23 when he gets US citizenship unless he gets married to an American women before then which will knock down the time.

    • Rev Fan says:

      He did have an American GF though idk if thats still the case

    • Neruda says:

      Wait. He just needs to pop the question to his chowder head gf and he’ll get his citezenship faster? Why isn’t Klinsi assigning one of his assistant coaches to this. Or better yet hire Hitch.

    • GW says:

      2tone,

      Fagundez will almost certainly not play for the US.
      If he is as talented as everyone hopes, that talent will start to come out in the next year or two.

      And then he will have to decide if staying at the Revs is the best way to make the jump to the next level. He might take notice of Eddie Gaven who stagnated staying with the Crew.
      More likely, if he is that good, teams will come for him and most likely he will have to move abroad to realize his full potential. And that will complicate his citizenship aims. Four or five years is an eternity in soccer as Yura Movsisyan will tell you. And even if he stays in MLS four years is a long time to resist overtures from Uruguay.

      • frank from santiago says:

        GW, or instead of using the gavin example, why not use donovan, beasley, jozy, etc. They stayed in mls for a few seasons and kept developing just fine. One exmaple is not fair, Gavin although a good player, i wouldn’t put the blame on the crew. not all players have the same drive.

        • GW says:

          Santiago Frank,

          Gaven is an easy target or a good example (pick one) because he seemed like a rising star with the Metro Stars, then at about 19 years of age he moved to the Crew where he never really reached the heights his talent might have suggested he was capable of reaching.

          1. Donovan signed with Leverkusen right out of IMG and then went to Europe first before being loaned back to the Earthquakes and then making a splash at the 2002 World Cup.

          2. DMB signed with the Galaxy but went to the Fire, then did his World Cup thing and then went to Europe, PSV Eindhoven.

          3. Jozy was with the Red Bulls for a couple of years before leaving for Villarreal. He then cemented his USMNT spot in 2009 at the Confederations cup.

          In other words Donovan actually started his pro career in Germany before moving back to MLS and becoming a star with the USMNT in 2002. DMB and Jozy both spent just a few years in MLS and then went to Europe.

          Eddie, at more or less the same point in his career that those three were testing themselves against a higher level of competition. moved to the Crew.

          This is not an indictment of MLS or Columbus , a great town, per se.

          Eddie was really talented but CHOSE not to test himself against tougher competition for whatever reason. Every player is different and for whatever reason Eddie chose to be comfortable at Columbus.

          Fagundez may be the same. Maybe he reaches a certain level at the Revs and stays that way. Or maybe he turns into Luis Suarez while staying at New England. Stranger things have happened. Or maybe Liverpool buys him a year from now. That would not necessarily kill his citizenship chances since he could theoretically maintain a US residence while working in the UK but it makes it tough. Who knows? Everyone is different.

          Donovan is just a once in a generation kind of player. He and DMB and Jozy are all extremely tough minded individuals who had the brains, the skill and the courage to test themselves in a very hostile environment , one that Eddie chose not to subject himself to. Yet USMNT fans insult and demean Landon , DMB and Jozy for being weak on a regular basis, which tells you a great deal about those fans.

          We will find out a lot about Fagundez in the next few years.
          .

    • JCC says:

      “Fagundez has gone record stating that he really doesn’t have a desire to go to Europe anytime soon.”

      He only says this because he probably hasn’t gotten any attractive offers yet, but if he starts getting some lucrative offers, his tune will change.

  21. Jason says:

    I’m shocked people are overlooking Andy Najar in favor of Jozy Altidore (really? he blew up AFTER MLS, not before), Freddy Adu (all hype, no filler), and Diego Fagundez (huge third year, but hardly makes him the best ever). Najar went from a back-up to a starter to Rookie of the Year in one season and kept producing even when he moved to RB at the very end of his stint in MLS.

  22. Freddy Adu says:

    Nobody loves me anymore

  23. Bean says:

    Not a lot of competition in MLS for best teenager.

  24. chodilicus says:

    In soccer especially, stats lie. This is very true about bad teams. Fagundez had a very good year, but I would say Gil had a better career as a teenager. He was very good for RSL from 17-19 on very good teams. His direct numbers of assists and goals may not have been there, but he was really good as a teenager.

    Then with the U20s he showed that he is pretty clearly the best the US has and it was not even close. When the US faced the elite teams in the U20 World Cup, Gil was the only one that showed he belonged on that stage and he really stood out. He just gets lost at RSL from a stats perspective because the team is the star. Much like Will Johnson, Gil would put up great stats if he moved on and wasn’t surrounded by Beckerman and Morales, who are stat stuffers.

    • Neruda says:

      Well put. Both Gil and fegundez are fantastic technical players. Who we hope play on the same team in the future red white and blue.

    • MetroWest_REVS says:

      I’m sorry, but “stats lie” is such a cop-out. Fagundez didn’t just have a good season, he broke the goal scoring record for a teenager in MLS. And the Revolution of 2013 was not one of the “bad teams” either. If he had his citizenship at the time he would have been in every youth usmnt squad along side Luis Gill.

  25. Chris says:

    In the words of our esteemed national team coach and technical director:

    “He hasn’t done $hit.”

  26. suckhole says:

    I voted for Jozy (obviously).

    But Eddie Money was also better, and Yedlin is better right now.

    That is not a negative on Fagundez. Just an honest opinion. He’s very good.

  27. Soccer Blood says:

    I gotta say Ives “where is your head at”? Lately you been misfiring? The points made above are correct. LEAVE IT ALONE? Talk about Hype and pressure from the media on these KIDS? And yes by the way Gaven should definitely be on that list. But Ives I used to love your articles? Lately you are off Base? I guess being on this site and Goal.com is taxing/ One man cannot serve 2 masters eh? There are so many relevant things to discuss?? This aint it..

    Sorry ives I am disappointed in YOU

  28. Todd says:

    Andy Najar

  29. soccerybyeyebyss says:

    People just settle down… settle down. Just everyone needs to caaaaaaalm down. Calm down. Just need to settle down.

  30. DJ says:

    Come on guys. Ives knows where the interest for page hits is. He may do his best to temper expectations of young players, and rightly so at times, but he also knows the American sports fan. There’s a reason NFL guys love the draft. There’s a reason college football fans have subscriptions to recruiting sites that rank high school players. (247 sports, Rivals, etc.). There’s a reason baseball guys follow prospects in the minors.

    It’s in everyone’s interest to check out the next great talent coming along, not just soccer fans. Ives can play down the expectations angle, but no doubt he recognizes things that interest his audience and then writes about it. Business 101.

    While I’m not into the hype machine, I see no reason why soccer fans can’t drool over prospects just like other fans in other sports do. So I see people’s points. All I’m saying is that if I ran a blog like this, I’d try to walk a fine line too. As Nick Saban puts it: recruiting is an inexact science.

  31. TomG says:

    Interesting take. I was impressed by Fagundez last year, but the comparison you make with other top MLS teens is pretty cool. Not sure if he’s necessarily better than those other guys at the same age or if he was sort of thrust into a perfect position in the perfect style for him. He’s certainly an exciting guy to watch this season. Wil he completely blow up, score 20 goals and attract European interest?

  32. Fredo says:

    I hope it’s Jack McBean.

  33. JoshW says:

    Nik Besagno!!!

  34. dude1 says:

    Wasn’t Damarcus Beasley a teenager in MLS? And didn’t Donovan slate in there as well?

    Both better than Fagundez.

  35. chuck says:

    *sigh* I hope we don’t end up losing him. I’d trade Johansson and Boyd any day for Movsisyan and Ibisevic

  36. Dennis says:

    The list is heavy with forwards. Bradley, Gavin and Magee were together as teenagers on the Metrostars and when they played together probably made up the youngest, if not the best, midfield in MLS. Each of those guys were pretty solid. Also Donavon is another left off the list and that is questionable.

  37. whoop-whoop says:

    Love the site and discussions found here and ultimately a post like this will do that, so…. mission accomplished. That said… I can’t help but see some irony in this post following another so closely. There is probably much more correlation between the two careers and surroundings that Adu’s cautionary tale would go out to Fagundez rather than Julian Green. Fortunately, Diego seems to have a better support system than Freddie and the league/MLS, US Soccer media, talent in this country and fans have progressed quite a bit in a short time, so there doesn’t seem to be a need for too much worry in this case.

    I also can’t help but observe that there is a modern preoccupation in sport these days at attempting to place a player and his career in historical, all time context before it has even begun. I guess “Legacy” is the beloved, overused term these days. Something to be said for enjoying where you’re at right now… especially at 19 years old! Just sayin’