Monday, July 23, 2012

All Ohio, Major League Soccer

There are currently 17 men from Ohio playing in Major League Soccer. Only two States and two (entire) countries have more.

1. California (60)
2. Colombia (33)
3. Texas (24)
4. Canada (23)
5. Ohio (17)

That's more than vaunted footballing states such as Florida (16), New York (15) and New Jersey (11). Also more than Brasil (16), Jamaica (12) and Mexico (10).

There's an Ohioan on 12 of the 19 MLS clubs.

16 of the 17 Ohioans have seen MLS minutes this year. The only one not to have seen time? Ben Speas (Stats, Inc has Aaron Horton coming from Connecticut).

MLS Ohioans have averaged 921 minutes to a man. That's good enough for 2nd best state/country in the league with over 10+ players.

My fellow Virginians have seven players averaging 1002 mins per game. FYI. PSA.

Ohio produces Goalkeepers and Defensive players. If you were to compile a list of 2012 Ohio All-stars at those positions it would look like this (my MLS player ratings are in the right hand nav of this blog):

GK: Troy Perkins : Springfield, Ohio : POR
D: Justin Morrow : Cleveland, Ohio : SJE
D: Marc Burch : Cincinnati, Ohio : SEA
D: Austin Berry : Cincinnati, Ohio : CHI
D: Josh Williams : Copley, Ohio : CREW

On the bench you would have Dallas 'keeper Kevin Hartman. At central defensive mid; Danny O'Rourke, Ben Zemanski and Chris Rolfe. In other words, not many would score on this club.

The Columbus Crew are right in the middle of all this talent. Admittedly, the Crew are good and identifying talent, but can't develop it. It could be said that their eyes are also bigger than their stomachs. How so? Here are a few examples using the few I mentioned above:

Justin Morrow (official 2012 MLS All Star) was passed up by the Crew in favor of Bright Dike a couple years ago (Bright is bouncing around, still). Columbus picked up Burch in 2006-07 where he rode the pine. From there he put in work with DC, he's now back with Sigi in Seattle and is a major contributor to their success.

Austin Berry's path is more direct. He was identified and snatched up by Chicago early on and Chicago pulled the trigger on him just one pick ahead of his Chicago Premier teammate, Ethan Finlay.

Ohio is lacking in the attacking positions, but that just so happens to be the beauty of a sport that relies so much on the gooey inner workings of its players.

Ohio is precisely representative of her soccer playing product.

New products being forged from a land known for her old manufacturing majesty just might be producing objects of high enough quality to spread across the oceans. Just in a slightly different world of export. Just might. Just maybe.

The United States has struggled in the global marketplace that is soccer. Perhaps it is destiny that the places that made this country industrially great in the past, make great soccer players in the future.

I've got one player breaking the Ohio defensive player mold here though. A Mr. Ben Speas. I've seen him play now a few times in scrimmages and reserve league matches. He is an attacking threat that has a future playing in MLS at a high level. Let's hope it's with Columbus.

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