RONGEN REMAINS HOPEFUL ON HOYOS
PREVIEWS
RECAPS
EXTRA TIME
BRIAN SCIARETTA - Monday, March 29, 2010
As the US U20 team builds towards to the World Cup next year in Colombia, one of the most talked about young American players is Estudiantes de La Plata midfielder Michael Hoyos who just may still play for the US.

Hoyos, who was born and raised in Fountain Valley, California, has emerged in 2010 as a regular for the defending Copa Libertadores champions.

He began garning attention in January when he scored a magnificent 30 meter goal against perennial power Boca Juniors in a preseason tournament.

While last month's announcement that Argentina U20 head coach Sergio Batista had selected Hoyos for a U20 camp served as a setback for his chances of representing the US at the international level, US U20 coach Thomas Rongen has been having positive talks with the promising 18 year old about playing for the Stars and Stripes.

Rongen invited Hoyos to play at the Dallas Cup with the US U20 team but Estudiantes refused to release him. Despite this, Rongen is optimistic about his chances of getting Hoyos involved with the US program in the near future.

"Michael is playing very, very well and is getting first team minutes at Estudiantes," Rongen told YA. "He was actually very excited [about going] to the Dallas Cup. Unfortunately, Estudiantes said no, but I think it would make sense if somewhere down the line when there are no problems with his club that we would be able to see Michael Hoyas play for this U20 team."

Michael Hoyos is just one of the many current American youth players who have dual citizenship and the option of playing for another country at the international level.

The US has already seen two promising dual national players in Neven Subotic and Giuseppe Rossi achieve great success representing other countries and there is fear among US fans that Hoyos could become yet another loss of elite talent. While Hoyos' situation is far from settled, Rongen believes that the discussions with Hoyos have been going well.

It is clear that Hoyos has personal loyalties towards both the US and Argentina. While he was born in the US, his parents are Argentine and he and his family have been living in Argentina for over three years since Michael and his younger brother Kevin signed with Estudiantes.

Hoyos will eventually have to make his decision but Rongen does feel that there are factors which favor the US.

"I mean with players that are in those positions with dual citizenship it won't be the first time, it won't be the last time," Rongen discussed. "Players have to make decisions. We feel that a player like Michael, who has spent a lot of years in this country, has some alliances and feelings about representing this country. That's important.

"We want players that want to represent the country and are proud of doing that. And Michael sounded like the player and person that wants to be involved, and that's a positive first step," Rongen concluded.
ECref
Sunday April 4, 2010 11:52 am
I completely agree with Brannon on the exposure and recognition of talent problem. There is very little exposure for the kids who are poor. They cannot afford the cost of academies, ODP travel, or even the local travel teams that charge fees. What I see is that some of the middle-class players, whose parents have the financial ability, skip high school teams so that they can play for the academy teams or ODP because they get more exposure this way. Skilled poor kids do not have this opportunity. The problem facing skilled poorer kids is that they are then relegated to less-than mediocre high school soccer teams in terms of skill level, which are not recruited by college or USMNT coaches, because these kids can't afford to play elsewhere. I've asked college coaches where they recruit and many say that they don't pay attention to high school because the skill level is sub par. Rather, they only pay attention to tournaments with club and travel teams. I've seen just as much talent among kids who are skilled enough to play in adult ethnic-based local leagues. These kids play in these league because the skill level is high and they can't afford the travel teams. Whether they are Portuguese and Brazilian kids in New England, latin youth in almost any city, or even poor kids in the boonies, these kids really do exist. Unfortunately for these poorer kids, no one is paying attention. I wish coaches would get out their comfort zone and consider kids from outside of the suburbs. We also should work toward creating scholarships or lowering costs of things such ODP or club teams. In addition, we should be working toward funding soccer teams at high schools in economically depressed areas.
Brannon
Tuesday March 30, 2010 9:42 pm
This is good news none the less for all US Soccer fans. While the results may seem positive, the USSF has a long way to go in recognizing talent and putting it on the field.

For far too long players that are similar to Micheal Hoyos have gone unnoticed. Not because they were late bloomers, but because of the backgrounds from which they come from. The ODP is a joke that fails to really find talent. Sure, you will find some very good talent, but the hidden talent that is being played at the youth level that is not seen because of a lack of monetary support. Can't tell you how many times as a parent that to get a child "seen" by the scouts, the child has to be put on a traveling team. For some kids it is unrealistic to think about being on a traveling team as their economic situation will not allow them to be on such a team. Therefore, they are not getting the exposure that some less talented players are.

I am excited about the fact that Hoyos may play for the US still, but I am not holding my breath. Once I see Hoyos on the field for the US in the U-20 WC then I will start to feel better. Because if he should do well, it would only be a matter of time before he got a Senior national team call up. Then again, it is hard to convince a kid to drive a Camaro (USMNT) when he could be driving a Ferrari (AFA).

Time will tell how this all filters out.
CoachRic
Tuesday March 30, 2010 2:31 pm
Yet another, one after another, and yet more, dual-citizien players get away from several of the national teams and only after they've left the US to play for a pro team and then are courted by their parent's country of birth, do we lament their loss. This is much akin to closing the barn after the race horse has escaped. However, all the comments above have a semblance of truism, yet Gary said it plain and simple that we have a bunch of "burros" in charge of the various teams. What was not pointed out is that Hoyos comprises part of the national base of young Latino players that spans the country and yet coaches of the Rongen stripe bemoan the fact that they escape the USSoccer coaches who are charged with identifying such talent. In fact, what happened to at least two or three (or is now up to five or six) US Soccer Latino Coaches who were hired some fifteen years ago to itendify these players, i.e. how is it that not only does Hoyos or Torres, or for that matter Rossi, "escaped" or were not identified by these guys whose job is to travel the country and ID young Latino players. Granted, it isn't just Latino players, but many other young talented players of many other dual nationalities that somehow manage to get away from US Soccer and indeed the MLS. And the coaches then cry in their collective beer and all don't even close the barn door to prevent another race horse from "escaping!"
Louis Z.
Tuesday March 30, 2010 1:46 pm
Hasn't M. Hoyos already been training with argentina U20 squad? This story sounds a bit conflicting with prior stories. I wished the would clarify it a bit more.
Charlie G.
Tuesday March 30, 2010 12:18 pm
Am thinking that there is likely a perception problem in the US due to talent progression and the "structure" of organized soccer in general - what the USSF views as "youth" soccer here is already within the professional structure (hence on the national team radar) everywhere else. In my eyes a U-20 team has little to do with "youth" soccer, even though the USSF refers to this as a "Youth National Team".

Maybe the USSF needs to expand the banner of the "MNT"
to include the U-20's. I realize that this is just semantics, but frequently perceptions are driven by such small things - like considering Michael Hoyos a "youth" soccer player.

I do appreciate the incredible challange that the coaches in the US are faced with, and paricularly at the critical transition phase of say ages 16 to 20 - having some professionals, some in college, some club players, etc. is really a mess, but that's the reality of the situation for now.
Mike
Tuesday March 30, 2010 12:01 pm
We should definately give him a shot on the senior national team. I definately look at him before anyone in MLS.

Bradley's fringe player camp was all most all from MLS. The example of Charlie Davies should show that many Fringe internationals deserve a shot. There is no reason not to setup a couple friendlies and try these guys out. Hoyos should even be considered fringe.
TerryReed
Tuesday March 30, 2010 3:27 am
Charlie G. you took the words right out of my mouth. Well said.
John
Tuesday March 30, 2010 1:32 am
I've seen him play, and anyone starting for a good Argentine team should be on our senior side. He's more skilled than anyone on our team other than Donovan, Dempsey, and Torres.
ewm
Monday March 29, 2010 10:12 pm
thats what i have been saying all along, this kid should have been looked at for the mens national team already instead hes being evaluated for the u20, funny, half the mens team would not be playing regularly for a club like estudiantes instead this kids on the backburner, another loss of talent like rossi, etc.. because o f lack of judging character.
Gary @ 3four3.com
Monday March 29, 2010 5:48 pm
Charlie,
That's how it should be done! But we have clueless donkeys for coaches ...
I still don't understand how Rongen is still at the helm of the U-20s! He had his chance, failed, and yet he continues.
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