QUICK CHAT WITH FERNANDO CLAVIJO
With the USA's first game in the Under-20 World Cup now less than three days away, I had the chance to talk to former US National team player and MLS coach, Fernando Clavijo.
Also once the head coach of Haiti, Clavijo is quickly becoming a significant figure in USA youth soccer as a director at Traffic Sports.
Gale Agbossoumonde and Tony Taylor, both with the US in Egypt have signed contracts with Traffic Sports in recent weeks. Last year Gregory Garza signed with them and he is currently in the reserves at Sporting Lisbon. They also own the rights to USA youngster Bryan Dominguez.
Traffic Sports is a Brazilian based management company that owns the rights to the players that sign with them. In addition to owning the players' rights, Traffic works to develop the players via development academies and lower level clubs it manages in Portugal, Brazil and United States.
Afterwards it hopes to transfer these players to established clubs; the US players with Traffic Sports likely move eventually to clubs overseas.
Clavijo is excited about the professional future of Taylor and Agbossoumonde. He noted that both players will have numerous scouts watching them from several European clubs during the U20 World Cup. Neither player, however, is in a rush to sign with a club right away.
When asked about this year's U20 World Cup team, Clavijo was quick to praise coach Thomas Rongen.
"They are a very well coached team. If anybody is going to get the most out of this team, it's Thomas Rongen. They don't have the total talent that the 2007 team had, but they have had good results so far."
Clavijo also singled out Mikkel Diskerud and Brek Shea as players who should impress while noting that the lack of playing time is the most significant obstacle Rongen has with the current group.
"The problem is that we don't have enough players in the MLS that are playing. If you don't play, you aren't developing."