MONTREAL – Rankings like MLSsoccer.com's 24 Under 24 series are an infinite source of conversation, even for those who coach the players involved.
Probably not unlike most coaches in MLS, Montreal boss Jesse Marsch feels that three, four or even five more members of his squad would have been deserving of a spot in the rankings where Felipe and Andrew Wenger, to Marsch’s immense satisfaction, broke the top 10.
Marsch, though, is head coach of the only expansion team this season. And he feels that the work accomplished by his young players in this tricky context deserves recognition.
“Coming into an expansion team, it’s a chance to establish themselves in an MLS team, and I think that a lot of them have done that,” Marsch said. “And still, in tough stretches of the season, when you have a lot of games, you need youthful legs on the field so that you're able to handle the game physically.”
Obviously, it has not simply been about youth in Montreal this season. Matteo Ferrari, Patrice Bernier and Marco Di Vaio have seen a few more summers than players like sophomore defender Jeb Brovsky, and they have enjoyed success in different roles.
Incidentally, the 23-year-old Brovsky hints that teammates his age might just have helped the stars they look up to become even better.
“We have experienced guys all throughout the pitch, but it’s good to have young blood out there that’s going to challenge the experienced guys in more ways than one,” Brovsky said.
Growing up, the likes of Brovsky, Calum Mallace and Zarek Valentin have all been able to watch some of their current teammates play. Marsch himself admits to being told by some of them that they actually went to see him play.
That desire to and ability to observe their peers in turn means players have more substantial knowledge of the game now than ever before, and not just of European football, Marsch added.
“They’ve grown up with this, and we’re getting to that generation and I think it’s a good thing for the league,” Marsch said. “And you look at that 24 Under 24, there’s quite a few quality players on there that are Americans that have grown up watching MLS. It’s great.”