It's been entertaining to watch the soccer world talk about Tyler Adams (ex-NY Red Bulls) and Alphonso Davies (ex-Vancouver Whitecaps).
Adams and RB Leipzig will face Paris Saint-Germain for a spot in the UEFA Champions League final (Tuesday, 2:30 pm ET on Univision, TUDN, CBS All Access). Davies and Bayern Munich will play Lyon for the same prize a day later (Wednesday 2:30 pm ET on Univision, TUDN, CBS All Access). And both players have played key roles in helping their team get to this point.
- Watch: Phonzie's filthy assist in Champions League QFs
- Tyler Adams scores game-winning goal in QF vs. Atletico Madrid
It all feels important because it might be one of the last times we describe a moment like this as important.
U.S. Soccer, Canada Soccer and their respective MLS clubs should take a victory lap on this one and I don’t think anyone would blame them. They’ve contributed to producing two players who are making an impact at the highest level of the sport when portions of that sport have dismissed them in the past based on nothing but their background:
There are still plenty of teams out there that are going to make Barcelona's same mistake. Honestly, it would stop being fun if teams didn't make these blunders. In these trying times the world needs the occasional laugh, but we'll probably be getting fewer of them. Thanks to Adams and Davies.
Who you got: Davies & David or Pulisic & Adams?
Alphonso Davies & Jonathan David vs Tyler Adams & Christian Pulisic | Extratime
Thanks to Adams and Davies, more players who follow a similar development path will get their shot with the world's biggest clubs because they will have earned it, no matter the country on their passports. Which will lead to more and more players making an impact in major competitions. Which will lead to an ever-shrinking number of dismissive overseas soccer execs. And it will all create a feedback loop that will eventually flip the narrative from celebrating two players in a semifinal stage to asking why more teams around the world aren't also recruiting players from MLS and the countries that are homes to their teams.
All this to say that I’m worried about y’all. Truly.
What are you going to do when an MLS player is brought up as a target for a major club and you don’t have to argue with every single person in the comments about the league’s viability as a talent factory? What are you going to do when a player from MLS torches a defender in a major European league and you can’t sarcastically say how the defenders in that league wouldn’t make the field for a Major League Soccer team? What’s going to happen to all that clout? Have you talked to your children about a globally accepted MLS?
You may think I’m jumping the gun here. But there is a global warming happening toward MLS players and it won’t be long until it’s simply a scientifically accepted fact that players molded in the league can be impact players anywhere in the world. Right now there are reports of young players like Brenden Aaronson, Mark McKenzie and Reggie Cannon receiving interest from European clubs. And those are just a few that come to mind off the top of my head. That’s not even counting players like Diego Rossi and Ezequiel Barco who didn’t come up through the American/Canadian soccer system, but they honed their game here and the European suitors have followed. And that’s not even counting your favorite player who I didn’t mention because I forgot or just didn’t have the space for him.
Enjoy the next two days. Appreciate Adams and Davies for carrying the flame and for nothing more than their ability. Take it in while you can. This is another step on the way to these moments feeling smaller and smaller.
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