The first names of this year’s MLSsoccer.com 24 Under 24, whittled down from a list of 180 MLS talents under the age of 24 (as of November 20, 2011), will be unveiled on Tuesday. But that’s not to say there weren’t some deserving players who barely missed out on making the cut.
Jackson Gonçalves, who has played every position for FC Dallas except for goalkeeper, finished at No. 25, narrowly edged out for a spot in the 24 Under 24 rankings. He has blossomed in his second year in MLS, adding a penchant for goals to his physical durability and tactical savvy in managing any game assignment handed to him.
The next names on the list of Honorable Mentions this year are No. 26 Ike Opara (San Jose Earthquakes), No. 27 Milton Caraglio (New England Revolution), No. 28 Will Bruin (Houston Dynamo), No. 29 Zarek Valentin (Chivas USA) and No. 30 Tony Tchani (Columbus Crew).
While Bruin and Valentin are MLS rookies and the Argentine Caraglio is a recent arrival to the MLS ranks, both Opara and Tchani figured in last year’s 24 Under 24 list. The Earthquakes defender, who has been sidelined by foot injuries this season, came in at No. 11 in 2010, while Tchani was five places behind him at No. 16.
There were 10 other names that received votes from the expert media panel assembled by MLSsoccer.com to determine the rankings. Their names follow below.
Stay tuned until Tuesday when we release the first five names -- No. 20 through No. 24 – in the countdown to the No. 1 top young player in MLS.
MLSsoccer.com 24 Under 24 Honorable Mentions:
25 – Jackson (FC Dallas)
26 – Ike Opara (San Jose Earthquakes)
27 – Milton Caraglio (New England Revolution)
28 – Will Bruin (Houston Dynamo)
29 – Zarek Valentin (Chivas USA)
30 – Tony Tchani (Columbus Crew)
31 – Emmanuel Ekpo (Columbus Crew)
32 – Blair Gavin (Chivas USA)
33 – Kalif Alhassan (Portland Timbers)
34 – Sanna Nyassi (Colorado Rapids)
35 – Paulo Jr. (Real Salt Lake)
36 – Rich Balchan (Columbus Crew)
37 – Sheanon Williams (Philadelphia Union)
38 – Jalil Anibaba (Chicago Fire)
39 – Soony Saad (Sporting Kansas City)
40 – Kevin Alston (New England Revolution)