24 Under 24 (2012): #3 Brek Shea (IMAGE)
Gabriel de los Rios / MLSsoccer.com

24 Under 24: #3 Brek Shea, FC Dallas

3. Brek Shea

Pos: M | FC Dallas | Age: 22

The numbers are nowhere near his career year in 2011, when he finished No. 1 in MLSsoccer.com's 24 Under 24. But this season may prove even more valuable to Brek Shea than his previous four seasons as a pro. In just a few months, Shea has dealt with Olympic elimination, getting dropped from the senior USMNT, a public run-in with his club coach, a three-game suspension and the sinking feeling of a stunning winless run at injury-stricken FC Dallas earlier this season. The stretch of adversity has led some to call his breakout year in 2011 as a flash in the pan. But the 22-year-old Shea is keen on proving the skeptics wrong: Not only has he resumed his place on the USMNT, but he’s helping lead FCD to the cusp of the playoffs. And there’s plenty of soccer left in him.

What the TDs and coaches like: “Literally no limit in terms of potential … MVP-level talent … He's fast, big, strong and he wants to go at players … Very versatile player … Very, very good when going to goal and can go to goal from anywhere on the field … He’s big, strong, fast, good touch … Tremendous talent … Last year, he showed what a great player he can be … He’s got a tremendous future … Speed, dribbling ability, a left foot and, at 6-foot-4, that’s a lot of assets.”

Where TDs and coaches want improvement: “If he can find consistent form, he's as dangerous as anyone in this league … He needs to work on finishing and crossing every day … He can do whatever he wants if he can figure it out mentally and eliminate the attitude situations … He needs games and a little bit of maturity. That’s the biggest thing … The big thing for him is to find consistency. This year is a perfect example of it. Last year, people were throwing him in the mix for MVP. This year, he had a really rocky start and then he's probably the player of the game for the first US win in Azteca. ... We’ve seen it so many times over the years when players get into the national team, some guys call it ‘national team hangover.’ You go in and it can either bolster your confidence, ruin your confidence or give you false confidence and, at the end of the day, you have to just do what you do. He’s in the process of finding his way.”

Opta Says: No player younger than 24 has attempted more shots from inside the box in MLS this year than Brek Shea (36).

Tale of the Tape
Last Year in 24U24: #1
Fan Ranking: #1
Castrol Index (as of 9/19/12): #55

2012 Stats
Matches played: 20
Matches started: 19
Goals: 3
Assists: 2

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