They're the foundation, the building blocks, the future of Major League Soccer. They're also already among the league's standout talents. All before the tender age of 24.
Today marks the beginning of MLSsoccer.com's annual 24 Under 24 series, in which we take a look at the next (and often current) generation of MLS difference makers. This year's countdown is boiled down to one week, with each crop of players revealed at 11 am ET each day.
We'll introduce you to some of the more unknown talents on the list, delve into the role of lower league's in the development of MLS talent, the Young Designated Player rule, Bradenton's future, the best crops of 24 Under 24 since 1996 and, of course, go over all the so-called snubs once the full list is revealed on Friday. In the end, 24 slots simply aren't enough to truly recognize all the precocious talent making a mark in MLS.
So follow along with us and provide your feedback in the comment section. After all, the young shall lead us, and there's no reason to think this group won't take MLS above and beyond what it's ever seen before.
Players who are 23 years old and younger as of the final day of the 2013 MLS season – in this case, MLS Cup on Dec. 7 – were eligible for inclusion. Votes were collected from the MLSsoccer.com editorial staff and various American soccer media members.
MLSsoccer.com staff and media panelists rated players based on the following five criteria:
- Technical (skills, dribbling, shooting, first touch, heading, etc.)
- Tactical (positioning, reading game, soccer IQ, etc.)
- Physical Attributes (speed, endurance, strength, vertical leap, etc.)
- Personality (marketability, media savvy, quotability, charisma, intangibles, etc.)
- Potential (upside, national team potential, potential future transfer value, etc.)
Sept. 16: 21-24 revealed
Sept. 17: 20-16 revealed
Sept. 18: 15-11 revealed
Sept. 19: 10-6 revealed
Sept. 20: 1-5 revealed