24 Under 24 - 2016 - Fatai Alashe
Rudy Calderon

Fatai Alashe | 24 Under 24


Fatai Alashe

AGE: 22

COUNTRY: United States

POSITION: Midfielder

CLUB: San Jose Earthquakes


The No. 4 overall pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft, Alashe quickly established himself as a key figure in the center of the midfield for the Earthquakes in his rookie year, appearing in 28 games (27 starts) and scoring two goals and adding two assists. His solid, all-around play earned him consideration for Rookie of the Year honors, as he finished second behind Orlando City's Cyle Larin.

There's been no sophomore slump for Alashe. A regular on the US Under-23 team, the 6-foot, 170-pounder has continued to be a stalwart for San Jose in 2016, starting all 23 of his appearances and grabbing another two goals. He earned a call-up to the full national team in January, but was forced to withdraw because of an injury. Still, the Michigan State product is a key building block in San Jose.

What the technical staffers say:

"He is your prototypical American player – youth player, college player, from the standpoint of being very physical, tremendous athletic attributes. The areas he needs to improve on, technically and tactically, are things that you can grow into. The things he has, you can't teach. He's a guy I think most teams in the league would love to have someone like that in the middle of their team."

"He chews up ground. He's an uber-athlete. He's one of those guys that if you tacked a paintbrush to his pants, he'd paint the whole field."

"As young as he is, tactically he's still learning the position and how it changes with different partners. If there's a weakness, it's in passing and keeping possession. I think there's no doubt he can cover ground and break up plays, but I think he needs to clean it up a little bit when he's on the ball."

"Is he a good enough passer to play through? If you're going to play on a team with one midfielder sitting behind the other guys, I don't know that he could be a guy who can play-make for you. He probably needs to play next to somebody – like they have right now with Anibal Godoy – who's a capable passer and decision-maker."

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