Now that MLSSoccer.com has completed their annual list of the top 24 players under 24 years old, I figured that we should do the same here at Big D Soccer. FC Dallas currently has 14 players under the age of 24, so it seemed fitting to do our own rankings.
For a while I have considered doing this sort thing on this space. Dallas is a team that has a slew of young players at the moment and given how things will continue to go with the academy system in place, they'll only continue to get better with these young guns in place.
Now, we're not doing the wild rankings that MLS did for their's list. Too many weird variables in that one. This is purely based on the writers here at BDS and how they view each player.
Our scoring system is simple; the top player on the list gets 14 points, second best player gets 13 and so on. The 14th guy on this list gets just a single point. It is a simple scoring system, one that doesn't require a ton of math, which is perfect for a guy like myself that hates complicated math.
Thanks to Steve Fenn, Alfredo Cuvi and Mohammad Bushnaq for taking the time to rank the players.
So here is our list, starting from the back of the order:
#14 - Kyle Zobeck
Everyone polled was unanimous on this pick. Zobeck was #14 on everyone's list.
#13 - Victor Ulloa
Nearly a second unanimous pick. Ulloa was second to last on three of the four writer's polls.
#12 - Jesse Gonzalez
There was some varied opinions on the young Mexican keeper. One poll had him at number 9 on their list with another having him at number 10.
I'll say this about Gonzalez, from what some coaches at the club have told me, he has just as much, if not, more of an upside to his game than Richard Sanchez does. Yeah, so I would expect a loan for him next year to get those valuable minutes like Sanchez is right now.
This is the first tie of the rankings. Both Top and Baladez earned 17 points in the poll, each coming in anywhere between number 9 and number 12 on folks polls. I view both players in a similar category. Top has the US national team experience while Baladez has shown the drive to get better by taking a loan to Fort Lauderdale.
#9 - Danny Garcia
Some may be shocked to see Garcia this high, even though he hasn't been featured this season. But there is a reason why the club signed him when they did this summer. His potential and upside outweighs everything else. Plus he is a good kid that you can enjoy talking to at the same time.
#8 - Moises Hernandez
We haven't seen much of Mo over the last two years due to his loans to Costa Rica and Guatemala. But every time I see him back in Dallas, I think to myself that I am seeing a more mature person and player.
#7 - London Woodberry
Woodberry is just on the outside of the top six on our list, missing out by two points. Two people had him at number six on their list, I personally was one of them. He saw some action this year, playing out of position at center back. But the moments that I've seen him in his natural full back spot, you see a guy that has the potential to be good for many years to come.
#6 - Walker Zimmerman
Plenty of upside to Zimmerman's game, the first round SuperDraft pick from this year has seen some good moments when he has been healthy.
Here are some views on him from our writers:
We have seen so little of Walker Zimmerman, but what a sight! He has been injured a lot. Whether the primary block is physical or mental is irrelevant. If he can get healthy, I am wildly excited about having him around. - Alfredo Cuvi
Zimmerman is a player that has me excited for the future. He is not better than Matt Hedges, but I believe he has the chance to fight for that starting job next season. Just like Hedges, Zimmerman impressed me with his knack for goalscoring during the few games he featured in this season. He is smooth on the ball and a threat in the air. - Mohammad Bushnaq
#5 - Fabian Castillo
The lone Dallas representative in the MLS list comes in at number five on BigDSoccer.com's list. Not really a shocker as Castillo is still a guy that is growing and developing. If we go off his last month of play, he may be in the top two but after three years, I think five is a reasonable landing spot.
Appalling that Dom Oduro 2.0 was the only FCD rep on the league list. Yeah, the last month has been promising, but it really is rare that an undisciplined player turns into a smart, efficient everyday asset. - Steve Fenn
Castillo is the type of player that drives us fans crazy. He is maddeningly frustrating. However, recently Fabian seems to have learned to put the team first (in most cases) and his assists totals keep on creeping up. - Mohammad Bushnaq
#4 - Richard Sanchez
Sanchez was just one point off from being in the top two. We've talked about his potential many times on this blog.
Tempting to put him #1. Highest monetary value of any player of any age currently on the FCD roster. Still don't think we'll see him play much in Frisco, but he could well earn the club millions of dollars. - Steve Fenn
#2 - Mauro Diaz and Matt Hedges
Two way tie for number two on our list. Both earned 48 points in the poll. Hedges earned two first place votes in the poll but in the other polls he landed at number 5. For me personally, he has been great these last two months in the defense. When he is healthy and as George John by his side he is a machine.
Too valuable on the field right now to not top the list. Beast in the air & smart. If he can get steadier when the ball's on the ground he might have USMNT caps in his future. - Steve Fenn
Matt Hedges' soccer career began in a rough way, as he was thrown into the lion's den headfirst. But instead of finishing his soccer existence as a slab of poorly digested meat, he emerged a murderous gladiator who eats lions and conquers small Greek (sorry, George John) city-states single handedly.
In all seriousness, can you imagine how badly FCD's season would have been last year without Hedges? George John is comparable to Achilles in terms of skill, but even Achilles had his limits. He could not have held the line by himself, and thankfully he didn't have to.
It's hard to see all of Hedges' contributions on the field, and that's easy to do because he's a black hole that sucks away scoring chances and light in equal measure. Teams would kill to have a first round draft pick work out this well (remember Omar Salgado?).
No, he's not perfect. But he doesn't have to be. Matt Hedges has one of the most important pieces of this team since his introduction, and until Diaz fulfills his promise, he is the most important young player on this team. - Alfredo Cuvi
Diaz on the other hand is purely based on the limited amount that we have seen out of him.
The second he touched a ball you could tell he was from another planet. His vision, particular brand of aggression and passing touch instantly show why he played in River. Even if his contract wasn't renewed, he has the potential to be a significant cut above the average, or even "good", MLS player.
If Diaz blossoms during his stay with FCD, it would easily place him in the #1 slot. The early signs have been exceptionally promising, but that's all they are: early signs. If he finds consistency, he could be one of the biggest signings the team has made in 10 years. - Alfredo Cuvi
251 minutes isn't much to go off of, but I've seen enough to be very excited. If he's not #1 on this list a year from now I'll be kinda disappointed. - Steve Fenn
#1 - Kellyn Acosta
If you have made it this far, then you probably know by now how we all view Acosta. If he didn't come in first on our writer's list he was either second or third. He came in with 53 points after it was all said and done.
For me, the upside of this 18-year old is amazing. Yes, he still has plenty to work on, like his passing game and some decision making. But he is a quick learner and with his athletic ability, he can do no wrong.
To be so useful at his age is fantastic, and it'll be exciting to see just how good he becomes, and at which position. - Steve Fenn
So, around the beginning of the season I wrote about re-signing Zach Loyd. Kellyn has made that argument seem silly. Acosta has come in and has instantly galvanized the FCD faithful into beliving in the promise of the academy.
After so many academy products fizzling out, having one be more than replacement-level adequate is not only exciting, it's invigorating. It gives us reason to believe that the academy isn't a waste of time, and that it's capable of refining the great talent available in the DFW area.
It helps that Acosta sticks up for his teammates. There's no faster way to ingratiate yourself to the team or fans than to get in an opponent's face when someone aggresively fouls your #10. - Alfredo Cuvi
So to recap here is the poll:
|Ranking||Player Name||Total Points|
How does your list compare to ours? Let's hear it in the comments below.