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Keeping the plot on Juan Agudelo’s training spell at Celtic

Nov 16, 2012, 1:55 PM EDT

Mexico midfielder Mier and U.S. forward Agudelo watch the ball during the first half of their U-23 international friendly soccer match in Frisco Reuters

Looking at the comments on the Soccer By Ives story that first broke news of Juan Agudelo’s training spell with Scottish giant Celtic, the important points here may have gotten lost.

The whole thing devolved quickly into a silly debate about the quality of Celtic and Scottish soccer in general. Which is a fine (if somewhat tired) debate to have, I suppose, but poorly placed here.

Why? Because this is good news for Agudelo, the young U.S. international whose smart, skillful assist led to Michael Bradley’s goal Wednesday against Russia. Here’s what it means for Agudelo:

  • No matter what you think about the massive disparity in the top and bottom of Scottish Premier League Soccer, Celtic is a big club with quality players. No way a couple of weeks around Celtic Park will do any harm (assuming no injury misfortune, as we saw with Omar Gonzalez last year.)
  • These “training spells” have the double effect of being de facto tryouts. It presents a chance for up-close inspection of a young man’s training habits and day-to-day approach. It doesn’t mean he will ever be signed by Celtic, or any other name brand club that might contact the Glasgow club about him, but it certainly enhances the chances (assuming Agudelo passes muster, that is).
  • Finally, this is precisely what U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann wants to see, so this is a positive development for Agudelo’s national team endeavors. It’s not just the two weeks per se, it’s the added demonstration of commitment that Klinsmann wants to see. Rather than extra time off during Major League Soccer’s off-season, Agudelo, 19, is taking aggressive steps to keep training, to stay fit and keep adding to his soccer bag of tricks.
  1. mvktr2 - Nov 17, 2012 at 11:01 PM

    Exactly Steve Davis.

    A sort of different point/idea is I’d like to see more US players headed south to the Mexican league. I think of this, because I think Agudelo fits the mold of players that will do well there. A young Ricardo Clark (not now) would also be a candidate. I was really hoping Freddy Adu finally had his act together and would do really well, then go to Mexico. The reason I like the idea of US players in Mexico is for someone like Adu if he were to figure out how to be a good professional, which seems to be his problem (ie maturity), the training of how to be creative but disciplined within attacking systems would be a valuable asset in the US player pool. To me running channels and give and go type play up front is the greatest weakness of US soccer in general compared with other top 25 type nations.

    Just a thought…

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