TORONTO - JULY 14:  Freddy Adu #11 of Team USA dribbles the ball against Michael Stanislaw #6 of Team Austria during their FIFA U-20 World Cup Canada 2007 quarterfinal game at National Soccer Stadium on July 14, 2007 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Austria won 2-1. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

I've got the 2007 US U-20 World Cup team on the brain. After a strong showing in tournament, one many Americans watched thanks to Canadian timezone friendliness, several players from the squad earned themselves transfers to Europe; with the news that Freddy Adu failed to impress on his latest trial, the ongoing uncertainty about where Jozy Altidore might play this season, and the signing of Sal Zizzo with MLS, the fortunes of those that made their name in that tournament is an interesting peek at the divergent fortunes of young players.


The biggest name on that 2007 team, Jozy Altidore, is hoping to get a chance to prove himself at Villareal, though the road to significant playing time might be difficult. The mark Altidore has made with the National Team, and his fairly secure place in the setup as long as he's healthy, will keep him top of mind. He needs to play, of course, and while his Hull experience was hardly a rousing success, it probably benefited his development in the end.

What else can be said about the saga of Freddy Adu? He never proved himself enough to stay with Benfica, the loan to Aris last year ended with little progress made, and his attempt to land a contract with Swiss club FC Sion this week has come to naught. Freddy might very well be headed back to MLS, and while that seems like a natural step considering his need to playing time, I have my doubts that he'd play all that much here either. Freddy has baggage, not all of his own making, and I wonder if there's an MLS club really willing to take it on.

Sal Zizzo signed with MLS and was allocated to Chivas USA through a lottery (necessary due to his one US senior team cap). Coming off a knee injury, Zizzo says he just wants to play and coming to MLS made sense from that standpoint. Despite his ultimately disappointing end at Hannover, he claims he doesn't regret signing there; if Sizzo can get healthy (he says he has no defined timetable for getting on the field) and play, we'll find out just how much going to Germany helped him. I had a short chat with him his week that will be part of the American Soccer Show coming Monday.

Much of that 2007 U-20 roster is in MLS. Some are contributing, and some have turned into very fine players. One was just traded today. Of the group, only Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore have turned into National Team regulars. On the other end of the spectrum is Danny Szetela, who moved to Racing Santander after the tournament; a return to MLS with DC United didn't work, and Szetela's career has now stalled to the point of disaster.

I don't know that there are any conclusions to be drawn from all of this other than what what is common knowledge; prospects flame out all the time, and though it's not really too late for anyone from that '07 team, some are clearly headed in the wrong direction. It's just another reason to maintain perspective on the supposed "future" of American soccer. A few twists and turns, an injury, or a simple inability to meet expectations will quickly turn a U-2O World Cup star into a just another player. Sometimes, not even that.

Excuse the crap post. Friday is not agreeing with me.

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