Thursday, MLS released their '24 under 24' rankings. While two Houston Dynamo players had been on the short list, Kofi Sarkodie and Alex Lopez, neither of them made it to the final cut. This year DeAndre Yedlin topped the list with Erick Torres coming in second place.
I can't really argue with Lopez not making the list. He has had little playing time with the Dynamo and is really too unknown to make a strong assessment of in terms of this list. I can argue with leaving off Sarkodie. Perhaps his production hasn't been as strong this year as it was last year but he is still one of the top players at his position. I think what hurts him, and really all Dynamo players, is the personality section of the criteria. The short list is narrowed down to the final 24 using the following criteria:
- Technical (skills, dribbling, shooting, first touch, heading, etc.)
- Soccer IQ (positioning, reading game, situational understanding, tactical awareness, etc.)
- Physical Attributes (speed, endurance, strength, vertical leap, etc.)
- Personality (attitude, marketability, media savviness, charisma, intangibles, etc.)
- Potential (improvability, ceiling, national team potential, potential future transfer value, etc.)
I find the 'Personality' section interesting particularity the fact that they list attitude first when listing what factors into personality. Last year attitude wasn't listed as part of personality. But over the last year it apparently has become an important enough factor to point out. I think the personality section may have hurt Sarkodie. He is one of the more under the radar players on the team and with the rough season that the Dynamo have had I think we have seen even less of it this year.
There were a few other small changes to the criteria this year as well. Instead of 'Soccer IQ' in 2013 it was called 'Tactical' but the two terms were switched this year. The 'Potential' area saw some changes as well. Upside was dropped as was ceiling in favor of improvability.
The last time Houston had a player make the list was in 2012 with Will Bruin. In fact, Will Bruin is the only Houston player who has made the list which started in 2010.