Welcome to Partially Obstructed View. We are each restrained by the limits of our own perspective, but when we meet to share information a clearer picture of the truth can be revealed. Comments & criticisms are welcome.

Sunday 29 May 2011

Mondragón Channels Danny Cepero

    At today’s Toronto FC match, the less said about the result the better, Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Faryd Mondragón almost scored off a long goal kick that bounced high over Stefan Frei’s head as he rushed out to collect it. Frei managed to scramble back and smother the ball before it crossed the line. Shades of Danny Cepero’s goal, the first goal ever scored by an MLS keeper from open play, as his kick bounced similarly high over the head of Columbus Crew keeper Andy Gruenebaum in his debut game on October 18th, 2008.

    Cepero was drafted in 2007 in the Supplemental Draft out of the University of Pennsylvania, making 19 appearances over 3 years, 4 of which helped New York make their Cinderella run to the 2008 MLS Cup Final. He was waived by the Red Bulls on February 12th, 2010 joining the Harrisburg City Islanders only to announce his retirement to no fanfare, as reported on March 14th, 2011 while the Islanders prepared for the upcoming season. His decision did not even result in a proper press release.

    That such little heed was paid to the future trivia question answer was no surprise, as one of the unspoken negatives about MLS is how many youth players are funneled through the league without garnishing the chances and encouragement they deserve. It is true the world over that many young men who aspire to professionalism are strewn by the wayside as a select few reach the summit. But in MLS options and rewards are few and far between. Teams are limited in squad sizes, thereby forcing them to make quick decisions on a player who is not quite ready for the big show. And even in three years of professional service it is unlikely that the financial compensation is sufficient to allow an individual to continue to chase their dream as life’s expenses grow with age. So often should a more reliable job opportunity come about it is not possible to turn it down, continue to train hard and dream of a better future.

    Similarly the story of Ty Harden, now of Toronto FC, who retired from the profession in 2008 after being named the LA Galaxy’s defender of the year in his rookie season of 2007, in order to finish his education and spend time working for a charity in Kenya. Though different in nature, the two stories are similar in spirit, young men attempting to find their way in the world, who cannot see a future in the game they once loved. Harden after a season away did come back, maybe one day Cepero will find his way back as well. The resumption of the reserve league will give some of these raw young players a better chance at developing their talents and allow them the time to climb to the top or perhaps the academy systems will step up the training of youths to a level that not as many will fall out at such a late stage. In truth it is a reality of all professional sports that for every one that makes it, hundreds or thousands of others have the dream die before it ever even was. Sad but true. But even in the face of such despair there lies a certain glory in the career of Danny Cepero, he and his goal will never be forgotten, spare a thought for the young man, all the best to him on his future endeavours.

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