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.

Thursday 12 January 2012

And Toronto Selects…

    It’s draft day, an exciting, if slightly overhyped, initiation to the upcoming season.

    The question everyone has been asking is who will go where; in a few short hours those answers will be known. It’s a particularly pertinent question in Canada, where all three clubs have the potential to make quality selections.

    Three of the first four picks – and six of the first twenty-two - will be headed north of the border – assuming no last-minute trades; which is an unsafe assumption, especially with the Brian Ching affair hanging thick in the air.

    There has been much speculation as to which of the consensus top-two - Andrew Wenger and Darren Mattocks - will go first; rather than presume to know more about college soccer or attempting to read the minds of some over-caffeinated, slightly exhausted front offices, here’s something to consider.

    On the second day of the Combine, newly appointed Toronto FC academy director Thomas Rongen was interview by Simon Borg and Jason Saghini of mlssoccer.com during the broadcast. What follows is a loose transcription of their conversation:

Rongen is introduced; mentioned as having identified over five-hundred youth players around the world with the heritage to represent the US.

On the new gig – It’s an exciting new position, the head of youth development and academy director at a club who have made a huge commitment and are constructing a new facility.

On how he’s feeling about it – Excited to join a club that is committed to youth, to producing home-grown talent for the first team and raising the standard of the league.

On when he begins – First meetings are set to take place on January 16th, a sit down with Jim Brennan and Danny Dichio – the in situ coaches – to discuss plans.

On the Ajax connection – It’s definitely part of the plan, all three of the Dutchmen at the club are steeped in the tradition and they share a common philosophy and vision - technical, attacking and dominant football. Happy to be part of something dear to his heart and so aligned with his personal philosophy on the game.

On what he’s doing in Florida – Keeping busy evaluating players with Aron Winter, Paul Mariner and Bob de Klerk at the Combine.

    Here’s the interesting part:

On his familiarity with the players – In his past roles with the USSF he’s come to know several of the players at the Combine; the first player he mentions is Andrew Jean-Baptiste.

On the risks of evaluating at the Combine – It’s a tough exercise; new teammates, out of their comfort zone; how different does a player look under those circumstances. Some teams scout colleges, some don’t. Some player’s stocks will rise, others will drop. Teams have an understanding prior to arriving as to what a player has to offer. With his experience, he knows more of the little things (from having worked with several players closely) – such as commitment, mindset, and personality – that can’t be displayed in these exercises or in short interviews.

    We’ll find out who ends up where soon enough; the time for idle speculation has passed.

Editor’s Note - Keep an eye out for more on Rongen coming soon; an interesting chap to say the least.

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