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Friday roundup

Carter-Vickers joins Ipswich, the Union sign U-20 homegrowns, and more

After a recall last week, Cameron Carter-Vickers is back out on loan. Domestically, the Union sign two U.S. U-20 defenders but will they play? It's draft day in MLS and thankfully, the event is losing its luster. Finally, the 2019 Copa America seems unlike for the U.S. team
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
January 19, 2018
4:00 AM
It is a busy Friday in American Soccer as more U.S. Soccer presidential candidates give interviews and the SuperDraft takes place. Meanwhile the January transfer window is open and Cameron Carter-Vickers is out on loan again.

Carter-Vickers loaned to Ipswich Town

Just a week after being recalled by Tottenham from his loan to Sheffield United, U.S. national team central defender Cameron Carter-Vickers will be heading back on loan again. Today it was announced that Tottenham will loan Carter-Vickers to Ipswich Town for the remainder of the season.

Carter-Vickers, 20, was playing very well during the start of his loan to Sheffield United but struggled the final six weeks and it appeared as if he was going to be benched for an extended period. Instead of allowing Carter-Vickers to languish on the bench, Tottenham has found another club in Ispwich.

And the move makes sense. Ipswich is midtable and is unlikely to either push for a promotional playoff spot or is in danger of relegation. It’s 39 goals conceded is the sixth worst in the 24 team league so there should be openings to play in defense.

If Carter-Vickers plays, it will be a nice move. He needs to rebuild his confidence and Ipswich seems like a reasonable opportunity. His first test could come on Saturday when Ipswich visits Bolton.

Union sign two U.S. U-20 defenders

The Philadelphia Union made a splash on Thursday when it announced the signing of two U.S. U-20 defenders to homegrown deals. Left back Matthew Real and central defender Mark McKenzie both signed first team deals after playing last season in the USL for Bethlehem Steel.

It is yet another opportunity for the Union to prove it can develop and provide first team minutes to its young players. Last year Derrick Jones played regularly at first but saw his minutes drastically reduced after the U-20 World Cup. Technical director Earnie Stewart was brought over to lead a youth movement at the club and Real and McKenzie will be another test.

This season, ASN is going to track the minutes played by young American and Canadian players in MLS on a weekly basis. Hopefully, the Union can improve this number.

2019 Copa America involvement unlikely

All of the candidates to be U.S. Soccer’s next president are in Philadelphia for the coaching convention giving speeches and interviews.

On Thursday, Sunil Gulati spoke and talked a lot about the 2026 World Cup bid and how the standing of the United States in the world is a relevant factor despite Morocco being the only other bid.

But one of the more relevant bits of news is that it is unlikely that the United States national team will participate in the 2019 Copa America. While understandable, this would be extremely disappointing. The U.S. team needs more serious competition outside of its region.

Of course, participating in the Copa America is hard because the U.S. team is a guest team and the rules on guest teams make it extremely hard. The biggest factor is that clubs are never required to release players to national teams that participates in a tournament as a guest team. That essentially eliminates any European-based player who is a regular for his club because the Copa America cuts into preseason.

Also, MLS teams will be unlikely to release star players for the Copa because it is in midseason and top players will also be mandated for release at the Gold Cup. To voluntarily release a player to both tournaments means missing two month of the season. Mexico has a better opportunities to field guest teams simply because Liga MX is in the offseason.

Finally, in 2019 there is the U-20 World Cup so the best American teenagers will also be busy that summer.

So to put together a competitive team at the Copa America is essentially impossible.

One such solution, hopefully, would be the eventual merger of CONCACAF and CONMEBOL once the World Cup expands to 48 teams. That would provide foe competitive soccer throughout the four year cycle. No one is talking about this type of a merger but hopefully that happens in the years ahead.

Superdraft today

The MLS Superdraft takes place today and one of the healthiest things for the league is the declining importance of this event. Instead of the draft, signing homegrown players has provided better players in the likes of Jordan Morris, Tyler Adams, Kellyn Acosta, and others.

Still, if a team could wind up with another Julian Gressel, it could pay big dividends.

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