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Dub Narcotic

Malik Johnson

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MF/F, born in 1998, was signed to a TFC 2 contract today. He was recruited to TFC academy from Brampton East soccer club. Was called to a U-17 national camp last year and also has eligibility for Jamaica.

He had some time with TFC2 last year on an amateur contract towards the end of the year but I have to admit I had mostly stopped watching at that point to preserve my sanity.

Edited by Dub Narcotic

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this is great news but...

Is TFC 2 being treated like a pro team? I thought the point was for TFC 2 to be the point where they took the training wheels off and treated it like a real team. It just seems like it's an extension of the academy...or am I missing something? I admit I only watched a handfull of games last year.

Heck, Thundercaps have Rosenlund, do TFC have one guy they can point to as a USL vet?

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44 minutes ago, lazlo_80 said:

this is great news but...

Is TFC 2 being treated like a pro team? I thought the point was for TFC 2 to be the point where they took the training wheels off and treated it like a real team. It just seems like it's an extension of the academy...or am I missing something? I admit I only watched a handfull of games last year.

Heck, Thundercaps have Rosenlund, do TFC have one guy they can point to as a USL vet?

I don't understand how those two ideas go together.  Wouldn't the absence of a "USL vet" mean that they actually are taking the training wheels off?  They're throwing these kids into the deep end and they either sink or swim against professionals.  Dub Narcotic and I disagree about whether that is a good thing or not.

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Hombre, fair point. I think to some degree it was a few different factors combined that made me scratch my head too. The sheer number of players they cycled through was quite high which gave me the impression they were trying out academy kids rather than building a plan for a winning strategy and sticking with the players who will best execute it.

I think having a few USL vets to steady the ship helps build a team, rather than looking to see if a specific player will sink or swim against pros, then cycling through to the next kid.

A pro team should want to win...again, just from my perspective it just never seemed like they cared as much about the result as they did about getting some new kid a run out to see if he can hack it at this level. And maybe this was a symptom of it being in it's first year and some people next year will be more the tent poles that keep some more structure to this team.

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You are singing my song lazlo_80, and Phillip Eullafoy of FC Montreal also voiced very similar comments after the season. However, we've already seen an exodus of senior players from the teams, including Rosenlund, Kaye and likely Riggi from FC Montreal. On the other hand, the teams should have separated the wheat from the chaff in terms of the players now and those that are returning are a year older and a year more experienced, both factors which will help a lot in terms of team competitiveness and player development.

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, lazlo_80 said:

Hombre, fair point. I think to some degree it was a few different factors combined that made me scratch my head too. The sheer number of players they cycled through was quite high which gave me the impression they were trying out academy kids rather than building a plan for a winning strategy and sticking with the players who will best execute it.

I think having a few USL vets to steady the ship helps build a team, rather than looking to see if a specific player will sink or swim against pros, then cycling through to the next kid.

A pro team should want to win...again, just from my perspective it just never seemed like they cared as much about the result as they did about getting some new kid a run out to see if he can hack it at this level. And maybe this was a symptom of it being in it's first year and some people next year will be more the tent poles that keep some more structure to this team.

Hard to argue against the point about cycling through players as it sure seemed like that was the case.

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TFC 2 will be run as a stepping stone to the main club and players will be given a few years to prove they are able to do it or they will move on. I'd like to see a vet or two on the team but it clear that isn't the direction they are going, at least a few of the younger guys on the main roster (Morgan,  Chapman, hagglund, lovitz etc) rotating down. 

Johnson, uccelo, boyake(sp). We are starting to see some of the real young guys getting opportunity to move up the depth chart. 

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7 hours ago, lazlo_80 said:

they were trying out academy kids rather than building a plan for a winning strategy and sticking with the players who will best execute it.

 

A pro team should want to win.

 

TFC2 is about developing players for the first team. Winning matches is not the goal. 

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The Major issue TFC2 had was injury issues with the main club. That TFC2 team with Jordan Hamilton, Jay Chapman and Chris Mannella for most of the season would've been far more competitive. There were definitely a lot of growing pains even with that aside but Jay Chapman looked dominant in the few USL games he played in the second half of the season, the training with the main team clearly helping a lot. I think they also underestimated the required depth for the team as they were quite short and on a few road trips, didn't even seem to really bother, even if they had 2 games in 3 days.

VWFC was a relatively competitive team and would've been better if Bustos was healthy from the start.

IMFC was super young but they pulled it together in the second half.

Development is the number 1 goal, but winning can/should happen as part of that. A few years on and these teams will be incredibly strong for USL, as cyclical as these things are.

 

1 minute ago, Dub Narcotic said:

Well, they didn't develop any players for the first team or win many games so we can all agree that their first year was a complete write-off and a new strategy is needed for 2016.

I disagree with this entirely. Edwards was a revelation for a guy who was barely on the team at the start of the season. Babouli showed his worth. Mannella and Chapman both received very important minutes through this setup. Uccello was a 17 year old getting pro minutes, he could easily be a dominant midfielder for the main team in the future. Roberts showed his ability as well. Nobody being instantly promoted is not a failure in any way.

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3 hours ago, Dub Narcotic said:

Well, they didn't develop any players for the first team or win many games so we can all agree that their first year was a complete write-off and a new strategy is needed for 2016.

A development team should be judged on one year's results and even before we see if any player gets playing time in MLS next year or in future years? I think the only thing that most here can all agree on is that the above is a ridiculous statement whose author has preset ideas and no objectivity in judging anything that does not fit into his opinion. Whatever disappointment we have about how MLS has developed our players, the USL reserve teams have been pretty successful in giving young players a chance to get experience playing at a higher level. The most important function of these teams needs to be developing players for the first team but yes there needs to be some balance between playing as many young players as possible but also having a competitive team with some veterans to teach them and bring up the overall playing level. And whether or not any of our Canadian USL teams achieved the right balance in their first year, a lot of young players got some good experience that should eventually lead to results that we will for the most part only see in 2 or 3 years. Even if you were right and the strategy was completely wrong and the year was a complete write-off you could not make that assessment for another couple of years at least. I personally think the teams accomplished a lot this year and you are wrong about the season being a write off but that remains to be seen when we see how the players develop but you are definitely wrong to make that judgement this early in the process.

Edited by Grizzly

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4 hours ago, Dub Narcotic said:

Well, they didn't develop any players for the first team or win many games so we can all agree that their first year was a complete write-off and a new strategy is needed for 2016.

Please tell me you are not involved in youth football in Canada. 

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I hope that TFCII doesn't have a million different players coming up from the academy every game like they did last year, however, I also hope they keep with the idea of not signing older players that will never factor into the first team.

To me having a guy like Rosenlund on Vancouver is an absolute waste. If the team needs leadership players, there are guys that can go down from the first team to pick up some extra minutes that can provide leadership. No need to pick up career USL players to teach these kids

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28 minutes ago, Greatest Cockney Rip Off said:

Please tell me you are not involved in youth football in Canada. 

I can confirm he is not involved, but watch out! He did play highschool soccer, so he knows the game better than anyone :D

Edited by Fussball_eh

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Anyone have any info on what kind of player Johnson is? From what I can tell he's an attacking player but does he play wide, through the middle or up top? Does he have pace and like to run at players or is he a link up guy?

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My criticism of TFC2 throughout the USL season (being one of very few people here that actually watched a non-trivial amount of their games) was that the chaotic and noncompetitive mess of a team they put off was hurting the development of their players, particularly at the skill positions. I've absolutely been proven correct about this.

Two of the best offensive prospects in Canadian soccer (and the best in TFC's system), Jordan Hamilton and Mark-Anthony Kaye, both coming off great years loaned out at Wilmington had completely disastrous years with TFC2. By the end of the season Hamilton was riding the bench behind a 2nd round draft pick and Kaye was actually released by the team after an abortive attempt to convert someone who was one of of the best young wingers in USL the season previous to a fullback.

In his year end FC Montreal wrap-up at uslradio.com, Phillipe Eullafroy talked about how his team had to be more competitive in 2016 but that he also considered the season a reasonable success because many of the players improved from the start of the season to the end (I think he was being a little bit generous in his self-assessment but he is generally right about what success looks like for these teams). TFC2 wasn't competitive, saw very few players improve from the start of the season to the end in meaningful ways (and, as discussed above, actually had some of their best players regress), and had nobody who made an impact on the first team.

Now, creating a professional team for your best young players is going to have some positive effects in terms of just getting players on the field and, as mentioned by somebody else above, they did do a good job scouting L10 for some pretty solid looking prospects. However, this is a really low bar to clear for what you should expect from your second team and if they don't do better next year after a poor-but-forgivable first expansion season they are going to have to take a hard look at what they are doing with that team including the coach, scouting and philosophy.

Edited by Dub Narcotic

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43 minutes ago, Dub Narcotic said:

My criticism of TFC2 throughout the USL season (being one of very few people here that actually watched a non-trivial amount of their games) was that the chaotic and noncompetitive mess of a team they put off was hurting the development of their players, particularly at the skill positions. I've absolutely been proven correct about this.

Two of the best offensive prospects in Canadian soccer (and the best in TFC's system), Jordan Hamilton and Mark-Anthony Kaye, both coming off great years loaned out at Wilmington had completely disastrous years with TFC2. By the end of the season Hamilton was riding the bench behind a 2nd round draft pick and Kaye was actually released by the team after an abortive attempt to convert someone who was one of of the best young wingers in USL the season previous to a fullback.

 

A - You haven't been proven correct in anything.  Everything in the first paragraph is opinion and conjecture.  There have been numerous examples in this thread alone that contradict everything you say.

B - Considering Mark-Anthony Kaye as one "of the best offensive prospects in Canadian soccer" is more than a bit of a stretch.  2 goals in 7 appearances for Wilmington in 2014, does not a blue chip prospect make.

 

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I'm somewhere in the middle of this argument. I do not think the year was a waste but I do believe having a few stable vets would be good for the players development. This year had to be a confidence destroyer for Jordan Hamilton and some of the offensive prospects and would be considered a setback. If a few vets or just overall higher quality players in the squad to help supply Hamilton and keep possession would help TFC2 create more opportunities and be more competitive. Getting dominated in games doesn't allow the offensive players to develop.

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They could do that without signing veterans.

Morgan, Lovitz, Hagglund, delgado all getting a little time at TFC 2 would provide that added level of quality that could drive some players to be better. It would also help some of these young players with confidence and playing time issues.

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Some of you are talking like TFC II exclusively trotted out a bunch of teenagers when in fact there were a number of players between 21-24 getting regular minutes. 

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34 minutes ago, jpg75 said:

Some of you are talking like TFC II exclusively trotted out a bunch of teenagers when in fact there were a number of players between 21-24 getting regular minutes. 

Right! I'm a Toronto supporter, and I was okay with them playing the young academy kids, and first team players.

 

The only thing I didn't like was the inconsistent lineups, but that'll happen when you have U-20 Concacaf Qualifiers, U-22 Pan Am games, and U-23 Olympic Qualifiers. 

 

This year I'm expecting a little more consistency in the core players, and I'm pretty sure JB now has an idea who that is. 

 

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I just want to see a Canadian kid stand out and dominate in USL matches for TFC2 and FC Montreal the way that Marco Bustos did with Vancouver. If that happens, it means the player is ready to move up a level.

I didn't see that type of performance for TFC2 or FC Montreal this year. Riggi came closest for Montreal, but was too inconsistent, TFC had a few decent defenders, but not much going on offensively.

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To add to my previous comment, they also lost their top CB for almost the entire season. It was a tough year all around, but their full roster would've probably been around VWFC2 level

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I am no expert on youth development but something TFC has been doing over the last almost 10 years of their existence is not working.  If you look at Canada U17 and U20 teams, they are dominated by Ontario based players the most of which play for TFC (although some for the Whitecaps and a sprinkling of club sides).  Over that period, they have pretty much developed only Henry and Morgan.  Henry was elevated to the senior side pretty early so most of his development can be contributed to the senior side rather than the academy.  Morgan is a journeyman back up.  Osorio played youth in Uruguay and the CSL (not with TFC) so he doesn't count.  Chapman played some academy football with TFC and that was seemingly realized and developed further with Michigan State and KW United.  The rest of the players that have come through have amounted to nothing once they left TFC.  So in all that time they have developed pretty much nothing.  Sigma on the other hand has developed Larin, Becker, James, and now Laryea (who may or may not pan out).  The Whitecaps have a number of players on their roster but also guys like Haber, Alderson, Straith, Edwini-Bonsu, Stanese, etc. playing overseas.

I assume some of this is because of the revolving door of coaches; and perhaps because they don't play in the USSDA (although that doesn't seem to be hurting Sigma).  And when you consider the fact that they effectively have the cream of the soccer talent in the greater Toronto area and the amount of youth stars that have come through, their academy system has completely failed.  If I was MLSE, I would be demanding serious explanations from the management with a plan to turn it around or I would be considering shrinking that program extensively as the investment is simply not working. 

Therefore, I am inclined to agree with Dub Narcotic. And I must confess that I have not seen a TFCII match live and only watched a couple on the internet but having a revolving door of players throughout the whole year is not good.  Start the best 11 that you have and provide some stability over a number of matches.  Of course, utilize the 5 or 6 subs to give players on the bench a chance to take the other's places.  The rest can bring it in the practices to compete for a spot on the starting 11.  Run it like a professional team that it is suppose to be and compete to win.  Of course, development is a priority and there is no need to stack the side with overage journeyman players that will never amount to anything just to get results...but you need an atmosphere of competition for places to create the right environment for the players.  And of course, you need coaches that can teach.  How Bent and Dicchio still have jobs after their complete failure over the years is beyond me?

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