I know how eagerly you've been waiting, but wait no longer! Part 5 of Silly Offseason complaints is finally here! Yes, we are back with my latest series of articles where I condescendingly tell you why you're wrong about everything you love to complain about when discussion the Philadelphia Union.
If you haven't yet, please check out Part 1, where I talk about The Union's lack of cash, Part 2, where I talk about the need for a left back, Part 3, where I talk about Maurice Edu playing defensive midfield, and Part 4, where I discussion the front office keeping their cards close to their chest.
Today it's all about the Academy system. Or more specifically, why the hell nothing ever seems to come out of it. The complaint usually goes like this:
"All this talk of how they want to build the team through the academy system, and what do they have to show for it? Nothing. The only homegrown players that were on the team they either cut or traded away. The player they were supposed to sign as a home grown this offseason got denied and they had to draft him instead. Why can't this team get it's youth development act together?"
This is a complaint I don't understand at all. Why do you want a home grown player so bad? Personally, I could not give less of a crap if a player is from this area. I mean, it's kind of cool, I guess? But it's only kind of cool if they're good. I'm going to say something here that's going to ruffle some feathers, so take a breath.
Zach Pfeffer is not a very good soccer player.
Look, I'm sorry. He's a great kid. Super kind, loved the team, all around a great person to have around, but he's just not that good at soccer. I mean, don't get me wrong, he's definitely okay at soccer. He was the okayest midfielder on the team last season. But that was it, he was just okay. He's not particularly fast. He's not big and strong. He's not terribly technical with his passing. He's not particularly creative with his passing. He's not a guy who can beat players one on one with his ball skills. He's not a poacher who sits in the box and finds goals. What is he? He's a body in the midfield. That's pretty much it. People keep talking about his potential, but I never saw it. It's a shame really. I hope I'm wrong. I hope he goes on to have a stellar career with the Colorado Rapids and makes me look like an idiot, but I just don't see that happening. The hype that surrounded him when he was signed to the team at 15 was enormous, but I think it might have seriously hurt his development. I can't be sure, obviously, but what I do know is that right now, Zach Pfeffer has failed to impress on the field. The same can be said for the team's other home grown signings. None of them impressed.
I certainly understand the desire to see the investment the team has made in the academy system bear fruit, but that just hasn't happened yet. I think having Bethlehem Steel FC around is definitely going to help that process along, but in the meantime, who cares if the team doesn't have any home grown players? All I care about is that the players we do have are good.
That's all for today, tune in next time when I talk about how the Union don't have nearly enough players on their roster.