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Nyarko Leaving Tech?

I am hearing that Patrick Nyarko, Virginia Tech's sensational junior forward and one of three finalists for the Hermann Trophy, has either signed with, or is planning to sign with, a player agency that has U.S. and European ties. The question then becomes: Will he turn to MLS, where he surely would be one of the top couple picks in the Jan. 18 draft in Baltimore, or does he head to Europe? Nyarko, a native of Ghana who will turn 22 next week, would seem to have bargaining leverage with MLS and be in position to garner more money than the average American college player. Remember, last year's top pick, Maurice Edu, who left Maryland a year early, had a base salary of $50,000 but guaranteed earnings of $132,500.

For those of you who have seen Nyarko play a few times, do you think he is ready for the pro game? Would he have an impact in MLS? Should the league shell out the bucks to secure him? Or would he be better served by going to, say, Germany?

By Steve Goff  |  January 3, 2008; 12:34 PM ET
Categories:  College Soccer  
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Comments

Based on who is projected to leave early for MLS generation Adidas program, I would bet that Nyarko would be the #1 overall pick if he stays in the States.

It seems as if MLS is losing out on more and more players (i.e. Davies, Nguyen, Zizzo, Zimmermann, Feilhaber, etc.) going straight to Europe.

Posted by: Eric Z | January 3, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I've seen him play a number of times--he's about as smooth a college player as I've ever seen. He seems almost to be gliding at times-very effortless speed and quickness. He's gotten a bit stronger over the last few years as well. He may be suited to play out wide as well, as he tends to drift out to the left ala Thierry Henry. He's gotten a lot of assists this way, by taking his player on and getting to the endline.

He'll be a Top 5 pick for sure and could provide immediate impact for a team looking for a good young forward to come off the bench. I'd rate him as an instant #3 forward with the potential to be great in a few years time.

Posted by: JB | January 3, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

So much for "education first, soccer second".

Posted by: WNT fan | January 3, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

if he can get competitive offers overseas there's really no incentive for him to stay in MLS (ie, catching the eye of USMNT coaches). it'd be cool to have a hokie on DCU though.

Posted by: pat | January 3, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

---------
He'll be a Top 5 pick for sure and could provide immediate impact for a team looking for a good young forward to come off the bench. I'd rate him as an instant #3 forward with the potential to be great in a few years time.
---------

I don't think he'll have the impact in year 1 that Edu did.

I don't think MLS should consider shelling out the money to secure him.

Edu was a bit of a "gamble" that worked out well (so far) for MLS.

That kind of money would be better spent by MLS, I suspect, on guys like Emilo and Schelotto or Toja (guys with some proven success of offensive success in pro leagues).

Signing any soccer player to MLS can be a gamble, but I think college players are where MLS likes to spend as little as possible. I'm not too impressed with what I've seen of Nyarko, and I'd imagine he'll go the Charlie Davies route to start his pro career.

Posted by: Overseas | January 3, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Can we get rid of the draft and see which teams would actually like to sign the kids?

I get the idea as it's how you try to forge some competitive balance between teams with inverted picks. But, not all draft picks sign, or will sign with MLS, correct? So, it's no wonder that teams take the route of low-balling the college kids, and thus disencentivizing them to enter MLS. It's sort of another feather in their cap in negotiations abroad at some level I'm sure.

When you throw in all the confusing rules about discovery picks, youth rights, salary cap, DPs, allocations, etc - can we just have teams go to the combine - pick their guys, submit their choices ahead of time to the league office and then decide who should be "drafted" and what not based on a teams willingness to sign and allocate a portion of their cap space to a given contract? Or is this where we should encourage adidas to sign guys so that they'll stick around and teams will lessen their risk on younger talent by not having to book as much of the salary to MLS.

Bottom line:
Boo Draft - Yay signing young Americans and heading off the clutches of Scandanavia and 2.Bundesliga .... and Derby County ... and Fulham

Posted by: UVA-United | January 3, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I think he could make an impact right away. He is pretty creative and it would be nice to see what he could do with talent around him.

Posted by: John | January 3, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Does Patrick Nyarko have US citizenship? Could the US even call him up? If not, his best option would be to move straight to Europe. He'd be an affordable gamble in just about every league. And, if he has success there, even mild success, Ghana would probably be quick to get him capped... maybe even during the African Nation's Cup or something.

Posted by: TCompton | January 3, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

He is ready for Europe and should go.

Posted by: Scott | January 3, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

why the f would ghana be hot to tro to sign some kid playing good in us college soccer? Are you serious? Thats like saying england would be hot to trot for some english national scoring goals in the a-league. Ghana has many very good international players that this guy isnt even close too... maybe they eventually will, but they probably will wait till he actually turns pro..

Posted by: ghana? | January 3, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

The biggest difference between MLS and decent European leagues is the speed of play. He needs to get used to that speed sooner rather than later. MLS will not help much in that respect. If he wants to progress, he needs to aim beyond the slow pace of play in MLS. Holland would be a good choice, faster than MLS, more time on the ball than in England, better youth/talent development than Germany.

Posted by: Erick | January 3, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Nyarko can take people on and bet them on the dribble like no college player I have ever seen. He has a first touch to die for, and major, major soccer-smarts. Hate to say it, but he should go to Europe.

Posted by: Ron | January 3, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Stay in school? Why? The career of a professional athlete is remarkably short; even those who have a "long career" on the pitch are lucky if they play into their early 30s. It's one thing if a player might be leaving early to accept a developmental contract or even something like that of Boswell (in which case the tuition savings could be worth more), but Nyarko is looking at big time money. He can finish school whenever he pleases, if he ever needs to. Yet, the risk of injury could cost him untold gobs of financial security.

I had an A- average from a school in the US News top 10 list, and after three years, I still haven't broken the $50K mark. What idiot would stay in school if they could?

Posted by: MtP | January 3, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

More to the point...he can get injured playing college and end his pro career before it starts. Would be a shame to lose a chance at playing in the Eredivisie, Ligue 1, etc. because a defender from St Bonaventure mistimed a tackle during a summer scrimmage.

Get thee to Europe, son!

Posted by: Erick | January 3, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

So much for "education first, soccer second".

Posted by: WNT fan | January 3, 2008 01:08 PM
------------

Did you miss the obituary? "Education First" died many years ago at the hands of the NCAA, money-loving university presidents*, TV executives, and the equipment manufacturers.

* "So are they all, honorable men." --- Mark Antony. Julius Caesar: Act 3. Scene 2.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | January 3, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

"I had an A- average from a school in the US News top 10 list, and after three years, I still haven't broken the $50K mark. What idiot would stay in school if they could?"

What was your major ;-) I had the same general educational background and started my first job at more than $50K more than 10 years ago. My major was Math/CS. There is an ECON 101 lesson about opportunity cost, fair market value, salaries, etc. to be learned here. There are some who couldn't afford to play soccer professionally with the current salary structure for developmental players. There is also intrinsic value in an education apart from professional remuneration.

Maybe he's already got the degree finished and is just forgoing NCAA eligibility? There are a lot of people who finish school in less than four years. I'd love to know his US citizenship/immigration status, because that means a lot.

Posted by: LeesburgSoccerFan | January 3, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

--------
I had an A- average from a school in the US News top 10 list, and after three years, I still haven't broken the $50K mark. What idiot would stay in school if they could?

Posted by: MtP | January 3, 2008 02:47 PM
---------

Don't be so quick to knock school. I went to a 3rd tier school and I'm making over 75k my second year. You say what idiot would stay in school if they could, I say what idiot goes to a top 10 school and makes less than 50k after 3 years =)

Posted by: Syler | January 3, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

q: do you think he is ready for the pro game?
a: Oh yes!

q:Would he have an impact in MLS?
a:DUH!

q:Should the league shell out the bucks to secure him?
a: why not keep him in the MLS for a while then sell his rights to England? This was everyone wins!

Posted by: b | January 3, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Yeesh. I gotta get out of the non-profit sector. I feel really good about the work I do, I really like my job, and I feel I'm making a positive difference in the world, but I graduated cum laude from a top 25 liberal arts college ten years ago and I still haven't cracked $50k.

Finishing college has its own merits that shouldn't be easily dismissed, but I agree he should leave school to turn pro, and then go back and finish his degree later. I think MLS should make an effort to keep him in the States. One of the good ideas behind MLS is to have a domestic pro league that develops our players and raises our game as a country - if all our young talent goes to Europe, and we import old Europeans instead, I worry that the developmental aspect of MLS will be lost.

Posted by: David | January 3, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

"Yeesh. I gotta get out of the non-profit sector. I feel really good about the work I do, I really like my job, and I feel I'm making a positive difference in the world, but I graduated cum laude from a top 25 liberal arts college ten years ago and I still haven't cracked $50k."

Preach on, brother! I'm in the same boat, but just substitute 10 years for 3.5 years.

Posted by: Greg | January 3, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

"Yeesh. I gotta get out of the non-profit sector."

No. You need to pick the right non-profit; say, the Smithsonian Institution.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | January 3, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

One of the good ideas behind MLS is to have a domestic pro league that develops our players and raises our game as a country - if all our young talent goes to Europe, and we import old Europeans instead, I worry that the developmental aspect of MLS will be lost.

Posted by: David | January 3, 2008 03:58 PM

---------

that's the thing - he's from Ghana and not eligible for the US MNT, so he's not "our" talent to begin with. no need to feel proprietary towards him, he should go to europe if they are calling.

Posted by: pat | January 3, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

He has the talent to play in MLS. I have no doubt. He'd be a top 3 pick (not all GA are announced, yet) and if you want a defender, James would be the better choice.

$50k in 3 years, journalist? ;)

Posted by: JSF | January 3, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

I'd predict Nyarko to have a slightly more successful rookie season than Robbie Findley just had. He'd be in the running for rookie of the year.

As for the question of where he should go, I think Nyarko's main concerns are going to be money and visibility. MLS, even offering him an Edu-esque contract, will likely not be offering the same amount as the usual European "poacher" leagues (Germany, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, for the most part). It's safe to say those clubs will double MLS's offer financially, and will throw in a car and apartment.

The other concern, visibility, used to be the one that really killed MLS. The chance that you could play on a small club, move up to the big dog, and then showcase yourself in the Champions League or UEFA Cup, used to be the real pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Now, though, MLS is more trusted and more well-known to European clubs. They know that the depth is stronger than before, where if you weren't among the best 10-15 MLS players, you were just not on anyone's radar. I'm not saying there aren't still issues, but I bet money is more the problem these days.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | January 3, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Unless he's already been capped by Ghana, he'd be eligible for the USMNT in short order.

Posted by: AlecW81 | January 3, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Europe makes sense for the youngster. But not Germany, unless he needs hernia surgery.

What is it with that country and hernia repair?

Posted by: Joe Doc | January 3, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Not a good day for Hokie athletics... both of the basketball teams lost.

Posted by: sitruc | January 4, 2008 1:26 AM | Report abuse

Also...Nyarko will need to remain healthy. He's had a problem with injuries throughout his career. This year was the exception. Getting stronger, may help with this.

However, I think that he'll be fighting injuries his first year in MLS. I'd take him!

Posted by: JSF | January 4, 2008 6:58 AM | Report abuse

Europe makes sense for the youngster. But not Germany, unless he needs hernia surgery.

What is it with that country and hernia repair?

Posted by: Joe Doc | January 3, 2008 10:15 PM
-----------------

Lifting die grosse Steins mit Bier makes us much pain sein haben gehabt haben.

Posted by: Autobahn zweihundertsiebzig | January 4, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Unless he's already been capped by Ghana, he'd be eligible for the USMNT in short order.

Posted by: AlecW81 | January 3, 2008 06:12 PM
------------------------------------------

He needs five years of permanent residency (green card). If he's been on a student visa, he presumably is still five years away. Further, he has to be Stateside most of that time, so going to Europe would be problematic. Getting married to a Yank (I assume he's still single) would cut the wait from five to three years, which is still a long time. For more details:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_nationality_law#Eligibility_for_naturalization

Posted by: 22201 | January 4, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

22201: You're forgetting the Regis Rule - marry a diplomat, or at least someone who works in the State Dept.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | January 4, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I believe Regis' wife was an ordinary Yank. He did have help within State, but I believe it involved people who were simply USMNT fans. In any event, they could only expedite his application. If he hadn't already been married for three years, I'm not sure what they could have done for him.

Posted by: 22201 | January 4, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

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