MLS has one of two auras for players. Some see it as a retirement league. After all, all of these once-world-class athletes manage to make their way to America once they are on the wrong side of 30…. or 33… or 35. They have name and prestige value alone. At least most of the time.
Tim Howard has outspokenly claimed that MLS should be over that retirement league mantra, however.
Then there is the aura that MLS is a stepping stone league. It’s a lower tier league where youngsters can come to find playing time and then move on to bigger and better things. MLS is working hard to raise their international relevance but it just has not come to fruition yet.
There are some people breaking these auras to bits. Giovani Dos Santos is one. Here is a 26 year old in the prime of his career rocking out in MLS. The other is obviously Sebastian Giovinco. The atomic ant is supposedly ready to accept a call to Euro’s 2016, which would be huge for MLS’s international relevance.
But Fabian Castillo is the next big step.
The 23 year old Colombian joined FC Dallas as an 18 year old, with enough talent to power a small city. It’s pretty clear that he is destined for great things, as even he has admitted that he desires to move away from FC Dallas and move up in the food chain.
He has been linked with the Mexican League and may even have his sights set on Europe.
It’s not that big of a deal for FC Dallas. They can replace him. They always do. They breed players like him. But he is someone that is widely seen as a potential star and MLS is understandably resigned to losing him. He’s seemingly too big for the league. The next step in MLS’s rise in relevance is for them to maintain their stars that see the ceiling set too low in the United States.
That is a tough mantra to break, because there is no glory like UEFA Champions League glory. Not only can the US not compete with that level of competition, but they can hardly even compete in the CONCACAF Champions League.
Castillo may be a lost cause, but there will be more like him, that get their start in MLS. Somehow these teams need to hang onto their young talents so that MLS can continue it’s growth to the top. As long as talent factories like FC Dallas keep churning out the goods, there will always be something to look forward to.