There may be no clearer sign of progress at the youth levels of American soccer than the growing pool of professional players available at the under-20 level. There's plenty of anxious talk from fans and even coaches about the day -- perhaps just around the corner -- when the team will be entirely professional, entirely excluding amateur college players from its ranks.
But in the second game of the CONCACAF U-20 World Cup qualifying tournament in Guatemala, a trio of collegiate players played key roles in the 2-0 victory against Panama. In so doing, they provided a clear message to the American soccer nation: not so fast.
To read more about why college soccer still has a role to play in the development of American talent, despite the shrinking pool of collegians on the U-20 team, you must be an ESPN Insider.