Collegians shining for U-20 team 

April, 4, 2011
04/04/11
11:59
AM ET

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.

Brent Latham is a soccer commentator who covers the youth national teams for ESPN.com. Based in Guatemala, he has attended youth World Cups from Peru to Egypt, and places in between.

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