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In prototypical American fashion, a country that clearly has to send its brightest young talents overseas in order for them to progress as professionals, the knives are out in Dallas as one of the brightest talents in American soccer is being unjustly blame for the demise of FC Dallas during the 2012 Major League soccer campaign. That talent is none other than Texas born and raised Brek Shea, a 22-year old matchup problem on the wing of any side due to his 6-foot-4 frame and his, at times, sublime touch on the ball. Multiple media sources have placed the blame for FC Dallas' 2012 struggles solely on Shea, who in 2011 was a candidate for MLS Most Valuable Player honors. Twelve months ago, Shea's star was soaring. Shea could do no wrong. In America, the MLS media is having a harder time transitioning into pure hardcore fact and honest soccer coverage than the league itself had in becoming a viable and entertaining soccer league, which MLS clearly has become. Ten years ago, MLS was unwatchable. It was amazingly predictable and had more of a novelty feel, much like the culture of American soccer had endured during the NASL years. In the past decade, things have shifted dramatically. Tactics are crucial in MLS now more than ever. The players have improved drastically in the past decade, which ultimately makes the product better on the field of play. The coaching has also received a boost. For example, Bruce Arena is the greatest American soccer manager in the history of the game. Bob Bradley, an outstanding soccer mind in his own right, may not be good enough to make his mark on the international stage. Therefore, the US team went internationally to rightly name German striking legend Jurgen Klinsmann manager. However, if you look at the budding resumes' of Jason Kreis (Real Salt Lake) and Ben Olson (DC United), there is undoubted potential that the United States is producing two intriguing managing options for the future. Players like Shea did not exist long ago, a player that shows flashes of brilliance that would make any national team manager in the world see his undoubted potential and consider him for selection. There, too, is also the sudden burst of mid-level talent in the United States of players that are formidable league players on the day, but not quite good enough for International football. At 22 years of age, Shea stands somewhere in between being good enough for the constantly improving United States National Team and a player that may lack what it takes in order to become a constant contributor internationally. In Shea???s defense, young legs have been forced to adjust to the rigors of a grueling domestic league campaign while expected to shoulder the hold no other 22-year old in the history of the game has been forced to shoulder. Name another 22-year old, in either South America or Europe, that has had these sorts of expectations. You could argue Cristiano Ronaldo when he was at Manchester United, Neymar currently in Brazil, and Lionel Messi at Barcelona and with Argentina. Shea is not close to any of the aforementioned players, nor will he ever be. It would be insane to suggest he is or ever will be, which is equally as asinine as placing the entire blame of a franchise on a 22-year old player. Shea has played 18 months consecutively without an honest break. Shea played the 2011 MLS season with FC Dallas, trained in England with Arsenal, played in Olympic qualifying for the United States, and was suddenly thrust into the 2012 MLS season. His body is breaking down due to lack of rest, largely in part due to the ridiculous MLS calendar. The United States is very good at wearing out some of its brightest young talents. Eddie Gaven comes to mind in that regard. Freddy Adu, a player who was wrongly made into being the next Pele pretty much out of the womb, is another player who has wrongly been criticized excessively at times. Players like Tim Ream (Bolton) and now Geoff Cameron (appears headed to Stoke City in England from Houston Dynamo) have received their respective get out of jail free cards. Now, players like Ream and Cameron can have honest professional careers where the only downfall is flight time between England and the United States to join up with the national team. Shea needs to get out Dallas and MLS before he becomes another American casualty of the idiotic mentality of the MLS brass to maintain its own calendar. There are 1,000 reasons to shift to an August through May calendar, including not running up against the National Football League during the MLS Cup Final on Sunday nights in November or early December. A calendar shift will benefit the young players and will allow MLS to go up against a meaningless May baseball game or maybe an early round NBA playoff game. Lay off Brek Shea. Let him sort himself out, work with him to get him a move to a mid-level European league such as in Norway or Belgium, and reap the benefits before the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Shea can definitely make an impact on the United States national team.
 
August 16, 2012  12:46 PM ET

Brek Shea comes off the bench in Mexico City and wins the game with a world class move past a defender. For those who say there is a large talent gap between the US and Mexico, they are not seeing the entire picture. I wholeheartedly disagree with that statement. Both teams are getting better, which makes CONCACAF a threat in Brazil 2014. One of the two will end up in the semifinal.

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