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rolling baby
07-15-2008, 07:48 PM

Y'all heard about this yet? Big Kenny Cooper's dad spot's this kid playing on a youth club in Dallas who's got some chops, gives England legend Dennis Wise a call and he comes out to Texas (twice) to see the 'lil guy play and tells an EPL club that they need to sign the kid. And the club says "OK, send him over". It's all so very Santiago Munez.

And before you start penciling his name into the first team for the United States' 2014 World Cup, a word of warning: he might be eligible for at least 4 national teams. His father was born in Macau, and spent the first eight years of his life in China. His Portuguese grandfather married a Eurasian woman --Schellas's grandmother-- who emigrated from Russia to China. Needless to say that if he turns into another Wayne Rooney (who was signed by Everton at age 10) the US, China, Russia and Portugal might be forced to play a winner-take-all tournament to decide who gets him.,com_topdrawer/Itemid,251/nid,2953/

Qualifiers aside, there is a young man in the Dallas area who is frequently being labeled a special talent and a great kid by multiple observers. Let me introduce to you 12-year old Emerson Hyndman.

Emerson Hyndman - photo courtesy the Hyndman family
Yes, hes only 12, and we dont usually write about 12-year old players. We do cover U13 club teams but not as much as their older counterparts. There have been a few players over the years who have had their age questioned quite a bit by onlookers, but we tend to not get into that (it usually comes out in the end, is our take).

First of all, NOBODY questions Emersons age. Last summer at the U14 Boys National Team camp, Emerson, a 1996 birth year player, was out there with his 1994 counterparts and, with some of the group having hit puberty and some it having not, Emo was pretty much the smallest boy out of 120-plus players at the Concord, Massachusetts camp.

At Thanksgiving he was with the U.S. Youth Soccer Region III ODP team at the Interregional, and while he again was among the smallest of the group, he was even more demonstratively showing he belong with the group, winning balls, hitting killer through passes and generally stamping his mark on the match as an experienced midfield general would. He was 11 at the time and more than making up for lack of size with especially good technique, allowing him to drive long and medium paces with authority and precision.

Now the pros are calling. Emersons father Tony marvels at the amount of interest his son is already getting from European clubs. While Tony and Becky Hyndman are in no rush to see their only child leave home, they are coming to realize they truly do have a special situation on their hands.

Becky and I agree that the best path for him is for him not to worry about it, Tony Hyndman told TopDrawerSoccer . If hes going to be a pro soccer player then hell work on the best way to go down that path. The Academy league and stuff like that is all great. We just dont know if it well be soon enough for him. Getting this attention from overseas has been an eye-opener.

With European Union passport eligibility due to his grandfather (SMU head coach Schellas Hyndman)s Portugese heritage, Emerson has the paperwork options covered, but its his on-field ability which already has been grabbing the attention of coaches and scouts.

His Dallas Texans club coach Marcio Leite has worked with some of the clubs top products over the years, and he sees a number of similarities.

Hes right there with all the good players weve had in the past, Leite said. With a player like him you dont want to put him in too much structure. You give him some freedom. Of course you show him some pointers, maybe something he can do if they are marking him too hard, but we just let him use his natural ability.

He has a tremendous change of pace, Leite continued. He has that special ability to set you up. He slows and the defender thinks hes gonna get him, and then he just changes gears and beats the guy. He understands the game very well and hes very technical. The only thing that is going to come with time is power. He already has the special ability to make the penetrating pass and find the open player. He has the ability to dribble past you, to shield the ball. Hes very good at away from defenders away from the ball and turning with the ball. And hes only 12. Just wait!

Emo says in large part, these skills came through hours of work either on his own or with Tony.

Emerson Hyndman - photo courtesy the Hyndman family
I work a lot with my dad. We just work on skills, on things like different ways to strike the ball, different techniques of hitting the ball, he said. Ive done it since I was like 5. I probably practice with him 4 or 5 days a week.

Tony Hyndman said along with the personal training, which becomes family time for the 2 boys and Becky (Emo says he is working on Beckys skills), Emo has shown a propensity for working with the ball on his own, almost nightly in the family dining room.

I like to act like Im in some situation and try to make something out of it, he said. I create my own moves and do some juggling. I do some work on the ball and create a new move. Sometimes Ill try to use it in a game.

Becky interjects at this that the family dining room does not include a table, and that the use of foam balls is required inside. Still, she is enthusiastic about the familys lifestyle, built as it is around elite soccer.

Were such a tight family we like to do everything together anyway, she said. It would be very boring really, without soccer.

Tony Hyndman, whose playing career was short-circuited by a serious back injury, said that along with the family time, the personal training emphasizes the priority of skill development, which he said tend to be neglected in the American club landscape.

The basis for everything ahead is to develop skill at a young age, he said. There are so many kids bigger and faster who just get by with size and speed, but it doesnt take long until they are 14 or 15, and the technical players, the ones we hope to see later, have caught up. The problem is I think we lose a lot of those kids because they get discouraged with what goes on. Coaches spend all their time trying to win games and keep those big players around, they dont really train, they just keep running and running. So the small players are not as effective (in that style) and they lose interest or whatever.

As with most top players, Emo and his family watch a lot of matches together. He lists Man United as a favorite club and Barcelonas Argentine winger Lionel Messi as a favorite player.

Tony Hyndman said the twotalk about tactics, sometimes with grandfather Schellas using salt and pepper shakers at the dinner table to make diagrams. He added that preparing Emerson for playing at a higher level wasnt too complicated.

We talk about playing the ball quickly, to take chances when you have them, to play the game as it comes to you, Tony said. You dont give a set of directions, but he knows when hes playing older, stronger and bigger kids that he wont have the same amount of time on the ball. He learns on his own to play 1 and 2 touch and how to solve problems. Were just fortunate that Gary Williamson (North Texas ODP Director of Coaching) was willing to give him the opportunity to perform. Same with the regional coaches.

Fortunate or not, its clear that Emerson is working very hard to make his own luck, and this diligence is helping convince many in the know that he truly is a special talent with a very bright future.

07-15-2008, 07:57 PM
speaking of next great American hopes, where's Freddy Adu?

rolling baby
07-15-2008, 08:01 PM
Adu is doing pretty damn good. He's playing for a Portuguese club, Benfica. Another guy is Jozy Altidore.

07-15-2008, 08:59 PM
Adu and Altidore are the future at the moment. Adu is with Benfica, as RB said. Jozy is heading to Spanish side Villareal, who I believe finished 3rd in Espana this past year.

As for this 10 year old, if he does turn into something lets just pray we don't have another Rossi on our hands. Though out of those 4 nations, I'd say Portugal is our only real competition. Russia is a good team, but if a guy is gonna defect I feel like he'd want to go for a more recognized power.

07-15-2008, 09:05 PM
so he's doing well, just not for the US

2008 National Champions
07-16-2008, 05:48 AM
so he's doing well, just not for the US

He's playing in the US atm.

2008 National Champions
07-16-2008, 05:51 AM
speaking of next great American hopes, where's Freddy Adu?

Adu is doing fine, as said he plays club soccer in Portugal and has been playing for the US national team.

07-16-2008, 08:54 AM
all right, guess when when we're between WC's, he doesn't get as much exposure. thanks for the info.

07-17-2008, 09:30 AM
Rumors were last week of a Adu transfer to Monaco along with Michael Bradley.

07-17-2008, 09:33 AM
According to the Nice Matin, AS Monaco is still leaning toward bringing in Americans Michael Bradley and Freddy Adu but under different arrangements. Benfica's young American appears to be close to a deal to be loaned to Monaco with an option to buy. Initially, Benfica had upped his price to €4 million after there was also interest from Bologna and Genoa.

Heerenveen midfielder Michael Bradley had been in ASM's cross hairs recently with reports of an offer in the neighborhood of €8.5 million. Bradley is also being pursued by Middelsbrough, Bayer Leverkusen, and perhaps other clubs working behind the scenes. Monaco remains interested in Bradley but is indicating that his price would need to come down before they will buy him (which means Heerenven are asking for more than Monaco has already offered). Any transaction for Bradley or Adu will need to happen before the August 17th French League transfer deadline and even then, Monaco would need to wait until after the Olympics before either one showed up to Stade Louis II. Personally, I think only one of these two will ever pull on a Monaco jersey (and his name isn't Bradley).

here (

see link

07-17-2008, 05:56 PM
Yeah I read that last week but didn't know if it was anything more than a rumor so I didn't bother posting it. Seems to be pretty out in the open now.

07-18-2008, 04:26 PM
speaking of next great American hopes, where's Freddy Adu?

busy being one of the best players on the national team.

rolling baby
07-18-2008, 06:04 PM
Forgive Storm, he was too busy drooling over Hope Solo to know any of this stuff.... ;)

07-18-2008, 07:19 PM
hey, TBH, i'm more up on the womens NT.......LOL