Commentary: There's no place in soccer for intangibles

MLS criteria for 24 Under 24 would've done Beckham and Rooney few favors

Chris Klute vs Montreal

Photo Credit: 
USA Today Sports Images

Friday was a strange day, culminating in the 1-0 loss at the Timbers for the Colorado Rapids.

It began with the completion of the farcical MLS 24 Under 24 and its comical criteria.

How can you have criteria which includes intangibles, media savvy, charisma, quotability and – despite being a list of today’s top talent – potential? They forgot who would cook the nicest meal?, which player would shine on Dancing With The Stars?, and who could best carry off twerking with Miley Cyrus?

Yes, I’m still relatively new to the workings of MLS, but I’ve been in sports journalism for almost 25 years, and far too often in this interactive media age, the industry dumbs down in a desperate attempt to chase ratings and website clicks.

‘Competitions’ such as these will generate debate, as lists often do, but seriously guys … charisma? Quotability?? Intangibles???

How broad can you get?!

There’ll be readers dismissing my comments, insisting it’s me bleating because the Rapids had just two players in the list of 24 (Dillon Powers at 23 and Deshorn Brown at 20). Well, yes, I feel Shane O’Neill and Chris Klute deserved recognition, but my main gripe was with the criteria, pure and simple.

Soccer players judged on charisma? Well, please dear reader, forgive me. Where I come from many of the best players have about as much charisma as a snail’s bead of sweat.

Wayne Rooney would’ve been docked marks using this criteria, as would Michael Owen and – after his dismissal for England at France ’98 aged 23, returning home persona non grata – so too David Beckham.

Let’s keep it real.