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Comments on the Rookie vs. Sophomore Game

In this edition of 50-50 Ball, we asked you to give us your thoughts on our idea of having a Rookie vs. Sophomore game during the MLS All-Star Weekend. Most of you were down with playing the game, but a few weren't sold on some of our roster choices.

For out next 50-50 Ball, we're asking fans who they think should be the next coach of the U.S. Men's National Team. Do you think it should be Jurgen or someone else? Let us know at

What a great idea, you seriously need to make this happen. I know half of these guys don't get to play but they are our rising stars. The youth in the game of soccer are just as good as the veterans at this point. With soccer growing so rapidly in the past ten years it makes sense that these up and coming players will be better than the ones before them. Players like Josmer Altidore will lead us in the World Cup in 2010...2014. Let us see how good they are now.
-- Tommy Long

My hats off.  Good job!!! Would you consider Kenny Cooper (a rookie) since he played with Man U for a few years? Don't get me wrong, he is a hell of a player.

-- Ryan Latimer

(editor’s note: Ryan, we were also curious if MLS would consider Kenny Cooper a rookie, so we decided to ask MLS directly. We were told that Cooper is NOT considered a rookie as he's played professionally already. The league's definition of a rookie is a first year pro with no MLS experience. We think it's a bit unfair as the majority of Kenny's time with Man U was with the reserves, so we're still considering him a rookie.)

Like the idea, but as a die-hard Chicago Fire fan I have to disagree with one selection. I don’t see how you can put Matt Groenwald as a starter in front of Dasan Robinson. You’ve got to credit Dasan for beating the odds to do a fantastic job on the Fire backline. I’m not trying to take anything away from Groenwald, but I think Dasan is a better player overall and should be given the starting spot.

-- Dave Kemp

First off I'm not going to give my picks basically for one reason, I just moved from Ramstein, Germany, and AFN rarely plays MLS games.
Second off, I feel the game is one of the best ideas that has been thought of for the MLS. This would get the people who think soccer is boring because all that the players do is run back and forth, the people who say bball is better because Kobe can cross somebody up and dunk on him, well this game would show those people the craft of soccer. MLS doesn't have the trick masters like Ronaldinho, Cristiano Ronaldo, or Thierry Henry, but young players always want to show those guys that they have it, too. This game would show the doubters how a guy can cross up his opponent and make him fall over and then continue his run to send in a beautiful cross for his teammate to try out a bicycle kick, one of the only moves that doubters would watch continuously.
I'm 16, and would love to see a game like this in the States. I've been to Bundesliga games, a Liverpool game, the USA vs. Poland game, and three World Cup games, and nobody seems to be laughing and going "oooohhh" continuously (unless you're at an Arsenal game where they're winning 6-0, and Henry's in the corner doing 50 moves and then nutmegs his opponent…then you actually her English fans laugh).
I want this game. I want to show my friends that soccer is the greatest sport in the world.
-- Shannon long

Facunda Erpen a sub for the Sophomore team? Hello?? Anyone see the All-Star game? How can a guy start for the All-Star team, but not for the Sophomore team? I think you dropped the ball on that one.

-- Jim Kapper

Great idea and well presented. I hope soccer magazines will pick up and re-publish (and maybe even challenge) your selection.

-- Ben Laaper

Good idea and I like most of the picks, but you’re stretching to say Noah Palmer deserves the start for the Rookies. He has one victory. And the only reason he played was because he was on the roster. Columbus has gone through every goalkeeper it could find. Then again, I don’t know who you pick over him.

Anyway, good stuff.

-- Matt Chevy

I wanted to write to lend my vocal support of the idea posted on about having a Rookie vs. Sophomore-type match accompanying the All-Star Weekend.
The article proposes having the match a day before the All-Star Match, but I would like to see if either right before or right after. Preferably right after so the pitch is in top quality for the All-Star Match. Also, this game could be shown on another network besides ABC, such as FSC or ESPN2. This way, I (and other fans) could have four hours of footy from home or in the stands.
I'm also sort of against calling it the Rookie vs. Sophomore match. I just think it sounds wrong for what soccer means to me. I perceive soccer (maybe because I'm an EPL fan) as more of a PGA-type class than a College Basketball, NFL, MLB, or NBA techno-modern feel. So, I would like to suggest finding an alternate name for the match.
I really think the idea of putting the leagues newcomers (maybe you could call it the Newcomers Friendly or Newcomers Match or Newcomers Exhibition) against one another. We don't get enough opportunity to see these young players in action and it will give an even greater appeal to young players who dream of playing in Major League Soccer. It could make quite a rookie goal, apart from trying to just make the first team or be a regular starter.
I like the idea of having an age cut-off. Or, even making certain that the players haven't appeared in a division I league in the first team of another country. So, this is their first professional year of playing footy or their second.
Please don't call this match something like the Stars of Tomorrow Match. That would be hokey. Maybe the Newcomers Classic. Or, maybe change the All-Star Game to the All-Star Classic.
My suggestions for potential names and name change for the all-star game.
- Newcomers Classic (ie., the rookies v sophomores)
- All-Star Classic (ie., change 'game'  to 'classic')
- Players' Premier (ie., changed from All-Star Game)
Not too important, but I know the skills challenges have fallen by the wayside, but I sort of liked them. Maybe someday they will come back, even if not part of the All-Star weekend. I think they're kinda fun, but only if it's televised.

-- Sean David Johnson

In out next 50-50 Ball, we're asking fans who they think should be the next coach of the U.S. Men's National Team. Do you think it should be Jurgen or someone else? Let us know at