Earlier in the afternoon on Saturday, Charles Gooch from The Full 90 tweeted the link to a story out of Trinidad & Tobago about a pair of players that have been invited on trials to join Sporting Kansas City later this month when they open their preseason training.
The article gives a bit more information on a pair of players that caught the eye of Sporting KC technical director/head coach Peter Vermes during last month's scouting combine in Trinidad - Sheldon Bateau and Daneil Cyrus.
Up until these names came out a few weeks ago, there had been very little made public about any potential targets for SKC this offseason. The Daily Wiz reported of the club's interest in French defender Aurelien Collin in early December, and between those times and even up until now, there has been virtually no other names to speak of. I've heard a name here and there, but nothing concrete to post about and alarm the troops.
So, less than a week before the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, it is nice to finally have a couple of names to discuss and think about. We know that next Thursday the team will have three picks in the SuperDraft, so we'll potentially have three more guys via that route. But, the only player guaranteed to be signed and make the team, really, will be the first round choice (number 10 overall). More than anything, though, Bateau and Cyrus are just something to talk about at long last.
So, now that we finally have a couple targets to discuss, let's get to it. All the information on Bateau and Cyrus to be had via the interwebs after the jump...
Current Club: San Juan Jabloteh
International Experience: T&T U-17 World Cup ('07) - 2 games, T&T U-20 World Cup ('09) - 1 game, current captain of T&T U-20 national team
Position: Bateau is listed by multiple player database outlets as a defender, specifically a central defender by some. But, in an interview that That at The Back Post had with Vermes immediately following the comine, Vermes said "he plays in the midfield."
Random information: In this discussion forum post from December 2008, Bateau is talked about as "the total package." Obviously, this is a not a sanctioned article from a news outlet, and as it lists him as 6'3" as a 17-year old, (the 6'1" listed above comes from a current player database) that could tell you just how much credence to take from the seemingly over-zealous fan. The point is, though, that Bateau is highly thought of in an improving football nation, and has been for some time.
Though none of the games have gone the way of his side, he has played in and started three CONCACAF Champions League games - a competition in which SKC fans hope to take a part in come 2012 and beyond.
Current Club: Caledonia AIA (on loan from FC Santa Rosa)
International Experience: T&T U-17 World Cup ('07) - 3 games, T&T U-20 World Cup ('09) - 3 games, T&T senior national team - 13 games, regular starter for senior team
Position: Cyrus is listed by most as a defender, and specifically a central defender - just like Bateau.
Random information: Cyrus goes by the nickname "Cha Cha." Yes, seriously.
Was a striker until he reached the U-17 level, when he was converted to a central defender.
Has been named to the SWO T&T Team of the Month by SOCAWarriors.net, a T&T-specific blog. This particular team of the month is comprised of players from all levels of T&T national teams, based upon recent play for both their club teams and country.
One of the team of the month posts had this to say about Cyrus:
"His only deficiency is his eagerness to get the ball off his feet and in the process he sometimes makes bad judgments with his passing, something which I'm sure is linked to his inexperience."
Given the fact that he is still only 20 years old and has only played in defense for three years, give or take some months, it sounds like his game as a whole has evolved, thus I expect this current deficiency to do so, too.
Cyrus has yet to notch his first senior national team goal, but he has been credited with a handful of goals in the past couple years for his club team, so one would be lead to believe that he either still possesses that attacking mindset from his days as a striker, or he is a threat on set pieces. Or, in a perfect world, both could be the case.
Keep in mind that similar trials in 2010 were how guys like Ryan Smith, Craig Rocastle and Stephane Auvray made the 2010 Kansas City Wizards squad out of preseason training. Then again, didn't Pablo Escobar come out of that, too?
Either way, it will be interesting to see how this pair performs in January and February 2011, how they mesh with the current players on the roster, and whether they can transition previous success on the club and country levels to a contract in Major League Soccer.
If either sounds more likely to be offered a contract next month, Cyrus sounds like the player further along in his development, and one that could possibly help in the not-so-distant future; whereas as Bateau seems a bit more of a prospect for the future. One thing that each player does have going for them, though, is the fact that they will have someone that each has a prior relationship and playing experience with to go through this process in a foreign country, in each other.