The man in charge of player development for American football said the huge untapped talent pool in the country is now being recognized and he hopes to see more American stars sought to play in the Premier League. League and other major European leagues over the next few years.
The United Soccer League, which operates at a lower level than the MLS, has just broken a transfer record by selling Kobi Henry to Ligue 1 side Stade de Reims.
Mark Cartwright, USL athletic director, told Sky Sports News: “For our league which is an emerging one, it’s a substantial six-figure transfer fee with the potential to hit seven figures.
“And if he makes a big transfer again, there’s the prospect of big selling fees. So that’s huge. A record transfer fee.
“You’ll see more and more of these players move to Europe on a regular basis and go on to have long careers. And that’s the USL’s next step – for these players to make an impact in the Premier League. , or the Bundesliga or La Liga. That’s where they all want to play.”
Cartwright is well known in English football, having served as technical director of Stoke City for seven years until 2019. He was in charge of USL football development for just over a year.
So how does Tampa, Florida compare to Stoke-on-Trent?
“Ha, ha! It’s raining here, but certainly a lot warmer! It’s been a journey,” he said with a grin.
“I’m trying to take people I know in the UK and Europe and connect them with what’s going on here.
“The last six big transfers we made were all under the age of 20. Two moved to big clubs in France, one to Real Sociedad, one to Denmark. And they went to those teams. and really do well – they used to play 40 games or so.
“So other clubs in England and Europe are watching that, because they’re all trying to uncover hidden gems.”
Cartwright also believes – having broken the league’s transfer record several times in recent years – they will soon do so again.
“I think we’ll break it again in a year’s time. I really believe we have the next Virgil van Dijk playing in our league,” he added.
“He’s 17, plays week in, week out, and he’s absolutely unbelievable – Josh Wynder, who plays for Louisville.”
Over the last few days, Sky Sports News has learned that there is significant interest in Wynder from two of the biggest clubs in Portugal.
“I’ve talked to some of the top teams in England and Europe about him, and they’re watching him. And his club is inundated with calls,” Cartwright said.
“The talent pool here is amazing. Americans tend to produce athletic, agile players with great temperaments.
“They’re only 17, 18, 19 years old who understand the game, so they can take the next step and play in Europe. Everything they watch on TV now is the Premier League, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 – they want to go. and play in Europe.”