20-year-old Mason Toye is shining for Minnesota United this season. But let’s just slow down before anointing him the USMNT saviour.
There are few things more exciting than seeing a young player break through into the senior ranks. Whether it be a player at the team you support, the country you are from, or just any young prospect making their way in the vicious world of professional sport, seeing burgeoning talent make its way at the highest level is joyous.
As such, it is natural for fans — and analysts — to become rather excited with any individual who hints at even a smidgen of ability. There is a desperation, a yearning, an incessant striving towards the future. And that, obviously, involves looking towards the young players who will build that very future. Excitement, then, is everwhere.
But really, all this furore and fervour is unhelpful. And not only that, it is often unfounded, not grounded in sensible, sober analysis. Rather, it is often driven by fanciful, inflated hope.
All this brings me to the recent anticipation surrounding 20-year-old Minnesota United centre-forward, Mason Toye, who scored two goals at the weekend to lift the Loons to a brilliant win at Los Angeles FC. Since that ostensibly destiny-making Sunday night, this piece was written by Tom Bogert of mlssoccer.com.
In it, Bogert outline why U.S. Men’s National Team fans should be excited for the future of Toye. He highlights his excellent goalscoring record this season, his strutting confidence and his style of play, including excellent movement and clinical streak in front of goal. All of this is true, but extolling his virtues, especially in reference to the fate of the USMNT, seems a little hasty.
This is a player who has played in less than 2000 senior minutes in his career. He has only six MLS goals, across 832 minutes of action, and is only inconsistently the starter at his club, which is not exactly playing in the highest quality league in the world.
More from MLS Multiplex
- Javier Milei Elected in Argentina: Potential Impacts on MLS and Signings of Argentine Players
- Orlando City and New York City FC in the Battle for Matías Arezo; Grêmio Enters Negotiations! Who Will Come Out on Top?
- USA, Honduras, Panama, and Canada Close in on a Spot in the 2024 Copa America
- De Gea Turns Down Al-Nassr’s Lucrative Offer: Speculation Points to Possible Reunion with Messi at Inter Miami
- Messi’s Magnetic Impact in the United States
Look, I get the natural desire to be excited about any young player who shows even a smidge of promise, and Toye most definitely has shown promise with his performances this season, and not just the match-winning one to hand LAFC their first home defeat of the year, but surely there needs to be some realism and grounded analysis here. Anointing Toye as the next USMNT centre-forward is hardly rational logic — I am not saying that is what Bogert has done, but his piece certainly hints at.
And not only is just unfounded in rational thinking; it could also be damaging for Toye himself. He certainly seems like the type of character who can handle the inevitable praise and adulation that follows good performances. But as we have seen plenty of times before, a young kid being told he is the best thing since sliced bread is not always the best for his mental state. Does anyone remember Freddy Adu?
Toye is talented. And there is reason to be excited, as Bogert rightly highlights. But let’s just all slow down a bit. There is a long way to go in this young man’s career.