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Draft Profile: Dustin Corea - IF he signs a GA deal

With updates to Buzz' 2010 GA target list, particularly due to the news that there are a few official signings, I was hoping that the first player I had targeted for profile would be on the list. At this time, he is not. But what Dustin Corea is, is a player beyond his years.  One of only 6 players on the above linked target lists still in high school.  That's at about 15%, and while yes, High Schoolers may not have the best reputation in MLS to the Seattle mind (Nik Besagno comes to mind first), there have also been successes like Adu and Gaven.

So if MLS were to reach an agreement with Dustin "The Ghost" Corea what would that mean to the club drafting him? And where would he wind up drafted? Reading the story linked at 3rd Degree gives you a start on those answers, but hopefully the following interview with his high school coach helps you get a more complete picture.

Dave Clark: In reading the Clackamas Review story it seems that the Dustin has a tactical awareness of the game beyond his years. How has this developed?

Roberto Aguilar (Head Coach Milwaukie High): Dustin has developed his tactical awareness from being raised in a culture of soccer, from early development in LA through club, ODP & US National Team experience while in Oregon.  When I say, culture of soccer I mean this... if you walked into their home and only his mother was home she would be passionately watching a game on television on her own.  You can imagine how it would be when the whole family is present.  Also, remember, his father was a professional in El Salvador.  It's in their soul to watch and play every minute possible.  This early development was further improved with opportunities to play at a high level with his club (Eastside United FC Liverpool coach by Gavin Wilkinson), via ODP and with the US U17 National Team.



DC: You also note his speed as compared to other players at the high school and college level, but that it is accompanied with good on-ball skills. Steve Zakuani was a great college player with similar skill sets and moved out wide for the pro-game here in the USA, would you expect a similar move for Dustin as he progresses?

Coach Aguilar: Yes I do.  His speed is quite amazing and his ability to challenge and beat players is even more so.  He has a great ability to score from any where on the field but he can also send high quality service.  Based on team personnel, I would say that he could play either upfront or wide.  When you consider the lack of depth on the US National team, wide left, I would certainly be looking to develop Dustin for that position.

DC: There are strong statements that would lead one to think that Dustin was a leader on the team, was it vocal leadership, or by example?

Coach Aguilar: Dustin is a team leader both vocally and through his action.  At our level he can physically change a game at any moment through his play.  He certainly is confident in communicating with his teammates.

DC: Have you and Dustin been talking to some of the MLS players that came out of the Oregon area about his next steps?

Coach Aguilar: I am one of few coaches with whom Dustin comes to for advice.  However, I have not been present when he has communicated with any of the players out there. Primarily, Dustin speaks to his U17 USMNT team members who have recently signed professional contracts in an attempt to replicate their success.  I have encouraged him to speak with local players such as Alex Nimo & Danny Mwanga (Oregon State) about their steps towards becoming professional.  We have also discussed meeting with some of the current Timbers.  We have had many discussions about potential agents.

* It should be noted that Carrick is reporting that Mwanga well not be signing a GA, and instead will be going on trial in France. Nimo was drafed 17th by RSL on a GA contract, and later loaned to the Timbers.

DC: Lastly, as a Coach, how will the Timbers and Sounders both being in MLS help you find more talented players in the future?

Coach Aguilar: I am very excited for the TIMBERS (I'm a fan but not part of the "army") and the Sounders to compete against each other in MLS.  Their MLS status will certainly encourage more players to aspire to become better players.  However, considering I only coach HS at this time, it will have no effect on my ability to "find more talented players" as I can only access players who live within my area.

I emailed for further clarification on the final question.

DC: I wanted to clarify the final question as I know some high school coaches have trouble convincing players to keep playing and that they tend to have the best athletes play the "premium" sports.

Coach Aguilar: Thank you for the clarification... this is one of those, what if Lebron James played soccer questions?  I am hopeful that soccer does become a "premium" sport and surpass both NHL & MLB.  I think this is possible ("handball" and bball will always be more popular).  Then we might be able to recruit those "superior" athlete to become soccer players.  So, yes, I believe we will be able to recruit players to continue playing soccer or switch to soccer because of the introduction of MLS teams in the Northwest.

What is notable is that despite the praise of Dustin as a player his coach also recognizes that he will not be able to simply walk onto a pro-roster and start, as he said the following as an introduction to his responses.

I certainly look forward to Dustin playing professionally.  It will happen.  I'm sure that he'll need to start on a reserve squad but he has all the skill and that special ability that so many wish that they had.

What does this all mean for a team drafting Dustin? They would need to be a team with some depth on the wings, who is not looking for 2010 help from the pick they use. I would suggest that a team that finished well in the standings, who returns a lot of talent would use a late first round or second round pick on a high schooler on GA contract, who can't immediately step into the traveling squad. While Seattle's 11th pick wouldn't be a likely result, as they do need a winger who can start, they do have the coaching staff that has a history of developing youth national team players, and a few veterans at the very positions where Corea is most likely to contribute in the pro-level.

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