(This intro written just about one year ago.)
The first time I met Brian Scriaretta was at the USA-Chile Camp Cupcake closer match in January 2011.
I had the pleasure of sitting next to the guy in the press box and our opposite roots of reaching that press box came out in our first conversation.
Brian, “So are you on this Twitter thing? I just started man.”
Matt, “Yeah, it’s really good at finding out half-truths, ridiculous commentary and having clichés RT’d.”
Brian, “Whoa, you have like (some number in the 2000s) followers! I’ve got like 200.”
Matt, “There are folks with like 80,000. Most of mine are stunningly beautiful women who have zero followers and offer work-at-home kits anyway and want me to click on links.”
After out technology chat, Brian proceeded to regal me with the tales of US players abroad that I had never heard of. Jonathan Brooks, Sean Cunningham and more.
To be honest, I felt like trying to sneak a few keystrokes into the Googlilator when he was talking so I didn’t sound like I worked at Bleacher Report.
At the time, Brian was going on about this guy, Tim Something …. Timmy Chandler–for those that don’t know Brian got the first interview with the now somewhat famous US Men’s (half) National Teamer.
I learned about a few other players in Germany whose names sounded like serial killers and questioning whether Teal Bunbury, fresh off his exciting play in South Africa and January Camp, had filed his one-time switch.
Brian has a virtual encyclopedia of knowledge of young US players in his head and at his fingers and he goes about providing info and interviews of players who will become popular two years from now. If I’m ESPN, I would hire the guy just because he’d hockey stick my SEO (search engine optimization.)
Brian is so good at tracking down US players (the nether reaches of Peru) that TSG coined the nickname “The Hitman” for him because, well, “he’ll find you.”
Now… Part I of II, TSG’s finally sits down with American soccer media’s Hitman. We’ve been trying to put this back-and-forth together for a year, but Brian’s been busy tracking down the next American Soccer Yeti and I, well, haven’t.
TSG: In your opinion, who are the top 5 players abroad that US fans should be excited about in terms of solid club play and contributions to the national team?
The Hitman: The first and foremost is Fabian Johnson. I honestly believe that this guy will be an enormous boost to the US team for years to come. He has a great attitude and is all business when he’s on the field. Just look at how he played last season. Up through the winter break he was in the midfield and was second in the Bundesliga in assists. Then he moved to left back and was one of the best left backs in the Bundesliga. I think for the national team his future will be in the midfield.
I also think a lot of Americans really need to be keeping a close eye on Sonderjyske midfielder Conor O’Brien who is playing very well in the Danish Superliga. His plays as a central midfielder that sits deep but makes plays. He also is solid defensively as well. With Jose Torres still very inconsistent for the US national team, Conor O’Brien may be a player flying under the radar.
In terms of up and coming players we will talk more about Brooks and Gatt shortly but they are the top two on my list of up and coming American players.As far as teenagers who I think is how you define up and coming, I rate the Liverpool duo of Villyan Bijev and Marc Pelosi highly. In the United States I also think Luis Gil and Jose Villarreal are looking good. Jerome Kiesewetter just signed an impressive professional contract.
TSG: So your top five….
The Hitman: So in terms of top 5 teenage American prospects here is my top five: