24under24 2018

Trio of Crew SC players named to 24under24 shortlist

MLSsoccer.com's 24 Under 24 is back — starting on Monday!

MLSsoccer.com will reveal the top 24 young players in MLS as selected by a panel of soccer media members across North America and former MLS players.

Before the list is released, MLSsoccer.com released its shortlist of eligible players — naturally including Columbus Crew SC's 22-year-old goalkeeper Zack Steffen, 21-year-old midfielder Artur and 22-year-old forward Kekuta Manneh. All three youngsters have played pivotal roles in Crew SC's push for the playoffs in the 2017 MLS regular season.

Steffen — the Black & Gold netminder through every minute of regular-season action in 2017 — is four matches away from tying most matches played by a goalkeeper in his first year of play for Crew SC. Through his first 30 games, Steffen's 13-12-5 record is on the brink of achieving Club records. He's one clean sheet away from tying the mark for most shutouts by a goalkeeper his first year of play for Crew SC and one win away from tying the record for most wins by a goalkeeper his first year of play for Crew SC. He has made 86 saves in his 2,700 minutes of game action.

Artur — on loan from his native-Brazil's Sao Paulo FC — has helped solidify the Black & Gold midfield, often alongside Captain and former MLSsoccer.com 24under24 honoree Wil Trapp (Trapp earned a top-10 ranking in MLSsoccer.com’s “24 Under 24” list three years in a row). Artur has made 21 appearances (17 starts) this season, all coming at center midfield, recording two assists. He made his MLS debut coming on as a substitute in the second half of the Opening Match against the Chicago Fire and has since earned two MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week recognitions.

Manneh — acquired in a trade last March — has scored four goals and three assists for Crew SC in his 15 games played (nine starts). His most recent goal, coming against his former team (Vancouver Whitecaps FC) was his first since July 4. Manneh scored his debut Crew SC goal, a game winner, and his debut assist against the Montreal Impact  on June 24. Manneh scored another game-winner on the road against Minnesota United FC  on July 4, before starting and making an impact in an international friendly at home against Eintracht Frankfurt on July 14. He is just three starts away from making his 75th MLS start.

With home games against Eastern Conference foes such as the New York Red Bulls on September 23 and D.C. United on September 30 leaving vital points up for grabs, Crew SC is charging closer to chasing the 2017 MLS Cup.

Columbus closes the regular season on the road at Orlando City SC on October 15 and at New York City FC on October 22. 

Next week's list will culminate on Thursday, Sept. 28 as the top 10 will be revealed on a special edition of ExtraTime Live at 2 pm ET. The show will include exclusive interviews with players featured in the top 10.

Players who are 23 years of age and younger as of October 22 – the final day of the 2017 MLS regular season – are eligible for this year’s ranking. It's a similar age limit to the one used around the world for the Olympic soccer tournament and the PFA Young Player of the Year award in England.

The player rankings will be unveiled beginning with Nos. 21-24 on Monday, Sept. 25, 16-20 on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 11-15 on Wednesday, Sept. 27 and the top ten announced on the show.

The 50-player shortlist below was decided upon by the MLSsoccer.com editorial staff.

Past No. 1 ranked players include US national team players Darlington Nagbe (2013) and DeAndre Yedlin (2014), and Canadian international Cyle Larin (2016).

Evaluation Criteria

All MLS players aged 23 or younger before October 22, 2017 were eligible for consideration. The final list of 24 players is determined by a panel made up of top soccer media members and the MLSsoccer.com editorial staff. The panel ranked the eligible players based on the following criteria:

  • Technical: first touch, dribbling, shooting, heading
  • Soccer IQ: positioning, reading game, situational understanding, tactical awareness
  • Physical Attributes: balance, agility, speed, endurance, strength, vertical leap
  • Personality: attitude, marketability, media savviness, charisma, intangibles
  • Potential: improvability, ceiling, national team potential, potential transfer value

Voting Members

Steve Davis (FourFourTwo.com)
Kyndra de St. Aubin (Minnesota United broadcaster)
Thomas Floyd (Goal.com)
Cole Grossman (former player)
Kristan Heneage (freelance writer)
Alexi Lalas (FOX commentator)

Patrick LeDuc (RDS)
Matt Pentz (freelance writer)
Paul Tenorio (FourFourTwo.com)
Bobby Warshaw (former player/writer)


MLSsoccer.com

  • Benjamin Baer (New Media Editor)
  • Andrew Wiebe (Senior Editor)
  • Matt Doyle (Senior Writer)
  • Will Parchman (Contributor)
  • Sam Stejskal (Contributor)
  • Alicia Rodriguez (Contributing Editor)
  • David Gass (ExtraTime Live/Radio host)
  • Charles Boehm (Contributing Editor)

50-Player Shortlist*

Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas)
Luciano Acosta (D.C. United)
Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls)
Miguel Almiron (Atlanta United)
Artur (Columbus Crew SC)
Yamil Asad (Atlanta United)
Latif Blessing (Sporting Kansas City)
Emmanuel Boateng (LA Galaxy)
Alex Bono (Toronto FC)
Andrew Carleton (Atlanta United)
Alphonso Davies (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
Marky Delgado (Toronto FC)
Raheem Edwards (Toronto FC)
Alberth Elis (Houston Dynamo)
Jack Elliott (Philadelphia Union)
Diego Fagundez (New England Revolution)
Marco Farfan (Portland Timbers)
Kortne Ford (Colorado Rapids)
Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake)
Jesse Gonzalez (FC Dallas)
Julian Gressel (Atlanta United)
Carlos Gruezo (FC Dallas)
Marlon Hairston (Colorado Rapids)
Ian Harkes (D.C. United)
Jack Harrison (New York City FC)
Yangel Herrera (New York City FC)
Cristian Higuita (Orlando City SC)
Derrick Jones (Philadelphia Union)
Cyle Larin (Orlando City SC)
Brooks Lennon (Real Salt Lake)
Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes)
Kekuta Manneh (Columbus Crew SC)
Mauro Manotas (Houston Dynamo)
Ronald Matarrita (New York City FC)
Jimmy Medranda (Sporting Kansas City)
Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC)
Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City)
Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas)
Alvas Powell (Portland Timbers)
Tommy Redding (Orlando City SC)
Carlos Rivas (Orlando City SC)
Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC)
Albert Rusnak (Real Salt Lake)
Jefferson Savarino (Real Salt Lake)
Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC)
Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla (Montreal Impact)
Tommy Thompson (San Jose Earthquakes)
Hector Villalba (Atlanta United)
Brandon Vincent (Chicago Fire)
Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes)

* - Paul Arriola of D.C. United was added to the voting process after the shortlist was decided upon.

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