MLS’ top Free Agent

Brian Kleiban’s rise through the US Youth Sector has been well chronicled. Yet, MLS ownership and leadership seem hesitant to bring Chivas USA Academy’s Brian Kleiban in. Kleiban has been influential over the last two years in molding some of the better prospects in US soccer.

As we draw closer to Chivas USA demise, Kleiban remains one of the rare ‘free agents’ in US Soccer.

Lets quickly dissect some of his more recent successes.


Ivan Gutierrez :: 1998 :: Winger :: Chivas USA U16 :: Mexico U17

Gutierrez was well-established prior to Kleiban taking over at Chivas USA. However, Kleiban’s has help transform the quick winger into a more complete player who has become a staple of the Mexico U17 squad. The UCLA verbal commit has plenty of pro-suitors south of the border. Ivan’s scored 23 goals in 39 matches in USSDA U16 play.


Orlando Lopez :: 1998 :: Midfielder :: Chivas USA U18

Lopez is one of the few ’98s playing regularly in the U18 division, despite being listed on the Chivas USA U16 roster. Lopez is an excellent reader of the pitch and has solidified himself as someone who Kleiban can trust in tight situations. Early in his career Lopez was seen as one of the brightest prospects in 1998 Southern California pool. Despite success with Chivas USA has not taken off, in large part because Lopez does the work that might not show up in the stat column.


Jonathan Hernandez :: 1997 :: Midfielder :: Chivas USA U18

Hernandez was touted early in the USSDA season as a player to watch by a number of people in the So Cal scene that I trust. His play has been spectacular. He’s started 23 of 24 games for Chivas USA. Hernandez is the brain of the Chivas USA U18 side. His 7 goals is third on the squad. Despite all the drama around the club he has led them to the 5th spot in the hotly contested Western Conference.


Charly Anguiano :: 2000 :: Midfielder :: Chivas USA U14 :: US U15

Quite possibly Kleiban’s finest product. The diminutive pivot player in the his system, Anguiano has been a key player in the US U15 pool, has received more call-ups than every other 00 outside of Timothy Weah, Chris Goslin and Andrew Carelton. Charly is the only player in USSDA that has featured at every level of play. He’s a star with Chivas USA U14s, selected multiple occasions for the U16 level and debuted for the U18s earlier last month.


Efrain Alvarez :: 2002 :: Attacking Midfielder :: Chivas USA U14 :: US U14

Seen by many at the top 02 in the US pool, Alvarez has already been called in to the US U14 set up. Alvarez’s 9 goals is tops for a 02 in USSDA. Having seen him play live I can attest that his touch is sublime and left foot is well beyond his age. Despite his talent and early success Kleiban’s gotten Efrain to buy in to his system and has already begun to mold him into a total player.


Misa Becerra :: 2000 :: Striker :: Chivas USA U14 :: US U15

Becerra sometimes get overshadowed despite his 19 goals on the year. Misa has established himself as one of the top 00 strikers in the US pool. His movement and ability to finished in tight quarters and in a number of different ways is further proof of Kleiban’s ability to produce a number of different types of players.


Togo Nakamura :: 2001 :: Full-Back :: Los Angeles Galaxy U14 :: id2

The long time starting full-back for Kleiban at Total Futbol Academy made his way into the Galaxy system early last year. Nakamura just finished up time with the id2 program in Argentina where he started every match for the mainly 01 based squad that went 1-1-2 against Argentina’s finest academies. Togo has started 8 of 8 matches for the Galaxy that he’s been available for.


John Hilton :: 2001 :: Full-Back :: Unattached :: US U14 & 15

Burst onto the scene two years ago playing with the U14s as a 12 year old. Hilton has more caps with the US U14 & U15s than most 2000s! He is being chased by a number of top European clubs.


Ulysses Llanez :: 2001 :: Winger :: Chivas USA U14 :: US U14

Llanez, a regular started for Kleiban’s U14 side, is coming off an impressive US U14 camp in Madrid in which he netted two important goals against Real Madrid’s academy. Llanez possess a good motor mixed flair needed from an attacking wide player.


Kelee Cornfield-Sauders :: 2000 :: Full-Back :: Chivas USA U14 :: US U15

Cornfield-Saunders was already well established as one of the top defensive players prior to joining Kleiban at Chivas. However he has further blossomed into one of the better players in the U15 pool. Kelee has all the tools to become a staple in the back for the next US U17 side.


Cesar Rivera :: 2001 :: Full-Back :: Chivas USA U14 :: US U14

Rivera is a good example of Kleiban’s ability to produce high-level talent. Chivas USA lost Nakamura/Hilton in 2014, and has since replaced the two with Rivera a recent US U14 call-up and Cornfield-Saunders. Rivera was hampered by injury toward the end of 2014, but has since started every match for the U14s scoring 3 times.


Not to mention ::

– Excellent play with Kleiban’s U14 side in 2013-2014 vaulted ’99s Daniel Villegas, Anthony Ruiz, and Matthew Huerta into the US U15 and U16 pool.

– ’00 Jonathan Estrada was instrumental with Kleiban at TFA, and is currently the third leading scorer with the Galaxy U14 side with 9 goals in 14 matches.

– Former Chivas USA U16 defender Promise Adebayo-Ige is currently on trial in Italy.


Coming up ::

– Nomads SC U14 midfielder ’01 Jacob Silva recently joined up with Kleiban and his Chivas USA side.

– ’01 Owen Zaldivar is another Kleiban star in the making.



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