Forwards aplenty at U.S. youth camp 

November, 16, 2011

DUISBURG, Germany -- For years, U.S. fans have bemoaned the lack of depth at the forward position, and a lack of goals in general. Through the last World Cup cycle, up front there was Jozy Altidore, who was on a young player's roller coaster, producing at times and slumping at others; the comet that was Charlie Davies; Clint Dempsey moving up from the midfield; and then ... not much.

But if the just-concluded youth camp in Germany -- where 33 players under 23 years old began training for slots on next year's U.S. Olympic squad -- is any indication, the national team is trying its best to change that. Attacking players abounded at the camp, so much so that U-20 coach Tab Ramos and Claudio Reyna, the U.S. youth technical director who oversaw the U-23 players, had to scramble to fill out defensive lineups when the split squad played scrimmages with outside teams.

"What's been a little bit challenging is that normally, for example with the U-15s, we usually have four goalies, 10 defenders, 10 midfielders more or less, and then you get about 10 forwards," Reyna told Insider from the confines of the Sportschule Wedau, a German sports academy. "In this camp we're pretty much saying, 'OK, good player, good player, good player, good player.' And then we looked at the depth chart, and it's sort of top-heavy on attacking players."

Luke Cyphers is a former senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.
Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine. He has covered American and international soccer since 2002.