TUKWILA, Wash. — Seattle Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan was named to Major League Soccer’s “24 Under 24” list on Monday, but his coach thinks he should have been higher on the league’s annual list.
Roldan came in at No. 24, his first appearance on the league’s list breaking down the best young players in MLS. A 21-year-old second-year player from the University of Washington, Roldan is having a standout season and has solidified his role in defensive midfield. Unheralded and overlooked just a few years ago, he is coming into his own and growing more comfortable by the day.
“I’m honored, there’s a lot of good players there,” Roldan said of the list. “I’m happy to be a part of that list. There’s a bright future in MLS and the United States.”
Roldan and forward Jordan Morris were initially selected last week to MLS’ 50-person short list. While being recognized for the award is an accomplishment, Sounders interim head coach Brian Schmetzer went one step further.
“I’m biased, but he should have been higher,” Schmetzer quipped. “Cristian does a lot of good things that people don’t see. It’s easy to see the goals, it’s easy to see if you’re a good set-piece taker, it’s easy to see if you get a bunch assists.
“Some of the things that kid does that are more difficult to see like covering for Ozzie, finding that right little spot in the middle of the field just to continue our possession, those things go unnoticed.”
Roldan said he’s happy that Schmetzer feels that way about his play and that having fun this season has led to his development.
“Last year, being a rookie, you can’t show your personality, you can’t have as much confidence as you’re supposed to,” Roldan said. “I’m still young and I want to keep improving. It’s a big step and hopefully it progresses…I still have a couple more years to make that list, so hopefully for next year I can be higher.”
The rest of the 24 Under 24 list will be unveiled throughout the rest of the week.