The Copa América [three losses in Venezuela] was a great experience with a different group of players. I think the year finished in challenging way. We had two games in Europe against Sweden [a 1-0 loss] and Switzerland [a 1-0 win]. We played Brazil [a 4-2 loss] in Chicago. And we finished with a great opportunity to play in South Africa [a 1-0 win].
I obviously watched him closely, especially during the U-20 World Cup, and certainly feel that he is one of these important young players who we want to continue to try to move along. He was in a camp, so he begins the process of establishing himself as a player, as a person.
Of course, there are different levels -- but again it's important that a player in his regular environment can earn his way. Then you want to see what the player is in the national team group. See how they handle themselves. See how they play in the games. There's no one answer to it. You just have to work through the process.
Expansion can work both ways. Expansion can provide opportunities for players to play key roles in teams. But sometimes we've seen expansion teams in the first year or first two years not be that strong, so that can mean a couple of the games during that schedule are in some ways not that difficult.
But that happens in all leagues, where in a given year the talent at the bottom of the league isn't always competitive enough against the talent at the top. And I think we see that throughout Europe. Equally important [to MLS' role] is that we have players who choose Europe and face the challenges that clubs in Europe provide in terms growing on the job, becoming better players. So I think it's a combination.
They're constantly working on how to get those players top training, rides, that kind of thing. There's been a lot of individual efforts in all of those areas, but if we can do it better collectively, if U.S. Soccer can play in a bigger role to ensure that those efforts that have been going on can improve across the board, then that's good.