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Bradford Jamieson IV Leading Wave of USMNT U20 Players in MLS

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMay 4, 2015

April 18, 2015; Carson, CA, USA; Los Angeles Galaxy forward Bradford Jamieson (38) controls the ball against Sporting KC defender Jalil Anibaba (23) during the first half at StubHub Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

With one swift cut to the left and a rocket into the bottom right corner of the net, Bradford Jamieson IV jumped onto the radar of many United States men's national team fans. 

Most people around the LA Galaxy and U.S. Soccer knew the 18-year-old had plenty of talent. But April 26's match against the New York Red Bulls marked the day everyone else started to find out how special of a player Jamieson could be. 

ESPN FC @ESPNFC

Bradford Jamieson scores his first #MLS goal in his second-career start. WATCH: http://t.co/yzDzuiIOVs

Jamieson's success with the Galaxy couldn't have come at a better time for club and country. At the club level, the young forward is filling in for an injured Robbie Keane. He is also gaining valuable playing time ahead of the FIFA U-20 World Cup, which begins May 30 in New Zealand. 

The 18-year-old has impressed many over the last three weeks starting next to Alan Gordon in the Galaxy's two-forward system. 

April 18, 2015; Carson, CA, USA; Los Angeles Galaxy forward Bradford Jamieson (38) plays for the ball against Sporting KC defender Marcel de Jong (71) during the second half at StubHub Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to the heavy influence from Keane in training, Jamieson felt ready to fill the void left by the Republic of Ireland international early in the season. 

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“(Keane's helped me) tremendously. It’s a huge compliment to him that his play is affecting guys like me. That’s the way you should be benefiting from playing with an experienced guy like that. I have to keep learning things Robbie can teach me," Jamieson told reporters after the 1-1 draw with the Red Bulls. 

“The cut (on the goal) is identical to what he’s doing in training. It’s like second nature really. I wasn’t really thinking about it."

Red Bulls manager Jesse Marsch, who previously worked with U.S. Soccer, had nothing but positive things to say about the young player. 

“When I was with U.S. Soccer, I’d go in with a lot of the national teams. I got to know a lot of the young guys. BJ was a young fringe player on the U15 team that I worked with," Marsch said.

"I spent a lot of time with that team. I like BJ a lot. He comes to training every day with a lot of energy. I think he has a big career ahead of him." 

Marsch's final line is a sentence we've heard all too often when a young United States player scores a beautiful goal early in his professional career. 

The USMNT hype train likes to latch on to young players like a leech, and it doesn't let go until the player either thrives at both levels of the game—or flames out like Freddy Adu. 

Dan Dickinson @RetirementFC

"Let's not get crazy like everybody does every time a young player does something right." - Arena on Jamieson's progression. Amen, Bruce.

While he wasn't specifically referring to all the hype surrounding him after his goal against the Red Bulls, Jamieson understood the pressure will only continue to grow as he sees more time on the pitch. 

"The next game is going to be even harder because you have expectations now," Jamieson said. "Every game after that is going to be the same kind of battle where you’re trying to impress fans and impress coaches.”

May 2, 2015; Carson, CA, USA; Colorado Rapids defenseman Michael Harrington (5) moves the ball while defended by Los Angeles Galaxy forward Bradford Jamieson IV (right) during the second half at StubHub Center. The game ended in a draw with a final score
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Impressing USMNT U20 boss Tab Ramos should be one of the only things on Jamieson's mind at the moment as the battle for roster spots is tight.

Jamieson missed out on the team's most recent training camp in Austria because of his club duties. But despite not being able to impress Ramos in person, the forward has been able to prove his worth up top for the Galaxy over the last three games. 

He is also not the only U20 player working his way into a starting lineup in MLS. Matt Miazga, Jordan Allen, Cristian Roldan, Tommy Thompson and Zach Pfeffer have all appeared for their respective sides in 2015. 

Miazga, who went head-to-head with Jamieson in Week 8, is one of Marsch's two starting center backs. Although he's faced criticism for his mistakes as a young player in a big market, Miazga has responded well to his new challenge over the first two months of the season. 

John Minchillo/Associated Press

Allen burst onto the radar in March with a goal off the bench for Real Salt Lake. The product of the RSL academy has played 263 minutes in seven matches for the Claret and Cobalt. 

Pfeffer is turning into one of the centerpieces of the Philadelphia Union midfield, while Roldan and Thompson are coming off the bench in Seattle and San Jose, respectively. 

Not only is the playing time earned by the U20 stars vital to the team's success at the U20 World Cup, it also proves the MLS academies are turning out quality products.

Four of the six players mentioned above came straight through their club's academy, while Roldan and Thompson entered the league from college. Thompson is considered a homegrown player, while Roldan starred at the University of Washington for two seasons before the Sounders selected him in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft. 

Jamieson may be receiving most of the attention right now because of his status at the club level, but he is just the first of many fresh faces ready to take the league, and potentially the world, by storm over the next few months. 

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. 

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