Earlier this week, a report broke that a Bundesliga club had interest in Cade Cowell. This will surely be the most significant transfer in Quakes’ history should it happen. There are no guarantees if this will happen, but it will likely influence this upcoming offseason.
Since making his debut for the first team, Cade Cowell has been the Quakes’ best prospect. Despite a mixed few seasons since, the potential was always going to intrigue European suitors.
With so many MLS prospects leaving the league for Europe, it’d make sense for the Quakes to cash in as well. A transfer would allow Cade to develop in a tougher league while giving the team a fee to use. At the same time, it would let the Quakes to continue the growth of their academy.
If the Quakes wanted to give Cade so more time before his move, it could benefit both parties. Cade could finetune his game more under Luchi and arrive in Europe as a more polished player. For the Quakes, this would allow them to receive a larger transfer fee while showing the great work of their development team.
Given the way the Quakes operate, cashing in on academy talents gives them the best chance at stability and success. In many ways, Cade represents the Quakes’ future, so it’s imperative that this situation is handled correctly.
Despite being one of the first MLS clubs to sign a homegrown player, the Quakes have failed to develop any player into a top quality one. Cade could be the first Quakes’ academy product to make the jump to Europe which should excite both fans and the club.
This isn’t the first time that he has received attention from European clubs, as his star has grown. It’s obvious to anyone who watches him that Cade is a unique talent that could thrive in Europe. The mixture of speed and physicality is more akin to a wide receiver than a winger.
While he has stagnated in the past few seasons, moving out of MLS could give Cade a better environment to develop in. A system where he doesn’t have to be the star and can focus on his development. Given the quality of developmental staffs across Europe, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that he could truly shine there.
For the Quakes, Cade’s transition to Europe would give them not only a transfer fee, but validation. This move would prove to the rest of MLS that their academy can have some success and that it’s not a crutch used by ownership. Before Cade, the Quakes only really had Tommy Thompson to hang their hat on, so it would be massive to see the prospect play in the top leagues of the World.
If the Quakes were to follow the model set by the Philadelphia Union, which they should, it means building up youngsters to sell to Europe and use those fees to build a team. It’s a successful model that allows teams that don’t have the financial power of the league’s richest to compete. A Cade sale could give the Quakes a nice sum to spend on a DP level winger to replace him.
Should a proper transfer fee come in for the exciting winger, the Quakes should surely mull it over and accept it. This would benefit both parties in a way that could usher in the next era of Bay Area soccer.
There is also an argument to keep him around for one more season to see what that could yield. This is a reasonable argument that has potentially good outcomes for both club and player, but is hamstrung by too much uncertainty.
Given how much his development has regressed, it makes sense to want to give Cade another shot in San Jose. It’s true that since his first season, his numbers have gone down, as he has struggled to match the intensity of MLS. His decision and play making are still not at the level of MLS which could hurt wherever he moves to.
It’s why another season as a constant starter may be the best, giving him the chance to develop these much needed skills. In addition, it would give him a chance to put his name out to some bigger teams in Europe. Allowing Cade to be able to better determine the course of his career.
For the Quakes, this would allow them to get a larger fee and have more leverage in any dealings. At the same time, should Cade tear the league up, it would further validate the work that all those involved in the academy have been doing. It may even help push other academy prospects to the first team, seeing the success of Cade.
However, the main issue underlying this argument is that next season could be even more disastrous. Cade could regress further in a system that may not suit him and his dreams of Europe could be gone. For the club, this would invalidate their academy and make it even harder for other products to make it to MLS.
While it may seem like a no-brainer for the Quakes to take any big offer from a European side, there is an argument to keep him around for one more season. However, it does come at the risk of ruining a lot of the good work already done.
Cade’s meteoric rise to MLS All Star has put the place in a unique, but positive, position. They have the chance to send one of their academy players to Europe, validating their front office’s decisions. Not many could have expected this from a Quakes team that has struggled to find any sort of success from their academy, but look at them now.
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