Where do we start with this kid? When we drafted him, he was an exciting, young attacking midfielder. When he left the club, he hadn't played a competitive match in the two years he spent. He was a Generation Adidas player and certainly didn't cut the mustard in terms of playing time — but what was it keeping him from playing? Was it solely a coaching decision, or was it more about his performances in reserves matches and in training?
It seems a little counterintuitive, given that Attinella is now with the club and doing quite well, but when he was drafted by Real Salt Lake, he wasn't ready for first-team action. He went away to Tampa Bay Rowdies for two years, developed very well there, and came back to the club a good backup option — but if he'd had an opportunity to develop without leaving, his RSL career trajectory could've risen a little faster.
Of course, that's all supposition, but it's one case where we're extremely lucky to have brought the player back — but it's also one case where the player pushed hard to develop and get to the level he's at now. The best part? He keeps improving.
This one's a more recent one — 2014 — and less puzzling. Our squad restrictions were very, very tight, and Joey Dillon was a player who we didn't really have the luxury to keep around. Oddly, he was well-regarded in preseason and even seemed to sign a contract at the time, but he dropped off the radar quickly afterward and didn't end up staying at the club. He went to USL Pro side Arizona United, and he played 25 matches for them — a success, I'd say.
Having USL Pro available for a player like Dillon, who seemed rated by the coaching staff, would have helped keep him directly involved in our playing system and would've given him a chance to develop more fully.