Rubio Rubin has been impressing for Utrecht going into the Eredivisie winter break and is primed and ready to take the reins in the side after top scorer Ruud Boymans’ injury.

  • By Chaka Simbeye
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rubin utreRubio Rubin has ended his 2014 in fantastic form, with four assists and two goals in his last ten games. 2014 is also the year where he was signed to a four-year deal with Utrecht after being a trainee with their youth team for a season, and he made his National team debut in a friendly against Colombia at Craven Cottage. He has built quite a reputation for himself in Utrecht and America over the past few months as his performances towards the close of the year have improved.

“Rubio is one of the biggest talents from the United States,” head of player management and scouting Edwin de Kruijff said in a statement per “He is enormously talented and we had already seen this during the first training session he completed in (our training complex).

At the tender age of 18, the most impressive aspect of Rubin’s fledgling career is his adaptability as he has played in five different positions this season with extended runs at central midfield and centre-forward. Rubin is a player very comfortable with the ball at his feet and for an 18 year old possesses an amazing physique that allows him to hold of players as he dribbles past them. The US National Coach Jurgen Klinsmann sees him as a striker who can play in a partnership with Jozy Altidore as they did in a diamond 4-4-2 against Colombia. Rubin has begun to prove himself as a striker as he has had the tendency of finding himself in the right place at the right time. The Oregon native scored his first goal for Utrecht in a 5-1 away win against NAC Breda as he tapped home a rebound from a Utrecht set-piece from the far post.

It is expected that he will continue as a centre-forward with Utrecht, due to Ruud Booymans’ long-term injury. However American fans will be careful to not put too much pressure on him as the memory of Freddy Adu who recently failed a trial with AZ Alkmaar is still vivid in their memories. However strikers like Jozy Altidore and Aron Johannsson have spent some of their best years playing in the Eredivisie at Alkmaar, but it is up to Rubin to forge his own path and create his own destiny at Utrecht. Rubin has already been compared to another of America’s young talents in Julian Green who is plying his trade in the Bundesliga with Hamburg.

Former player and now commentator and soccer pundit Taylor Twellman had his say on the two in the match against Colombia,“Rubio Rubin is an 18 year old who plays like he is 25 and Green is a 19 year old that plays like he is 19,”

This is true as there is an aura of maturity around the way Rubin plays as he enjoys giving more of himself to his team and due to his physique; he is not easily muscled off the ball. Rubin is averaging two shots per game while his passing this season has been solid as 81% of his 23 passes are accurate with one of them being key per game. His goal in Utrecht’s away loss to Ajax is testament to how comfortable he is around goal as he did well to stay onside before being played in by a teammate before he casually slid a shot off the post and into the goal. Also in the game for the United States, he expertly muscled Pablo Armero, who is ten years older than him, into handling the ball and winning the USA a penalty.

Rubin along with Johannsson is certainly the USMNT’s top marksman abroad at the moment as Altidore and Green have endured disappointing half’s to their season. Rubin is one of USMNT’s top prospects but he must be careful to continue on the right path, however the fact that he has already established himself in the Utrecht first team at such a young age does provide some respite.

Chaka Simbeye (69 Posts)