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Reign in Spain changing with Barcelona's rise

Page 2 of 2 -- Spector is listed at 6 feet, 185 pounds but appears closer in size to his late grandfather, Art Spector, the first player ever signed by the NBA's Celtics in 1945. Art Spector was listed at 6 feet, 4 inches.

Jonathan Spector was spotted by Manchester United scouts when he was training with the US Under-17 national team in Bradenton, Fla.

"I was a midfielder growing up and a striker when I went to Bradenton," Spector said. "I have played left back and right back with Manchester United. With the reserves, I am playing center back, probably my best position."

Spector was raised in Arlington Heights, Ill., joined the Chicago Sockers, but never seriously considered playing in the MLS.

"Manchester United was too good an opportunity to pass up," Spector said.

Spector, 18, was an infant when his grandfather died in New York in 1987.

"I haven't been back to Boston in a while but I have relatives in Philadelphia, so we still have contact back East," Spector said. "I knew about my grandfather because we have a Celtics book from when he played and a playing card of him."

Next year's qualifiers and Gold Cup will provide a preview of the future of the US national team.

"That's what they say in America, `the young guys are the future, the young guys are the future,' " Dallas forward Eddie Johnson said. "A lot of us have international experience with the U-23 and U-20 teams. Bruce is good at bringing in the young guys and combining them with the veteran guys. There are a lot of good veterans on the team and they know how to get results on the road and at home. There is a good core of players and Bruce knows how to mix in the new guys."

Johnson departed after the match to train with Manchester United and Feyenoord in the Netherlands. Manchester United has two other US players -- goalkeeper Tim Howard and 17-year-old striker Giuseppe Rossi, both from New Jersey.

Scoring burst
Chris Cleary scored six goals for Worksop Town in three English FA Cup preliminary round matches in October, then went scoreless for three weeks after that as Worksop was eliminated from the competition. Cleary's three-goal performance in a 3-2 win over Droylsden was the first hat trick by a US player in 132 years of the FA Cup competition.

Cleary, 25, was born in Washington, D.C., then moved to Milton and performed for South Shore United in Hingham, Charles River United, Greater Boston Eagles, and Noble & Greenough. Cleary played at Boston College with former Colorado Rapids striker Casey Schmidt and Revolution midfielder Bobby Thompson, then went to Karlsruhe and SVL Ludwigswinkel in Germany. Worksop Town FC is in the Nationwide Conference North, equivalent to the sixth division.

One who got away
Nacho De Leon, who set a record for the Uruguayan First Division by stopping three penalty kicks in a game Saturday in Montevideo, played for the Revolution in the 2000 preseason. De Leon was 18 and clearly the best young prospect in the Revolution camp when coach Fernando Clavijo brought him to Fort Lauderdale, though he would have been part of a two-player deal, along with a veteran central defender. But the Revolution needed neither player immediately, as it turned out, though De Leon would have been an investment for the future.

De Leon, now playing for Fenix, saved two penalties from league-leading scorer Alexander Medina of Nacional, and also stopped Sebastian Abreu, though Abreu converted the rebound. Nacional won the match, 2-1. 

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