Rising Stars: 3 Coasting Under the Radar

Tulio de Melo

Tulio de Melo

Club: Le Mans (Ligue 1 [FRA])
Birthdate: January 31, 1985

This 22-year old Brazilian has been shipped around from Atletico Mineiro in Brazil to AaB in Denmark and now Le Mans in France over the past couple years. His production has doubled since arriving in Ligue One striking for 6 goals in 9 total appearances, putting him at 2nd on the scoring leaderboards behind the even younger Karim Benzema of Lyon. He scored 4 in the first three Ligue One games and, along with Grafite, is a big reason Le Mans sits in third this season after finishing 12th last year.

Solomon Okoronkwo


Club: Hertha Berlin (Bundesliga [GER])
Birthdate: March 2, 1987

20 years old and part of a Nigerian youth resurgence that is starting to pay dividends for leagues abroad. Okoronkwo started training with Hertha in 2005 and has slowly worked his way into the senior set-up. In 2007, he’s had 8 appearances – 6 as a sub – and has acted as the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of Germany scoring three times so far this year. Tough as nails and – occasionally a bit dirty – this guy has the work ethic of Taribo West mixed with the finishing and toughness of Yakubu. Keep an eye out as he is expected to keep his first-team spot and will surely fill in where Marko Pantelic falters. Recent news on the Nigerian.

Marcus Berg

Marcus Berg

Club: FC Groningen (Eredivisie [HOL])
Birthdate: August 17, 1986

Four goals in his first six games in the Dutch Eredivisie is either damn good luck or something special must reside in this kid. At 21-years old, he made his mark at a young age for IFK Goteborg scoring 14 goals in 17 games his last season there. That feat caught the eye of Groningen – well renowned for their eye for future talent – who snapped Berg up in the summer transfer window not for cheap but so far, well worth the $5 million spent. He was brought in to replace a prolific Luis Suarez and Berg has so far fit the bill, but those who have him on the Swedish national team radar compare him to the equally prolific, former Villan Marcus Allback who still plies his trade for his country. Further information.