The following was inspired by Lalo’s latest comment. He makes good points about leadership, and poses questions about the work on this blog. What follows is not intended as a full response, but I preferred to post here instead of in the comments.
On the statement: “Leadership is doing the right thing”. I agree. But one must know what the right thing is, when to initiate it, and how to execute it. That is a challenge.
Knowing the “right thing”.
Yeah, you would think USSF knows 98% of what’s discussed here (which by the way we’ve barely started), but the evidence suggests otherwise.
Please keep in mind I’m only talking from a purely soccer perspective, and not considering the business side of the sport.
Here’s just a tiny little nugget of what I mean:
Take Lalas, Harkes, Twellman, Martino, Cobi Jones, et al. and listen to their commentary. Sure they are not the executive leadership of the federation, but they are a reflection of it – they are the offspring of USSF. And guess what? The majority of what comes out of their mouths is in direct opposition to what’s written here.
But ok, let’s assume the executive suite actually has people who know what’s up.
Even if they championed something that is “right”, the worker-bees (the grassroots) not only need to buy into it, but also have the competency to execute it. And I’m telling you that the worker-bees don’t have a freakin clue! One might say that’s the work of leadership as well, but jesus there are so many details; and resources are not infinite! Don’t we need the “right people” across the lower levels of the pyramid as well? I wonder.
What are we doing here?
Let’s say 3four3 formalizes some of its stuff. Lalo asks if we will send it to USSF?
Not gonna happen.
So is it “all just hot air” then?
Well, I guess it depends on one’s perspective and goals.
For my part, I just want to do good work. Who chooses to take it seriously and who doesn’t is none of my concern.
Not your run-of-the-mill blog.
We’re on a very long-term mission fueled by a passion that won’t die. We’re not working on a typical blog here, we are building a platform. I’m not trying to be a journalist or some typical soccer blogger whose only real involvement in the sport is through writing about it from the outside.
We’re actually within the belly of the beast. We’re actually working with the talent at the youth level. We actually have, and continue to grow, our network of colleagues up through the professional level (internationally). As such, our exchanges with that network, are as colleagues. That’s far different than what a journalist/blogger participates in. While on the topic, our good friend Jordi Vinyals (head coach of L’Hospitalet) is playing today against Barca in Copa del Rey. Buena suerte Jordi! 🙂
Our youth club has a real relationship with the actual FC Barcelona and as a result enabled an American to enter their academy. And that won’t be the only kid! Our annual trips there are not as tourists.
We’re also doing things on the other end of the spectrum, transitioning amateurs to pros. We’ll have news on that front as well.
And we’re working on data curation and software development over on the analytics site.
The blog here is but a piece of our work. We’re using it as a tool to refine and make concrete what we’ve come to know, and share that in the process. It is a place where others can challenge us or contribute any way they wish. The best part is if it helps with someone’s soccer decisions – be it a parent at the grassroots, a coach at any level, a scout, or the corner office at USSF. Every little bit counts, but coming back to leadership … here’s perhaps the key:
When ignorant ideas go unchecked and dominate the discussion, it makes it that much harder for any real leadership to be effective.
I don’t know where all this will take us, or how much or how little influence it will have. What I do know, is that no one else seems to be doing it.