But, let’s keep our eye on the big picture.
When the term player development is used, what is the general context it is usually being used in? What is it that’s being visualized?
I think you know.
We are thinking and talking about the top levels: The National Teams and MLS.
Those are the products with the highest visibility. And those are ultimately the reference points for the health of our player development pipeline.
I think we can all agree those products are 2nd or 3rd rate.
So naturally, people hypothesize as to why that is.
Culture comes up over and over again
We’ve touched on some of the culture stuff before, but there’s a hell of a lot more than meets the eye.
Today let’s consider the following simple, and consequently seductive, argument:
The average American player does not play or watch enough soccer.
Yeah … true.
And people support this with a variety of reasons: Football, Basketball, Baseball, Xbox, Play Stations, Internet, Academics, etc …
Ok, I’m fine with that.
Here’s The Problem
That whole argument is framed in the wrong context.
You see, at the highest levels we aren’t concerned with the average. We are concerned (or should be anyways) with the outliers, the 3-sigma players, the top 1%.
The question is whether that select pool is watching and playing ‘enough‘.
The answer is a resounding yes!