… they drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience.
But still, it’s an exercise in willpower to stay away. It’s hard to let ignorance, be ignorance. Sometimes you say to yourself:
maybe if I just spoke their language they might understand something
You start rationalizing:
If I don’t say anything, they’ll just continue to dominate the discussion, be lemmings, and leave thinking they actually have a clue.
Let me get a touch more specific as to what I mean by “their language“.
When a layman’s team loses, they have a reservoir of reasons/excuses ready at the hip.
You know what they are:
* The referees
* It was jetlag
* We outshot them, but …
* If we had scored that one chance, then …
* We didn’t “really care” …
I mean there’s hundreds of these woulda, coulda, shoulda’s.
And if they have to get creative, no problem. They can even go as far as to appear self-critical, but it’s a facade. MacGyver’s got nothing on them!
When their team wins, they have a reservoir of reasons for that too. Reasons that reinforce their worldview of course. Never will you hear them listing a slew of things that are wrong when the team wins 5-0.
And it’s because they are laymen.
Why don’t they reverse the roles and apply the “losing reasons / excuses” to their opponents? Hmmm …
any takeaways from Cal FC’s run? From last night’s game?
Think! Because all the monkeys out there are just doing what’s described above.
Ken Sweda says
My takeaways: I enjoyed watching CalFC play more than I did Seattle. I thought Cal tried more often to play real soccer, and when they didn’t connect it was more the result of an obvious lack of sharpness than fundamental lack of technical or tactical awareness.
Seattle scored 3 goals on a set piece, a longball knockdown to a player with pure pace, and a PK. Fairly typical of MLS play, and not the stuff I’m drawn to in watching soccer.
My final thought is I’d like to see this game again in another 3 months after Cal’s boys can practice together. I’d pay to watch them. MLS? Sorry, but no.
Dave C says
Were we watching the same game? I’m not sure you weren’t watching with anti-MLS glasses on. I personally don’t watch the MLS and prefer the national leagues of Spain, Brazil and Argentina. However while their goals didn’t all come from them Seattle had a good amount of flowing possessions that led to quality opportunities. They had a large amount of possession and were very organized in breaking up play and winning the ball back from an opponent who can do a decent job of keeping the ball.
I was watching to pull for CalFC and their style and hoping they could pull off the upset. However to take away that Seattle were playing long ball knockdown is off the mark in my opinion.
What I saw was a Seattle team that was better conditioned than Cal FC and that is as far as it goes for quality. If Cal FC had the same endurance levels as Seattle, they would have destroyed them, remember it was 0-0 at the half!? How does a top MLS team not score on a 5th tier team? Because they aren’t good. Cal FC lost their legs in the 2nd half but still played soccer. Seattle looked like a bunch of American football players who just happen to play soccer, Cal FC look like soccer players who happen to play soccer. Huge difference. Give Cal FC the budget, the facilities, fitness training, and time to prepare for games, and they would be a top MLS team. Which isn’t saying much but at least I would watch them.
Dave C says
Interesting. I by no means thought Seattle played beautiful soccer and do agree that conditioning was a big factor as I stated otherwise. However it wasn’t as if Cal FC played incredible and created chances in that 1st half either. It seems to me many watched the match with their own idea(or worldview) of how things were going to be and this slanted or tainted an objective view. That was only the second match involving an MLS team I’ve seen this season. Honestly over the past couple of seasons only RSL plays a style that I prefer. I still think Seattle was far from playing the bootball some are describing and definitely deserve some credit. I would love to see some stats from the match. I may try to find a copy of the match so I can review my own analysis as well as some others. All I see above though is excuse upon excuse.
Dave – I wasn’t accusing you of anything and I didn’t mean to sound like I was bashing your views, my bad. I get your point about the excuses, but you have to admit that the excuses are justified by the quality of play of the 2 teams. I am by no means saying Cal FC are the saviors of US soccer, but they did play better soccer than Seattle when they had the ball. They looked more comfortable and knew what they were doing. Although Seattle did put some good plays together, I simply saw their physical attributes dominating the game and not their technical prowess. The opposite is true for Cal FC, IMO. That is the issue here. Stats from this match will not matter because stats will never tell the story of quality of play. Of course Seattle will dominate the stats, they are an MLS team playing a 5th tier squad that has only played together for a month…that had to be scouted by Seattle to make sure they didn’t lose like Portland!! I find that to be very very sad.
Dave C says
I didn’t feel like you were bashing me at all. No worries. I love the blog and the ability to have discussions in detail with other people who are also crazy about the beautiful game I just feel like some of the takes on the match I’ve read, not isolated to you at all, are just a bit too far to the Seattle played kickball view.
Dave C says
It was obvious to me that Seattle were one of the first teams to have a good scouting report on Cal FC. They had actual video and Sigi used it well. Seattle knew exactly how CFC wanted to play. As a result they knew exactly where and how they wanted to pressure in order to win the ball and break up their attacks. Seattle’s pressure was very organized and in unison. Not only that but when they picked up the ball they were organized in building their own attacks with patience in order to make Cal FC work on defense instead of being able to boss the game and impose their will. Which really was CFC’s only chance in hell. Playing possession themselves was a great way to even further impose of their greatest overall advantage, fitness. Fitness wasn’t their only advantage though. Seattle were playing some good football last night in dealing with the opponent in front of them. Well done to them.
Lasting image for me: Coach / Manager handshake after the match. Wynalda alone engulfed in about six Seattle coaches.
Seattle had the resources, knowledge, and presumable expertise to scout, analysis, and devise a game plan. It was evident. The defensive pressure by Seattle, and then (at times) them trying to keep possession were the keys.
Dave C says
That was an image that stood out to me as well. For me it was also about the clear respect that you could see from those coaches towards Wynalda. They obviously took his thrown together squad very serious and I’m sure have admiration for what he’s accomplished. Of course Seattle’s coach was the guy willing to give Wynalda a chance back in the day. Something I think Wynalda is trying to give back to some of the Cal FC guys that deserve a shot.
Paul H says
That may have been out of respect, but if my memory serves me correctly Wynalda played for Sigi while at UCLA. It may just be that they all knew each other. I was not aware of this discussion when watching the game and honestly I only saw the last 60 minutes of the game, but it really never looked like CalFC was in the game. I also saw Wynalda giving credit to Seattle for some quality goals on the sideline.
I think Gary is right when he pointed out that this run wasn’t about Cal FC (before the title of that post got changed to refer to the USSF cockroaches).
What was it about?
Wynalda stated recently that US Soccer talent now outweights coaching talent in the US. It would appear. I think that is true and that is what this is the biggest takeaway here.
And of course that refers to MLS.
Player selection – Why are these Cal FC not in contract at any level? Are we choosing technically inferior players purposefully because we value the physical ‘measurables’ more highly? Or is the MLS scouting system incapable of differentiating technical quality. Probably the former, but why? There is no way the Cal FC guys aren’t at least reserve quality within MLS.
Player Development – Regardless of the selection criteria, why aren’t the technical qualities of players immersed in a professional environment improving? Or maybe the MLS sides have some technical quality that is being ‘hidden’ due to tactics and style of play in the league. I think this is the case. On Portland, players like Chara, Nagbe, and Songo’o have shown some technical quality and creativity on occasions, but the style and tactics really dictate play awar from them or place them in limited roles. This is not uniform across MLS. Some coaches have a good track record for player development – players under Kinnear at Houston, for example, have shown consistent improvement year to year. There is just not enough of this. Players under Nowak, Arena, and Spencer, and Backe for example, have shown little improvement in recent years.
Style and Tactics – This is also not uniform across MLS, but I disagree you can’t find entertaining style of play at all in MLS. You see some teams emphasizing route 1 and set pieces. You also see some teams upgrading technical skills across the starting XI and pursuing a possession style. RSL has done a pretty good job in that regard. New England coach Jay Heaps has shown a promising start in that regard – the midfield of Nguyen, Kelyn Rowe or (Cardenas), and Feilhaber is entertaining to watch. When that offense get some time together, the forward line of Sene plus Moreno with Nguyen, Rowe, and Feilhaber in the midfield line will be entertaining. Heaps is still using a destroyer, but it is worth noting he also pulled a Bielsa and converted a defensive midfielder to central defense, and the distribution from the back is greatly improved as well.
But even so, the problem in US Soccer isn’t really about MLS vs. Cal FC. And I think Wynalda’s comments about the deficiencies of the US Soccer pool are reflected more in at the youth level than at the professional level.
The path forward to improving on that front is exactly what Brian and Gary are doing – playing the right way without shortcuts, emphasizing a fostering technical and creative qualities within a possession style of play, and beating other teams while doing it.
When other teams see they not only are they getting beat, but because of the developmental shortcuts and misplaced priorities, they are betting inferior coaching along the way – they will demand more.
Pay for play sucks, but in the near term it is a reality of the youth soccer landscape. But the thing that really sucks is that the quality of soccer education that parents are paying (a lot) of good money for is inferior. When they see the reality that despite the investment, the vast majority of US club teams have zero chance of producing a professional-level player (or maybe in their view that their kids are falling behind in the fight for those college athletic scholarships), they won’t stand for that. People will demand a new approach, and start new clubs and get new coaches if necessary, if they see the need.
Cal FC was never going to make that happen. They never could. The changes we need to pursue and support are at the foundation of the game, at the youth level, and I hope that those baby steps are already in process.
“Cal FC was never going to make that happen. They never could. The changes we need to pursue and support are at the foundation of the game, at the youth level, and I hope that those baby steps are already in process.”
Yes!!! at the YOUTH LEVEL –exactly.
Cal FC just demonstrated what is possible with regular, untrained players who never practiced seriously as a team. They were never designed to make it from the beginning. It was a flawed experiment to win the Open Cup but a great experiment to demonstrate to US soccer what is possible.
Everything starts at the youth level. Expand the player development pyramid and the top will follow. Get smart, intelligent coaches at the youth level and the monkeys at the top will all fall down.
Monkey see monkey do is not acceptable anymore…It never was.
Another thing wrong with our beloved sport. The writers…
Was this guy watching the same game?
“The first half was uneventful, as Seattle controlled possession, but could not break through. Cal FC wisely chose to place most of their team in their half of the field, as they could not solve the Sounders’ defense in the rare occasions they were able to get the ball to the offensive end. Seattle kept possession and kept attacking, giving Cal FC keeper Derby Carirllo much more of a workout than he faced against the Portland Timbers last week.”
Anyone with any sort of smarts could have noticed that Seattle played the same way as Portland did the week previous. Same broken system trying the same broken things. Their only good chance came from a nicely place roller back post that missed just wide. Very similar to Portland’s only decent chance. Seattle had little to no possession of the ball until about 5 left and even that was pretty uneventful. Cal FC choose to play possession at the mid line and pick and choose their attack. Again like the Portland game being patient and mindful of their opponents tactics.
About the PK.
“Osvaldo Alonso shot it hard to the bottom left, and Carrillo did everything he could to get a hand on it, but couldn’t stop the ball from going into the left-side bottom corner to finally put the home side up.”
By the way previous to that comment the writer, Mr. Alwin, states that Seattle earned the PK. Since when is a mental error of a hand ball in the box earning a PK? Carrillo did everything he could to get a hand on it?? Makes the goalie sound like he was completely out matched! How about the keeper made the right decision on the PK, got more than a hand to it, but because of the pacey ball that Alonso hit it found its way to the back of the net.
About goal two.
“Open Cup hero Fredy Montero received a gorgeous pass from Cordell Cato off an interception, and slotted the ball past Derby at the 58-minute mark to double the lead.”
Cato should be the one receiving praise here not Montero. Cato out paced the Cal FC player and played a dream ball that anyone backwoods sports fan could have put away. Also slotted? I think if I remember correctly there was quite the collision and ball, by simple laws of physics, had no other choice but to go in the direction of the goal.
“Andy Rose, who had opened up the scoring against the Atlanta Silverbacks the previous week, was once again the right man at the right time, as he headed a ball in from close range after the ball popped up out of a crowd in front. It was his second goal of the campaign in the 65th minute.”
Mr. Alwin here makes Andy Rose seem like a golden haired goal scoring god. The tall lanky Englishman closed his eyes when the ball got close to his head by a lofty header in a scrum of confusion that put just enough redirection on the ball to keep Carrillo grounded.
“Just three minutes later, Montero struck again. Off a free kick, far outside of the box, he arced the ball over the wall, and the rebound bounced right past Carillo and into the goal to put the Sounders at 4-0.”
Rebound or not Cal FC could have done better with this one.
This is the only goal worth talking about. Alonso hit one heck of a shot. Though if you are getting paid to play any sort of professional sport I hope you are able to hit something of that quality with that much space 90% of the time. Regardless, that shot beats most keepers worldwide.
At the end of the day we need sports writers to be honest and up front with their writing. I want to know the real story. I want to know that the first half was mainly controlled by Cal FC and that Seattle didn’t wake up and start using some natural, speed, and direct soccer to beat their opponent. I want to know that the start of the second half had some promise for another great chess match only to be pushed away because of a mental error, hand ball in the box. A bit of youngster enthusiasm to equalize got the better of Cal after the second goal and from there the only thing that can be done is to attack. Even in distress Cal’s attacks were better formulated that Seattle’s. Cal built while Seattle just played kick ball to Cato. This style of soccer often results in big wins/losses.
Well, you won last night America. You got what you wanted. Excitement, seats filled, and beers sold. 5-0 bad guys. 1-0 bad sports writers.
Dave C says
How many actually took the time to read what Gary wrote in this blog entry? Hmmm?
I was only commenting on the amount of poor sports reporting so please don’t take what I have written as excuses. I just want to see good honest writing that expresses how the game was actually played.
Ken Sweda says
I think this is probably the best way to restate what my thoughts are: CalFC has a much higher ceiling than what they showed last night, both on the scoreboard and in their actual execution. Given some actual training and fitness, they’d give any MLS club a run for their money, and in a style that I’d pay to watch. Seattle is what it is, and they did what they should do under the circumstances. Do they play better, and in a better style, than many (most) MLS teams? Probably. But If I had to commit to season tickets to Seattle today, or a CalFC after they’ve gotten proper training, it’s Cal FC for me.
John Pranjic says
Here is what I took away…
MLS/USMNT scouting continues to disappoint me. We look in all of the wrong places for all of the wrong things. ONE of the goals of MLS… whether they want to accept it or not… SHOULD be to produce quality national team prospects for the UNITED STATES! In my opinion, they’re doing a better job of bringing in young talent from other countries because they feel like that type of talent doesn’t exist here.
NEWSFLASH! IT FUCKING DOES!
Tell me why you need to fill rosters with foreign “talent” when you have the same or better quality here already. Hmmm… Is it because you want it to appear like you’re scouting? You want it to appear like you know something that someone else doesn’t about players in this foreign region? No. It’s because you’re a jackass that can’t figure out how to please or coach players like the Barerra boys or Richie Menjivar.
And how do you let players like this get swooped up by other countries when they hold US citizenship? I actually don’t know how we continue to do that. That’s a question better suited for Bob Bradelys, Bruce Arenas, Jurgen Klinnsmans and all of the other idiots under the US Soccer umbrella.
But it’s not just these Cal FC guys. There are hundreds of Barerra’s and Menjivar’s out there. If MLS wants to scout “foreign” players, they should look for the 16 and 17 year old kids who are playing with their dads, brothers, and cousins on Sundays. You want to talk about butt’s in seats? Imagine if you signed a kid that’s a star of his mens league! Fuck. You just got an entire community, inside of our borders, and all of his family abroad, to support your team! Wow. Check that out. MLS ratings just boosted. Go figure!?
I like the story about Wynalda going to scout a kid and then getting distracted by a different guy playing 1v1 between the fields while wearing no shoes. That’s a fucking scout! Someone who can recognize real talent! How many Englishmen with a clipboard does it take to find that same player? Again, I’m not sure. US Soccer/Cal South/every “respectable” youth organization has an abundance of those guys with funny accents, though…
I’m getting off topic. I think I got my point across, though.
“Tell me why you need to fill rosters with foreign “talent” when you have the same or better quality here already.”
Well…because the coaching staff can go vacation in foreign countries while they scout for players!
Who the hell wants to go to South Central LA, crime infested Oakland, dirty DC to look for players???
John Pranjic says
I like the way you think, young man.
I will readlily admit that I am a novice as I only began learning the game in the last few years as my sons have become more passionate. With that being said, I was a bit disappointed in what I saw from Cal FC. Maybe I was expecting too much from an amatuer side but I saw a group of guys trying to play “the right way” that appeared to lack the physical and technical ability to carry it out.
I know that scouting in this country is effed up but the notion that going out to find Latino kids playing pick up as the final answer is pretty naive as well. There’s an old scouting saying that goes something like, “you find player’s where you find players”. Should US Soccer Scouts be out there looking for the kid playing Sunday ball with his friends and family? Of course but here are plenty of damn good American Club(some even white or black…gasp) players that are growing up with a ball on their foot that just need someone to show them how the game is supposed to be played. Once they experience the game that way, they become hooked. This is slowwly starting to happen across the country…Give it time. The US is already sending vastly more talent abroad than ever before and it will continue to grow.
Also, Some of you guys are talking like the scouts missed on a bunch of Messi’s or Iniesta’s here. Danny Berrera was in the US Residency program and played at UC Santa Barbara. It wasn’t a lack of exposure or scouting that did him in. The Barrera’s and Menjivar’s of the world got passed over because they are slow. They may have a natural feel for the game and outstanding technical ability but they will consistently fail when placed in competition with a bigger, faster, and stronger player that grew up with the same feel and technical ability. Those bigger, players are out there….They end up in Europe.
Do a few of the Cal FC boys have the natural, technical, and physical ability to play in the MLS? Sure, but who gives a shit about the MLS? Making the MLS is not the goal. If you are a top level American talent and you end up in the MLS than something went really fucking wrong.
something went really fucking wrong….
did something go wrong with the player, or did something go wrong with the MLS? Or did something go wrong in a corner office somewhere?
You are digging into some interesting stuff here.
1) You dropped some truth about the Cal FC thing. The run they went on exposed some systemic issues in US Soccer, but the narrative that those guys are overlooked superstars is way overplayed – they look like useful reserve league players with potential vs. MLS starters to me.
Like I said, Portland has players that are technically superior to Cal FC, they just watch the ball fly over their heads or zip up the flanks around them … a lot. The problem in MLS is as much coaching and refereeing than it is technical quality, maybe more so. Even the most technical player in the world will boot it up the field mindlessly or ‘whip it in the box’ if that is what John Spencer tells him to do.
2) Some people look at the current system and hone in on the fact that talented kids are being overlooked and/or are denied access to the club system because of pay-for-play.
Other people look at the current system and hone in on the fact that the club environment is turning players into robots with limited tactical skill or soccer IQ.
Both are terrible problems, both must be solved to move US Soccer to an elite level, and contrary to the conventional wisdom both of these problems affect white, latino, black (plus asain, native american and any other race you can think of) to some degree.
3) If you are a top US talent and you are in MLS at some point in your career, that means something went wrong? Not sure about that. I’m inclined to think that MLS was a useful stepping stone for some players in the US pool – Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore come to mind. I’m hopeful that in 5 years or so we might say the same about Gil and Salgado.
John Pranjic says
You might have been expecting the wrong things.
Pick the game apart. Look at every touch. Forget about the score… What do you see?
Too slow? No way. Tired legs- maybe. But I am sure that Cal FC players won’t be blaming anything on fitness.
John Pranjic says
And don’t just look at Cal FC. No, no, no.
MLS is a perfectly fine destination for a lot of players and it could be much better. That is what has been exposed. Everything could be and should get better.
The hypothetical bar has been raised by the Bad News Bears of soccer.
Maybe I was a little harsh in my assessment about ending up in the MLS. It’s a worthy goal for most young American players. I was referring to the elite level talents needing to go overseas. I don’t believe that Dempsey, Altidore, or Bradley benefited from playing in the MLS over the training they would have received in a more competitive league.
As I mentioned before…I’m a relative novice to the game and I really didn’t care who won, The vast majority of Seattle’s success in the game was bullshit. However, I have learned to watch a player’s first touch, spatial awareness, and ability to see the field and act quickly on it. What I saw was as many bad first touches as good ones, poor spacing about half the time, and a general lack of explosion from the Cal FC boys. I also saw a bit of panic in them when high pressure was applied. I don’t want to knock them too hard as they are an effing amateur team thrown together a few months ago trying to play the most difficult style of football there is. They did great….I was just getting annoyed with all the references at how the scouting world was so blind to miss them. I was only able to see them this one game so maybe they did have heavy legs but nobody jumped off the screen as being an overlooked talent to me.
I don’t think there is a one-size fits all formula for development. MLS acts as a great stepping stone for some players, while the right fit in Europe is better for others.
Undoubtedly, the coaching and training environment at a big name club is better.
But … the road to the first team is very long at big name clubs. Even at the lower levels there is a bottleneck in terms of the number of players vs the playing opportunities.
There is also the issue of adapting to a different culture – easier for some players than others – you have to remember we are talking about pre-teens and teens.
I don’t think you can uniformly state MLS is always better or worse. Look at players like Stu Holden or Clint Dempsey and the improvement they made while in MLS. It was a beneficial stepping stone for them.
I think what we can probably agree on is that the quality of MLS as a development outlet varies widely across MLS teams and currently MLS isn’t a good end destination for a player aspiring to be elite.
I was at the game last night and wish I could convey how electric the atmosphere was in the first half. Although they were outmatched in speed and Sigi had clearly developed a plan to win by swarming key players, CalFC’s touches on the ball were silken. Completely unlike anything I have seen from an MLS team. I’m probably below novice (a postulant maybe?) in tactical analysis but I must comment that the Sounders played completely differently and much better than any other game I have seen them in. It is hard to articulate but this was not the same team I saw hauling the ball back and forth against the Columbus Crew two weeks ago. Several others have commented that they would pay to see CalFC as an MLS team. I would go to many more games if the Sounders were consistently forced to up their game like they did in the first half last night.
I was told once. If you want to achieve success you have to surround yourself with like-minded individuals.
Leaders surround themselves by leaders.
Revolutionaries surround themselves by revolutionaries.
Inventors surround themselves by inventors.
Geniuses surround themselves by geniuses.
Idiots surround themselves by idiots.
Cal FC was more exciting to watch. They had some cool moves that pissed off Sounders players who inturn resorted to “dirty” play. Unfortunately Cal FC players were smaller and not as athletic to withstand 90min.
Remember what I said about soccer coaches looking like “soccer coaches”. Most probably dismissed it. Check it out again!
Seattle Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid, right, greets Cal FC head coach Eric Wynalda before a U.S. Open Cup fourth-round soccer game, Tuesday, June 5, 2012, in Tukwila, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Eric Wynalda looks like a soccer manager ie Guardiola, Mourinho, di Matteo. Sigi Schmid could make a good Santa Claus.
I guess now wouldn’t be a good time to bring up Bielsa and his common sweatshirt and sweatpants on the sideline attire, would it? Next Oscar is going to tell us how good of a dancer Wynalda is … haha watch!
Are you a monkey?
I totally forgot. Maybe Waldo could throw down to Run DMC. He seems to have the moves.
And right on cue Oscar makes my prediction true … so who’s the monkey?
I am still a little curious about the Eric Wynalda love all of a sudden. True his Bad News Bears experiment opened some eyes about player selection qualities and scouting in our country in general. What if we had polled this very audience 4 months ago about Mr Wynalda and his true futbol knowledge?
I guarantee you that the CalFC lovers would have bashed his brains in on said poll.
So why is he all of a sudden a hero when he would have been brutally massacred on this site months ago? Am I wrong? Did I miss the post about Wynalda’s brilliance all along?
Hey PimpDaddy…is your motto Hoes Before Bros?
I don’t know much about Wynalda but if he is on a mission to fix US soccer than he gets my support. I’m all for being different and unique. If people don’t like it well then that’s too bad.
I’ll give you a bold prediction so you don’t have to poll anyone. Just remember this.
“Canada produced a stunning 2-0 win in an Olympic qualifier.”
“Canada impressive in friendly draw with U.S.”
Dutch Soccer Academy in Toronto.
Here it is MONKEYS. Canada will produce elite soccer players faster than the US in the next decade if you don’t stop monkeying around!!!
Dave C says
Oscar, sometimes I agree with you and others I’m amazed at how far you stretch for a correlation of events.
1. What in the hell does this youtube video have to do with the Canada U-23 qualifier and recent friendly results? Do you know of players from that Academy on either of the teams? Also, there are similar setups here in the U.S. already.
2. While I agree that Samba has a huge factor in the style of the Brasilian player I’m still laughing at your inclusion of the Dutch and a few others in your analysis of dance on football.
But isn’t it fun trying to connect Oscar’s dots!
Dave C, I agree is it funny making these strange connections. Very early on I disclosed I was crazy. But check this out the results are evident in the KIDSSSSSSSSSSSSS. I don’t give a fuck what works as long as the players are improving and kicking ass against big, rich, suburban soccer clubs.
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
“I don’t give a fuck what works as long as the players are improving and kicking ass against big, rich, suburban soccer clubs.” -OSCAR-
Wow try and wrap your head around that sentence y’all! As far as my question above it is a little amusing to see many on this site that are in the ALL or NOTHING mode. Does everybody here truly think that every player, administrator, coach, assistant, developmental player etc … in MLS is garbage? And at the same time that all the CalFC players are the elite? The CalFC experiment brought to light some of our player evaluation flaws and scouting flaws. Technique over size and speed needs more weight for sure. North-South soccer is behind the times by about 40 years. The pay to play system is majorly flawed.
As far as Oscar goes … well he is special. I would like to call it -Stupid as shit … like a FOX. He has an uncanny talent for connecting the most obscure dots and making them inseparable eternal partners in his mind.
Oscar would like to let his basketball team know that their practice is canceled for the month. In the place of practice the whole team will eat large amounts of fried chicken and watermelon. Everybody knows that every great bball player loves fried chicken and watermelon, so it is obvious that this is the key to being a BALLER. If you don’t believe me this youtube video will convince you:
Dave C says
It’s all good Oscar. I’m with you on a lot of things. I just don’t find any correlation between that academy and those 2 results. I also agree that dance can be a good thing for soccer players. I just don’t think the Dutch style of player has any correlation to dance at all. If you can stretch that far there is just as much or more of a dancing influence in the U.S. The idea of certain types of dance being a positive for soccer players is something we definitely agree on though.
Tyler Dennis says
A couple points in support of Oscar and Dutch style player:
Brillian Orange: “Rudi Van Dantzig of the Netherlands Ballet draws this parallel: ‘Before the sixties, people were interested in theatre and music and literature, but not dance. And then all of a sudden came this intense interest in bodily virtuosity: in football and dance. ”
Dennis Purperhart, ‘…there are a lot of Surinam kids in the Dutch team, people are for Holland and for Brazil…”.
“The Surinam connection is now vital to the Dutch game.”
“Surinamese players marry the Brazilian South American style to cooler and more Dutch qualities.”
Surinamese players… Ruud Gullit, Rijkaard, Vanenburg, Davids, Seedorf, Kluivert..
Dave C says
That is one of my favorite books. However I’m still not buying the parallel between Smba and the Dutch ballet. Samba is something everyone in Brazil knows. It’s not the same with Ballet in the Netherlands. Also, Oscar referenced house or techno style music in Holland. Hip hop is huge in the United States. Dancing shows are now as well.
The parallel isn’t between Dutch ballet and Samba… it’s just a Dutch ballet guy making the quote…
There are many ways to look at rhythm and coordination… both completely necessary to be good at soccer… how do you get that rhythm and coordination is something else. Are you just learning it in the context of soccer or are you reaching outside yourself and acquiring it through another pursuit (sampling), such as dance, gymnastics, martial arts, boxing… I think the fact that the Brazilians (Surinamese-Dutch) have samba(esque) intertwined into their culture so intimately only means that when the kids don’t have a ball glued to their feet they are dancing – which improves their rhythm/coordination and comfort with how their body moves. Its a cycle of reinforcement (culture). Sorry for getting off topic…
Do you want a team full of these dorks?
A teacher must find every way possible to teach their students. If a players lacks agility, balance, rhythm, time & space coordination, it is your job to teach it. If you don’t or can’t teach it then get out the way.
Oscar… I found another feather for your cap considering music and playing.. maybe you can tie the two together for the warm-up and those times you are having the kids work on some technique things:
“Hearing familiar, favorite music stimulates the release of dopamine, the neurotransmitter involved in pleasure and addiction, providing the same rush as eating chocolate or that winning does for a compulsive gambler, says neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, who was able to observe the process using fMRI scans in his lab at McGill University in Montreal.” – Wall Street Journal article
My kids started playing music and just doing fun things with the ball in the back yard… “dancing with the ball” – fun to watch and great to see the creativity that oozes out of them… something that doesn’t happen as much without the music playing…
John Pranjic says
I remember reading the transcript from Wynaldas appearance at the NSCAA convention in… January? I remember reading bits and pieces of his thoughts over the last couple of years and seeing/hearing him talk on FSC. Personally- I’m too young to really remember his glory days, but I’ve appreciated his dialogue for a couple of years now. I’m not saying he is the cure. A dose of guys like him and the players he found are definitely a better medicine than what we’re currently being injected with.
Danny M says
Wynalda has a lot of opinions (I agree with some, & disagree with others) but without vocal guys like him, there would be no dialogue at all.
Some of the “sent off” podcasts he is involved in are actually pretty good.
As a Galaxy fan, this season has been more than rough. I think Arenas has become too comfortable in his job. They need to let him go and pick up Wynalda as HC
Brian Kleiban says
Pablo Cruz anybody? Little pablito wasn’t anything spectacular last night but the subtleties in his game are ridiculous. He looks like Andres Iniesta in comparison to all the junk on the MLS rosters. If you don’t see it, you are blind! Problem is nobody in the league has the balls to select a player like that….much less put him on the field.
The other problem is if you do put him on the field with 10 robots, he will not be effective since he’s speaking a completely different language then the donkeys on the field. Poor pablito! I also feel for the hundreds of pablito’s around the country who if selected and rostered in MLS, fizzle out because the guys that make decisions are clueless and cannot use them or surround them with similar talent to play real futbol.
Admittedly, I only got to watch the Portland game and I didn’t get to watch last night. My snap impressions – the two players that stood out to me were Alberto Navarro and Danny Barrera. Pablo Cruz was in the mix also although he had some trouble finding the game.
Can you give some examples of ‘subtleties’ of the game? The first tier things to look for is somewhat obvious – first touch, off-the-ball movement. But what are the advanced things and experienced eye looks for?
Rob A says
First touch. Yes. Off the ball movement. Yes.
Body shape: where are they facing so they can see the big part of the field and make playing their first touch more effective.
Scanning: Great players are always “taking pictures”. Xavi, Sneijder, Fabregas—watch them, they are always looking around looking for space and planning ahead.
Passing quality: passes have four attributes: height, weight, direction/location, and spin. Good players can and give their passes the correct dose of each.
“…he will not be effective since he’s speaking a completely different language…”
Nailed on the head!!
Are we waiting for the enlightened MLS owner that has the good taste, guts, patience but also the passion and savvy to put together the right technical staff and demand the right product?? Do you see this coming anytime soon?
It Is easy to blame the good old boys Anglo-Saxon club, but why hasn’t that happened yet with Chivas USA??
At some point there was talk of Barca getting an MSL franchise…
Is that uniformly true though?
I thought Lee Nguyen was really going to struggle in MLS. He sure isn’t bigger, stronger, faster – he is 0 for 3 on those. His strengths are much more on the technical side.
And initially he did look to struggle – getting cut by Vancouver after a short trial. Then he got picked up for a second shot at New England. New coach, poor recent team performance. But now 1/3 of the way through the season, Nguyen is part of a 3-man attacking midfield line along with Feilhaber and Kelyn Rowe that is dynamic, fluid, and technical. And none of the three are bigger, stronger, faster.
Right now RSL is the leader, with New England making the transition, and Toronto brought in an Ajax guy to try to put in “Total Football” from top to bottom, including a major development academy investment, but even so Toronto is just doing a terrible job of execution and note making any strides.
The teams committing to attractive, flowing soccer are few, but the trend is slowly moving in that direction.
Why does it matter? Well, this article is about excuses.
If we say, a guy with this skill-set and style of play can’t fit in MLS, despite demonstrable evidence that there are cases, albeit few, that contradict that assumption, then we are back to just making excuses.
Nuno, I always thought the main purpose of Chivas USA was to develop US players for the real CD Chivas. I am surprised that has not happened.
Chivas does have Miguel Ángel Ponce from Sacramento, CA who is just a beast on the field. He should be awesome to watch if he goes to the London Olympics for the US…huh sorry I meant MEXICO.
“Ponce is aware he might one day have to choose between his native land and the country he calls home, but U.S. Soccer, to his knowledge, hasn’t inquired about him, and he’s not yet on Mexico’s radar. “
He was the most talented player on the field again Portland and skated past their midfielders just like Iniesta. No crazy moves, just read the defenders and take the ball away from pressure at the right time.
Amen to that….even at much younger levels. You put one great, right-thinking, player on the field with 7 other kids with no clue, same result. If those other kids aren’t moving the way he knows they should, nothing happens, his passes get intercepted and he loses faith in the others. The lone ranger is then left to make moves he knows he shouldn’t in order to try to make a play. The entire team then decompensates into kickball, and the probably lose. Then, in a final ignorant insult, the parents present walk away saying things like, “that kid obviously isn’t that good because his team lost.” Sound familiar?
Rob A says
I’m not in an MLS locker room but I’ll hazard a guess that it’s a little bit of what you see in youth soccer these days: “Coaches” who played college ball who just replicate the misguided environments that got them to the levels they achieved.
It’s easy when you’ve played at a “high level” to overlook the fact that players only have decent (not great) technical ability and that their Soccer IQ is pretty low. It’s human nature, we look for people that look the part more than actual ability. I think what Barca does so well these days is that they’ve seen true soccer players and they don’t get caught up in appearances.
Tyler Dennis says
Here is the problem with MLS and the soccer structure in the U.S. An Eric Wynalda or a Brian Kleiban can’t field a club team, develop players and win promotion into the top level. So, how does the “cream” rise to the top?
I’m sorry, but it takes time to really assess a player and figure out where and how you can fit them into a system of play – especially when there are subtleties – Pablo Cruz… you could see it, his deft touches, the way he opens up, the shift of his hips, the perfectly weighted pass – but you also saw him lose the ball, get pushed off the ball – you need to be able to see where on the field that happens – is it happening because he was fed a bad pass, didn’t have options because a team mate didn’t move, or was he in a good spot to try and make something happen with a dribble. The “monkeys” see he got pushed off the ball and lost possession – not why? There were a couple players like this, although I don’t know their names.
At the end of the day it takes a lot more knowledge, patience and vision to create a team like Barcelona.. they weren’t built in a season. Much easier to build Madrid or Chelsea when you buy the talent and bam… Championships in a couple of years.
MLS isn’t formed from grassroots development… it was get a group of rich people together and buy talent… just now, after what, 16-17 years, are they putting in Academies to develop homegrown talent? Completely backwards to build what “we” would like to see on the field.
Gary, nice choice of title. We could be a GREAT soccer nation if we would only get out of our own way. There is no excuse for failing to compete at the elite level. There are definitely reasons we fail but NO excuses.
Ampai transferred to a team in Thailand due to lack of playing time. What a shame. Just another example of MLS executives dropping the ball.
My impressions – Only seen a bit of Cal FC play but they seem very comfortable on the ball and like to play square or back to draw defenses in before exposing them. Seattle seemed ready for this and sat in passing lanes defensively or forced the play forward. Meaning they wanted Cal FC to run at them.
Probably because Sigi knew they were superior physically and wouldn’t be able to break them down as easily that way. It became less of a match and more of a track meet. Or typical US soccer – especially at the youth level.
On a similar note…
We are stuck in the mindset of ‘when in doubt go with the guy who can recover from his crappy first touch because we don’t know how to develop players who have a decent enough first touch or the confidence to utilize it in pressure situations for fear of making the mistake that gets them yanked’.
And it’s getting old.
To me it starts at the youth level. Pick any of the ‘top’ youth clubs in America. Any. And at most I bet what you see is this:
The ‘top’ coaches or ‘directors’ all ‘coach’ the top teams in the older age groups. They have turned what started as mom-and-pop run organizations into massive conglomerates that many Fortune 500 CEOs would be impressed with. Well probably not impressed, but maybe amused.
The truth is the most important players that probably need the best coaches are at the youngest levels. But those players just get collected and the ones that help us ‘win’ are picked and pushed up to the ‘top’ teams and ‘coaches.’ And the ‘young’ coaches don’t get the money or props or recognition or whatever because they’re not winning regional, national championships or whatever.
Until we get our best coaches at the youngest age groups and focus on technique and understanding how to use that technique in tactical situations (ie skill) it won’t change.
“The truth is the most important players that probably need the best coaches are at the youngest levels. ”
Right on! Young players have not been corrupted.
So….at our small club in the middle of nowhere USA, I happen to coach our U8/9/10 Academy Girls teams. Our DOC coaches the U11 teams (both boys and girls). We certainly are trying to get the right type of coaching that the youngest possible ages.
I do have a question to the group, and hoping for some good discussion. I coach the kids the first time that they decide to not play “Parks and Rec” anymore….therefore, I get a blank canvas as most players have have not been taught much at all about the game.
My question is on that first season or two, what should be the coaching focus? I have tended to focus mostly on dribbling, composure and comfort on the ball, and specific techniques of dribbling, receiving, and striking the ball…with a move toward possession by the time that they are U10. I have recently started to think of how I might want to change my program this upcoming fall season when I get a brand new “batch” of 8 / 9 year olds that are eager and willing to learn anything I throw at them.
What are your recommendations of where to start? (and remember, I will have all types of abilities…..we are “Academy” style…with no try-outs or team selections at this young age).
You are definitely on the right track. It is SO important for kids to FIRST fall in love with the ball and be comfortable on the ball in small spaces. Working on technical skills at this age group is crucial because they are golden years of skill acquisition. It’s also fun for them if done properly. Small sided games (2 v 2, 3 v 3, 4 v 4- no keeper) with different variations is important. It is a mistake to try to teach one touch at this age group. In order to eventually play one touch possession successfully a player has to have the underlying touch/skills/moves first and feel comfortable with a ball at their feet. NO KICK AND RUN!
Tyler Dennis says
I think you are starting in the right place – comfort on the ball… lots of small sided games of 1v1 and 2v1 to 4 goals. Build the game slowly for them while they are learning to take care of the ball…
In related news, MLS takes a step back. After reports of conflict between internal groups supporting the 4-3-3 Ajax system vs a group described as MLS ‘pragmatists’ (led by Englishman Paul Mariner) Toronto parts way with Head Coach and former Ajax man Aron Winter.
Parting ways with Winter might not be a bad idea – he has shown the right intent but poor execution. But the next logical step if committed to the top-to-bottom changes they have put in place is to look for a replacemtn with similar mindset.
Instead, the job is handed to the next MLS pragmatist in line, Paul Mariner. Wonder what becomes of that $20M investment in a Total Football driven academy?
Ken Sweda says
One of my twitter followers mentioned that Paul Mariner played with many a Dutch player at Ipswich back in the day, which is a roundabout way of saying “don’t write him off as a typical English dump-and-chase coach.”
Had I responded, it would have been to remind him that Mariner has been in MLS for a good long while now, and certainly long enough for his Anglo-centric football ideas to come raging back.
Deep down inside I feel that there are many idiot monkeys on 3Four3. I haven’t been around much but it seems that we are all just running around in circles. The information from 2009 is not much different than 2012. Nonetheless, I will continue to get as much knowledge as possible before moving on with my quest to enlightenment.
Gary Kleiban says
I use many methods to chase off the monkeys. Part of this site’s positioning is with that intent.
Now, while there are certainly monkeys still here, I believe many of them may be of a different species. 🙂 I believe they suspect they have a ton of things to learn. That there’s a ton of things they have not considered.
Anyways, as far as “running around in circles” goes …
Yes and no.
You must know that the road to understanding and learning is not linear!
It is a recurring process in exploration of a topic through as many angles as possible. What may seem like repetition, in most cases isn’t. And even if it is, that’s a huge part of the learning process. One must venture into every nook and cranny of the SAME IDEA for years, decades even!
It’s a huge mistake to think otherwise.
I hope you can receive value here my man, but if you come to the conclusion you’ve outgrown our home, then you must absolutely move on. In fact, it’s critical! I can only hope you’ll come back and share what you’ve learned elsewhere.
Dr Loco aka Oscar says
It’s time to re-invent myself. THANK YOU.
When I look at your posts from early days of this blog, they were really informative. Made me think about “development”, educated me, and made me consider things about our current system that could improve. For example, “What is an Elite Player”; “Maturing Early”; “Work Ethic”; “To Specialize or Not to Specialize”; and so on . . . .
I realize all posts can be related to “Soccer Development Through Education”, but hope you can provide more posts along that vain.
Gary Kleiban says
You got it. Thank you for the feedback Kana!
I will make it a point to publish that type of foundational work more regularly.
Back to ‘basics’. 🙂
Let me first say I thoroughly enjoy this blog and the many like-minded, or otherwise, opinions flowing through the posts. Checking the site has become a daily “healthy” obsession and the content is refreshing and inspiring. I too share this unwavering belief that a possession based, rhythmic, flowing style is truly how the game is meant to be played and is massive, no crucial, for complete development on many levels. This style challenges players of all ages to not only play the game with their feet, but also their mind; with intelligence, technique, and patience being the foundation upon which the house is built.
I have numerous questions and comments but I first must say how important, understated, and often overused the term passion has become. Without a true passion for this game, a love affair that turns football into life, little can be achieved. Players never peak, but rather plateau. Coaches, with an already poor understanding of the game, continue to put in the bare minimum and collect a check…and the cycle continues.
I have numerous “mentors” in the southern california region that allow me to watch them plan and execute sessions, “talk” me through their idea of how the game should be played, and offer me “pointers”. The one common denominator among all these “high-level coaches”… a true and clear lack of passion for this game and the style with which it is meant to be played. A jaded, old-fashioned means to an end mentality that unequivocally plagues the coaching scene, it’s disgusting. It’s clear that I have found my home here and I’m hopeful that many more like-minded, passionate individuals can come together and improve the prehistoric soccer culture that exists in this country.
John Pranjic says
Amen! and very, very well said.
If there truly are coaches like you guys out there, it would be useful to parents who also like 3four3 eventually to have a listing of you, so perhaps we can get a chance to “put our money where our mouth is”? No?
Of course, such a list would need to be vetted, to assure quality and compliance; and that would be the difficult part, wouldn’t it?
Let me emphasize: if parents/consumers had more information and choice, the segment of 3four3-like, truly developmental soccer would begin to coalesce and grow. It may not get too big, but it will exist. And in my case, for example, I don’t care how many years of experience you have or what level coaching license you have or who you happen to know personally.
What you are asking is what the USSF/USYSA and the NSCAA are basically doing… credentialing coaches. You can look at Coerver courses and I’ve taken an ACF Fiorentina course on their methodology. Basically, the more a coach explores other methodologies they can help themselves become better teachers of the game within their WORLDVIEW of the game.
The thing they can’t do is learn how to impart passion and culture into their teams. I’ve written extensively about these things, because the only way that we can change what many of these coaches are selling, is to educate parents on what they need to look for in a coach, club/program. It has driven me nuts to see and be duped by coaches that talk the talk, but their teams don’t play the way they talk… many factors for why this happens…
Parents are getting smarter – websites like 343 can let them know that everyone coaching isn’t the same… there are differences of WORLDVIEWS. I’d say even within the coaches that are readers here you are going to have vast differences in who can communicate their style of play effectively and create an environment that helps the kids learn in a positive and constructive way. People are people.
Here are a couple of articles (Gary/Brian – please delete these if you’d rather me not share them) for you that can help understand what to look for in a coach… (my point of view, obviously):
http://bit.ly/KVPTpB – Is your soccer coach a Charlatan?
http://bit.ly/MjNkNz – Good coach or fee collector?
http://bit.ly/LxAMUe – Culture of Chemistry
There are many more if you click on “fans” in the menu. Hope this helps you think about the coaches you are paying – Are they full of hot air or are they actually producing results?
Msf that is a tremendous point, the word possession is a key word thrown around by so many pretend lame ass coaches. It really is getting annoying when so many clubs and coaches continuously say this word and have no intent of actually using it or half ass it just to continuously get more checks from their clubs parents. Although I love Spain and am hoping they win the euros, the positive side if they don’t win is that I think these bandwagon losers will jump off by the masses and will be exposed to the nieve world. Only the truly possesion-passionate will remain, no more phonies!! I can already see a slight jump off the barcelona/spain/possession bandwagon by several idiots, and seeing more and more chelsea jerseys and fewer barcelona jerseys because of one lucky tournament run. And yes, most of these idiot phonies on the temporary possession bandwagon are whites from the suburbs, I am one of those white people from the suburbs and I will admit I viewed the game for a while in similarity with the ussf robots, I fell for the faulty logic for quite some time until Barcelona and Spain finally opened up my eyes, then this blog pushed it to another limit. I am here to stay and I will not ever again stray from the beauty of the tiki taka way! I think this run of Spain and barcelona has been a great thing for the few open minded, but not I actually wouldn’t mind a temporary short run of change. The truly converted such as myself will stay and the phomies will jump ship all over again!
Sorry to continue my long post and add another but I want to expand on the point that even though I and most of us here prefer the game to be played with high levels of technical ability, imagination, fluidity, and natural feel for the game, etc. I feel that this especially long run of dominance by one clear philosophy although great for the game and thoroughly enjoyable has created phonies especially by American youth soccer people chasing checks. Gary a while back had talked about having an identity and being the best at it, and I feel this is often forgotten. A good example is the current us team. We have a coach who often refers to Barcelona but has no idea how to pick the players or execute a functional tactical plan to play anything similar, you see this all over the place. And to compliment Chelsea after I ragged on them, they knew what they were, and they executed a well drilled plan to be the very best at what they do well. Barcelona and Spain have not necessarily had this run simply because they keep possession well, it is a factor or perfecting a philosophy and identity of play. There are many ways to play soccer, different people prefer different ways, but however you play you must be the very best at it. Again I prefer the “barca way” and I think it is the best way to develop players, but there is no one clear way to play soccer, just be the best at what you do.
This is what ALbert Benaiges, head of the Barca Youth Academy for over 20 years has to say about it. “(A) contradiction follows when you want to play this type of soccer without practicing it in training sessions. It is impossible to do this with the type of soccer that Barca plays. You have to train for it. Train for it a lot with positioning games. What else would you expect? In the past, the style was criticized by many people, but we have had so much success with it that now, the whole world wants to copy it. But what I would like to know is, if in the next 10 years no players come out of the academy who are as talented as the ones that are coming out now (there will be, because they are here), would the world continue to accept all the fundamental principles of Barca’s system of play: wide wingers, a center forward that passes back, defensive pressure in the oppositions half, concepts all of which are opposite of the most popular and well known systems of play. I always say that our methodology is not The Methodology. But it is a methodology. There are a lot of other very good ones. But it is OURS.”
My opinion, I think reflects Benaiges’, which is: at the top professional level there are many different styles that can be played effectively (I prefer Barca’s). However, at a youth DEVELOPMENT level, Barca’s principles of play: absolute mastery of the ball, movement off the ball, ability for defenders to play out of the back and attackers to defend is EXACTLY what every youth player has to develop to become a top flight player in any system they eventually play in. Because even if you think Chelsea plays a negative system, the skills that most of its players have are still extraordinary by American standards and are largely developed by concentrating on ball mastery/skill development (either through formal coaching or through pickup games) at an early age,
I’ll start out by saying I couldn’t sit through the whole Cal Fc v Seattle game. In my honest opinion it sucked both ways. The fact that Cal Fc was trying to play, gives them points in my book! The topic point in this posting has changed from how we saw the open cup match, to what we are lacking soccer wise in this country.
IMO, Passion for the game from the people in charge of things! The DOC of the club that I coach for doesn’t watch soccer, doesn’t love soccer and certainly doesn’t live soccer. Unfortunately that trickles down to all who follow him and in turn impacts the way the club is run. The coaches that coach the top teams (at my club) are the ones that have been with the club the longest. this results in a lot of movement between clubs in my state because it’s almost impossible to find good coaching at the top level. The one thing that pains me the most: after two weeks of tryouts, kids leaving and coming to the club, losing one and almost two of our most promising youngsters, and picking up talent only in one team…My DOC says to me “what a tryout!…our numbers grew tremendously, very little quality, but damn we are gonna have to find more coaches with the numbers we’ve acquired!” WOW…I was gutted to hear this come from someone that I have to answer to.
Also in my club no one coach can have more than one “top” team, if you have more than one team it must be of a lower level. The last thing I want to vent about is the fact that it seems to be a trend now to cut a large number of players, from a current team, for players coming in from other clubs that are maybe more athletic (bigger, faster, stronger) than their previous player but mentally on the same level, and sometimes behind!…this really irked me!
Soccer in this country isn’t bad. Technically we’re not bad. Physically we’re not bad. Tactically we’re…I’ll stop there. For me the emphasis on finding the right talent to fill roles is not right…I want MY players to have the tools to go as far as their work-rate, drive and desire will take them. If I am lucky enough for a talented player to find my doorstep I want to develop him/her to be a great thinking player first and foremost. I want every player that I’ve coached and currently coach to be technically sound and have a sound mind. A sound mind is important for learning from every situation you encounter (on and off the soccer field). Think if MLS players could read the game and certain situations better…they wouldn’t necessarily NEED a shitty coach to tell them how to play shitty soccer, the natural style of the league would be of a much higher level than it currently is because they would just be better players than they currently are.
My thing is: If you care about the game and care about what you do as a coach, the players you develop are products of you. It’s important that you find the best talent to build a team, but after acquiring that talent it’s equally important to continue to develop it (a 16 year old phenom still has a lot to learn, let alone a 10 year old one!).
I’ve jumped around a lot on this post, hopefully I got my point across?
“For me the emphasis on finding the right talent to fill roles is not right…” I tuned into your comment here. In your opinion, as a coach when selecting players, do you select players based on skill, or based on their natural tendencies on the pitch (ie plays naturally defensive), or both (in a dream world)?
J do you live in my city? I think you’re on the mark and speaking from “Every Town” USA. Misery loves company, I guess.