It’s easy for the blind faithful to spout off the following as evidence we have “arrived”:
- Qualified 1st to the Wolrd Cup out of CONCACAF
- Got to the final in the Confederations Cup by knocking out #1 ranked Spain
- Got to the final of the Gold Cup
But like I said in the last post, we need to inspect a team’s full body of work and categorize the results according to who the opponents were. Only then can you begin to appreciate where we stand.
We head into 2010 and South Africa in the same form as years past – with the US clearly demonstrating it is a middle tier B-level soccer nation. There have been no breakthroughs people!
Along with Mexico, we are the CONCACAF giants. This has been true throughout the decade. The problem I see is the perception our fan-base has. We are suffering from the same delusion that Mexico has been suffering for decades.
We know we’re not on par with the world powers, but we believe we are on the verge of getting there. That is, we are among the top of the B-list nations. We’re not there yet, and won’t be within the next decade unless big changes happen in our philosophy.
Look no further than our youth national teams. Their records indicate we will have more of the same – losing consistently to A-list teams and splitting results with the B-listers.
It doesn’t have to be this way! We do have players with world-class potential in our country. I see it every week at our youth levels, and to some extent college.
If our goal is to crack the A-list, which I think it is, we must not only learn to identify these ballers, but develop them through good coaching and ensure their future with a system that lifts them and filters out the weaker players.
Well, duh! Everyone knows that right? Yes, in theory but not in practice.
There are at least some beacons of hope. Soccer continues to grow at the youth, college, and professional levels. The pro game from around the world continues to infiltrate more households. There is a Colombian at the helm of our U-17s, and if nothing else, identified Luis Gil and gave that team an inkling of identity.
What do you guys think? Too harsh? Is looking at our 2009 results this way incorrect?
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