Went to the UC Davis vs Cal State Northridge game on Saturday.
Regardless of these teams not being soccer powers, the trip was worthwhile for two reasons:
1) I got 90 minutes of laughter.
2) I got to see three players with quality on the field.
I’ll cover the first here and the second in the next post.
90 minutes of laughter
The UC Davis soccer team is a complete and total joke. No. Scratch that. More accurately; it is an insult to the sport we love.
What I saw on display Saturday night is possibly the worst thing I’ve witnessed after decades of playing, watching, and coaching the game. And I’ve seen some pretty horrible stuff!
First of all, there was only 1 soccer player on the field for that team – Jacob Barron. Everybody else?
- There are players who can’t hit a ball properly. I’m being serious.
- The abuse of launching it forward was worse than typical US Soccer. Imagine that.
- I’d be surprised if they ever had a five pass sequence.
- If there was a free kick in their own half, the keeper would take it. And that’s right folks, it was into the box hoping for some luck.
- They have Carlos Boozer playing as striker. And his replacement was a white Carlos Boozer. (ie Not soccer players. And the same holds true with other positions).
- This team makes Cal State Fullerton, usually the butt of my college soccer jokes, look like FCB.
- This is the product you get when you compromise quality in favor of “athleticism”.
Overall, the team’s composition looks something like this:
Technical Quality: 4
Soccer IQ: 4
Usually, these displays infuriate me to the point that I should take blood pressure medication and have a defibrillator on standby. But that night, all I could do was laugh.
It was like watching satire – written, directed, and produced by me – about US Soccer.
And the funniest thing of all – the punch line if you will – UC Davis won the game 1-0! Hahahaha!
Oh man I felt bad for coaches Terri and Yossi from Northridge, who at least try to play something resembling the global game.
My only regret is not taking video. It would have been such a good tool for demonstrating the exact things not to do. Plus, if I’m ever feeling down about how our youth teams are performing, I can always look at this film and feel better.
On the bright side, there’s always room for terrible players who possess the proverbial “athletic attributes” to play Division I soccer. Just hit up Davis!
Raul Estrada says
I know what you mean.. It sucks when the team that plays the long ball wins.. And the team that is trying to keep the ball on the ground and do there touches always get the short end of the stick.
Thats exactly what happens with my son U13 team.. they go to play and pass and sense they are a team with small players the other teams take advantage of that and start playing the ugly soccer of long ball… PLEASE if you are one of those coaches you are hurting the game of soccer… so PLEASE STOP!!!
Gary Kleiban says
Amen Raul! Amen!
Same here with my sons U14 team. We play a 4-3-3 ( better than the USMNT!) and the coaches absolutely demand that the boys play possession/ attacking soccer. While they get beat by “kick ball” soccer right now I’m now starting see the tide turning as they get better on the ball and get comfortable with pausing the game and not always going forward. I can see that at U15/ U16 they will be a dominate team.
Yeah, I know what you mean.. my son’s team plays 3-4-3, and our defenders are pretty small.. But boy do we attack…. My son gets mad because they lose games that they were dominating , but I always tell him that right now who cares if you loose.. as long as you lose playing the game and not just playing ugly soccer, but to bad not all parents think the way I do..
I was at the game and could not have agreed more. It was a shame that Terry’s Matadors didn’t win… but I did not see too many shooting oportunities on their side. The possession was nice for a college team, now they need to FINISH. The game is changing in terms or player size, speed and agility. Most world class strikers stand 6’1 to 6’3 as opposed to 25 years ago. With training advancements and player specific workouts (and position specific regiments) the athletes of today can not be compared to athletes of the 70’s and 80’s. Messi is the exception and there will be those who come along that break the mold every decade, but the mold has improved. I very much doubt you will see a 5”10 central back playing for a world class club in the future.
Gary Kleiban says
Yep, Northridge has no strikers.
I think you’re right as far as the modern athlete vs those several decades ago – our understanding of sports science and the ever increasing competitiveness for the almighty dollar being drivers. This is true of all sports.
However, I disagree with your height statement. From my experience I haven’t noticed any meaningful shift in height for strikers (world class or not). Messi is by no means an exception …
El Kun says
Ouff! Eso es todo kleiban!
Arik Davidyan says
I have to tell you that after watching one game of the so called “soccer team”, I know exactly what you are talking about.
I am originally from Israel and played soccer all my life.
next year I am hoping to get into UC Davis and to try-out for the soccer team. From what I saw it shouldn’t be too hard to play better then them. the problem is that I am not the biggest guy, I know it will effect the way they will look at me.
It is sad but this is the face of soccer in the united states.
Gary Kleiban says
Good luck Arik.
Maybe your play can rub off on them but I doubt it.
After 2 years of one of our boys playing there, we decided to find him a new home in Penn State.
El Memo says
I just watched a youth soccer game on which both sides coaches made a big deal about a player with one of the lowest skill levels in one of the teams, but can finish. You guessed it, he was one of the biggest kids. How can we change this mentality quicker? I know you’ve spelled out what an Elite Player looks like. Why can’t all see that? I feel like we as a country are falling behind more and more. I can’t take this.
Gary, I fell for you, I am very familiar with that style of play. I endured 4 years of high school ball with my oldest daughter, worst moments of my life. I can still hear her high school coach and parents screaming in unison at the girls, Just kick it!!