What are the expectations? That is key.
I think people are getting it confused. Hiring a manager who actually has a clue will not get us the World Cup final, and perhaps not the quarters this cycle either.
That is not the discussion we should be having. That is not the appropriate metric to use.
Defenders of the entourage – or those with difficulty piercing through the fog of scorelines – are stuck citing this or that result as a sign of progress. And then subsequently stuck searching to find reasons for adverse results. What escapes them are the fundamentals, and hence the capacity for seeing our trajectory.
2 Fundamental Signs of Progress
You want to take a real step forward? Well, our entire philosophy must change – from what defines a quality player to how a team should play.
That is what elite level management at the Senior and youth National Teams can begin correcting. It’s a process. How one plays, and at what club level a country’s top players play, are good indicators of the current state and future projection of a nation’s program.
If the new management can:
- Implement a discernible style and
- Select players of true quality who then end up actually playing at top flight clubs in the best leagues
then that’s a good measure of progress!
Once we have 2, 3, 5 Americans starting for Champion’s League level clubs, then we can say proper work has been done towards being a legitimate contender.
That is what the expectation of new management should be. That is a good and fundamental metric of success, not tying Argentina in a friendly, a fluke against Spain, or limping through to the WC round of 16, quarters, or even semis.
Adjust your mentality!
And no, results are not abandoned. We should still expect CONCACAF dominance and getting past the WC group stage. Except that now there is a real platform from which to aspire to greatness.
This change of mentality needs to reach MLS as well. One of the huge disadvantages that the US faces is that the professional clubs aren’t a good incubator of talent, unlike in the rest of the world. This is for two reasons: first, MLS, like most of US soccer, favors physicality over skill, and second, there’s nowhere near the same level of incentives, both competitive and financial, for finding and developing the best players.
If the US had even one club that found and developed talent a tenth as well as a club such as Ajax, the level of soccer here would be much, much higher than it is now.
Gary Kleiban says
My brother and I went to the Sounders vs Galaxy reserve game today. Suffice it to say, we left at half time.
I’m still waiting for the Caleb Porter of MLS to arrive. Eventually one will rise, and I predict his team will dominate the league and expose the other posers.
Parity my ass!
Ajax has been around for 111 years. Did you really expect MLS to match their level in development of only a couple years of establishing academies?
Woke up this morning…..No one has been fired yet. Bummer.
Got home this afternoon…..I had reason to rejoice!!!!!
One can only hope that Bob takes Sunil with him…………………….
There are people saying we will not be surprised who replaces him. This could be scary. Really scary.
Is it just me or am I wrong in saying I want to be surprised?
Couldn’t agree more. But how to change the philosophy, attitude and style without changing who is in charge? Change must begin at the top. Someone must be put in charge who has all the power to completely revamp our training and selection process all the way down to the U5 levels throughout the country..
Having AJAX open some academies is a way to bypass the whole structure:
Why aren’t these teams looking in Southern California. Chivas and Galaxy are never going to cover more than a small proportion of the area.
Gary Kleiban says
I like their line of thinking as far as business is concerned. To be in the mix with Barca, Madrid, ManU, Chelsea, etc … the $$$ needs to be there. So unless they get a sugar daddy, building out their brand like the article suggests, is an interesting strategy.
… and the US is virgin territory! I’m just not sure they can execute here. There are lots of obstacles to say the least. What’s being brainstormed is a loss-leader (an unproven one at that).
Jack Jones says
The systems for higher level player development are only beginning in North America. Many other pro sports have the systems in place and took decades to get to where they are now. The MLS is making an effort to follow the university development which is a safety for kids not making it without the protection of an education. Basketball and football provide this format. Baseball and hockey have both education and minor league systems in place. When the major leagues play a higher level of soccer that is competitive with the rest of the world then we will compete at the world cup successfully. The Seattle Sounders for example have to employ skillful players that could play for Manchester United or Barcalona. Time on the ball which is the biggest developer of all is one factor that is a big challenge. Kids in the inner cities play basketball for hours and hours for example. How much are kids all over the world playing every day. Clubs like Barca are bringing in players from all over the world at age 11. ………One of the founders of the NFL said it took 40 years to get the league to where they are. It would help if we change our vision of the style we play………wouldn’t hurt to try to copy the clubs that play a possession style game that would encourage our players to be able at least to want to develope their skills which now are marginalised by the old English long ball game that came to the continent after Eng won in 1966. Players are told they are not skillful enough to play a possession game so the coaches restrict the movement of the ball on the field. Defenders are not allowed to pass the ball to midfield and are not allowed to pass the ball back and so on. This can be seen when u watch the Canadian National teams at all ages. Players are very nervous and the commentators that are watching some of which are old pro’s and recognised the restrictions are careful to critisize but will make comments to show they know something has to change. Great books out right now. One by Jonathan Wilson and also one by Jimmy Greaves about the change that came to football in Eng. after the 1966 win. Incredible stuff! Tells the story as to why Eng are not developing players and what has caused this. We are influenced in a negative way but I don’t think that this is the our big challenge. We just need a real healthy pro league with lots of good players that make lots of money. When American and Canadian kids come back driving the big cars making half a million a year then we will be there. In the mean time we need to get lots of kids playing , trying and play a possession game and might help to get a pipeline to the leagues in Europe to get some of our kids going like Donavon for the states. Cheers J.J.
Gary, what do you think is behind this? Is this leading to authentic change, or are we re-arranging the deck chairs? You’ve got to admit, though, the news does give you a bit of a buzz…
Gary Kleiban says
I don’t know what their agenda POST BOB BRADLEY is.
What I can say is that I believe the sustained uproar over the last year against BB from a decent chunk of soccer fans, is the main driver behind this decision.
Bob Bradley is gone! I am so happy! I really hope this opportunity is not wasted by the USSF. This could be a humungous step forward for both the national team and soccer as a whole in this country. Hopefully we bring in someone who has the balls to make the mass changes that are needed. Klinnsman and Lippi are the leading candidates I guess, neither is the ideal candidate, but either of them would be really strong coaches for us, quality coaches and finally someone that’s not part of the USSF clan of robots. Very exciting news!!
Gulati must have a replacement ready to go. On US soccer’s website it says they have an “announcement” tomorrow. I feel if USSF wants to continue down our wrong path of play, Bob Bradley would probably have been best for the job. This will lead to a coach on non-US decent and one who brings a gameplan that will feature alot of flare and possession passing. Guaranteed, because the USSF really cant be that stupid to hire a Bradley clone…right?
Gary Kleiban says
I’m cautiously optimistic guys. But it’s still scary when there are people with limited soccer understanding making decisions.
Beyond what’s on a paper resume, there’s few people who can tell the difference between Coach X & Coach Y.
Is Klinsi right for us? I don’t know.
What I do know, however, is that any coach with an unenlightened “American pedigree” will continue the dark ages.
The key for me is that the new hire has to be a step forward. To not take a step forward is to stay were we are and that to me is the same as moving back since other countries are moving forward.
Is Klinsi right for us? I don’t know either but I can’t help but think it will be a step or two forward.
But who knows every coach that seems logical should be cast out with the inmates that run this ship (USSF)
Klinnsman will be good for us, in reality I think he may help how we develop players more than he would actually help our national team, which isn’t such a bad thing. I think there are better options, but he will be good and without a doubt a huge upgrade over Bradley. To be succesful on the national team he needs to get an assistant who is a master tactician and a disciplinarian to offset his weaknesses, so if it is Klinsmann hopefully he can find someone who fits the ball for that, but I am excited to who is selected for the first friendly in Mexico, hopefully we see guys with some of the tools that it takes to be succesful at the international level, and posses some actual quality rather than guys that we have become accustomed to with the national team, guys that will win you and MLS cup or avoid EPL relagation, guys like Torres, Feilhaber, and Gomez come to mind as ones I’d like to see on a more consistant basis.
This is a good first step, however, unless the entire system of developing players is completely revamped, nothing will change. The new MNT manager will probably make different player selections and perhaps we’ll see some improvement in play and results, but overall there are not enough seriously talented players in the pipeline to really make much of a difference. We need changes at the level that influnces the training and development of players from ages 5 on up all across the country.