There’s lots of American soccer:
- media outlets
- fans / supporters
In general, there’s a huge American soccer community.
And all its constituents cite that the game in this country suffers from a culture problem.
The irony is not only are they participants in the culture problem, but they actually work hard to sustain and perpetuate it. And they don’t even know it.
Can the people who are the culture problem, fix the culture problem?
interesting thoughts, In this country the culture has shifted towards the favor of this sport, my thoughts are that the people who have embraced the culture still dont fully understand it as a way of life, it was taught to them second hand. anyone under the age of 35?? didnt have proper coaching or nurturing in the culture of soccer. when all those 35 and unders are in the 50’s and 60’s the country will finally have a big enough soccer community that gets it and has taught it to the youth, assuming that those do keep an open mind and continue to develop.
But in the same sense look how far we have come in the last 20 years, still a ton left to go but the culture of the sport we can safely say wont go away now, something that wasnt so certain even 10 years ago,
I think the culture will change. Especially with my son’s generation. He’s 8, loves soccer, he plays it 2 to 4 times a week, 9-10 months a year, in the summer he does some day camps. Plays FIFA on my iPhone, watches games with me at home and we go to soccer pubs in the city during big matches, so he can see the excitement of Americans and expats for the game. He’s got to the point where he can watch a game and he’ll recognize when players aren’t doing well. I think because of more exposure we’ll see a more knowledgeable and enthusiastic “culture”. My son’s school is full of boys who where they’re favorite teams jersey’s, and not just Barcelona. I watch the have conversations about who their favorite teams are in different leagues, if they like Mata or Iniesta better… maybe it’s a Brooklyn thing.
I was his AYSO coach for 5 seasons, I wasn’t very good. No training, a little understanding but really just a love for the game and wanting the kids to improve and have fun. The parents were a nightmare. They were definitely part of the “culture” problem. My son was for the most part always the best player on the field, he’d score 3-6 goals a game, the other players looked up to him, worked harder and played harder to be like him. Everyone wanted to be a “striker” most of them could barely dribble or pass, we are talking U7 though. I pleaded with the parents to show up an hour before games so we could get in practice, it’s AYSO and few parents would not even consider midweek practices for “recreational” soccer. But for a team of 10 kids, I’d get maybe 5 so we could run drills and get touches on the ball. That was my last season coaching outdoors if the parents couldn’t commit then I wouldn’t bother. My son at age 7 joined a U9 travel team. I recognized that my coaching and AYSO were doing a disservice to his skills and development. The AYSO philosophy is a problem. Parents wanted my son in goal or on the sidelines after it became obvious that their son’s team was going to lose as long as he was on the field. I ignored it every time, I only subbed him if the game was in hand or if we needed a better goalie. The parents and the kids need to learn what it meant to lose, if you aren’t good, if you don’t care, if you don’t practice you will lose and most likely be humiliated. I’m tired of us being humiliated as a country playing a sport that I love. Seeing what goes on in AYSO and being a part of the problem, I demand better from anyone related to the sport. AYSO was good to get my son into playing the sport but quickly became inadequate. Why anyone would keep playing in AYSO after age 7 or 8, I haven’t a clue.
What’s my point? Right now it looks bleak. But in the face of it, I see a glimmer of a spark, that it could all change. But that only happened after getting my son out of AYSO and into a travel team. Maybe that’s a bad sign too.
The people who constantly whine that we don’t have the same culture here that they have in Brazil, or Spain, or Liechtenstein, or wherever the hell else and we will never be a soccer force because of it are perpetuating the “problem”. “Our kids don’t grow up on the street playing futball at age 2” or “our kids don’t grow up in poverty where their only hope is to play soccer” or “insert ridiculous excuse here” . These people ARE the culture problem.
We have our own burgeoning Soccer culture and we need to embrace that and help it to grow. We are not going to emulate some other culture, nor should we. We can borrow IDEAS from successful foreign programs and coach the players in the tactics of great foreign teams. We have the athletes here right now. They need proper guidance and hours on the ball however they get them.
We can whine about our country’s poor results and make excuses or we can do something.
I agree. We’re not going to have a Dutch soccer culture, or a Brazillian, or a Mexican. It will be uniquely American but it must be worldly and aware. And we need to demand better coaching at all levels. We don’t play like Spain not because we’re not Spanish, did Spain even play like Spain 20 years ago?
America is full of amazing athletes. There’s no reason why we can’t be among the best. If we fix what’s wrong.
Dr Loco says
“America is full of amazing athletes. There’s no reason why we can’t be among the best.”
We need 1 club or group of coaches to set the standard of excellence for the rest of the nation. Once a path is created the rest can choose to follow or stay behind. It is not a generational thing. Success can happen relatively quickly if we accept change.
Dr Loco says
Gary, where do you get the pictures for your posts?
“Can the people who are the culture problem, fix the culture problem?”
Only if they realize and admit they are the problem. Every coach/adult in charge of youth programs must accept responsibility for the problem. We are all responsible for the ignorance, discrimination, segregation, lack of understanding and appreciation that exists in the sport.
I realized I was the problem 3 years ago and decided to fix it by actively making changes in every aspect of my life.
I think some are mixing culture with competitive level. American soccer culture is definitely less developed than the historical, multi-generational, social, and political roots that form the basis of Spanish, German, English, or Brazilian football. They are mature in understanding of the game. The game has established beliefs, rituals, learning. It’s a way of life. That’s culture. They been doing this for 100+ years and USA from about 1990 (most consider 1990 start of modern era in American soccer).
USA is not a top country on competitive level. This is different than culture. But culture influences competitive level. It’s not guarantee (e.g., Scotland or Ireland have old, deep soccer culture but are third tier footballing country). But lacking a strong culture makes it harder to succeed. I look at culture as a sort of rudder, guiding soccer development.
We cannot be a top 10 international nation until our culture matures. Won’t happen. It’s like a good wine. Can’t expect a classic vintage crafted by a 5th generation winemaker from someone who learned the art of winemaking in 1990 who is using vines recently planted.
Soccer is more art than science. Until we have 5th generation artisans making a product consumed by enthusiasts with a discerning palate: we’re sipping Thunderbird.
Keep in mind Spain and Germany have evolved over last 10-years. Mexico in early stages of a revival. Netherlands did it back in 1970s. And more examples are out there at country and club level.
There is a cycle in soccer. Becoming the best takes many long iterations. Reinventing yourself is inevitable. Countires like Mexico are trying to raise their level of competitive play and have done great job last 5-years. They aren’t changing their “culture”; they’re changing their style of play, how they identify and develop players, their philosophy to the game. They are reinventing themselves. But they don’t need to tinker with culture. They got culture in nailed.
Again, this whole “culture” thing is overblown. The word “art” also is intangible mumbo jumbo. These are excuses. We have thousands of kids who are good athletes and dedicated to the sport. If they are taught proper skills and tactics, and given plenty of time on the ball and game experience,there is no reason 11 of them can’t lift a World Cup trophy in the next 10 years. Two 2 hour practices a week isn’t going to cut it though.
Dr Loco says
Agree! We need a highly specialized club/coach to take 30 kids and train them for the Olympics/WC and show us the way. Like Kleibans, like Cal FC.
A few gymnasts, swimmers, runners, boxers, etc are trained by highly specialized coaches to compete at the Olympics. You don’t need thousands of athletes and players to develop world class talent. You don’t need generations of culture. You just need a few individuals who know what they are doing.
They have to be a lot better than Cal FC, but yes!
Sorry Guitarjeff stating things like this “culture thing is overblown” means you are not truly grasping what makes great sporting nations and ultimately why it is so important to this country taking a truly great step in its soccer development. Why is Jamaica a world class sprinting nation? Why is Eastern Europe known for making gymnasts? Why do Brazilians and Argentines play soccer the way they do??? Culture, meaning the game is intepreted by a group of people who define a certain way to play, see, AND FEEL THE GAME!
Like your comment about “there is no reason 11 of them can’t lift a World Cup trophy in the next 10 years. Two 2 hour practices a week isn’t going to cut it though.” So what groups culturally will sacrifice their life, give their all, and make the game go beyond just 2 practices? Currently in the US the Latin Culture its there, but this is where you need to read the post and understand what it was saying, those who run US Soccer are in the way, they are the problem, they have miraculously figured out a way to keep us mired in mediocrity for the past 10 years or so…They get a technically gifted player and put him with 10 donkeys and then see he can’t succeed there and say we don’t have those players…
See culture will effect every aspect of how you learn, teach, and essentially express the type of football, futbol, voetbal, you want to play, so guess what that leads to the type of players you want to express that soccer. And many times they will come from a distinct culture…
Culture explains how i can tell when someone is Brazilian because of how they touch and roll the ball and more expressive body movements i.e. samba, where a dutch player is more fast dribbling movements, and an argentine is more moving their hips, dropping their shoulder, direct dribbling, almost confrontational and more to the point than brazilians.
Let’s look at those 3 nations Brazil Pele to Neymar, Netherlands Van Basten to Bergkamp, Argentina-Maradona to Messi. If you look the goals scored or how these players play the game culture is the main driving force that influenced how they play. I know everyone’s seen Maradona’s 1986 goal, culturally could you imagine what that means to Argentine’s? So seeing Messi do it to Getafe it was more than a goal he scored, he represented a culture.
Now name 1 goal that represents US Soccer, or skill??? or team???? player???? that all of us could agree that is US Soccer???? oh and please don’t give me that Algeria 2010 goal lol
Kephren you are spot on !
Kephern, you have stated the truth in an elegant way here. I don’t know if the US can ever have such a distinct, effective soccer style such as the examples you highlight. Not because of a lack of talent, or competitiveness, the right ethnic components, or even desperation. Bill R may be close to putting his finger on it: “One of the key aspects is our win at all costs sports culture.”
Moreover, it is too easy to blame it on the US soccer superstructure or on racism. Bureaucrats always get in the way. Everybody is capable of being racist. Those reasons are not unique. No, the biggest problem in US soccer, I believe, continues to be a lack of comprehension, a tone deafness, at the grass roots level.
“In soccer I believe it’s how you win that matters as much or more” states Bill R. This is where Guitarjeff is tone deaf. We are not developing a soccer culture where natural patterns of harmony, tonality, beauty, and consistently effective play are produced and appreciated.
“First you play well, then you win.” Wise words I have heard in the past from various wise coaches. Would that we considered that, just for a bit.
This is that goal you were talking about not existing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZR48Cnn9FU
Dr Loco says
No, this one is the goal.
essentially culture is a big driving force in developing your player base, and why argentina created maradona now there’s messi, their culture inspired to breed that type of player, now who wants to be the Next Lalas hahahaahhahah man sorry im clowning, when i show the kids in the inner city who they want to be i show them Neymar, messi, and they can relate to that and have hardly been 5 miles outside of DC. If Alexi lalas came and played with them they would be like who? ha
Argentina didn’t create Maradona and Messi,. Maradona and Messi created them. They put in the time and effort to become great. They were probably inspired by their playing heroes growing up, but these would not necessarily even be Argentine players. Argentina didn’t invent soccer. They imported it from a different culture. So did Brazil, Spain, Holland and all of the other countries mentioned here.
Our kids can be inspired by today’s great players without giving a rats a** about their culture. Culture is not a players driving force. Love of the game is. It does not take any certain culture to create a great player.
We have to stop thinking of the game in this BS romantic manner and pragmatically work to create a generation of great players who play the game well.
Creating a “soccer culture” (if that were even possible) without having great exciting Soccer played locally on a regular basis is putting the cart before the Horse. Create a winning WC team and exciting League and the people (and hence, the culture) will come.
of course they didn’t invent soccer BUT THEIR CULTURE TOOK THE GAME AND INTERPRETED FOR THEMSELVES IN THEIR CULTURE.
Here’s a quote for you i like to use a lot that tells you you are wrong.
”Football players created their own language in that tiny space where they chose to retain and possess the ball rather than kick it, as if their feet were hands braiding the leather.” – Edgar Gaelano on Argentina’s expression of the game as opposed to English soccer
Another great excerpt:
Football arrived in Brazil in 1894 courtesy of two relatively unassuming Britons, Charles Miller and Oscar Cox. Such was the very British nature of football’s beginnings in Brazil, the Anglo-Saxon approach to the game was always destined to be woven into the soul of futebol in South America’s largest country. In the early days of the game in Brazil the British “way” of playing was very much in evidence as the dominant approach. Methodical tactical planning, rigidity, even, in combination with direct build-up play characterised the performances of clubs such as Fluminese, their personnel almost exclusively consisting of the sons of Brazil’s European social elite.
However, as the European influence in the country began to fade, there followed a radical democratisation of football, it became the game of the people. Brazil began to shape football in its own social image. Clubs borne out of the working class emerged, Vasco Da Gama, for example, won the national championship with a team full of native black players and members of the white working class.
As a result, the way football was played in Brazil was transformed forever, the English approach was largely replaced with the flamboyant style we all now associate with those who pull on the canary yellow shirt.
Sorry man culture has a lot to do with it, and its not about One-offs, its about how do you define a style, culture, and ultimately a philosophy of play and then develop players in that style that brings you mass production of talent. So of course messi worked his tail off but you don’t think the adulation, passion of the argentine culture about maradona wasn’t the catalyst wake up now.
Look man I’m black, in the hood or burbs where lived and grew up i was called white for playing soccer, i was a One off, i stayed with it, but if the black culture got the game and it became part of our CULTURE, it would be acceptable, cool, and then there would thousands, millions inspired to be great players and make the necessary sacrifices to do so.
And why you think winning the world cup is so easy, do you know how many hours brazilian’s and argentine’s train, the scrutiny, the work it takes really, really do you know.
How about NBA basketball, what culture dominates that sport and why? Why after MJ, Kobe showed up, or now lebron, please wake up and see that we are competing against the whole world in this sport
Thank you Kephern. Guitarjeff couldn’t be further off! Like something someone would spew in some other ridiculous soccer forum. “Culture is overvblown.” Really!? Maybe that works for youth soccer, but not at international level. Gymnastics, swimmers, running and boxing are not comparable to soccer. Those are individual sports. So yes, specialized training works. Do you even understand soccer Guitarjeff? Like saying American baseball or basketball culture is nothing for Scotland trying to develop future NBA stars. Say what!
Kephern made excellent point about Neymar and others reflecting their culture.
Dr Loco says
A “true” master teacher can create greatness anywhere in the world.
NBA stars are coming from all other the world. Do those countries have the hardcore basketball culture of the US? Nope.
Culture? Why did Drogba go to the Chinese Super League instead of the MLS?
Does China have more soccer culture than the US? If China got their act together they could crush US soccer. China’s gymnasts and swimmers now compete with the US on a regular basis. There is no reason they couldn’t do the same in soccer.
“We have thousands of kids who are good athletes and dedicated to the sport. If they are taught proper skills and tactics, and given plenty of time on the ball and game experience, there is no reason 11 of them can’t lift a World Cup trophy in the next 10 years.”
With such a simple recipe Guitarjeff, why isn’t every country like Spain or Argentina?
I drive my car many hours a day for 30+ years now, so why am I not Richard Petty? I don’t need to be in the racing culture, I just need time behind the wheel!
Have you ever TRIED driving like Richard Petty? Have you attended any NASCAR racing clinics or workshops? This is a ridiculous argument.
To defend guitarjeff a bit, I dont think he’s saying that doesn’t matter he’s saying that we shouldn’t just point to it as an excuse for not being able to produce great players, we have produced quality players in spite of not having a great soccer culture, and there are pockets of groups with a great soccer culture mostly in the Latin community. But I think he is just saying let’s not just accept being an inferior soccer nation and make excuses, he’s saying that with hard work and creating a culture within our teams of passion soccer loving people we can have success in developing great players anyways. Excuses are for losers we need to find a way to make it work whether we have that culture as a nation r not and this blog is one of the avenues to help make that happen.
That is exactly right. You have to realize though, many of the naysayers do not WANT the US to become a soccer powerhouse.
I agree with a comment up there that says we shouldn’t be copying other countries culture. Yes we can take ideas and strategies from them, but it must be our own identity. The problem with copying other’s ideas is that they’ll always have the jump on you. If we try to be the next Brazil, how can we ever expect to beat Brazil. They have a massive head start on us, and their identity is their own. Here in America we have lots of different types of people, and that’s exactly what we should promote. Imagine a team with the organization and defense of Italy, the creative midfield of Spain or Brazil, the clinical forwards of Germany, and the team spirit of Greece. That sounds like one hell of a team. Their are many ways to play the game of soccer, and we need to find our own. However, the thing that all successful soccer countries have is players with amazing technique, athleticism, knowledge, and discipline. And maybe thats where we should start.
Gary Kleiban says
The argument is not to be Spain, Brazil, Italy, Argentina, France, Portugal, etc.
The argument is select players in that image and train them in the fundamentals of the game, as they do.
We do neither.
I think what all the great soccer nations do is recognize talent early and then train it properly. Isn’t a lot of what Barcelona and in turn Spain do now, learned from the Dutch and Germans? It’s about recognizing what works. Wherever that knowledge comes from.
I think developing a soccer culture means creating a population that understands the game and recognizes when it’s playing poorly and when their kids are not being taught well.
I think the US has some advantages in terms of diversity, we’ll develop a vast array of player types with different styles from different backgrounds. There’s a lot of potential.
A lot of parents don’t get that soccer is not a “fall” sport. I’ve tried to explain to some that for anyone to get good they have to play it more than a “season”. At the end of our current season some parents got upset when the coach asked for the kids to be committed to the team for essentially what amounts to the length of the school year, with a bit of preseason in august. Some of them flipped out. During our spring season, a couple of key players were missing from games hampering the team cohesion. You know what they were doing? Sitting on a bench or in an outfield, playing baseball. So the coach was asking them to choose, and they didn’t like it. Part of the problem of American sports culture, too many choices, not enough focus. Once again, parents not getting it. Or thinking “8 is too young for them to choose”. The coaches attitude is, “to be on my team it’s what needs to happen, it’s not fair to the other players who come to every training and every game.” He’s doing the right thing.
I see college soccer on tv and cringe. Long balls seem to be the most popular tactic. I usually shut it off quickly. I did watch a “championship” game and my son was like “what are they doing? they’re barely passing.”
I think you’ll be pleased to know that my son’s coach told the boys to watch your video against Arsenal and that he wants them to adhere to the 5 second rule when after losing the ball. He’s coaching passing, technical, possession soccer. He emphasizes first touches and quality passing. Now if he could just get the boys to play out of the back…
the selecting of players part is what gets me…is there really any “selecting” going on?? Not in most areas of the country. Do MLS team academies and the ODP even have scouts that “comb the countryside” like other countries? No, you have to go to THEM. People have to navigate this bullshit youth soccer system and register for this, that and the other, chase down ODP, drive, fly, ride trains, whatever, in order to get their kid in front of someone who probably doesn’t know what he’s looking at anyway….and there are great players out there that just don’t have the resources to do that. US can’t “select” the right players because nobody is going out to shop..and if they do go, they go to the nearest soccer player Wal-Mart, and not the higher quality, but harder to get to, establishment. These scouts are buying highfalutin bottled water when what they need to do is go to the well!
I think the Red Bulls are doing a pretty good job. They have an extensive training and RDS program. I don’t know what they’re doing in terms of scouting. NJ/NY is a hotbed of soccer. Juan Agudelo came through the academy as did Connor Lade. They evaluate every player that comes through their programs. I haven’t seen their academy teams play so I don’t know what their emphasizing… Backe emphasizes technical skill and possession, and that may be filtering down through the program.
This morning I was watching TV (VH-1) and all of a sudden the new Pepsi commercial came on starring Messi (Drogba, Lampard, Wilshere, Aguero, too). One might be tempted to say this represents an advance in soccer culture in the USA. Soccer is becoming more mainstream. True enough.
It doesn’t mean shit.
One of the key aspects is our win at all costs sports culture. In soccer I believe its how you win that matters as much or more. Again, we are taking our cues from the English culture, where winning silverware can be achieved by any means and get lauded. In Holland, how you win matters, and you have a small nation producing far more exceptional footballers than much larger England (and USA). When the quality of the Dutch footballing product drops off (i.e., World Cup ’10) there is uproar despite great success. The Dutch standards regarding how you win is powering their conveyor belt of exceptional players. England’s lack of standards is slowly eating away at their tradition. The Dutch culture empowers, and has spread across Continental Europe (Spain, Germany, France, and even Italy). The English Culture hangs around their collective necks like an anchor.
England and the USA only care about winning, not how its accomplished (except for cheating like diving). This attitude goes all the way down from professionals to the U-8. One might argue that it’s OK professionally, but at the youth level it does phenomenal damage to our future prospects. This becomes an ironic viscous cycle where the approach that maximizes our near-term success undoes our ability to improve in the future. To improve our long-term prospects how we win must become a priority. This builds skill and intelligence while de-emphasizing the over-reliance of size and speed as a vehicle for victory in the youth ranks.
Watching the Euros, I prefer the teams that play the game well: Germany and Spain are the best template, and England, and Greece the worst. I’m a lot more English than Spanish, but I support Spain because they represent what the game should be. England represent what the game was and should escape.
el millo says
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Gary Kleiban says
We watched the end of the River Plate game instead of EURO.
Watching Passarella, Almeida, the team, and fans break out in uncontrollable tears was palpable.
This is yet another example of the incredible emotions and human connection that occur every single season in every single country with a promotion/relegation structure. You can’t duplicate that sentiment and attachment to a club with a single entity structure like MLS.
That’s culture baby!
Dr Loco says
Everyone is being too critical on Guitarjeff.
Kephern, always love what you say.
Having a culture definitely helps in establishing the standards of excellence but I do not think it is a requirement to create great players and teams. Maybe culture is more important to create a fan base, marketing and generating revenue.
Didn’t the women’s national team win the World Cup without any culture in the US?
We can select the right players and train them to develop into super stars. Yes, soccer is a team sport but it is made of up individual players. Spain, Brazil, Italy, Argentina, France, Germany and just about every other country want money first. FIFA wants BILLIONS. A world class US team can be created if we ignore the money, race, culture problem.
Ken Sweda says
Loco, usually agree with you 100%, but the US women won World Cups and Olympics because they had a 20+ year headstart on other nations. There is still no soccer culture in girls’ soccer in this country. The “culture”, such as it is, is still largely about hair scrunchies and backpacks. You’d be surprised how few (10%?) of the female players I come across even know who Leo Messi is. The “star” striker on my U12 daughter’s team had no idea who he was. Why? She’s not into the sport on a cultural level, an international level. She’s into it on a superficial American level. She’s the classic example of the kind of player we have produced for decades. It was plenty good enough to beat the teams the rest of the world put out there for many many years (the equivalent of rec teams to our superior club team.)
But it’s not good enough anymore. There’s a reason Japan and France reached our level (and in some cases passed it) relatively quickly after really deciding to do so. They spent their time weeding OUT players who were just about strength, speed, physicality, and replacing them with clever, technical, aware players. To be the best, you have to at least KNOW who the best are and what they do. You have to LIVE for it, to emulate it.
My daughter was at a tournament a year ago with teams from her club covering the U10 to U17 age groups. They seated them at tables for a “club dinner”, making sure most age groups were represented at each table. Then they had a soccer quiz that touched on famous players, awareness of important historical soccer games, etc…You’d be amazed to know how little our kids know about this game. 17 year old girls were asking how my 11yo daughter knew Puyol, Ramos, etc…were. Who Cruyff was. Who Maradona was. All they knew (if that) was that it was the name of a “move” (one that they couldn’t do very well, by the way.)
That, my friends, is a lack of culture. To my way of thinking, it’s not about a specific geographical or social entity, but how much do you know about the history of the game, the feelings associated with it, the passion, the details, the minutiae. Every great football nation has all of these things in spades, but each with their own way of expressing them. If you don’t have these things, everything you do is going to be on a superficial level. Superficial was good enough in the beginning, when the rest of the women’s soccer world were still several levels BELOW superficial.
It the difference between a Van Gogh and the “starving artist” painting you buy for $5 at the Holiday Inn to hang over your couch.
Dr Loco says
Ken, like most of your comments.
“That, my friends, is a lack of culture. To my way of thinking, it’s not about a specific geographical or social entity, but how much do you know about the history of the game, the feelings associated with it, the passion, the details, the minutiae.”
I believe it is the lack of education. Let’s teach players about history, feelings, passion, details, the minutiae. Let’s make them smart and intelligent.
All coaches I see just have players perform stupid drills. Let’s take the players into the classroom instead.
One more thing about culture: it’s why MLS cannot compete with Europe or South America in terms of playing level and player salaries.
Fans of Detroit Lions can and have watched their pitiful team waste for decades now, but they continue to plunk down $100+ to watch them lose. Why? Culture and tradition!
To have a soccer culture, we need a few generations for it to simmer, penetrate the fabric of society, and develop its unique taste. Our vintage is 1990 (or possibly 1996 when MLS came to be). Right now, US soccer and bloggers like us argue about adding more salt or pepper but the ingredients aren’t yet infused and it just needs more time to happen. Have we added the tomatoes yet or too early?
And maybe what Guitarjeff was getting to: we don’t need to develop a cauldron able to feed the masses, a small pot prepared well can have a small, but dedicated following able to match anything a European chef can conjure up.
Kana gets it. You prepare that small pot and then the masses will come. We have the talent. Logan is also correct. Worrying about “culture” is self-defeating. Create the mega-players and the culture will follow. You cam”t put the cart before the horse. As someone else stated above. Look at the US Women’s team. They didn’t need “culture” to be the best.
Shame on you if you are telling your kid how much better the soccer culture is somewhere else and that the US has no hope. Your kid (assuming they play the game) is PART of that culture and may be part of the future, You are setting them up to fail. Unless you plan on taking them somewhere else (don’t let the door hit you in the ass) , be part of the solution rather than being the problem.
”Football players created their own language in that tiny space where they chose to retain and possess the ball rather than kick it, as if their feet were hands braiding the leather.” – Edgar Gaelano on Argentina’s expression of the game as opposed to English soccer.
Again, that has nothing to do with culture. It’s strategy, with a bit of classic Argentine grandiose in the explanation to go with it. (I dated an Argentine woman, I know)
In American football. The late 70’s SF 49ers developed the “West Coast Offense” that took the football world by storm for years. That was not West Coast “culture” it was an effective strategy. Eventually other teams figured it out and could beat it. We are seeing the same thing with Spain and Barcelona now.
Jeff, a lot of what you argue about top-down vs. bottom-up implementation of a strategy has merit. Arguing that pulling with a “build it and they will follow” approach to creating excellent soccer play, as opposed to pushing with grassroots efforts, is very legitimate. But your West Coast Offense example shows precisely where you are not understanding what many people mean when they say that the US lacks a soccer culture.
The US has a HUGE, developed, nuanced American football culture! It is so engrained in our society, that people even use American football (and baseball) metaphors in business and in other areas of life. The West Coast Offense and all kinds of other strategies, arose precisely because of a robust American football culture that is deep, sophisticated, and fertile for such nuanced innovation. The West Coast Offense was like learning a new chord on an instrument you already play well. Here, as a country, we barely know how to pick up the instrument when it comes to soccer.
Alberto, you are right that many of the CURRENT players of age in this country barely pick up the instrument, but the youth are amazing. Take Brian’s Barca team as an example. There are some amazing kids in my son’s group a year older as well. These kids could easily be developed into competitive professional and National team players and I believe that they will. They are creating their own culture. They all watch and follow international soccer and aspire to play like their favorites from Europe, SA or wherever.
These kids are the building blocks for the top down approach I speak of. We need architects that are up to the job to step up and build it. Give me unlimited financial resources, and I could build a very competitive team for 2022 WC. Hire the right coaches and get the kids the right competition to play against. Travel to Europe and SA often to play against their teams and you will see results.
Dr Loco says
I like this dude Guitarjeff!!!
I feel very similar. Allow me the following and I could create a world class team by age 16. The problem is 17-21 years of age. After 16, I would have to sell the players internationally.
1. recruitment from 25 mile radius from ages 8-16
2. training 3-5 days a week from ages 8-16
3. year round games and tournaments from ages 8-16
If I had 8 assistant coaches, I could produce top players every year. I would provide all the culture, skill, techniques, tactics, conditioning necessary to be a top level player up to age 16.
Would I produce the next Pele, Messi, Neymar, Ronaldo, etc.? NO. These players are anomalies that perhaps only appear once every 10-20 years. Fewer in the US since many players are focused on other sports and there is no strong culture to give kids the passion and drive to focus on soccer.
Here lies the problem for me.
1. no players will come from 25 mile radius
2. no players will train 3-5 days a week
3. no players will compete year round
I believe I have what it takes to create top-level players but I have no willing pupils.
If they didn’t have to pay to play… I bet you could do it. Just depends where you want to set up your academy. My son already went through a stint of training 2 days a week with his team and a 3rd day with a development school and was playing a game every weekend. On top of school he did seem to be getting worn out. Probably would just need to the type of training to manage fatigue.
For parents who can see the improvement and if their kids love to play, it’s totally doable. Even better if reachable by public transportation.
What’s your budget?
You’d definitely have to make it free to get the best talent. You’d need funding to take away all limitations and concentrate on just training the kids in the best way possible.
Here in So Cal, there are many kids (and more importantly parents) who will put in that type of schedule if the training is excellent.
Dr Loco says
Making it free to play is another major problem. I think the biggest problem is local clubs in every community monopolize and control all players ages 8-16. I have no access to players.
No one would forgo their local club to train to become a professional with me. Very few players I see even dream about training to become a professional players. Most kids 99% don’t even have a clue about what they want to be when they grow up.
You need a name brand like FC Barcelona to draw parents and players.
Dr Loco says
Give me a list of 30 7-8 year olds that want to become professionals and train consistently for 8 years and I will consider it.
My son travels 40 miles 3 times a week for practices year round for club soccer and also plays futsal once a week at night and has private training once a week. He spent a year on the LA Galaxy Academy, but the training was inferior to what he had before and since. These Academies need to get their act together to help move the country and the MLS in the right direction. I’ve seen it first hand, these guys are just spinning their wheels and constantly looking for better talent trained by someone else. The kids barely play and are not allowed to play elsewhere during all of the down time. Doesn’t make any sense.
Again you are wrong, the english game culturally favored robots, systematic players, argentine players took the game made it part of their culture. Again we are talking about MASS DEVELOPMENT! Not just having one good player or team, we are taking on the whole world and really my point is the Latin Culture is right here in front of our eyes but US Soccer does not and will not have them in running the game here in the USA.
I’m getting annoyed a little but i assume you have really never experienced a soccer culture outside the US (that is successful) top to bottom, meaning going to matches, talking to fans, street soccer, going to professional club training sessions etc, and observing the overall tone of the city, culture when it comes to the game.
You must broaden your horizons and then think ok how can we implement our philosophy and what cultures tend to favor that mentality. In fact we have already done it, the English Anglo Saxon view point of soccer runs rapid throughout the US and is still dominant today because culturally the games views are more of white suburban values when it comes to soccer in the US.
Yes Latin kids play, yes, black or african, or middle eastern play, but at the TOP do their cultures really define those cultures? I say no, Torres for the US team plays with a Latin style, others don’t know, but look at what Klinsmann said in 2010 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07O6qsZT7lc
Race has nothing to do with it. People of all races can be great athletes in all sports. We don’t necessarily have to play with a “Latin Style” (whatever that means) We can have our own style.
Come on. There are so many resources available to analyze successful teams and programs. Someone can put it together with all of the great youth players we have in the sport at this time.
Again, we can whine about culture or we can make something happen, culture be damned.
Dr Loco says
“Race has nothing to do with it. People of all races can be great athletes in all sports.”
I don’t want to start on this again. But this statement above is not true. It’s a classic case of nature vs nurture.
Study track and field players. Study thoroughbreds. Study muscle fibers. Study body anatomies.
Soccer is a multiple skills sport. There’s specialized positions but there’s not genetic perfection for a player. This is silly.
Japan and France have caught up because they SET OUT TO DO SO. Japan doesn’t have a storied soccer history or culture. We can absolutely do the same thing with our boys. France was pathetic on the men’s side in the last WC.
All of those girls at your club meeting have nothing to do with weather dedicated and talented boys can rise to the level of the rest of the world in the next 10 years. Maybe you would have had better luck if you based your soccer questions based on Female athletes in a room full of girls.Just a thought. My son probably couldn’t name more than 1 or 2 female players, but could tell you the top players on most any pro team in England, Italy, Spain, etc.
Again watch this video, u need to understand what he means, so please go really explore see what we mean because i think you mean well, but I’m going to flat out say it you have no clue what are talking about in terms of culture being overblown. I really think we need to go beyond we want to win, to we want to be the best, those are two different things. Wanting to win the world cup is what every country wants some will never realize it, but when you aim to be the best you always will have a chance to win it and that’s the detail you are missing about just having a team.
USA basketball can lose in 2004, but are we worried about another star coming up really are we? What player can anyone name that is a future star for US Soccer? We have millions of players, someone name 1, that we are putting are hopes on??? Countries that replenish their stock you know because their culture dictate the type of players they create
OK I watched it. He says we need for professional soccer to be the goal rather than college. That is his main point. I don’t buy the part about disadvantaged kids being better athletes. Genetics are genetics and well off people can be just as driven. Maybe more so in some cases.
With that being said, I see many club teams giving scholarships to talented kids who can’t pay. Sometimes whole teams of kids. Jurgen needs to come out and see these kids play. Two thirds of my sons U-12 team has a better first touch than the most of the national team squad.
You are right Jeff that we have a lot of players with huge potential at the U12 age and below. We had those players 5, 10 and 20 years ago as well. What happens to them? Where do they go? Why do they fail to reach their potential?
In the 90s China tried an experiment like you propose:
“In 1993, sponsored by Jianlibao Group, CFA selected 22 teenagers, the China Jianlibao Youth Football Team, to spend five years training in Brazil. In 1996, another seven young football players were sent to Brazil to join them. The CFA and all Chinese people had great expectation that these youngsters would make up the bulk of the national football team to play for the 2006 World Cup.
However, in 2004, the Chinese national team, with seven top players from Jianlibao Youth Football Team, failed to qualify for the 2006 World Cup finals.”
My aspiration is for the USA to become a perennial World Soccer Power. Not a one time flash in the pan team like Greece in 2004.
There are a lot of reasons why we continue to fall short. There is no one answer to the problem. Culture is part of the problem. MLS is part of the problem. Coaching is part of the problem. Pay to play is part of the problem. Miss-aligned incentives are part of the problem. A “Win Now” mentality is part of the problem. Player selection at the “elite” level is part of the problem. Coaching development is part of the problem. Fans are part of the problem. Parents are part of the problem. You and I are part of the problem…
…until we step back and start to see things as they really are.
that’s not the argument, the argument is their culture will reach for the top and those who currently represent US Soccer don’t and don’t want to. If you actually paid attention to the video Klinsmann questions why US Soccer doesn’t have 1 player that represent the latino community in the game. Ask Germany about the turkish cultural influence, or france with players like zidane, thuram, henry etc.
These guys and their culture changed how those countries viewed and play the game. Excactly not about race, its about culture an if white, latin, black, asian kids want to train 20 hours a week, live and breathe the game then we can go somewhere, but tell me where that is happening and who represents that culture we need to win the world cup. Klinsmann said you have to find a way to connect with hispanics, but again your views are part of the problem, u actually just disregard it and essentially don’t understand why soccer in the US is where its at now.
Read the beginning of Gary’s Post:
The irony is that not only are they participants in the culture problem, but they actually work very hard to sustain and perpetuate it! And they don’t even know it.
Can the people who are the culture problem, fix the culture problem?
I think Gary is addressing people with your attitude to be quite honest. Forget worrying about our “culture” or lack thereof and move forward. We can whine or we can do something. Be part of the solution or get out of the way.
There obviously are plenty of Hispanics involved with soccer at all levels here in the US, but why are you trying to make this into a racial issue when it is not? We have to get past this whole blaming things on racism here in America and just be Americans. Not (insert prefix here) -Americans, but just Americans. The best players are the best players regardless of race. No race or “culture” has any more or less potential for greatness.
hhahaah ok fair enough make sure you read every post on this blog and then maybe then you can actually see what 3four3 is trying to explain and why there’s this issue.
You are not reading what I’m posting, Klinsmann wasn’t trying to be racial either but he said you know what soccer culture is a touchy issue here in the USA. Did you read this post of 3four3 http://blog.3four3.com/2012/05/14/us-soccer-culture-problem-wrong/
The Key is not being involved or just put on teams but in this country actually framing the style and philosophy of play. But you know I’m going to stop, on this topic you really don’t get “it” which is fine.
Dr Loco says
“Exactly not about race, its about culture and if white, latin, black, asian kids want to train 20 hours a week, live and breathe the game then we can go somewhere”
Everyone can have an opportunity but over time 1 color will become dominant in the US soccer culture. Perhaps we just prefer the exclusivity we currently have in the sport.
Soccer is probably THE most racially diverse sport in existence. Why would 1 color become dominant in the US?
Dr Loco says
1 color dominance. Why? Well that’s a tough one to answer.
Currently the US soccer scene is “white” dominant.
Really? Do you think so? Certainly not here in Southern California. I’m not sure where you are at. The National team is fairly diverse.
Not in the NY Cosmopolitan League. The Manhattan teams tend to be whiter. But if your from Brooklyn, Queens or Staten Island… it’s pretty diverse. And being more Hispanic is no guarantee for dominance, especially if they’re not coached right.
My son who is 8 played as a guest player for a Brooklyn U9 team a couple weeks back, mostly kids from the Slope (so semi diverse middle class kids) and they played against a U11 team which had some kids that looked 14 and some that looked 8, all hispanic. It’s primarily a hispanic summer league, 20 minute halves. They ended up losing 1-0, gave up a cheap goal in the first half… but the had the run of play for most of the game.
Know why they lost?
The other team had a big bench and would sub every time our team got possession. They couldn’t hang onto the ball, so to kill the clock they made substitutions whenever they could. But it taught them a lesson. Even if you control possession, if you don’t realize sometimes you need hurry up and score, a lesser team will find a way to kill your advantage.
Culture is supporting the youth who are putting in the real hours that lead to being a top player.. My son went to a hispanic team that plays futsal and outdoor. They compete all year- 52 weeks a year. He loves it, but it is Culture Shock for his parents coming from a typical suburban team with 2 practices and a weekend game. How many soccer parents in US will sign up for 4 or more 2.5 hour practices a week? 2 weekend tournaments every month? The results are amazing but I don’t think many Americans want that kind of single minded focus on youth sports. They have grown up playing sports by the season and that is the culture they live, not all day every day soccer for their children and families.
The other families on the team do not think twice about burnout or repetitive stress injuries or multi sport playing and that is their culture.
Dr Loco says
“Culture Shock for his parents coming from a typical suburban team with 2 practices and a weekend game.”
Right I can’t get friendly games because all the suburban teams are on summer vacation and during the off-season they play baseball and basketball. During the regular soccer season well they are to busy playing 1 game on Sat.
My daughter is currently training at a Dutch camp 9am-11am, 2pm-4pm, 6pm-8pm. That is 30hrs per week. Her regular team trains 3hrs per week. That is why everyone else is 10x better than the US.
OK, I’m guessing you are not from around here. We have many teams here who play every weekend and will set up friendlies on a moments notice.
Many kids here are playing club soccer, AYSO, and In some Latin league simultaneously. At one point my son was playing Club, Middle Shool, Latin League, and Futsal all at once. Too much, but everything overlapped for about 3 weeks and it was crazy!!
I like teams that play every week and maybe take off a couple of weeks a year.
Dr Loco says
“Many kids here are playing club soccer, AYSO, and In some Latin league simultaneously. At one point my son was playing Club, Middle Shool, Latin League, and Futsal all at once.”
These teams/coaches do not know what they are doing. You need to play fewer “quality” games to develop properly and not waste your time playing mindless games.
I have to respectfully disagree. Our futsal team and Latin League team play like they are playing pickup soccer. No coaching at all other than keeping time to send in the subs (if any) so all of the kids get to play pretty much equally. Both of these teams are made up of quality top level club players and they play beautifully together. I might agree with the Middle School soccer, but it’s 5-6 games a year and the kids really enjoy representing the school.
This is another contradiction in US Soccer’s philosophy. We talk about how in other countries kids play constantly and have an advantage, yet we are trying to limit our kids here in the amount of games they play.
Ok last video, if you can’t see why culture is not a HUGE Part of the type of style, coaching, player selection and overall philsophy then i don’t know what to tell you
One club Santos produced Pele, Robinho, then Neymar, its crazy their styles are similar and each used their predecessor as a reference. So that style of play is evident in Brazilian culture
And after 30 years the game in the US has only been seen and expressed primarily through One lens, its either shut out, or kept out other cultures who will awaken the giant that we should be. Again this is not only about the style of players, but the whole soul, structure of US soccer, from grassroots to the National Team, to the philosophy of the coaching and finally the player selection.
Where is US Soccer shutting out other cultures?
I’ve seen this video before. Seems more like Brazilians patting themselves on the back more than anything. Obviously players are influenced by their heroes, but these heroes can be from anywhere. We don;’t have to have a previous Messi, Neymar, or whoever from America for kids to be influenced by them.
I’m a professional guitar player and was influenced a lot by a couple of German guitarists even though I grew up in Hawaii.
Today’s young American players have Fox Soccer and Gol TV streaming in international soccer matches 24/7. They don’t need previous local heroes.
Also if all of this culture and “Ginga and joga Bonito” or Maradona’s legacy is so important to success, why is little tiny Uruguay quietly kicking their asses all over the soccer field these last few years? I don’t see Uruguayan videos about their style and grandiose statements all over the place. Maybe while the others are dancing in the streets and/ or acting superior, Uruguayans are busy training. 🙂
Let’s bring in THAT coach. He knows how to build a winner with only 3 million total population.
Dr Loco says
“if you can’t see why culture is not a HUGE Part of the type of style, coaching, player selection and overall philsophy then i don’t know what to tell you”
I believe it. Brazil has a “natural” born culture which leads to natural born players. However I believe you can create an “artificial” culture and plant the seed to create a naturalized culture.
Create the inception.
I don’t even believe it would be artificial at this point. The kids love the game. Give them the tools to make things happen.
If you watch Brazil’s national team, they seem to be becoming more Defensive and less flashy. (aside from Neymar, of course) From what I understand the player selection in that country is now gravitating toward bigger, stronger players.
Dr Loco says
“Brazil’s national team….From what I understand the player selection in that country is now gravitating toward bigger, stronger players.”
Right, I think Kephren wrote about that evolution needed to compete with the European teams.
So (directing this at Kephren) Brazil is now abandoning it’s culture to compete internationally? I thought they had a superior thing going there?
This is what I mean. Pragmatism over romanticism. We need to be pragmatic rather than worrying about culture.
Dr Loco says
There needs to be a balance between pragmatism and romanticism, culture and coaching, love and hate. We have neither. We have no identity yet. I think these problems exist in many multi-ethnic and multi-cultural countries. In retrospect, British colonialism really fucked up the world. I’m sure South Africa, Australia, Canada suffer from the same plague.
Futbol requires national pride and cultural unity. The weak do not make it. They just fight amongst each other.
Dr Loco says
“USA basketball can lose in 2004, but are we worried about another star coming up really are we?”
Basketball players in the US and most US sports stars are self-made. That is why you need a strong culture to replenish players. However you can develop top players at approx 10x the rate instead of leaving it to random chance. If the US were 10x smaller they would have very few good athletes because they don’t really develop players in football, basketball, baseball, and obviously soccer.
is culture top down or bottom up? I think it’s top down in the sense that decisions at the top can stifle culture. It’s probably top down in many more ways. We are so far behind and the thing is many people don’t even realize how far behind we are. It annoys me when i hear people on BigSoccer say that because we have academies now it’s only a matter of time before we create world class players. The view over there is that we are heading in the right direction.
Here is how i see it. We’re heading in the right direction but about 5 miles up the road the highway ends. And the last exit isn’t named World Class Players Ave. In fact, we’re gonna miss the Culture 101 freeway change.
My view is (and i could be wrong about this by i doubt it) that the way MLS is structured is hindering the culture. Not just a little. But massively. It’s preventing us from getting where we need to go. And it’s always going to prevent us from where we need to go until two things are changed: single entity is gone and promotion/relegation is implemented.
There is nothing organic about MLS and thus there is no connection to our culture. Even other American sports leagues that adapted the franchise model started off organically and evolved into their current form by having the consent of the public. You have a generation of American soccer fans who have been socialized into the sport by watching the EPL, LA Liga and other foreign leagues, all which have a system of promotion/relegation. The majority of American soccer fans view the sport through this global narrative. Yet, we’re told because we are America and do things differently we must accept the NFL model for our domestic soccer league. And then we wonder why no one watches it and there is no culture tied to it.
As bad as MLS is technically if it were actually structured like a proper soccer league i would support it fervently and so to would a lot of people. Successful soccer nations have soccer culture because everyone has a local club that survives either through meritocracy or through the business model of developing players and selling them on to greener pastures. With MLS we have a business model of single entity, no pro/rel, and keep Landon Donovan forever instead of selling him for millions that we can put into youth development.
I live in LA. Whats my cultural connection to LA Galaxy? There’s just some “franchise” that MLS LLC plopped down about 10 miles from me. They have daft supporters that jump behind the goal and throw streamers at the opposing goal keeper. They can never get relegated.
what would happen if we had pro/rel and organic club growth and no single entity? Some club somewhere would rise out of something. Maybe they would have a history as a local club and then start to develop a following in their community. Maybe they get investment and actually get a stadium. Not a very big one but it holds 8k. Maybe they never rise higher than 3rd tier but they start to develop players and they have great coaches and they teach possession and technique. They sign those players and then sell them to greener pastures then put the money back into development. It’s not a pipe dream. This happens in every country that takes soccer seriously. It’s culture.
Also Ken are you saying that American Women were trailblazers being 20 years ahead of anyone else? No other women played soccer at the same time? Were there no teams to challenge them? Did they win the Olympics and WC by default because no one else showed up? How did they get to be the best and win everything without “culture”?
The US Woman won the WC because there are 1000 times more money pumped into the sport as opposed to any other country. Every state school and multiples, all throughout the United States gives out a full 20-30 4 year rides for the woman’s game. In actuality when you look at the money numbers it’s a joke that the women haven’t won more WCs
Have no love for the women’s game given the insane amount of opportunities they have in comparison to the men’s game. Also the whole college scholarship based of off sport deal.
We can argue all day about this culture, that culture, the US has no culture, yogurt cultures or whatever. The bottom line is: What will we do next regardless of all of that?
Guitarjeff / Kephren… I’ve been following your debate for the last couple days and it’s great! Now that it’s settled down I think you guys are both missing the point to an extent. Fact is you are both right, but coming at the issue from two very different perspectives/worldviews.
Jeff you argue culture isn’t an excuse and what matters is that highly talented coaches/organizations step up and develop a product worth talking about. You’re absolutely right, one way to put pressure on the non 3four3 architects is to develop a better product and showcase that product.
Kephren, you argue that the foundation of player development is culture and without the appropriate cultural environment there cannot be enlightened development. You are right as well. The capacity for human potential development is an organic process and you cannot predict the outcome. Like a farmer, all you can do is create the right conditions by which the product can flourish. It’s not about cloning a system; it’s about customizing to your circumstances.
The two aspects of development you have been debating are not mutually exclusive but are actually reciprocal and feed each other. There cannot be talented coaches developing elite players without culture driving their passion, and those elite players/coaches drive the culture. There is no chicken or egg debate. These two elements coexist like parallel universes. We have both of these but not enough of either. If the aim is to be the best you can never have enough of either as well.
Dr Loco says
Hawk, well said. Both Guitarjeff and Kephren are correct.
“We have both of these but not enough of either.” I think we already have both talented coaches and players. The problem is the wrong coaches are training the wrong players.
I understand your post and agree, but i only wanted to point out how culture dictates the game everywhere in the world.
I actually never said culture was an excuse if you look through what i was trying to elude a soccer culture that is ready to thrive and compete with the world is here. It really is i’m making no excuses the point i wanted to get across, which gary mentioned on this thread is noticing what type of philosophy, style, player that top countries use to develop their players.
We all talk about we need xavi’s and iniesta types, well there are actually here, but culturally we have coaches/leaders in high places that have held back our progress, held back our greatness. I wanted to point out that in Brazil there were similar obstacles when they begin their soccer history, and just like guitarjeff suggested they made their own clubs in their image and created their own success without blaming the culture, but this is the key “created their own culture”. They created a culture of how they wanted to play the game which in turn influenced the philosophy and coaching.
Germany realized we need more skilful players, more dynamic soccer, so all of a sudden 2 turkish players are on the national team who really defines the “New Germany”. But if they played like the Old Germany Ozil would not fit that, the coaches/leaders made sure the style, represented the more multi-cultural Germany.
I don’t know if any of you got last months 442 magazine and one the articles said why is Germany so exciting: Because its not German was the tag line. Klinsmann knows how big the Turkish influence has been a huge positive and noted that in that video in talking about the soccer culture America its touchy subject because here. And what did he say: “You must find a way to connect with the hispanics, with everyone” it takes an outsider for us to realize that, well not me, but i’m going to stop arguing on this topic, let people believe what they believe, but show you all with Joga SC does and holla at me after we “start” what US Soccer will be in the future…
Dr Loco says
“i’m going to stop arguing on this topic, let people believe what they believe, but show you all with Joga SC does and holla at me after we “start” what US Soccer will be in the future…”
Kephren, we believe!
Culture, smulture……I see there are people on here still banging on and debating over super athletes playing this game. Did any of you watch Pirlo from Italy, 34 years old, mentally mind fuck the entire English squad yesterday that is filled full of athletes that don’t know how to play the game? None of the English have any skill whatsoever, Italy is full of skilled players and none are athletes outside of Balotelli, Italy destroyed England because the English have never been able to POSSESS THE BALL.
Our US Mens team is full of super athletes, Dempsey is a great athlete. Donovan, Altidore, most all of them athletes masquerading as soccer players that have zero skill and don’t know how to play the game. None of our players can possess the ball or are comfortable with the ball. That or they’re getting kicked in the MLS and taught not to control the ball.
Hate the US WOmen’s game but the US Womens squad is full of athletes and the French Women are better then the US ones because they possess the ball and have ball skills. The US womens team will get dominated in years going forward playing beasts like Wamback and others while playing kick and run.
Agree the US teams are full of people with no touch on the ball. Dempsey is not as bad as some. Super athletes WITH excellent touch and skills will be the wave of the future. You can have both. CR7 is the ultimate example of this.
Dr Loco says
“The US womens team will get dominated in years going forward playing beasts like Wamback and others while playing kick and run”
I don’t like the women’s team either but those are the kids we select and that is what coaches teach them.
We reward “kick and run” soccer in the dominant US culture.
Can just see this going on in the US developmental academies and player selection at young ages, the idiotic and arrogant English then today come out and say they need to find their Pirlo’s, Messis, Iniestas, Xavis…………..then say literally in the next sentence that none of the Pirlos or the Italian squad could play in the fast, physical English League. A day after Italy literally fucking dominated England in all facets of the game. It was embarrassing.
Read this shit here and weap.
If this is prevalent in out player selections at young ages of development, fuck me.
I’m not seeing the part where he says Pirlo could not play in England? Italy looked great against Spain as well. I would not count them out as possible champions.
There is still some of this at the youth level player selection, but it’s getting better.
“They enjoyed that because of the extra man in midfield — Pirlo. Although I don’t think many Italian players would get into the top teams in the Premier League they were better in the most important areas.”
This is from one of England’s main Head Coaches that has a ton of pull in the entire country. Absolute utter arrogance, ignorance and more importantly making sure he keeps that $10M year salary as Tottenham’s coach.
Italy and Pirlo literally dominated England in all areas of the game, possession, creativity, skill, win the game, then this Redknampt dude comes out and says that about the “HYPED” EPL and the Italian players. Whom are rebuilding.
If you believe what Klinsmann has been saying, he wants to find the best technical talent he can. Not just gifted athletes. And he wants the approach to be cohesive from youth on up. Whether that’s possible with the structure and staff that’s in place is another question. I don’t think he thinks he can get very far with the latest group he’s fielded. He’s looking everywhere within the talent pool for what he needs. Whether he can tactically do anything with the right talent, is another question.
If he tries to emulate the german or dutch system, I’m ok with that. While there’s no question there’s tons of great “latin” talent in the US, I don’t think the argument that “if we just used these players, we’d win”, makes any sense. Even MOST central and South American countries don’t get that far in the WC. Europe has dominated the World Cup for the past 20 years with the exception of Brazil and Argentina.
What the US needs is a insistence of getting the fundamentals right. Skilled creative players can come from anywhere, they need to be found and developed. Our current youth are already learning about the international game, they have way more access to it than I ever did. They’ll create their own identity around the game. It won’t look or feel like anything we’re familiar with, it’ll be theirs and it’ll be American.
Steve is right on the mark. Great post.
Dr Loco says
“none of the Pirlos or the Italian squad could play in the fast, physical English League”
Yes fuck the English soccer based on rugby.
This Redknampd idiot says that the Italian players wouldn’t get in on any of the top EPL teams…………..then in the same sentence says the Italians are better in the MOST IMPORTANT AREAS OF THE GAME. WTF? Are the English this dense and stupid about the game……
Can’t play for top EPL teams but the Italian players are better in the most important ares of the game that matter in winning? LMAO!!
OK, I see it now. yeah that is an odd comment considering the rest of what else he says regarding playing with more possession and size not being a big factor in selecting players.
C’mon it’s Redknapp! Ex-tottenham coach. He’s a buffoon an apparently possibly the next England coach. I’m an Arsenal fan, I’d never listen to a word he says.
But I do love what Wenger said about the Serie A and Van Persie moving to Italy. 😀
Come to think of it, there are really not a lot of Italian players in the EPL.. The Italians seem to like to stay in Italy more than some of the other players out there like staying home. I guess having a thriving league at home is a huge bonus.
I’m biting my lip about commenting on Italian acting skills.
Arsenal is absolutely the ONLY team I will allow my sons to watch in the HIGHLY overrated and over hyped English Premier League. Maybe some city now, that is it.
The most hyped league in the world and your average English/born and raised fan don’t even understand the modern game itself, how can one of their relic coaches understand this?
The England/Italy game should be taped for all United States futbol coaches to read, watch, study, analyze and show over and over to boys here on how you play the game and how you can lose a game you thoroughly dominate your opponent in as was ALmost the case in that game. They will understand and learn and progress.
You mean how to play to a draw, overtime and then PKs? I don’t think I watched the same match you did.
Not at all as England was thoroughly and utterly dominated. As it never should have got to that point in the first place. Even my sons understood how defensive England was playing and they were tying for PKs and were lucky to get there in the first place.
England plays horribly ugly futbol for the amount of money they pound into that sport. Don’t be offended if your an English expat that is now a US citizen.
I’m not. Dominated is what happened to Ireland. Why is defensive football ugly? Spain play it… 4-6-0. They often play to win by 1. I think your hate of the EPL is a bit overblown. It’s a different style and gets EPL teams to the finals of the CL.
EPL teams would never touch anything, in Europa or Champions league if the money or internationals didn’t do all the work. Take those 2 out and their out before Christmas. England is never on TV.
Ignorant English, how can one country put in so much money into the sport and default to anti-futbol, club or international level? Ambassadors of the game, people don’t want to watch that crap. Get better players, change your league, this ain’t rugby.
PS, also biting my lip again on how over rated, over hyped the EPL is again. Many US soccer fans that love the MLS also need to watch the quality of technical display that is much moreso in La Liga and Seria A. They will learn and appreciate these leagues much moreso then the EPL.
Having United States youth players watch borderline rugby style English futbol is a No No.
The EPL is fun to watch. Serie A is fun to watch and so is La Liga. But you’re kidding yourself if you think that Serie A and Liga are much better to watch. They’re all different and all have good an bad qualities. I mean in La Liga half the table isn’t even that good. In Italy the number of fouls and perceived fouls and clowning and harassing of the ref can get tedious. You obviously hate the EPL I like that mix of international players and UK players, strangely enough, the diversity on the field is closer to that of MLS. I like that. I try to watch Ligue 1 and Bundesliga too.
My son enjoys Serie A the most. I’m not really sure why, but all of the Leagues bring something different to the table and are fun to watch. After all, it’s the game they love and the kids can tell the difference between good and bad soccer.
The MLS can be fun. I was at this game last night.
Can’t believe I am typing but thank you for supporting. Have season tickets for my Colorado Rapids and love the atmosphere regardless of quality.
Our section are very hard on the players for everything trying to get the level of play to arise and for them to earn that contract. Also hard on all of the coaches in playing a couple of the Colorado Kids (don’t matter as long as their from the US). They all need games!
NOVA Mike says
“I mean in La Liga half the table isn’t that good.”
You’re right. Outside of RM and FCB none of the other teams in La Liga could compete at all in the EPL. Look at Atletic Bilbao for example, who finished half way down the table in 10th. Terrible team. They’d never stand a chance in the EPL. Same with Valencia, who finished a bit higher, but still. Can you imagine a team like that, with all their pretty passing and movement, coming up against a tough English team like Stoke?
Also, anyone who succeeds in La Liga only does so b/c of the notoriously poor defending (leaving aside the inconvenient fact that the GA average was lower than the EPL this year). Just look at players like Silva, Mata, Aguero, … total flops when coming up against “real defenders” in the EPL.
Face it. La Liga is a 2 team League. Messi and Ronaldo would never score 40 + goals in the most other Leagues. The bottom of the table is extremely weak. *Maybe” the top 5 teams would survive relegation after a season in the EPL. Only Barca and RM would be top 10 candidates.
Yes there are a some good players in the League on other teams, but none of those teams are even coming remotely close to challenging for the League title. The top 2 are 30+ points clear of the rest.
Wow, that is incredibly nieve. 10th place Bilbao beat the pants off of glorified Manchester United who finished 2nd, and Ronaldo scored goals aplenty when he was with Man United. Don’t let Barcelona and Real Madrid’s greatness let you forget how good some of the other teams and players in La Liga are.
That’s one game against a team that didn’t care to be involved in the Europa League. Ronaldo scored 20+ goals with United. Not 40+. About the Same degree of difficulty for the 2 feats.
All of England’s’ Europa league teams get rocked in that competition because they are lined up against skilled players. Simple. As. That.
That bus parking, physical rugby style, only applies to that dinosaur, money laden, over hyped league. Get’s called out JUST.about every single occassion. Antifutbol wins on occasion.
Take the internationals and money out of the EPL and we ain’t even talking bout any of their clubs or league because they out of the competitions come Christmas. You wouldn’t even know they existed.
“Money Laden” is a bad thing? That’s a problem we need in the MLS.
Sorry, but the EPL’s 6th place team won the CL. A player could do a hell of a lot worse than getting a job in the EPL. It’s great that talented international players can go to a league where they can make some money. Isn’t that then ultimate goal?
But… but…. it’s not the beautiful game that Spain, Italy and Brazil play! So tired of the whole Barca lost but they deserve to win because they play prettier soccer.
Ever watch the Real Madrid matches with Barcelona? Not always the prettiest game to watch.
I think we’re getting mired in discussions of what culture means. None of us are really agreeing. There’s different tactics, styles of play, skills and identity. Identity is developed over time and can’t be forced. But the other three are taught. There’s not a physical or genetic template for a great soccer player. Too many different physical attributes are required for there to be a genetically perfect template for a soccer player.
Fundamentals and experience are what most football players need to be great. There are some intangibles like creativity and awareness which are harder to teach.
Take a team like Arsenal for example… Dutch, English, Welsh, French, Polish, German, Brazillian, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Costa Rica, FInland, Belgium…
Sounds a lot like a melting pot… why does it work? And it does work, maturity often being it’s biggest weakness. Because it has a coach that recognizes talent and develops it. And he plays technical possessive soccer in the “rugby” league.
Think Wenger would take over after Klinsmann?
Dr Loco says
“Are there too many foreign players in English football?”
Chicharito come back or go to RM!
Good article… and it says no… that the exposure of british youth to flair players from other countries is good for english football.
Chicharito is doing great at Man-U. That’s got to be a dream gig for him.
I hope to god the idiots posting in this thread are English people. The entire problem with England is they have zero skill at all in the EPL. They have “great defending”. Great, you can get that anywhere!! Hoof and run. Track athletes, rugby players gettin paid a mint.
This is why all their mid table teams get smoked in the Europa league because they come up against all teams with skill. This is why they get to look a mug when playing against a 34 year old in Pirlo. The English fan, player and typical coach are the most arrogant and ignorant in the world. They are full of excuses in that god forsaken island.
This is the money paragraph regarding English football, international, their club levels, not comparing this league to that, MANU to whoever:
You know what would happen if England was forced to kick out all the foreign players in that league, their league would become an international joke all across Europe and the world. They would get rocked in the Europa and Champions leagues before Christmas each and every year. They would win nothing and their clubs would be crushed! This is a the devil in the details when looking at that “HYPED” league and why they get rocked internationally and in the Europa competition. THIS AIN”T FREAKING RUGBY OR TRACK! STOP THE PROPAGANDA!!
I’m sensing sarcasm.
The EPL is a hyped up machine as this is all the English have left. No skill players, don’t understand the game. No internationals = no Europe or Champions League = no eye balls = “supposedly” dead league to the arrogant English.
This is why Americans and Europeans love watching the English national teams called out each competition because they are over the top with their club teams and never support the next club wherever they relocate. They’d definitely change their tune with no internationals in that dinosaur league.
Apart of me hurts deeply inside for the very technical and skilled England kid that is chucked the first minute puberty hits and he’s thrown to the curb. This is what I see when I see Chelsea.
This is as much as me growing up seeing zero opportunities for American boys to play the game as professional players regardless of pay grade or skill level. Also seeing the idiotic ESPN’s agenda glorifying he women’s game thus crushing the men’s game.
What does this all equal, can’t stand Chelsea, ESPN, USWNT, college athletic rides, the poor small skilled english kid getting chucked, and how damn long it’s taken for the MLS.
I pray for the MLS to continue to grow into multiple leagues with relegation, subdivisions and “Correct” academies for all the skilled boys to come up through, thus neglecting the draft to an afterthought for late bloomers and roster fillers. I hope to see some proper Argentina style American players playing in the MLS at ages of 15-19 then getting sold to Europe for the next wave of kids to come through. That will be awesome!!!
R10 fan says
Yeah that’s a pipe dream. This is America where we do things differently, but still succeed in whatever. You don’t have to put down the college game, MLS, and USWNT. There is no agenda. In fact the USWNT is helping expose Soccer to the mass American culture. Try not to be so ignorant because that’s not helping the cause people are strving for on here.
I do think that college soccer hurts player development. They have rolling subs. And they only play 3-4 months.
I’m tired of hearing “this is America where we do things differently.” It’s just an excuse to continue to do the wrongs things. It’s never said by anyone who has an ounce of football knowledge. I’m sorry, but this “we’re Americans we do it differently” nonsense gets trotted out to cover for how detrimental MLS and college soccer are to our development.
Why the hell is Landon Donovan still in the MLS? He should have been sold 2 years ago and those millions could have gone into LA Galaxy academy to create 4 more Donovans. But because of single entity LAG doesn’t receive all the money and less the incentive to do so.
why aren’t we setting goals to develop a multi-tier promotion/relegation pyramid?
these are serious questions and the answer is not “We’re America we do it differently”
R10 fan says
They are some thing we just can’t imitate because our society isn’t accustomed to such things.
i don’t believe this, sorry. And most people that see and understand the problem don’t believe this either.
another thing I find hilarious is that some people actually think there is an American way to do things in soccer. We’ve been taking this sport seriously how long? Maybe 15 years? There is no American way dude.
There is no American school. There is the Brazilian way, the Argentine way, the Dutch way, the German way
We have to create an American way by taking the best of what’s out there and blending it together to make it our own.
R10 fan says
The sports culture in America won’t except Pro/Rel because it’s not done here for any sport period. I don’t care what European US soccer fans say. There are millions of other sports fans in our country foreign to the subject and I guarantee they won’t like it at all. Do you see American Football, Basketball, Baseball, and Hockey get Pro/Rel? No you don’t. MLS is trying to appeal to the country at wide to help with the growth of soccer. Can we have Pro/Rel? Yes we can, but not until Soccer (most importantly MLS) get BIG.
A relegation system would only make sense if we actually had 20 more teams to form a viable 2nd tier to the MLS. You can’t just demand it. Plus we don’t even use a single table. We use an east coast and west coast system with playoffs. Let’s get the MLS to 20 teams first, then talk about changing it up.
Dr Loco says
A relegation system should be in place in US sports like NFL, NBA, MLB. Half of all those teams suck. Why do I want to watch good teams play bad teams? It’s a waste of time and money!
Dr Loco says
“There is no American way dude. ”
Currently there is an American way…the wrong way.
i said putting a plan in for pro/rel. To make pro/rel a goal. I didn’t say to implement pro/rel tomorrow. I’m talking about a plan that in 10 yrs we could have pro/rel.
ideally i would want to see the top American D1 with 16 teams and D2 with 16. We already have 19 in MLS and 8 in NASL. Then there are a few in USL that could be part of a D2.
Then of course there is the fact that once you say u r going pro/rel you will have clubs interested in joining it. For instance investment could go to san fran or san diego or detroit or wherever.
we wouldn’t be that far off from a proper soccer pyramid if we just set the goal for it.
And those that say “pro/rel wont work in soccer in the US because America does it different” are idiots. They have half a fucking brain and should be mocked for their soccer ignorance.
Sorry..this fires me up.
Dr Loco says
“Why the hell is Landon Donovan still in the MLS?” Well, Donovan is old and not very good.
“He should have been sold 2 years ago and those millions could have gone into LA Galaxy academy to create 4 more Donovans. ”
Really? Do you read any of the posts on 3four3?
Create 4 more Donovans? HOW??????????????????????????
The LA Galaxy academy is not creating anything. We were there. The training was inferior to every club team we were with previously.
The uniform looks sharp though.
isn’t that the point though? They aren’t putting the money into it.
they could sell Donovan and that would pay for a great academy for 5 + years.
The money didn’t seem to be the problem. It was the philosophy, poor coaching, and favoritism for people with friends in the organization.
I agree as an Englishman this country has failed miserably. Our FA is trying to change things, but it’s not enough and nothing happens quickly here, unlike our football.
But we have in my opinion a program that is better than Barcelona, having recently seen Barcas work, but because it is not from the FA it is hard to get it out to the masses.
Several people have mentioned the USWNT in this thread. Am I the only one who noticed how over the years the US Men’s Soccer culture has overtaken and ruined the Women’s game here in the USA. There was a time when the Women’s game in the US was full of possession and an intricate understanding of the game. Then something happened and the women’s game morphed into the exact same atrocity that the men in the US play at the “top” level.
No, the women’s game competed with nobody. They never had possession in the first place, out athleted everybody. Beating China with pretty woman was the worst thing to happen to the men’s sport as ESPN glorified it into a women’s game. The heroic shirt pulling off, with the aforementioned USA, USA, USA. Very bad for the men’s game. Contrarily they compete with each other and I love the MLS and wish it to morph into something huge.
Loved when Japan came back and beat USA with skilled players based on position. The USA women’s team undeservedly beat Brasil and France who are more skilled + know the game.
Loathe the woman’s game as there are 500 times more the opportunity in money they make off of college rides for players that don’t deserve them in the first place. The soccer mom/dad dad/ESPN to a T here. Nothing I love more then watching our USMNT then seeing a commercial for a freaking animal in Wambach that has no skill when Dempsey should be plastered all over the screen. Thank you ESPN (I hope you die with your agenda in the next 2 decades)!!
R10 fan says
It’s not ESPN’s fault. I feel the USWNT gained some popularity because of their looks mostly. It’s not so bad in hindsight. See the post above. MLS will continue to grow every year and both the Mens and Womens game will get better. Have you seen a freestyler named Indi Cowie? She plays college soccer and she’s freaking good. Like a Ronaldinha or Marta but better. And guess what… she’s white
Dr Loco says
“Then something happened and the women’s game morphed into the exact same atrocity that the men in the US play at the “top” level.”
Maybe greedy US coaches from the men’s teams took over when they smelled something good.
Joe Fabian says
A few comments from Jamie Carragher. They can easily be applied to our problems with soccer education and soccer culture here in the USA.
“As I watched England entrenched on the edge of their box, desperately clinging on against Italy, I was thinking: “What does this remind me of?” writes Jamie Carragher.
It did not take me long to work it out. It was like a Championship side playing at a top Premier League club in the FA Cup.
A performance where qualities such as pluckiness and courage get banded about and the gulf in quality between the teams is tolerated because of their different pedigree.
This is what English football has become. Our limitations laid bare to the point where so long as the “bulldog spirit” is on show the players have done all that has been asked.
It is never going to be enough to win a major tournament. At the next World Cup we will be having the same post-exit discussion about our inability to retain the ball and do anything more than try to stop the opponent rather than impose ourselves on them – and it will be doubly difficult in Rio.
The 38 per cent possession statistic against Italy as England exited Euro 2012 was damning and embarrassing. We will never beat a top nation in a tournament playing like this.
Steven Gerrard had cramp after 70 minutes and Scott Parker had to be replaced, feeling the effects of a gruelling four games. We would have been on our knees had they had to play another two fixtures.
We all know what the problem is. We are technically inferior to the international super powers.
Our domestic league is considered the best, but I would put us in the third tier of international football, well below Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Germany and Italy.
Ideas are thrown around every two summers. We need to sort out the “grass roots”. What do people actually mean when they say this? It is such a broad term.
Do youngsters need top coaching at an early age? Of course they do, but we may have to acknowledge that our problem is cultural.
In this country, parents want their children to “get stuck in”. Traditionally, our best footballers are powerful, strong types, such as Gerrard and, in this tournament, John Terry.
We never produce a No10 such as a Mesut Özil because they may not shine in their youth if the emphasis is on finding those who will fly into tackles.
Spain has always produced playmakers like Xavi, and the Dutch and Portuguese flying wingers such as Arjen Robben or Cristiano Ronaldo. Our stars have been more tough, powerful midfielders or defenders who win the ball. Unfortunately, we do not breed enough players who keep it.
Fighting spirit is not a negative quality and should remain part of our identity, but we need far more and it has become a question of radically changing our priorities.
Spain are the example in terms of ball retention, the extraordinary ideal we aspire to. There needs to be some realism, though.
Can we really expect to do what they do even better? The English system has never produced a Xavi or an Andrés Iniesta.
We should watch and learn from them, but recognise what is genuinely attainable. It feels like we are always wishing we had been doing what others have done years after they have done it, so we are always playing catch-up.
After Euro 96 I recall everyone saying we had to copy the Ajax Academy. Two years later the obsession was Clairefontaine in France.
Now it is La Masia in Barcelona. Sometimes, a country has its moment and in recent years it has been Spain, but that does not mean it can be replicated in another country. You have to assess how the game is evolving and act accordingly or you are always years behind.
The real reference for English football is Germany, because we produce players of similar strength, power and organisation.
Where they are far superior is in technical excellence. I see no reason why our future generations cannot be nurtured in the same way. Germany responded to their failure in 2004 by focusing on their youth centres and the result is there to see now.
What we must not forget is that ultimately it is about the talent of the players. Sounds straightforward, but you hear so many people suggesting a good coach can turn an average youngster into a world-class player. It is delusional.
We have to ensure youngsters with talent want to play football, enjoy it and embrace the system we put in place. There are so many distractions these days that the hard part is finding the players in the first place. All a good system can do is guide them.
Bad coaching can ruin potentially good players, but even the best coach in the world cannot turn a poor player into a world-class one.
I have my own experience of youth academies, benefiting at Lilleshall and Liverpool. The quality of coaching, particularly when I worked with Steve Heighway, added that extra 10 per cent to make sure I progressed.
I have always felt I would have been a professional footballer whether I’d had such a great coach or not, but the academy was essential in ensuring I had the opportunity to make the most of my ability.
That is all St George’s Park or any club academy can aspire to. If it does not come from within, no player is going to make it.
I have spent a lot of time in Poland with Gareth Southgate, who is a contender to be the Football Association’s next technical director, and I was encouraged by his ideas.
He is passionate about shifting the priority away from a culture which sees a football match as “going to war” and instead emphasises ball retention and technical ability.
He also supports a winter break, which is now a necessity as a mental as much as physical break from the slog of the Premier League.
The main focus for the FA is creating a system to allow an easier transition from youth to senior football. Our reserve league is not good enough. The gulf between that and the Premier League is massive.
This vital last step has almost been disregarded with all the focus on academies. The FA and the Premier League need to work together, rather than engaging in power games.
Amid all this, there is a contradiction at the top. We want a more attractive, passing game, but the FA appointed a head coach with very clear tactical ideas based on counter-attacking football.
I hear many say it needs to evolve in the World Cup qualifiers. The tactics will not change and, as I said at the start of the tournament, it would be unfair to criticise Roy Hodgson for that. Everyone knows his methods.
For the immediate future, it will more of the same, trying to fight off those strongest nations showing the grit and determination we pride ourselves in.
Behind the scenes, however, the radical restructuring must start today to ensure the next generation can aspire to something more. If not, we will all be making precisely the same observations at the end of the 2022 World Cup.
Gary Kleiban says
Thanks for sharing Joe!
What’s the reference again? The link you provided isn’t it.
Joe Fabian says
My mistake, I am sorry. The correct reference is: http://www.liverpoolfc.com/news/media-watch/telegraph-carra-england-must-act-now
This is interesting. The culture that CREATED FOOTBALL needs to change it’s culture to be competitive on the world stage. I can see the USA has a similar problem, smaller, quicker and more skilled players get looked over for the more “physical” or more powerful players… that’s certainly the “jock” attitude. Similar problem for us. But I do see improvement in some ways Dax McCarthy is small but plays well, and man does he have the passion. I think Tim Ream could become a top class defender. Neither have much international experience and it shows.
Dr Loco says
“Bad coaching can ruin potentially good players, but even the best coach in the world cannot turn a poor player into a world-class one.”
True! But a good coach can turn …
a poor player into an average player,
an average player into a good player,
a good player into a great player,
a great player into a star player,
a star player into a super star.
Joe Fabian says
Joe Fabian says
Would you e-mail me directly, please. I cannot find an e-mail address for you.
Portugal is doing pretty well against Spain. The Spaniards look a little stressed out.
Dr Loco says
Kephren, check this out. If US Soccer let in Blacks and Latinos into the game they would lose control as well.
“The more things change, the more they stay the same” fits the French national team to a tee.
French players again melted down at Euro 2012 like a gooey Croque Monsieur.
The French sports daily L’Equipe reported Tuesday that Nasri faces a two-year ban from the national team for poor conduct at Euro 2012.
“There, now you’ll be able to say I’ve been badly brought up.”
Three other players — Hatem Ben Arfa and Jeremy Menez, members along with Karim Benzema and Nasri of France’s Generation 87, and Yann M’Vila — are reported to being facing shorter bans for incidents during or after the Bleus’ final two matches at Euro 2012.
they are high-priced divas with bad attitudes and a penchant for bling bling.
Huh? Agudelo. Edu. Gomez. Jones. Rimando. Altidore etc. Racism isn’t a problem on the National team level. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it is on a youth level.
I think the French problem isn’t necessarily the players. Their federation treats the players like children.
Youth soccer here in So Cal is a huge melting pot. I see very little, if any, racism here. Especially with the kids. There are probably more Latinos playing Club soccer here than anyone. At least on the boys side of it. My kid is one of the only White kids (full on Blonde hair) playing in one of the Sunday Leagues here and has no racism problems.
Ironically the only racism I’ve seen was with AYSO parents during an All Star tournament doing the city vs. city thing. They were calling our boys “rich spoiled white brats” from the sideline during the game. Of course we were beating them something like 10-0
AYSO all stars losing?! Shocker.
We were AYSO All Stars at that time too!! LOL Played it in addition to the club soccer.
Dr Loco says
“Ironically the only racism I’ve seen was with AYSO parents during an All Star tournament…Of course we were beating them something like 10-0”
Again, playing against poor opposition is a waste to of time. The losing and winning teams learn nothing.
I see this as a MAJOR problem in all youth sports ie soccer, baseball, basketball. Only satisfies the ego of crazy adults.
That’s absurd. Kids like playing games. I play in pick up games with my son. He plays with the adults, I’m usually the worst one on the field. It’s fun and he loves it.
There’s no harm playing LOTS of soccer. The problem is coaching.
The one caveat is if they’re not having fun, they shouldn’t play in the league. Also if the competition is routinely bad they won’t improve.
I thought my son would enjoy the AYSO indoor season last year… he would dominate and score a lot. Practice his skills and make new friends. Which did happen. However it stopped being fun. A lot of the kids were so bad that the only way they could stop him was to foul. The reffing was so bad that fouls are almost never called. He’s was only 7 is as tall as a 9 year old but never tried to use his size, he used skill and speed to beat them. He didn’t understand why he was being shoved and tripped with no fouls being called. Even after he would score a hat trick he’d say the game wasn’t much fun.
Dr Loco says
“So Cal is a huge melting pot” More like a tossed salad.
No racism in US Soccer?
Let’s make Los Angeles the center of US Soccer. I’m all for it. Let’s get the fans and the players on the same team.
“U.S. Soccer Keeps Searching for a True Home Game”
The common wisdom is that the United States does not like to schedule — is afraid to schedule — World Cup qualifiers in major Latino cities.
Sunil Gulati, the president of the U.S. Soccer Federation …
He committed to playing Honduras in Chicago, which was listed as (only) 26 percent Hispanic according to the 2000 census.
Although many of the Latinos in Chicago are of Mexican descent, Gulati did not think Mexican fans would be a major factor
There is a history of American players feeling like foreigners on American soil. In 1985, the United States scheduled a vital World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica for a small college football field in Torrance, Calif. An hour before the match, several thousand Costa Ricans came over the hill, waving banners and chanting.—SCARY!!!
The United States lost, 1-0, and a young American player plaintively asked the American coach, Alkis Panagoulias, when the United States would ever play a home game. His response was, “Never.”
Try getting players that are “homeboys” from the local communities!!! With a name like Alkis Panagoulias no wonder you feel like foreigners in Torrance.
“A Home Stadium for American Soccer”
Currently, the official stadium for US soccer is the Home Depot Center located in Carson, California. However, it is far from the home stadium for USMNT since only two of the past fourteen home games have been played there.
That was 27 years ago. This argument is silly. It almost equates to… all we need is to sign up all the skilled hispanic players and the fans and cups will come.
My son plays in a similar Sunday league. His team is mixed. But you can tell that the Latinos do not like getting showed up in any way by the white kids. They usually are pretty stunned out how well they play against them. I think it’s a good experience for both sides.
A few of the parents don’t like it. The kids don’t care. Most of them are just surprised at the white kid they don’t know getting hat tricks. Our team is all Latin except for my son. Really nice kids and parents.
Meaning the OPPOSING parents sometimes don’t like it.
Yeah. I was just talking about opposing teams. It hasn’t been an unwelcoming atmosphere at all.
Dr Loco says
US soccer needs someone like Mario Balotelli . He has the 3Cs – culture, color, character.
“Rips His Shirt Off After Scoring Another Rocket Goal For Italy”
We had Dennis Rodman.
Dr Loco says
“We had Dennis Rodman”
Did we give him a soccer ball?
It was a joke. And there’s only one Super Mario.
US pro/rel is a distraction, IMO. If they focus on that, in 10 years, you know they’re going to be promoting 2 NASL teams full of sheas and bornsteins and demoting 2 MLS teams of the same. Baseball could be a useful US soccer model, a top division, several lower divisions. The majority of the teams could be unaffiliated and sell players to the higher divisions. The lower divisions get their chance to giant-kill at the US Open Cup. Maybe have some kind of cup for the lower division champs and the MLS teams that don’t make the CCL also. If we want US soccer to compete on the world stage, the focus has to be on building the skills of the players and ability of the coaches.
Gary Kleiban says
No. Competition is key to the production of quality.
Protectionist policies may have their place, but at some point they cap upside potential.
Competition in an open market is perhaps the best model for ensuring each participant (be it player, coach, gm, business, whatever) reaches its proper level.
Whether it can right work now or in 10 years, is another matter.
“A picture is worth 1000 words”… today, Buffon singing the Italian anthem illustrated perfectly the entire “American soccer culture” issue. Do we have it? No! Do we even understand it? Some of us do…until we out number the rest of the mfers at the field, nothing will change.
The majority of children in this country are not raised to “feel” this way. Therefore, they cant play this way. And yes, I understand Italia lost, that’s not the point. The point is the heart in the fight. This is the same reason Klinsman has to look for players from other countries with US Citizenship to play!!!! Only players with this passion, this love for club and country, will pull us out of this mess. These players, along with relegation, are American soccer’s only hope. Viva Italia. You lost to the best team in history, but you reignited your country’s love of the team….
Dr Loco says
“The majority of children in this country are not raised to “feel” this way.”
“Only players with this passion, this love for club and country, will pull us out of this mess.”
“Buffon singing the Italian anthem illustrated perfectly the entire “American soccer culture” issue. Do we have it? No!”
Call me Anti-American during Independence Week.
I am sad to say I could never be like Buffon signing the American anthem. The US dominate culture does not represent who I am in body and soul. I cannot cry USA.
I do not wish to accept mediocrity, a fast food nation, anti-culture, anti-celebration, anti-happiness, anti-soccer. I want to dance, party and drink all night long like the Spanish, Italians, Brazilians,…
Not to be rude, but why do you live here then?
This is part of the problem with the so called “Soccer Culture” here in the US. There are many people here who want it to fail (not saying you are one of them) because then it justifies their view on how America sucks and the land of their ancestry is so much better.(even though they live here so they can actually have a better life) Once US Soccer becomes a force that can destroy half of these places (and it will) the argument gets even weaker.
Most of what Dr. LOCO posts is tongue in check for PAIN without actually posting it. We are all in soccer pain as it’s not the number 1 sport here in the US. Honestly that is a big problem for many new immigrants. Imagine how much easier it would be for assimilation for them if there were say 80 teams in the US, 4 regions with it’s own Champions League of the United States?
Ironically the big sports business that the US is all about SEVERELY missed the boat on this trend regarding sports and soccer. Broadcasting, production, global branding would crush both american football and baseball combined to pieces in $$$$$$$.
I would like to clarify that when I said most children are not raised to feel this way, I was specifically speaking about US National soccer teams.
Well, then, Dr. Loco…what do we do now? Just give up. Decide to sit back and complain about what’s wrong and take no action? I believe most of the people that participate in this blog use it to express themselves and learn in the process. But it’s what we do once we leave our computers that will contribute to solving the problem. You say you don’t want to accept the US as it is…agreed, there is always room for improvement. I am one of the first to point out parts of the American way of life that could be improved upon. But are you doing anything about it? Are you trying to improve things in your community? Normally, you have to care about something in order to want to improve it. I care about the US, so I can’t just complain and do nothing. I must take action. My Italian aunts used to say, “you must grow where you are planted”. We need to stop complaining about where our garden is and start tending to it. It’s not good enough to stand and point at weeds, you gotta pull them out by the root.
NOVA Mike says
It seems like you’re heart is in the right place but w/ no disrepect I sometimes wonder how long you’ve really followed the sport. There are a ton of problems with US soccer development, and the lack of technical ability on the USNT serves as a constant reminder of that. BUT, …. lack of patriotism, heart, passion, dedication, effort, team unity, etc…, have definitely NOT been historical problems of our national soccer teams (nor has lack of athleticism, but that’s another story). Quite the contrary. Internationally, US players and teams have always been stereotyped as hard-working over achievers, a little short on skill but never on effort. Our never-say-die attitude and high work rate, passion and commitment, are what have enabled us to (at times) strike well above our true stature. Did you happen to watch any of the last World Cup by chance?
Warning: for self-described anti-Americans and others who want to believe that there is NOTHING good about US culture, that there is NO passionate US Soccer culture in the US at all, the following clips will make you cringe.
For the rest of you, who recognize that while we still have a long way to go at least we are on the way, Happy Birthday USA!
Amen Brother! Happy 4th!
Dr Loco is a fitting name. He is loco. Maybe anti-american too though I’m not one to throw around that kind of charge.
We’ve got a lot of patriotism and passion when it comes to our national team. Just think if we ever put it all together and had world class technical skills to the mix. We already have the winning attitude all we need now is the talent. A lot of countries do not have a winning attitude: think Holland and England.
No disrespect taken. However, the experiences of Americans as it relates to the sport, can vary greatly from region to region, and across various cross sections of our society. Our opinions and thoughts are made up of our individual experiences and environments. I’ve been following the sport for 31 years now, but not exclusively the sport in the US as I was raised in an Italian-American household and later married a Latino. I have experienced the youth soccer development systems in other countries, but had not in this country until 3 years ago. What I experienced here was drastically different, and as you stated above it has “tons of problems”. I watched the entirety of the last World Cup. I’m not quite sure what the point was of that particular question.
Different view, the US is the most WAR-ING nation on the planet. Everything for a man to be a manly man is big, strong, fast, powerful. It’s taught to all races and ethnicity here. All the main stream sports, even my beloved MLS, has the”Draft” associated with players. The NFL, NBA, MLB, Hockey, even MLS……………….the “Draft”. One horrible word purposely used to associate with sport here. Coincidence the US Army sponsors all the High School football all star games?
It’s been what 20 years for the MLS, I’m just thankful to have my own Colorado Rapids and to have the league. I want more, demand more, but understand things don’t work like a microwave. Same for the USMNT and the players. Also understand that PR stunts like Beckham still hanging around tells me the league has a long ways to go.
Dr Loco says
A Need For a Change In the Culture of This Country
Interesting reading although I didn’t see much about culture. To me the title should be
A Need For a Change In the People of This Country
Is the US worse off than England?
They say football is a game of opinions. That is true. Yet when one man’s opinion about how to play the game was taken on board, a country was laid in ruin.
England too had a vision, which was laid down in the 1980’s and which was implemented like that of Spain, the only problem was that the vision was wrong and the method behind the vision was a misunderstanding which would have implications for English football still seen today.
He authored the FA’s official coaching manual and put in place what was to be the biggest disaster ever to hit English development. Hughes was an advocate of long ball tactics, ideas developed and taken on by notably the failed England manager Graham Taylor.
There have always been excuses for the poorness of our players; the manager, the weather and even luck! Yet for all these there was one problem which was not addressed fully, a flawed philosophy which underpinned the poor quality of coaching in youth development.
So why don’t we develop top players, those who have the necessary skills to play at the top level? It leads me to believe that we do not look to recruit or develop intelligent players.
It is the foundation, grassroots coaches who need these modules more, they need to learn how to develop players, to teach them.
The role of a youth coach is that of a teacher.
In the pro game in England teams have decided not to develop players but buy in already proven talent.
Young foreign players are being brought over, especially by the top teams, at the expense of our own. This is simply not right. It is not right for the English players’ development and not for the foreign player; being moved to a new country at 16 and expected to adapt is not ethical.
The current rules enable foreign players to be classed as home grown and allows teams like Arsenal to field non-English sides in the Premier League. How is this helping the national game improve? The future
The FA build top down instead of bottom up and it shows everything that is wrong with England.
…perhaps a new dawn is upon us, yet don’t expect to be competing with the top nations for another 10-20 years, by then who knows what football will be like.
We are all kidding ourselves if we think the game will become part of American culture!! Just will not happen.
The future of the game in the US lies in the hands of the hispanic population. The national teams will be mostly hispanic players with names like Gonzalez, hernandez etc. They deserve it as the game is part of their culture. The children of educated upper class families do not have the mindset to play the game daily. Not with xbox being their “street” . Soccer, like basketball and football rewards those who play the game on the courts and streets without Mom or dad driving you to the field. It is how the soccer players around the world are found.
Oy. Another can’t do attitude. You don’t think hispanic kids play x-box? How much street soccer do you see in hispanic communities in the US? If you’re thinking all we need to do is train the right hispanic kids and we’ll be competitive… you’re high.
Soccer is already hugely popular among a wide cross section of the USA and especially those under that age of 30. More and more youth will grow up playing it and wanting to play it at a higher level. It’s the chance that anyone at any size can play the game and be a star that will attract great talent. It is already creeping into american youth culture, to try to graft some sort of Hispanic way is silly. Hispanic culture will influence it to a huge degree of course, as it should
But I don’t see how Hispanics are any more suited to playing the game other than they start playing it younger and MIGHT play it more often.
Children of “upper class” families don’t play sports.
Dr Loco says
Steve, not to be disrespectful but are you a soccer coach?
“More and more youth will grow up playing it”
“It is already creeping into american youth culture”
Youth soccer has been the most popular sport for like over 20-30 years.
I recently went to a low-income community predominately Latino – from Mexican, El Salvador, Guatemala decent, few blacks, few whites. I literally saw dozens of untrained kids playing rec ball at a local middle school. These players were magnitudes better than many players on competitive teams from upper class suburbs. Unfortunately for these kids they will probably never get the training needed to develop into high-level players.
Yes, there are still good players in upper class suburbs but there are much more in the lower working classes. It’s about the numbers and demographic distribution across the US that matters.
Dr Loco says
“without Mom or dad driving you to the field”
I have found this to be critical. Lack of player independence is a major problem. All players can make it in the US but most will have very common traits.
I have coached. I’m not a coach however. ANd yes I know that soccer has been around 30 years… longer actually… I played when I was 8. My point is that because of television and the airing of matches, kids are versed in the game at a much younger age in mainstream society. It’s commonplace for kids around here to be fans of a football club first and then have some allegiance with the local baseball/NFL/basketball team second. It already is part of American culture. It’s not dominant however. But I think it will easily surpass basketball at some point.
My point is that there is no one place players will come from, or have one kind of background. I don’t consider suburbs upper class. I live in Brooklyn and have seen all kinds of players from all kinds of backgrounds. Passion for the game and a love of the ball at their feet is what it takes. And coaching that isn’t crap, most coaching is, even in the Hispanic leagues around here.
Soccer has been in St Louis for 100 years ( remember USA VS ENGLAND) and still not part of the culture. No one is at fault. It is the reality.
Evolution of baseball in the USA has been. Inner city white working class player gives way to the black player and moves to the suburbs. Black inner city player moves to the suburbs and is replaced by the Dominican Republic and other central American baseball players……..Note percentage of Hispanic players in MLB.
Why would you expect it to be any different in soccer. I have been coaching youth players for 20 years and have concluded the vast majority of soccer players like playing the game but do not love playing the game. Survey the number of kids playing at 10 versus the number of kids playing at 16. Then survey the backgrounds……
The 10 000 hour rule is not confined to hours spent under adult direction. Most of the hours comes from playing the game and that my friend is all about culture.
Multi-ethnic pickup soccer surrounded by million dollar homes. Go figure.
The USA needs more pick up soccer in every neighborhood.
It’s out there. We definitely need more though.
Dr Loco says
“Multi-ethnic pickup soccer surrounded by million dollar homes.”
Funny huh? I see pick games at multi-million dollar soccer facilities. This is how it should look.
“This is how it should look.”
Why? In what way is that better than the video I took?
Dr Loco says
Do you guys know Cony Konstin? Interesting fella.
“It all starts with believing in your “VISION”. It is easier to destroy then create. It is easier to play anti football then to play beautiful football. In the end a coach must have conviction towards his vision. The US must establish a new vision that captivates every level of US soccer. From the age of 12 every team must stop playing hail mary soccer and focus on creative football. Forget the result. Below 12 players should be free playing 7 days a week. Soccer in the US is to organized that it why our players are boring, stale, not comfortable with the ball, overly physical, and just play ugly. Changing the national team coach is a beginning but you also need players and you need a mandate from the federation that this is going to be are new vision in how we are going to play the game. Otherwise without this revolution of thinking the US game will continue to be hard on the eyes. In regards to the Latino conspiracy in the US. I suggest that US Soccer put 4 teams together,an all white team, all african-american team, all latino team, and an all other multicultural team and have them play each other to see not who wins the game but what game is more creative, more intellegent, more risk taking, and nice to the eye. Each team must be coached by the same vision. This vision is simple. Offensively play on the ground, play to the feet and be creative. Defensively don’t trench in, and it must be high pressure. I bet you that once you do this you will have a very nice team to select. This is a no brainer. We have plenty of places in the country to create this experiment and plenty of skilled players to chose from. And I also believe that there are 4 coaches out there who believe in playing this way. It is time to create a DREAM TEAM!!!!! But that must come with leadership and a new vision in how we want the game to be played. “
I’ve been meaning to post this for ages:
Dear lame-ass soccer parents of the United States of America:
Originally I was going to address this letter to Jurgen Klinsmann, but then decided that my ire and whinging are better directed towards you—the bane of my footballing existence. See, you are the reason why our National Teams suck, and I’m finally holding you accountable.
In my alternate universe of soccer/football utopia, youth soccer parents are intelligent: observant fans of the game, competent raisers of children, and knowledgeable about the laws of the game. You are, as a whole, none of these.
I see you out there on Saturdays and Sundays, in all your dolt-ish glory. Cheering on your team to run faster and kick further, you are the enablers of the crappy youth soccer system in this country and you don’t even know it. In the past I gave you a hall pass, because you don’t know what you don’t know, so it’s not like you’re intentionally and maliciously stunting our nation’s growth and development. But with every passing year, a new and bigger wave of obnoxious, bleating football parent novices show up at U8 matches and we’re back to square one. The surge in soccer in this country is now going on 20 years and we are still in the Dark Ages. We need a scapegoat, and you’ve dodged the bullet for far too long–it’s you.
Granted, many of you eventually understand that this is a team game, there are rules, tactics and strategies to be mastered, and that beautiful soccer is something you might see on World Cup highlight reels, played by exotic and mysterious dark-skinned teams. But by then it’s too late: your kid loses interest, or her team blows up, or he gets chucked off his team even though you’ve spent thousands trying to ensure your child gets to play on their high school team. Or ODP. Or even get a scholarship to college. So, some time between 8th grade and the end of high school, you finally learn what offside is. You cheer the selfless square pass across the box for the tap-in instead of the prayer from 30 yards out that rolls straight at the keeper. You abuse the referee for missing the potentially career-ending studs-up flying tackle instead of wailing about line calls. But like I said, by then it’s too late. You’ve spent at least 5 years reinforcing all that is evil about youth soccer:
1) When you knew little about the Laws of The Game, you had no problem screaming at the referee (no matter how young that referee might be) about what bad calls he made. This is inconceivable. Imagine coming to this country knowing little about baseball and showing up every weekend and screaming at the referee to publicly advertise your ignorance. It’s a fabulous way to embarrass your kid AND make a total arse of yourself.
2) You chose for your kid a “travel team”. What a load of rubbish that turned out to be. You and every other parent quickly learned that rec teams were “bad” and travel teams were “good”, so you hustled your kid to a team or club that travelled, and paid your coach handsomely. “Good” teams were “competitive”, which means they win a lot, so that had to be good for your kid. After years of long weekend tournament road trips where you allowed the kids to stay up late, eat mountains of crap, then wonder why Debbie doesn’t play well on Sundays, your team is near the top. Longer kicks and lots of aerobic running have served your child/future National Team player well. Maybe they made the soccer team Freshman year in high school and perhaps even started. But there was no love of the ball—only the punishment of it. Unfortunately, despite scoring lots of goals and loving their team, your kid didn’t have “ball-handling skills”, whatever those were. Or a “soccer IQ”. Now all-of-a-sudden your kid has a new coach, and that coach wants the team to play “possession”; you might even know what that means. But your kid has spent the majority of their childhood years chasing balls and kicking hard and the passing and dribbling game does not come easily. Maybe the kid is a physical specimen and can continue playing at the highest level despite their lack of dribbling and passing skills, but most likely competition from better-trained kids is pushing your child away from the game. Little Blaine may not have as much fun anymore, or may not enjoy riding the pine. Eventually he drops out; one of the millions of kids who used to play every week but no longer touches the ball. You put it down to high school, teenage years, puberty—there were lots of explanations/excuses. Your kid wasn’t that good at the game, and maybe you were just figuring that out. Or, even worse
3) your kid, despite a love of the game, is short. She is quick, but maybe not especially fast. Your team’s coach sticks her in the back line where all the other slow/short and tall/gawky players go to die their soccer deaths, because your coach is all about winning and winning youth soccer teams score tons of goals. Goal Keepers punting past the back line to the big tall fast kid that outruns everyone else and scores goals. Because scoring lots of goals means they’re a good team, right? Winning trophies is what counts, right? So your daughter, who is stout from the waist down and can push big strikers off the ball, defends. And passes well out of the back. Distributes the ball when required. You don’t know any different because you’re just happy she made the team and likes the girls and the coach. What your daughter should have been doing, if you had a clue, was learning to attack. Maybe she had the chops to be what both National Teams so desperately need, a visionary attacking center midfielder with a good touch, or a Messi-like striker. Unfortunately, your daughter’s coach(es) didn’t train all the kids to learn how to dribble, beat opponents, finish. And you couldn’t advocate for your child. But my, their team sure can defend the hell out of an opponent. Your daughter, an excellent defender, is too short to play center back and too slow at left or right back and by now, mentally, she’s a defender. She goes to college and plays DII or DIII, but never fulfills her potential because you didn’t know what that potential was. Because you knew nothing about the game until it was too late. It’s like buying a car and not reading the reviews until you’ve had it for 5 years. Inconceivable. But for years you, like millions of other soccer parents, played this charade.
So, when 2014 rolls around and we get to watch another early exit—a quarterfinals appearance would be an overachievement—pundits will scratch their heads, blame it on Klinsmann, advocate his firing, and search for more fresh meat. But I’ll know, and now you’ll know, too, exactly why we are failing as a nation. It begins and ends with youth soccer, and until it gets fixed we as a nation will never progress.
R2dad, this is brilliant. There should be a manual for every new soccer parent, and this should be the foreword.
Dr Loco says
R2Dad, thank you! I will actually print this.
I think parents are part of problem for sure. But I blame the system and coaches. I can try to explain by using the parts of the game. As I’ve learned, there is in possession, out of possession, transition, and set plays.
The most dangerous person is the one with the ball. The second most dangerous is any teammate who shows, gives him a passing option. The quicker this interchange happens, the more difficult to lose possession. This is why one, touch touch passing, quickness of thought, tactical understanding, keeping head up so important. And this is why calmness, patience to pick the right pass and make smart choices is critical.
But before you do any of this, ball master is a must. It’s fundamental.
Out of possession. Remembering that the person in possession is most dangerous, the first defender must create pressure, limit options, make it difficult. All others must cut off angles, reduce options, create pressure.
As you lose and gain possession, transition is important. Knowing roles, responsibilities. Develop the total player who understands every position.
These first three phases happen most. Ideally you are in possession more often. Poor teams are constantly in and out of possession in transition very quickly and frequently. This is mentally and physically tiring. A coach should work on maintaining possession and making good choices in attacking third.
Then you have set plays. This is mostly Xs and Os. Straight forward. However, many games are won or lost on set plays. Especially at older ages and into pros.
Then you need a coach and club to perfect the ingredients, develop a pro-centric blueprint with above in mind.
When combined with player id . . . developing/identifying players with skill, vision, creativity, speed of play, discipline, effort, competitiveness (not power and strength) — then you have the ingredients of a potentially pro level player. The other factor is circumstance as we all know.
So what does this all mean? I think we drop the ball by U10 due to lack of ball mastery. From there its a domino effect of failure. For example, poor ball skills begets kick and chase, elementary tactics, poor movement, running on empty by constant in and out of possession chasing the ball, and the list goes on and on . . . .
It’s the system. Coaching, parents, clubs, incessant and meaningless tournaments, pay to play (inefficient player id at highest competitive levels), scouts (ODP, National team). Its culture, tradition, influence of media, influence of NFL and NBA where size and power are ingrained in national identity.
So what I”m saying is 99% of players U14 and above are satisfactory in phases of the game AND all the technical, tactical, mental attributes. We can’t take the entire USA youth player population and work coaching magic. It needs to start at U5. It’s too late by U12, maybe sooner. That is our problem in large part. You can see it manifest itself in phases of the game.
Yes, agree. My son is U14 and there may be one player who has good ball skills. We are on a USSDA club in SoCal. The rest of the team has some combination of bad first touch, cannot use both feet or all parts of foot, look down, terrible shooting. Our coach is trying to change things, but proving difficult because of trouble with basic skills. And movement off the ball and understanding of the game is by no surprise a problem.
But here is the scary part, we are a good team. Probably top 10 in SoCal. But when compared to a higher standard, we are poor. Cannot compete against better sides in Europe or Mexico or South America. We are physical, but not technical or tactical. The coach tells the players the problem started when they were younger. And herein you have the problem in USA in microcosm.
@Steve, R2Dad, Kana —
I’ve noticed over many years there is a high correlation between players who have good technical skills (touch, passing, range of passing, control, receiving, dribbling, head, feet, chest, shooting) and those who have tactical understanding. That is, the best players I’ve seen in youth soccer (and pro) have had great technical AND tactical. And this typically leads to proper mental game. I mostly see very physical but tactically naïve, mediocre technical play (U13 – U15 level in SoCal).
I’ve also noticed that so called “good” offensive players tend to be good on the ball only. That is, parents, coaches, scouts are enamored by goals or a player who can dribble past opponents. This is all good, but I more than often see players who are woeful off the ball (which is what you do 95% or more of the time) and/or many (~40-60% of players) struggle to think more than a play ahead and don’t understand movement into channels or space or if they do, they fail to execute . . . get caught up in jungle ball. Mostly because they don’t look, or think. They play in a 20-foot radius, oblivious of anything outside that zone or don’t understand role/responsibility of teammates who form the triangle around them. Then when they get the ball, head is often down rather than possessing the ability to quickly touch and play. Under pressure they panic and poor choices follow. They don’t look around before receiving. Then when they receive, touch is poor and they have to look down. And then passing is often bouncing and/or no understanding of what foot to properly make a pass to teammate. The teammate gets ball on wrong foot, then it starts to fall apart quickly. Or maybe the teammate wasn’t moving to receive the ball, creating space or is ineffective in one, two touch.
And then patience and discipline (or lack thereof) comes into play. Mad rush to the ball for anyone with 30-foot radius. No one is thinking of his role as second or third defender or second or third option for a pass. Then we have endless transition in and out of possession. Just plain ugly stuff!
I see this in maybe 95% or more of games. It’s pervasive.
But there are hordes of stupid parents who think, “hey, my son is on a top ranked team, we won so and so tournament”. They are clueless as to how dumb ass a system they are stuck in. Lost in their idiotically lost, useless, aimless world of rankings and tournaments and totally mislead and ignorant as to what proper football is or what a quality player is. Just read Socal Soccer Forum for a taste of stupid ass parents.
I know not everyone on this forum agrees with me, but that’s ok. We can go on thinking technical skills is not the foundation of future success and that it’s a problem at the U10 and under ages and that tournaments and league play are contributors to misplaced development. We can also fool ourselves that clubs and coaches have long-term success of serious players in mind. No, it’s more a one size fits all system mired in mediocrity and pretense of “top level soccer”. There is no pro-centric club, maybe other than what the Kleibans are doing. 99.99% of clubs are a step ahead of AYSO Matrix. Competitive clubs may have slightly better coaches and players and more competitive tournaments, but still a level or two below pro-centric development.
Our stupid f’d up system substitutes fixed, directed, choreographed “training” for 7, 8, 9, 10 year olds who are stunted from free-form learning. Prevent from self-discovery and just touching the ball, getting to know it, being able to control it. No, we instead program robots, who fight for starting spot at U8, pressure to win a trophy, and put in big kids who can score goals at U8 and totally forget about the future. But dumb ass clubs and parents are happy when the hoist a trophy. Self-serving parents and clubs. Just total bullshit! We spend $2000 on coaches who played community college, ex-pat English coaches who pretend to know football and sell kick and chase English football. They wouldn’t know possession-based soccer if it bit them in the ass.
Yes, I’m pissed. Been pissed at who f-ing stupid our system is. How much we accept it. How much clubs are sucking money out of our pockets. How f-ing stupid ODP is and their love of early pubescent players. All the stupid ass coaches who chose size and power for 12, 13 year olds and pretend to want to play tiki-taka.
Yes, form two sorts of clubs: one who want to play dumb ass soccer, kicking and chasing, lifting gold plated trophies and checking rankings; and another for those who want to do it right. But the dumb ass coaches and parents who pretend they want to do it right will crash the party. Unless clubs who do it right can pick and chose and not worry about pay to play, it won’t work..
God damn, we’re f’kd!
In fact it would not be two kinds of clubs, but rather two kinds of programs within the SAME club.
Each club would offer the parents the choice of which program they are interested in.
Regarding the coaches who will crash the party, you can get rid of them through the league rules.
For instance the team standings will not be based on how many goals you scored with your athletes against tiny goalkeepers. Instead, each game would have a panel of 5 guys like you, who understand “football”, and want to run away from the “soccer made in America”
This panel would operate almost like judges in gymnastics or boxing, etc. They give points to teams, based on how they play, and not how many get scored
The “bad” coaches, after a while will be tired of being always at the bottom of the standings and would leave and go back to the other sports (“soccer made in America”, where they belong).
On the long run, the league will have only coaches who are genuinely concerned about developing players, over the course of many years. They will value being recognized and praised by the type of football they teach their players. It is on that side one should be looking for the future National Team players. Not on the other side that will continue to play in their leagues where everything is about the instant wins and trophies that litter living rooms across America
So relax. There is hope. Relax 🙂
Dr Loco says
“I think we drop the ball by U10 due to lack of ball mastery. From there its a domino effect of failure. For example, poor ball skills begets kick and chase, elementary tactics, poor movement, running on empty by constant in and out of possession chasing the ball, and the list goes on and on . . ”
Are you sure???
Ball mastery is required for top-level world class players. For everyone else it is nice to have but not a requirement. Ball mastery is a result of individual work.
Are you kidding Dr. Loco?!?!
Ball mastery is not just dribbling. It’s receiving, receiving both feet, with all sides of foot, thighs, head, chest, passing. It’s a good to have for everyone else? And you’re a coach? Wow, we do have a long way to go.
Not sugesting a 12 or 15 year old needs to be a Messi on the ball, but he should be at a relatively high level for age. I guess average works for you. You coaching rec, right? No wonder.
Yeah, i guess if the goal is not pro level soccer (rec or AYSO), then you’re right. For everyone else, ignore what the good doctor said. If we want to improve the level of soccer in USA, kids need to have better technical (ball) skills.
Dr Loco says
Technical ball skills need to start young 3-9 years of age for ball mastery.
“The coach tells the players the problem started when they were younger.”
Of course players can improve at any age but mastery needs to be at the young ages because muscle memory has created automatic motions that become subconscious like involuntary reflexes. Bad technique and poor habits are very difficult to fix as players age. Nonetheless, a player can still become professional but perhaps not world class.
Dr Loco says
I do coach Rec but remember so does 99.999% of the other US coaches do as well.
Kids do need better technical skills be that is up to the individual not the coach.
Pretty sure there are many professional players in sports with poor technical skills. I see it all the time on TV, in fact some is awful!!!
Dr Loco says
“And you’re a coach? Wow, we do have a long way to go.”
I’m not saying coaches should not help players technically but if the majority of coaches are focusing on ball mastery with players 10years old and above it’s a waste of time. It’s like trying to learn the alphabet at 10 years of age. Players should already be reading and writing stories.
The real problem in the US is coaches don’t know how to teach anything else except basic ball skills. As one famous instructor stated, “what else is there to teach? Tactics???”
Technical skills is elementary and you don’t need real coaches for that. Parents can teach kids their ABCs in a similar manner. That’s where culture and traditions come in. Kids can teach themselves. If you leave it up to a coach, team, club it’s a bit too late.
pg 19 says
You’d called us out a few months ago and I fail to find that post. You’d asked what us coaches were accomplishing, what we were doing. To date, much of what is on here is speculative and I’ve been told I do things because my emphasis is on winning. If you knew my team’s (HS girls) record, you’d know this wasn’t true. Not that winning wasn’t imporant, but we had to develop a few things first starting with ball mastery. Yes, high school aged players and we dedicated an entire season on that foundation. I won’t repost what I’ve done.
Last year we started working on possession, tinkered a bit formation, moved from a 3-5-2 which worked well on football fields, to a 4-4-2. We had some success possessing the ball, had our best season ever, scored more goals than all our previous season combined. Far from where we wanted to be, but the focus was development to prepare for this season. The intent to develop a possession oriented team with patience that it would take time to develop the foundation of ball mastery so we could be effective passers.
To date we’ve played 4 games. Our current seniors, when they were freshman, won a total of 3 games which was 3 times as many games won the season prior. Our record to date is 3-1. We’ve beaten two opponents that we’ve never defeated before and set a single game scoring record in our first match. However, our one lost was to a ranked opponent that was up 1-0 at half and then destroyed us 8-0. It wasn’t a pretty game on either side of the ball. The opponent surprisingly played a first ball often into the our penalty box. Our players often won the ball but the opponent was intending to get to the second ball which they did at will. Our team kept trying to play out of our backs, to which we’re quite gifted, maybe too much so, footskill wise. Kept trying to make plays literally in front of our goal when we should have simply cleared, lived to play in another moment. Gain time we would need to transition from defense to attack, to get our shape and disperse.
Lesson learned in that game. Possible we’ll play that opponent in regionals which I think would be a great rematch. Last night we played an aggressive opponent that is physical. We found the time we needed to gain our shape and with it, played beautiful soccer. Score was 2-1 which doesn’t reflect how dominating our team was in possession or scoring “chances”.
Due to weather, we’ve packed 40 girls inside a small gym, did a lot of “diamond” work. Used the video from Jolley to describe our movement based on phase of play. With it, the girls have been taught how our system of play will work and have been able to piece the “diamond” work into a full sided game. Lots of theory, very little practice outside, but the girls have pieced it together.
Our next big test is coming up. A class larger school that is ranked in the top 5. I believe we’ll out possess them. It will be a matter of our girls getting over their mythical stature of being a powerhouse team. We’re likely stuck in the gym due to weather/very poor field conditions. Basically, we’re facing our 300 pound gorilla (female gorillas are smaller) with some challenges but I believe we can put something together that will be remarkable.
My point, take everything from this site, use what is appropriate for your respective teams/programs and most importantly, implement it. If something isnt’ working, figure out why. Ask questions. I’ll post more later in the season after a few more games.
Dr Loco says
PG19, thanks for sharing.
Love this “and most importantly, implement it. ”
If you don’t actually “implement” you don’t know what you are talking about. It’s all just theoretical and academic. The real stuff is in the work done on and off the field.
Long-time coach in SoCal. Two things: outliers and sophistication. Technical ability and tactical ability do matter.
Outliers. I’ve coached for almost 20-years, seen thousands of players all ages. There are outliers (95th percentile and above and bottom 25%). This holds true no matter the age. At youngers, most coaches look to bigger, stronger, more aggressive players to win. Same holds true at older ages for most coaches.
Go to any team, any age and you will have a few players who are clearly above the rest and some who are way below average. Even at highest pro level, there’s Ronaldo, Messi, Xavi, Iniesta and a handful of world-class among world-class. Then a huge group in the middle (keep in mind everything is relative at age and level of play).
Sophisticaiton. I don’t know any coach or player who doesn’t want to win. Most (I’d say 90%+) seek to do so via size, power, aggressiveness, strength. The more a player shows these attributes, the more he increases his chances to start. The level of player sophistication (technical, tactical, mental) become secondary. They want to win and style of play or the players abilities are secondary. Brute force approach.
Painfully few coaches look at players who do the small things right. Movement, thinking ahead, timing, first touch, passing ability. They want to win, but with a certain style. Not just win for win sake. This level of sophistication doesn’t jive with the brute force. I’ve seen players over the years who were at a high level of sophistication but on a brute force team. Unfortunately, those sophisticated players fell to the wayside. Never noticed, overlooked by the system.
I’ve also seen and known personaly players who made ODP and National team. Were they good? Yes. But the outliers? No. The coaches and scouts in the programs were looking for a certain type to fit a certain style of play. Not necessarily the outliers in terms of technique, tactics, mentality.
It took me many years of scratching my head to figure out “why isn’t Jose on the National team or even a tryout”? I’d see far lesser players get a chance and far superior players go unnoticed. Getting into the system is difficult, if not impossible if you don’t fit the mold. Being an outlier is great, but means nada if playing style and level of coaching sophistication at higher levels can’t see the diamond siting there waiting to be polished.
It is hard for me to believe that anyone could have said it better than you did.
Maybe now we should take a hard look at our own views and look at thing in a different perspective. In America, there is something called soccer, that is not football (which the rest of the world plays).
Soccer is exactly what you described: winning at all cost, kick and run, get results, be the “best”. Every single participant in this sport (invented here), aspires only at moving up the ladder of divisions, and of trophies, with beautiful and creative adjectives like “Premier”, “Elite”, “Advanced”, “Champions”, even for 8 or 9 year old. It is exciting, it is fun, has its drama, thrill. It is all about the Sunday game. Nothing wrong with all that. It is just a different sport Made in USA.
The mistake many make is to thing that the US National team (who ultimately has to play football in international competition, and not soccer), cannot come from this environment. My proposal: all clubs should have two tracks: “A soccer track” and a “football track”. When signing up, parents should be clearly explained that the “football track” is for the real game of football, for those who have long term expectations for football (maybe pro or international career), “whereas the soccer track” is what we are used, and can see around all the times. I predict 90% will opt for the soccer track, and the small 5% can learn how to play football through a well thought player development program.
The problem is now how to find people who can really teach football. Anybody can win soccer games (like R2Dad showed so well), but very few really know how to develop young players, from their first step to when they one day make the headlines.
R2Dad: thank you so much!
Dr Loco, I love the idea! You have to have a dream first to create a dream team. What a great experiment that would be, but what are the chances that Jurgen Klinsmann or Tab Ramos or other national team coaches would share their position of power in competition with 3 other coaches? I won’t even knock them because it is the institution of USA Soccer that is just not that creative! It amazes me how the current soccer system in the USA looks more like an autocracy and nobody even questions it. Where are the checks and balances? That is true at the grassroots for you too R2Dad. Even if your parents are educated and know what they want what would they do? They are not partners or shareholders in the team. Their coach is the team dictator and he has no dream for development even as small as playing little Susie in a different role. They are thwarted by their coach and probably have few truly different, original options available. That is why this blog and Brian’s approach is so refreshingI There is hope and clearly some form of grassroots uprising is coming out of the success of his youth teams. When a few of his kids land huge contracts with world class pro clubs then, and perhaps only then, the invisible hand of Adam Smith will hopefully go to work to change the entire system. 2020 or beyond?
Dr Loco says
Wow…don’t even remember writing it. It’s been a while and everything changes.
“Their coach is the team dictator” Find the best dictator!
This article has some good insights into how different countries approach the game and player development.
Wow, incredible post R2Dad and fantastic follow up Kana! The US system is about making the youth clubs $, $ is made my winning, because US parents flock to the clubs that win the most thinking their kid will get recognized, and coaches win by finding big, strong players who play jungle ball. ugh. In fact, I was just talking with our club prez about my kids team’s state cup approach and he told me he spoke with our coach and thinks we can really win this thing if we go with the big, strong kids. haha, clueless. I mentioned to the club prez the gold standard is soccer is spain, barca and in the US, barca usa and we should win by playing better soccer, not being brutes.
Great to see Brian, Gary and Barca usa playing at the real gold standard and having such great success. People are noticing for sure!