Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor
I think there's probably a lot of truth to this -- if you look at basketball, a lot of the current game has been influenced by what people have learned/done on the playgrounds or in pickup games.
You look at someone like Allen Iverson, who was one of the best and most creative dribble-drive penetrators over the last 20 years, and his game was straight out of the Rucker Park style. That kind of creativity isn't taught in an institutional setting -- it's something you pick up by playing in lots and lots of informal games where there aren't officials and the people around you are trying to impress are peers.
I think soccer is a little like that.
Soccer is gaining steam in a big way. In my high school classes, a large portion of the boys in my classes were pumped for the Mexico game (and a few went). This would not have been the case 20 years ago. They also know good/bad soccer when they see it.
But, I still have my doubts that we will ever join the elites. When Klinsmann took over the job, he wanted to create a mirror image of his German side that became a ball moving, forward pushing, progressive footballing side. But, after a few years he has realized who we are. We are a hard working, marginally skilled side who are built on counter attacking, set pieces, and toughness. Let's be the best we can be at that and be happy.