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Thread: USMNT...I believe that we will qualify!

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    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: USMNT...I believe that we will qualify!

    Quote Originally Posted by BuckeyeRed27 View Post
    I wholly agree with your development points in terms of pay to play, etc, and all things being equal I’m with you on getting guys into European systems. It’s been encouraging to see guys like Weah and Sargent develop overseas and get a chance to play. Adams is 20 and super talented and absolutely should go play in Europe. My point is we aren’t going to have 40 of those guys that are going to be going overseas, in good programs, getting a chance to play and develop. We just aren’t. So that is where MLS is needed. On the front end to show case guys like Adams to get them chances and on the back end for guys like Arriola and Aaron Long, who are important depth parts of any national team including ours.
    The strategy has to be getting as many as possible overseas. The exodus taking place on the u-20 squad is encouraging, 11 of 21 players for the recent u-20 WC squad with another 9 recent callups are all playing for foreign clubs.
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  3. #32
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    Re: USMNT...I believe that we will qualify!

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor View Post
    MLS doesn't produce world-class players because we, as a country, still don't put a soccer ball at the feet of our top athletic talent early enough in life. I also agree with the take (just espoused by Tim Howard most recently on PMT a few weeks back) that soccer isn't enough of a way of life in this country -- you don't develop incredible ball skills going to practice a few times a week, you develop them because you go out and play pickup every day after school and spend all summer out with your friends running 5 v 5 or 11s from sunup to sundown.

    Kids with great handles in basketball develop those playing in the driveway or the park, not in practice.
    I will disagree with this whole notion that we can't produce world class soccer players because we aren't attracting our best athletes. We already as a nation produce some of the most athletic soccer players. So does Jamaica for that matter, but they aren't any closer to winning a World Cup than we are. In fact, I would say that it is athleticism that hampers our development at all levels. All too often, the focus in our youth development is focused on winning and athleticism. Teams too often put the biggest, fastest kid up top and kick it up to him where he can just outrun everybody and shoot on goal. Refs let physical kids play the man instead of the ball, so kids that show any kind of good technical skill are neutralized when they thrown to the ground by some goon. The refs keep the cards in the pocket because they don't want to deal with enraged parents after their kid gets shown a red. Dropping a point guard or a defensive back into that kind of "kick and run" environment isn't going to produce the American Messi.

    That's not to say things aren't changing. A lot of clubs have been incorporating a lot of small sided free play into training and following best practices gleaned from Dutch and German Academies. My son's team was in a tournament over Memorial Day weekend and got drilled 11-0 by this team from Rochester, NY that played such beautiful soccer that the parents for our team weren't even upset about it.

    The biggest problem I see is that we still rely far too much on High School and College soccer for the development of players in their late teens and early 20s. These players have so many restrictions on how much and who they can play for that I feel it stifles their development. Christian Pulisic was developed as a youth player here in America. But he was able to transition to becoming a top notch pro player by going to Europe as a teen, where he could play with his club year round and his club could move him up the ladder as soon as he showed he had met the challenge of the level he was at. If he had stayed here, he would have likely been the best player on his high school team for four years and maybe gotten some challenge playing in age-restricted national tournaments. In Europe, if a 15-16 year old kid shows he can play against the pros, he's going get moved up to train as a pro and play with the pros. No handwringing about high school or college eligibility because there isn't any. School sports in Europe are purely recreational.
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    Re: USMNT...I believe that we will qualify!

    Quote Originally Posted by M2 View Post
    We produced better players before MLS switched from a league that plays inside our country to being our prime development arm. A network of unaffiliated clubs and programs like IMG put us in seven consecutive World Cups. The generation that missed the 2011 U-20 WC, the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, and the 2018 WC came from MLS. We switched to this model and it failed. There's no way 21 franchises can do this job. Other nations have a whole ecosystem beneath their top flights, layers of leagues and clubs that develop players and give opportunities to a broad base of players. We've starved that out here so SUM investors can make their nut.

    The uncomfortable truth with money and soccer in this country is it's not going to broad-based development.
    Player development in this country will improve greatly when:

    1) The pro soccer pyramid expands at the lower levels so that we have more teams with more academies intent on developing more pro players rather than developing players in order to get them college scholarships, and
    2) professional development academies reach the level where kids forego playing high school and college soccer in favor of training with their pro academy team year-round.
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    Re: USMNT...I believe that we will qualify!

    https://www.goal.com/en-us/lists/usm...11snj50dx47jv5

    Goal just updated their top 100 US players for 2022

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    Re: USMNT...I believe that we will qualify!

    Quote Originally Posted by Yachtzee View Post
    Player development in this country will improve greatly when:

    1) The pro soccer pyramid expands at the lower levels so that we have more teams with more academies intent on developing more pro players rather than developing players in order to get them college scholarships, and
    2) professional development academies reach the level where kids forego playing high school and college soccer in favor of training with their pro academy team year-round.
    I agree with this. One thing I'm curious about, for the European lower division teams, what % of their revenues come from attendance/media ratings and what % come from player transfer fees? From the outsider point of view, an obstacle I see is that the US teams don't make enough from transfer fees to prioritize development over winning/team success.

    IOW, It makes more sense for FC Cincinnati to try and win and gain fans, rather than develop players and collect transfer fees from richer clubs, or does it?
    Last edited by Hoosier Red; 07-30-2019 at 09:52 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by BuckeyeRed27 View Post
    Honest I can't say it any better than Hoosier Red did in his post, he sums it up basically perfectly.

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    Re: USMNT...I believe that we will qualify!

    Quote Originally Posted by BuckeyeRed27 View Post
    https://www.goal.com/en-us/lists/usm...11snj50dx47jv5

    Goal just updated their top 100 US players for 2022
    I guess the key question for the USMNT is whether its better for younger players to spend their young years in Europe, playing on the U20 teams or playing in second (or third) tier leagues? Its almost like the MLS has gotten to a point of pretty good soccer, but the level of play is lacking. While it may be better than the British Championship League, the style of play and the development may be better playing for a 2nd tier team.

    Look at a guy like Frankie Amaya, FCC's first pick. Would he be better served playing like he is now, or would he be better playing the Championship League?

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    Re: USMNT...I believe that we will qualify!

    Quote Originally Posted by bucksfan2 View Post
    I guess the key question for the USMNT is whether its better for younger players to spend their young years in Europe, playing on the U20 teams or playing in second (or third) tier leagues? Its almost like the MLS has gotten to a point of pretty good soccer, but the level of play is lacking. While it may be better than the British Championship League, the style of play and the development may be better playing for a 2nd tier team.

    Look at a guy like Frankie Amaya, FCC's first pick. Would he be better served playing like he is now, or would he be better playing the Championship League?
    One thing that jumped out at me on the top 100 list. The top 16 players were overwhelmingly with European squads. Aaron Long was the lone exception. The next 16 players listed were about a 50/50 mix. The next 16 players were much more tilted toward MLS.
    This leads me to two questions; 1) Is it possible that the US is better off with the top of it's player pool playing in Europe, while the pool's depth is provided by a mixture of MLS and European 2nd and 3rd division players. 2) Even if it's not better for the USMNT as a whole, do players see a greater chance at personal success(including an ability to play on USMNT) by staying stateside rather than playing abroad? Is there a way the USMNT could or should discourage that?
    Last edited by Hoosier Red; 07-30-2019 at 12:16 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by BuckeyeRed27 View Post
    Honest I can't say it any better than Hoosier Red did in his post, he sums it up basically perfectly.

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    Re: USMNT...I believe that we will qualify!

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoosier Red View Post
    One thing that jumped out at me on the top 100 list. The top 16 players were overwhelmingly with European squads. Aaron Long was the lone exception. The next 16 players listed were about a 50/50 mix. The next 16 players were much more tilted toward MLS.
    This leads me to two questions; 1) Is it possible that the US is better off with the top of it's player pool playing in Europe, while the pool's depth is provided by a mixture of MLS and European 2nd and 3rd division players. 2) Even if it's not better for the USMNT as a whole, do players see a greater chance at personal success(including an ability to play on USMNT) by staying stateside rather than playing abroad? Is there a way the USMNT could or should discourage that?
    I think, and I am a novice, that a young player is better playing in the Euro system until they really peak out. I think the MLS brings about a nice level of soccer, but it doesn't require the technical aspects of soccer to be successful. Americans have no problem with fitness or speed, but its the necessary skill that often isn't developed. Its the first touch, the spacing, the anticipation, that it seems most MLS players lack as opposed to international players. I was amazed in watching the Gold Cup team in how sloppy they were, how they struggled to control possession, how they were often quick to turn the ball over. It wasn't until you saw Pulisic get possession that you saw what it should look like.

    In the MLS you see a bunch of older international players who can dominate a game, not because they are that good, but because they have that technical skill that most American born players lack. They can't cut it at the top level anymore, but they can be successful in America. I think if you are young, working your way up through the 2nd and 3rd tier leagues can greatly benefit you as a player. I look back at the career trajectory of Jay DeMerit ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay_DeMerit) as an extreme way, but a career trajectory that could really benefit most young Americans. Cut your teeth in Europe, and when you have peaked over there, come to the MLS for a payday.

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    Re: USMNT...I believe that we will qualify!

    Quote Originally Posted by M2 View Post
    The strategy has to be getting as many as possible overseas. The exodus taking place on the u-20 squad is encouraging, 11 of 21 players for the recent u-20 WC squad with another 9 recent callups are all playing for foreign clubs.
    But they have to get overseas at earlier ages somehow. Going overseas at 20 will make much less difference than getting them there when they're 16 or even younger, which I know is difficult with some of the rules. I think it was Claudio Reyna who not long ago talked about how we produce good young players, but the most important developmental years is something like 16-20. That's where the top tier overseas players pull ahead. In that age, those guys are fighting for playing time against seasoned professionals in the 2nd or even 3rd divisions of the European leagues. That development is critical. If our top tier guys are staying and playing in either college or MLS developmental squads, they're never going to catch up.

    EDIT: Looks like Yachtzee had already made a similar comment.
    Last edited by MWM; 07-30-2019 at 10:55 PM.
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    Re: USMNT...I believe that we will qualify!

    Quote Originally Posted by Yachtzee View Post
    I will disagree with this whole notion that we can't produce world class soccer players because we aren't attracting our best athletes. We already as a nation produce some of the most athletic soccer players. So does Jamaica for that matter, but they aren't any closer to winning a World Cup than we are. In fact, I would say that it is athleticism that hampers our development at all levels. All too often, the focus in our youth development is focused on winning and athleticism. Teams too often put the biggest, fastest kid up top and kick it up to him where he can just outrun everybody and shoot on goal. Refs let physical kids play the man instead of the ball, so kids that show any kind of good technical skill are neutralized when they thrown to the ground by some goon. The refs keep the cards in the pocket because they don't want to deal with enraged parents after their kid gets shown a red. Dropping a point guard or a defensive back into that kind of "kick and run" environment isn't going to produce the American Messi.
    I've heard both sides of this debate over the years and I'm on the fence. We may have some really good athletes, and I don't think anyone is arguing our players lack athleticism. But it's hard for me to to think that not having our elite athletes considering soccer while growing up doesn't really matter. If you're Saquon Barkley, but born in Germany, it's soccer and only soccer. There are thousands of great athletes in high school, and if you watch DII or even DIII NCAA football, you'll see a lot of great athletes.

    Then there's guys like Barkley, Tyler Murray, Christian Mcaffrey, Todd Gurley, or even Mike Trout, Billy Hamilton, Mookie Betts, Kris Bryant. Those guys are a completely different level of athlete. They have the athleticism of everyone else, but they have that something that separates the elite from the average that isn't about physical ability. In Germany, those guys are Ballack, Schweinsteiger, Ozil, Klose. In France, it's Zidane, Pogba, Griezzman, Mbape. In Spain it's Iniesta, Xavi, Ramos, Villa. These guys aren't elite because of their athleticism. They're elite because they're elite.

    I just don't see any potential players like the ones listed among the players who have ever played for the USMNT, even if they weren't deficient in athleticism. And I don't think the difference is simply ball skills or development. I think they just aren't the elite. Every country can produce a lot of great athletes, but there are limited numbers of the elite that are just better than everyone else. In the top soccer countries, they all play soccer from the beginning. I don't see how that can't be a big difference.

    I think CE was right in that it's just not a way of life here....yet.
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    Re: USMNT...I believe that we will qualify!

    Quote Originally Posted by MWM View Post
    But they have to get overseas at earlier ages somehow. Going overseas at 20 will make much less difference than getting them there when they're 16 or even younger, which I know is difficult with some of the rules. I think it was Claudio Reyna who not long ago talked about how we produce good young players, but the most important developmental years is something like 16-20. That's where the top tier overseas players pull ahead. In that age, those guys are fighting for playing time against seasoned professionals in the 2nd or even 3rd divisions of the European leagues. That development is critical. If our top tier guys are staying and playing in either college or MLS developmental squads, they're never going to catch up.

    EDIT: Looks like Yachtzee had already made a similar comment.
    Should be noted that a lot of those U-20 guys are 18 years-old. I think we're going to see a lot of movement with U-17s in the coming years.
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    Re: USMNT...I believe that we will qualify!

    Quote Originally Posted by MWM View Post
    I've heard both sides of this debate over the years and I'm on the fence. We may have some really good athletes, and I don't think anyone is arguing our players lack athleticism. But it's hard for me to to think that not having our elite athletes considering soccer while growing up doesn't really matter. If you're Saquon Barkley, but born in Germany, it's soccer and only soccer. There are thousands of great athletes in high school, and if you watch DII or even DIII NCAA football, you'll see a lot of great athletes.

    Then there's guys like Barkley, Tyler Murray, Christian Mcaffrey, Todd Gurley, or even Mike Trout, Billy Hamilton, Mookie Betts, Kris Bryant. Those guys are a completely different level of athlete. They have the athleticism of everyone else, but they have that something that separates the elite from the average that isn't about physical ability. In Germany, those guys are Ballack, Schweinsteiger, Ozil, Klose. In France, it's Zidane, Pogba, Griezzman, Mbape. In Spain it's Iniesta, Xavi, Ramos, Villa. These guys aren't elite because of their athleticism. They're elite because they're elite.

    I just don't see any potential players like the ones listed among the players who have ever played for the USMNT, even if they weren't deficient in athleticism. And I don't think the difference is simply ball skills or development. I think they just aren't the elite. Every country can produce a lot of great athletes, but there are limited numbers of the elite that are just better than everyone else. In the top soccer countries, they all play soccer from the beginning. I don't see how that can't be a big difference.

    I think CE was right in that it's just not a way of life here....yet.

    I'm sorry, but I just think it's a logical fallacy to argue that elite talent in one sport equates to elite talent in other sports. Different sports require different skill sets. We see it all the time in our own sports leagues where we have guys who may be good at both baseball and football, but at some point, they figure out that they're an elite talent in one sport and maybe not so much in the other sport, so they end up giving up the lesser sport for the one they can do their best at. The only athlete I can think of that truly was a transcendent athlete in multiple sports was Bo Jackson. That's it. We've had plenty of pro athletes who were successful in one sport, then tried to make it in another sport and failed, or were failing to progress in one sport and switched to another and succeeded. Baseball players often have great hand-eye coordination, but does that translate to great foot-eye coordination? I'd say that, since we don't see a lot of baseball player retiring from baseball and tearing up the PGA tour, I'd say hand-eye coordination in one sport doesn't necessarily translate to hand-eye coordination to another sport.

    As far as all those guys you listed, yes, they're great at their sport (or at least great at one aspect of their sport in the case of Billy Hamilton). But we already produce soccer players who can run fast. Deandre Yedlin is one of the fastest players in the Premier League. But soccer is an entirely different sport where athleticism is easily neutralized by smart team play. A fast 40 time is great in the NFL, but worthless in soccer if you lack the stamina to make a run in the 90th minute. You can't say that someone who is elite as an NFL player would ever have made it far in soccer because you don't know if he would be able to run a 10k over 90 minutes while being able to run down a 40 yard pass and catch it on your foot like it was an egg. And you don't get sticky shoes to catch the ball with.

    Look, if the American players you listed grew up in Germany, I'm sure some of them would become passable soccer players. There's no guarantee that any of them would actually become elite soccer players. But I would suspect that they're all just likely to not be any good at soccer and, based on the fact that they are great athletes, would probably end up in Germany's Olympic Program running track and field or playing basketball, tennis, or ice hockey, which are pretty popular sports in Europe as well. In fact, some countries direct their best athletes to winter sports like cross country and alpine skiing, and the bobsled. And if those European soccer players grew up here, some of them might have done well in other sports, but I suspect many of them would still be soccer players, just with crappier technical skills because they didn't get the same level of professional development they got at a young age growing up in Europe. Really, I think you have a better shot at making Jozy Altidore an NFL wide receiver than you do making an NFL wide receiver into an elite soccer player. There are just too many skills and variables that go into making an elite soccer player that other sports don't require.

    We are a country of 330 million people. The US produces more elite athletes in more sports than just about any other country in the World, if you factor iin our professional sports leagues as well as individual sports like golf and tennis and all the Olympic sports, which includes 24 Million soccer players (based on 2016 number I found). We produce more soccer players than the entire population of many European countries. Heck, the entire population of Germany is 83 Million people. Uruguay is a country of 3.5 Million people and has produced many elite soccer players over the years. How many metropolitan areas do we have in the US that are bigger than Uruguay? The fact of the matter is that the USMNT has always been known for it's athleticism. It has always been the technical skill that has been lacking. And you will never ever be able to predict which player will develop the skills and is going to be great and which is not so great until they actually go out and prove it. That's why Lionel Messi can the best player in the world at 5'7" and run circles around guys who are 6'4" and 6'5". And Lebron James was always going to be an NBA player. It's just that, if he were born in Germany, he would have been Dirk Nowitzki.
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    Re: USMNT...I believe that we will qualify!

    Quote Originally Posted by Yachtzee View Post
    I'm sorry, but I just think it's a logical fallacy to argue that elite talent in one sport equates to elite talent in other sports. Different sports require different skill sets. We see it all the time in our own sports leagues where we have guys who may be good at both baseball and football, but at some point, they figure out that they're an elite talent in one sport and maybe not so much in the other sport, so they end up giving up the lesser sport for the one they can do their best at. The only athlete I can think of that truly was a transcendent athlete in multiple sports was Bo Jackson. That's it. We've had plenty of pro athletes who were successful in one sport, then tried to make it in another sport and failed, or were failing to progress in one sport and switched to another and succeeded. Baseball players often have great hand-eye coordination, but does that translate to great foot-eye coordination? I'd say that, since we don't see a lot of baseball player retiring from baseball and tearing up the PGA tour, I'd say hand-eye coordination in one sport doesn't necessarily translate to hand-eye coordination to another sport.

    As far as all those guys you listed, yes, they're great at their sport (or at least great at one aspect of their sport in the case of Billy Hamilton). But we already produce soccer players who can run fast. Deandre Yedlin is one of the fastest players in the Premier League. But soccer is an entirely different sport where athleticism is easily neutralized by smart team play. A fast 40 time is great in the NFL, but worthless in soccer if you lack the stamina to make a run in the 90th minute. You can't say that someone who is elite as an NFL player would ever have made it far in soccer because you don't know if he would be able to run a 10k over 90 minutes while being able to run down a 40 yard pass and catch it on your foot like it was an egg. And you don't get sticky shoes to catch the ball with.

    Look, if the American players you listed grew up in Germany, I'm sure some of them would become passable soccer players. There's no guarantee that any of them would actually become elite soccer players. But I would suspect that they're all just likely to not be any good at soccer and, based on the fact that they are great athletes, would probably end up in Germany's Olympic Program running track and field or playing basketball, tennis, or ice hockey, which are pretty popular sports in Europe as well. In fact, some countries direct their best athletes to winter sports like cross country and alpine skiing, and the bobsled. And if those European soccer players grew up here, some of them might have done well in other sports, but I suspect many of them would still be soccer players, just with crappier technical skills because they didn't get the same level of professional development they got at a young age growing up in Europe. Really, I think you have a better shot at making Jozy Altidore an NFL wide receiver than you do making an NFL wide receiver into an elite soccer player. There are just too many skills and variables that go into making an elite soccer player that other sports don't require.

    We are a country of 330 million people. The US produces more elite athletes in more sports than just about any other country in the World, if you factor iin our professional sports leagues as well as individual sports like golf and tennis and all the Olympic sports, which includes 24 Million soccer players (based on 2016 number I found). We produce more soccer players than the entire population of many European countries. Heck, the entire population of Germany is 83 Million people. Uruguay is a country of 3.5 Million people and has produced many elite soccer players over the years. How many metropolitan areas do we have in the US that are bigger than Uruguay? The fact of the matter is that the USMNT has always been known for it's athleticism. It has always been the technical skill that has been lacking. And you will never ever be able to predict which player will develop the skills and is going to be great and which is not so great until they actually go out and prove it. That's why Lionel Messi can the best player in the world at 5'7" and run circles around guys who are 6'4" and 6'5". And Lebron James was always going to be an NBA player. It's just that, if he were born in Germany, he would have been Dirk Nowitzki.
    You're missing the point being made here.

    No one is arguing that LeBron James wouldn't be an NBA player if he grew up in Germany. He has the body type and skillset that project him to the NBA regardless of where he was born.

    The argument being put out there is that soccer is *rarely* the first choice sport for the most elite of all elite athletes growing up -- before anyone has a clue how big their kid is going to be, how strong they're going to get, or what of their elite athletic skills they will truly excel with. There are a myriad of reasons for that. I postulate that money is a large party of that; kids (and parents who see their kids as a potential meal ticket / way out) grow up hearing about the insane amounts of money and fame you achieve playing in the NBA and NFL and picture that for themselves. YMMV on why it is, but the fact remains that most of our elite of the elite (as MWM put it) grow up with a basketball or a football in their hands as opposed to a soccer ball at their feet. While Messi (to use your example) was playing at 6 years old -- because, where he comes from, soccer is the first-choice sport for every athletic kid.

    Our best / elite athletes aren't growing that way. How many amazing players do we miss in this country because the dream of choice is being the next LeBron or the next Tom Brady? Kids playing on AAU teams, high school teams -- never hitting that growth spurt and topping out at 5'8 / 5'9? I think about the kid who was the PG on that #16 seed UMBC team that upset #1 seed UVA -- 5'7" tall, quick as a hiccup and out there with absolutely no future athletically after that tournament run ended. In Germany, that kid is growing up dreaming of being the next Schweinsteiger and he's playing soccer as soon as he's old enough to run, not basketball. There are thousands of kids just like him who never consider soccer, consider going to a club academy, or consider even playing pickup in the summer, because they're focused on a jump shot that will never see the NBA or running a go-route that will never see the NFL.

    That's what I mean when I say that the next step has to be cultural and I agree with MWM -- but I'd change it to say that we're not getting our most elite soccer athletes to play soccer. Its not because we're missing LeBron -- it's because we're missing K.J. Maura, PG University of Maryland Baltimore County.
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    Are we not men? Yachtzee's Avatar
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    Re: USMNT...I believe that we will qualify!

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor View Post
    You're missing the point being made here.

    No one is arguing that LeBron James wouldn't be an NBA player if he grew up in Germany. He has the body type and skillset that project him to the NBA regardless of where he was born.

    The argument being put out there is that soccer is *rarely* the first choice sport for the most elite of all elite athletes growing up -- before anyone has a clue how big their kid is going to be, how strong they're going to get, or what of their elite athletic skills they will truly excel with. There are a myriad of reasons for that. I postulate that money is a large party of that; kids (and parents who see their kids as a potential meal ticket / way out) grow up hearing about the insane amounts of money and fame you achieve playing in the NBA and NFL and picture that for themselves. YMMV on why it is, but the fact remains that most of our elite of the elite (as MWM put it) grow up with a basketball or a football in their hands as opposed to a soccer ball at their feet. While Messi (to use your example) was playing at 6 years old -- because, where he comes from, soccer is the first-choice sport for every athletic kid.

    Our best / elite athletes aren't growing that way. How many amazing players do we miss in this country because the dream of choice is being the next LeBron or the next Tom Brady? Kids playing on AAU teams, high school teams -- never hitting that growth spurt and topping out at 5'8 / 5'9? I think about the kid who was the PG on that #16 seed UMBC team that upset #1 seed UVA -- 5'7" tall, quick as a hiccup and out there with absolutely no future athletically after that tournament run ended. In Germany, that kid is growing up dreaming of being the next Schweinsteiger and he's playing soccer as soon as he's old enough to run, not basketball. There are thousands of kids just like him who never consider soccer, consider going to a club academy, or consider even playing pickup in the summer, because they're focused on a jump shot that will never see the NBA or running a go-route that will never see the NFL.

    That's what I mean when I say that the next step has to be cultural and I agree with MWM -- but I'd change it to say that we're not getting our most elite soccer athletes to play soccer. Its not because we're missing LeBron -- it's because we're missing K.J. Maura, PG University of Maryland Baltimore County.
    So guys like Jozy Altidore and Deandre Yedlin are just chumps who couldn't hack it in football or basketball? Yedlin is regularly rated as one of the fastest players in the Premier League, one of the best leagues in the world. We already produce soccer players who are better athletes than players in many other countries. We just do. Our players are bigger, faster, and stronger than a lot of players from other countries. Yet our best player is Christian Pulisic, who is 5'8" and not even 140 lbs. He's better than Altidore, he'd better than Yedlin, he's probably going to be one of the best that has ever played for the US. Who was the best American player before he came along, Landon Donovan? 5'8" and 150 lbs. If you look at the history of soccer, a lot of the great creative players often seem to be in that 5'6" to 5'10" range and rarely weigh more than 170 lbs. Those aren't the guys who are making it in the NFL or NBA, and if they're making it in baseball, it's typically going to be as a light hitting middle infielder. Guys like that, if they play other sports, might do well enough to get a free education on a basketball scholarship, but they're not making it in the NBA. And guys that small are usually going to be specialist kick/punt returners unless they're able to bulk up to closer to 200 lbs.

    Our soccer players are already elite "athletes." And we already produce youth players that are impressive in international tournaments. Our biggest problem is always going to be that hole in the development system between youth soccer and the pros, and the High School/College Soccer path we currently have, with its rules on how often players can play, who they can play against, and limits on when they can work with their coaches in the off-season, not only insufficient, I would say it's counter productive. If you want to know why we haven't produced the American Messi yet, we probably have produced kids with the same raw talent that Messi had as a kid. I've seek kids at youth soccer tournaments do amazing things with the ball. The problem is that our hypothetical American Messi went to an American High School and got a free ride to a US College, and thus never got the chance to hone his skills against the pros early enough to become the polished jewel that the Argentinian Messi has become. Saying we don't produce world class soccer players because our best athletes play other sports is a weak argument that justifies all those old-school American sports fans who don't watch soccer "because our best athletes play 'our' sports."

    But things are changing. More European clubs are forming partnerships with US youth soccer clubs and they're getting more US players into their system before they get stunted in the US High School/College system. And when we have more clubs with professional development academies, where kids can forego high school soccer in favor of year-round technical training from professional coaches and their parents won't have to pay an arm and a leg in order for those kids to play, we will see a big improvement in the quality of players coming through MLS. But raising salaries without proper investment in development is just going to result in clubs attracting more foreign talent to displace American players. In fact, the constant complaint in England is that all the money flowing to the Premier League Clubs has led to clubs buying up so much foreign talent that young, talented English players get blocked and are unable to progress because they can't get minutes when the manager feels compelled to play those who came from abroad with a huge transfer fee.
    Wear gaudy colors, or avoid display. Lay a million eggs or give birth to one. The fittest shall survive, yet the unfit may live. Be like your ancestors or be different. We must repeat!

  20. #45
    Pre-tty, pre-tty good!! MWM's Avatar
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    Re: USMNT...I believe that we will qualify!

    Quote Originally Posted by Yachtzee View Post
    If you look at the history of soccer, a lot of the great creative players often seem to be in that 5'6" to 5'10" range and rarely weigh more than 170 lbs. Those aren't the guys who are making it in the NFL or NBA, and if they're making it in baseball, it's typically going to be as a light hitting middle infielder. Guys like that, if they play other sports, might do well enough to get a free education on a basketball scholarship, but they're not making it in the NBA.
    I think that's kind of the point CE was making. These guys aren't making the NBA, but by the time they realize that, they're old enough that it's too late to develop into an elite soccer talent.
    Grape works as a soda. Sort of as a gum. I wonder why it doesn't work as a pie. Grape pie? There's no grape pie. - Larry David

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