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

  1. #46
    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: USMNT...I believe that we will qualify!

    Quote Originally Posted by MWM View Post
    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.
    To put a finer point on it, it reflects that soccer has a very suburban footprint in terms of who plays it. And everything in the burbs is overmanaged. So you don't get that spark of genius or style you'd see if it was played informally by a broader group of kids. Obviously that gets more sports-oriented kids involved, which means more athletes. Yet it's really the progression of skill where you'd get the benefit.

    And just to wrap it around, that's why it's so important for teenage players to get over to foreign clubs. Otherwise they hit a ceiling stateside.
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  4. #47
    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: USMNT...I believe that we will qualify!

    Quote Originally Posted by Yachtzee View Post
    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.
    I have wondered this for a while now. Did Landon Donovan hurt soccer in America. I will throw in to a lesser extent Freddie Adu. They were guys with a ton of hype, hype from an early age, hype that they were the next (or first) great American soccer player. Problem was they failed on the biggest stage, they could never really crack into the European limelight. I almost feel as if Donovan's trajectory has too often been the trajectory of many American players who had a chance to be better. You go to Europe, but when it gets tough, you head back to American for the pay day. Donovan's career is always a "what if" for me. I would argue that the best American (non-goalie) is Clint Dempsey, who really arose from nowhere to become a star for the national team. Had he had the pub, maybe he would have inspired more people, and more people to take a similar trajectory that he did.

    I think a lot of what is lacking is the early development of players. You take someone who has played the sport since a young age, the skills that they develop are innate, you don't have to think about them. If you don't develop those skills at a young level you are always playing catch up. You react instead of think. Sometimes it doesn't make a big difference, but there are times it makes all the difference in the world.

  5. #48
    Are we not men? Yachtzee's Avatar
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    Re: USMNT...I believe that we will qualify!

    Quote Originally Posted by bucksfan2 View Post
    I have wondered this for a while now. Did Landon Donovan hurt soccer in America. I will throw in to a lesser extent Freddie Adu. They were guys with a ton of hype, hype from an early age, hype that they were the next (or first) great American soccer player. Problem was they failed on the biggest stage, they could never really crack into the European limelight. I almost feel as if Donovan's trajectory has too often been the trajectory of many American players who had a chance to be better. You go to Europe, but when it gets tough, you head back to American for the pay day. Donovan's career is always a "what if" for me. I would argue that the best American (non-goalie) is Clint Dempsey, who really arose from nowhere to become a star for the national team. Had he had the pub, maybe he would have inspired more people, and more people to take a similar trajectory that he did.

    I think a lot of what is lacking is the early development of players. You take someone who has played the sport since a young age, the skills that they develop are innate, you don't have to think about them. If you don't develop those skills at a young level you are always playing catch up. You react instead of think. Sometimes it doesn't make a big difference, but there are times it makes all the difference in the world.
    As someone who played soccer up until high school and who has had kids involved in youth soccer for the last 13 years, from micro all the way up to the club premier level, and have friends whose kids have gone even further, I will tell you that the kids today have skills at a younger age that are light years ahead of what we were doing when I was a kid. I've seen kids pulling Maradonas, Rabonas, Rainbow flicks, and bicycle kicks at the U-6 and U-8 level. Actually, these days a lot of kids see all these skills from watching YouTube and playing FIFA, then go out in their backyards and practice them until they get them down pat. I've gone by the parks with soccer fields and seen almost as many kids playing pickup soccer at the park as I have seen kids playing pick up basketball. And I would not that I rarely, if ever, see people playing pick up baseball or football in the park. Around here, youth football and youth baseball are far and away more regimented than soccer ever was, and it's an entirely different game than it was when I was a kid. When I was a kid, to play baseball you just needed a glove and shoes. The team provided the hats, the uniforms, the bats and the catcher's equipment. Now even rec league kids have their own personalized equipment bags with their own bats, their own batting helmets, shoes, gloves, catcher's equipment, etc., etc. And youth football here is serious business, where kids are expected to practice 2 hours a night, 5 days a week, with games on Saturdays. The basketball kids are playing on various travel teams year round and going to special skills camps in between. That whole idea that pro athletes are coming from off the farm or from the sandlots and asphalt courts of the inner city in any US sport is more romanticizing about the past than truth these days. And it's not really true about soccer players in Europe and South America these days either.

    The whole notion that we aren't good at soccer is because our best athletes don't play soccer or that our kids don't learn good skills at an early age was a very valid and logical observation about 20 years ago. But today? Athletes of the type that Caveat has described playing other sports are a dime a dozen in youth soccer. There are plenty of kids out there who are amazingly fast, strong, and can out jump adults. There are also lots of kids who can do amazing things with the ball at their feet. And soccer clubs are getting increasingly diverse, with more kids of African American, Hispanic, and Asian descent playing club soccer. The problems, as I've seen and discussed countless times with others involved in soccer are:

    1. While there are a lot of clubs out there training kids in playing good soccer, there are still quite a few unscrupulous clubs for whom winning = money and money = winning. Those clubs will attract players and parents of the big athletic kids and the tendency will be for the teams to play to the athlete. They kick it up to the athlete who then outruns everyone and scores the goal. They also tend to play down a skill level at tournaments so that they can get their trophies to show off and attract more kids and their parents' money. But it's not good for the kids long term because they don't get challenged the way clubs who play up against stronger competition do. So when deciding what kind of club to have your kid play for, parents have to do research and find out what the club philosophy is.

    2. The majority of clubs, both good and bad, and the majority of soccer camps for that matter, are geared towards building up kids for playing high school soccer and trying to get scholarships to play soccer in college. Now, if you live in a city with a pro club, that club might have a professional development academy where the focus is more on developing talent to succeed at the pro level. But if you live in a place like Akron, where the best team around is the University of Akron, clubs are going to focus their efforts on building up kids for scholarships. And actually, this set up isn't too much different from the development system in other American sports. Football, basketball, and baseball programs are all geared toward getting kids prepared for high school and college sports, because that is where the NFL, MLB, and NBA scout and recruit players. Those sports really don't have a competition from other countries with other development systems to compete with.

    3. The rules that the governing bodies for High School and College Sports were set up based on other sports are are actually a detriment to the development of professional soccer players. When American kids start playing High School and College Soccer, they become subject to all kids of rules that govern their eligibility to play with the same players in a consistent development scheme. Their High School or College team has to abide by strict rules on when and how much they can practice, and are limited to one fall season of competitive play. Then there are all kinds of rules on off season training that limit how many players can play on the same club team and how much contact their allowed to have with their school coaches. So you have players that might play for one coach with one philosophy during the school season, but then play short club seasons for coaches with entirely different development schemes. So kids are getting different and often conflicting information throughout the season. That doesn't even get into the age restrictions that come with playing school sports.

    Compare that with foreign development systems, where youth players play and train year round in a consistent system under the supervision of a professional training staff. From the get go, the philosophy is to develop players to eventually play for the senior team at the highest level. Talented kids will stay in the system and rise to the level of the senior team when they are ready and aren't inhibited by rules governing eligibility for amateur, school-based sporting associations and no one is shooting for a college scholarship (it helps that college in most other countries is free or fairly inexpensive, but based entirely on academic merit rather than sporting prowess).

    The interesting thing is that I've noticed more and more European clubs investing in US-based youth clubs and providing training for coaches and staff into their development strategies. I think in the future, we're going to see more and more talented US kids forego playing high school and college soccer here to go overseas so that they can reach the next level, and these European clubs are using their ties to these clubs to get the jump on some of the best talent at a younger age. The other interesting thing I've noticed is that some of the better college soccer programs are starting to bring in more players that wash out of overseas professional development academies over kids coming from the US high school system.
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  6. #49
    Are we not men? Yachtzee's Avatar
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    Re: USMNT...I believe that we will qualify!

    Another thing I'd like to point out is that most kids these days don't play multiple sports like we did. I grew up playing mostly baseball and soccer, and played a season or two of football and basketball. But back then we could play multiple sports because they only played one season a year (or for soccer, a spring and a fall season). These days, kids choose one sport earlier and earlier, and play that one sport year round.
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    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: USMNT...I believe that we will qualify!

    For anyone who wants to take a peek into how MLS is strangling out broad-based development, here you go - https://twitter.com/ProRelForUSA/sta...766015490?s=19
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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 M2 View Post
    For anyone who wants to take a peek into how MLS is strangling out broad-based development, here you go - https://twitter.com/ProRelForUSA/sta...766015490?s=19
    I suppose it depends on your perspective. Someone with the Twitter handle ProRelForUSA is always going to take an anti MLS stance. But the counterargument would be that most of those non-MLS clubs and academies are those classic pay-to-play organizations designed to develop players for the purpose of getting them college scholarships. Are those clubs concerned about developing professional soccer players, or are they more concerned about their ability to separate parents from their money? For all the complaints about the failure of US clubs to develop first class players domestically, a lot of those clubs share some of the responsibility in that failure.

    Pro Rel is a separate issue and I think we'll get there eventually, but you would think that if those youth clubs were so awesome at developing players, they might be able to field pro teams in the lower tiers of the US, convince players to forego college eligibility to play pro, then make their money selling players to MLS clubs or overseas.
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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 Yachtzee View Post
    I suppose it depends on your perspective. Someone with the Twitter handle ProRelForUSA is always going to take an anti MLS stance. But the counterargument would be that most of those non-MLS clubs and academies are those classic pay-to-play organizations designed to develop players for the purpose of getting them college scholarships. Are those clubs concerned about developing professional soccer players, or are they more concerned about their ability to separate parents from their money? For all the complaints about the failure of US clubs to develop first class players domestically, a lot of those clubs share some of the responsibility in that failure.

    Pro Rel is a separate issue and I think we'll get there eventually, but you would think that if those youth clubs were so awesome at developing players, they might be able to field pro teams in the lower tiers of the US, convince players to forego college eligibility to play pro, then make their money selling players to MLS clubs or overseas.
    Fair point on pay-to-play, but the effect is the same regardless. We're winnowing the development pool and looking to carve out solidarity payments.

    The deeper issue with your latter idea is there's very little point in investing much in a system that consistently seeks to rob you of any value you might build on your own. You can see it with the division of the academy league.
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    Re: USMNT...I believe that we will qualify!

    Quote Originally Posted by M2 View Post
    Fair point on pay-to-play, but the effect is the same regardless. We're winnowing the development pool and looking to carve out solidarity payments.

    The deeper issue with your latter idea is there's very little point in investing much in a system that consistently seeks to rob you of any value you might build on your own. You can see it with the division of the academy league.
    Actually, the value is the ability to identify and develop talent that is attractive to bigger teams. There are tons of clubs in Europe who have no hope or even desire to seek promotion to the highest levels of their domestic league because they just don't have the capital or the facilities to compete. So their goal is to do well and make enough money to maintain their grounds and keep the club running. And the way they do that is by selling on players. I wonder, now that US Soccer and MLS have decided to recognize solidarity payments, whether some of these classic pay-to-play clubs here will use solidarity payments to allow talented kids to play for free, or will they pocket the money and continue pay-to-play. My hope is that it will be the former, but my expectation is that it will be the latter.
    Last edited by Yachtzee; 08-03-2019 at 05:20 PM.
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    Re: USMNT...I believe that we will qualify!

    Quote Originally Posted by Yachtzee View Post
    Actually, the value is the ability to identify and develop talent that is attractive to bigger teams. There are tons of clubs in Europe who have no hope or even desire to seek promotion to the highest levels of their domestic league because they just don't have the capital or the facilities to compete. So their goal is to do well and make enough money to maintain their grounds and keep the club running. And the way they do that is by selling on players. I wonder, now that US Soccer and MLS have decided to recognize solidarity payments, whether some of these classic pay-to-play clubs here will use solidarity payments to allow talented kids to play for free, or will they pocket the money and continue pay-to-play. My hope is that it will be the former, but my expectation is that it will be the latter.
    This split is set up to job non-MLS-affiliated out of their solidarity payments, or at least big chunks of them. Players at lower division clubs will need to sell top players up to MLS academies in order for them to improve their chances of jumping to Europe. We're the worst.
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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 M2 View Post
    This split is set up to job non-MLS-affiliated out of their solidarity payments, or at least big chunks of them. Players at lower division clubs will need to sell top players up to MLS academies in order for them to improve their chances of jumping to Europe. We're the worst.
    It would be interesting to find out the rational behind this from US Soccer. On the one hand, you could say that this is an attempt by MLS to cut out some of the non-MLS affiliated clubs out of larger solidarity payments. However, it could have also been directive coming from FIFA in relation to the Category designation. I know there was some controversy lately when the Columbus Crew recently signed Motherwell product Chris Cadden and then promptly loaned him to Oxford United for the rest of 2019. Motherwell could have expected 320,000 pounds if Cadden had gone directly to Oxford United, but might only get as little as 30,000 pounds because the Crew is considered a Category IV club currently under the current designations for solidarity payments. While in this instance, it worked out for the Crew, I have to wonder whether there are greater benefits to have a higher Category rating when selling players. Then you have to ask if the Category ranking is affected by the fact that their academy teams play against a large number of academies lacking a professional club sponsor. If so, breaking the US Development Academy league into two tiers and limiting the number of "amateur" clubs playing against MLS academies might be an attempt boost that Category rating. I don't know the answers, so this is just speculation.

    I will say that, just in quickly looking up some of these other academies, many of them are affiliated with European Clubs. For example, Crossfire, one of the clubs the twitterverse is saying got screwed by being dropped into Tier II, is affiliated with AS Roma and their website says they send players over to Roma for training and share player identification and development data with AS Roma. One of the other clubs is the Barca Residency Academy which is affiliated with FC Barcelona. Now on the one hand, I'd be interested to know the criterea the USSDA used to decide which non-MLS clubs made Tier I and which were dropped to Tier II. On the other hand, I suspect that if anyone in those academies showed talent worthy of Europe, European clubs are going to know about them and will go for them regardless of what tier their club plays in in USDA. And there are tons of academies and clubs, many affiliated with European clubs, that choose not to play in the USSDA. More and more American kids are being scouted and signed directly by European clubs as teenagers rather than waiting around for them to complete college and enter MLS.
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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 Yachtzee View Post
    It would be interesting to find out the rational behind this from US Soccer. On the one hand, you could say that this is an attempt by MLS to cut out some of the non-MLS affiliated clubs out of larger solidarity payments. However, it could have also been directive coming from FIFA in relation to the Category designation. I know there was some controversy lately when the Columbus Crew recently signed Motherwell product Chris Cadden and then promptly loaned him to Oxford United for the rest of 2019. Motherwell could have expected 320,000 pounds if Cadden had gone directly to Oxford United, but might only get as little as 30,000 pounds because the Crew is considered a Category IV club currently under the current designations for solidarity payments. While in this instance, it worked out for the Crew, I have to wonder whether there are greater benefits to have a higher Category rating when selling players. Then you have to ask if the Category ranking is affected by the fact that their academy teams play against a large number of academies lacking a professional club sponsor. If so, breaking the US Development Academy league into two tiers and limiting the number of "amateur" clubs playing against MLS academies might be an attempt boost that Category rating. I don't know the answers, so this is just speculation.

    I will say that, just in quickly looking up some of these other academies, many of them are affiliated with European Clubs. For example, Crossfire, one of the clubs the twitterverse is saying got screwed by being dropped into Tier II, is affiliated with AS Roma and their website says they send players over to Roma for training and share player identification and development data with AS Roma. One of the other clubs is the Barca Residency Academy which is affiliated with FC Barcelona. Now on the one hand, I'd be interested to know the criterea the USSDA used to decide which non-MLS clubs made Tier I and which were dropped to Tier II. On the other hand, I suspect that if anyone in those academies showed talent worthy of Europe, European clubs are going to know about them and will go for them regardless of what tier their club plays in in USDA. And there are tons of academies and clubs, many affiliated with European clubs, that choose not to play in the USSDA. More and more American kids are being scouted and signed directly by European clubs as teenagers rather than waiting around for them to complete college and enter MLS.
    A few thoughts:

    - Your Columbus example is exactly why this was done.

    - They should be organizing regionally, not along professional/amateur lines.

    - Affiliations with foreign clubs don't mean a whole lot. RSL supposedly has an affiliation with Real Madrid. Not once in the team's history has a player moved in either direction between the two organizations.
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    Re: USMNT...I believe that we will qualify!

    Quote Originally Posted by M2 View Post
    A few thoughts:

    - Your Columbus example is exactly why this was done.

    - They should be organizing regionally, not along professional/amateur lines.

    - Affiliations with foreign clubs don't mean a whole lot. RSL supposedly has an affiliation with Real Madrid. Not once in the team's history has a player moved in either direction between the two organizations.
    YMMV when it comes to these partnerships. Real Madrid may not have found anyone from RSL yet, but that could also be a cultural thing where Spanish clubs don't rate American players yet. Or maybe there are young guys in the RSL academy being sent over to train now and the partnership just hasn't borne fruit yet. Meanwhile, Bundesliga clubs have shown no qualms signing American youth players. FC Dallas has a partnership with Bayern Munich where players have been sent to Bayern's academy teams on loan, and not too long ago Bayern bought FC Dallas Homegrown player Chris Richards. They also had no problem shelling out the money to buy Alphonso Davies as a teen from Vancouver
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    Re: USMNT...I believe that we will qualify!

    Quote Originally Posted by MWM View Post
    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.
    Exactly this.

    Our elite "soccer athletes" aren't, in many cases, playing soccer at all when they're young. We need to shift the culture in this country to make soccer a choice sport. More kids (and, equally importantly, a more diverse pool of kids than the current mostly-affluent suburban class) need to grow up with a soccer ball at their feet. Right now, too many of them lock themselves into a dead-end path with basketball and football where they will never have the body type to play at a level beyond D-3 / mid-major D-1.

    We also need to get away from the thought process that the pathway to professional sports is Amateur Youth Teams --> High School Team --> College --> Pros. The proliferation of AAU in youth basketball isn't without it's shady aspects, but at least it's helping to change this narrative. It needs to be thrown out the window entirely with soccer, where developing skills needs to always take precedence over winning games. This goes along with the argument regarding solidarity payments: we need to shift to a model where coaching resumes are based on how your talent has been developed (and, therefore, how much money you've made your club) v. what your win-loss record is.
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    Pre-tty, pre-tty good!! MWM's Avatar
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    Re: USMNT...I believe that we will qualify!

    Quote Originally Posted by M2 View Post
    To put a finer point on it, it reflects that soccer has a very suburban footprint in terms of who plays it. And everything in the burbs is overmanaged. So you don't get that spark of genius or style you'd see if it was played informally by a broader group of kids. Obviously that gets more sports-oriented kids involved, which means more athletes. Yet it's really the progression of skill where you'd get the benefit.
    That's pretty much exactly what a couple of my friends from England say about their development issues.
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    Re: USMNT...I believe that we will qualify!

    Quote Originally Posted by bucksfan2 View Post
    I almost feel as if Donovan's trajectory has too often been the trajectory of many American players who had a chance to be better. You go to Europe, but when it gets tough, you head back to American for the pay day. Donovan's career is always a "what if" for me. I would argue that the best American (non-goalie) is Clint Dempsey, who really arose from nowhere to become a star for the national team. Had he had the pub, maybe he would have inspired more people, and more people to take a similar trajectory that he did.
    I would argue that the best American (non-goalie) is Claudio Reyna, then probably Dempsey. Reyna would have likely had a different trajectory in Europe were it not for a number of injuries. Reyna is who everyone thought Bradley would be. And had he gotten close to Reyna's level, I think the USMNT would have been a lot more successful over the past 10-12 years. I think Bradley in the mid-field is the biggest weakness they've had.

    I've always thought Donovan was probably the most gifted American player ever. He had natural skills unlike any player I can recall prior to Pulisic. Who knows what would have happened had he gone over to Europe earlier (although he went at 18) or had he been willing to stick it out over there. But I do think he had the skills to be a solid first division contributor in Europe. By most accounts, he didn't really want it all that much and was content to be an elite player in the MLS. If he were just now coming up, I think it would be a different story.
    Last edited by MWM; 08-05-2019 at 10:49 AM.
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Board Moderators may, at their discretion and judgment, delete and/or edit any messages that violate any of the following guidelines: 1. Explicit references to alleged illegal or unlawful acts. 2. Graphic sexual descriptions. 3. Racial or ethnic slurs. 4. Use of edgy language (including masked profanity). 5. Direct personal attacks, flames, fights, trolling, baiting, name-calling, general nuisance, excessive player criticism or anything along those lines. 6. Posting spam. 7. Each person may have only one user account. It is fine to be critical here - that's what this board is for. But let's not beat a subject or a player to death, please.

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