Soccer Discussion

Discussion in 'Sports' started by tvolsfan, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. tvolsfan

    tvolsfan Chieftain

    Since people seemed interested, I thought I may as well share my thoughts. Feel free to let me know if you disagree, even if you aren’t a huge soccer fan.

    In regards to the discussion about elite athletes going into other sports in America and the effect on soccer in the United States, I’ll first make it clear that I obviously do think having more elite athletes playing soccer would be beneficial. Having a larger talent pool to choose from would no doubt improve things. I actually used to think that was the biggest problem for American soccer, but I changed my stance after watching more and discussing the issue with other soccer fans.

    I believe the biggest problem concerning American soccer has more to do with the development of younger players than it does with the lack of elite athletes playing soccer. When watching the World Cup, I noticed that America actually did have more team speed than I had given them credit for. I remember watching one of our 30 year old defenders outrun one of England’s midfielders and being very impressed. However, I did notice the glaring lack of technical skill in comparison to other teams, especially in regards to the forward play. Seeing fast teams like France flame out while watching Germany blow out the likes of England and Argentina made me realize that simply being athletic doesn’t make up for a lack of technical skill.

    To go back to a discussion from the other thread, the Dutch have always stood out to me. I never quite understood how they have consistently fielded good teams despite having a small population and never really having athletic teams. But after watching highlights of some elite players to come from the country, I realized how consistently they’ve been able to produce great forwards over the last 40 years or so. They’ve had great individual skill, particularly up top. Guys like Dennis Bergkamp, Johan Cryuff, and Marco Van Basten come to mind. After learning about Johan Cryuff and his influence in developing Barcelona’s soccer academy, I began to realize this may not just be a coincidence. The Dutch have produced high quality teams because they have had high quality development with great coaches.

    Now getting back to American national team, our biggest problem in the world cup was clearly with our attacking game, where we didn’t have a forward score in any of our four games. It became clear that you can’t substitute speed for skill at the highest level. For example, Robbie Findley may be able to outrun a horse, but the horse would likely have better chance at actually putting the ball in the net. The fact is we’ve never really had consistent scoring, and I do believe our development is at fault. When playing youth soccer, it became clear that athleticism was generally considered the most valuable attribute. It’s not hard to see how this came to be. Athleticism is an enormous factor in pretty much every sport, so people are naturally going to feel that way. Additionally, at a younger age, the best players typically are the guys who can run by everyone else. When I was a player, the majority of the goals were simply a result of breakaways. As a result, the fast players were generally considered the best, and they were the players who were most likely to make the top travel teams. When I was playing travel, we played two games a week and practiced twice. Our practices focused more on strategy and teamwork than actual player development. It was probably going to give our team the best chance to win at the time, but I think players who hope to play professionally would be better off developing individual skill. In addition, we need to do a better job of identifying the young talents who could potentially become the next Ronaldo instead of simply identifying the best athletes.

    For these reasons, I’m glad that there seems to be a change in the way soccer is set up. More and more kids are going to academies, and fewer top players are playing for college teams. I think Jurgen Klinsmann could be a big factor in future changes as well. Soccer has grown a lot over the last 20 years or so, and it will continue to grow as it more attention and as more kids get into the game at a young age. That said, for US soccer to reach its potential, we need to see a change in the way we develop players. I fully expect to see the US compete for and win World Cups in my lifetime. If we can get on the right track, I think it will be sooner than most expect.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2012
  2. tvolsfan

    tvolsfan Chieftain

    If anyone makes it through the wall and is interested in seeing something more, I thought I would post this video.

    I think this guy is a good example of someone who isn't the fastest guy but was one of the greatest scorers ever due to his skill with the ball.

    Marco Van Basten
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2012
  3. JohnnyQuickkick

    JohnnyQuickkick Calcio correspondent

    Been meaning to start a thread to see if anybody out there was a fan. I've come to the sport late; I didn't play, and barely watched it beyond the World Cup, like most Americans I guess. A roommate and the 2002 World Cup got me to start really getting into it, and a few trips to Romania and some European friends got me into it on the professional level. A player like Kaka' that I can admire on a lot of levels also drew me into the club game as an AC Milan fan. Watching it more intensively over the last 5 years or so have taught me a lot about the game, and I think watching it primarily in Italy helps too because the Italians put a lot of emphasis in the strategy and tactical parts of the game.

    The few times I've played in pickup fashion I gathered that it was similar to baseball in that while athleticism can be a useful tool, there are skills that you've got to learn before you can do it.
  4. The Dooz

    The Dooz Super Moderator

    totally agree. we simply have nobody who can finish.

    i thought Altidore might have been that guy, but so far i've been let down.
  5. volfanjo

    volfanjo Chieftain

    I agree with a lot of what tvols says. I would add that there needs to be a more grassroots effort by kids themselves if we ever want to be truly dominant at any sport. "Finishing" requires a skill set that requires not only instruction but countless hours working for no other reason than because you love playing soccer. Ghana -- who beat the United States in the last World Cup -- is a perfect example of men who grew up playing soccer because that's all they had and they loved it.

    Many Americans end up in soccer because parents want to keep them busy. We have a soccer field in our neighborhood and kids are never playing soccer on it. Football and baseball yes; soccer, never. But you know what? I know lots of the kids are playing soccer but only is these overly organized, idiotic leagues at 6-years old. Just go out and kick the ball around kids. I remember learning to field grounders by throwing a tennis ball of the wall for hours upon end; no one making me. I'm not sure if younger people playing soccer are doing that here or not... I would guess not.
  6. CardinalVol

    CardinalVol Uncultured, non-diverse mod

    This is what I'm talking about when I say we don't have that sixth sense that kids from other nations do. You can't teach it, it can only be learned on it's own.
  7. volfanjo

    volfanjo Chieftain

    US lost tonight to Canada in Nashville. Anyone go? Looked pretty ugly iyam.

    I would love to see Shea get it together. He's gifted.
  8. Unimane

    Unimane Kill "The Caucasian"

    I watched online (which sucks - special package needed in Nashville for mundo2) and was very disappointed. We looked absolutely horrible. I actually thought this U-23 was among the new breed of US soccer and then we go and lose to a country that actually cares less about soccer, which also has less money, talent and organization than us. Just total dogshit. It didn't help that we were missing about 7 of our best players at the age level, but that simply shows the lack of depth we have. And, after the U-20 failure to qualify for the World Cup, doing so with the Olympics is not going to foreshadow much of what we need for the USA program overall. We have to beat El Salvador on two days rest and then, probably, Mexico. So, yesterday was quite a disaster. I mean, [uck fay]ing Canada totally dominated us? We might as well disband the program if we can't beat them.
  9. IP

    IP Super Moderator

    Or annex Canada.
  10. volfanjo

    volfanjo Chieftain

    The US will not be playing men's soccer in this cycle of the Olympics. "Lost" 3-3 to El Salvador -- that's right -- in stoppage time. Lot's of criticism to go around I suppose but more disappointed than anything else.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  11. The Dooz

    The Dooz Super Moderator

    What a beatdown that turned out to be, but really, I don't give a shit about Olympic soccer.
  12. justingroves

    justingroves supermod

    I don't think many kids are doing that in any sport anymore. You have football and baseball, which have become either a summer passing camp or travel ball fix, or AAU basketball. The just getting out and playing deal seems to be dying.
  13. IP

    IP Super Moderator

    skateboarding kids are the only ones I see putting in that kind of time.
  14. JohnnyQuickkick

    JohnnyQuickkick Calcio correspondent

    those hacky sack kids used to wear it out back in the day in Presidential Court.
  15. MaconVol

    MaconVol Chieftain

    I played soccer in high school, and I plan on coaching once I get done with college. (however I am not an authority and could still stand to learn a lot) I do think our biggest problems are the fundamentals of the game. I would say athlete for athlete, we could perhaps be as good as anybody, outside of perhaps a Brazil. I agree with what all has been said about the other countries playing soccer because they either love it, or have nothing else to do, which is where there superior skill sets come from.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2012
  16. volfanbill

    volfanbill Active Member

    tough to not call soccer exciting after those 5 minutes of stoppage time for Man City.
  17. tvolsfan

    tvolsfan Chieftain

    I'm pretty happy they decided to televise the games today.
  18. Unimane

    Unimane Kill "The Caucasian"

    I'm not a big Man City fan, but I hate Man United for their NY Yankee-type quotient. The bandwagoners in this sport among Americans annoy me (although I am happy to see the sport gaining a following here). It's like a German guy coming to America and saying, "Oh, I want to have an NFL team to follow. Hmm, I like these Patriots, they win a lot."
  19. volfanjo

    volfanjo Chieftain

    I agree Unimane, but unless you have some special soccer package, it's hard to watch Fulham, for example, and you are left with picking between Man U, Arsenal, Liverpool or Chelsea it seems. I imagine there are lots of Lakers and Yankees fans internationally because you may get only so many games a year and they are usually more notable teams.

    Or, you follow a compatriot like Dirk, Yao, or Ichiro.
  20. Unimane

    Unimane Kill "The Caucasian"

    That's true, but I follow Fulham and I've been able to see them a handful of times here. GolTV and FoxSoccer have been great and then ESPN has picked up their weekly EPL game. I can see how someone would simply follow just the biggest teams, though. I would like to see Arsenal pick up Dempsey, too. It would be great to have an American on a prominent team.

    On another note, following soccer is also great for another reason, fall football season. 10 years ago, I used to watch Gameday in the morning and now I watch EPL and La Liga before noon, then go straight into the slate of college football games. It's amazing how shitty those pregame shows are once you do this. I don't have to give a shit about a 10 minute interview with the head coach of Michigan State anymore.

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