US Soccer

Discussion in 'Sports' started by Tenacious D, Jun 18, 2014.

  1. Tenacious D

    Tenacious D The law is of supreme importance, or no importance

    Given the size of our population, the resources at our disposal and the generally growing interest in the sport, I don't understand how we're seemingly so incredibly far behind everyone, so as to appear like we couldn't even be consistently competitive with even second-tier teams.

    With that in mind:

    1. What do you believe to be the single most important reason that the US soccer establishment is so far behind the rest of the world? Apathy? Less skilled players? Not several reasons - the BIGGEST reason, in your opinion.

    2. What's the one BIGGEST change that could be made / occurred that would most greatly work to overcome this greatest weakness?

    3. What's the likelihood that the US will ever consistently compete with the upper echelon teams, to legitimately challenge for the World Cup, and when might this be expected to happen (i.e. 10 years, etc.), if ever at all?
  2. JohnnyQuickkick

    JohnnyQuickkick Calcio correspondent

    (My numbering system here isn't following your points, just using it to organize my thoughts)
    1. Kids haven't just played, unsupervised, like they do elsewhere in the world. (As much). That's the kind of environment that helps to develop creativity, intuition, improvisation. Compare with the way kids grow up playing basketball in the USA.
    2. A buddy of mine is a coach, and says that too many soccer coaches focus on drills, drills, and drills, which harkens back to #1.
    3. Also player identification/discovery has tended to select kids who were the superior athletes rather than technically skilled. That kid who's always running away in the clear from the other kids? Obviously he must be the best. (That kind of thinking) which is why you get a player like Robbie Findley, who runs like a horse but plays the ball with about that much skill.
    4. The system in the US is kids play for clubs and schools and the goal is to get a college scholarship. Kids in "soccer countries" start out playing in local club academies and the best prospects are quickly identified and trained in youth academies of big clubs, right now Bayern Munich and Barcelona might be considered the best in the world in youth development. Anyway, these kids go out on loan to smaller pro clubs in top flight or second division leagues by the time they're 16 or 17, many of them, and are budding stars by the time they're 20, while our guys are playing college soccer until they're 21 or 22.

    This is a start. Tvolsfan has posted his thoughts and they're much more poignant than mine.
  3. JT5

    JT5 Super Moderator

    To #1 and 2:

    The worlds best athletes play soccer. Our best athletes play NFL, NBA.
  4. JohnnyQuickkick

    JohnnyQuickkick Calcio correspondent

    Also true, but you'd think with as many more kids as we have than say, Belgium or the Netherlands, there would be a few of that caliber who'd play soccer. But I agree it's not what American kids go to bed and dream about. But then, pure athleticism is the least of our problems in soccer. Is Lionel Messi the best because of his pure athleticism?
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2014
  5. JohnnyQuickkick

    JohnnyQuickkick Calcio correspondent

    How many of the best soccer players in the world would be playing in the NBA or NFL if they'd been born in South Florida? Maybe Yaya Touré. Not Messi or Ronaldo.
  6. IP

    IP It's just business.

    I just don't think this is really a factor. We have 300 million people. It isn't just that our best athletes play those sports. It is that ALL OF OUR ATHLETES play those sports.
  7. IP

    IP It's just business.

    Also, it is a matter of time. Now that people are asking these questions, we will rise in strength.
  8. kidbourbon

    kidbourbon Well-Known Member

    Imagine if you took Football, Basketball, Hockey, and Baseball, and then rolled the first three into one after tossing Baseball in the dumpster because it blows. That's Soccer in Europe and South America. It's that important. Tennis is gonna be the second most popular sport in those countries, but it's a distant second. And most great tennis players were very promising youth soccer players -- Nadal was really really good, which isn't surprising since his Uncle was an excellent professional soccer player -- and went with tennis because he was just too good to not go with tennis. But his love of soccer has never dissipated. He won in Wimbledon in 2010, but was staying up till 4am the night before his matches to watch Spain play in the World Cup.* It's that important to him, and this pretty much true of everybody in Europe and South America and all of their godd@mn cousins.

    I don't think soccer in the US will ever get there.

    *And this may not be limited to just 2010. Do they always have international soccer tournaments around the time of Wimbledon?
  9. kidbourbon

    kidbourbon Well-Known Member

    And of course the non-athletes play baseball.
  10. kidbourbon

    kidbourbon Well-Known Member

    But being great in sports is rarely about PURE athleticism, unless we're talking sprinting or something.

    Some sports like sprinting, or playing defense in american football require pretty much nothing more than pure athleticism. And some sports like golf and baseball don't require athleticism.

    So, in sports that require both, the great players are determined not just by who has the best skills or who is the best athlete, but by who best utilizes their athleticism and skill to develop the most unstoppable STYLE. Messi has that. Gretzky had that. Magic and Bird had that. Johnny Mac in his prime had that. Nadal has that. I could keep listing examples, but I think you get the idea. Merely running fast enough won't score goals for your team. Merely being the shiftiest guy out there won't get the ball penetrated past the initial plane of the goal and deeeeeep into the back of the net. Merely having the niftiest footwork or the most accurate foot from distance won't do it either.

    The skills and the athleticism are means to an end. They're necessar, but not sufficient.

    Or you could just go with baseball and maximize the skill of:

    Gently fondling ballsac while standing on a mound.

    Gently fondling ballsac while standing near a base.

    Gently fondling ballsac while on base:

    Gently fondling ballsac while standing in batter's box:

    Fondling **** and balls enough to get a nice chubby going, and then holding yourself in an outward thrust position so all the ladies can see your chub working overtime.

    Fondling ballsac in a more aggressive fashion while of course remaining in a "ready" position because we all know how fast the sport of baseball moves.

    Gently fondling your ballsac while walking back to the dugout after the third out, which, of course, represents 97% of the moving he'll be doing during the four hour game:

    Gently fonding your teammate's balls because that's not gay at all:
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2014
  11. tvolsfan

    tvolsfan Chieftain

    I think this is a very common misconception.
  12. NorrisAlan

    NorrisAlan Founder of the Mike Honcho Fan Club

    And I think the sports also take a very different type of athlete, if I am not mistaken. There is a reason you don't see a lot of 6'8" 289 pound soccer players.
  13. JohnnyQuickkick

    JohnnyQuickkick Calcio correspondent

    there is a point in all that. it's buried deeeeeeep, but it's in there
  14. InVolNerable

    InVolNerable Fark Master Flex

    Cricket, basketball, and field hockey are all considered more popular worldwide than tennis in terms of viewership and Google search queries.
  15. tvolsfan

    tvolsfan Chieftain

    Emphasizing speed over skill at the youth level. Anybody who has played soccer at a remotely competitive level at a young age can tell you the vast majority of teams have one strategy: Get the ball to the fast kid.

    The reason for this is simple. It's simply the most effective way to win when you're 10. It's not so useful when you're 25.

    Basically try to do it like they do in Europe: Start developing young talent early and often. Now we've gotten better about this, but it's not the easiest process, given our countries lack of soccer history and the lack of prestige associated with being a star soccer player in this country. Furthermore, while people talk about how soccer is popular because it's easy for poor people to play, that hasn't really been the case in America. For the most part, playing soccer above the recreation level has required money. Again, I think we're getting better about this, and I have little doubt we will continue to get better.

    A generation or two. Not long. It is happening.
  16. Agree with all this. The lack of quality youth development here in the US is the reason why it's critical in the short term for our national team to get guys like Julian Green who are "Americans", but didn't necessarily grow up in The States and have had that academy training from a young age. Just a quick glance at the roster for this WC shows that Klinsmann CLEARLY understands this.

    I'd say you're on base with the timeframe too. Of the two most popular sports in the US, (football and basketball) it's really only football that's stealing from the pool of potential soccer players. Being a successful basketball players requires a freakish genetic mixture of both height and athleticism, and guys like that don't usually end up playing soccer, even in the powerhouse nations. As concerns over the safety of football continue to grow, I think we'll see more and more of the super-athletic, sub-six foot guys find their way into soccer. At that point it's just a matter if having the youth infrastructure in place to develop that talent.
  17. CardinalVol

    CardinalVol Uncultured, non-diverse mod

    I could tell you with my team of 4 year olds which ones had a natural knack for it and which ones didn't. It was fun because my most skilled player was also my most aggressive and fastest. He basically dominated. My second most skilled player was just too shy. Both were from Latin America.

    All that to say, it's not that hard to spot.
  18. USA needs to get black people involved. Right now it is a rich boy sport in America. Sadly the same can be said with baseball.

    And head injuries are largely not going to keep poor kids off the football field.
  19. Tenacious D

    Tenacious D The law is of supreme importance, or no importance

    I understand the argument that the vast majority of kids play something other than soccer, as it is not in the Top 5 most liked sports (beyond junior leagues).

    But, even if you took our top 10% of the best of the best of our athletes for the "big" US sports, we would still seem to have an excellent chance (millions, even) to find even 100 people (at absolute worst) who could still be exceptionally good / world-class players than most countries....and infinitely higher than countries with a much smaller population.

    Simply, if the "other sports" theory were true (and it may be), how then are we still so seemingly incapable of finding 25 better players than Ghana, for example?
  20. IP

    IP It's just business.

    Let me put it another way.

    Let's say America has 10,000 elite athletes born in a given year. They grow up playing various sports. But as they transition into high school, how many focus on basketball or football? Virtually all of them. Every one. How many eventually make it pro? Not even close to all of them. Many play college ball of some sort, all trying to go pro-- but not in soccer. The elite athletes follow the path they see to athletic success, and in this country it isn't soccer. There is no fame for most American MLS players or college players.

    What I am saying is we put all of our eggs in one basket, even though the basket isn't even close to big enough to fit them all. So we end up with great athletes who are just not good enough to make the NBA, or maybe even way too short to ever have success in D-1 college even, that could have developed into elite soccer players but now play pick up basketball games on the weekend.

    Do you see what I am saying? How many 5'9 or 6' guys do we all know who are great athletes, but just never had the size to be competitive at the highest levels of basketball? The country is filled with them. Had they gotten on a path of soccer, they could have had an athletic career after all.

    But this is starting to change. The gap between youth programs and young adult programs is being filled in more and more places.

    TL;DR You can't just plug in athletes, they have to play the sport for years to develop. That is what has not been happening.

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