US Soccer Catch-All

Top_Shelf wrote:

A win over a country of 5 million people.

USMNT! USMNT! USMNT!

Hey, Uruguay's got 3.5M and they'd kick the sh*t out of us. I will take it.

Understood. As a fan, I'm not knocking a win.

As a critic of the current (forever?) regime of "leadership" of US soccer, I've had it. There is no excuse for not having a long term strategy for developing this country's game. We have the resources. We don't have any plan for building an actual program that knows what type of game we want to play, develops talent to fit into that, and then goes and executes.

It's all:
- Hire a coach
- Continue to keep in leadership positions the exact same people who have been part of the system that produces these mediocre results
- Don't make people uncomfortable (ie, don't rock the boat)

I want to see a strategy, followed by a plan, and then putting the right folks in place to execute it. And I never hear it. There is no cohesive message by the program about what they're doing, other than just putting out teams and trying to sell us on, "Soccer's gonna be big here!"

Not without a plan it won't.

I'm in agreement about the flailing, ineffective nature of US Men's Soccer, but they have had a complete change of leaders at the top in recent years.

And where did the current crop come from? What is their vision?

Prederick wrote:
Top_Shelf wrote:

A win over a country of 5 million people.

USMNT! USMNT! USMNT!

Hey, Uruguay's got 3.5M and they'd kick the sh*t out of us. I will take it.

I'd be unsure about Iceland... Not even a million.

Welcome to the USMNT Gio Reyna.

Literally like 75% of our best young talent appears to be learning their skills in Germany right now. And thank God for that, honestly.

The MLS season kicked off this evening, and hey!

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American soccer fans: Starting to get pretty good at this!

Welcome to the party Nashville SC.

Boy! February seems like such a long time ago!

Jaap Stam: FC Cincinnati announce new manager with photo of someone else

Guys. C'mon.

I do wonder what that's like right now though. "Welcome to your new job, you can't go into the office and can't touch any of the players."

"Here's your copy of FM2020. Start training."

Totally missed that Weston McKennie had moved to Juve.

Here's hoping it turns out well. Although, whenever the fans return, his outspoken anti-racism activism may... well, it could get tetchy. Italian football has a well-earned rep on that stuff.

Played 90 minutes and damn near well scored!

Is the USMNT in danger of developing into a world-class outfit?

I wouldn't say "World Class" yet, but there does appear to be quite a bit of potential in the ranks.

Oh HELL YES.

Sure, it's Panama, but still.

There were some really nice goals in this one. No bangers that I saw (I was attempting to work at the same time), but some nice teamwork and finishing.

I don't watch many club games other than Tottenham and Houston, so I haven't seen McKinnie with Juventus, but he looked awesome today. Looked good against Wales, too, but really excellent today.

I'm cautiously optimistic about some of the new players.

Fedaykin98 wrote:

I don't watch many club games other than Tottenham and Houston, so I haven't seen McKinnie with Juventus, but he looked awesome today. Looked good against Wales, too, but really excellent today.

I have ESPN+ but I'm not keeping an eye out for Juve games, larguely due to an enmity for them and CR7, but WhoScored says he appears to be handling himself pretty well. Not great, but well enough to be playing.

Just getting playing time for Juve is huge compared to where we were, say, four years ago.

I am constantly pinching myself about how many young players we have, not only in Europe, but many getting playing time for top teams. I hope Berhalter can put it all together, because the USMNT has potential right now like we haven't in a long while.

I'm easily amused. MLS gets a mention on the Onion of all places.

Naturally it's part of their "The Worst Sports Teams Of All Time" slide show, which features the 1999 MetroStars.

I had season tickets back then. The team finished 7-25, but they weren't really that good. 3 of their 7 wins came from the blessedly-dead (crap)shootout.

The Onion wrote:

What are you going to do, face check us on an MLS team? Oh, you are? Well look at that, we were right anyway! That team was garbage!

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USA 6 -0 El Salvador

I mean, CONCACAF, but nevertheless.

I didn't watch because our European-based players weren't there, but when we scored 5 in the first 36 minutes I was wishing I had!

Anyone else trying to figure out how excited they should be for US youngster success in Champions League so far? That Weston McKennie goal against Barca was amazing.

I am trying, trying to stay chill about it, but I mean, think about where we were in 2018 and where it felt like American soccer was, and now....

An American playing (starting!) for Juventus, the best team in Italy, scored a fantastic goal to help them crush Barcelona.

That is genuinely not a sentence I thought I'd be able to say none too long ago.

bigred wrote:

Anyone else trying to figure out how excited they should be for US youngster success in Champions League so far? That Weston McKennie goal against Barca was amazing.

Fedaykin98 wrote:

I am constantly pinching myself about how many young players we have, not only in Europe, but many getting playing time for top teams. I hope Berhalter can put it all together, because the USMNT has potential right now like we haven't in a long while.

I was reading this article on Sergino Dest today, and wondering about some of our young talent:

Frankly, Sergiño Dest’s name could have been swapped out here for any of the young talents coming through for the US – Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Chris Richards (Bayern Munich), Weston McKinnie (Juventus), Konrad De La Fuente (Barcelona B), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen) and, go on then, Christian Pulisic (Chelsea).

So I checked, and it was as I thought, not a single one of those players played a minute of NCAA soccer.

Many of them got their start in MLS academies, and while the overall impact those places had on their early growth and careers is up for debate, as unfair as it might be this has really just underlined for me that, for a variety of reasons, NCAA soccer does not produce anything better than middling MLS talent.

Makes sense to me. The academy method identifies kids early and begins intense soccer training much earlier than traditional American sports practice does. The kids who we're looking for have mainly been identified and set on track long before they would have gotten to college.

Hopefully this exciting crop of youngsters are the result of a sustainable growth in the sport here. It's been happening for a while, as I know Clint Dempsey (for one example) was in some kind of academy or at least a select team. Maybe we're reaching some kind of critical mass where we'll soon be able to field an entire team of players who came up in more of an academy structure.

I would be curious to know what the experience is of academy kids who don't make it. Do they eventually get to college? Has the search for pro soccer sidetracked their lives?

Speaking of academy projects, one of the best Dynamo* players right now is Memo Rodriguez, who came out of our academy. As with the kids in Europe, he can keep up with much older men on the field, albeit in the MLS. I'd love for him to get a look from the USMNT, but I assume they have all kinds of data on every young eligible player out there.

*the Dynamo organization, however, is a freaking disgrace of uncompetitiveness right now. Glad we won a trophy near the end of Demarcus Beasley's career.

I'm very curious how the MLS and fans will handle the fact that right now we're in a similar situation that many North/South American nations are in right now, which is to say all of our best players are not plying their trade in the U.S.

The MLS can't compete on the money, much less on the prestige or the level of play, although certainly, the league has made a lot of noise indicating that they want to close that gap ASAP. I don't think they can, not within the next two decades, at best, though.

Prederick wrote:

I'm very curious how the MLS and fans will handle the fact that right now we're in a similar situation that many North/South American nations are in right now, which is to say all of our best players are not plying their trade in the U.S.

The MLS can't compete on the money, much less on the prestige or the level of play, although certainly, the league has made a lot of noise indicating that they want to close that gap ASAP. I don't think they can, not within the next two decades, at best, though.

I think the path for soccer in the US is going to continue upwards for a long time, including MLS - but not all gains accrue to MLS' account. There are people who are only fans of MLS, US Soccer, or European soccer. The rising tide lifts all boats, though.

Fedaykin98 wrote:

Makes sense to me. The academy method identifies kids early and begins intense soccer training much earlier than traditional American sports practice does. The kids who we're looking for have mainly been identified and set on track long before they would have gotten to college.

Hopefully this exciting crop of youngsters are the result of a sustainable growth in the sport here. It's been happening for a while, as I know Clint Dempsey (for one example) was in some kind of academy or at least a select team. Maybe we're reaching some kind of critical mass where we'll soon be able to field an entire team of players who came up in more of an academy structure.

I would be curious to know what the experience is of academy kids who don't make it. Do they eventually get to college? Has the search for pro soccer sidetracked their lives?

Speaking of academy projects, one of the best Dynamo* players right now is Memo Rodriguez, who came out of our academy. As with the kids in Europe, he can keep up with much older men on the field, albeit in the MLS. I'd love for him to get a look from the USMNT, but I assume they have all kinds of data on every young eligible player out there.

*the Dynamo organization, however, is a freaking disgrace of uncompetitiveness right now. Glad we won a trophy near the end of Demarcus Beasley's career.

I coached high school soccer for 8 years for two highly competitive teams that would always get beat in the regional semis (or finals for two of those years) for the state tournament. That’s basically a ton ten team in the state, arguably. For four years we had a Dallas FC academy player on our squad that had moved here from Mexico to get an education. Great kid, excellent skills, not quite the killer instinct and maybe had a future as a left or right back even though he was great as a midfielder in high school. He went on to play in college for a D2 team and got his degree in science. I know that’s kind of anecdotal, but what I gather is that pro teams have excellent scouting departments, and if you’re at all talented, you’ll be likely picked up by someone (club or college) and D2 men’s programs are always looking for talent that they can, on limited budgets, scout and see first-hand here.

At high school, we scheduled pre-season games against Wichita Falls Ryder (a continual top team in our state with a direct pipeline to a quality program at Midwestern State.

Fedaykin98 wrote:

I would be curious to know what the experience is of academy kids who don't make it. Do they eventually get to college? Has the search for pro soccer sidetracked their lives?

I'm trying to think of a real failure case for MLS Academy, and I'm not really seeing it. A lot of these academy kids actually play at colleges for a few years before jumping to the pros. Those that blow up their eligibility are generally being paid enough that it's worth their time. We're well past the point where you could go to an MLS game and point out a bunch of guys who were making less than a Foot Locker employee. Hell, some of these contracts have included scholarships. As long as they're not dropping out of school, (and I'm pretty sure they're not allowed) they should be fine. Hell, Philadelphia has a residence academy with a built in school.

Now, there are a few academies that don't have a very good track record of developing talent (including my own Portland Timbers), but that's more of an institutional issue than a systemic one.