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dolcem
Post #1
Tuesday December 24, 2013 12:11am

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 1,026
So, you think you're hot stuff now and should move to a more competitive league (or team). Considering the bad choices we have seen Americans make in regards to this issue, here is some advice on whether or not you should do it and if you do, where you should go.

First, we have the question of whether or not you should go. Players should try to transfer to a different league for one of two reasons:

The first is if they've given it a year or two and they aren't getting any PT: at a young age every year is very important in terms of development (this isn't football we're talking about here, this is soccer, where any great player was already a pro in his teens, everything starts earlier than we think). Sitting on the bench and getting trained by great coaches could be beneficial, but a player should not want to do this for more than a year or so. If the player is getting loaned out to other clubs, perhaps it's OK and he doesn't need to leave, provided that he trusts the club's choices as far as these teams go. But players need to be careful that they don't go to a team that won't give them PT.

The other is if there is nothing else they can learn in the league (or team) they are on. This doesn't necessarily mean that they are 'too good' for the league. Altidore wasn't 'too good' for the Eredevisie, as demonstrated by his measly transfer sum, but he probably could not have learned any more by staying on AZ. He spent two seasons there and scored a boatload of goals. There wasn't much else he could do there so it was time for him to leave. Likewise, a player that is not playing particularly well in a league might want to leave because after a few seasons he will have learned what he could there. A good rule of thumb is a couple seasons in the league, at which point the player must consider an upward move if he thinks it would be both possible and beneficial. Tim Ream is a great case in point (had a lot of potential but sucked in the MLS, decided to move to England and it was a good decision; he might even be in the national team picture at some point considering how awful our CB's are).

...

Now, here are some guidelines on how to pick that league:

*Weekly competition is very important, more so than participation in continental competition. A lot of people think the Champions League is this elixir that will turn you into a great soccer player, but chances are American players will only be playing six Champions League games a season at most (and only some of those games will be against top opposition). Playing for a mid-level Dutch team is better than playing for a Swedish team in the Champions League.

*On the other hand, minor differences in the level of play are NOT a big deal. A player should not pick a team in the Premier League over one in Ligue 1 just because the level of play is higher. If all other factors were equal, perhaps this would be the case, but the only time a player should change leagues just to move to a more competitive league is when they are too good for that league or have nothing new to learn (eg Altidore for AZ). The difference between the top five leagues in Europe is quite small, and we have never had anyone in our pool that is too good for Ligue 1. Thus, once you have reached one of these top five leagues, you probably don't need to switch just for the sake of playing in a more competitive league.

*Don't bite off more than you can chew. Of course this means don't go to somewhere we you won't play, but it also means you want to play in a league that is somewhat at your level. While you want to be challenged, you don't want to be in a league that is too good. You will learn less in a league where you are one of he worst players (getting playing time) than you would in a league where you are about average. While American sports are different and you always want to be in the most competitive place possible, soccer is different in that you learn more as a player while playing in a place where you can be one of the better players on the field rather than one of the worst. This is much more true for offensive players than it is for defensive players...for example, an attacking mid or striker who is unable to be too effective won't learn nearly as much if he would at a lower quality league and team where he can be one of the more important players in the attack.

*The team matters, too. Playing in a top league isn't necessarily the solution for all of your problems if that is on a team that isn't good for your development. There are a number of factors to take into account but generally speaking, playing for a team near the bottom of the table isn't a good idea (especially if that team is in the Premier League, where the bad teams play horrible soccer). And if you are playing for a bad team, maybe it is a clue that you should play for a side that is mid-table or above in a less competitive league (one that is more your level).

*Let's not forget about the manager, either...does he have a good track record of developing young players? Or does he prefer to rely on veterans? Usually managers that care more about style are better at developing young talent (Wenger being the best example).

***The style of play is by far THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR TO CONSIDER. The style of play (for the team and the league in which it plays) determines what type of player you will become and how much you will improve more than any other factor. This is difficult to grasp for Americans, who are used to sports where this is irrelevant. Of course how "good" a style of play is not the only factor to be considered, we have to take into account would well this style fits a player: some players might be well cut out for the Bundesliga but would flop in Spain. It might be difficult for some of us to identify which league has a "good" style of play and which doesn't, but a rule of thumb would be the players that are produced by that league (and its youth academies). The top leagues of these countries (in order according to my opinion) have good track records of producing top players:

Spain
Argentina
Brazil
Germany
France
Holland
Portugal

*In case you didn't notice, England and Scotland are NOT on this list. Players should definitely avoid those two leagues in favor of one of the leagues above. This is difficult because now the MLS is starting to turn into an EPL feeder league, but the players have to not drink the EPL kool-aid that most Americans are addicted to. Going to play in the EPL, while exposing you to top level competition, is not the be-all end-all goal for American players, and there are many other factors to consider in deciding where to play.
NO ONE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT WHAT LINEUP YOU USE IN FIFA
MSantoine
Post #2
Tuesday December 24, 2013 3:55pm

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 1,959
Your missing the most important factor. The one that is the biggest factor in any decision.

$$$$$$$$$$

If you dont think it comes down to money your either a fool or naive. If Man City called Dempsey to sit the bench and play cup games only for 15 mill a year he would have jumped at the chance. Soccer players have only a few chances to get the big money contracts/transfers. They almost always take advantage of them as they should. Think about you in real life. Even if you are happy in your job. If another company offered you more money you'd more likely than not jump at the chance (more money includes benefits, commute, relocation, etc)

MSantoine
Post #3
Tuesday December 24, 2013 4:07pm

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 1,959
Original post from dolcem

*In case you didn't notice, England and Scotland are NOT on this list. Players should definitely avoid those two leagues in favor of one of the leagues above. This is difficult because now the MLS is starting to turn into an EPL feeder league, but the players have to not drink the EPL kool-aid that most Americans are addicted to. Going to play in the EPL, while exposing you to top level competition, is not the be-all end-all goal for American players, and there are many other factors to consider in deciding where to play.


Im sick of this statement. It is more false then anything else that is stated on these boards. EPL is great at developing players. Look at Dempsey, Bale, Ronaldo, Beckham, Drogba, Essien, etc. Those are just off the top of my head players who went to EPL at a young age (in Dempsey's case he was older but had less miles on his legs) and improved greatly from where they were beforehand. Saying the EPL cant develop players is a joke. Suarez went from a good player to arguably a top 3 striker in the world. Suso is a 20 year old Spainyard that Liverpool developed and has now loaned out to La Liga (probably Suarez's replacement in 2 years). Man City developed Denis Suarez enough for Barca to want him. Does EPL develop as many 19-20 year olds as La Liga or others. No. But thats because they teams are usually higher quality so its harder for a 17-18 year old to break into the first team. Also in those other leagues where money is an issue they need those cheap young players to fill out the roster. EPL doesnt have that issue as they have a ride on the money train with all the tv deals. But they have shown that a good player can develop there. Usually a 19 year old just isnt good enough to play there

dolcem
Post #4
Tuesday December 24, 2013 7:57pm

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 1,026
Original post from MSantoine

Your missing the most important factor. The one that is the biggest factor in any decision.

$$$$$$$$$$

If you dont think it comes down to money your either a fool or naive. If Man City called Dempsey to sit the bench and play cup games only for 15 mill a year he would have jumped at the chance. Soccer players have only a few chances to get the big money contracts/transfers. They almost always take advantage of them as they should. Think about you in real life. Even if you are happy in your job. If another company offered you more money you'd more likely than not jump at the chance (more money includes benefits, commute, relocation, etc)


This is a good point. However, there is a lot more to consider as far how much that first contract is worth. Chances are, you will make more money over the long-term if you make the best possible decision in regards to your development. The better player you become, the longer time you will spend in Europe making big bucks. If Juan Agudelo were to go to Argentina (where salaries are especially low) or Brazil, in the short-term it wouldn't be a very good decision financially. However, he would probably turn into a much better player that could make the leap from there to La Liga or Ligue 1, where he could play for many years and make a lot of money. If he goes to Celtic this winter, he would make a lot more money in the short term, but I could see that derailing his development and he might end up in Scandinavia or in MLS after that. Likewise, if he went somewhere to just sit on the bench and didn't really improve, he'd probably end up back in MLS with only a couple years of earning a European salary. (Similar things have happened to a lot of these young players that sign with the Citys, Chelseas, and Real Madrids of the world...they sit on the bench, don't develop, and end up making less in the long-run).

My point is, you have to consider the bigger picture rather than that first contract. Of course playing in Argentina or Brazil is a risk (because of the low salary), but if Celtic offers him more money than a Spanish team, he'd be a fool to go to Celtic. And don't forget that for some of our players, the NT career is the most important thing. They just want to be the best possible player they can be. If you're going to be making millions anyway, you need to take more than money into account in making a decision on where to play.

Original post from MSantoine

Im sick of this statement. It is more false then anything else that is stated on these boards. EPL is great at developing players. Look at Dempsey, Bale, Ronaldo, Beckham, Drogba, Essien, etc. Those are just off the top of my head players who went to EPL at a young age (in Dempsey's case he was older but had less miles on his legs) and improved greatly from where they were beforehand. Saying the EPL cant develop players is a joke. Suarez went from a good player to arguably a top 3 striker in the world. Suso is a 20 year old Spainyard that Liverpool developed and has now loaned out to La Liga (probably Suarez's replacement in 2 years). Man City developed Denis Suarez enough for Barca to want him. Does EPL develop as many 19-20 year olds as La Liga or others. No. But thats because they teams are usually higher quality so its harder for a 17-18 year old to break into the first team. Also in those other leagues where money is an issue they need those cheap young players to fill out the roster. EPL doesnt have that issue as they have a ride on the money train with all the tv deals. But they have shown that a good player can develop there. Usually a 19 year old just isnt good enough to play there


OK, obviously the EPL CAN develop talent, it's arguably the best league in the world. What the EPL is good for is developing very established players, just like the ones you listed (but scratch Beckham off the list, I'm talking about the modern era...the 90's were a very different story). In many cases, the best thing a player can do is go to the EPL after he has played in other leagues and become a polished player (IMO Aguero has improved since moving to City, even though he was in a very good league previously).

However, the EPL isn't really good at anything other than improving players who are already there. In terms of the earlier stages of their development, the EPL is the WORST place to play. How many top players in the EPL were developed in England? And as far as your list goes, they were all very good players before they came to the EPL. Drogba and Essien where well-polished Ligue 1 stars. Ronaldo was a 19 year-old who had just carried his national team to a Euro final. (And even in Ronaldo's case, I always thought he would have turned out to be even better player had he gone to Spain. He was taught to play an extremely direct game at ManU, beating defenders with his pace rather than his skill, which he would've honed more had he gone to La Liga...if you watch Ronaldo, most of his step-overs are for show and he always uses his speed to blow by defenders...mark my words, when he slows down in a couple years he will fall off very quickly).

You bring up Suso and Denis Suarez, and these do not help your case. Neither have become great players yet, first of all. And more importantly, Suso has been trained to play Spanish football. That is what Rogers is doing at Liverpool...he realizes the best way to develop talent is by NOT playing English football and imitating the style of Spain. ManCity has done something similar, and have hired Barca youth coaches.

This leaves us with one player, Gareth Bale. Sure, the EPL did great with him. One player.

What is a joke is believing that the EPL compares to any of the other leagues I listed in terms of player development. Look at the English national team compared to any of the national teams from the leagues I listed. They are far below even Portugal and Holland, who have much smaller populations. If you look at a list of the top thirty players in the World, Bale is probably the only one developed in England. Sure a lot are playing in the EPL, but they were great players before they got there.

Of course this isn't to say that the EPL isn't necessarily the best place to go for our players. Cameron, for example, is a very English type player and was old and well-polished before leaving the MLS...the EPL was the perfect choice. For most of our players, however, playing in a different league would be a better idea, considering how bad England's track record is at developing players compared to the other leagues I listed.
NO ONE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT WHAT LINEUP YOU USE IN FIFA
dolcem
Post #5
Wednesday December 25, 2013 7:19am

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 1,026
Here's caughtoffside's list of top 50 footballers (made this summer). Obviously there are lots of problems with this list, it's not definitive, but it gives you an idea. I'll list the player and where they developed (skipping goalkeepers, who are a totally different story). This means were they spent their time at the youth academies and where they grew as a player (not necessarily where they played once they were already established):

50. Jordi Alba-Spain
49. Wesley Sneijder-Netherlands
48. Frank Lampard-England
47. Arjen Robben-Netherlands
45. Arturo Vidal-Chile/Germany
44. Stefan Jovetic-Serbia/Italy
43. Vincent Kompany-Belgium/Germany
42. Javi Martinez-Spain
41. Santi Cazorla-Spain
40. Jan Vertongen-Netherlands
39. Francesco Totti-Italy
37. Steven Gerrard-England
36. Fellaini-Belgium/England
35. Mesut Ozil-Germany
34. Philip Lahm-Germany
33. Hernanes-Brazil
32. Davd Villa-Spain
31. David Silva-Spain
29. Franck Ribery-France
28. Hulk-Brazil/Japan/Portugal
27. Thiago Silva-Brazil
26. Eden Hazard-Belgium/France
25. Marco Reus-Germany
24. Wayne Rooney-England
23. Stephan El Shaarawy-Italy
22. Isco-Spain
21. Andre Pirlo-Italy
20. Mario Goetze-Germany
19. Yaya Toure-Ivory Coast/Belgium/Ukraine/Greece/France/Spain
18. Bastian Schweinsteiger-Germany
17. Karim Benzema-France
16. Cesc Fabregas-Spain/England
15. Thomas Muller-Germany
14. Robert Lewandowski-Poland/Germany
13. Sergio Aguero-Argentina/Spain
12. Neymar-Brazil
11. Juan Mata-Spain
10. Luis Suarez-Uruguay/Netherlands
9. Robin Van Persie-Netherlands/England
8. Zlatan Ibrahimovic-Sweden/Netherlands/Italy
7. Radamel Falcao-Argentina/Portugal
6. Edinson Cavani-Uruguay/Italy
5. Gareth Bale-England
4. Andres Iniesta-Spain
3. Xavi-Spain
2. Cristiano Ronaldo-Portugal/England
1. Lionel Messi-Argentina/Spain

I won't count Lampard and Gerrard in this list because it's an absolute joke they made the top 50. Sure they were world class a couple years ago but considering some of the players excluded, there is absolutely no way you can put them in there (probably the two most undeserving players there). Anyway, they came from the 90's, back before England's style was so out of date. Let's look at the totals:

England: 6
Spain: 13
Germany: 9
Italy: 6
France: 4
Portugal: 3
Brazil: 4
Argentina: 3


Italy's looks surprisingly good but you have to take into account how old some of those guys are (Pirlo, Totti, etc.).

France doesn't look so good but if you look at the quality of their NT and the amount of top players in England that came out of Ligue 1, it's obvious they develop great youth talent. Another thing to keep in mind is it seems that the French don't necessarily produce the top 10 or even top 50 type players (neither does Germany) but they produce a lot of solid players that are nearly there, moreso than England, which has to import foreigners to make their league good.

Portugal had a few that could've made the list, namely Pepe and Bruno Alves. They have a lot of guys that would be close, too (Pereira, Coentrao, Moutinho, Veloso, Varela, etc.).

Argentina's three is a joke because I have no idea how Di Maria, Tevez, Higuain, and Mascherano didn't make this list. There's also Lavezzi, Cambiasso, and Dimichelis. And Palacio is leading Serie A for goals right now. Though are kind of in between generations at the moment, they are as good at producing talent as pretty much any country in the world aside from perhaps Spain and Germany.

Now, you might think this looks good for England, but it's not. Out of the six I listed, two were homegrown: Rooney and Bale. Two were developed by Arsene Wenger, who is the one who brought continental football to England (ie he doesn't play English soccer at all), and Fabregas and Van Persie were already quite well-polished when they came to England. Ronaldo was also very much on the way to becoming a superstar when he came to England (had just carried Portugal to the Euro final). I guess there is Fellaini, who came from Belgium but was very much developed by Moyes.

So that's right, over the past decade or so, England has produced TWO homegrown, world class players. Their national team is far worse than those of the countries listed above, which is a much better indicator. And let's not forget that less than 40% of the EPL's starting XI's are English.

Now, where do you think we should send our players?
NO ONE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT WHAT LINEUP YOU USE IN FIFA
dolcem
Post #6
Wednesday December 25, 2013 8:25am

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 1,026
Also, forgot to mention

Holland: 6

Another thing to consider is population...obviously the Portuguese and Dutch won't produce quite as many top players as the other nations because they have fewer people (look at how small their leagues are; only the most populous four or five nations in Europe, along with some in S. America can have twenty without it getting too diluted).

Anyway,

What really matters are the homegrown players, because that's what the league naturally produces. Almost all of the other countries' players were homegrown, while the English only produced two homegrown players. That's the difference.

Aside from Arsenal, you don't really see good development in England. The lower teams play that English style (that ultimately is outdated) and they have so much money that they get their talent by buying their players (mostly abroad) rather than developing their own. In Spain, for example, the teams are poor so they have to develop their young talent. It actually kind of helps them. In England, style doesn't matter (in Argentina, Brazil, or Spain you can get fired for playing ugly soccer), all that matters is the result, and if you don't get it, you could lose your job to some other guy. Players are under pressure in England, perhaps the most in the world. But pressure is not good for a kid, you wait until he is better to do that. He needs the game at a slower pace with more time on the ball. The EPL is too fast. What really matters the style of play, and the way these other nations play definitely gives them better players than the English. It's a better style for kids to play.

England can be great for older, well-established players (the pace and competitiveness of the game is only matched by the Bundesliga). But it is not good at developing anyone between the ages of 3 and 23ish (and for a US player, that means like 26).

Sorry for the annoying bold, I do it to summarize my really lengthy posts. If you only want to spend 5-10 seconds reading, just read the bold.
NO ONE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT WHAT LINEUP YOU USE IN FIFA
TheTruth
Post #7
Wednesday December 25, 2013 7:45pm

Joined Dec 2013
Total Posts: 221
Amazing how low the ratio of useful insight to total volume is here.

dolcem
Post #8
Wednesday December 25, 2013 9:22pm

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 1,026
Original post from TheTruth

Amazing how low the ratio of useful insight to total volume is here.


Care to be a little more specific? Do you think the English style and the EPL produces good players? Where are these good British players?
NO ONE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT WHAT LINEUP YOU USE IN FIFA
dolcem
Post #9
Wednesday December 25, 2013 9:36pm

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 1,026
Or I guess you think that our guys always make great decisions on which team to go to? Altidore's loan to Hull was a great idea, wasn't it? As was his move to Sunderland? Shea going to Stoke was a good idea? How about Agudelo trying to go there as well?

No one asked you to read the whole thing, if you stuck to the part in bold it was three very small paragraphs and a list...surely that's not too much for you to read, is it? Otherwise then just don't comment.
NO ONE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT WHAT LINEUP YOU USE IN FIFA
admsghs27
Post #10
Wednesday December 25, 2013 9:51pm

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 2,762
Epl sucks at developing players. not even top 10 in the world.

tylercocinas
Post #11
Wednesday December 25, 2013 9:56pm

Joined Aug 2012
Total Posts: 655
Original post from TheTruth

Amazing how low the ratio of useful insight to total volume is here.


Agreed. There are some interesting, discussion-worthy, thoughts and opinions in the posts but good grief ha they are dense...

Also, kudos for putting the main thoughts in bold. That was probably the most determinative factor as I weighed wether or not to read them.

dolcem
Post #12
Wednesday December 25, 2013 10:48pm

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 1,026
Original post from admsghs27

Epl sucks at developing players. not even top 10 in the world.


Agreed. Though maybe saying they're not top 10 is a bit harsh...Spain, Germany, France, Brazil, Argentina, Holland, and Portugal IMO are MUCH better, and maybe Italy is too, but after that I don't know (I don't know enough about the other leagues to make that judgement). One thing is for sure though, I would rather have some skinny, 18 year old kid play in one of the Scandinavian leagues than the Championship or EPL. The English leagues are too fast paced and physical (and have that result-oriented style of play I was talking about) to be a good place for youngsters to develop.

Original post from tylercocinas

Agreed. There are some interesting, discussion-worthy, thoughts and opinions in the posts but good grief ha they are dense...

Also, kudos for putting the main thoughts in bold. That was probably the most determinative factor as I weighed wether or not to read them.


Yeah I am definitely doing that from now on. I have two other lengthy posts I've written that I'll put on here at some point (have to wait a while as to not spam the forum) and I've gone through and bolded/underlined the important parts.
NO ONE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT WHAT LINEUP YOU USE IN FIFA
admsghs27
Post #13
Wednesday December 25, 2013 10:52pm

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 2,762
germany, holland, spain, italy, france, argentina, brazil, uruguay, maybe chile, even liga mexico is up there. Epl is just known to buy players because they have the $$$ Is rare you see another league pay big $ for a 17-21 yr old coming from the epl development academies.