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4bc
North Carolina
Post #16
Saturday May 24, 2014 3:45pm

Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts: 23
Dolcem is spot on. Every current elite player in the world has one thing in common: they were all playing within uber-competitive club systems and receiving serious world-class coaching before the age of 10. It's a very simple point and some of you have missed it.

We're inclined to view youth soccer development in the same way we do football baseball, basketball, etc. But these are "walled-garden" sports where Americans mainly compete against other Americans for professional slots. We get to set our own pace for development. Just about every NFL player goes through the exact same development process: from Pee Wee to middle-school, high school, and college. Things only start getting serious around high school and world class polish doesn't really enter the picture until college. Even then, we still discuss NFL-draftees as "prospects" who undergo further development at the NFL-level. NFL, NBA, and MLB players usually don't reach the end of their pre-professional development cycle until the ripe old age of 20-21. Compare that to soccer where that cycle can end at 15-18.

Our culture just isn't attuned to churning out 16-year-old professional athletes, nor do we have a taste for putting 9-year-olds in the types of club/academy systems that raised Messi, Ronaldo or Rooney. Other countries don't have this issue. Messi's parents were more that willing to essentially sign him over to Barcelona when he was barely old enough to use the potty by himself because they were surrounded by a deep soccer culture that made this seem normal for a kid with his talent. And the financial incentives were there too.

There are exceptions where some American parents are willing toss young children into professional development- TV/film, gymnastics etc. But these are limited and preceded by the notion that their kid will be set for life if they succeed. Soccer doesn't pay off like that in this country, so what incentive is their to pull a nine year old away from his school, friends and family to send them to club training systems (that mostly don't exist for kids that age in this country anyway)?? But that's exactly what we'll need to do if we ever hope to produce players that must compete in a flat world where professional development starts around the age of 9.

Landon Donovan was getting his first real world-class training experience via the Olympic Development Program (part time) at 16. By that age, elite internationals have 4-6 years of world-class coaching in professional club systems; they've already signed pro contracts and they're playing with and against other elite players full time. IMG took Donovan in when he was 17, giving him his first full-time/year-round immersive training experience at a high level. That's around the time elite internationals are already starting to flirt with first team experience.

As the sport continues to grow here, so does the youth training system. But that growth is proceeding at about the same pace as MLS. Other countries have been doing this for decades. They don't have 5 or 10 elite youth academies, they have many dozens. We brag about how our population and wealth should be naturally producing good players but areas of this country with soccer systems adequate enough to produce and spot elite youth talent and move that talent through a training pipeline that gets them to an elite level aren't common. In fact, the best systems are located in affluent suburban areas where the culture is focused on preparing kids for college. Its a numbers game too. Imagine how many amazing 9-year-olds burn out before they're 15. Other countries have the infrastructure to churn through hundreds of kids to get to a Ronaldo.

I'm afraid there's no quick fix. Occasionally we'll get lucky but it will be decades before we start to see the type of youth soccer industrial complex needed to produce truly elite players.

MSantoine
Post #17
Saturday May 24, 2014 6:04pm

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 2,184
Original post from 4bc

Dolcem is spot on. Every current elite player in the world has one thing in common: they were all playing within uber-competitive club systems and receiving serious world-class coaching before the age of 10. It's a very simple point and some of you have missed it.

We're inclined to view youth soccer development in the same way we do football baseball, basketball, etc. But these are "walled-garden" sports where Americans mainly compete against other Americans for professional slots. We get to set our own pace for development. Just about every NFL player goes through the exact same development process: from Pee Wee to middle-school, high school, and college. Things only start getting serious around high school and world class polish doesn't really enter the picture until college. Even then, we still discuss NFL-draftees as "prospects" who undergo further development at the NFL-level. NFL, NBA, and MLB players usually don't reach the end of their pre-professional development cycle until the ripe old age of 20-21. Compare that to soccer where that cycle can end at 15-18.

Our culture just isn't attuned to churning out 16-year-old professional athletes, nor do we have a taste for putting 9-year-olds in the types of club/academy systems that raised Messi, Ronaldo or Rooney. Other countries don't have this issue. Messi's parents were more that willing to essentially sign him over to Barcelona when he was barely old enough to use the potty by himself because they were surrounded by a deep soccer culture that made this seem normal for a kid with his talent. And the financial incentives were there too.

There are exceptions where some American parents are willing toss young children into professional development- TV/film, gymnastics etc. But these are limited and preceded by the notion that their kid will be set for life if they succeed. Soccer doesn't pay off like that in this country, so what incentive is their to pull a nine year old away from his school, friends and family to send them to club training systems (that mostly don't exist for kids that age in this country anyway)?? But that's exactly what we'll need to do if we ever hope to produce players that must compete in a flat world where professional development starts around the age of 9.

Landon Donovan was getting his first real world-class training experience via the Olympic Development Program (part time) at 16. By that age, elite internationals have 4-6 years of world-class coaching in professional club systems; they've already signed pro contracts and they're playing with and against other elite players full time. IMG took Donovan in when he was 17, giving him his first full-time/year-round immersive training experience at a high level. That's around the time elite internationals are already starting to flirt with first team experience.

As the sport continues to grow here, so does the youth training system. But that growth is proceeding at about the same pace as MLS. Other countries have been doing this for decades. They don't have 5 or 10 elite youth academies, they have many dozens. We brag about how our population and wealth should be naturally producing good players but areas of this country with soccer systems adequate enough to produce and spot elite youth talent and move that talent through a training pipeline that gets them to an elite level aren't common. In fact, the best systems are located in affluent suburban areas where the culture is focused on preparing kids for college. Its a numbers game too. Imagine how many amazing 9-year-olds burn out before they're 15. Other countries have the infrastructure to churn through hundreds of kids to get to a Ronaldo.

I'm afraid there's no quick fix. Occasionally we'll get lucky but it will be decades before we start to see the type of youth soccer industrial complex needed to produce truly elite players.


The issue is that in a lot of the countries where soccer is huge their are one of two scenarios. Either it's a dirt poor country with no other options, and limited or no other sports. Think about it. If some young Argentinian gives everything he has to make it as a pro soccer player and fails is he any worse then the young Argentinian that never gave it a shot? It's not like he's sacrificing a college education or job opportunities to pursue a dream. The other scenario is the country is entrenched in soccer history (think uk, Italy, Germany) also in most of these countries there are no other sports to play but soccer. As basketball becomes more popular and maybe if nfl ever goes to Europe then perhaps they will have some slide back to the pack a little but there's not much the us can do except train and hire better youth coaches and maybe get a good enough academy system so more young children will chose soccer over some other sports.

EKneezy
Post #18
Saturday May 24, 2014 6:49pm

Joined May 2013
Total Posts: 1,837
And that's why soccer and basketball are the most popular. They're both played worldwide.

I think the world class players are in the near future. Possibly 7-10 years. The 2015 u20 team is start of a new wave of technical and physical soccer players.

blaise213
San Francisco CA
Post #19
Sunday May 25, 2014 5:46pm

Joined Sep 2012
Total Posts: 1,347
Things hurting USMNT

The idiot who thought having the game at Candlestick SHIT Park was a good idea!

Only 20,000 sold? You could've sold 50,000 at Stanford Stadium and probably would've sold out 68,000 if the new 49ers stadium was ready.

Well, Im gonna go buy a $35 ticket and go sit in a better seat.

dolcem
Post #20
Thursday May 29, 2014 11:54am

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 1,045
Original post from MSantoine

The issue is that in a lot of the countries where soccer is huge their are one of two scenarios. Either it's a dirt poor country with no other options, and limited or no other sports. Think about it. If some young Argentinian gives everything he has to make it as a pro soccer player and fails is he any worse then the young Argentinian that never gave it a shot? It's not like he's sacrificing a college education or job opportunities to pursue a dream. The other scenario is the country is entrenched in soccer history (think uk, Italy, Germany) also in most of these countries there are no other sports to play but soccer. As basketball becomes more popular and maybe if nfl ever goes to Europe then perhaps they will have some slide back to the pack a little but there's not much the us can do except train and hire better youth coaches and maybe get a good enough academy system so more young children will chose soccer over some other sports.


Why does it matter if there are other sports involved? In the UK, rugby, cricket, golf, etc. are all very popular. Look at Ireland: they have tons of sports and their national team, historically speaking, has done alright. They same goes for certain Nordic countries (hockey).

You don't need 100% of the population playing soccer. Look at how many people are in Uruguay, Portugal, or Holland. Numbers are not the issue. Americans mistakenly think we simply need more time and more people and better athletes playing soccer, but we have more registered youth players than any country in the world and our best players still aren't better than our very best from the 90's and 00's.

It won't mean jack shit if soccer is the only sport in the US, until we actually start to play it the right way, we'll never develop world class talent. You can't just show up to an organized team at age six without ever having played the sport and expect to become a world class soccer player. As soon as you can walk you need to start playing with a ball. Then you start playing pick-up games with your friends where you develop an understanding of how the game works, instincts, creativity. Then you join an organized team with coaches who actually understand how to develop players.

Every great player ever has followed this model. And this includes players from countries who don't have great soccer traditions: Eto'o, Drogba, Litmanen, Cha Bum-kun, etc.

I've played pick-up soccer in four different continents and the worst players in terms of footballing ability (not in terms of athleticism or heart) that I've come across are Americans. It's obvious that they don't follow this model because they have a poor first touch, poor skill on the ball, and a poor understanding of how to move without the ball. It should be no surprise that despite the army of kids playing soccer we have (along with first world facilities and nutrition) that none of them have reached the heights of the players I named above...except for the goalkeepers because these problems doesn't apply to them (you learn how to play it later and don't have to worry about developing technical skill).

Soccer isn't like American sports, you learn it much earlier in life, and until we figure that out we'll produce more and more good players but no world class players. Except for a dual national or maybe a first-generation immigrant who is taught the game the right way (foreign, not American) by their parents. The proof is in the pudding.
NO ONE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT WHAT LINEUP YOU USE IN FIFA
richieJkulesaNY
Post #21
Thursday May 29, 2014 2:01pm

Joined Jun 2012
Total Posts: 942
Popularity is a 100% non-issue. Soccer is incredibly popular here. The Big House in Michigan sold out a exhibition match in less than 24 hours. Think about that for a second.

We have so much untapped talent in this country, but we just don't have the proper channels to get that cream of the crop to the top.

Live490
Texas
Post #22
Thursday May 29, 2014 3:49pm

Joined Mar 2013
Total Posts: 281
Were I'm from, southern part of Texas, there is a lot of talent.. Teenagers that can probably make it to the next level but the facilities or coaching sucks. Most of them are from the hood, subdivisions that look like a little Mexico, and get lost on other things because the opportunities aren't there to go through the college route.. One kid signed with Houston Dynamo a few years back but decided not to go because unknown reasons. Felix Garcia. He also played with an U20 for USA. He would get 200$ a game every Sunday on the amateur leagues then 50$ for other games and people bought him boots and what not. The biggest thing these kids aspire to is Laredo heat then a good showing in the US open cup vs an MLS team to try and make something happen.

dolcem
Post #23
Wednesday June 4, 2014 1:38pm

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 1,045
Original post from Live490

Were I'm from, southern part of Texas, there is a lot of talent.. Teenagers that can probably make it to the next level but the facilities or coaching sucks. Most of them are from the hood, subdivisions that look like a little Mexico, and get lost on other things because the opportunities aren't there to go through the college route.. One kid signed with Houston Dynamo a few years back but decided not to go because unknown reasons. Felix Garcia. He also played with an U20 for USA. He would get 200$ a game every Sunday on the amateur leagues then 50$ for other games and people bought him boots and what not. The biggest thing these kids aspire to is Laredo heat then a good showing in the US open cup vs an MLS team to try and make something happen.


That's because their dads, uncles, and other male figures in the community teach them soccer as soon as they can walk and they play it all the time. This is how it is in most of the rest of the world. But not in white (or black, aside from African immigrants) America, which is why despite having more registered youth soccer players than any other country and first world facilities and diet (and good athletes as well), we've never really produced a world class field player, while minnows like Finland have or Trinidad & Tobaggo have.
NO ONE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT WHAT LINEUP YOU USE IN FIFA
TheTruth
Post #24
Wednesday June 4, 2014 6:29pm

Joined Dec 2013
Total Posts: 247
I think you're being too rigid in your idea of a world class player. Gerrard and Bale are world class (I thought Gerrard had lost it, but a couple of people reminded me that he's still got it). You don't have to be able to juggle a ball on your cock to be world class.

And we have Freddy Adu. Keep in mind he's not good enough to be on our national team, or even in MLS apparently.

And just go to your local Barrio if you want to see guys juggling with their cock. Plenty of good ones. Some of them make into "the system" and some of them don't. Go to Rucker Park. You'll see plenty of guys who were good enough to have gone the NBA route, but didn't have the discipline, luck, etc. to get into "the system."

So soccer isn't like golf? Tiger Woods didn't start to learn to play at 3? Soccer isn't like gymnastics? Those little fuckers are doing backflips at 3. You don't think Gretsky was skating the day after he started walking? There aren't kids out there skateboarding right now? And, yes, there are 5 year olds in your local park right now juggling a ball. A lot of this is a socioeconomic class issue.

There's 300M people in this country. It's going to take us some time to win a world cup, but we will and most likely in my lifetime. Plenty of us understand how to develop a soccer player and an athlete. I'm kicking a soccer ball with my 15 month old daughter. No shit. I know it's a crazy idea to you, but I'm actually thinking of her becoming a doctor or something like that vs. the next Mia Hamm. Oh, sorry Mia Hamm followed the typical, rigid, American soccer development model so she sucked. Marta - you happy?

Kamphgruppe
Michigan
Post #25
Wednesday June 4, 2014 6:36pm

Joined Jul 2012
Total Posts: 277
Original post from richieJkulesaNY

Popularity is a 100% non-issue. Soccer is incredibly popular here. The Big House in Michigan sold out a exhibition match in less than 24 hours. Think about that for a second.

We have so much untapped talent in this country, but we just don't have the proper channels to get that cream of the crop to the top.


I am from Michigan and from what I have seen Soccer is not only popular but still growing fast. My 4 year old Grandson has been playing since he was 2, we play soccer in the house or in our yard every day. My youngest Grandson is 1 1/2 years old and you should see him kick the ball. He does not say many words yet but he yells "GOAL" every time he kicks that ball. I have to hold him off the field when we take my 4 year old Grandson to practice. I will sign him up they day he turns 2 because he can't wait. Not only do they play but they love watching soccer with me as well. I myself had no interst in Soccer until I was in my mid 30's. Once I played soccer I was hooked. If we want soccer to grow in this country it needs to start grassroots with people inviting their friends to play, it will build naturaly from there.

dolcem
Post #26
Wednesday June 4, 2014 11:45pm

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 1,045
Original post from TheTruth

I think you're being too rigid in your idea of a world class player. Gerrard and Bale are world class (I thought Gerrard had lost it, but a couple of people reminded me that he's still got it). You don't have to be able to juggle a ball on your cock to be world class.

And we have Freddy Adu. Keep in mind he's not good enough to be on our national team, or even in MLS apparently.

And just go to your local Barrio if you want to see guys juggling with their cock. Plenty of good ones. Some of them make into "the system" and some of them don't. Go to Rucker Park. You'll see plenty of guys who were good enough to have gone the NBA route, but didn't have the discipline, luck, etc. to get into "the system."

So soccer isn't like golf? Tiger Woods didn't start to learn to play at 3? Soccer isn't like gymnastics? Those little fuckers are doing backflips at 3. You don't think Gretsky was skating the day after he started walking? There aren't kids out there skateboarding right now? And, yes, there are 5 year olds in your local park right now juggling a ball. A lot of this is a socioeconomic class issue.

There's 300M people in this country. It's going to take us some time to win a world cup, but we will and most likely in my lifetime. Plenty of us understand how to develop a soccer player and an athlete. I'm kicking a soccer ball with my 15 month old daughter. No shit. I know it's a crazy idea to you, but I'm actually thinking of her becoming a doctor or something like that vs. the next Mia Hamm. Oh, sorry Mia Hamm followed the typical, rigid, American soccer development model so she sucked. Marta - you happy?


There's no real common thread to these comments so I'm not really sure how to respond.

Please name one technically deficient world class player. The US can't produce these types of players yet because they never developed the most fundamental aspect of the game (control of the ball). This entails more than just being able to juggle or dribble because passing and shooting are based upon this foundation. A kid who learns to play soccer at 6 will never be able to shoot from range the way Gerrard or Bale do. And I'm not sure why you brought up those examples...Gerrard was the most skilled, creative English player of this era. Bale isn't exactly clumsy either.

I don't know what your point about Freddy Adu is...he was a prodigy but that's because he spent the first seven years of his life in a community where soccer is taught at a very young age. Later he ruined his career by going to the MLS rather than a youth academy (the media attention ruined him psychologically and the MLS was at the time just not the type of place for a prodigy #10 to develop). Sure there are plenty of skilled players who don't make it...that shouldn't change my argument.

Soccer is similar to basketball in that practicing on your own and playing pick-up is a crucial part of a player's development. The difference is that Americans play basketball as a pick-up sport obsessively (particularly in inner-city, black communities that produce amazing players) and this is not the case with soccer (though this is changing). Another difference is that soccer is learned at a younger age. Not sure what your point here is.

Golf and soccer are nothing alike so it's not really a relevant example. Hockey is a decent one (although they start much later than soccer players). You know who play pick-up hockey all of the time as soon as they are physically able? Canadians. It's no coincidence they are the best hockey players.

I'm glad you're teaching your daughter soccer at a young age because I never got that chance. Mia Hamm, however, is a completely irrelevant example because women's sports have nothing to do with this. The only reason the US dominates in women's soccer is because the rest of the world doesn't make as big of a fuss about women's sports as we do. Girls generally don't obsessively play soccer as soon as they can walk, so the American girls are not left behind. If girls in other countries played soccer the way boys did, the women's team would be right where our men's team is.

Original post from Kamphgruppe

I am from Michigan and from what I have seen Soccer is not only popular but still growing fast. My 4 year old Grandson has been playing since he was 2, we play soccer in the house or in our yard every day. My youngest Grandson is 1 1/2 years old and you should see him kick the ball. He does not say many words yet but he yells "GOAL" every time he kicks that ball. I have to hold him off the field when we take my 4 year old Grandson to practice. I will sign him up they day he turns 2 because he can't wait. Not only do they play but they love watching soccer with me as well. I myself had no interst in Soccer until I was in my mid 30's. Once I played soccer I was hooked. If we want soccer to grow in this country it needs to start grassroots with people inviting their friends to play, it will build naturaly from there.


Really agree with the last sentence...we need to develop a soccer CULTURE. A soccer player, in particular, is a product of his culture. The way the people around him play, watch, and talk about the game. The evidence is in the diversity of styles and the fact that a player who is great in one culture may be horrible in another because he doesn't fit the style of play.

And if you are right about the rest...we are going to start kicking some serious ass in about 15-20 years. I really hope you are. When I was a kid no one played pick-up soccer. I remember occasionally playing it during recess instead of football or basketball and it was a novelty. And this was in a soccer-heavy region where pretty much all the boys in the class played on a rec soccer team. No one in my generation turned out to be a truly world class field player but this gives me really high hopes for the upcoming ones. We really need it to become an obsession though the way it is in the rest of the world...otherwise our kids will always be behind.
NO ONE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT WHAT LINEUP YOU USE IN FIFA
TheTruth
Post #27
Thursday June 5, 2014 12:21am

Joined Dec 2013
Total Posts: 247
No one's making you respond.

My main beef w/ you, dolcem, is that most of your volumes are either obvious, over-simplistic, or out of date, or all of the above. I've only started giving you a hard time since you admitted a month ago that you only started watching soccer a few years ago and that is the extent of your competence.

When you way "We. . ." "Americans. . ." I'd say, "speak for yourself." Some of us are actually pretty smart and know soccer and athletics and development.

I think I remember in one of your first volumes that you we're thinking about writing a book. My first comment would be to come up with a decent thesis. And it has to be something new or edgy. Just about everything I've seen from you has been pretty bland, conventional stuff. I don't disagree w/ a lot of what you say. I just find it boring and I don't like you clogging up these forums with low value stuff.

And you constantly tie yourself in knots. You say all of the time that "soccer is different from American sports." Well, OK. Is it really? Dig a little. Certainly there are some similarities with other sports and certainly there are differences.

Believe me, I'm an old bastard, I've lived in other countries, been playing and watching soccer since I started shitting in a toilet. And I've played with and against a lot of pros, ex-pros, and ex World Cuppers - from different countries too. Blah, blah, blah. So, I understand the "soccer is different" arguments.

Anyway, you might think of taking the other side of what you're saying if you're thinking about trying to publish something. The US is pretty goddamn good in a lot of sports. Maybe soccer actually can learn from other sports. Maybe this is an advantage that the US has over other countries.

MSantoine
Post #28
Thursday June 5, 2014 2:39am

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 2,184
@dolcem I think your again missing the main difference. As you keep saying kids need to start just playing unstructured soccer right away, from 3-7. Then from there they move onto a clubs academies.

Right now we don't have the academy structure. So while other countries move on to academies, ours play for poorly taught youth teams and play other sports. Then they start to see millions of dollars for NFL, NBA, MLB and tens of thousands and a second job in soccer. How many people make it as a professional athlete. Half a percent? 1/100 of a percent? Americans have other options (college,job opportunities, other sports) Other countries have one option. Soccer. They don't have higher education. They don't have great job opportunities. They have nothing to lose. So they (and their parents) gamble everything that their child can make it. We don't nor will we ever have that desperation.

tjknowsall
Post #29
Thursday June 5, 2014 3:42am

Joined May 2013
Total Posts: 287
as for pickup games becoming a culture im still in HS and everyday me and my friends are just walking over to the fields to play pick up soccer. Its become such a regular thing that its not are we going today? its more of are we playing soccer tennis, 3v3, or full sided? I love it. The summer is coming and 1/2 my school is looking forward to the world cup, which i feel is weird since not a lot of them like soccer so to say. But the peopel that play soccer in my school play pick up games far more than anyother sport in the school

dunlopp9987
Post #30
Thursday June 5, 2014 4:11am

Joined Mar 2013
Total Posts: 1,201
Until the MLS can afford to match salaries comparable to other leagues in the world, teenagers will still be lured by the bright lights and big money of the NBA, NFL, and MLB.
COYB!!
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