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USAGunner
West Palm Beach
Post #1
Friday January 15, 2016 7:58pm

Joined Jul 2013
Total Posts: 1,308
I think it is time many of us re-think player development, with a few of the things we have seen recently.
Exhibit A - Julian Green goes on loan from Munich II to Hamburg. He regresses. He goes back to Munich and is now getting time with their first team (training and in games) and is doing much better.
Exhibit B - Jordan Morris has only been in a Professional Academy for ONE season. Has spent the last 3 years (formative development years) playing college soccer. Is now on trial for Werder Bremen and impressing coach and players.
Exhibit C - DeAndre Yedlin, progressed with Seattle, progressed at Tottenham (when getting no time on the field), and is progressing at Sunderland. IE He has progressed and gotten better no matter his circumstance (playing a lot in a mediocre league, not playing at all for a top EPL team with a good training program, or playing some with a lower level EPL team with so-so training program).

I think those things show us a few things:
The first and most important is that players can progress and get to a high level of technical football (or higher) regardless of where they are training or how many professional minutes they are playing. The most important part of growth is your work ethic. You can train anywhere and with anyone and if you have the work ethic you will reach your goals. You can train anywhere and with anyone if your work ethic is lacking, you will not reach it.
Second I think Training at a top club with a B team in a lower division is the best for player development. Green is doing so much better now that he is training with Munich, and playing in the German 3rd division professionally. He is getting professional matches and training with the Munich. That is a much better set-up than going out on loan. Especially since so many are hap-hazard with who they loan players too. More concerned with them getting Playing time than going to a team that still offers good training and playing time.
leads me to the next point. Going out on loan is best when it is to a team that trains well, even if playing time is somewhat limited. Better than playing full time and training is sub-par. Why Zelalem is doing so well at Rangers. He is playing, but the new coach at Rangers is all about player development.

Lastly, there is no clear-cut way for player development. Every player is different and needs different things. Not every player is ready for European style training at the age of 15-16, Some need it. Some players need that competition in practice against top notch players to continue to improve, some need to be a big fish in a small pond.

Their are only 2 things that connect the best players in the world. A-Natural ability B-High work Ethic.

If you have those 2 things and have crap coaches you will still be successful. If you don't have those 2 things (or are missing 1) and you have GREAT coaches, you won't be a great player. At best just a good player.
www.westpalmbeachchurchofchrist.com
dolcem
Post #2
Sunday January 17, 2016 9:29am

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 1,729
A lot of American soccer fans like the idea of our players staying in the MLS as long as possible before making the leap to Europe. Their reasoning is that it is better for a player's development to play in the MLS than sit on the bench for a European club.

I think this logic is quite flawed for a number of reasons. First of all, coaching is more important to a young soccer player's development than any other team sport. When these guys go to Europe, they get a level of coaching that is simply far beyond what we have in the US. They have systems over there that routinely produce players far more capable than anything we have ever dreamed of. The odds of one of our players becoming great are just much higher if they play in Europe (or Argentina or Brazil).

Even if they spend a season on the bench, it's not the end of the world. They get to train with some of the world's best players and coaches and learn a style of play that has produced great players and teams (far better than anything we have ever had). Most of the top players, at one point, spent at least several months sitting on the bench and barely getting first team appearances. It's OK because of the world class training they receive. These coaches know what they're doing (these are systems with proven track records), and if they don't have a problem with it, I don't have a problem with it.

If we look at the top players, one thing that they all have in common is that they have been playing in the top leagues since a very young age. There are plenty of great players out there from the middleweights and even lightweights of the world, countries with national teams worse than ours and domestic leagues with a standard lower than that of the MLS.

But just about every one of these players came to one of the top leagues when they were teenagers. Look at how ridiculously talented the Belgian national team is. But how many of those guys stayed in the Belgian league until their early to mid 20's?

Soccer is so competitive that every year counts. Every year that you spend outside of the elite academies/clubs, you fall behind the other top kids your age. They are playing better quality soccer under better coaches at a higher level of play.

Now of course some of our players make really, really poor choices about where they play in Europe (Altidore going not once but twice to bottom-tier EPL teams) because of their ignorance of the sport (it wasn't really on TV here when they were kids). And spending two or three years without competitive matches while you're young will stall your development. In some cases, staying in the MLS would have been a better move. But this is the exception rather than the rule, and the best possible option is NEVER playing at home in the MLS, it is finding the right team in one of the top nine leagues in the world (the big seven in Europe plus Argentina/Brazil).
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hamsamwich
Post #3
Sunday January 17, 2016 1:53pm

Joined Oct 2013
Total Posts: 2,501
@dolcem- I always like reading your stuff.... But-- you can't say that it's flawed logic and then use your own fallacy that "coaching is more important to a young soccer player's development than in any other team sport." That's just not true. Also Jozy went on loan from Villareal to Hull that first time he didn't sign in England, that was a loan because he wasn't good enough to play in la liga.... I also consistently prefer players to go over early but to say it's "NEVER" in a players best interest to start in MLS is also just a fallacy. All or nothing is never a true option.

Mojofc
Post #4
Sunday January 17, 2016 8:59pm

Joined Jan 2013
Total Posts: 966
All one can go by is the average. One idea will never be true for all players, after saying that... On average it seems best for players to move to a league or club that offers the best coaching available. MLS rarely will be the best option in terms of coaching ability. In terms of potential minutes gained by average players it will absolutely be a good option.

Can MLS produce better than average players? Sure it can.
Is MLS the best option for a potential world class player? Absolutely not on average.

You have to play a numbers game. People in general peak by their surroundings and competition. If your competition in general is average most players will peak at that average if they can even obtain that.

MLS has raised the bar but they must continue to do so exponentially before we should consider MLS the best option for our top prospects.
Rain, rain, go away Come again another day - USMNT, MUFC
TheTruth
Post #5
Sunday January 17, 2016 11:38pm

Joined Dec 2013
Total Posts: 950
Yeah, Dolcem, you screwed the pooch with this one. You must have been watching football while you were writing this. Take another try.

dolcem
Post #6
Monday January 18, 2016 3:21am

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 1,729
I think I didn't explain myself clearly because I wrote it over the course of a few hours while watching the playoffs.

When I said it is NEVER the best interest of a player to play in the MLS, I didn't mean that it is NEVER in his interests to play in the MLS, I just meant that it never the BEST POSSIBLE option. It can't be. Sure, it is preferable to play in the MLS for three years than spend three years on the bench in Europe, but the BEST POSSIBLE option would be playing on a team in the top nine leagues of the world and getting PT. That's always going to be better than playing for an MLS team. Better coaching, better players, better competition, etc.

Ham re Jozy - of course players need competitive matches to improve. I never said they didn't. I just said that at some point in their careers, a little time on the bench isn't always a bad thing.

And name one team sport where coaching is more important to a young player's development than in soccer.

More young players should go abroad because the payoff is too high. Spending a year on the bench and then two years while playing in the Bundesliga is much better than playing three years in the MLS. And if things don't work out in Europe, you can always go back home (or go on loan).

Morris would be a complete idiot to pick the Sounders over Werder Bremen.
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USAGunner
West Palm Beach
Post #7
Tuesday January 19, 2016 4:34pm

Joined Jul 2013
Total Posts: 1,308
Best possible option for young players:
Going to Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Dortmund, Real Madrid, Wolfsburg, Werder Bremen, Villareal, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, Arsenal, Everton, Ajax, ManU, Sporting Club, Porto, Schalke, Feyenoord, and Southampton.

Big clubs with either great academies and great ability to teach the game and develop players, and/or they have a B team where they can send players to further develop and get professional football, while still practicing (at least partially) with the big club.

Those clubs are best for the development, etc (as I am writing this I see Morris will be going to Seattle...UGH).

After that it's pretty much anywhere, where they can get first team minutes and has good coaching. Like Dolcem said it's better to go to a club that has good coaching and limited minutes, than it is lot of minutes and bad coaching. Best case is you get good coaching and good minutes. The better the league the better the opportunity.

If you can't get good minutes, then get get good coaching so that is next (a place with good coaching and good minutes). Of course the better the league the better the opportunity.

Then it is good minutes and bad coaching (Better the league...)

Then lastly is no minutes and bad coaching. (better the league...).

But even given all of that, it's still up to the player and their work ethic. They can be 15 and go to Barcelona and train with the best coaching and talent. But if they don't want it bad enough, they still won't develop into a good soccer player.

Conversely they can go to an MLS team that cares little about developing talent, and if they want it bad enough, they can still develop into a good soccer player.

Obviously the better the set-up of the club they are at, the better they will be.
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Rey Regicide
Post #8
Wednesday January 20, 2016 1:41pm

Joined Sep 2013
Total Posts: 1,843
Seattle is giving him a contract that they can't probably justify

they have Valdez, Dempsey, Martins

He is not a developmental player

Werder can afford his contract, they can't

I really don't get this ordeal. Maybe it was Morris last pitch to help Seattle while still going to Europe?

Maybe Morris was trying to get his rights tied to Seattle in order to give them a fee, banking on Werder's interests?

Know Nothing
Post #9
Wednesday January 20, 2016 5:10pm

Joined Jan 2013
Total Posts: 1,129
Original post from Rey Regicide

Seattle is giving him a contract that they can't probably justify

they have Valdez, Dempsey, Martins

He is not a developmental player

Werder can afford his contract, they can't

I really don't get this ordeal. Maybe it was Morris last pitch to help Seattle while still going to Europe?

Maybe Morris was trying to get his rights tied to Seattle in order to give them a fee, banking on Werder's interests?


It is puzzling. I think the Werder trial served two purposes for Morris:

1) Get training time
2) Try to start a bidding war

In the end Werder's offer was not much better than Seattle's so he opted for the safe option.

As far as fees, I doubt Werder will be back. They asked, he said no...plenty of other players they could go after and develop on the cheap. They would have had to give MLS a nominal fee for "developing" Morris (I dare say Stanford could have asked for a slice of the action too).

2tone
Ten-Towns
Post #10
Wednesday January 20, 2016 11:51pm

Joined Jul 2012
Total Posts: 9,195
The contract will be justified as long as Morris produces. I predict Mortis scores 13 goals and sets up a further 5 goals this season.

It will also be worth it if Mortis plays a part in getting the Sounders to MLS cup.

And really teams can give whatever contract to a player they deem suitable.

Also I gaurantee even more butts are in seats in Seattles stadium this year, so they can see exactly how good Mortis really is.

Good luck to Morris. Excited to see him play live this season!

MSantoine
Post #11
Thursday January 21, 2016 12:31pm

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 3,721
Original post from 2tone

The contract will be justified as long as Morris produces. I predict Mortis scores 13 goals and sets up a further 5 goals this season.

It will also be worth it if Mortis plays a part in getting the Sounders to MLS cup.

And really teams can give whatever contract to a player they deem suitable.

Also I gaurantee even more butts are in seats in Seattles stadium this year, so they can see exactly how good Mortis really is.

Good luck to Morris. Excited to see him play live this season!


I dont think he'll help Seattle get more buts in the seats. They already sell out everygame as is. I think you will see their road attendance increase as Im sure all of us in other markets would love to see him live before he becomes a future US star

recycledhumans
DFWTX
Post #12
Thursday January 21, 2016 8:23pm

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 1,467
May or may not be related, but how do we feel about sending MLS prospects to Scandinavian leagues? I ask because Walker Zimmerman is reportedly starting a trial with Viking FK of Norway. He's still young and looks poised to nail down a starting spot this year or next, but would getting steady starts now in an arguably less talent-rich league be better for his development than continuing his progression arc in MLS?

A few years ago I would have argued that a move to Norway would be better, if only for the increased European exposure, but with MLS making significant TV rights deals in Europe and particularly England, I'm not so sure anymore...

dolcem
Post #13
Thursday January 21, 2016 9:24pm

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 1,729
Original post from recycledhumans

May or may not be related, but how do we feel about sending MLS prospects to Scandinavian leagues? I ask because Walker Zimmerman is reportedly starting a trial with Viking FK of Norway. He's still young and looks poised to nail down a starting spot this year or next, but would getting steady starts now in an arguably less talent-rich league be better for his development than continuing his progression arc in MLS?

A few years ago I would have argued that a move to Norway would be better, if only for the increased European exposure, but with MLS making significant TV rights deals in Europe and particularly England, I'm not so sure anymore...


TV doesn't matter. Scouts have to watch games live. And fairly or unfairly, the MLS doesn't really have a great reputation abroad for producing quality players. The Scandinavian leagues still produce better players than we do. Look at the difference between Luis Gil and Odegaard...
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recycledhumans
DFWTX
Post #14
Thursday January 21, 2016 10:48pm

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 1,467
Original post from dolcem

TV doesn't matter. Scouts have to watch games live. And fairly or unfairly, the MLS doesn't really have a great reputation abroad for producing quality players. The Scandinavian leagues still produce better players than we do. Look at the difference between Luis Gil and Odegaard...


I think you're referring to Martin Odegaard, 17 y/o playing for Real Madrid B. That's a fair point, but I think you're missing a lot of context with your misleading comparison.

In the history of professional soccer in both countries, how many players has each had? Of those players, how many can be objectively referred to as "quality" players? Compare those percentages. I'm not saying that the US is better at producing quality but in terms of quality players as a percentage of the whole player pool over the entire life to date of a league, it would be pretty absurd, at the very least reckless, to compare a 75-80 year old professional soccer league (specifically referring to Norway here) to a 22-23 year old one.

dolcem
Post #15
Friday January 22, 2016 1:57am

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 1,729
Original post from recycledhumans

I think you're referring to Martin Odegaard, 17 y/o playing for Real Madrid B. That's a fair point, but I think you're missing a lot of context with your misleading comparison.

In the history of professional soccer in both countries, how many players has each had? Of those players, how many can be objectively referred to as "quality" players? Compare those percentages. I'm not saying that the US is better at producing quality but in terms of quality players as a percentage of the whole player pool over the entire life to date of a league, it would be pretty absurd, at the very least reckless, to compare a 75-80 year old professional soccer league (specifically referring to Norway here) to a 22-23 year old one.


I'm not knocking on the MLS. I'm just saying that if you're a soccer player, your odds are better in a Scandinavian league. It's just closer to the other European leagues, geographically and in terms of style. The scouts can watch you easily. You might even get to play in Champions League games.

If we want to talk about percentages, we probably have more registered youth soccer players than any of those countries combined. Yet all of them have produced world class soccer players (Gudjohnsen, Ibrahimovic, Litmanen, Laudrup, Solskjaer, etc.). We haven't produced one yet. They've been playing the game longer than we have and have figured stuff out in regards to development that we haven't yet. It's nothing to be ashamed of, we're doing just fine, we just need to wait a little while longer before we're producing players of that caliber.
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