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Lilshmike
Post #1
Tuesday April 23, 2013 10:36pm

Joined Oct 2012
Total Posts: 504
I was reading the thread on Cameron and there were some points that I agree with and have always been preaching. There are a number of guys on the USMNT who are GREAT players. QUALITY players. What makes these guys so great is their versatility and ability to play all over the field. But at the same time, they are cursed because of their skill. Instead of being allowed the ability to excel at a single position, they have been placed all around as the coach seems fit because they are good enough to do so.They have not been able to become accustomed to a single role or position, which in turn has prevented some guys from being able to reach their full potential in a given spot. I mean, its one thing if that happens early on during a development, but different if it continues throughout a career.

Players who are like this:
Donovan - has been a striker, CF, CAM, LM, LW, RM, RW
Deuce - has been a striker, CF, CAM, LM, LW, RM, RW
Cameron - has been CDM, CB, RB
Edu - has been CB, CDM, CAM, RM, LM
Spector - has been FW, RM, RB, CDM

Any thoughts?

Mojofc
Post #2
Tuesday April 23, 2013 10:44pm

Joined Jan 2013
Total Posts: 670
I think for certain top players it helps their game. Also keeps them in the game longer.

Clint Dempsey can start the game at LM and end up as a CF. I don't believe his style allows him to start all games as a LM, he doesn't track back well. His ability to play multiple positions has helped him immensely imo.

Donovan as well, believe it has helped him.

Edu and Spector get shifted around imo because they are obvious talents but don't have the skill to lock down any one position.

Negative for some at times, positives for others at times.

Good thread though
Rain, rain, go away Come again another day - USMNT, MUFC
rainORshine
Post #3
Wednesday April 24, 2013 12:06am

Joined Dec 2012
Total Posts: 1,770
case by case

i think kinnear did cameron a huge disservice by not having him settle into a position by the beginning of his second year. cameron was already 24 by end of first season, but also clearly very good by MLS standards. he needed to find a position - with his height and given the fact that he had never really been an offensive player, it really had to be either CB or possibly DM. instead he juggled him around the field for first 3.5 seasons - and really fucked up his development - before finally settling on CB.

he only started getting NT attention until he settled at CB. now cameron has gone to club that is using him all over field, and mostly at a new position (OB). if that continues, his only his only value will be as a emergency/utility back-up

skangles
DC
Post #4
Wednesday April 24, 2013 3:31am

Joined Jan 2013
Total Posts: 1,855
The issue that I have with this question is that it assumes that all players would be destined for greatness had they been given the opportunity to settle into a single position earlier in their career. Of course we have no way to measure this but I tend to believe that the truly special players find a way to adapt their game to a variety of situations and the players that don't adjust probably weren't going to be that valuable anyway.

The case of Donovan and Dempsey are good examples. We're talking about the number 1 and number 3 scorers in USMNT history. They get results in a variety of roles.

The verdict is still out on Cameron as we don't know how his career will go with the USMNT.

I think Edu is plateauing as a fringe player. Sure, it would have been better had he not sat the bench at Stoke but I really don't think that he would be much better for the national team if he only focused on developing as a DM. I don't want to see Edu as a CB but I do like the fact that if we find ourselves in a desperate situation, he provides us with that option.

Spector is harder to judge. He was a promising youngster, had a nice confederations cup in 2009 then suffered a few injuries but still got club minutes but yet mostly disappeared from the national team. I'm not sure how to assess his situation.

On the flip side of the versatility kills argument we could take a fairly one dimensional player like Beckerman and argue that his lack of versatility is what kills but that argument would be quickly dismissed. I think most people would look at a guy like Beckerman and recognize that he is what he is. He's a decent MLS player that probably has received more playing time for the national team than would otherwise be expected by his skill set.

My conclusion is that playing multiple positions without settling into a single position could stunt a young players growth, as could a lack of playing time, injuries, mental maturity, etc. The players that are worthy of playing on an international level should be able to push through this and perform.

rainORshine
Post #5
Wednesday April 24, 2013 5:13am

Joined Dec 2012
Total Posts: 1,770
edu has basically been a CM/DM throughout his professional career, but has enough experience to deputize at CB as needed. dont think that versatility is hurting at all

spector may have been better off not being in EPL at a young age, but ultimately probably just lacks a little athleticism and technical ability (CM), quickness (outside back) and strength/stature (CB) to really stand out at any position.

cameron can still get there, but think his qualities are impressive but maybe being squandered a bit by not really having a position

dolcem
Post #6
Wednesday April 24, 2013 5:47am

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 1,033
Great post.

I can't exactly articulate why but I think this is a perfect example of some of the problems with soccer development in the US.

We have more registered youth soccer players than any other nation in the world and despite the fact that we have exponentially more people involved with the sport and much better infrastructure than a decade ago, if you take away the Germans our senior team is probably worse than it was in 2002. We haven't produced a player since then better than Ramos, Reyna, O'Brien, or Donovan. This shows that there is something seriously wrong.

I think what I've said before about youth development in the US applies here as well. We're able to produce good "generic" soccer players (role players in American sports parlance), if you will, who have size, athleticism, and grit. Sometimes they have a good soccer IQ as well. But because of the problems with our soccer culture (our understanding of the game and the fact that American kids don't play it constantly the way kids in other countries do from the time they can walk) we're only able to produce utility players who can react well to the game and play many positions. We can't produce creative players, players who can take a game by the scruff of the neck. Since they're "reactors" and not "creators" they can play a lot of positions but don't play one. We don't produce a lot of players who really "own" their position. Sure we might produce big, tall defenders like Cameron, fit, hard-working fullbacks like Cherundolo, strong versatile box-to-box mids like Edu, and big and fast strikers like EJ. But we don't produce creative midfielders, the types who would usually have a set position.

I think the MLS is another part of it. The style of play is much more primitive than in other countries and so MLS players play the game differently than European players. What is asked of MLS players in the attack is so much different than in Europe that the game doesn't translate. An MLS winger that goes to Europe usually will either end up playing a different position (Holden) or simply not make it (Rogers). Some great MLS players can't hack it in Europe not because the level of play is too high but rather because what was asked of them in MLS games is totally different (ie less advanced tactically) than what is asked of them in Europe. For the same reason, it's possible to not be very good but do really well in the MLS, and possible to be a good player but not do so well in the MLS.

Eddie Johnson is a perfect example. He's so fast that in American teams his whole life the tactics consisted of 'boot the ball over the top to Eddie.' But in Europe soccer isn't played like that, it's much more nuanced and advanced, so Eddie's game did not translate at all. He's just about as fast as any player in the world yet Fulham fans said he was the worst soccer player that they had ever seen. Now he's back in the MLS scoring lots of goals. I think it's similar with MLS poachers. Most of the best MLS strikers over the years have been poachers (Cunningham, Cummings, Twellman, Wondolowski, and now McInerny) who take advantage of poor MLS defending and pounce on loose balls to score goals. But their game/skillset doesn't really translate at the European/international level (which is why I'm not so hot on McInerny).

Some day we will produce quality players who "own" their position and can play it at the highest level, doing the same things in European leagues that they did in the MLS. But at the moment it seems that the best we can do is produce hustle 'role' players who are good enough to make it in Europe and end up succeeding in spite of and not because of the MLS. The biggest problem with this is that if you put together a whole team full of these types of players, there is something seriously lacking (especially in the final third). There's not enough quality. It's fine to have 7 or 8 hustle role players, but you need a couple creative players as well. We don't have any and that's why the team isn't good right now (it's not JK's fault).
NO ONE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT WHAT LINEUP YOU USE IN FIFA
bbakerxyz
Post #7
Wednesday April 24, 2013 2:30pm

Joined Oct 2012
Total Posts: 237
Eddie Johnson. Wow, he was horrible at Fulham. I couldn't believe how bad he was. I feel sorry for the poor scout who noticed he was quick and powerful at the 06 WC and then he came to Fulham and couldn't even kick a ball.

Loche Achles
Post #8
Wednesday April 24, 2013 3:09pm

Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts: 269
Well we'll have to see with Jack Mac. He does have a lot of poacher to him, but his recent goals (some) have been impressive, self-created and finished. His development as a player was also very different than Johnson (no academy for him or youth set-up really at all) so his technical are superior.

But I do think its a little early to crown him anything. However, his run of form stretching back to his starting last half of last season has been very consistent.

For the USMNT, it really isn't a striker thing for me, its a service thing. I hope to see Jack Mac in the Gold Cup. It'll give us a chance to see him out of his element a little.

Lilshmike
Post #9
Wednesday April 24, 2013 4:05pm

Joined Oct 2012
Total Posts: 504
Original post from Loche Achles

Well we'll have to see with Jack Mac. He does have a lot of poacher to him, but his recent goals (some) have been impressive, self-created and finished. His development as a player was also very different than Johnson (no academy for him or youth set-up really at all) so his technical are superior.

But I do think its a little early to crown him anything. However, his run of form stretching back to his starting last half of last season has been very consistent.

For the USMNT, it really isn't a striker thing for me, its a service thing. I hope to see Jack Mac in the Gold Cup. It'll give us a chance to see him out of his element a little.


Wrong thread

Lilshmike
Post #10
Wednesday April 24, 2013 4:07pm

Joined Oct 2012
Total Posts: 504
I agree with some people on here. But I was referring to more of the shifting of positions throughout the entire career.

I think that it helps guys to shift around earlier on in their career when they are younger, but I think it has hurt when it continues to happen when they are much older.

logicoverall
Post #11
Wednesday April 24, 2013 4:59pm

Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts: 207
Original post from Lilshmike

I agree with some people on here. But I was referring to more of the shifting of positions throughout the entire career.

I think that it helps guys to shift around earlier on in their career when they are younger, but I think it has hurt when it continues to happen when they are much older.


I think Brek Shea will be a study of your second point. He shifted around/changed positions from time to time as a young player. If he has indeed landed at the left wing position (and ever gets his form/playing time back), perhaps he will benefit from his experience at other positions. I could see him plying his trade as a left wing for some time, but then shifting to virtually any left sided position later in his career. Unfortunately since he is at Stoke, he may struggle to get playing time at a position that suits him (ala Geoff Cameron).

Lilshmike
Post #12
Wednesday April 24, 2013 6:11pm

Joined Oct 2012
Total Posts: 504
Original post from logicoverall

I think Brek Shea will be a study of your second point. He shifted around/changed positions from time to time as a young player. If he has indeed landed at the left wing position (and ever gets his form/playing time back), perhaps he will benefit from his experience at other positions. I could see him plying his trade as a left wing for some time, but then shifting to virtually any left sided position later in his career. Unfortunately since he is at Stoke, he may struggle to get playing time at a position that suits him (ala Geoff Cameron).


Yea, I see Brek doing one of 2 things. Either staying on the LW/LM, or moving up top as a striker. In all honesty, he would probably make a pretty decent forward.

dolcem
Post #13
Thursday April 25, 2013 10:06am

Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts: 1,033
Original post from Lilshmike

I agree with some people on here. But I was referring to more of the shifting of positions throughout the entire career.

I think that it helps guys to shift around earlier on in their career when they are younger, but I think it has hurt when it continues to happen when they are much older.


So what are you saying then, that the shifting of positions is just a coincidence and that we've had a lot of bad luck with our guys constantly getting shifted out of position? Or is it the result of a systemic problem within US soccer? Maybe it's because our players develop too late? Or because of some of the reasons I listed?
NO ONE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT WHAT LINEUP YOU USE IN FIFA

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