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U-17 rout could have been a lot worse
by Paul Kennedy, June 30th, 2011 6:25PM

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TAGS:  u-17 world cup

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[UNDER-17 WORLD CUP] Once again, the USA didn't make it past the first hurdle of the knockout stage at the Under-17 World Cup. Indeed, it matched its worst defeat ever in its 14 appearances at the FIFA world championship when it was routed by Germany, 4-0, in the round of 16 Thursday in Queretaro. The scary thing is that it could have been a lot worse. The loss capped a horrible season for the men's national team program. The senior national team's season of discontent ended with a 4-2 loss to Mexico in the Gold Cup, and the U-20s failed to qualify for the world championship in their age group.

HORRIBLE DEFENDING. U.S. U-17 coach Wilmer Cabrera mentioned that Germany was "very clinical in their finishing," but the fact of the matter is that horrible defending by the USA gifted the Germans at least three of the goals. If the Germans had taken all their chances, they could have easily had 10 goals.

LACK OF PATIENCE. Considering a nucleus of the team had been together for almost two years, the USA showed a remarkable lack of cohesion. The Americans had plenty of the ball -- they finished with a 22-19 edge in shots -- but they displayed a maddening lack of patience on the ball.

ANOTHER KNOCKOUT DEFEAT. The loss marked the fifth straight tournament, dating back to 2003 with Freddy Adu, at which the USA reached the knockout stage but fell at the first hurdle. Only in 1999 when the USA with Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley and Oguchi Onyewu beat Mexico, 3-2, in the quarterfinals has it won a knockout game.

Knockout Stage Results
YEAR OPPONENT SCORE

2011 Germany 0-4
2009 Italy 1-2
2007 Germany 1-2
2005 Netherlands 0-2
2003 Brazil 0-3
1999 Mexico 3-2
1999 Australia 2-2 (7-8)
1993 Poland 0-3
1991 Qatar 1-1 (4-5)

WORST LOSS SINCE 1993. The only other time the USA lost by as many as four goals was in 1993 when it lost to Oman, 4-0, in its opening game of the tournament.

---------------------------------

June 30 in Queretaro
Germany 4 USA 0. Goals: Guenter 20, Weiser 40, Yesil 43, Ducksch 50.
USA -- McIntosh, Acosta, Fehr, Carroll, Amon (Smith, 46), E.Rodriguez, Dunn, Guido, Koroma, Arriola (Melo, 54), M.Rodriguez (McBean, 57)
Germany -- Vlachodimos, Weiser (Born, 79), Roecker, Guenter, Perrey, Yalcin, Can, Yesil (Khedira, 69), Aycicek (Schnellhardt, 58), Ayhan, Ducksch.
Referee: Omar Ponce (Ecuador).
Att.: 16,191.



0 comments
  1. Steven Jeremenko
    commented on: June 30, 2011 at 8:37 p.m.
    Mr. Kennedy, Paul Gardner's column on the Gold Cup defeat to Mexico has 79 comments but no one seems concerned about how well the future of American soccer fared against Germany today. I watched the game today, well most of it anyway, and was dissapointed to say the least. This team seems to have better ideas and certainly more technical ability than the senior team but like them they are also lacking that intricate cohesion and understanding that seems to be bred into players of other nations. Something's missing. My father once said something to me that hass stuck with me all my life: he said, "Steven, see those guys over there. They just play soccer. But they're not soccer players." You not only have to have the skill and technical ability but the understanding of when and where to apply those gifts in the course of the game. Alejandro Guido said before the game,"We like to attack; we like to play possession and keep the ball. This isn’t exactly what the USA’s soccer is known for." Well, I saw a team that liked to attack but was extremely ineffective and didn't really do it in unity with a display of togetherness and understanding. And again, why do all U.S. teams give the ball away do easily. If you like to play possession please show me by keeping the ball for more than 20 seconds. The key to beating Germany was to slow them down and keep possession, frustrate and hypnotize them with ball skills and then strike them like a rattle snake - not give them the ball back continually. I know our players are better than this and I still think this there is time to save these players from the inevitable but there has to be some sort of enlightment in U.S. soccer that changes the way our players think and problem solve on the field. For most at the national team level it is probably too late.

  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: June 30, 2011 at 9:40 p.m.
    Steve J -- good observations! I, too, was happy to see the ATTEMPTS at control and possession but it was far too easy for Germany to dispossess us. The good news is that despite the thrashing, we are at least TRYING to play the beautiful game. Give these guys 5 more years of the "right" skill training and we might end up with a few keepers.

  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: June 30, 2011 at 10:50 p.m.
    If you are really upset with US Soccer,get to know the people who are really making the decisions--Gulati is only the dunce at the top of the ice berg.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Board of Directors of U.S. Soccer is the governing board of the Federation in accordance with the Amateur Sports Act of 1978. Consisting of elected members representing all facets of soccer in the United States, the Board administers the affairs of the Federation between meetings of the National Council. Board Of Directors President Sunil K. Gulati Executive Vice President Mike Edwards Immediate Past President (non-voting) Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia Athlete Representatives Jeff Agoos, Danielle Fotopoulos, Jon McCullough Pro Council Representatives Tonya Antonucci, Don Garber Adult Council Representatives Richard Groff, Bill Bosgraaf Youth Council Representatives Bob Palmeiro, John Sutter At Large Representative Burton Haimes Independent Directors Carlos Cordeiro, Fabian Núñez, Donna E. Shalala CEO/Secretary General (non-voting) Dan Flynn IF YOU WANT TO GET UPSET, THESE ARE THE PEOPLE TO DIRECT YOUR COMMENTS TO.

  1. Ernest Irelan
    commented on: July 1, 2011 at 8:12 a.m.
    players that really understand the game are born that way, not taught. A quote to me by a very successful Brazilian coach. I believe it. Secondly, I also believe that there are too much politics in USA soccer starting in clubs. Too many excellent young players simply can not afford the cost of clubs.

  1. Bill Anderson
    commented on: July 1, 2011 at 9:07 a.m.
    This game was far worse than 4-0. I assumed that this was an all-star team of kids from across the country, and then I learned that they had been together for 2 years. These boys had been together for two years, and they looked as if they had just met. Something is deeply and horribly flawed at US Soccer. I now understand why Subotic and Rossi departed. US Soccer need and Exorcism...

  1. Paolo Jacobs
    commented on: July 1, 2011 at 9:43 a.m.
    @Ernest : Que?? born that way, ha,, no the brasilian kids r out in the streets, dirt playgrounds, and beaches playing tons of unstructure futbol/ soccer in their youth before they start trying out with clubs...I guess that's what u meant though... and their ball skills r amazing acourse

  1. John Munnell
    commented on: July 1, 2011 at 9:58 a.m.
    @Steven...great point! The real future is in these youth teams --- and this performance doesn't inspire. But youth results don't translate directly and there seem to be a few players of interest in the pool. Not ready to give up hope...yet. :-)

  1. Amos Annan
    commented on: July 1, 2011 at 10 a.m.
    Paolo Jacobs (above) helps explains the real difference of American soccer from the rest of the world: the rest of the world's children plays soccer all the time, in the streets, on any patch of ground, without adult supervision and not distracted by other sports. In the U.S. it is rich white kids playing organized games because the parents tell them to.

  1. Heather Scott-molleda
    commented on: July 1, 2011 at 10:02 a.m.
    @Ernest - Totally agree with you! You can teach a kid skills, but the ability to understand the game and have the vision is innate. As is the drive and work ethic to get better. Those players exist on the men's & women's side, but too often they are rejected because they are too small (!!), not flashy enough or simply can't afford the flawed ODP programs US soccer continues to rely on despite it's obvious failure. Kudos to Wilmer for going outside the box for players at least. And American coaches everywhere at every level need to wake up: Spain is the shortest team in the world, and look what they have done! Size should not be the primary factor. Likewise speed alone can't get it done. You need players with technical skill and vision.

  1. Olivier Lurz
    commented on: July 1, 2011 at 10:09 a.m.
    This was an embarassment! Where these really the best players you could find at this age level? What exactly are they doing with these kids in Bradenton? If nothing else, this team should have looked well organized but instead they were totally disjointed and had no shape. Truly disappointing.

  1. Joe Grady
    commented on: July 1, 2011 at 10:16 a.m.
    Exorcise US soccer! Everyone at the top...out! I'm getting sick of the poor results. There are too many people in this country for us to not be able to produce top notch soccer players.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: July 1, 2011 at 10:21 a.m.
    Steven Jeremenko and Bill Anderson et al comments are spot on...USSF doesn't want to face reality...the special players are born to play and proper guidance gets them to the big top...we have an inordinate number of good athletes, but hardly any soccer players.

  1. Leland Price
    commented on: July 1, 2011 at 10:22 a.m.
    The defeat shows there is something seriously wrong with how the National Team is selected. On one hand you've got starting defenders that can't defend and on the other hand you have great, world class defenders who are completely ignored by the national team. This giant gulf between team and talent exists all the way to the National Team. How is it that some players are "on the radar" and others aren't? Is it a matter of money or "pull"? Or playing for an "approved" program? In addition, I firmly believe that the political nature of college soccer and the regressive coaches and systems in the college game are a major stumbling block to the development of a strong national team. Until this issue is addressed, the US will continue to be a mediocre soccer power.

  1. Walt Pericciuoli
    commented on: July 1, 2011 at 10:50 a.m.
    From top to bottom, even in the women's program, same thing. Summing up, we are all saying it is time for a change at every level.Sorry, but it must start at the youngest ages, U5 on up. A complete change in our thinking and attitude.As to the current crop of identified on the "radar" players, it's too late. If any of them are to become "true" players with the "insights" we are talking about, they must be off to South America or Europe.College ball will not help them.It seems to me,in the past every once in awhile, we did discover players like Tab Ramos, Claudio Reyna, Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey. Where did they come from? I know they did not come out of the professionaly trained super club systems that is now our main source of "on the radar" National players.Think about it.

  1. Paul Castillo
    commented on: July 1, 2011 at 10:53 a.m.
    As my son (a U16 defender) and I watched the game, he commented as follows . . . "wow Dad, our high school back four has better communication". 2 years huh? Sorry all, but Bradenton doesn't work. The whole concept of Bradenton presupposes that the initial talent selection process is finely tuned and spot on not to mention well directed and coached. Its not. During the halftime studio report it was mentioned that the U.S. cupboard was bare save a few players. U.S. Soccer has stood at the precipice for some time now. Its only now realizing just how deep the void really is. Gonna be a long cold winter boys. And I for one have zero faith in the current systems ability to stock the fridge.

  1. Ed Arvizo
    commented on: July 1, 2011 at 11 a.m.
    Disappointing at all levels of the USA National team. With the National League, Developmental Academy, ODP etc etc you would think we could find 20 players that could compete internationally- unless the system is flawed? Agree with all comments- new direction needed at the top to begin with-Always said you could find players in the inner cities and playgrounds who would be better than those "select" few who seem to get a shot because of these super leagues and academy programs-oh and have the money to pay for it. Are we producing players to get on College programs or to compete internationally?

  1. Stuart d. Warner
    commented on: July 1, 2011 at 11:23 a.m.
    Of the twenty-one players on the U-17 roster, nine are from California, and sixteen from California, Texas, and Florida combined, and two from the Midwest. On the U-20 team, sixteen of thirty-three in the player pool are from California and Texas, and only three are from the Midwest. I suppose one could make the case that the best players come from California and Texas, after all, they can play year round outdoors, but maybe there's a different explanation. Furthermore, if you look at the heights and weights of the boys on all the US U teams, they are not on the smallish side--we are clearly looking for big, tough, fast kids. And one other thing--of the twenty-one kids on the U-17, all but four were born before September, and more than half were born in the first four months of the year. This pattern holds true for all the youth teams. In "Outliers," Malcolm Gladwell explained this phenomenon--how in youth sports in which kids are picked out of a calendar year, those who are born earlier in the year have an advantage in terms of physical development over those born later, and those are the kids who get picked for such things as national teams.

  1. David Sirias
    commented on: July 1, 2011 at 12:10 p.m.
    Look at Michael Bradley.l Exhibit A. Size, work, and fitness over skill. He is a pedestrian midfielder who even if he got lucky enough to make a final roster for a top ten country, would probably have been selected to be a destroyer to come in at the end of games and mark the opposing attacker coming off the bench. That's it. His positioning, passing, and ball control are not good enough to be a starter. YET for us, he is the guy we build the midfield around. And please none of this is he is the best we have. Patently untrue.

  1. Quan Bui
    commented on: July 1, 2011 at 12:24 p.m.
    What I saw yesterday was men played against boys. The future of the Sr MNT is bleak if this what we produced after 2yrs and million of dollars in investment. This is the worse investment than buying a piece of land on Chernobyl. The Germans technical skills are far superior compare to the US. It's about time we clean house and start looking at copying sucess youth programs that both Germany and Spain have produced over the past 10 yrs. I am not sure why we have are so in love with the English brand of soccer, which has produced zero sucess in the past thirty yrs whereas Germany has consistently made to the finals of all major tournements in the past decade.

  1. john haley
    commented on: July 1, 2011 at 12:46 p.m.
    US Men's soccer needs a different focus. What I have seen since the last World Cup, is lack of team defending. I asked a friend of mine who coaches basketball, but not overly familiar with soccer to define what he saw, and it is the same that I see, the other teams have 6-9 players defending in the box, the US have 2 typically, and a lot of 1v1. You will find little success defending the Messie's of the world 1v1. We might be playing a flat back 4, and supposedly P,C,B, but they are not connected. Why are the midfielders not getting back? Basic soccer fundamental is being missed here, numbers up will bring more success. I agree with the club soccer being to expensive for the players with potential. I coach at a club level, and I see a whole lot of underprivileged kids with huge potential not being able to afford club fees. So I train and take the kids who can afford it to tournaments, not the best potential soccer players. I get a small stipend (I do not coach for the money), but the clubs are just too expensive, and the US loses tons of talent to other sports. We have the greatest athletes in the world in this country, more of them should be playing soccer. I vote for change at the top, Mr. Bradley should be commended for his effort, but if I had the same results/lack of success in my job, I would be fired/replaced. The definition for insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and hoping for a different result.

  1. david caldwell
    commented on: July 1, 2011 at 12:56 p.m.
    I see one other major issue with US club system. It seems to be good at producing teams, moreso than players. I see lots of youth clubs teaching team-based systems that win trophies - more than teaching the special skills and decision-making creativity that help create great players. This is obvious from very young level. Coaches going for team results and style of play, over development. A few top US coaches are trying to fight against this mentality, but it's an uphill battle. I did think the U-17s played reasonably well in group play...but no question we have issues.

  1. Rui Filipe Bento
    commented on: July 1, 2011 at 1:26 p.m.
    My opinion is that there is no magic, and passion ... We are losing more and more these factors, and it can't be lost. You can not cut the creativity, you can not cut the like of playing "soccer", the pleasure of having the ball on the feet. That's what I see in kids, the pleasure of playing the ball, the pleasure of feeling the ball in the feet, feel the pleasure. Shots on goal, was not a goal, went 50 meters to the side? And then what's the problem! Next time will come out ... I used to say to my players to see where are the police and the men on the ice cream behind the field and aim at them to hit the goal. There's no coach in the world I think that tells players not to make shots on goal, but then, no shots in games, goalkeepers this days are mere spectators. What is the goal, is not scoring? It seems that the objective of football today is not scoring ...What I see in US is, keeping the ball in their feet and shots on goals in the youth teams is increasingly disappearing .... Anyway, if we want the kids to start thinking football for themselfs, let them play the game and stop robotizing the kids, they lost and so what, let them play and then after 16 they need to "Train to win". I think everyone means well on the comments and they want the best for all USA teams, way to go!

  1. cony konstin
    commented on: July 1, 2011 at 1:27 p.m.
    Yesterday I was speaking to a good friend that coaches a NCAA Division I soccer program. He told me that he has been reading my recent comments in Soccer America. He told me that I had a great deal of knowledge and experience but I can't make a change in the system unless I am in the system. I can help change soccer in the US. I can make a difference. I would love to help and I know people in the US and abroad that could help as well. Coach Retired US Air Force Academy for 25 years Lou Sagastume for example would be a person that could help take US soccer towards a different approach. In the past I have mentioned that Ciro Medrano could help develop our u3-u12s, Pekerman could help us oversee our youth national teams, Bianchi could help assist our MLS coaches, Javier Lozano could help us with Futsal. There excellent people out there who specialize in specific areas that could assist us in becoming excellent but we must be open minded and willing to change. NO ONE person can do it all. We need a team effort to help US soccer brake through to the next level. It is going to take radical thinkers to make radical change. Soccer in the US has come a long way but it has hit a wall. To tear this wall down US Soccer needs a REVOLUTUION!!!! And it must begin immediately.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: July 1, 2011 at 2:08 p.m.
    C. Konstin: Thank you for mentioning Coach Lou Sagastume, someone whom I have known for several decades - going back when he was playing in the San Francisco Bay Area, and then worked with as as co-founder of LASCA (Latin American Soccer Coaches Assoc.) The sad thing is that when LASCA was around, we tried to get him listed as one of the few USSF A Licensed coaches within the US Soccer Coaching cadre, but the good old boy network that was then (and still is) he was largely ignored and to say the least, he soured on the politics and decided to focus on his HC job with the USAFA. And if memory serves me correct, I do believe he is a former Olympian and it seems like no one has even bothered to acknowledge his contributions to US Soccer. On the other hand, Cony, we DO NOT NEED to bring in "has-been-and-over-the-hill" foreign coaches, such as those you mention. I firmly believe that we already have the coaching ranks, former players themselves who have gone through the ranks and know only too well what ails US Soccer. As for your call for a us Soccer "REVOLUTION," perhaps we should start it using our vast social networking system, e.g. fb, twitter, YouTube, etc., to get the ball rolling - much in the same in the same way it's happened in other parts of the world? So, now with the U17's out, and others suffering similar fate, the coffee is brewing, the trees can be seen for the forest, and the roses are blooming, yet the only drawback is that the soccer powers-that-be, don't seem to notice. So as we are wont to say in Spanish: "Manos a la obra!" (Let's all get to work!"

  1. Scott Nelson
    commented on: July 1, 2011 at 2:32 p.m.
    I think Bradenton was a good experiment but we have enough data to show that it hasn't worked. The team was not cohesive enough for a group that has played together for two years. At every U17 World Cup for the past ten years it's been the same pattern. Usually one really nice result against a good opponent, then a disappointing underperforming loss, and one result more or less "to form" to get out of the first round, then FLOP! in the first knockout game. You can look back on the FIFA website and see the rosters and box scores to track the players who have received full caps. In Nigeria 09, Juan Agudelo is the only cap so far. Brek Shea (2 caps?)is the pick 0f '07. In '05, Altidore, Neven Subotic (Now Serbia), and Omar Gonzalez. '03 had Adu and Jonathan Spector, plus Eddie Gaven and Danny Szetela, who earned a handful of caps before dropping off the MNT radar. '01 Featured Eddie Johnson and also future (small) caps Mike Magee, Justin Mapp, Santino Quaranta and Chad Marshall. '99... the first class, was Beasley, Donovan, Beckerman, Convey, and Onyewu. Two things to notice: 1) It's still early days for a lot of these players, but we seem to be going backwards. I see some good, solid MLS pros in the recent groups, but we are going to need some "late blooming" for most of these guys to earn full caps. 2) The best players at these ages are not the ones who will go the farthest. Agudelo played about 6 minutes in his for U17 World Cup games. Subotic, Altidore, and Gonzalez combined for ONE START in their four games. 3) The selection system for Bradenton is not very efficient. Look at the list of players since '99. The player with the greatest market value? Neven Subotic. A national search for talent did not find him, but one of the Bradenton coaches spotted him working out on his own in the local park. Huh? What else is out there that we are missing? I think handing over development to the academies is a better idea, as we need to develop more players in all locations. Some will do a better job than others, but we need to cast the net farther and deeper. Bradenton is now obsolete, an "eggs in one basket" approach. We should spend the money elswhere.

  1. cony konstin
    commented on: July 1, 2011 at 3:16 p.m.
    Scott Nelson the first two important questions that we must ask ourselves. How do we make soccer a way of life in the US? Second question. How do we make magical players? The MLS has no idea or experience in anwsering either one of these questions. Because if they did they would have done something a long long time ago. My anwser to the questions that I presented is simple. We need to create a playing/sandlot environment starting at age 5, no cost, futsal, concrete, wired fencing for goals and surrounding area, open 7 days a week and lights. This should be created in every inner city in America and eventually every suburan neighborhoood. When we start this then the MLS will eventually have players to select. Meanwhile the MLS and US soccer will struggle in developing magical players because they don't know how to. The how to is not going to come through coaching, $250 shoes, coaching manuals, dvds, numerous camps and tournaments. WE need a REVOLUTION. A playing environment is the only solution to tear down the wall of status quo, complacency, mediocracy, and lack of imagination. There is more to do but this is where we must begin.

  1. cony konstin
    commented on: July 1, 2011 at 3:22 p.m.
    Hi Ric These coaches that I am mentioning are not has beens. They are walking encyclopias of knowledge and experience that we can tap into. We would use them accordingly to their specialization. They would be the mentors to our coaches. Also coaches like Lou and others who have not been tapped into the old system would come out an be a part the new movement. Most likely take the place of the coaches that we brought in to start up the new wave for US Soccer.

  1. Raveen Rama
    commented on: July 1, 2011 at 3:29 p.m.
    I watched the women's game between North Korea and the United States. One thing that really stood out to me was the difference in the technical ability of the players. It looked to me that the North Koreans were far better in their technical skills than their US counterparts. This is the same we see with our U-17, and the national team. We lack in technical ability. There is a way to correct this. Other countries have players who play street soccer, or play soccer all the time and therefore develop these skills early and it becomes natural to them. Here in the US firstly we don't devote enough time to soccer, and secondly we devote a lot of time to passing, and other things. Developing passing ability is very important but it can be enhanced if the players know how to dribble the ball. Therefore, in every session of practice at every level, a good amount of time must be spent on dribbling. It could be 1v1 or 2v2 or even 1v2. I would suggest 1v2 where 1 dribbles, shields, and becomes creative against the two, and when he looses the ball then the one who gets the ball goes against the two, and so on. Dribbling not only teaches one how to dribble, possession, and penetrate but also helps one to gain confidence with the ball and not kick it away when pressured as MB does a lot of times.

  1. Kent James
    commented on: July 1, 2011 at 11:44 p.m.
    Scott Nelson, very reasonable and perceptive comment. There are two competing methods of player development; one is to spread the net wide, and let the team gradually rise to the top, with the best players either born with talent or developing it on their own (in the streets of Brazil, e.g.); the other is to identify talent early and focus a lot of resources (coaching, facilities, etc.) to try to push that talent to develop faster and farther. Brandenton was an example of the latter, as are many of the more competitive youth club teams (as they use professional coaches at younger and younger age groups). As you state, the Brandenton model has not produced the talent (and that model at the club level has become a negative, because it's driven up the costs even for very young kids). The problem is, we do not have the numbers of kids playing in the streets on their own (as in Brazil). If only we did. This presents the chicken & the egg problem; kids play in the streets because it's part of the soccer culture, the soccer culture produces better players which makes their top level games more entertaining and successful, which encourages more kids to play in the streets and emulate their heroes. Soccer culture in the US is growing, but very slowly. Instead of pushing the development of players, we need to push the development of the culture.

  1. Paul Bryant
    commented on: July 1, 2011 at 11:57 p.m.
    Are these the best U17 players in the United States? I doubt it. The way the US system is set up, it's impossible to identify the best of the best. The US was the largest country in the tournament. We could field three teams. I'm sure there are a bunch of kids with green cards in this country that would put the current roster to shame. First we have to enlarge the pool, and do it without prejudice or bias. Then we have to find coaches that don't do it the Bob Bradley way. Then maybe we'll have some success.

  1. Kent James
    commented on: July 1, 2011 at 11:58 p.m.
    To develop a better soccer culture, we need to get people to enjoy playing the game. One of the problems is a lack of field space, especially if you don't play for an organized team. I try to organize pick-up games for the kids in our city (where I coach HS), but the turf fields tend to be fenced (and inaccessible) and the grass fields are horrible and/or only sporadically cut. I would recommend (as part of Cony Konstin's revolution) that we develop as many outdoor futsal courts in populated areas as we can. Futsal because it encourages ball skills and can be played in an urban environment (smaller fields, no grass to cut, always smooth surface). I'd suggest a rubberized surface (rather than pure asphalt or concrete) to minimize injuries). I also think the USSF and the MLS clubs should participate in helping fund the construction of such fields (via a program like the US Soccer Foundation's 24/7 field program, but much lower costs). In MLS cities, the MLS clubs could sponsor the fields. My hope would be that the fields would be always available, and anyone could play. Local players might be hired (at low cost) to supervise (and play) the games at peak times. Since using a low bounce futsal ball is important to have a quality game, perhaps a vending machine could be developed so that anyone with $10 (or a token) can get a futsal ball, and they get the deposit back if they return the ball. We should start small, as see if it can grow. I think such a program would reach an untapped market (urban areas), encourage creativity (the nature of pick-up) , and encourage foot skills and the short passing game (futsal).

  1. Paul Bryant
    commented on: July 1, 2011 at 11:58 p.m.
    Leland, I second your opinion.

  1. Karl Ortmertl
    commented on: July 2, 2011 at 11:34 a.m.
    I've always felt that one of the fascinating things about soccer is that it is a mirror of a nation's soul. Undoubtedly if we wanted to improve the national soccer teams, we would need to blow it all up and start over. But, that's not going to happen. The same reasons for crumbling of the US empire are the same reasons why the US national teams are awful and won't be getting better. Lots of good insight as I read the article and comments. But the soccer system in the US is just a microcosm of everything in the US. You need to change the personality of this country and, unfortunately, that ain't happening. On the soccer side of things, I had been hoping that Wilmer Cabrera was a light amongst the darkness. Previous U-17 teams at least had s sprinkling of skillful players in the mix. For Wilmer to have spent two years and come up with this, I'm off the Wilmer Cabrera bandwagon.

  1. Bill Anderson
    commented on: July 2, 2011 at 11:51 a.m.
    Two Years + Millions of Dollars + Youth of the Nation + US Soccer = Waste of time, money, and manpower...

  1. cony konstin
    commented on: July 3, 2011 at 4:11 a.m.
    Kent James very positive ideas and please continue the good fight.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 8, 2011 at 9:20 a.m.
    David Caldwell, right on!! This exactly the biggest problem. To elaborate even further on you're comment- in this country big club owners _are wealthy investors - wealthy investors care only about producing profits- profits come from good marketing of club- marketing comes from team wins and results. Unlike in other countries you do not have the rights to a player before he is 18, so there is no guaranteed profit in worrying about developing individual talent in the USA. You would think that big club owners that are already filthy rich would not worry so much about profits and wins but that is never the case in anything. How do you think they got rich? By being nice????

  1. Thomas Hosier
    commented on: July 9, 2011 at 1:19 p.m.
    Cony ... I would love to see the "sandlot" culture return to America in all sports .... our kids will have to turn off the TVs and the Video games ... it starts with the parents ... get the boys and girls to the sandlots! See you at the pitch! cony konstin "...... the first two important questions that we must ask ourselves. How do we make soccer a way of life in the US? Second question. How do we make magical players? The MLS has no idea or experience in anwsering either one of these questions. Because if they did they would have done something a long long time ago. My anwser to the questions that I presented is simple. We need to create a playing/sandlot environment starting at age 5, no cost, futsal, concrete, wired fencing for goals and surrounding area, open 7 days a week and lights."

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 11, 2011 at 4:44 p.m.
    The MLS could care less where the great players come from. Either way they have to pay for them. MLS teams also know there is no money in developing top talent in USA. Why? Because the best players get signed at 15,16,17 years old now. Thy can't profit from those contracts here. Very simple. Money money money.


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