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Three lessons Belgium taught the USA
by Paul Kennedy, July 2nd, 2014 1:18AM

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TAGS:  belgium, men's national team, world cup 2014

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[BRAZIL 2014] The USA can learn a lot from Belgium. Like the USA, the Red Devils have never won the World Cup and only once before advanced as far as the semifinals. Indeed, they had not been to the World Cup or European Championship since 2002. But they were the deserving winners of one of the most dramatic overtimes in World Cup history. For three lessons the USA can learn from Belgium.

1. You need more than one center forward. In the weeks before the USA started World Cup training camp, the question being asked was whether Jurgen Klinsmann should drop Jozy Altidore. Now that it is out of the World Cup, the answer is clear that the USA could not do without Altidore. Ironic?

Klinsmann had no one on his bench to replace Altidore, using Aron Johannsson only in the Ghana game and Chris Wondolowski for late shifts in two games. Without Altidore -- or a suitable replacement -- Klinsmann was forced to switch how the USA played and Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley both struggled in different roles.

Belgium lost its No. 1 striker, Christian Benteke, with a torn Achilles tendon in April but had two replacements: 21-year-old Romelu Lukaku and 19-year-old Divock Origi. Lukaku is a bigger name -- Big Rom won the Belgian title with Anderlecht at the age 16 -- but Origi -- who has only been playing professionally for 18 months in France -- had had the better World Cup and got the start against the USA.

Belgium's Queen Mathilde congratulated Lukaku for scoring the winning goal against Russia, confusing him with Origi, who had scored the goal, his first ever for the Red Devils. Lukaku got his chance against the USA to score what proved to be the winning goal, but it didn't matter who scored. As a tandem, Lukaku and Origi wore down the USA backline until it could hold out no more and were two more center forwards Belgium had than the USA had when its first-choice striker went down.



Photo: Lukaku and Howard. (By isiphotos.com)

2. You need to have the athletes. As U.S football and basketball stars caught on to the World Cup and started showing their support for the national team, a lot of commentators made the connection and suggested the USA would have a better chance if soccer attracted the best athletes. A simplistic argument -- see below -- but one that has some merit if you look at Belgium. The Red Devils had the better athletes, plain and simple.

Not just on the deciding play when Lukaku tossed aside Matt Besler, the matchup of Big Rom and Besler looked like man versus child -- and that's not intended to be a knock on Besler, who was largely excellent for the USA throughout the World Cup.

All the talk in the Belgian camp in the days leading up to the match was whether central defender Vincent Kompany was healthy enough to play. We got the answer as he went the distance -- literally -- making a 100-yard run late in the dying seconds of the regulation that ended in arguably the best of Tim Howard's 16 saves.

As good as Howard was against Belgium, there is probably no Red Devil supporter who would take Howard over Belgian No. 1 Thibaut Courtois, all of 22 years old. At 6-foot-6, Courtois has the wingspan of a small plane -- and the quickness to preserve the win with a point-blank stop on Dempsey after the tricky U.S. free kick fooled the Belgian defense.

3. You need the soccer players. At the end of the day, what separated Belgium and the USA was the Red Devils' soccer. Belgium won the game in midfield with its two little men, Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens, both 5-foot-7, and Kevin de Bruyne, whose quickness was too much for the USA to handle.

Even after Lukaku broke past Besler, the USA had three defenders with a shot of stopping de Bruyne but his touch was too good, leaving him open it fired an angled shot past Howard. The probing moves of Hazard, Mertens, later replaced Kevin Mirallas, and de Bruyne, the player of the game with the pass that Lukaku put away for the second goal, were too much for the USA, who again had little concerted possession and got little out of its outside midfielders (until Julian Green's surprise entrance).

Like France, Switzerland and to a lesser extent Germany, three other European teams in the final 16 at the World Cup, Belgium has successfully integrated players into the national team program from its immigrant communities, in its case mostly from the former Belgian colonies in the Congo and from North Africa. But what they also done successfully is seek out and nurture players of skill, no matter their background.

While rise of the Red Devils coincided with a concerted effort by Belgian soccer authorities to seek out immigrant players playing in the streets, at a much more fundamental level they introduced an emphasis on technique in young players at clubs across Belgium following the embarrassment of co-hosting Euro 2000 and exiting in the group stage.

It's paid off with a "Golden Generation" that is the final eight of the World Cup for the first time since 1982


75 comments
  1. New WorldOrder
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 1:47 a.m.
    The better athlete ardument again!! How come Argentina and little ass Spain have enough athletes to compete at the highest levels in so many sports including basketball, soccer, tennis, etc. but USA cant ?? Why? cause we have football?? Dont we know that football and basketball are dominated by mostly black Americans who only make up less than 20% of the popualtion?? You guys think we would have beat Belgium with a bigger center back?? Maybe just maybe the system we use to scout, develop and pick our best players in basketball would work in soccer. Oh wait, forcing them to pick between high school and Academy is a better idea because >>>>>>>>???

  1. Potito Casparrini
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 6:39 a.m.
    ....Donovan no............guys as Wondolosky..........and some other......is the future....(the klinsmann thinking)

  1. Mark Hardt
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 7:34 a.m.
    I read this throw away line that Terrence Boyd had leaked out he had scored against LAX II in a closed door. Then he is cut. Boyd was the only good back up to Altidore Available. Same height, build, and speed. He scored 20 goals for Rapid Vienna and Europa league. Why was he not on the team? I think what happened is Klinsman penalized Boyd for talking just as much as Klinsman penalized Donovan for taking time off.

  1. Mark Hardt
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 7:36 a.m.
    New World don't play the race card. We have 300 million people. Enough to find good players. We need to step up recruiting, training and getting young kids of all races involved at an early age. With all the marketing money they are getting US Soccer can afford it now.

  1. Brent Crossland
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 7:52 a.m.
    I agree, Mark. We also need for the "word" to filter down to a lot of youth, high school, and college coaches that 'bigger is not necessarily better'. More focus on skills on the ball at all positions.

  1. Bob Escobar
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 8:01 a.m.
    the US problem is not only the "better" athletes" don't play soccer, the BIGGEST problem is the British influence in most of our youth programs, look around and you see who's coaching MLS development programs, who is in the booth in the play by play action and as color commentators....yes, English soccer have hurt the development of soccer in this country, I understand they "speak" the language, but for God's sake, all they know is "English soccer" and nothing else, so our young soccer players learn and listen from these "antiquated" soccer "experts...NOT". This world cup, we have "clueless" American commentators, who? Lalas, but FOX and ESPN love this guy, did anyone ever watch Lalas played? good in the air but "zero" skills, and yes, he is the one every one see "analyzing" the play and players. Also, soccer is learned in the streets, parks, backyards, playing small sided games all day long....unfortunately no one does that, you see soccer kids playing "basketball", "baseball" and other sports besides soccer, parents want it this way...and 99.9999999999999999% of the parents are "clueless" of the sport of soccer, they think "sending" the kid to play in a "rec" league is awesome, and then "sending" the "better" kids to join a "travel" soccer team is the ultimate, and the "lucky ones" playing in an ODP and development program is going to get his kids college scholarships and play for the US national team...in women's soccer it is TRUE, but not in men's soccer. I can go on and on the many more reasons of why the US will have a hard time of ever producing players like Messi, Christiano Ronaldo, James Rodriguez, Robben, Xavi, Iniesta, Pirlo, Neymar, etc etc......another reason, the "majority" of the population don't like soccer, is every "FOUR" years and only if the US does well that the "no clue" fans come out and support the MNT. For now, the hardcore fans like myself (an immigrant from South America) get to watch and enjoy the best teams and players in the world thanks to technology.

  1. Bob Escobar
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 8:07 a.m.
    by the way, Paul Gardner is one of the "few" Brits I honestly respect!

  1. Richard T. Lynch
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 8:25 a.m.
    Hate to go here but who would you rather of had at the end of regulation: Wondo or Donovan? Donovan could have sat behind Dempsey and played the role Bradley was trying to play. Bradley could have dropped back into his best spot coming out of holding midfield. Oh yeah, Donovan also is a forward and could have helped complement Dempsey, who largely disappeared when Wondo came in. JK made a LOT of good choices in this WC but the Donovan one came back to haunt him when he needed a player to best complement Dempsey and Bradley in their best positions.

  1. Terry Ellis
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 8:37 a.m.
    I agree that Donovan should have been there and it MAY have made the difference but we will never know. That was the only error that Klinsman made for the world cup--Other than maybe going with only one player to play up top. When Jozy went down that blew the whole game plan and he had no effective backup. It was obvious to me that Jozy wasn't coming back in time from that injury .

  1. Gus Keri
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 8:47 a.m.
    This US performance was not special because of the group of death. We had similarly difficult groups in 1994 and 2002 and went through. It will not be remembered for the lack of possession. We never had a superior possession before either. It will not be remembered for the fight American players put throughout. After all, this is what America is known for. It is not special because the young players showed up and played well. In 2002, Donovan and Beasley did similar things. It will not be known for the Foreign born players. We always had foreign born players. This World Cup will be remembered for ever for the personal vendetta Klinsmann had against Donovan and the lack of judgment on Klinsmann's part for not considering a proper replacement for either Altidore in front or Dempsey behind him. And above all, it will be remembered for the lies that Klinsmann gave us to explain his selections. There were so many ways Donovan could have helped this team. he could've provided more possession and more technical ability and tactical knowledge. He could've provided more leadership and experience on the field. Bradley and to some extent Dempsey looked lost without him. And above all, he could've provided us with another Donovan moment at the end of the game if he was in place of the overwhelmed Wondowlowski. This world cup didn't show me any thing new about the US. All what I saw, I have seen before. I have also seen that when personal issue interferes with team selection, the team never achieves its potential.

  1. Joe Linzner
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 8:55 a.m.
    The sad truth is simple..the player selections were made by people who are intimately involved with the day to day training of the individual player. We, the fans of this team have no qualifications, whatsoever to say who would have been better at any given position. To criticize from a position of having played intramural soccer back in college is laughable. Klinsmann made mistakes, every player on the team erred, there is no-one on that team that does not deserve our respect. So instead of pointing fingers at who screwed up worse, how about a thank you to a young group of guys who ran their hearts out for our country...so sick of this constant they should have done this used this guy, played this formation ad infinitum and proffered by those who never even correctly tied their shoes...

  1. Alan Snell
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 9:07 a.m.
    When will US Soccer get serious about developing and fielding the top players, oppsed to making money? The system from the ground up in the US is broken. I see it firsthand every day. Youth soccer programs run by volunteer parents that have no experience running youth athletic programs. They sit on the Board of Directors not for the love of the sport, but as a power trip. Players of great skill and motivation passed over for "ODP" and other development programs because their parents aren't willing or able to pay the tens of tousands of dollars every year to pay academy fees and ODP fees. I see players with great technical skill and ball handling abilities that can run circles around those inivted to take part in ODP, but their parents are not willing to take a second mortgage out on their house to finance the exorbatant costs. It is a pay to play program, you can have all of the talent in the world but if you can't pay, you have no chance of being a part of US Soccer's future and are weeded out. The point that the US can compete with world powers in other sports and not in soccer bears out this point. Basketball, Track, Baseball, etc. and all of these sports have one thing in common, the development of players from youth to high school to college programs, where over time the cream rises to the top and top players are developed. In the sports the US struggles with competitively such as soccer there is no true advancement through traditional development channels. If you are willing to set aside $50,000+ to pay for a players development through US Soccer then you are invited to camp, if not then you are not even a part of the conversation.

  1. Joe Linzner
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 9:09 a.m.
    did anyone not notice how other teams used space. our understanding of using space is limited to executing a one two....a moving chess game is won by superior movement by players with better skills. We do not have players with such skills coupled to such vision and the wisdom to think three or four moves ahead. our movement is still mechanical it is done without guile,finesse or spontaneity. When we develop those we'll be truly a soccer nation...

  1. Joe Linzner
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 9:13 a.m.
    Great post Mr Alan Snell. ON THE MONEY....EVERY ONE PLAYS IS THE WORST. That is ok in the sub 6s but not after that. It actually dumbs down talented individuals.

  1. New WorldOrder
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 9:15 a.m.
    Mark, race card?? I stated a fact that throws the "best athletes pick soccer 3rd" out the window. Afterall, lets be honest, what we know to be our best athletes play 2 sports and are mostly African American, 1/5 of our population. Am I wrong??

  1. New WorldOrder
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 9:17 a.m.
    Bob, perfectly said sir.

  1. Mark Zimmerman
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 9:17 a.m.
    Lots of great points by all. The boys gave it there all and congrats. 1.) I'm not a Donovan lover or hater but I do think he would have been more helpful than Green, AJ and Wondo. (BTW, you have to KNOW that the German-Americans were promised spots on the final roster to switch.) 2.) We have plenty of excellent athletes playing soccer. You're telling me Jermaine Jones is a lesser athlete than Lukaku? You're telling me that Yedlin isn't fast enough? 3.) This is the only valid point you make and it is the most important point: We don't teach our kids how to play the game. When we get EDUCATED coaches that know the importance of ball control and playing the game the right way (NOT kickball), that developing Skills and Soccer Brains is the focus, only then will we be able to, as a country, raise our game to the level that can compete in World Cups. I see it starting, but I also see too many teams playing mindless soccer and too many U8s running laps. I'm hoping that more and more coaches will convince the parents that the real objective of youth soccer is to LET the kids DISCOVER the beauty of soccer under the guidance of experienced coaches. There's plenty of time to focus on results in the later High School years and beyond.

  1. william newsom
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 9:26 a.m.
    Hate when i read all we need is more people who can control the ball or bigger is not better. Folks its BOTH! Just because a person is bigger doesn't me they have ball control(run through three people and hope you come out on the other end with the ball) and ball control experts dont mean they can keep the ball through a mid field (messi) without quickness and speed(athletic). So if we can get a big person and ball control and quickness , you win games.

  1. william newsom
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 9:29 a.m.
    ". I see it starting, but I also see too many teams playing mindless soccer and too many U8s running laps. I'm hoping that more and more coaches will convince the parents that the real objective of youth soccer is to LET the kids DISCOVER the beauty of soccer under the guidance of experienced coaches. There's plenty of time to focus on results in the later High School years and beyond." No one plays after high school and beyond, no big contracts to draw them . The purest model doesnt sustain clubs with the payroll obligation of those "experienced coaches" that are needed. "Playing the game the right way" - what way is that currently because with all the "ways" to play it i hardly see a right way.

  1. Bill Dumler
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 9:32 a.m.
    New WorldOrder, I agree with your insight. Its exactly what I have experience with my connection to youth development. Development in the US puts too much emphasis on size and speed. I have witness many times the "big, faster and more athletic" team falling to the smaller and skilled team. Soccer is a unique game requiring not only skills not used in other sports but the ability of an athlete to manage their endurance without scheduled timeouts, water breaks or subs.

  1. vs 9101
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 9:42 a.m.
    Please see my earlier comment. The formatting is to correct since I had it in bullet points. ___ As pointed out earlier, Academy system is the new ODP, this is based on personal experience with my kid for a year after which I decided not to pursue the academy since there is limited prospects for an academy player. There are various issues with the current system and some of these are as follows: - The money involved and the time spent driving in this vast country for this unique concept of "travel soccer" . The time is better utilized elsewhere. Do you want your kid to practice with the ball 10 hours a week or spend 10 hours in the car? In elite academies around the world, they stay put and practice with limited travel. - Other than the MLS academies, most are pay to play and geared towards college soccer, not professional soccer. Even the success percentage of MLS Acedemies is very low. In other countries, students go to college for studying , not for playing soccer. There the top talent get paid a lot , not so in the US. - About the low quality of college soccer coaching, look no further for the kick and run mentality in US and lower level English soccer. If you watch a D1 college game, you will be lucky to see five passes in a row. Case in point, Belgium, a country the size of Ohio was completely dominating the US. If a kid plays college soccer, the odds are very high that he is going to fall out behind European and Latin American kids in the world stage because of poor coaching. - In other countries, talented eighteen year olds are paid a lot to sign up for a professional club, in US there is no such path with MLS importing low wage African players. IMHO, if you think your kid is top technical talent, take him to Europe and stay away from Youth Academy and college soccer. Otherwise, is it better off pursuing something else.

  1. william newsom
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 9:46 a.m.
    well if we sold out stadiums 50-80K per match or huge beer sponsors would pony up, we would have the money to pay for great players make great academies and that would entice more players to try to make it at the top level. Since we dont , you get what you pay for.

  1. charles davenport
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 9:50 a.m.
    I'd like to see This "blog" improved with like/dislike buttons, notifications of new posts sent to email, FB etc.

  1. charles davenport
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 9:56 a.m.
    Teams with more skillful players win in all sports. Exceptional athletes win big games in all sports. Would US soccer improve if being a no. 9 or 10 was more glamorous than being the (mediocre)QB of the HS football team? Probably.

  1. New WorldOrder
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 10:02 a.m.
    William, you are right. Bigger, faster and skilled will improve your chance to win in any sport. Soccer is no exception. Look at Brazil dominate Spain in confederations. look at Bayern dominate Barcelona. my argument is we do in fact have the top athletes in USA that pick soccer first unless we all believe that less than 20% of our population dish out all the best athletes in the entire world. Mexico showed to be a top 4 contender this cup and were robbed vs #2 Netherlands. Are all the unathletic Mexicans in USA?? Or are the best athletic Mexicans exclusive to mexico?? Afterall, Hispanics do make up another 20% of USA population and Mexicans make up for most of that. What do they pick as first sport?? Case closed.

  1. Kevin Leahy
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 10:13 a.m.
    The technical ability of the U.S. players under pressure is not on the level of the rest of the world powers. The back line, including the goalie were gret considering the amount of pressure they absorbed. I think it is great that, so many people have opinions about this team. I remember when hardly anyone cared. The future lies with players like Yedlin & Green. Maybe the Hispanic kid from the southwest. There is a little bit of truth in what most everyone says. Look forward to more world cups and the hope of getting better as country participating.

  1. New WorldOrder
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 10:18 a.m.
    Is Xavi, Iniesta or David Villa an exceptional athlete?? Take away their skills and are they top athletes as we see in kobe or Lebron?? The answer is hell no. You would think that a goalie, of all positions in soccer, would be more dominant the bigger he is. comparable to a center in basketball, yet Casillas is just over 6ft. Could you see a 5'7" point gaurd making it big in the NBA with a growth defect at 13 years old?? And would you ever consider him to be the best at any other sport besides soccer?? The answer is a resounding no. Lets stop arguing about the best athletes picking soccer first because we dont even unerstand what the best athlete for soccer really is.

  1. Clark k gear Gear jr
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 10:21 a.m.
    Donovan at. 32 is better than 50 % of the us players that made this squad. How they took Zusi and overlooked Feilhaber is completely unbelievable.

  1. Frank Sakovitch
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 10:35 a.m.
    We have plenty of good athletes and our population is so large we have enough athletes for all major sports including world football. I have coached at every level except the high school and college. Park and recreation is filled with talented kids that are trained by parents who grew up with baseball and football. We are now starting to have parents who at least played football at an early age. Soon we will have coaches who have played up to and including high school teams. When we start recruiting club coaches for our high schools, instead of the gym teachers we will start making some more progress. The last two world cups plus 2002 did a lot for our sport. Be patient more experience could have helped on this team but a message sent and it will pay off in the cups to come.

  1. Mark Zimmerman
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 10:37 a.m.
    @william newsom First, I don't believe I said that you can't be both athletic and skilled. Jermaine Jones is both for example. However, you don't need to be big/tall to be great at soccer. You do need excellent skill, quickness of action and thought. Second, the Clubs need to LEAD the parents to believing in a Skills-First approach. Playing "kickball" soccer isn't really very fun for (many) kids. Third, there are several "ways" (tactically) to play good soccer, but I'm simply saying that the "right" way is to play with athleticism, skill, composure and thoughtfulness.

  1. New WorldOrder
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 10:45 a.m.
    Mark, correct and to make it terribly simple for all to understand - learn to play soccer the right way first with skill, tecnique, first touch, etc. because this is the hard part. Then when you are 18 and over you can play all the kickball you want if thats what you choose to do but with an advantage of better skill. To put a big strong fast player up top as target forward playing him long balls al game is doing him and the rest of you no favors development wise. Anybody can do it and when anybody can do it thats never a good thing.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 10:54 a.m.
    Best athletes is not the answer. Athleticism has its limits in this game. The core soccer attributes are field vision, presence and perception of teammates/opponents placement, right decisions, pace and angle of ball delivery, calm nerves; all of these are built into the soccer IQ. That was the difference in all the WC games; what kept the USMNT alive was team spirit and super-effort.

  1. Gus Ortiz
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 10:56 a.m.
    Klinsmann made two huge mistakes; first he did not have a back-up for Altidore and second he left off Donovan. Both of these mistakes were costly. Wondolowski will have four years to make up for his error until he can redeem himself in Russia.

  1. Mark Zimmerman
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 10:57 a.m.
    @New WorldOrder Exactly!

  1. Tim Gibson
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 12:02 p.m.
    My World Cup Lament - Our guys represented, left us all very proud. We were able to compete well against teams that are mostly better than we are but guts,athleticism & huge hearts can only carry ya so far in this tournament. Belgium was clearly better. We put several kids in high pressure situations (EX-Yedlin) like never before and sometimes they rise to the occasion(Green)but others can chalk it up as experience(Wondo)when their touch is over-powered by nerves. But this is a good thing(!) as experience comes from losing.Regardless,we went farther than we should have and didn’t make fools out ourselves at the end like our arch-enemies to our south did(Marquez). We have gained more respect in the soccer world. Nobody failed (except maybe our trainers?), we have no goats that shamed us. Our vets came thru(Howie),journeymen did well(Jones)and the kids made it really exciting so kudos to the coaching staff & their decisions along the way.We are almost there, we ARE a legit team now that is reallllly only missing a few parts. What“if”we controlled more possession in our attack, a healthy Jozy and a draw like Argentina?…well….. thems the breaks ‘this time”, but next? The best news is that we DO NOT suck anymore and “American Soccer” no longer has to change the way we are discussed in the international media just so we fit in. Australian can call it Soccer, so can we. We don’t have to refer to it as “The Pitch”, we can say Soccer field cuz that’s what it is. It’s OK to say Soccer cleats if you want, it’s a free country and besides we just don’t wear boots. We no longer have to punctuate our descriptions of play with this little used adjective -“brilliant” out of respect for the English game. It can now go back to its rightful place, reserved for describing a light bulb. And please take the game commentators requirement away that they all have English/Scot accents out of that job description, we have plenty of American & latinos now that are just better & know the CONCACAF style we play. We now have ownership to a style and culture all our own and a fan base that’s growing in leaps n’ bounds around it. All aspects of our game are going in the right direction – UP, whereas in this tournament so many others surprisingly have gotten old & fat. MLS is a big part of this rise & not just on our national team but has influenced CONCACAF as well – another great result. Additionally, look at the other surprising teams that had success this year with the athletic ball pressure style of play that in many ways emulate our style. Algeria & Costa Rica come to mind immediately. This seems to usher in a shift internationally away from the Latin ball control styles that Spain has mastered. Are we now influencing World Soccer in some ways?.....maybe? – All good things. But it still hurts to go home, right? And this is why we will be back stronger than ever in 2018….cuz we got a taste of it & now want it all. GO USA!

  1. william newsom
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 12:13 p.m.
    @Mark - Athleticism - is all the things that having great soccer skill relies on to be a great player simple and true. Messi without his balance and speed would not be Messi even with all the attributes of soccer. Im not saying get height or lbs and that is the mold what im saying is you would love some of everything to be GREAT ,thus that is why there is only 1 messi in the world. The other 99.9999% of the players have less or more of an attribute. If you want clubs to change start by the coaches not drawing a salary, which will eliminate 90% of the cost which will give the opportunity to play the sport to more kids. Once clubs are not bound financially they will not need to pacify parents (customers). I agree with the "right way" in your last line.

  1. Kevin Leahy
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 12:20 p.m.
    One thing I would like to see more of is players that, can read the game. I have watched the top youth clubs play in this country for the the last 25 years and soccer intelligence is clearly missing. It is hard to find people that know when it, is on and where to be @ the crucial moment. The vision to move themselves and their opponent where and when needed. Instincts are harder to find these days.

  1. Delroy Wallace
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 12:29 p.m.
    Interesting comments by most. Technique weakness under pressure mostly, contributed greatly to our loss. That weakness limited greatly our ability to sustain good possession and shows that team USA has a far way to go to consistently compete with the best. Substituting a "Donovan" for some other player who went would not have mattered. Team USA has made some progress since the last World Cup, but still needs to improve tremendously to be in the top 10 worldwide and then we will have a chance at the World Cup. Team USA does not yet have top players.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 1:30 p.m.
    Gus O., I certainly doubt Wondo will have a chance to redeem himself; he has limitations, duly noted by his miscues.

  1. New WorldOrder
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 1:38 p.m.
    Tim, your comment about Mexico is what hurts us the most in looking to improve our National team in the future. There are many of us that root for both countries. All the spanish speaking channels with mexico born commentators were rooting heavily for USA as "one of ours" meaning the Concacaf. You have a very very big soccer community in USA that also roots for Mexico along with USA. Not wise to call them our "Arch enemies". As far as making a fool of themselves, I dont see where you make that assumption. Mexico played the heaviest favorites to a tie in their own home and did it playing them straight up, not bunkering in the back. They outplayed Netherlands, a #2-#4 favorite, for the first 50 minutes of the game until they made the wrong decision to bunker and protect the lead. The Pk that gave them the win should have never happened had the ref cautioned Robben with a yellow that he himself admitted he deserved after owning up to the fact he dove several times in the game and apologized for it. Mexico was ranked #10 after this round. USA #13-14. Mexico completely dominated Cameroon and Croatia. USA did not dominate anybody. They showed alot of guts and not much else. If not for Howard USA would have lost 5-0 vs Belgium. Thats not improvement. Portugal was their best game. Concacaf Style?? Athletic ball pressure?? USA did not show this in this world cup. Their style was more Greek than anything else. Costa Rica played Italy straight up as it did Uruguay by attacking them and not waiting for the counter the entire game like we did. We had the same taste last world cup. I like to be optomistic but we have to be realistic. Realistically we did not show much improvement from last world cup but fan base is certainly getting bigger. Time for all of us, USA and Mexico, to root for "one of ours" Costa Rica!!

  1. New WorldOrder
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 1:42 p.m.
    William, yes but what most people argue is that if Kobe played soccer we would kill everybody. Do you see Kobe being better than Messi had he picked soccer?? There is absolutely no way of knowing this. What we do know is that and athlete like kobe or Lebron is not exclusive to USA with those characteristics. Tall, fast, strong, athletic. There is a reason so many world class soccer players come in different shapes sizes. SO what makes a great basketball or football player doesnt really mean it would make them a great soccer player.

  1. New WorldOrder
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 1:48 p.m.
    William, dont pay the coaches a salary?? Thats also unrealistic. Very very few pros give back to the community with their time. The solution starts at the top. If USSF would start to not care wther or not a club has facilities, $$$, Pro coaches, high club rankings based on wins and gave clubs USSDA Academy status solely based on pro players developed by counting number of years trained at that specific club you would have a much more honest system as the real developers of talents would be rewarded. Then you would have all the pretenders fall out of business or having to focus on development and changing their ways to compete. It would be a big surprise to everyone how many big clubs dont really develop their own talent and really just poach it. Coaches can get paid just like in every ther part of the world but we must make them accountable and that starts with USSF who then should make the Elite accountable for what they produce and not what they poach or scout only.

  1. Ginger Peeler
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 1:59 p.m.
    Tim Gibson...thank you so much for expressing the way I feel re: the USMNT during this World Cup. I really hope ESPN drops the Brit announcers. I prefer to hear about the action on the field, rather than an endless list of trivia, factlets and factoids. I believe some folks called it "blathering". I've watched ALL of the games and on several occasions, the announcers were so into their stories that they were late to call shots on goal (and one actual goal that I saw). Lots of good suggestions and insight from all the people contributing their comments. But, again, thanks, Tim, for putting into words the way l feel about where we were, where we are, and where we will be! Definitely, GO USA!⚽️

  1. Ginger Peeler
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 2:16 p.m.
    World Order, I have also been pulling for all of our CONCACAF teams. After struggling through the long qualifying process, Mexico came back playing lights out and was cheated out of 2 goals in their first game. I was sorry to see Honduras go 3 and out. Now the USA is gone, too, but we have a very exciting Costa Rican team left to support. FIFA may have to rethink the qualifiers allotted to CONCACAF.

  1. Tim Gibson
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 2:16 p.m.
    NWO, Sorry, Rafa blew it, it was a foul and yes Mexican fans do not like the USMNT in the same way many of USA's fans feel the same. Why is that a problem with you, it's clearly an awesome rivalry & wonderful for CONCACAF. Playing Vs the Germans & Belgium is oranges/apples to Croatia/Cameroon, but nice try mate - I'm sure the Mex's would be "Bunkering" as well as you as you insist especially with as many injured. Oh, and yes I do back other CONCACAF teams when we're not playing them, so kindly don't try to make me out to be your villian.

  1. Tim Gibson
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 2:21 p.m.
    Agree Ginger, I really wish ESPN would just let us have an American game and lose the Euro influenced reporters. I especially enjoyed the Desportes commentary & Why Alexi still has a job I'll never understand!!

  1. Kent James
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 2:54 p.m.
    New World Order, your comparison with Mexico is a great point. Both the US and Mexico went out in the round of 16, but I would have preferred to exit like Mexico did; playing attacking soccer and controlling the game. What's interesting is that during qualifying, Mexico could barely buy a goal (while we qualified fairly easily). So what changed? Mexico changed its coach, and the new coach relentlessly attacked. The only mistake they made was that after going up against the Dutch, instead of continuing to play the high-pressure attacking soccer that got them there, the Mexicans backed off, and paid the price. I'd like to see the US implement a more attacking style, regardless of the opponent (which I thought JK was going to do).

  1. gill agee
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 3:04 p.m.
    One interesting aspect of the discussion is that, for the first time, the US has enough skilled players that we can have an argument over those included vs those excluded. In past times, there weren't enough skilled players to argue about. We might not have enough world class skilled players, but we have quite a number of comparable players who would be creditable on the US team. That's progress.

  1. gill agee
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 3:08 p.m.
    I disagree strongly that the US Youth Program is not making progress. One thing that Gulati/Klinnsmann have done well is to reach out to the US Hispanic community. This includes programs to certify Hispanics as coaches. Ramos' work with U21's is a visible example. JK's elevating Ramos to the National Team coaching staff is another. These steps alone will improve the quality of the player pool available for 2018.

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 3:19 p.m.
    Wondolowski was on the team for one reason and one reason only. To score that GD goal that was placed on a platter for him at 92:30 in a 93 minute game. He knocks that ball in, as he was put there to do, and Klinsmann is a genius, US Soccer is getting it right, and we're all getting stoked for a weekend game against Messi & Co that might break every non-SuperBowl viewing record there is....

  1. Rene Guerra
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 4:31 p.m.
    What's all this fuss about Altidore? He is a mediocre forward and a lazy one who deems defending beneath his greatness. And what's this obsession with athletic prowess, when what is needed is mostly --yes, top-notch physical fitness is necessary-- intelligence and skill. Messi is not a Hulk, neither Iniesta is. Donovan is small fellow, and, when at his prime, he was unstopable. Look at Le Petit Valbuena. The European-style game is athletic, but it is not the only game to success; the embroidery-style game based on continuous-possession-with-a-purpose is another approach to success, that such style is the one we in the USA should explore, given that the physical-behemoths are attracted by the $$$$ millions in American "football", basketball and baseball.

  1. New WorldOrder
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 4:57 p.m.
    Tim, it was absolutely a dive and nothing else. check the English media as to what they say about him. He dove all game and admitted to it and apologized. A rivalry yes but not archenemy. I dont like the "make fool of themselves" remark. Its far from true and unneccesary. Brazil Netherlands better than Germany belgium hands down. Croatia better than Portugal. Ghana Cameroon close. Mexico didnt bunker vs any of them except Netherlands and after taking it to them for 50 minutes and going up 1-0. You are not realistic there mate.

  1. New WorldOrder
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 5:04 p.m.
    Kent, exactly. I too would trade an attacking style for USA and losing to what we showed this World Cup. We showed we could attack for maybe 25 -30 minutes total of all 300 minutes played !! If we lose or get killed then we can scout better and get the players that fit that style. I really dont see what improvement we shown and why so many are so happy. Ask one kid what USA player he would like to be like when he grows up. I bet you they cant even remember one. Why?? Because what they want to do is what guys like Messi, JAmes, etc. do. If I am a Goalie my idol is Howard !!! Thats it!! The best JK did was get the best results he could but only being able to play the only style that hsi team could perform. Bunkering.

  1. New WorldOrder
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 5:12 p.m.
    Gill, those steps alone will not improve the quality of player pool much. Why dont we see more players from Hispanic clubs called in to USSf Camps then ?? Thats not showing we are reaching out. We are telling these Hispanic coaches to send their best players to Academy so they cna get the opportunity to get a call up or get scouted but we are not scouting in those Hispanic neigborhoods. Thats not reaching out. Why cant we hold free state tryouts open to all non USSDA players? And follow ODP structure but free and without the meaningless practice sessions, Make a National non USSDA team to play vs already chosen USA National teams (that are mostly USSDA) and see if USSDA is truly working?? Challenge the sytem. Make it accountable. Meanwhile USA Coaches can get better players out of it. Much less expensive than these USSDA Showcases. Everybody wins!!

  1. Tim Gibson
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 5:57 p.m.
    Not what I said dude, you comprehension level needs quality. Robben admitted diving in the 1st half, Rafa pulled a boner & your rosy glasses can't see it. Yes = made a fool out of an otherwise great tourney. Sorry,Brazil Vs Germany?....we'll see about that. Croatia Vs Ghana? Yea sure expert. See ya in CONCACAF, please don't toss any beers on us Yanx

  1. Bob Escobar
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 6:02 p.m.
    to all: do you want to improve American soccer for the future? do this, encourage little kids to play "street ball" every day until they fall in love with the sport while gaining "confidence" every time they touch the ball, encourage them to juggle, feet, head and every part of the body, with a soccerball or with anything they can juggle, encourage them to "watch" and pay attention to high level soccer (most Americans do this by watching college and professional basketball, football and baseball), make them watch La Liga, Italian Serie A, South American pro leagues (Brazilian and Argentinian are the best), encourage them to NOT play as "much" video games as possible and not to watch stupid reality shows, find a team with a decent coach, a coach that "knows" and "teach" skillful soccer, not KICK AND RUN, like most soccer programs do....I could go on and on on what parents should do to "help" their sons be better players....so maybe 15-20 years from now we'll be able to see an American Messi, CR7, Neymar, James Rodriguez, Xavi, Iniesta, Di Maria, etc, and not just a regular BIG, STRONG SKILL LESS soccer player....athletes? we have them, that is the beauty of this sport, you don't need to be 6' 5" 190lbs, fast, strong, 47" vertical jump, NOOOOOO, all you need is a soccerball and "cojones" to play and learn!!!

  1. Bob Escobar
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 6:04 p.m.
    ....and encourage them to dribble and shoot, don't ever call them a ball hog!

  1. Tim Gibson
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 6:26 p.m.
    NWO, sorry to butt in again, but your comment about the lack of hispanics is out of date. JK inherited most of the current MNT roster from previous admins which had a lot to do with his German-American influence/decisions when choosing this team, he had little time to improve on it. But get out from your cave dude & take off those hate inspired rosey glasses, observe the rosters of the younger national teams and you WILL have a whole new perspective on what JK, Tab Ramos & Javi Perez have brought to our future. I don't know why I even bother with someone that won't show their name & is only here to stir the pot with their frustrations & conspiracy theories on how the entire world is out to screw their team. Face it, Rafa ruined your chances, not the officials. Good luck next time and P.S. don't believe FIFA rankings or what you read in the U.K. press, they also report alien sightings. Peace

  1. New WorldOrder
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 8:03 p.m.
    Tim, I know what robben said. Point is he said he apologized for diving during the game. Should have been cautioned and he would not have taken the fall in the last minute. A good ref would have not called that just for the simple reason of this same player diving throughout the game. So one play makes a fool of an entire tournament performance?? ok. I guess we have different definitions of what makes a fool bro. Did I stutter?? Brazil a better team than Germany hands down and especially at home. Germany barely beat Argelia and USA dude. Dont know what your argument could be. Croatia at Ghana level if anything. Portugal sucked. I dont drink beer. I punch people that mess with me for no reason or make racist remarks. You shouldnt have an issue with me homie.

  1. New WorldOrder
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 8:15 p.m.
    Tim, I am not complaining about lack of Hispanics Mr Comprehension. read Gill's comment to witch I answered. Has nothing to do with lack of Hispanics. i Just pointed out that they are not really recruiting in Hispanic communities. Am I wrong?? Its ok if they dont. Doesnt bother me. Dont put your hate on me dude. I dont see you as my arch enemy. So dont believe FIFA rankings but do believe they are not corrupt?? Got it. Thx. You must not have wathced that Brazil vs croatia game.

  1. stewart hayes
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 8:43 p.m.
    We saw Chile turn on the gas against Holland in their group game. Chile wanted to end up atop the group so they would not play Brazil in the round of 8. Chile was not afraid to go all out for the winner. Holland was content to wait for their opportunities. In Belgium vs USA we saw an attacking tactic from the outset from Belgium. But in this case I think they just thought they were so much better that they could get away with it. From the opening whistle they came at us. We were content and forced to set up deep and be patient. It almost backfired on Belgium because we came very close to winning. We have seen very good teams in this world cup forced to defend by 'lesser' teams attacking relentlessly. We don't need bigger, faster, stronger athletes or more hispanics etc... we need more depth and we obviously need to have more players on the field who can score goals. Why do we take 3 goalkeepers for example when most probably 2 is satisfactory? Coaches out there can teach their teams to score more goals at the same time they will be learning how to deny their opponents those same goal scoring opportunities. Nothing teaches a love of the game like goalscoring. We need more players like Tony Sanneh who played as a forward, could play goalkeeper, midfielder and as a defender with the national team and Hertha BSC.

  1. cony konstin
    commented on: July 2, 2014 at 9:47 p.m.
    After coaching for 39 years internationally and domestically, reading this article and peoples comments I came to this conclusion. The truth is that the USA did a good job. JK made a good effort. But in end in the USA it doesn't matter if you play beautiful or ugly football. If you finish second, fifth, or last. You are a still a doormat. Americans love winners. And at this moment in time we are losers. If General Patton was coaching the US National team he would never tell the American people or the world that we are not good enough. He would tell the American people and the rest of the world that we are going to conquer the world and we are coming to kick your butts straight to hell. That's what he told the American people and the world in 1944. General Patton is not here today but the US still loves a winner. Question that we need to ask ourselves is how are we going to become winners, champions, number one, the best, GOATS? Because for the last 40 years people have been saying that the US is going to be great one day in Soccer. We have always had good players in the US but we never have had any superstars to take us to the next level. Why? Because our system is wrong. We don't need more coaches, $300 mesh soccer shoes, coaching curriculums, coaching dvds, tournaments, nice multi color uniforms, private trainers and all the gimmicks out there. What we need is a place,a sandlot, play ground environment for kids to play 7 dyas a week for free, starting at the age of 5. We need a soccer revolution in the USA. We need 100,000 futsal courts especially in the inner cities. When we see this happen then we will start to see magical players appear throughout our nation. Then phase two can kick in. Then We can create a NEW SPARTA for these magical players. Meanwhile people will keep blaming the coaches, too many German Americans, no Latino players, bad college system, the MLS has too many internationals, and blame game keeps on going. Special Players win championships not coaches or good players. The US team and their staff did a good job but they are still doormats. If we want to be number one we need to change our environment. We need radical change and this change is not going to come from the system that is currently in place. That is the truth!!!! So instead of making excuses or playing the blame game go out and change US SOCCER!!!!

  1. soccer talk
    commented on: July 3, 2014 at 12:53 a.m.
    NWO, I do agree that mex outplayed the Dutch By slim margins and Robbins does dive as Many others trying to get the call. He was fouled In the box in the first half which all the commentators acknowledged after he was cleared. Game decider was a tough call and Could go either way. Not to smart for defender To give the call a chance. I love the Mex Us Rivalry. But there will be a long time coming Before any love will aspire. I've been part Of the mex team games here as well as watched The disrespectful behavior(fighting, drunk beer bottle throwers, profanity... That is over and Abundant to the tolerant level. This for lack Of better terms pisses me off when I can't Take my kid to a game. U wAnder why the animosity exists. On the other hand. The USA dominates In its homegrown sports of football. Basketba Baseball because its institutionalized and From little league, HS, college ... And little kids Aspire to be the next Durant, big poppy, Peyton Manning... Cuz they American Sport icons in The news and ESPN more often than the messis, Which get hyped up every 4 years. Most any Kid can aspire, but truth is they will not even Make it to the MLS much less college. But They see the big $ and shoot for it. Hopefully They can get a scholarship, and a college Degree which will help more than most. Bottom line is we are not Brazil, Mexico, Germany, ... And cannot immolate their success By trying to clone their training genre. Instead Build on the rise of soccer in a non traditional country by finding the pieces of success from Other established powers the make an attacking More exciting brand of American style to go Along with the spirit and grit that has long Existed. We must support the MLS even as a second tier league with kids finding future Stars to aspire to be when they grow. It's a slow Process with many areas of development To be overhauled. Unfortunately it will take time. JK deserves another WC to have a chance to Excel especially with the young promising Players that have WC experience. He has the US winning, and many Americans excited After his arrival. Sweet 16 would have been Great this round and anyone's bracket. Ugly Or not the goal is to advance. We did well With the squad we had and anybody should Proud of our showing. Go USA!

  1. BJ Genovese
    commented on: July 3, 2014 at 1:05 a.m.
    US soccer is looking at kids who are in there development academies. Also, they identify at 13-14 and stick with this small select group to long. They need to branch out and widen the net.

  1. Ginger Peeler
    commented on: July 3, 2014 at 1:41 a.m.
    Stewart, each team in the World Cup is allowed 23 players: 3 goalkeepers and 20 field players.

  1. G O
    commented on: July 3, 2014 at 10:18 a.m.
    BJ Genovese is correct in the comment two above. The "scouts" and US Soccer experts just stick with what they have in their laptop, cell and tablet databases. Big mistake. Columns of data in a spreadsheet tells one nothing.

  1. G O
    commented on: July 3, 2014 at 10:25 a.m.
    The article above concludes with these lines, "While rise of the Red Devils coincided with a concerted effort by Belgian soccer authorities to seek out immigrant players playing in the streets, at a much more fundamental level they introduced an emphasis on technique in young players at clubs across Belgium following the embarrassment of co-hosting Euro 2000 and exiting in the group stage." No, this is really not true. Belgian soccer at the local level clubs would collapse tomorrow if the Algerian, Moroccan, Tunisian, Egyptian, Turkish ethnic players aged 6 - 25 weren't there and involved. The local level clubs cannot field teams at the U17, U15, U13, U11, U9 and U7 levels without these ethnicities involved. So many clubs have already folded. The only switch is that the "old men" in charge in Belgian soccer looked at what France had done and they just did was was obviously practical to keep soccer solvent in the small town and suburb clubs. It was simply this: Getting rid of the stigmas and bias against those without the traditional last names, simply giving them more tryouts, more exposure, more looks. The Dutch do the very same - as they have to. We'll see the very same with the Danes, just as one also sees this now with the Swedes AND already with the Swiss.

  1. william newsom
    commented on: July 3, 2014 at 10:38 a.m.
    @NW - First we say we dont like the pay for play system but say its unrealistic to expect anything other than that because of coaches salaries and they deserve to get payed, im confused! So USSDA is suppose to track players to make sure they are with a club for 4 years at least to show that club can develop players? Right now the clubs that are in USSDA are the ones who can afford to pay for those teams to play for free. How do you measure a successful coach? MLS players promoted? Overseas promoted? How?

  1. kate debakker
    commented on: July 3, 2014 at 2:18 p.m.
    I'm sorry for my English. We (Belgians) don't have Algerian, Tunisian, Egyptian ethnic players. We do have Moroccan, some Turkish and players with Congolese origins, or children of former international players like Origi (father is from Kenya, but played in Belgium), . Every small village has at least 1 soccerteam. Very young kids play soccer, boys and more and more girls. They play it on the playground in schools, in their gardens, like you Americans play basketball. Local scouts try to find talented youngsters. They collect them after school with a bus for training and bring them back home. The players must be fyscial strong, but also smart enough to understand the game think in advance. So these talented young players have to show their schoolresults at the topteams. At the age of 14-15 the most talented play go to an academy of a team that has special connections with a school nearby, or go abroad (to Holland or France). And as someone mentioned, they get payed, a lot! We only have 11.000.000 inhabitants. The disadvantage is that the pool to recruit is small, the advantage is that the players know each other since they are very young. The players age 26-27 (Vertonghen, Vermaelen, Kompany, Dembele, Fellaini, Mirallas), were 4th in the olympics games of 2008. They play al ready more than 6 year together. They all play in the premier league, so they meet each other there also (together with Tim Howard). The younger generation age 19-23 have played in the junior Belgian team. In Belgium we said that this world cup is just a test, but results are expected in 2016 in the European Cup en in 2018 World cup. We have a group of very talented younger players that must be ready in 2018. Our goalkeeper is only 22, he has to grow a lot. Eden Hazard has 2 younger brothers that could even be better than Eden. Thorgan Hazard starts in Chelsea as well. Januzaj (19) will be at his top in 2018. The athletic capacities are important, that doesn't mean they have to be tall. Only goalkeepers have to be at least 185cm. Talented young goalkeepers are screened for their length. When testing reveals that they won't be 185cm, unfortunately they cannot stay in a topteam. Soccer is very alive in Belgium. Next saturday the musicfestival Rock Werchter will have big screens for the 4 games. (Pearl Jam will play during the game of Holland) http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/27827569 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfZH6qgb8v4 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2191648/The-Belgian-Invasion-Including-Eden-Hazard-Marouane-Fellaini-Vincent-Kompany.html http://www.rockwerchter.be/en

  1. kate debakker
    commented on: July 3, 2014 at 2:43 p.m.
    And the Red Devils are very close to their fans. During qualification period there was a challenge for the whole country. If we as a country succeed in the challenge, the players would do something for their fans. They had a challenge for women, for children, for the whole country etc. The players are meet their fans and kids who like to be a Red Devil. So young talented kids show themselves. Kids challenge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Beje8qz7rnU

  1. Kent James
    commented on: July 4, 2014 at 12:16 a.m.
    Kate, thanks for the insights from Belgium. And your English is quite good. Of course, now that you've given us the Belgian secrets, you'd better hope we don't meet again in 2018, because the result will be different, thanks to you (:-).

  1. kate debakker
    commented on: July 4, 2014 at 4:40 a.m.
    We all look forward to meet the USA again! Both teams have a positive attitude. They showed the world that playing a great game and fair play go together well :)

  1. TK TK
    commented on: July 5, 2014 at 2:16 p.m.
    To be realistic, with all the money involved we will not get rid of the pay to play system any time soon. Thats why you make the Elite, in this case USSDA, accountable. The only one that can do that is the USSF. The USSDA's #1 purpose and reason to exist is to "develop" USA's best talent. Its in the name, United States Soccer "Development" Academy. This means to all of us that we should take our players to the USSDA to "develop" and not just to get recruited and placed in a pool with other top prospects. If a USSDA club is not developing much of their own talent why are we so eager to take our "already top players" there?? Why is the USSF so eager to promote them as the best place to be if they have nothing to show for their own talent?? Why tell our top players that they should be in a USSDA club if that player has shown to develop better outside the USSDA system than the ones inside of it ?? The USSF should rank all clubs, USSDA and nonUSSDA, as to years of developemnt of top players in USA so that the paying customers can see exactly who is doing all the developing to better spend their buck !! How do you measure a successful coach?? Easy. keep track of our top 150-500 players each age group and ask them what club and coach they had. If they had the same coach or club for 5 years and then an Academy coach for only 1-2 years, who do you think deserves the credit for development?? Give each club its due. Now if the same club is developing several top players and its not an Academy club, dont you think parents should know this so they can make a more informed decision?? Dont you think the USSF should want to know this to see exactly what system is better?? Who cares how many games a USSDA wins or how highly rsnked they are if "player development" is your main concern?? How hard can it really be to start a point system where you get higher points for pro players and work your way down to college ??

  1. TK TK
    commented on: July 5, 2014 at 2:24 p.m.
    How many good players do we see going to USSDA clubs at U8-U12 and dont really develop much?? Why? Because USSDA clubs are promoted as the best by the USSF as the best place to develop. Does the USSF know this for a fact?? Do they know for sure that these clubs develop the best at U8-U18 at every age?? Do they even keep ttrack of the coaching staff at these young ages?? My guess is not. What if the club or clubs doing the best job development wise are smaller no name club or Hispanic league teams that no one outside the league knows about ?? Shouldnt the pay to play parents know exactly what the better more informed choice is at least?? You know how much money would be saved?? ALOT!! That would also force these great USSDA clubs to fine tune their development systems at all ages. ACCOUNTABILITY.

  1. TK TK
    commented on: July 5, 2014 at 2:37 p.m.
    Soccer, the USA has given Mexicans many many more reasons to hate us if those are your standards. A beer in the head is nothing really when compared. We live in a hipocritical world. If we cant show love for an entire country for the acts of few where does that leave us Americans?? Everybody should hate us then. I ahve heard some ignorant Hillbillies make many racist remarks at USA vs Mexico games. Is there a certain number of them that we should take into account so that Mexicans are right to hate all of us or our USMNT?? I listen to Univision commentators that are pro Mexico and South AMerica but it was nice to hear them root for USA as "one of ours" as they said. Your reasons for being anti mexico are as childish and ignorant as the few you critisize. you also missed a bigger reason as to why our youth look up to basketball and football stars and not soccer. Most of those stars are born and developed in USA and usually are great stories that give anyone hope to do the same !! Most basketball stars do their developing in the ghetto and it is wellknon that there is absolutely no need to sign up for an "Elite" program to be able to achieve that dream. Actually its the contrary. Hwat message are we sending with soccer and it's Academies?? No where near the same. Even if we get a great player to come out of the USSDA, which I highly doubt, what message will we send to our youth?? If you have no money to afford a USSDA club you have no chance?? All these diehard USA fans and nobody here aks or demands accounatability???


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MLS will open its 2015 season on March 6 when the defending champion LA Galaxy hosts ...
Video Pick: Alex Meier on Fire     
The leading scorer in the Europe's highest scoring league is a player you may not have ...
What They're Saying: Chris Wondolowski    
"I'm not over it. I'm not sure I'll ever get over it. [Pause] I actually think ...
U.S. U-20s win at San Pedro Sula    
San Pedro Sula is no easy place to play as the USA (2-1 loser in the ...
Press and Lloyd combine for all seven in U.S. win    
After a tie and loss in its first two games at the Torneio Internacional da Brasilia, ...
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