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U.S. Soccer hires High Performance Director
by Mike Woitalla, February 13th, 2017 7:27PM
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TAGS:  men's national team, u.s. soccer, women's national team, youth, youth boys, youth girls

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The U.S. Soccer Federation has hired as High Performance Director James Bunce, who previously served as the Head of Performance for the English Premier League and Head of Athletic Development of EPL club Southampton.

The 31-year-old Bunce worked at Southampton for eight years before spending three years at the EPL, where he started out as Head of Sports Science.

"I am honored and humbled to join U.S. Soccer," Bunce said in a press release. "The Federation is an organization that continues to dedicate the right resources to high performance and development growth. I am looking forward to getting started and confident that we will be able to accelerate U.S. Soccer's ability to develop world-class players, coaches and referees."

U.S. Soccer announced that Bunce “will lead the supporting personnel and initiatives dedicated to enhancing elite athletic performance and improving the development of younger players” ... covering “all areas across physical development, nutrition, recovery, strength and conditioning, mental conditioning, performance data and performance research and innovation.”

While Bunce worked at EPL, it created an Injury Surveillance-Based project that tracked injuries for all players from under-9 to first team.

At U.S. Soccer he will work with all national teams and the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.

"We are adding a world-class level sports performance expert to our staff," U.S. Soccer Director of Sport Development Ryan Mooney said. "James possesses the right balance of theoretical and practical experience that we are confident will lead to an acceleration across all of our player development initiatives."



15 comments
  1. Fanfor soccer
    commented on: February 14, 2017 at 2:01 p.m.
    I am curious as to how this is going to be accomplished. Coast to Coast. This ain't Kansas Dorothy.
  1. Leslie Mohacsy
    commented on: February 14, 2017 at 2:15 p.m.
    Who is Kansas Dorothy?
  1. Bob Ashpole
    commented on: February 14, 2017 at 4:22 p.m.
    The logical approach is to run a pilot program to develop the practical applications of the theory as the first step to broad reform.
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: February 14, 2017 at 10 p.m.
    Looks like another niche coming up for the diploma racket .I'm sure somehow the soccer coaches association will create and cook up a new angle to further their monetary rewards in addition to the coaching licenses. Eversince the pay to play racket, the doors are wide open for making a good buck . I remember East Germany who likewise were aggressive in these matters but didn't do much in soccer other than making good athletes.
  1. Bob Ashpole
    commented on: February 15, 2017 at 12:41 a.m.
    Hi Frank. I actually am optimistic that this represents a sign that USSF might start banding youth brackets by biological rather than chronological age. This idea is starting to get a toehold with the English FA. The practice would mostly impact ages 10 to 15 and some individuals as old as 18.
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: February 15, 2017 at 10:42 a.m.
    Bob, isn't amazing that whatever these associations come upon the past two weeks, like for instance less refs, less coaching, now biological age, in order to try to improve the youth's development is nothing but REINVENTING the wheel in soccer for these elements can all be traced to STREET SOCCER. I've been around too long to see through all this garbage. The leadership just doesn't get it, and it so simple.
  1. Fire Paul Gardner Now
    commented on: February 15, 2017 at 4:23 p.m.
    What is so simple? Someone is supposed to mandate kids go out in the street and play soccer?
  1. Bob Ashpole
    commented on: February 15, 2017 at 5:37 p.m.
    FPGN, the problem is simple to understand. In the past most children played unorganized sports for many hours a week. Then they began organized sports while continuing unorganized play. Coaches were training players who already had a lot of experience. So it was a matter or giving feedback and showing players how to improve their game. Now children aren't active and don't play except in organized situations. The consequences of the change are easily predicted.
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: February 15, 2017 at 5:05 p.m.
    FPGN, Obviously ,you don't understand my point. It is a question of studying what street offered and then copy all those elements of street soccer and apply it to training the youth..It is that simple
  1. Bob Ashpole
    commented on: February 15, 2017 at 5:41 p.m.
    It is a little more complicated Frank, because the kids today are behind developmentally in all aspects. Not just soccer specific skills and tactics, but they are behind in general movement skills and mental skills as well. NSCAA is not teaching youth coaches how to train focus. Why school age children cannot focus is hard to explain or accept.
  1. Bob Ashpole
    commented on: February 15, 2017 at 5:42 p.m.
    I hate auto-correct. Should read "now" instead of "not."
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: February 15, 2017 at 7:48 p.m.
    Bob, I have to agree with David...God help us! I think we are getting to mired down in all stuff. Let's just keep it simple. East Germany created athletic machines but turned out as a result to be lousy soccer players. I remember Van Hanegem, one of Holland' said greats, but one of the slowest players, was told to work on his speed....the result was his game became worse and not effective. They immediately stopped it for they realize it effected his rhythm and biology to whom he is as a person that made the great player he is.
  1. Bob Ashpole
    commented on: February 15, 2017 at 10:18 p.m.
    I agree that coaches need to remember soccer is a game and it is supposed to be fun. The problem that coaches are stuck with is that parents don't prioritize their children's development. Working mothers is the norm now.
  1. David Mont
    commented on: February 15, 2017 at 5:09 p.m.
    God help us!
  1. frank schoon
    commented on: February 16, 2017 at 8:23 a.m.
    Bob, like I said before ,we are getting way too mired down in all this stuff. It reminds me of a soccer meeting with a soccer association back in the mid'70's where I proposed that young kids should play small sided games in order to learn skills faster and having more ball touches,, an element of street soccer of course.These people were clueless, for no one did this and it wasn't until sometime in the '80s, soccer associations began to institute small sided games. But I remembered one woman objected to my proposal for there were no goalies involved and stated "Now we won't have the kids experience the 'agony and ecstasy of being a goalie!!!" . God help us all! Street soccer was not meant for goalies but playing soccer with the feet . Or I remember when George Will was against term limits at one time, before he wised up, because we would lose good people in politics...God help us all! I suppose he had a finite and not too optimistic opinion on humanity and society in general, which has done us pretty well, thus far. You brought up working mothers. We need to look at it in relative terms, like comparing how kids fare in poor underdevelopment 3rd world countries parental, health, education and where children's development is much , much worse but these same kids seem to display better soccer abilities and skills than ours when they immigrate here.

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