Q&A with the SA Editors: Dec. 13, 1999

Tim Mahoney St. Louis, Mo. What is your opinion on Spartak Moscow (Indiana) winning the NCAA Division I championship? My opinion ... this is a slap in the face for American athletics and soccer development in the U.S. in general when we can't even recruit from within our shores. By the way, how do you say Hoosier in Russian? And did they have to play both national anthems before the game? I guess it's quite appropriate though that Indiana's colors are "red" and white. Mike Woitalla: I'll have to correct you on a few items before I get to the part of your question that may have some legitimacy -- whether having foreign-bred players in college soccer is good or bad for soccer development in the United States. Indiana fielded two players born in Ukraine -- the excellent pair of Yuri Lavrinenko and Aleksey Korol. Moscow, of course, is in Russia. These players were recruited out of Rochester, N.Y., where they moved when they were 14 years old. Jerry Yeagley did not recruit any members of his last two championship teams from abroad. The color of the Ukraine flag is blue and yellow. I would not consider Lavrinenko and Korol foreigners because they came to this country as boys. But more importantly, I don't believe it harms college soccer or the development of American-born players to compete with and against foreign-bred talent. On the contrary, it helps American soccer. Players improve by competing against good players, no matter where they're from. And since soccer is an international sport, it is especially important for American youth products to be exposed to players who bring traits from other nations to our soccer fields. (If you have a question for a Soccer America Magazine editor, click "Q&A with SA Editors" in the left column of the home page under "Interactive.")
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