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Rongen Blames U-20 Failure On 'Part-Time' Players

  • AP, Monday, October 5, 2009 3:15 PM
At the Under-20 World Cup the U.S. team's erratic performances prevented it from reaching the second round for the first time since 1987. "We simply weren't good enough to get the results we needed. That's the harsh reality," U.S. coach Thomas Rongen said. "We are bitterly disappointed with the results." The U.S. team lost 3-0 to Germany, beat Cameroon 4-1, and then lost 3-0 to South Korea.

Rongen warned that the recent U.S. performance revealed a growing failure in the USA to groom elite players. "We have a bunch of part-time players, quite frankly," Rongen said of his roster. "Players around the world play hard games every weekend. Our players don't. That's a huge concern for our country - we are falling behind in the under-20s."

Rongen also blamed the performance on MLS's decision to scrap the MLS Reserve Division last year. "None of our MLS players are regular starters, and there's no reserve league," he said. "We go from full-time residency to a black hole. ... That's the reason we are erratic from game to game. There's no game sharpness, there's no game fitness, and no game rhythm. Because of the MLS dropping the reserve league the black hole will become deeper and darker."

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