USA's record streak ends with 3-1 defeat

[CONCACAF UNDER-17 CHAMPIONSHIP] Roberto Elis and Kevin Alvarez scored second-half goals to give Honduras a 3-1 win over the USA in the Concacaf Under-17 Championship quarterfinals. The result earned Honduras a berth at the 2013 Under-17 World Cup and snapped the USA's string of having qualified 15 straight times for the world championship that began in 1985. The USA's exit after a disappointing showing will accelerate consideration of whether it's time for U.S. Soccer to shut down the U-17 residency program in Bradenton, Fla., launched in 1999 ...

All the U.S. U-17s but U.S. goalscorer, the Argentine-based Joel Sonora, are currently enrolled in the residency program. But the USA -- which had won all seven previous meetings with Honduras in Concacaf U-17 play -- was no match for an excellent Catracho team built around six starters from Olimpia's reserve program.

Honduras and the USA traded goals late in the first half -- Sonora, the son of former MLS defender Diego Sonora, scored on a blast from 25 yards -- but it was all Honduras after the break.

Elis sneaked behind defender Tommy Redding to put away a through ball from Olimpia teammate Brayan Velasquez. Elis could have made it 3-1 when he blasted a shot off the crossbar on a breakaway minutes later, but Alvarez put the game out of reach with a free kick from 25 yards in the 69th minute.

There was much anticipation about the current U.S. U-17 group when it beat Brazil 3-1 at the Nike International Friendlies in December 2011. Junior Flores turned heads with a magical performance against Brazil and was soon signed to a pre-contract by German champion Borussia Dortmund only to take effect when he turns 18, but by Concacaf qualifying he was no longer a fixture in the U.S. lineup.

Shortly after the current cycle began, Colombian Wilmer Cabrera did not have his contract extended, and he was replaced by Richie Williams, most of whose coaching career had been spent as an assistant with the New York Red Bulls.

The results in 2012 did not match some of the early success the U-17s had, so their early exit from the Concacaf qualifying tournament doesn't come as a complete surprise.

The loss means that for the first time, the U-17s will spent the rest of the school year in Bradenton without having something to play for. Will its door shut after they head out this year?

The growth of the Development Academy -- and MLS academy teams in particular -- means that Bradenton may no longer be the essential development program for young standouts if once was. While its boarding school environment draws attracts many players and provides a soccer setting that some wouldn't otherwise get at home, it isn't for everyone.

At the very least, a U-17 national team built around Bradenton-based players may no longer work. The group Williams took to Panama City from Bradenton was a very average team. Only Sonora, who plays in Boca Juniors' youth system in Buenos Aires, isn't in residency.

In the bigger picture, the early exit was another blow to the U.S. youth program. It marked the third time in three years a U.S. team failed to qualify in an age group competition after the U-20s in 2011 and U-23s (Olympic qualifying) in 2012.

April 14 in Panama City
USA 1 Honduras 3. Goals: Sonora 45; Alegria 42. Elis 58, Alvarez 69.
USA -- Caldwell; Moore, Redding, Donovan, Requejo; Turner (Glad, 46), Lema (Elney, 70), Sonora (Winn, 77), Rubin, Selemani, Baird.
Honduras -- C.Hernandez; Alvarez, Romero, Santos, J. Hernandez, Garcia, Velasquez (Arita, 92+), Alegria, Elis (Bodden, 88), Borjas (D.Flores, 72), R.Flores.
Referee: Henry Bejarano (Costa Rica).

139 comments about "USA's record streak ends with 3-1 defeat".
  1. Anthony Scott, April 14, 2013 at 11:01 p.m.

    Get Rid of Bradenton ASAP and give that money for these NWSL teams to play on grass fields.

    Richie Williams will hopefully be cursed by ruining something that should have been considered EASY.

  2. Luis Arreola, April 14, 2013 at 11:29 p.m.

    Let's see. In the last 2-3 years we have failed to qualify for 3 out of 5 major cpmetitions. In none of those 3 did we get eliminated by Mexico. So this means that we are losing to teams that are the size of a small USA state. That said, Mexico had a very difficult time getting the win vs Guatemala who deserved to qualify for World Cup over Panama or Canada.

  3. Paul C, April 15, 2013 at 7:27 a.m.

    Each Nat team coach from 14 to senior team has been replaced within the past couple of years. Trying to get them all on the same page as JK and the senior team. A new style of play has been introduced as well. What has not changed at most levels is the scouting system. We are still looking for players who want to play the ball in the air and compete on athleticism. If the players can not/will not play possession attacking soccer with the ball on the floor, then we will continue to get these types of results.

    We can either change the player pools by replacing the scouting systems, or go back to the direct over the top style. Which by the way, did not give us good results either. Maybe we qualified only to be bounced in the first rounds.

    Until the entire system gets on the same page, we are not really moving forward.

  4. Bill Anderson, April 15, 2013 at 8:06 a.m.

    Bradenton Prep Academy. Let the boys finish out the spring school year and send them home. Have a yard sale to get rid of all the gear, and never let this mistake happen again.

  5. Peter Skouras, April 15, 2013 at 8:08 a.m.

    Get rid of Bradenton ASAP? Any other "full time" environments around? The Vancouver me out here...please...been following "Youth Professional Football" from around the world amongst other things! It's our structure guys...100% Offers little or no "urgency!" If US Leagues (from the Greater LA League up until the MLS)had "Prizes and Consequences" we'd see a jump in level...! Finally, the Social and Cultural understanding of "Soccer" in the United States compared with the rest of the world is drastically different...very difficult to a matter of fact I'm pretty much done with it! However, the few of you who continue to "dream" for the US to "one day" get there deserve commendation! Have a great week from this former US Youth International!

  6. Bill Anderson, April 15, 2013 at 8:09 a.m.

    New York Red Bull and the East Coast Mafia. T H A N K S A L O T ! LOL

  7. Peter Skouras, April 15, 2013 at 8:14 a.m.

    ...forgot to qualify...former US u-15 Captain, U-20 1980 Youth World qualifying squad, 1979-1981 Brighton & Hove Albion Apprentice, 1981-84 San Diego Sockers (NASL), Greek Super and Championship Leagues-1984-1990...I've seen it evolve guys!!!

  8. Bill Anderson, April 15, 2013 at 8:15 a.m.

    Peter, You nailed it "Prizes and Consequences". Until the development of our players is placed in the hands of the MLS academies (not phony rec club academies), there will be no substantial improvement. When those teams win or lose based on the talent they develop and sale for profit, we will see development. Bradenton didn't help us, it hurt us, but it was a political fiefdom for US Soccer.

  9. Peter Skouras, April 15, 2013 at 8:52 a.m.

    Thanks is not to receive compliments once and awhile...I tell you...have been trying to express myself with SA of which "covered" my playing days back in the late 70's and 80's and today acts in the most "peculiar" (incredibly disrespectful)of manners! Now, I'm involved with a "small" club in Greece that has been "battling" to gain "Promotion" from the Athenian Amateur 1st League into the Greek 3rd Professional Division. 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 2nd, this has been going on since my Mother moved my brother Costa and myself to Athens in 1971 and left in 1974...42 freaking years!!! My point? As with many Greek Amateur Clubs, "Big Clubs" such as Olympiakos, Panathinaikos, PAOK "scout" and "acquire" youngsters from these "feeder" amateur leagues who "live and die" under pressure week in and week out! you don't go up...who has been produced? How much has been made to pay the bills for in this case, "AO Holargos!" 66 Amateur Stadiums...and I mean "grounds!" in Athens alone!!! Yes, Greece is struggling economically...but let me tell you...they are producing...the U-20's are favored to challenge seriously for the Youth World Cup in Turkey, the Greek National Team won the Euro in 2004, Olympiakos u-20's reached the Quarters of the "NextGenSeries" getting beaten by "Villa" at Villa Park 1-0...and all of this is recent!!!! WHAT IN THE WORLD IS US SOCCER AND ITS STRUCTURE DOING? I am finishing up my education ( did Football first which I don't suggest to any young player especially here in the US...GO TO SCHOOL GUYS...OUR SOCCER DOES NOT OFFER THE "PRIZE") and will be obtaining my Bachelor's in Psych. From there and regarding Football I am headed back to Athens and AO Holargos to live out "the dream!" You should see the "Youth Academy" of this club!!! It's so exciting...especially when the "large clubs" and now the "EU" clubs come searching with "check books" open! But they don't come searching in "soccer camps" and "3 day" combines...they come searching in the which is the Athenian Amateur Division...where it's "Promotion/Relegation" for "10" months! Oh yes, they are there! This is where the some truly special "16" year old's are recognized!I don't see it happening here Bill! We also have a problem of working together...everyone has their own "agenda!" Finally, let me tell you this...those who are "CHARGING" kids and their families outrageous amounts need to STOP! FIX THE DOMESTIC STRUCTURE..ALL THE COACHING IN THE WORLD WILL NOT IMPROVE OUR GAME...BUT A LEAGUES WITH "PRIZE AND CONSEQUENCE" WILL. Have a great day Bill...looking forward in chatting with you more. Peter

  10. Wesley Martino, April 15, 2013 at 8:55 a.m.

    So who takes responsibility for all the tournaments we have not qualified for? I haven't heard one person say "It's my fault for these qualifying tournaments". Fire Sunil Gulati. Isn't he the CEO here. If a company failed to meet its targets 3 out of 5 years.. He/She would be fired.

  11. Peter Skouras, April 15, 2013 at 8:57 a.m.

    Hey Bill...UCLA or USC are the "targeted" destinations...! 2 more semesters!

  12. Bruce Gowan, April 15, 2013 at 8:59 a.m.

    I have never thought that a small group of selected players training in FL was the correct way to build youth nat teams. I join the chorus of posters who say close the FL operation. It would be great if MLS would pick up the load but if not hold ID camps at multiple sites around the country with training camps. The club system ODP system is not finding all the right players. I watch the games and it is not the coaches it is the quality of the players.

  13. Tagbo Ekwueme-Okoli, April 15, 2013 at 9:08 a.m.

    As long as we price the bulk of US youth out of higher levels of soccer, it will be come more and more difficult to compete with the rest of the world.

  14. Paul C, April 15, 2013 at 9:09 a.m.

    @Bruce Gowan...They have id camps called market training centers all over the country hosted by US scouts. The problem is the selection criteria put in place to get the players to those. Its local coaches sending their favorite players. The system is broken because 'most' of the scouts and coaches see a kid who can dominate on the field at U13/14 and say that kid will be special. However, he is dominated because he already matured physically and his soccer iq and technique are lacking. By the time U17 rolls around, he is no better off than he was at U14 and those small technical players overlooked at U14 grew. Then what do you know. We don't qualify. This is not the players fault, its the scouting systems fault. We need to stop putting former nat team players in place. (sorry Peter) because most of them came up through the same system and don't recognize they are part of the problem.

  15. Luis Arreola, April 15, 2013 at 10:23 a.m.

    Paul, the scouts are employed by USSF. What is clear in their agenda is to pick players that are either on Academy teams or big $$ clubs. They call it a "competitive environment" to justify their confined choice of scouting. Why?? Very simple. Future employment. There is no money in scouting small club players. There is no $$ in even taking time to see exactly how competitive or how professional the training actually could be in a small club. It is predetermined that if you are a big $$ club then you must certainly have a more competitive environment and better training.

  16. Luis Arreola, April 15, 2013 at 10:37 a.m.

    Peter, I must agree with you. I think the bigger problem is the selection of players. Lets try picking the very best players regardless of any affiliations to start. We are certainly not working together in what should be a common goal - fielding the very best USA teams. We are actually fighting against that. USA soccer has become status quo. Its not how good you are. Its who you know and for who you are playing for. ODP was never going to adequatly work because of the $$. Academy?? USed primarily as the ultimate status for clubs to justify their outragoes prices. So what if some dont charge their U16 & U18 any money. WHat about all the U8's - U15's ?? Isnt that where the development should start at these "Development" Academies?? How can they succesfully develop or even identify quality talent if they are charging these ages $1500-$2500 a year to make up for Academy fees??

  17. Paul C, April 15, 2013 at 10:48 a.m.

    @Luis..I could not agree more about the scouting system. It is a who you know system.

    The Academy attached to our local club charges $5,000. Is the only club in the entire state.

    Parents would be thrilled to only pay $1500

  18. Luis Arreola, April 15, 2013 at 10:48 a.m.

    Bruce, I have taken my son to these USSF TC's (5 of them) in the last 1.5 years. He gets played 1-2 years up all the time. He scores in most of these events. He assists in the rest of them. He scored 2 goals in a 4-2 win at a USSF Regional last summer vs top 98' defenders. He is a 99'. What else does he have to do to get a National Pool look?? We have also seen who they do invite from our area. Only difference?? They are Academy. My son is not. He very well could be if he wanted to and has been. He is a starter/go to guy on any of the Academy teams in our area. For justifiable reasons he has chosen to not play Academy. What do USSF Scouts tell us?? He must be part of a more competitive environment. They have never taken the time to come out to watch him play in his current environment. They "assume". He will go to a "TOP" Private High School under scholarship because of soccer. He is being scouted by German scouts at the moment. Does this make any sense??

  19. Luis Arreola, April 15, 2013 at 10:54 a.m.

    Paul, your state is a great example of how Academy has worked against scouting the best players in their area. I gaurantee you that if you had 1-2 more Academies in your state the prices would fall. At least for the top players. Competition. There is no money in promoting the very best players possible. USSF is "trusting" Academies to do this. We are supposed to trust Academies. We see how that's working out.

  20. Walt Pericciuoli, April 15, 2013 at 11:01 a.m.

    I'm on board with you Peter.I've been saying all along,our current "academy" and residency program is worthless.You are right,players need to fight for something.Winning and losing is important to developing winning players.The Academy programs should be restricted to and be mandatory for all MSL teams.No fees required.In fact,all youth soccer clubs should be affiliated with the MLS teams, perhaps by regions. When there is a huge geographic problem, the US Soccer should offer a program to subsidize MLS teams to help reach out into those remote soccer areas. When a player is discovered by a local club and referred up to the academy programs,the local club should be given a financial reward that will help them continue discovering and developing young players. US Soccer should also contribute whenever a player makes the National Pool. This way, everyone in US Soccer feels they are part of the program and have something to gain by developing and promoting players. The local clubs already play in leagues and tournaments and National Championships, so the winning ethic is already in place.Current academy teams play only each other and often their Nat pool players are off somewhere else training and not competing.Normally the clubs that develop the better players will be more successful the more successful,the more recognition for the club and its players,more recognition for the players will equal more financial reward for the youth clubs. Everyone benefits.

  21. Joe Linzner, April 15, 2013 at 12:05 p.m.

    At Peter,
    Hi Peter, my experience parallels yours except a generation earlier. I played in the Greater LA league after immigrating from Austria as a youngster. Was heartbroken upon arriving and found soccer non-existent. Having been drawn into Rapid Vienna summer-camps at 10 and 11 I was really into the game. Came here and football was played with an ovoid ball. Rose through youth teams in Cleveland and LA to first division teams in Greater LA. These were Semi-pro leagues back then and I played on a German influenced team which imported pro players from Germany with citizenship sponsored promised, jobs and a small salary but generally they played soccer even though listed on employee rosters. I however purposely remained amateur wishing to perhaps play for the US in the Olympics. However this was in the early 60s and scouting for the Nats was generally and East coast thing/. I did travel all over the US to play in the National Cup, SF Saint Louis, Chicago etc but unfortunately, although scoring an average of 1.2 goals a game I was never "discovered". That was OK because for me the game was always the issue. I went on and played the game Semi pro off and on into my forties with involvement in AYSO (founding a league in a central Sierra community) whose basic tenet of everyone plays is also damaging to developing players. AS LONG AS THE PAY FOR PLAY keeps the game the purview the upper middle class the game in the US will always lag. As far as coaching goes mom and pop well into teen selects are not going to raise the level of the game, especially by coaches who have never played the game. To coach invariably means to also teach and one cannot tech what on has never done. in any case my hopes for the US Nats far exceed the possible and I will cheer for them until I cease to be....

  22. john kotselas, April 15, 2013 at 12:30 p.m.

    Good day Peter.
    Have a son who was leading scorer on Surf Academy last year and presently playing Real Salt Lake Academy. Hoping to get him Greece. Take a look at him let me know what you think.

  23. Luis Oliveira, April 15, 2013 at 12:31 p.m.

    Which national team has have won the most in all ages in soccer? How do they do their soccer training and scouting? How do kids from this particular country do soccer? What year they start? What do they do before even starting to play soccer? What sport do their families watch on TV? How long per day they devote their lives to soccer? Who coach them? What are their coaches' credentials to coach? What players are exposed to from 0-5, 5-10, 10-15, 15-20 years of age? What do they do when they have a free time? How do tournaments are set up and who participate on them? How are they divided, and they all belong to one local federation. Club players from this same country, they play free and even get paid from 14 to 20 years of age! How long these same players play each week? How long do they practice each day? Do they play soccer during school hours? Do they play on their own? Do they watch soccer?...I know a club team in Southern California in which a rich parent brought 5 (FIVE) Brazilians a week before a big tournament simply to help his team - club win the tournament and get the status of a Dallas Cup Champion!!! My club is developing right! Come over, we are Dallas Cup Champions! Who can pay to travel and play at Dallas Cup? The super group, all teams spend very little to travel from all over the world and play the tournament almost free! The rest all pay and spend thousands to play three-five games at parents'expenses??? Parents who can afford are really the ones with sons and daughters who can really play? Are you guys nuts? No wonder many parents are stuck on credit cards bills and getting very close to lose their houses...Bring your Dallas Cup champion team down to Brazil and see how they will match the same age players there!!! Stop measuring your youth soccer players by what they win or don't. Measure them by what they can do with and without the ball during any given game. Wake up, North America parents, players, coaches, DOCs! The amount of money a soccer player/family spend during his son or daughter soccer years, they will pay for 5-10 college scholarships!!! Look at your coach is driving? Look at your DOC is driving! And look at your son is doing and can do with the ball? They are extremely lucky if at the end of their soccer amateur career they get even a free ride to college and become something else rather than MLS 'sorry' player!!! Wake up!!!

  24. john kotselas, April 15, 2013 at 12:31 p.m.

  25. Didi P, April 15, 2013 at 12:52 p.m.

    People tend to blame the coach when having bad results. But a good coach may improve 10% if that. Ultimately it is the quality of the players that decides things. And that quality depends on player selection (and player development long before that, of course). On any level in US Soccer, Americans prefer and choose (for lack of better terms) "Stud",i.e. player who dominates others mostly by his physical attributes. Soccer IQ and game understanding are often ignored. This type of players have some skills, but mostly they just bull-run or simply over-power other people. They love to play one-on-one and often win that battle. They are very useful until they meet players who have much better skills, touches, and especially high soccer IQ. And when the other side plays great together as a team, team USA struggles. So American teams often have to rely on set pieces or mistakes by opponents to win games. It doesn't make them great even though they beat Brazilians before. This result is not a surprise to me at all.

  26. Luis Arreola, April 15, 2013 at 12:57 p.m.

    Luis, agreed. I think parents know are smart enough to do the math on what they are spending and how it would compare to college tuition. But what they look at is the "experience" for their kids. They beleive that if they win a Dallas Cup, however it is done, that experience is the best for their kids. We have those clubs in Illinois. Same thing. I will never understand it but thats what most people that pay top $$ in these clubs believe. They think that if their kids have such a great winning experience they will improve drastically. Stimulation?? I dont know. A true competitor would develop the same team for a # years and try to win it all at Dallas Cup. That would be out of pride. But there is no pride. There is win at all costs. My Academy beat yours. My kid didnt play much or didnt look that great but we beat you. Status. Dont the Foreign teams compete at Dallas Cup with players that are calender year ( all 99's for example ) vs our USA teams that are a mix ( 98/99's ) ??

  27. Luis Arreola, April 15, 2013 at 1:02 p.m.

    Didi, I think USSF is looking at skill over studs but the search is confined to a "select" group - Academies. 80 of them plus a few rich clubs. I know a few 13 year olds that are studs because they are over 6' tall, fast and strong but also are stronger tecnically and skill wise but wont get the call simply because they are not Academy or part of a big club.

  28. Didi P, April 15, 2013 at 1:27 p.m.

    Case in point, I read so much about how great Junior Flores is. So I checked his youtube highlights. Well, all I see is another one-on-one type of player. I know he looks great on youth level and beats people left and right and then scores goals. But adult defenders catch up very quickly. They are just as fast and strong. And those simple moves rarely beat any quality defender. I haven't even mentioned the understanding of the game and tactics which may be even more important. Rubio Rubin is similar. His assist against Guatemala looks super, see how many times he can try that against adult defenders. I don't think he will ever make to a top European club. He may be an average MLS player at best. I sincerely hope I am very wrong on this. US defenders are very athletic and extremely strong. But they are often so dumb that they get fooled very easily by savvy forwards. And their position sense is horrible. Had Iniesta or David Silva grown up in this country, I doubt seriously they would have made any US youth national team. US needs to select players based on skills and soccer IQ's. However, the change of soccer philosophy and culture takes eternity to change.

  29. Didi P, April 15, 2013 at 1:42 p.m.

    Luis, I hear you. If your objective is for your son to make it to the national team and beyond, maybe it is better to do whatever is necessary. If that means your son has to join an academy team or a big club, maybe you should just do that. You would have much better chance of success that way. You know the system won't change for anybody, no matter how ridiculous that system is. As for academy teams, I am quite familiar with every one in Texas. You can find so many Flores' and Rubin's, but I have never seen one player who builds like Iniesta, forget about playing like him (maybe Iniesta is not a good example since he is so unique, I have never seen anybody build or play like David Silva either).

  30. Luis Arreola, April 15, 2013 at 1:53 p.m.

    Didi, Actually my objective is solely for my son to become the best player he can be. Making a National Pool would be nice so he can measure himself to what the USSF thinks is the best in USA. We saw something similar at ID2 Camp in Phoenix in 12/2012 where there were 22 National Pool players there out of 52 total. He scored a goal and assisted on 5 goals in 3 games where he sat 2 1/2's. It is disheartening to see first hand that there is not a realistic effort to select the very best at these highest levels in USA. My son will probably do an Academy at some point but only as part of his development.

  31. Didi P, April 15, 2013 at 2:04 p.m.

    Luis, one silly question from me: those national pool players, are they any good? I watched some clips of U14 BNT, I was very very surprised at how ordinary they ALL look. There is zero creativity for one, even their technical form is just lousy, very amateurish. I can tell they are all pretty athletic, so it won't be easy to beat them. But as national team players? I don't know.

  32. Luis Arreola, April 15, 2013 at 2:16 p.m.

    Didi, Iniesta and Silva are also excellent one v one players. I beleive that being a great one v one player is most important as initial part of development stage but must be complimented with field awareness and decision making. Players like Flores or Rubin are as young as the defenders they beat. So if defenders improve when adult then one must beleive that one and one players could also improve if under the right environment. You favor the passing game as do I but if you notice the best passing teams in the world always have quite a few players that can play one v one to "create" for others. Barcelona has a lot of them. In USA we need more one v one players as evidenced on the USMNT team and this U17 team along with the high IQ. When nothing is going good for a team that does not have 11 savvy, good decision makers then that is when you need a Flores even more. To carry the load. Whats harder to learn ?? Skills To constantly beat 1,2,3 defenders off the dribble or to pass, trap and move into spaces?? The first one. Just like basketball. You still need to learn the 2nd to be effective but the 1st is of out most importance on any successful team.

  33. Luis Arreola, April 15, 2013 at 2:26 p.m.

    Did, I have seen much better in Illinois. Most of those kids were from California. I am sure there are better in California as well. The focus there at ID2 was Academy/Big club players = $$$. Not as athletic as you would think as well. The decision making by the mids wasnt the best but the coaches seemed to love feistiness and dribbles most of all. The mids (National Pool Players) would shoot more than pass to forwards and no coach seemed to mind. There was not one striker that was above average. I would have to say I would not have picked a few for this trip from what I saw by a long shot. The ID2 team that went to Spain is really 90-95% of the U14 National Team. They lost to Barcelona and Real Madrid. Our National Team lost to 2 club teams!! ID2 promotes they "Identify" many players that end up on the National Teams. In fact, they pick players previously invited to USSF National Camps. Not much "Identification" going on there. They guy running it, McKeown, gets to take 2 players from his own club that he also runs, PDA, to this Euro trip every year. That saids it all.

  34. Didi P, April 15, 2013 at 2:57 p.m.

    Luis, I am not against one v one at all. I agree with you totally that is important skill to have. I don't favor passing game per se, I actually favor creative players. The one v one type of player I talk about is the one who only goes straight line and mostly uses his speed (albeit with a move or two) to bull-run defenders. And he sees no teammates and just engages individual battles. One thing you and I may disagree: if one always dribbles and does not try to be creative and have overall sense of the field and game from young age, I don't think he can develop those things later on. Bad habits are impossible to break. One huge disadvantage for most American young players: they simply don't have enough practice time comparing to young players from soccer power countries (say Brazil, Argentina, Spain). Naturally their touches are just not as good. Also they don't play enough unorganized games so they lack soccer savvy in general.

  35. Carlos Solorzano, April 15, 2013 at 3:12 p.m.

    case in point. the Sounders did a search of local WA STATE talent. and chose the three best players in the state to try out for there team. 2 of the 3 guys that were the finalist were from a small town (Yakima,WA)both of them like 18yrs old. the winner happen to be from Seattle whos uncle/dad/some relation to him owned the PDL team in Seattle the two guys from Yakima went to Seattle and did the whole try out. and nothing happened. not one scholarship offer from any school for them. since i know both of them i asked them if any of them got offered anything to play anywhere. one did he got an offer to play for Guatemala, but after playing 2 years and not getting paid on a regular basis he returned. the other one got his degree and has a full time job. it sucks how both of these two guys where missed.

  36. Peter Skouras, April 15, 2013 at 3:34 p.m.

    I must say how "shocked" I am that everyone pretty much is on board "together!" Scouting? My Brother Costa who won the McGuire Cup (PROBABLY STILL THE BEST US U-19 EVER)disagree if you like, spent time at Aston Villa scrubbing boots, played professionally indoors in the NPSL for the Canton Invadors, coached the San Diego Flash to an 1998 A-League Semi Final and was STEVE SAMPSON'S "Scouting Coordinator" for the CYSA-S can explain of which I was also on the staff of "30" +, who identified in "MATCH CONDITIONS" not once, or twice but at least "THREE TIMES" of which "2" VOTES WERE needed to recommend.. the politics of it all "in SO CAL! WE HAD MINIMAL POLITICS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA and tried our best to identify properly! THESE CYSA-S SCOUTS were former Pros and College Coaches WHO HAD NO "CLUB AFFILIATION!" WE BROUGHT IN PLAYERS TO THE STATE PROGRAM NOT EVEN HEARD OF BEFORE...THAT WERE "MAGIC" IN SOME CASES...EVER HEAR OF "EUGENE STARIKOV? The unlkliest of players due to his "size..." but SPEED? QUICKNESS IDENTIFYING DASHING INTO OPEN SPACE? UNREAL...FOR THE US STANDARD! YOU FIND THESE "QUALITIES" AS THE GENTLEMAN QUOTED FROM BRAZIL, "ALL OVER THE WORLD IN COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENTS MEANING "LEAGUES!!!" WE DISMISSED PLAYERS THAT WERE IN THE SYSTEM DUE TO CONNECTIONS AND "ARE PAYING THE PRICE TODAY FOR BEING COMPLETELY HONEST! It's disgusting! I remember Coach Sampson stating: "if you DROP this player from the STATE POOL your future and career as coaches might be in jeopardy! But we did what we believed and "removed" State Players who did not belong and YES...THE RESENTMENT EXISTS REGARDING THIS PARTICULAR PLAYER..." HE'S TOO SLOW, MENTALLY, TECHNICALLY AND PHYSICALLY...TACTICALLY AVERAGE! WE DID A GREAT JOB! Mind you, CYSA-S and its Scouting Program "also" identified "TRAGIC" PLAYERS WHO HAD NO BUSINESS BEING RECOMMENDED...BUT WE WERE OBLIGATED! THIS CYSA-S PROGRAM WAS THE BEGINNING! You are all correct in with your comments...! However and unfortunately, THERE IS NO DIRECTION AND PROGRAM regarding identification! WE CANNOT IDENTIFY IN SUB-PAR CONDITIONS...TOURNAMENTS, LEAGUES WITHOUT "PRIZE AND CONSEQUENCE!" WE CANNOT IDENTIFY THE "MAXIM" OF PLAYERS IN THE US! US SOCCER...RESTRUCTURE!!!! PLEASE!

  37. Peter Skouras, April 15, 2013 at 3:46 p.m.

    Mr. John Kotselas...I sent you an email!

  38. Luis Arreola, April 15, 2013 at 3:59 p.m.

    Didi, oh ok. Yes fully agree. Creativity is as important as one v one ability. You must be able to make the defender decide how he will defend you. If all you do is go straight at them then you are extremely easy to defend. This is why messi is so great. The defense doesnt quite know how to defend him. He can go at around you and will unselfishely create for others. The mistake we make in USA is we yell at the U8 kid that loves to dribble for being selfish and relying too much on his strength instead of encouraging it while teaching him to do creative passes and terach him how cool being unpredictable really is. If we completely discourage a kid to dribble so he can be a "team" player then we are also killing a potential creative mind all together. Brazilians must have individual one v one skills as most important factor. Creativity should come with this if adequately influenced. These other countries dont worry about club pay to play at U8-U12. It's all pickup, creativity. The disadvantage in USA is we think it's a waste of time to play pickup because we are not paying for it or its not "structured" practice/game. Our mentality is wierd when it comes to soccer even though we know exactly hos success has been atained in basketball. We think soccer is hockey. The only reason Hockey has had success with pay to play is because we all dont live in Alaska where we can just find a pond to play in for the poorer class.

  39. Luis Arreola, April 15, 2013 at 4:17 p.m.

    Peter, but USA does things differently!! LOL. Here is my prediction, Brandenton will close down this year. What will we do better?? Not much.

  40. Peter Skouras, April 15, 2013 at 4:50 p.m.

    Luis...where are you located?

  41. Luis Arreola, April 15, 2013 at 4:57 p.m.

    Chicago Northwest Suburbs.

  42. F B, April 15, 2013 at 5:37 p.m.

    Gotta echo Mr. Skouras on the quality of this string. I am impressed it has not degenerated. Please, no one alert the usual suspects!

    Fabulous to hear from another old salt (meant completely as a compliment), Herr Linzner, too. These guys have great experiences to share and to put the US soccer journey into the global perspective. If a consensus can be drawn from the above, from what Sr. Oliveira is saying, and what I and others have written on other strings about the game in this country, it is that "throwing money at it" is not only not going to help, it will actually hinder. The problem (one of them anyway) is that the soccer industry in the US has grown at a much faster rate than the soccer in this country. The pervasive effect of economic drive on this system is evident at every level. From the examples of the parents who can pay paying OBSCENE club fees for their kids to play a game that only requires an empty, relatively flat space, some goals, a $15 ball, and alot of dedication, to the fact that US soccer is led by an economics professor, it is everywhere. The impetus in the US is on the BUSINESS of soccer, not on the game itself. This system keeps out kids who cannot afford the fees. We even have agencies that make it their business to promote your player to scouts from colleges, etc. May of these kids who are kept out do not have the privilege of participating in other potentially distracting extracurricular activities and other sports, simply because they cannot afford them either. These kids are precisely the ones who likely have the dedication, the lack of distractions, and drive to do well in football if they could just get an "in". Some of these kids may get involved in soccer through their school. As we all know, where there's money, there will soon be politics. We now see the club soccer establishment trying to keep kids from from playing in both the clubs and their school. This tends to drag good coaches away from schools and into the clubs where pay is perhaps better, and denies access to these coaches to kids who cannot pay. What is the answer? Many of you have great suggestions. Mine is that throwing money at it is not the right/only way to work toward a successful soccer program in this nation. The Bradenton program may have been just another example of money-hurling. If so, it likely needs to go.

  43. Luis Arreola, April 15, 2013 at 9:56 p.m.

    Didi also, the problem with a young kid that likes to dribble and relies on his strength is that we dont play him up 1-2 years so he has to adjust by refining his dribbling skills or start using his creativity in other ways. We use those kids to win at get rid of them after they are no longer useful. Why arent they useful ?? Because we never challenged him.

  44. Javier Pavon, April 16, 2013 at 7:27 a.m.

    It's great to see so many experienced people on this site. But there is a point where we have to face reality. A lot of our best talented and young athletes are not interested fully in Soccer/Futbol yet. I am not saying we only need athleticism but its the mentality they bring to the game and the determination and dedication to become one of the best. When you have guys like MJ, Kobe, Lebron, Aaron Rogers and countless other guys saying I AM GOING TO WORK ON MY CRAFT AND BECOME THE BEST I CAN is when this country will get a step ahead in soccer. That's why I like what JURGEN is doing with the national team.

  45. Javier Pavon, April 16, 2013 at 7:31 a.m.

    If you are on a top team good, but what are you doing in that top team? and what Jurgen said in the 2010 World Cup is true, we are getting these kids from ACADEMYS and CLUBS and are not viewing any INNER CITY Kids at all and its a shame and its also a culture thing in the US. I was born here but family is from Honduras, I mean for me to get my friends together to play soccer is a MISSION on its own. But when I visit Honduras there is Soccer being played every other block, every day of the week ... and I live in Miami where I think there is alot of talent to be seen.

  46. Luis Arreola, April 16, 2013 at 9:03 a.m.

    Javier. what do you base your theory on?? Is soccer not a cultural sport?? The great thing about USA is that we have many different cultures that prefer different things like sports. Do you see the Mexican or Polish cultures picking basketball or football first?? Because I don't. I see them showing the same passion for soccer as they do in their old countries. How can it be that we are still using the best athletes dont pick soccer excuse when we have the most soccer players in the world?? We have more soccer players than all 4 Concacaf teams in Hex ( Not Mexico ). We also watch alot of soccer. Look at ratings when it comes to UEFA, MX. ESPN picked up the Mexico games ( Not USA's ) because of how many people in USA watch those. What on heaven's earth makes you think that MJ, Lebron, Kobe, Rogers would become great soccer players?? Would Germany be better with Nowitzki ?? Would SPain be a better team with both Gasols and Ricky Rubio ?? WOuld Brazil be better with Barbosa and those great NAscar drivers?? Come on dude. That's a theory that has yet to be proven but if it did prove to be accurate when exactly do you believe that the Kobe's and Lebron's will start to pick soccer first?? Isnt that a strongly cultural sport within the black community ?? When they are not tall enough they pick football as well. I agree that they have the potential to be good but I dont know they would necessarily be great. There are plenty of Kobe's and Lebrons in other countries that do pick soccer first and they are not proven to be that much greater than other type of athletes in the world. I live in Chicago and see first hand many different cultures that love their individual sports. In most Hispanics communities, Mexican, Argentinian, Salvadorian, Honduran, Peruvian, etc. they undoubtably pick soccer first and a strongly passionate about it. We must not use this excuse anymore because all the numbers work against it in USA. We should worry about making sure the very best get picked from every city before we go out making excuses for our teams.

  47. Luis Arreola, April 16, 2013 at 9:13 a.m.

    Javier, If Jurgen noticed the problem why havent we seen a change ?? Even a slight one?? WHy havent the Academies been mandated to start "affordable" inner city programs?? "Development Academy" is supposed to be a place where you develop, isnt it?? All I have seen is their better players being recruited often at 13-14 + years old. WHere is the development factor there?? Wouldnt "Scouting Academy" be more fitting as title?? And if thats all they are doing then why not spend that money on just having a Scouting Program ?? It would probably be much cheaper and more effective. I see the best players getting recruited from smaller clubs, not developed at these Academy clubs. SO then this means we should keep them in those small clubs and try to identify them as early as possible so USSF can keep up after them with occassional clinics and tryouts. That would be money better spent. ODP has the system right but what absolutely destroys it is the cost. USSF would rather spend it on Academies that dont show much development and have only shown greed and winning as their top priority at the player's expense of developing??

  48. Peter Skouras, April 16, 2013 at 9:28 a.m.

    Firstly, I would like to ask that we all "Pray" for the Victims in Boston! Thank you!

    Professor..."shame on me" for not being more diligent to come and visit you...BUT I HAVE DONE SO...I have come to your department on numerous occasions...! Please understand that my classes begin "very early...I am programmed from the Greek Super League in terms of "Training" schedule...Tais Librechts (former Dutch National Team Manager) at PAOK Salonika had us signed and weighed in at 8:00 am ready to go by 8:30!!! Which meant, rising by 6:00 am...NO 10:00-12:00 stuff...although! Continental Football v English Philosophy...anyway...amazing how the programming still affects 25 years later!!! Thus, I am "exhausted" by your ACCEPTANCE OF STUDENTS AT 1:00 pm. I'm done with "training...":) I mean class by 12:00:)!!! Done...nice and sharp...keeps my "form" I mean, "GPA" where in needs to be!!! Professor...I will be in the Coaches Office to see you! the way...Coach Sampson and Scout choices? Of course..."The Maxim," utilizing Emmanuel Kant's Categorical Imperative was extremely difficult attain especially with 30+ Scouts...! We did well Professor! Peter Skouras is nuts with his analogy of things these days...Ha! I used to take my "ball" to school and "dream" in the exact same manner!!! And the "curb,?" The "wall?" Came up with some great stuff as a kid! Professor Fonseca will tell you! Have a great day guys...don't want to be late for "sign and weigh in!"


  49. Martha Diop, April 16, 2013 at 10:49 a.m.

    @Luis Arreola
    Luis, I am so happy to finally run into someone who says the same thing I have been saying all along. Yet it is so obvious.
    You are completely correct that all it is, is "Scouting Academy". They continue to fight to recruit the players that make them win and look good, rather than develop them from scratch.
    On the same note, you see that US Soccer and Tony Lepore want to emphasize development over winning, and yet, somewhere they say the winning teams will earn a spot in some playoffs somewhere. Which coach, in his right mind will not try to win at all cost, in order to make it to the playoffs? And here we go again. Once again it will be all about winning and not necessarily developing anybody.
    I have a solution. If anyone interested, please ask me. It is a crazy idea though, and I have never seen it proposed.
    I hope someone will ask

  50. Aresenal Fan, April 16, 2013 at 11:59 a.m.

    Luis, the reason being that there was many california kids in that ID2 was because it was the west coast ID2, that being said, California does have a huge pool of talented players at that age. Your son being from Illinois should of been going to the one in the East Coast, not sure how some from east coast ended up at the west coast ID2. I don't doubt that there are good players in all over the USA, don't know how the select in your area, but kids from Northern California get selected through a long process through PDP and state pool sytem that begins when they are about 10 years old. The majority of them are not even in academies at the age. In regards to forwards, most of those defenders in national team are actually forwards playing defenders, I can guarantee that there is no one better than Edwin Lara at forward, and he is playing left back. Nick tatigue is the starting attacking mid and Madrid is considering giving him a trial. You might be right about some kids, but you are generalizing and giving no credit to any of those kids, trust me they have a good core of players in that group.

  51. Peter Skouras, April 16, 2013 at 12:29 p.m.

    Ok Martha...let's hear it!!!

  52. Peter Skouras, April 16, 2013 at 12:32 p.m.

    ...all this development we go again...LEAGUES!!!!!! Prize and Consequence!!! We need to get "back to basics!!!" Those of you who have played a bit..."KEEP IT SIMPLE!" Martha??? Waiting!

  53. Luis Arreola, April 16, 2013 at 12:36 p.m.

    Martha, It is cultural. We love to win. And the people that are able to pay the big $$ are the ones that love to win above anything else and at a higher level than anyone else. They have the money so they do it. People with $$ to spend see spending it on their kids for the "experience" well spent. The guys at the top of USSF and each Academy know this. They are catering a service/product that their best clients are willing to pay top $$ for and there are plenty of them. Who do you see paying $2000+ a year for basketball/AAU?? Suburb kids. Now who do you see as the best basketball players in the NBA? Kids that grew up in the hood playing under no or very little structure until they hit High School. Its almost like the rich suburb parents want to prove they can pay their way to having their kids become better players than the hood/barrio kids and when they realize that they failed then they change modes to paying for those same barrio/hood players to join their team for their kid to be on the top team in the country. It's a win win for them. Their kids must at least get to have a winning experience out of it. What is the purpose of having 36 players on an Academy Team roster?? The lower 18 are called DP's. What they really are is a 2nd team that doesnt really get to play but can practice with the top team 1/2 the time but most importantly pay top $$ to fund the best players on the top 18. Why not play those kids vs the other Academy DP's ?? Like you said Martha, what Academy in their right mind would play it's better U16's up on the U18 team if they are fighting for a spot in the ever so important playoffs?? Please tell us what your idea is. I am guessing it is something I have proposed for a couple years now.

  54. Peter Skouras, April 16, 2013 at 12:39 p.m.

    In Europe or the EU...please undestand...YOU NEED TO EITHER a) HAVE a EU Passport or B)Qualify as at least a Youth many times have I heard of American kids been given "trials!!!" They might be invited over for a look and experience...but I AM STATING RESPONSIBLY AND AS A DUAL be offered "employment" is not true without the above qualifications!!! Yes...absolutely...let our kids dream...however, we do have reality and an Immigration System in Europe!

  55. Aresenal Fan, April 16, 2013 at 12:44 p.m.

    Peter, I fully understandt what you are saying about our lack of system that we have in the USA, there is a large amount of talent at younger ages that never reaches its potential. Gary Kleiban in southern california has amassaed a great following of soccer people. His Barcelona USA teams are somthing special to watch. LA Galaxy has just picked him up for its younger academy, hoping that he starts a trend for all to follow. May the soccer gods be at his side he will need all their supprt!!!!!!

  56. Aresenal Fan, April 16, 2013 at 12:51 p.m.

    Peter, Ok I understand the a), but what do you mean by b)Qualify as at least a Youth International. Do you mean when they reach U17 national team?

  57. Luis Arreola, April 16, 2013 at 12:52 p.m.

    Arsenal, there were East Coast kids there as well and 4 more kids from Illinois. There were 22 National Pool Players there out of 52. There were about 10 or less National Pool Players at Connecticut event. I was glad we went to Phoenix with all those National Pool players because it was a better measuring stick for us. The experience alone is great but only for that purpose. What bothers me is that they promote that they are great at identifying talent and getting many of their "identified" players to end up on the USA National Teams. That is simply not true. Why is North California starting that process at 10 years old and we are not?? Shouldnt it be the same everywhere in USA? Equal opportunity. My son did PDP at Midwest NPL Regionals. He scored 2 goals in a 4-1 win. The best 99's from the region were invited. This was last summer. The majority of those kids you speak of are probably not in Academies "yet" but how much you want to bet they will be or risk getting excluded?? I am not questioning wether those California kids are the best in California or not because I dont know. But what I do not understand and have asked the right people that wont answer is, what else can a player like my son do to merit a look at a USSF National Pool ? In addition to 2 goals at PDP he scored 2 more goals at a "USSF Regional TC" for his team in a 4-2 win in Indiana, he scored this year in a 2-1 win in the last USSF TC in Chicago, He scored in 2-3 other USSF TC's last year in Chicago, He scored at that ID2 and dished out 5 assists on goal to make up for 70-80% of the goals for his teams in 3 games. He did this while sitting on bench for 2 1/2's. There is no one in the netire Region who has shown his skill or given those results but yet 5-6 have gotten call ups for these NTC's. Only difference?? My son is not Academy.

  58. Luis Arreola, April 16, 2013 at 1:07 p.m.

    Arsenal, forgot to mention that my son has always been paired against 98/97 defenders at USSF TC's because of his size and still shows better skills than them and that he is not Academy by choice right now for good reasons. He has been offered a starting spot on all of them around us and has played for one last year. He is getting a big scholarship to attend one of the best most expensive private schools in USA all because of his play. You brought an excellent point about those forwards playing defenders. My son actually plays every position including goalie. I told the Midwest USSF Scout this and he told me he should stick to one position!! How do you explain this if these other kids are being asked to play out of position?? Some coaches have told me he is a better Center Defender or Mid. Others say they have never seen a goalie that good. And others say he has a knack for scoring goals and that is rare. None of them can understand how all those other Midwest kids are getting looks ahead of him. The most involved at higher levels have straight up told me it is because I am not on an Academy and it is very political. I never genralized about those kids that went to the trip. I never even said my son should have made the trip hands down. What I did say and will say it again is that some of those kids had no business getting picked over others that I saw in Phoenix including my son. That is aside from the fact that the guy that runs the ID2 program mysteriously takes 2 players from the club he also runs. PDA, every year to that International trip. He is also involved as coach with USSF Nationall Youth teams. How can anyone in their right mind beleive there is no politics in all this after those facts??

  59. Luis Arreola, April 16, 2013 at 1:13 p.m.

    Arsenal, I know I am creating enemies for me and for my son because of this but someone has to come out and say this. It would be easier for me to just follow the system but I would be contributing to something that is wrong. One of the coaches at the Phoenix ID2 event that is also a USSF YNT Coach told me, after I asked for an evaluation for my son which they seemed to not like or want to do, he was in the top 1/2 of the group but would not make a California USSF TC. I asked how could he explain this if almost 1/2 of the group were USSF National POOL Players?? Crickets. No response. Does it make sense to you?? I dont doubt that they have a good core of players in that group but they should have had the TOP{ 18 in that group!! Hell, the U17's had a good core of players too. Is there a reason you defend them so much??

  60. Aresenal Fan, April 16, 2013 at 1:21 p.m.

    Luis, i'm not saying the model that northern california is using does not leave anyone out, i'm sure it does. It is ran be NORCAL PREMIER SOCCER LEAGUE. It runs a PDP program 2 month in 8 regions of northern california starting at about 10 years of age. anyone is welcomed (CYSAA,REC players, etc) for try outs. its free with qualified coaching who focus on technique and identifieng the best talent in that particular area. you train for about 6 months, have a tourney between regions at the end of 6 months. Players are recommended from these programs to try out for MTC, STATE POOLS, AND ID2 programs. There is no player getting sent to national team or ID2 camps solely recommended by DOC or One particular club.

  61. Aresenal Fan, April 16, 2013 at 1:34 p.m.

    Luis, I was just vouching for northern california players, I do hear that some others going to ID2 camps get recommended by thier DOC's. Players going from northern california are some of the best players we have and mnay others stay behind that deserve to be there.

  62. Luis Arreola, April 16, 2013 at 1:34 p.m.

    Arsenal, I am sure there is no perfect way to identify every great player in the world. But what there should be is a Honest attempt and that is not what we see and it is extremely clear. Again, I am not arguing or questioning how its done in California. I am questioning why California gets close to the same % of players to go to National pools and selected to National teams along with East Coast kids. Look at the numbers on the USSF website. How can it be that most youth age groups every year get the close to the same % of players selected for NTC's and YNT's ?? Our country produces the same % every year from those 2 geographical areas?? I am willing to bet we are the only country to do this. Now I am also questioning why Illinois and Midwest states dont get to tryout at PDP events at 10 years old. Is this not exclusive??

  63. Luis Arreola, April 16, 2013 at 1:36 p.m.

    I am the DOC at my small club and that did us no good. It took an Academy reccomendation to get us in last minute. Coincidentally they also wanted us to play for them.

  64. Aresenal Fan, April 16, 2013 at 2:15 p.m.

    I'm with you along with thousands of othor parents who wants thier kids developed at a higher level without having to leave the country. Like Peter Skouras sarcastically mentions up above that hundreds of parents are very naive about european trials is very true. Their should be no need for kids leaving the country, trust me Im upset about that too. It's a joke that we don't have a system in place to create world class players. I believe the area you are at is what northern california was 10 years ago.

  65. Aresenal Fan, April 16, 2013 at 2:33 p.m.

    Luis you are frustrated because your son is properly being developed but not recognized, i'm just frustrated that i have no where to take my son to get further developed, unless I get him out of the country, although he was been recognized. I don't feel better off, still feel at the mercy of the system just like you.

  66. Luis Arreola, April 16, 2013 at 2:52 p.m.

    Arsenal, How can it be that all of the 3 Academy's coaches in Illinois recognize my son's talent but USSF simply tells us he needs to be in a "more competitive" environment?? Mind you that I had my son playing for one of these Academy clubs at U10/U11 as a a starting goalie on their Nationally ranked #2-3 team. They would not give him a chance as field player. We left. That same Academy club team wants him but as a starting forward now!! You tell me what environment is better for him given these facts. That is the top of the top with soccer in USA!! That is where all the credibility goes to. Those same people that told us Brandenton was a great idea are pshing Academy and we are supposed to beleieve it with no proof to back it up!! They are both great ideas on paper but the rules, motives, politics behind it are not. Lets keep saying what we truly feel and hopefully enough of us will spark a change.

  67. Martha Diop, April 16, 2013 at 3:03 p.m.

    To Luis Arreola and Peter Skouras
    It all starts with the redefinition of “winning”. Until today, the only definition is putting more balls in the net. Period. No matter how you do it. There is really no punishment for playing ugly football, as long as you “win”, including when the other team scores own goal, or the referee gives an underserved goal, or a player scores with the hand and gets away with it.
    Not surprisingly, that becomes the only focus for every single actor: coaches, parents, players, Clubs, Academies, US Soccer, etc.

    While this is how it should be at the professional level (world cup, professional soccer, where you just need to win, period.), when player development is the objective, “winning” should be completely redefined. Ugly football and lack of skills should be punished, so coaches turn their focus to the players, and be more mindful of their progress.

    Here is the proposal:
    For youth games, and only when people are interested in player development, we should introduce the concept of “soccer judges”. These are officials, just like referees. The difference is that they are people knowledgeable about football, and who can fully recognize when the game is played correctly (or when there is at least an attempt to do so)
    “Soccer judges” give points (just like in Olympic Gymnastics, or other competitions), based on a set of criteria totally relevant to the real game of football. (ability to possess the ball, individual technical skills, tactical awareness, etc.)
    At the end of the game, they tally the points, and the team with most points wins the game. In the meantime, they may have scored more goals, or fewer goals, it would not matter much.
    The recognition and reward will go to the coaches who obviously have been working very hard at teaching the kids how to play soccer the way it is supposed to be, while taken away the unnecessary burden of dealing with brute force of athletes from opposing teams.
    In my opinion, such system will weed out all coaches who get their glory by solely focusing on scoring goals with just a handful of players, completely sacrificing the development of the remaining players who usually get only one thing out of it: belonging to a winning team.
    With such system, when we send the “winning teams” to play, at least we know we are sending teams who have a higher number of players with excellent technical and tactical skills, and an excellent soccer IQ. Physical ability will no longer be the dominant (or only criteria)

    These are my opening words for this crazy idea that really belongs to Alice in the Wonderland.

  68. Luis Arreola, April 16, 2013 at 3:26 p.m.

    Martha, that is a good idea. I have said something similar to this. Rank Academies, and all clubs for that matter, on Pro/College players developed "ONLY". With a point system that takes into account number of years developed under such club where he came out of. Give deserved points to the clubs they were recruited from. Make these rankings public. If the Academy is not producing players themselves they lose Academy status. If a small club is doing the job of producing top talent then they get Academy recognition and status. Who cares about facilities if most if not all of you best players are coming from other states, countries or clubs?? Who cares how financially well you are structured if you are not developing top players ?? Who CARES IF YOU ARE WINNING ALOT if you are not doing so with quality soccer?? Martha, your and my solutions are quite simple but it wont satisfy the great majority of "$$$ Clients" that the USSF and Academy system are complying to. You, me and Peter are drinking crazy pills in USA!!

  69. Peter Skouras, April 16, 2013 at 4:06 p.m.

    Wow Martha...!

    Need to go see Professor Fonseca with that one!

    Hey Luis...are you in Illinois and what part?



  70. Luis Arreola, April 16, 2013 at 4:20 p.m.

    Wheeling, Il.

  71. Peter Skouras, April 16, 2013 at 4:26 p.m.

    How do the Fire interact with the Youth Clubs in Illinois? Do they send "scouts" to observe?

  72. Luis Arreola, April 16, 2013 at 4:28 p.m.

    Funny you ask. Here is my email -

  73. Peter Skouras, April 16, 2013 at 8:05 p.m.

    Ms. Diop...did not mean to come across with a negative tone...what state are you in?

  74. Peter Skouras, April 16, 2013 at 8:30 p.m.

    Love "all" the Feed Back especially from around the country!!! Keep battling soccer people..."one day, maybe one day!"

  75. Peter Skouras, April 16, 2013 at 8:31 p.m.

    Tried to call Coach Arreola..he's where he should be...ON THE FIELD in ILLINOIS!

  76. Peter Skouras, April 16, 2013 at 8:50 p.m.

    Regarding the EU situation and the American player especially 17 and below, MASSIVE INFLUENCE "CAPS" for the United States! Immigration laws!!! Now why do Africans granted Visa's at such a young age? Firstly, Diplomatic relations, secondly, their are clubs that "won't even look at an American compared to an African!" Has anyone seen Nigerians, Ghanians, Ethiopians, Ivory Coast, North Africans...RAW... at 13-14? You can see why many, not all, EU clubs have this opinion. Has anyone seen the NEXTGENSERIES??? Full of Africans now with working "visas!" the original question...VERY, VERY RARE FOR AN AMERICAN WITH NO INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE to be even looked at! We are very misinformed over here about the "reality!" Professional football in Europe is not "if I don't make it with Galaxy I'll just go to College!!!" Parents of players overseas, in Latin America, Asia, etc., understand this is is a business, a career...! Let's develop our own! As the Greek National Team Manager "Santos" stated in his Tech Report of Greek Football, "if we have to export and sell our Youth to foreign clubs, something is very wrong with the system! That's all for now! Peter

  77. Peter Skouras, April 16, 2013 at 8:55 p.m.

  78. Javier Pavon, April 17, 2013 at 7:44 a.m.

    @ Luis Arreola, Always good to embrace debate, well I do agree about the scouting system and that more time and effort should be spent into going into the inner cities and trying to develop in lower income environments to be interested in soccer. Now as far as my opinion about are pool of players not having the best athletes in the country. Well I take that opinion of the fact that I grew up in that environment here in Miami and my friends that were talented in sports did not think of SOCCER as a way out or a way to get a scholarship so they leaned towards Basketball, Football and Baseball and not only my African American friends. We are in a country were we compete with so many other top tier sports that soccer still hasn't grasp the youth here how it has in Central America or South America or Europe. Maybe Spain will not be better with Gasol and Ricky Rubio but that is because what 90 % of the youth there will prefer to play soccer then Basketball. The US maybe will not be better with MJ or KOBE, but when Athletes of that Caliber start leaning towards soccer then others with follow, like the Chris Pauls, Desean Jacksons.

  79. Javier Pavon, April 17, 2013 at 7:56 a.m.

    Luis, by all means I don't think this is an excuse for the US not qualifying but this is too me a process what will take ALOT ALOT longer then what Jurgen has been coaching and it starts from the bottom up. I am a Youth Pastor I am 28 me and the other Youth Pastors take the teens to play sports. I kid you not I will have a group of kids that play Soccer for there HIgh Schools and are good players, we recently have been playing with teens who play basketball and football for there high schools. I kid you not these kids are so athletic and aware that they pick up the game of soccer so quickly it amazes me, it gets to the point that they frustrate the soccer players. After we are done playing I will ask them "WHY DONT YOU GUYS PLAY SOCCER" and they give me these answers like I DONT KNOW DOESNT CALL MY ATTENTION lol ... you see the potential in them and they have this extreme amount of confidence and hustle that you know with the right coaching they could develop into something. Like I said no excuse for our current squad but I'll tell you this It would not hurt us one bit if Our Top Tier Athletic teenagers had soccer as there #1 choice in the US.

  80. Javier Pavon, April 17, 2013 at 8:10 a.m.

    And I believe once this happens, that is when Academies will invest real money and interest into developing home grown players. Why? Because that is where everyone is leaning too, the sad part about the USSF is that they want to do with Soccer what they do with Basketball and Football, which is through High School and College and through the draft. Which is fine for the U.S but hurts us once we hit the international stage.

  81. Luis Arreola, April 17, 2013 at 9:33 a.m.

    Javier, I dont know about Miami, but I can tell you that in Illinois, Texas, California many lower income environments are mostly interested in soccer. We have the interest. That is not the main problem any longer. We have the most soccer players in the world. They must be coming from somewhere. Soccer has never been a sport you play if you want to make money. It has always been a cultural sport that is played with a passion that goes much beyond expecting a $$ benefit. We have those cultures here. Many of them. I think you are like a few that beleive that a MJ would be a great soccer player. Why would we beleive that automatically if he didnt do all that great with baseball?? If soccer offered more scholarships than the other sports I dont think you would see such a big change culturally within USA sports. It takes more than that. How many lower income Mexican communities do you see picking basketball over soccer because it offers more college scholarships?? Arnet there also many Central Americans and Europeans here that love soccer?? The only reason we are not currently doing much better in soccer is because of our system we have implemented into it. Is Olympic swimming a top USA sport?? How about Tennis?? We excel in so many sports that really arent that popular. Look at how many Olympic medals we get. I dont see anyone coming up with excuses about our best athletes not picking Olympic sports because they pick Football, Basketball and Baseball first. Hoew can we responsibly say that we simply have 24.5 million average athletes picking soccer first?? Hopw can we use that excuse when we are losing to countries that have 4-7 million total population or less and that have no youth soccer system. It is great that you highlighted the 90% that pick soccer first in Spain. Have you seen how well Spain competes with USA in Basketball?? Is Spain just a superior country to USA when it comes to Athletes?? Because it seems they have plenty to go around even with 90% picking soccer first. They did pretty good in Olympics as well and excel at other sports. How about Argentina?? They beat USA before in basketball and are one of the two best soccer player exporters in the world. There is absolutely no way of knowing if those great basketball players would ever even be good at soccer. There are many football players that started off as basketball players but didnt have the physical attributes or didnt have the skill to make it pro so they leaned to plan B, football. Soccer is a completely different skill set. To think that an athlete that is good with his hands would show the same skill with his feet is simply wishful thinking. Again, there are plenty of Chris Pauls and Desean Jacksons throughout the world ( Yes there Great Black Athletes in other countries too ) and they are not dominating soccer world wide. Brazilians and Argentinians are doing that.

  82. Luis Arreola, April 17, 2013 at 9:42 a.m.

    Javier, every process should start with a good plan, honest approach to achieve your main goal. The USSF is more interested in promoting the Academy system than it is picking the best players. That is clear. Brandenton will fold this year. That was a process that started over 15 years ago and went no where. One of the best players, Sonora, didnt even go there and the other, Flores didnt even get picked to play the last game. Jurgen stated we needed to go in the inner city (barrios) for talent. He said this over a year ago!! What have we done differently? What have the scouts done differently in their approach??

  83. Luis Arreola, April 17, 2013 at 9:56 a.m.

    Javier, maybe your right to a certain degree about better athletes, MAYBE. But why are we holding our breath waiting for certain cultures to give up their cultural passion for a certain sport to pick up soccer?? For example, to wait for the Black Community to pick soccer over basketball is like expecting Mexico to pick basketball over soccer. 99% it will never happen. The black population makes up about 13-15% of USA. Hispanics make up 17%. Black people pick basketball first and dominate. Why does this small % of americans dominate basketball ? Because it is lived passionately within their culture. Everyone wants to see them play, not because they can jump high and dunk, but because they do the creative moves, dunks, passes that is a product of their passion and love for that sport. They provided something for the sport that other cultures would have simply not been able to provide. It takes a special love for the sport. The USSF is not letting Academy players play in High School. The problem is College doesnt play year round along with stykle of play that no one wants to watch. The guys in charge are not adjusting their style to accomodate the best players in USA. We have plenty of creative skilled players here but we dont have the coaches that want to exploit that style. There is also no money in development simply because the USSF does not require it as main objective to be Academy. Probably because there is no money in it for them either.

  84. Javier Pavon, April 17, 2013 at 10:45 a.m.

    lol You are right there I think it is Wishful thinking to wait for them to pick Soccer over basketball and I understand what you are saying. That something should be done now and not wait for luck to be on our side which I do agree, I feel like there is no money going into development as it should be and we still need to find an identity with our International teams.

  85. Javier Pavon, April 17, 2013 at 10:46 a.m.

    You say you have a son how old is her? I have a boy on the way in 1 month and I am hoping he shows interest in soccer and if he does was curious to know the process that you have taken with your son. Doesn't sound like an easy task.

  86. Javier Pavon, April 17, 2013 at 10:51 a.m.


  87. Fernando Sanchez, April 17, 2013 at 11 a.m.

    So all the coaching on the COACHING ON THE WORLD WILL NOT FIX OUR PROBLEM....Hogwash ...Honduras had a coach that defeat Spain....WAS CHEATED AGAINST BRAZIL ON THE OLYMPIC, And defeat Jurgen Klinsman....So Peter Zokuras...What are you talking about....? We need real coaches and real scouts.....THANKS SUNIL GULATI....Thanks one more time....

  88. Luis Arreola, April 17, 2013 at 1:37 p.m.

    Javier, my son just turned 14 years old. The only thing Idid was provide and environment for him to have fun and play/practice every day. I let him pick what position he wanted to play ( he had to fight for it and it took him a few years to become our target forward - he started at goalie ) and as much as he wanted to play. With one condition. We go all out. To push him in th physical and mental aspect but without taking away the development of his creativity, skill and personality. And let me tell you, it's a really fine line. No other Academy/club provided this environment for him but desperately wanted him initially as goalie. Now they want him bad but at forward even though they did not want to make the effort to teach him initially. He plays other sports occasionally in school like basketball, volleyball. He has no more than 1 hour daily to watch tv or play video games. He loves his sports. I tell him he is the FIFA Video Game character. I started a club for him and his sister to actually "enjoy" soccer. We play Fifa rules even though others don't. We never use more than 3 subs. 80-90% of the starters play the full game and most of those, who come to practice and show discipline, play on 2-3 different teams within a season. We play the full year. We practice 2-3 times a week and scrimmage 1-2 times a week. NO ONE else does this in Illinois. I am CRAZY acording to everyone out here. My players?? ABSOLUTELY love it!! Those same clubs that call me crazy are always asking me for players to help them in tourneys and "Premeirship" play. It is really hard to get people to buy into our philosophy because, even though it's normal in most other countries, it is not here. 95% of clubs play to win. Their best players play 25-30 minutes max at a high pace and then sit for 10-20 minutes to come in strong again. How does that help these players?? Its not hockey!! You can see many U8-U10 teams that play 2 30 minute 1/2's & 7v7 with 5-7 more on the bench. That makes no sense to me. I have gotten complaints from my own parents that we have too few subs or none at all!!! Can you beleive this?? They complain because their kid gets tired and cant play an entire game !!! Instead of going out with their kid to run and make sure they are in shape because they are lucky enough to play an entire game even though most times at that age they are not even good enoiugh to start on these other teams. Why the complaints?? It is all because they want to win as main objective. It is hard for them to understand that we may lose because we get tired but in the long run their kid will learn how to manage a game, how to deal with mistakes on the field instead of getting benched right after, get more touches, etc. So good luck if you want to start what I did!!

  89. Peter Skouras, April 17, 2013 at 7:43 p.m.

    Luis...if they want to play 100% tell them to hit AYSO! We all started there!

    Waiting for your Email!

  90. Peter Skouras, April 17, 2013 at 7:53 p.m.

    Senor Sanchez...mi Apellido es Skouras...entonces...back to English porque mi español es la media! You are absolutely correct in your reporting of Honduras and most small nations...NO QUESTION! Pero...regarding the US??? Por favor mi amigo...I don't know how old you are or if you were born in the United States or abroad...once that is answered hay posibilidad that we can communicate! And please take my "reference" to you Hispanic heritage as "POSITIVO!" paderes imigrantes tambien!!!! Gracias!

  91. Peter Skouras, April 17, 2013 at 7:55 p.m.

    EDIT: And please take my "reference" to your Hispanic heritage as "POSITIVO!" de paderes imigrantes tambien!!!! Gracias!

    Peter "SKOURAS"

  92. Wesley Hunt, April 18, 2013 at 1:29 p.m.

    Gentlemen I am pretty far down the food chain from where most of you have been. I live in small city in rural part of North Central PA. The nearest academy or ODP of any sort is nearly 3 hours drive from here and yes I was one of those clueless AYSO coaches 7 years ago when my 6 year old son started playing soccer. However, I figured if this was to be his and my daughters sport we just as soon emerse ourselves in it. Since we could not go down to the local fields to watch better older players play like I did with basketball we watched you tube videos of famous players to learn our moves and then go in the back yard and pretend we were different countries and just play. Watching Ronaldinho on you tube we discovered futsal and I and another coach had our teams play the game through the winter. Encouraged by how much the kids improved and enjoyed playing I started a small league the following winter. We even managed to get the city to give us a tennis court to play on and we play during the summers as well.Coming from a street basketball background the game with its quickness and moves makes perfect sense to me for developing skills at a young age.

  93. Wesley Hunt, April 18, 2013 at 1:46 p.m.

    My better kids now train and scrimmage a lot. Two or three practices a week with a couple of scrimmages thrown in as well. Practices are a hard two hours and finish with a scrimmage and they are never ready to quit. Like your kids Luis I have come to expect them to be able to play a full game with few substitutions. We still get beat in outdoor soccer by the bigger faster teams but no team in our league has the style and passing my dedicated futsal kids demonstrate nor the never say die attitude that comes from all the work and play that they put in to learn their skills.

  94. Wesley Hunt, April 18, 2013 at 1:47 p.m.

    Like you Luis I have a son who has at 12 already developed himself into a highly skilled player in either futsal or soccer. He is small and quick and dominates the midfield and possesses the ball and passes and moves a lot like Ineista who is one of his two favorite players. His main focus and joy in life is soccer and futsal. I am not living my dreams through him it is just the way he is. Besides me training him with futsal and travel soccer we had him play with a small academy about an hour away that had a professional trainer from a very large club in Europe as its head coach. This man has been all over Europe and Brazil as a youth scout trainer and coach. His advice to us when that this academy ended a year ago was to keep him playing futsal and soccer with his friends and then try to get him somewhere out of the country where the level of play is higher. ODP is not worth the effort and time and the larger clubs in the area are not going to further his talents any. Where we can go with him in few years I am not sure.

  95. Wesley Hunt, April 18, 2013 at 1:48 p.m.

    As for the structure of soccer in this country for player development...... it is pretty easy to see the flaws if you follow the money. Every time you click on a TV to watch a soccer game is the beginning. TV revenues are the biggest source of the big money in the big leagues. In order to continue having that money coming in teams need to win titles. To do that they need top talent. The neat thing about this is that for the most part these teams do not care about the color, or origin of that talent. If a player can help them win week in and week out they will play and be paid accordingly for it wether they are green, black, blue, or purple. The important point is that a players talent has value that can be bought and sold. Small clubs may not ever be able to win titles and get a direct piece of that big money but they can develop a players talent and sell that. Not only that big clubs can save money sometimes by finding and developing their own players. The money is in the player who has developed enough talent to be signed professionally at 16-18 years of age. Everything before that is an expense. Trainers of big clubs measure their success in how many of their kids that were scouted and started at 8-12 years old become professionals when they are 16-18.

  96. Wesley Hunt, April 18, 2013 at 1:49 p.m.

    Contrast that to what we have here. The money comes in the door as a parent, visions of a college scholarships and their own lost glory swimming in their heads, wanting soccer training for their precocious 8-10 year old. Since we are not a soccer culture and somewhat ignorant of what real soccer skill looks like the parent goes with the one thing he or she does understand which is winning. Clubs are always telling you on their websites and literature about how many state cups and tournaments their teams have one. The coaches bios are loaded with their winning seasons as college and high school coaches or as players. This is no accident. They are advertising what they know will get that parent in the door checkbook in hand. To be named an official development academy just adds to that cache. Unfortunately, many parents are not so much concerned about wether their child becomes a better soccer player but rather that they experience winning at the highest level possible. Winning with out putting in the work to do it is a hollow victory in my opinion and such attitudes just bring down the character of our country as a whole.

  97. Wesley Hunt, April 18, 2013 at 1:50 p.m.

    To be fair the pathway to playing soccer at the highest level, which means professional in Europe, is very difficult. No one is scouting here from Europe. Our kids cannot sign until they are 18. If they do and it does not work out they have eliminated the only other value they could get for their talent which is a college soccer scholarship. One could say do the college first and then professional but how then could they compete against the European or South American kid that has been training, and competing for playing spots from age 16. That is almost 6 years of intensive full time training and playing at a professional level that college soccer could not hope to replicate if for no other reason than the player should be focusing on academics while there since that should be the reason for attending the institution in the first place. MLS has just started their academies but my sense of this is that they are not completely on board with this yet. Until they can own the talent they either develop or find and are able to sell it I am not convinced that these academies are doing much more than making the league look like it cares about developing domestic soccer talent.

  98. Luis Arreola, April 18, 2013 at 2:18 p.m.

    Wesley, great points. Hollow victories?? You mean like USA beating Costa Rica in 4" of snow?? LOL. You are exactly correct. A player can negotiate college tuition in a pro contract, you know ?? If you are not good enough to be able to get that in a por contract for whatever reason then your choice is simple - GO TO COLLEGE!! I know that MLS teams are now able to profit 75% for a homegrown player ( which only takes 1 year to qualify for ) but dont think they are able to own a U8-U14 player. Not sure if they can legally own some rights to U15-U18 but I know there have been some legal issues with players going pro after spending 1 year with a club after they were 1 year with another. This means that smaller clubs should now be demanding a transfer fee from MLS Academies since it only takes 1 year of training them to make them officially "Homegrown" for that particular MLS club.

  99. Wesley Hunt, April 19, 2013 at 7:06 a.m.

    My understanding was once having been professional there was zero chance for college scholarship. I stand corrected. It sounds as if the MLS academies would find it more profitable to scout players than develope them from a young age. Why go and feed and train a youngster from age 10 to 18 before he is worth something when others can do it for you? If they are the only ones who can turn talent into cash then they have an advantage. Of course the clubs with pay to play are getting paid up front for their training so they have no right for compensation. I realize that their are diffent laws concerning how all this is played out in different parts of the world and I am not sure what the solution is but there has to be a market for the talent a potential talent one can bring to a professional club before academis and clubs will focus on that as the priority in their training rather than winning tournaments and promising the moon to starry eyed parents.

  100. Wesley Hunt, April 19, 2013 at 7:33 a.m.

    For you and I it is for the love of the game and our children that we do it. The advantage is that we can train and coach however we want the disadvantage is if you focus on skill and beautifull play and putting in all the time and effort to make that happen you begin to feel like a strange fish that is swimming constantly against the current. In addition once you develope a kid to high level where do you go with it. You and I are probably the last folks on this thread. I enjoy reading your comments. P.S this professional trainer that worked with my son also worked a few months for a certain large club in Chicago that I am sure you are familar with. Same critisisms as yours and a few more. Too many subs in games, too many tournaments, too many kids in training sessions, not enough time in training sessions, no consitancy in whose in the training sessions etc. Of course I told him, the more kids you have per training session the more money you make. The more tournaments you win the more parents come in the door. Not to hard to figure out.

  101. Luis Arreola, April 19, 2013 at 10:15 a.m.

    Wesley, that is correct. Once you go pro you will not get a scholarship offer from college. But you can negotiate for the pro club to pay for your college if pro career does not work out. The clubs that I see truly developing kids are charging but minimal and just to cover expenses because they are often small low budget clubs. So in my opinion these cliubs deserve compensation. If these clubs are just covering costs with no or very little profit when compared to these Academy clubs they most certainly deserve something. If these small clubs dont deserve a penny in compensation then Academy should be completeley free at the very least. Why should they get anything for 1 year of training, free or not??

  102. Luis Arreola, April 19, 2013 at 10:20 a.m.

    Wesley, it is for the love but how long will we continue to develop kids just so Academies can either ruin their growth or take all the credit for developing them and the $$?? And if you and me tough it out how many more do you think will do the same?? Please let me know who this coach is. He sounds like a guy that actually wanted to see his players improve and not just see how much money he could make like the rest of these clowns. We see more and more greed and less and less care for your craft.

  103. cony konstin, April 19, 2013 at 1:08 p.m.

    Soccer in the US has come a long way but has a long way to go. To: US Soccer. We need radical change. We need a soccer revolution. We need 30,000 futsal courts in the inner cities of America. We need mentors who are specialist in their specific niches. (Perkerman for our youth national teams. Bianchi for our pro teams. Ciro Medrano for our kids u14 and down. And finally Javier Lozano for futsal who was my mentor.) We need new leadership, a new visison and a 21st century master plan. We need to create a NEW SPARTA!! Otherwise soccer in the US will continue to be treated as a hobby and used as a marketing tool to sell $250 soccer shoes and other assesorries. We need to create hungry and magical players. The system that is being used is a obsolete. It is time for radical change. Coaching is totally overrated. Players win championships not coaches. We need to create a sandlot, playground environment that is free and open 7 days a week. This can only happen in the HOOD!!!!! Suburbian soccer is nice for the kids and families but you are not going to develop hungry and magical players in a nice 5 star environment. I have been preaching this for 38 years and I will continue to. In the end the it will be up to the next generation to clean house and create radical change for US Soccer. Our system of soccer is the best in the world if your focus in helping kids to be healthy, learn about team work and over come some adversity. But to create the next super stars in soccer. No WAY. It is time for a Soccer Revolution in the USA and it must begin in our inner cities.

  104. Carla Nastri, April 19, 2013 at 2:06 p.m.

    I have read many comments about how US Soccer needs to reevaluate the residency program. I don't believe it is the residency program that is at the heart of the problem. US Soccer needs to look at how the Academies are impacting the the residency and youth national team programs. With the introduction of the academies, a young player, possibly a teen who has never entertained the idea of living far away from home for most of the year, away from friends, family and his local high school now has the option to play for a high level academy in the vicinity of his home. He doesn't have to leave what is familiar to him. I see how this may be a better option of the individual. However, I do not see how it is in the best interest of our youth national team system. Yes, their is value in the academy system; helping us find and expand our pool of talented players and giving them the opportunity to train and play at a high level. But the academies should encourage,no, use their influence to persuade the best of the best in their program to attend the residency program. Residency brings these young players together to live, train and play together. They learn to be a cohesive unit, a team. Not just a bunch of very talented players that come together a few times a year to train and play. The residency program has proven its ability to be an important building block for our senior national team. Though I think the academies have done a good job finding talent and putting highly competitive teams on the field, I am just not sure how this helps us put the best youth national team on the field to represent us in international competition.

  105. Luis Arreola, April 19, 2013 at 2:22 p.m.

    Carla, the main purpose of Academies should be to develop. It's in their name. "Development Academy". Not just recruit, put them together on the field and compete. Not train them 1 year and call them "homegrown" and take full credit for their "development". Does Development start at U16 or U14?? No it does not. The most important years in development are much younger than that. Do you know of an Academy standout that developed starting at U8-U10 under that same Academy?? Because I don't. I see their best players come in at 14-16 years old from other clubs/environments. And that should be seen as a "HUGE" problem/issue that should be addressed before anything else. Why are Academies given so much credibility about players they themselves have not developed and have not shown to be able to develop.

  106. cony konstin, April 19, 2013 at 3:13 p.m.

    In the US to play you must pay and if you are good then you must pay more. In third world countries. You play for free and if you are good they pay you. Kiddy soccer vs Pro. In the US the amatuers should focus on kiddy soccer and the MLS should focus on making Pros. Problem the MLS has no experience in developing pros. So the Amatuers are left to do the MLS's job and they don't know how either. What a mess! You can't make chicken soup with chicken @@@@.

  107. Wesley Hunt, April 19, 2013 at 3:56 p.m.

    If you pay for your childs voice lessons and they later on make it big as a pop star usually the teacher has no claim on future earnings nor are they due compensation from the talent manager who signed her to record deal even if the teacher is the one most responsible for developing that talent. If the teacher did not charge enough then that is their problem. Life is not always fair is is about all I can say about that Luis. Would rather not give out a name on a public forum. You can reach me at if you like.

  108. Wesley Hunt, April 19, 2013 at 3:57 p.m.

    I know in England that at 10 a child can be invited into a club academie for free training and education. The bigger clubs have scouts looking for young talent just for that. I am not sure if the small clubs are compensated for the kids they find. At 16 if they are good enough they can sign thier first professional contract. In Brazil at least and correct me someone if I am wrong on this, I believe kids at any age can have parents sign contracts and you can own a share of future earnings much as we might own a share of a race horses future earnings in this country. It is a way for poor parents to get some upfront money for the talent their kids might possibly achieve. There are probably many other type of deals I no nothing about. Nonetheless, I am pretty sure we will never see something like that in the U.S. but maybe more European style professional team academies may evolve. They aren't all perfect at training young players over there in Europe but at least some of them put out good quality.

  109. Wesley Hunt, April 19, 2013 at 4:15 p.m.

    Cony not sure if US soccer is listening but for my part you are preaching to the choir. I started a small futsal league. I have struck a deal with the city for a tennis court to be converted to outdoor futsal with permanent nets for year round use. During the summer I manage free program through the city rec department for the kids to come scrimmage futsal but mostly I just wanted the court there for kids to play on when ever they like. I would love for USSF to build those 30,000 courts. They say it takes 10,000 hours of deep practice to become really good at something. The only way you get real magical players is if they are well on thier way to that number by age 12 or so. No coaching or academie is going to help that but Futsal courts everywhere there are kids that would use them sure could. That said I am pretty sure it is not going to happen anytime soon. My feeling is that the USSF and the money making machine of developement academies have their hands in each others pockets so tightly that when one jumps the other dances.

  110. Luis Arreola, April 19, 2013 at 5:22 p.m.

    Wesley, are you aware of how much sining lessons cost?? LOL. I agree with you. Now, should a MLS Academy recieve full compensation for a player they have only trained for 1-2 years or even 2-3 years?? All I am saying is that if they are getting something then the clubs they recruited from should get something. In all other countries there are training compensation rules at young ages. That is why local small clubs are so willing to promote their best players to their local proffessional clubs. Pro clubs compensate these small clubs for doing a good job and so they can keep doing it for future talent. We must compare to other countries to put everything in perspective. In Illinois League fees are ridiculous. I have heard that guys that run big tournament make a good yearly salary in a few days. Why? Because they do the math and are aware of the crazy prices people pay for youth soccer in this country. Foreign coaches cant beleive how [profitable it is down here. Who misses out?? The low budget families that usually have the better players. Those are the ones I want to coach and keep fees low enough to cover expenses. I do this so they can play!!! So you are saying it's my fault for not charging more??? Ok. Thats cool. But just dont come and take my 16 year olds, train them for 1 year, get them a college scholarship or pro contract and tell everyone you "developed" him.

  111. Wesley Hunt, April 20, 2013 at 8:08 a.m.

    I am with you on this one Luis. If I were running a large club I wouldn't take your talent keep it a year and claim it as mine any more than I would steal bread from a baker . But then again I would porbably lose my shirt in such a business because to develope talent takes a lot of time and most normal folks don't have that kind of money though they quite often have the best kind of kids to start with. Just wish there was a direct market for talent such as they have in Europe which would make everything more easy evaluate and for small clubs to survive doing what they do best which is to find and work with young kids in those early years. Short of that Cony's idea might be the best.

  112. Luis Arreola, April 20, 2013 at 9:07 a.m.

    Wesley, you wouldn't lose your business if your focus was developing players over making money and just fronting you develop. If you can charge $2500-$4000 a year you most defenitely should he able to hire qualified coachesbto do the job the best possible. The trick is getting parents to buy into development over winning.

  113. Martha Diop, April 20, 2013 at 8:57 p.m.

    It looks like a never ending chicken and egg problem.
    THE PROBLEM: everything in the US is set up so it all and only about winning. 99% of coaches understand it, and win games so they can feast on the several thousand dollars reaped from parents who do not have a clue. Their logic is simple: you are winning games, therefore you are a good coach and therefore we give you our kids.
    Now you take someone like Westley, or some other coaches who want to do it the right way. Unfortunately, the only thing available to them are these leagues where everything is about winning. So if Wesley or similar coaches don’t embrace the mentality (and talk about player development), they lose games, and before you know it, parents won’t give them their kids, because they are “bad coaches”. Why? Of course because they lose games. Unfortunately, even those who are not wealthy will not want those coaches. Why? Because they are not winning, and no kid or parent want to be in a team that “sucks”
    The only solution: introduce a new and innovative definition of “winning”: introduce a concept of “soccer judges” who sit at games and give points to teams based on: technical skills, ball possession, tactical moves.
    The teams who then move to semifinals or finals are the ones recognized by judges for playing better soccer, not just those who relied on 2 or 3 faster or better players.
    Overtime, the coaches who are incapable of teaching real soccer will slowly be weeded out, because they will never win. Parents will start taking their kids to the teams on the top of the standings. Those teams are there precisely because they play better soccer, because of truly better coaches.
    To still give a job (and a living) to the coaches that cannot do it, we will still need to keep the leagues where there is no need for soccer judges, where it all about just scoring with ugly soccer and be “champion”. Those leagues are exciting too, by the way

  114. Luis Arreola, April 20, 2013 at 11:55 p.m.

    Martha, it is a noble idea but I doubt it will ever work or if anyone will even consider it. The game ultimately is designed to be played to win. What everyone fails to see that ultimately the more skilled players will excel at older ages and the ones that relied on strength and speed only for success at a young age will hit reality at an older age and not in a good way. There are heavy politics in US Soccer and it will find it's way around your idea if ever even considered. The simpler approach is ranking clubs solely on players developed taking into strong account years developed under them. If needed have 2 seperate rankings. One for results based on wins and a seperate one based solely on players developed. Keep it simple and this way people can wake up and see for themselves that the clubs ranked the highest for winning arent even close to the ones developing the top players.

  115. Luis Arreola, April 20, 2013 at 11:58 p.m.

    Martha, skill, dribbles, creativity must be taught with a purpose. Ultimately this should all be learned to be able to win at a higher older level. What we are missing is the patience needed at younger ages because we want to always win but are surprised we are not winning at the ages that matter.

  116. Wesley Hunt, April 21, 2013 at 7:52 a.m.

    Martha, your Idea sounds like figure skate judging to me which seems to be awfully subjective and complicated and not with out a bit of controversy when ever I have watched it. Not that I haven't wished for it a few times when one of my little ones does a seris of really cool moves losing several defenders on the way but ultimatly at that age a team full of these players will lose to a team of bigger stronger kids. Besides I like playing to win but developing skill at the younger ages is more important and their winning days will come in its own due time. We Americans tend to be impatient but when it comes to develope high skill in any edevour it is a marathon not a sprint. Better learn to enjoy the process than be impatient for the outcome.

  117. Martha Diop, April 21, 2013 at 7:53 a.m.

    Thanks lUis

    You wrote: “The game ultimately is designed to be played to win”: you are correct. But do you mean to add the words: “designed to win when it finally matters”?
    Isn’t the problem that skillful but not athletic young players are constantly overlooked because of the system, and sink at the bottom of the pool? As such, isn’t the idea to “invent” environments where, at the younger ages we focus on their skills and potential, while teaching them how to ultimately win, when they are accomplished and it finally matters?

    Your suggestion of TWO separate rankings is excellent, where one is based on the results (which is currently what 99% focus on) and the other on the player development. But the question remains: which of the two rankings should be considered, when it comes to moving up a player on the ladder? In the current system, it is always the first ranking. How and where do you give consideration to the other ranking?. My suggestion was to get rid of the first ranking, during the years when it is meaningless
    Also, remember, one of your ranking would be about a TEAM and the other would be about a PLAYER. Which one should matter at younger age, during the development years?

  118. Wesley Hunt, April 21, 2013 at 8:07 a.m.

    I geuss my main point is that if there was a very clear market for talent then a small club could take its older better players who have outgrown their little clubs and introduce them to larger clubs and be compensated for the work that was done. This would keep them runnning. The grass gets mowed the trainers are paid and the good work continues. Patience is rewarded and their is now a relationship betweed the small club and the big club. For the player they move on to bigger and better things which is as it should be. Trainers would be rewarded for the talent they produced and it would not be all smoke and mirrors of marketing to get parents to come to them for training their kids. In addition trainers would look for kids that have the potential to be trained to a higher level. Clubs would offer scholarships for them. Because the the trainer would be looking for good starting material. This all happens because the money is at the end of the process not the beginning. The game is still played to win but there is no money in it until the kid is good enough that people would pay to see him and his comrades play the game. The better he is the higher he goes. Capitalism and competition work wonders when the market is clear and open. This how it works in many other countries..

  119. Wesley Hunt, April 21, 2013 at 8:25 a.m.

    Luis, very few of my parents would pay more than a $1500/year for training and at least half my team could not afford it even if they were inclined. Differnce between small town and a big city. For the most part I am a volunteer coach who runs a futsal league. Just been extremly lucky in that I have a good group of kids that play a lot of futsal and train together for the past 5 years who have stayed focused on soccer and now are starting to look like real players. Also been extremly lucking in having a professional trainer work with them this past 4 months. What a difference he has made. My early emphasis on footskill and dribbling tricks and lots of free play prepared them for this. They are very lucky. How it all came about is too complicated to explain.

  120. Luis Arreola, April 21, 2013 at 10 a.m.

    Martha, I fully agree with you. To be clear. The skill and creativity you learn and focus on at U4-U16 will make you lose more often than playing kickball, expecially at a young age. "Ultimately" those skills you focused on were developed to help you win when it should matter which would be at U17 and above. So ultimately it is all designed to win. The problem is we do have those players that are skilled in soccer at all ages in the barrios but suburbia has taken over USA soccer, and their focus is mainly to win at all ages. Same as AAU basketball. Suburbia wants to pay its way to success even though they know perfectly well that $$ is not needed to develop the best talent. They know that it is too hard for them to simulate a soccer passionate environment where their kids will play everyday so they compensate by "thinking" it will somehow even out with 2 "Proffessional" Practices a week. We see this in basketball even though it is proven thgat the hood environment is the one that works. But that doesnt stop Suburbia from trying.

  121. Luis Arreola, April 21, 2013 at 10:07 a.m.

    Martha, it doesnt matter which one is considered but if it did it would matter by whom it is considered. USSF will not, should not take away Academy status from a losing club if they are developing the top players in the country at a higher pace or equal pace than the winning Academies. It would and should create an uproar if a #1 "development" ranled academy is biumped down for a #1 "rankled" winning team. This system just gets everything out in the open and gives the $$ clients a different perspective when deciding where to take their kids. I think many will be surprised to see how gopod the smaller clubs are doing in the development of players area. Initially you could keep the first ranking to slowly get it out of our system because people will start to question their Academy's true motives with their kid if they see the 2nd rankings. It should ALWAYS be about the PLAYER, no matter the age. But you can let these win at all cost clubs shoot themselves in the foot and eventually adjust when Development rankings expose them.

  122. Luis Arreola, April 21, 2013 at 10:10 a.m.

    Wesley, exactly. That is exactly it should be and is in many other countries. You and me are very similar. It came about because you put the effort in it and Karma was good. Your players fed off of it. There should be more coaches like you my friend.

  123. Wesley Hunt, April 22, 2013 at 12:56 p.m.

    Luis if you ever are coming through North Central PA look me up. Take care my friend.

  124. Martha Diop, April 23, 2013 at 7:27 p.m.


    You wrote
    “USSF will not, should not take away Academy status from a losing club if they are developing the top players in the country at a higher pace or equal pace than the winning Academies.”
    The problem we are all precisely grappling with is that, USSF does not seem to have anything in place to recognize achievement of academies who are focused on the long term player development.
    Quite to the contrary, USSF says: if you win, you earn a spot to participate in playoffs (showcase).
    This setup by itself takes away the opportunity for worthy players to be seen at playoffs and showcases. And once again the entire system, starting from the top is leaning only towards those who can win right now (even if only a handful of players give you that result).
    That would not be the case if the invitation to the playoffs was not based on just winning, but on actual progress towards player development
    I feel I am back to square one

  125. Luis Arreola, April 24, 2013 at 6:33 p.m.

    Martha, exactly. That statement I made would only be after Academy included rankings due solely to players developed in a better world. Actually, if my rankings would be put in place then an Academy club can choose to play players up an age or 2 that would highlight how good those players really are in a more competitive environment and how they seperate from the rest in their age group. ThatbAcdemy would probably know that even though they are probably hurting their chances of winning in playoffs they are doing a better job in showcasing their best talent. Their player development ranking would climb even though their wins rankings would suffer. Now they would have a 2nd option of promoting themselves to their clients. The top players win as well. You must play in a competitve environment to excel. If I am a U16 top player, I want to play U18 to prove I can compete or even outplay them. I want to be able to beat a team that wants to win as main objective. I dont want beat a team that doesnt care about winning. The scouts watching me want to see how competitive I am as well. SO it must be under that environment. Now the difference with Player Development rankings would be that a club can still look good by playing kids up and focusing on player development but still under a highly competitive environment. What you propose would involve too many politicos and style, development purposes would fall in the eye of the beholder. If we had a defined playing style that all must follow then maybe but still very hard. There is good in playing direct or possession. The Germans are big strong and now very skilled. They just dominated Champions. So now can we still say size is not a factor? Certainly we should not just pick big or small but skill overall. What you propose is better served away from a playoff format. That would be during the season evaluation. But to keep it simple you could just see what pro player comes out of what Academy and ask how many years he developed under them. Then you ask where he spent his years before that and how long . Then you give all those involved points for their development contribution to that player. Certainly many will take notice if Academies are getting very little points and small clubs are taking up all the development points. Therefore making Academies accountabl;e and exposing the ones that are just recruiting.

  126. Martha Diop, April 25, 2013 at 9:47 a.m.

    If I understood you correctly, we would just let the academy do their jobs, and at the end of the process, many years later, see the product that come out.
    Run a database of players that stand out (at the age where it really matters) and use the data to look for patterns and trends of Academies who consistently turn in good talent. Very interesting!
    The only problem is that in general the invitation to a showcase (for instance U12 or U13) is based on a Win-Loss record.
    Maybe you are suggesting that we completely eliminate competition at the younger ages, and all games are just for the coaches to see their work in progress. They can expose their work at U16-U17. At that age, will the invitation to the showcase be based on a win-loss record?
    If you answer yes, then we again face the problem: take Team A and Team B. ------ Team A has one or two absolutely outstanding players who can win games just by themselves, while remaining players in Team A are OK, but not stellar. The coach of Team B developed a lot of players, very talented. Technically, Team A could be invited to the showcase while overall its players are inferior to players of Team B, who will have none of its players seen in the showcase. And they go down the drain.
    How do you solve that? Would you make invitations to playoff independent of the winning loss record, which is ALWAYS about a team, and NEVER about players?

  127. Luis Arreola, April 29, 2013 at 11:10 p.m.

    Martha, the only way to overcome our overall "winning' mentality with tournaments and playoffs is by USSF implementing "Player Development only" Rankings. the win win rankings are a tremendous tide to overcome at this moment. It will be close to impossible to get everyone to just focus on development rankings and completely forget about winning, especially when so much money is being made this way. All USSF has to do is say "Look, we will now rank clubs accurately and seperately on players developed and it wont matter if you are Academy or not." Lets say you have a Player go pro after 2 years with an Academy but 8 years with a small club. USSF can give Academies more points a year, lets say 2 points a year, plus "exposure" points, lets say another 3. But lets give the small club 2 points a year for their work with that player as well. This way a small club can get the reputation they deserve and the Academy will get what they deserve as well. If Academies are really doing their job they will constantly be at the top in development rankings. If we really want to get the ranklings closer to accurate we consider how big a pool each club has to work with. You dont have to do anything to our current play to win system. If people start to look at who is getting all the development points and decide that this is more important for their child the playoff and tournament system in place will take care of itself. You still have to play to win but now under a different understanding. Now you "want" to play your top players up so they can improve and risk losing a little more to get those ranking points because now your clients expect that out of you as well. Now you let your players show off their dribbles and creative passes and moves becuase you want them to get noticed for bigger things to get those points. You must compete at all ages but the importance must be directed at improving the individual's skills, field awareness, game speed, etc. With those rankings being monitored now by your clientel you must look at potential on your B team as well. You will have to be more aware of each and everyone of your player's talents. Each coach/club/Academy will do what they think is best for them and their clientele. The difference is now you will force options. If you want to win you will go to a club that only focuses on that. If you want to develop you will go to a club that strictly does that. Playoffs must be about wins or they are not truly playoffs. Showcases are different. But the more important factor here is that you will now expose where the player development points are going.

  128. Luis Arreola, April 29, 2013 at 11:11 p.m.

    Everyone will wonder why an Academy isnt getting all the points for a pro player they have. Most will be intrigued as to why a no name club got so many points for this player which will attract many younger players to that club. Academies will have to adjust since those are the ages where they make the most money out of parents. Winning at U10 will now not be enouigh to market themselves. All these point s will do is create awareness as to who is truly developing the best players and who is just waiting to recruit them.

  129. Martha Diop, April 30, 2013 at 4 a.m.

    As you wrote: The only way to overcome our overall "winning' mentality with tournaments and playoffs is by USSF implementing "Player Development only" Rankings.
    I love every bit of the plan you proposed, and I have also being thinking along the same line. ------The main question is, and will always remain: How do you manage the identification process?-------- How will USSF know about the player developed, since they cannot go too every game to watch the players? What will be process, in concrete terms and steps?..........

    Currently they invite to identification event (showcase, playoffs, etc) only through the Win-Loss filter. How would get out of that trap?

  130. Luis Arreola, April 30, 2013 at 11:32 a.m.

    Martha, USSF doesnt have to go to every game. They don't have to do anything but look at strictly the pro and college players that make it. They arent many as far as ratio goes. These few players wont make it that far simply because they were at a winning club. They will make it because they have the individual skill that the pro team or college team thinks will help them succeed. They take these few players and look into their history. How many years with the Academy. How many years with other clubs before Academy. Each club gets the deserved development points for that player. Easy. Soccer America could easily publish " Academy player goes pro. Academy recieves 4 points for development (2 points a year) but a no name small club gets 12 points because they had him for 6 years." Now its intriguing . Now everyone will wonder why so few points for Academy and how that no name club got so many points for that player. Make these facts public and let the public decide whats best for their kids. Academy will not want to fall behind in these development rankings. Bad for business. The Pro clubs and Colleges are doing the proper recruiting and will go as far as needed to get the best players. All USSF has to do is dish out the correct development points for proper acknowledgement for who is truly developing these players. All USSF has to do is focus on the few that make it through to the next level. Very easy since they are not that many.

  131. Luis Arreola, April 30, 2013 at 11:59 a.m.

    Martha, you should not focus so much on who gets invited to these showcases, playoffs, etc. for success. Now a days you can take video footage of a player and send it to wherever you want. If he is getting snubbed because of politics then he can still succeed through other means. What these players that get snubbed should do after they make it is make it public of how politcial and corrupt our current system is. If you just invite teams based on skill and style of play to playoffs and not based on wins then its not really a playoff. Its a showcase. If I am a scout I want to see "If Possible" if a player can break down a defense thats ranked high in the country. That can only be done in the current playoff format. Now that doesnt mean that a pro scout will be looking at the top winning clubs for players. They are in the business of buying and selling individuals. If you are a club that doesnt neccessarily win a lot but are developing pro players then guess what, you will have pro scouts checking you out regularly anyway. The main purpose of development rankings is to better inform the paying customer. the parent, of where exactly the development is being done. It will highlight the trend. In Illinois, for example, people will have no other choice but notice how many of the best Academy players spent most of their development years (U6-U13) with smaller clubs in much different environments. You will still have many parents that would rather win but now you will better inform those parents that want their kid to develop and thought that paying the big $$$ would do it. Now they have accurate info to better understand option B. My point is that this current system exists because of its high profit capability. Nobody is going to mess with that up top. So my plan wont take off anytime soon. If we can find someone with the time, knowledge & most importantly, the credibility to keep up after all of the accomplished players in USA and hand out this point system accurately, it would turn the tide quite a bit.

  132. Aresenal Fan, May 2, 2013 at 3:48 p.m.

    Hmmm, was just reading about U15 national team and came up on this article on Tony Lepore....

  133. Aresenal Fan, May 2, 2013 at 3:49 p.m.


  134. Martha Diop, May 2, 2013 at 6:27 p.m.

    I truly believe that you may have found some rational way of doing it. If I understand correctly, rather than US Soccer dictating how development should be done (ratio here and there, futsal or not, training, number of games, etc.) just leave everyone alone and monitor the output, and create a database of where successful players are coming from. They could thus uncover patterns and trends that could make specific clubs or even coaches stand out.
    The only PROBLEM with your proposal is the assumption that the longer you spend with a coach or club, the more they give you quality development. Maybe that is not true. One year training with a given coach could bring you far more than three years or more with another coach who literally wasted your time………….Hopefully you don’t disagree with that

  135. Luis Arreola, May 3, 2013 at 11:19 a.m.

    Martha, exactly. Why is the USSF or any organization claiming or deciding that it's their way or the highway?? What have they proven to take that approach?? I agree that they should probably try to establish some sort of system but not force it down people's throats especially if not yet proven. We can agree to disagree with USSF as to what is the right path. They believe that $$, Facilities, Rankings based on wins, U14+ player focus will create the best Academy development system. I believe that development is most important at U6-U16 and that the Academy model is misguiding the younger ages that should be provided with a play every day enviropnment by these same clubs and every club. They wont do this because most Academies are structured as a business that deals directly with the parents $$. So what USSF should do is say, ok we think this is best but will also rank ALL clubs on players developed to see if we are right. We could learn and implement what is needed to perfect our output.

  136. Luis Arreola, May 3, 2013 at 11:34 a.m.

    Martha, there is no way of knowing what is the best or only development system. I beleive that there are coaches out there that could train you for 5 years and get the best out of you that no other coach could. I also believe that a system that sees players getting different coaches every year will give you coaches that wont get too attached to their players, which should be seen as an important ingredient, and therefore not really take it too heart if the players dont develop the fullest under him for that 1 year. There are pros and cons for everything. Experiences are different for everyone. If we can keep it simple with monitoring the output of ALL clubs then we can better understand development in USA and therefore make better choices. You can easily verify if a club uses the same coach and has great results or if they use different and specific coaches for different ages, skill level, etc. Thats the beauty of it. YOU can make that decision with better more accurate info. Wouldnt it be nice to know the ratio of college and pro players that an Academy puts out?? Is it 1000 to 1 or 10,000 to 1? How about knowing how many years those players were with that club?? Do you know how many parents are so eager to pay $2000 at U8 or $2500 at U12 only because they found out an Academy had 1 or 2 National players even though those kids came in from a different state and were only there for 1 year?? They dont know that these kids were mostly developed under a much different environment. How about finding out at a National Level that a small 100 player club has been getting their best players that have been there for 4-5 years recruited by an Academy that immediately promotes them as "Homegrown" or "their player" ?? Its accountability without having to point the finger directly at someone. Academies will have no choice but to improve their development strategies at the younger ages or partner $$ up with these smaller clubs to keep their credibility up.

  137. Luis Arreola, May 3, 2013 at 11:49 a.m.

    Arsenal, WOW!!! I had no idea that it was that bad. Mafia? It does sound like it!!

  138. Martha Diop, May 5, 2013 at 6:44 a.m.

    So basically USSF would run a huge bust consistent nationwide identification system, that feeds on patiently collecting data year after year. The statistical trends and patterns would not lie. These would be fact. USSF would then just need to make the results widely public.
    Personally, I think this would work with only two caveats
    __________1)The political entrenchments (and the “mafia” described in one of the inputs) will oppose it
    _________2)We are trusting that those who pick players (college coaches, etc.) have a decent knowledge as to who to pick. Could some of them still continue to see athletes only, due to their lack of understanding and inability to recognize good soccer players

    This being said, I find in your idea something that would finally makes total sense

  139. Luis Arreola, May 5, 2013 at 11:30 p.m.

    Martha, The point system I speak of would give much higher points for a Pro player than for college. Let's do an example point system- points given are by year per club: College player 1 point per development year year, MLS Pro Player 2 points per year, $100,000+ a year contract pro player 3 points per year, $200,000+ a year contract pro 4 points per year, etc. Spanish Liga Pro 10 points, Liga Starter 15 points, Top 10 player in the world 30 points a year. Of course it would be a more thought out point system but the idea is to give due credit. If the USSF started this seperate players developed results point system to establish a seperate "developed players" rankings it would be very hard for them to politically obstruct the truth. Every club involved with a accomplished player will push for their rights to development points. I beklieve it would not be long before this ranking would completely take over as the new obsession in youth soccer. The inability to recognize the best players does not go too far beyond our system but with this point system it would be all too clear what we are doing wrong. Let's say a small club, that no one knows about, suddenly gets up in top 10 rankings for development because they developed a few pro MX starters. Everyone would flock to see what they are doing. The environment, training, leagues, coaches, etc. Are the coaches ex pro players?? Colleges would have to take notice as well. Academies would have to to keep up. Just having these rankings would make people ask where the development points went?? It's a form of sparking curiosity. It would be very hard for anyone to try to hide the truth like we have been. That's why you are right on with your first caveat!!

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