Gulati: 'We're obviously a long way off'

U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said the USA-Argentina semifinal at the Copa Centenario was a way to judge the state of the national team program -- and it did just that.

"We got outplayed badly by a very good team," he told media members after the 4-0 loss to Argentina in Houston. "Today is a good day to judge where we are in program overall. We're obviously a long way off."

Gulati says that should not come as any surprise.

"We knew that going in," he said, "but we knew we were a long way off when we beat Spain back in 2009 [Confederations Cup semifinals] or Germany or Holland [in friendlies] last year.”

After the 2-0 loss to Colombia in the tournament opener, Gulati admitted the results in the last 18 months had not been what he would have hoped for and signaled that not making the knockout stage of the Copa Centenario would have likely triggered a coaching change.

The USA then ran off three straight wins to reach the semifinals against Argentina.

“Obviously, tonight was disappointing," he said. "That there’s a gap between the two teams is not a surprise. That you can win some of those games is also not a surprise. Today, that wasn’t going to happen. It was pretty clear early on. There have been some very good positives out of this [Copa Centenario], but let’s see."

The biggest disappointment was that the USA was never in the game.

“We just a lost a game in which we weren’t really in the game after the first three minutes," said. "It’s hard to ask me about feelings. Today, is a disappointment that it wasn’t a more competitive game. But overall, the performance of the team to get here, absolutely that’s a positive.”

Gulati also looked on the positive side that the USA will quickly get a chance to put the Argentina game behind it.

"We’ve got another game against a team that’s ranked top-five in the world," he said of Saturday's third-place game at the University of Phoenix Stadium.

That opponent will be Colombia, a 2-0 loser to Chile in Wednesday's semifinals. The game will give the USA a chance to see how much it has progressed since dropping the tournament opener to the Cafeteros.
65 comments about "Gulati: 'We're obviously a long way off'".
  1. R2 Dad, June 23, 2016 at 4:02 a.m.

    Except, Columbia may play all their subs since no one cares about the 3rd place game--and we still might get spanked.

  2. Tripp Bradford, June 23, 2016 at 8:15 a.m.

    We would have shown better with the strength, pace, drive, and skills of Jones, Bedoya, and Wood. We will find out how much better on Saturday. I would have preferred we started younger replacements with more future potential than Beckerman, Wondo, and Zusi, because we were NEVER going to beat this Argentinian side. They are clearly one of the best national teams in recent memory. They had 3 players on the bench who would be game changing starters for almost every other country.

  3. Al Gebra replied, June 23, 2016 at 11:05 a.m.

    I knew someone would bring up the excuse of not having Bedoya, Jones and Wood

  4. Claus Fischer replied, June 23, 2016 at 5:03 p.m.

    Wood might have helped but it would only have served as a "throwing the child into the deep end" experience for him. Bedoya is way too inconsistent (although one can see the the time in Nantes has done him well). Jones? Help? It is a joke that Jones is in this squad at all. It's a joke that he was part of World Cup '14 and last year's Gold Cup. Jones' presence is a cry of utter failure all around.

  5. David V, June 23, 2016 at 8:34 a.m.

    Look... first of all, hopefully you're old enough to what an analog clock is... apply what you know about it to the Spain game back in 2009...and the fact that even a broken clock is right twice per day...that Spain team was probably the best national team in history, certainly better than Argentina is now....sometimes you just get lucky... and USA keeps thinking the lucky times mean we are improving... WE ARE NOT! That said, why would anyone think we are close... JK wouldn't/couldn't say the truth the other night in the press conference after the game. As much as I don't like JK, He can't say it's because the US doesn't place a premium on the right things going all the way down to the youth levels (5 year olds)... it's ALL about athleticism in the USA (sure it's great to be fit, but that doesn't carry you to be one of the top teams... and on aggregate, US players is fit, not technical)... why do we think that we belong in the room performing brain surgery when we've filled the room with a bunch of pre-med students? Gee...we've put all our kids through the culture of pre-med and we're not quite close to doing brain surgery, who would have thunk it? NO ONE is SAYING IT... we just don't do the right things here...being the UK-West is not going to do it, you can't keep placing a premium bigger, taller, faster, the man-child beast, and expect to get to the top levels... quit picking the man-child beast and develop soccer savvy technical geniuses and influence the culture to have kids playing every day... then you can talk about closing the gap... all the money in the world is not going to take a pre-med student and make him into a world class brain surgeon overnight

  6. Kevin Sims replied, June 23, 2016 at 9:24 a.m.


  7. Leigh Marsh replied, June 23, 2016 at 9:44 a.m.

    Agree. I see it every day in my kids youth programs. The youth coaches look for size & speed. The kids with actual skill & ability & desire are passed over for top teams. The kids with skill & creativity get pushed down to lower teams & placed with coaches who don't know much about soccer or don't focus on skills & tactics Some of the taller & bigger kids or kids who run fast stay around & some leave to do track or other sports besides soccer. That is what we have coming up through ou US soccer programs -kids big for their age and or speed (not dribbling the ball just sprint speed) or physicality. No Messi has a chance here.

  8. Thomas Sullivan replied, June 23, 2016 at 11:37 a.m.

    Dave V - love it.

  9. Lonaka K replied, June 23, 2016 at 8:18 p.m.

    Leigh Marsh. you're absolutely correct. Besides not having the individual skill and tactics, our speed of thought is like a per-schooler compared to the other countries speed of thought of a college person. Because our speed to thought is so slow, our speed of play is almost embarrassing. USA players have to concentrate on their first touch so much that they can't think two three plays(passes_) ahead.

  10. David V, June 23, 2016 at 8:41 a.m.

    You're kidding yourselves.... "We would have shown better with the strength, pace, drive, and skills of Jones, Bedoya, and Wood." This is a 1% difference in performance. you mentioned SKILL last and "strength, pace, drive" first....that's typical USA approach, and that's only going to keep the country as a 2nd tier soccer nation... too much England football, and American football thinking is displayed by you, and most of our country... ODP coaches, premier coaches, EVERYWHERE this thinking is a poison to making it to world class levels

  11. Thomas Sullivan replied, June 23, 2016 at 11:39 a.m.

    Still have to dump JK though. He makes similar bad decisions - the Donovan one is case in point. JK seems to think that what's missing is a dose of macho - as if the boys are not quite tough or manly enough to do what it takes. Pathetic.

  12. Gary Wien, June 23, 2016 at 9:13 a.m.

    We would almost certainly have played better with Jones, Bedoya, and Wood in the lineup. It's foolish to think otherwise. NOBODY is saying those three would have given USA a chance to win the game, but that we would have looked competitive, which we weren't without them. We played our best 45 minutes in a long, long time in the first half against Ecuador. We looked largely lost after the suspensions.

    I think any evaluation of how the team played in this tournament should have come AFTER the 3rd place game. Be honest here. Before the tournament, wouldn't you have jumped at the offer for a 3rd place finish? Let's hope they get it.

  13. Claus Fischer replied, June 23, 2016 at 5:12 p.m.

    I disagree. Those three might have made the stink stink a little bit less, but it still would stink. Argentina never had to move even out of third gear. The USA managed not 1 shot on the Argie goal. USA pass completion rate was perhaps the worst of any team for any game in the tournament (fact check it). Optically it might have looked a tad better with Bedoya, Wood, and Jones, but only slightly. (Wood only managed one shot on goal versus Ecuador; Bedoya had none.) Argentina would have still been cruising along and comfortably ahead 2-0 at the half. This was poorly coached amateurs playing seasoned pros.

  14. Gole goal, June 23, 2016 at 9:25 a.m.

    Gulati is right, the US national team is obviously a long way off. It's best said US soccer as a whole is a long way off in the selection process. Again it's the classic case of the wrong talent usually getting picked and the right talent getting left out. This starts at the national team level on the youth sides and works its way up. The selection process for national players at the youth level is flawed. In order to fix the problem you best start from the foundation. If Messi was born in the States due to his size and style of play he wouldn't get selected to any US youth national teams. Hell he would be a D2 NCAA player at best.Why? Simple US soccer wants strength over skill, size or creativity, and players that can run to that of those who can play soccer. Gulati needs to be honest with himself and needs to realize the US national team hasn't really done much under Klinsman. When you have a coach telling his players to hit hard and step on their toes all you can really think about is a coach who has no game plan and hopes that aggression may give you a chance to stay in the game or better yet what an idiot. Boy that didn't work! Hey Klinsman how about playing good quality soccer. The US NEVER had a chance against Argentina a country who has a population of about 41 million plus compared to our 320 million plus. We have more soccer players then any country in the world at the youth level and yet we (US) can't find excellent talent. Gulati open your eyes their is something wrong with US soccer. In order to fix the problem you have to realize that there is a problem. Klinsman needs to go!! You need better eyes to find talent. Klinsman is like that prom date who you really didn't want to ask out to prom but that's what's left and its slim pickings. So you ask that person out to prom and you realize man you didn't have a choice. US soccer got put in its place vs Argentina and it could have easily been a 5-0 game or a 7-0 game. We saw a team that most importantly got dominated in every way. So US soccer what now? Where do you go from here? It's time to start playing futbol and stop playing soccer.

  15. Mark Botterill replied, June 23, 2016 at 11:16 a.m.

    At issue is a soccer culture.

    Soccer begins at home.

    70% of top class global players attribute their father as having their most influence over their football development.

    We push parents away instead of educating them how to inspire their child with the ball at their feet. Picture an American father taking his son or daughter to the park and kicking the ball 50 feet and telling them to "fetch". That's the image and that's the mentality of what an American coach inherits at 6 years old when they come to "team soccer". We start off 5 years behind systemically.

    Allow the child to love the ball in the house, play with it night and day. Inspire them to be one with the ball.

    Check out T3 Tom Byer, an iconic first time player developer across the globe. Responsible for China's football development and architect of the Japanese men's and women's team among numerous accolades.

    Want to really know how to fix the problem take 5 minutes to see what an American by the way has accomplished with the right mentality to early football development. Funny that everyone else thinks he has a solution but can't effect his own country,

    By the way not rocket science and does not take million's of dollars to fix. Action and patience and we will get there.

  16. Wooden Ships replied, June 23, 2016 at 12:03 p.m.

    Gg, your last sentence/line is culturally, historically and symbolically poignant. Bravo.

  17. Ric Fonseca replied, June 25, 2016 at 3:15 p.m.

    Hedy dont knock NCAA D2 play!!! Some of the best soccer is played at this level, and the only "k nowck" I'd give it would be to the AD's and D@ NCAA committees that don 't give a crap about our sport. I could tell you about my experiences and regale you with stories that'd make your hair stand on end or fall out!!!

  18. Kevin Leahy, June 23, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

    David V., I have to agree with you. It is hard to understand the type of player J.K. was and why he thinks we have to be more physical. I don't believe that is what he was hired for. How many of our players doing any playing outside of training? You only see free play with the minorities in the U.S. When is the last time you saw a kid playing with a ball against a wall? Free play and helping the skilled players, no matter their social status is, the only way to close the gap.

  19. Philip Carragher, June 23, 2016 at 9:41 a.m.

    David V, I like your pre-med metaphor but I think it gives US soccer development too much credit: at least pre-med students have followed a proven, tested, progressive curriculum that provides a foundation for growth into brain surgeons whereas our soccer development program doesn't develop a plurality of pre-internationally-competitive players. US Soccer, its youth systems and its DA may claim to have a curriculum that it follows but, except in very rare instances, does it follow an intelligent, progressive learning path that results in thousands of U12-U14 players sitting on the threshold of becoming highly skilled, soccer savvy, international players that can create.
    Where are all these players? After decades claiming that player development is improving and, also, with the huge numbers of youth participants in the US, why are we limiting our concerns to just trying to look respectable versus Argentina? We should now expect to have a bench and a development system full of players match-ready to substitute for starters without a big loss in effectiveness. We not only didn’t look respectable but the follow-up to this a dearth of savvy, creative players except for the one or two random exceptions. Shouldn’t we have scores of better players by now?
    This is not rocket science. Take a look at what US Hockey did years ago when it tired of being embarrassed by the international teams like the Soviet-club teams. They started over and US Hockey now has a phenomenal youth development system that is producing scores of great youth players and doing so at US-based youth hockey clubs. And maybe the best in the world is in the Chicago area. Imagine that?
    Following an intelligent curriculum requires tremendous effort: each level needs coaches that not just effectively teach the new conditioning/skills/tactics/thinking but they also reinforce previous learnings lest they wither away.
    Following a progressive learning path via an intelligent curriculum is a big part of helping to improve US Soccer. Of course, there are other pieces to this puzzle, but without the curriculum we're kidding ourselves. Our dearth of creative, soccer savvy players is the result of a failure to enact a strong, effective development system and that is a failure of leadership.

  20. Gary Levitt, June 23, 2016 at 10:03 a.m.

    Player pool issues. Player selection issues. No poise, no ability to relieve pressure. Poor tactical awareness. Zero shots.
    We are a country of 353 million. Iceland a country of 300,000. Something has been and is still seriously wrong. Two months to our next qualifier and we already look good to make it to Russia. Time for a change. I guess it won't happen for a lot of reasons. Just my take.

  21. cisco martinez, June 23, 2016 at 10:24 a.m.

    Gulati tell us something we don't know!!! Its your job to pick coaches that have a history of success or development, Klinsmann has done neither at his previous clubs at Bayern and Germany national team in regards to tactics. Klinsmann overall has not improved on Bruce Arena's success or Bob Bradley's mediocre performance.

  22. Sean Patrick Kersten replied, June 23, 2016 at 10:32 a.m.

    Why is Klinsman the issue? Kids do not free play enough to develop skills, too much focus on speed and height. Lalas was the epidomy of this philosophy, he is a dinosaur, agree the player pool is more of same big, fast, no ball skills. Ever wonder why Klinsman goes to Europe for players. My son played for 6 years in Germany and Switzerland, played at school and after school. That does not happen, plus our HS coaches are so void of soccer knowledge, just teachers who want more $.

  23. David V, June 23, 2016 at 10:26 a.m.

    Phil, no problem... just loose analogies... more is here from me...

  24. David V, June 23, 2016 at 10:27 a.m.

    I made a bunch of comments there... the last was "Cisco, I don't have a problem with you wanting to fire JK... no problem at all if that's what you wish, I'm really not a fan of his. BUT, two Olympic cycles is not the time frame we are talking about to turn things around... we're talking if we did the right things RIGHT NOW all across the country, it would take about 25-30 years to be a world contender"

  25. David V, June 23, 2016 at 10:30 a.m.

    and another excerpt "I heard talk of how far youth soccer coaching has come...99% of it is still jungle ball. How many can tell you where the back four and holding midfielder should stand on a goal kick? How many?"

  26. K Michael, June 23, 2016 at 10:35 a.m.

    Other countries give a big fat s@#* about winning "state cups" at age 11-18, they are all about developing pros. They also have a 120 year knowledge base of what makes a good soccer player (physically, mentally, etc). Our DA has begun to show signs of truly taking a long term approach to development, so I am cautiously optimistic that at our highest level, post-PASS evaluation, we begin to truly nurture the creative player (big or small).

  27. K Michael, June 23, 2016 at 10:56 a.m.

    I DO think we overcoach our players. It seems to me that a typical u6-u9 practice out to be a few technical drills, then small-sided free play for the duration, with very minimal interference. Their homework would be to find a wall and kick a ball every day. The two best players on my kid's team do exactly that and their talent is light years ahead of the others. Just wall ball.

  28. Chance Hall, June 23, 2016 at 11:06 a.m.

    Couldn't agree more with the comments about the US youth programs still living in the past about size and height. I have watched my daughters come up through the youth programs for years. Fortunately the older one was 5' 8" and the youngest is also 5' 8". They both have good skills and what I call "soccer sense". A term I always used when coaching. However I have watched my youngest play ECNL for almost four years, and I still see clubs selecting players based mainly on size (mostly height). Also watching the colleges making the same mistakes. Was amazing watching games at the colleges my youngest daughter is visiting. Time after time I watched smaller more skilled players blow through and around the bigger (taller) girls. We are still years away from having a youth program that will prepare our players for international competition. Not sure how we can begin to change the clubs concept of picking football size players to play soccer.

  29. Jeffrey Organ, June 23, 2016 at 11:43 a.m.

    We have been engaging in these circular arguments about the need for change for many, many years and everybody has a different opinion about what needs to be changed in youth soccer development. Welcome to America. My personal opinion is that EVERYTHING can directly be tied back to the money. We can moan about the win at all costs mentality, the focus on athleticism vs. subtle technical skills and "pay for play" all we want, but there are very few humanitarians stepping forward to personally give significant money or time to the greater glory of the USMNT player pool. If you look at almost every great player in the soccer power countries they enter professional club systems at an early age and from then on these players are part of a dog-eat-dog system that chews up and spits out most of them until they get to the very few that can have a successful professional career. Why is this system successful...because there is a lot of potential money to be made by both the clubs and players. An exploitive system like this is not possible in the United States for a whole lot of reasons. Expecting the current system we have...with one change, however, is a waste of time. US Soccer does not have the clout or resources to change the fundamental economics of the youth soccer system in this country. What does kind of mystify me is why there is zero focus among the highly educated and motivated participants on SA message boards about the one thing that can lead to change....the MLS led Academy program. Regardless of what you think about MLS, their academy programs represent the best hope for change and progress we have. Why? Again because of simple naked financial interest. This is even more true when you factor in the hammer that FIFA is about ready to bring down on the LigaMX exploitation of US Hispanic youth. What concerns me about the MLS academies is that they are under virtually no scrutiny by the media or their presumably US Soccer supporting fan bases. If we want better players for the USMNT, this is where we need to focus. We have MLS teams in 17 of the largest US markets now...soon to be 25. Compound that with the growing number of USL feeder teams and their academies and we have a system that has sufficient economic incentives to produce change. Why not focus on this for awhile? What do we have to lose. After the pathetic display against Argentina, not much.

  30. Joe Linzner, June 23, 2016 at 11:46 a.m.

    Ask yourselveswhat the difference is between a child who learns to kick a ball before he enters kindergarten carries the ball back and forth to school in a net and kicks it with either foot as he walks to and fro using peripheral vision to keep it bouncing. Keeps the ball close and talks to his buddies who are essentially doing the very same things, For most of the world soccer is a life style, not a yuppie fad embraced by sedentary watch a game or two and become an instant every phase of the game from technique, vision, soccer sense, talent, choice system, positioning, coaching etc. Compare that to the American general path towards soccer stardom........we are by definition a nation of dilletantes when it comes to soccer . Instant success, instant expertise Yupp, JK knows nothing,

  31. Winston Reyes, June 23, 2016 at 11:48 a.m.

    speed and skills,first,without that Messi??,you can teach skills,is possible,you need skilled teachers,we've got them,the teachers?

  32. Dusty Latouffe, June 23, 2016 at 12:12 p.m.

    Gulati says we’re “a long way off.” But from what? Being the best team on the planet? Even the strongest teams in the world are hesitant to have such aspirations. Perhaps we are talking about being a long way off from being competitive with the top teams in the world. Does everyone realize that we reached the semi-finals in the Copa and that teams like Brazil, Uruguay, and Mexico—to name just a few—did not?

    Many U.S. soccer fans have an obsession with criticizing Klinsmann and have almost absurd expectations for our national team. Remember that countries all over the world, with much deeper and more sophisticated soccer cultures, and whose primary sport is soccer, can’t reach the goals many of us expect our team to reach.

    I wonder also how so many people subscribe to the idea that Klinsmann didn’t do anything for German soccer and isn’t doing anything for us either. People who say this don’t remember or understand that Klinsmann dramatically changed the soccer culture in Germany, and was met with enormous resistance. They said he was ruining German soccer when he insisted they look for talent without typical German names and typical German looks. He’s the reason players like Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira, and Jerome Boateng are now fixtures on the national team. Give the man some credit and understand that he knows a lot more about the sport and about building a national program than you do.

    This is a long long process, and as Americans, I understand that we want immediate results. Yes, the youth programs are ridiculous in how they choose many of our top players, but the people involved in doing this are probably exactly the kinds of coaches many of you would have replace Klinsmann.

    One bad game is a setback. Please look at the big picture. I have seen almost every major team in the world—with world class rosters—lose in embarrassing games. It was not long ago that Argentina and Messi lost a 4-0 quarterfinal to Germany—made up of players Klinsmann cultivated, by the way—and were humiliated. Brazil met a worse fate in another semi-final match we all remember. Yes, the coaches were replaced, but it did not mean that their programs had made no progress in years.

    Finally, think of our players. Yes, they folded during the big game. But do you think it helps that they know U.S. fans will abandon them the instant the game goes poorly? Don’t think they don’t feel your fair weather support. They know that as soon as they make a mistake, many of you will call into question their skills, abilities, and backgrounds. If you want to create a truly great soccer culture in America, start by showing some real support for our players. I say give our boys a break. They played a great tournament and fell short after advancing beyond many of the “top” teams in the world that we are apparently “a long way off” from being.

  33. Bob Ashpole, June 23, 2016 at 12:12 p.m.

    Significant improvement at the senior level was and still is never more than 10 years away. Everything short of reform at the youth level is a band aid fix. Bradenton helps 16 year old individuals but is a band aid. The DA junior-level super league is a bigger band aid than Bradenton, but still just a band aid. That the DA will be deemed a success by USSF is certain because the USSF will focus on selecting national teams from the DA, and then point to that stat as "proof" of a successful program. Likewise the "National Training Centers" are run by DA club coaches for DA club players, too narrow in reach to have a significant impact on the national level--same coaches, same players.

  34. Jeffrey Organ replied, June 23, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

    I still believe it is unreasonable to expect the current State Association driven system to change. Everybody talks about US Soccer should do this and US Soccer should do that, but guess what....US Soccer is all of the dues paying member (State and local associations) that are running and benefiting from the current system. The motivations of the people paying the dues have little connection with a national US Soccer player development pool focus. The parents of your typical dues paying youth soccer player (many of whom are female) want a team for their non-elite kid to play on, decent fields, winning records and maybe a path to a college scholarship for the best kids. I believe that most of these paying customers could care less whether any national team players are developed by their Association. Additionally, there are thousands of people making a living off of the current system and to expect them to change the essential core of their process because US Soccer leadership tells them to change is naive. Why would the people running these organizations give up any power or money when their paying customers are perfectly happy with what they have? Again, I believe the only reasonable path to solving this development issue is through MLS Academies. Let the colleges and State Associations do what they do...just don't count on them for future National team players. I would love to hear other long as they reflect economic realities and are not just pie-in-the-sky dreaming and hoping.

  35. Jogo Bonito, June 23, 2016 at 12:49 p.m.

    It was a tough day for our German American Kickers against Argentina ... Maybe now is a good time to rid us of JK and all of his assistants and I'd probably clean house in the youth system as well (did I hear correctly that Brad Friedel is coaching a team?! What qualifies him?) US Soccer is broken when they truly believe that the team they put into this Copa America is a strong representation of the best US players. I believe we have more enough quality players out there, but unfortunately they're not being considered because of a coaching mentality that cannot understand or appreciate technical players that can keep the ball, score, are confident 1v1 and defend because they might not fit the physical image they're looking for. I feel Messi would have not made it to professional if he chose to come here instead of Barcalona as a young teenager. Let's clean house and start over please.

  36. Andrew Kear replied, June 27, 2016 at 3:14 a.m.

    There are now essentially just two key German American players left and they are Jones and Brooks. The German American players are a big flop to.

  37. Phil Hardy, June 23, 2016 at 2:06 p.m.

    Surprised no one has pointed out Hungary have made it to the knockout phase with only one player in a top 5 league. We need a new coach.

  38. Phil Hardy, June 23, 2016 at 2:09 p.m.

    One other thought: if nothing else JK did prominently point out this week that our entire development system is a shambles. A US considered a rookie at 22. In the major leagues of Europe if you haven't broken into the top division at the age of 22, you aren't likely to. Yes, there are exceptions, but the rule holds. College soccer needs major reform and they keep telling us its coming, but when?

  39. Claus Fischer replied, June 23, 2016 at 5 p.m.

    There's no reason at all to look to college/university players. Every now and again one or two might trickle out. But the failure to piece together a world top 15 (of all men's teams worldwide) USMNT program has nothing to do with colleges or universities. No player with the right levels of skills, drive, fitness, and gift would be wasting his time in a US university/college program.

  40. Lonaka K, June 23, 2016 at 2:48 p.m.

    Mr Gulati, why are you saying we are a long way off. Don't you think that after where Coach Arena took us we should be moving upward. I feel we are stuck in neutral and other countries are forging ahead. Take Belgium for example look where they are. With a population lot smaller than the USA, they are much more competitive then we are. How about Iceland in the Euro 2016. They are competitions at a very high level. We are NOT going to win with robots and cones on the field. We need soccer players, pure athelicism will not win us many games.

  41. David Mont replied, June 23, 2016 at 3:26 p.m.

    You can't compare Belgium or Iceland to the US. We don't have a soccer culture here. A Belgian or Icelandic kid comes to school and discusses last night's soccer games with his friends. (And so does his father at work.) And when the kid comes home from school, he goes outside to kick the ball around with his friends. And at night, he'll turn the TV on to watch another soccer game. In the US, even kids who play soccer, mostly don't watch games on TV, don't discuss them with their friends and certainly not with their parents, and don't go outside after school to kick the ball around.

  42. Lonaka K replied, June 23, 2016 at 8:29 p.m.

    So David, are you saying its hopeless for the USA to ever be competitive in the soccer world and we should accept the fact that we will never become number one in the world. That being the case, tell
    Gulati and all USA soccer fans to just watch the game and never expect the USA to excel in the sport.

  43. Richard Brown, June 23, 2016 at 4:49 p.m.

    Someone said let's clean house and bring someone new in. That is how Klinnesman got here.

    He had the team for 5 years. How many different ways can we play?

    He has never build on the way we play. It is always the same. He brings players from Germany that's it.

    It's boring watching them play. Nothing new ever in the way we play. 5 years is a life time for a manager to have the team. If we are going to bring in Germans make all the rest of the American players real fast. Then there is always a chance to counter or quick strike.

    How much skill does it take for American to learn intelligent ways to move with out the ball. They can't learn that. We had speed when Arena had the team.

    I don't care who the manager is with the team for 5 yrs they should be able to do other things.

    I see players not doing certain things that a coaching point could fix. Evidently he never makes a coaching point. I hate that same mistakes all the time.

  44. Claus Fischer, June 23, 2016 at 4:56 p.m.

    The talent is in the United States (and abroad with those who are young US citizens). It is just a matter of IDing the talent, molding it, keeping it focused, giving it the platforms to develop and then cutting it loose in topflight matches. There is more than enough talent alone in California, Texas, and Florida to make the USMNT (and Olympic level team) easily and routinely top 20 in the world - year in, year out.

  45. beautiful game replied, June 23, 2016 at 5:06 p.m.

    Sunil knows the problem and hasn't figured it out. He's become too political and has failed to be a mover and a shaker. The whole culture of youth development needs to be reinvented. Look at Venezuela, a baseball country which has developed a highly competitive team.

  46. Nalin Carney, June 23, 2016 at 5:05 p.m.




  47. Richard Brown, June 23, 2016 at 5:08 p.m.

    David here there is places where kids and adults kick the ball around till they can't do it because it is night.

    It happen in ethnic neighborhoods. Kids put two garbage cans one on each side of the field and they play. One ball 16 on a side to 2 on a side. No one keeps score age groups 35 to 8 yr olds. That is how kids learn by watching the older guys. They learn from demonstration.

    Their was a Haitian neighborhood I was an adult player then. I asked them if I could play sure. Next time I came brought my 9 yr old son. We both played their for years. Hit the can you score.

    In white neighborhoods you don't see it. Go to a Russian area they play all the time. I was playing there in my late 60s. Easy to out play them because they only move when they have the ball.
    Italian neighborhood they play there as well. That area is dying now.

  48. Goal Goal, June 23, 2016 at 5:10 p.m.

    If you don't go to the root of the problem you are treading water. The youth programs. Let's start working with skilled players rather than brute force.

  49. Claus Fischer, June 23, 2016 at 6:08 p.m.

    Remember when Klinsmann lauded that the USMNT would be the fittest team at World Cup '14? (and log the most kilometers/miles per match). Well? How did Klinsmann's 11 do against an Argentina with 45 hours less rest prior to Tuesday night in Houston?

  50. Bret Newman replied, June 23, 2016 at 6:15 p.m.

    Clause, to answer you, TERRIBLE! Argentina had all the energy in the world to pressure our back line, and really, all our players on the field, until we lost the ball. We still haven't learned how to get out of those situations. SAD! When in trouble, we aimlessly kick the ball downfield.

  51. Bret Newman, June 23, 2016 at 6:10 p.m.

    If you don't think Jones wouldn't have made a difference, than you haven't been watching the games. Wood would have made a difference too, as he would have had Argentina's attention, freeing up Dempsey. We don't have any player that can replace what those two give you. Even at his age, Jones is faster than almost any US player and is a better long ball passer. And what about his tenacity, which was clearly missing. Wood has the potential to be a world class striker, judging from some of the goals I've seen him create. Wondo and Beckerman are jokes! Bradley looks like he is trying to sabotage our games. Maybe he's hoping they'll hire his dad again.

  52. beautiful game replied, June 25, 2016 at 10:41 a.m.

    Jones has more soccer savvy than most of the squad. He's resilient, tough, technical, instinctive, and gives it 100% at all times.

  53. James Froehlich, June 23, 2016 at 6:18 p.m.

    David V --- great comments. Our problem is so much bigger than the current W/L record of the MNT. The entire youth development environment is abysmal. It goes way beyond the "pay-to-play". In general, the people to whom we entrust the development of our youngest players do not share the overarching goal of developing good technical players. Their job is to select a youth team made up of the fastest, most physical, most athletic who will win consistently. This will provide each of the players with the resume to get them into the ODP hierarchy and then get them THE college scholarship. There are always exceptions to my picture of the youth coach but they are few and far between. In general, they are young men looking to make a few bucks and don't mind a little babysitting. There are of course some truly dedicated coaches but unfortunately the need to win for the parents soon overrides their best intentions.
    Which brings me to Klinsmann. I have been and remain a staunch supporter of him. Naturally, I don't agree with every player selection, formation, etc. but my biggest disappointment has been his inability to gain support for many of his ideas. For example, the issue of players moving to Europe: even though most fans recognize that playing in Europe has real and substantial benefits, JK was roundly pilloried for downgrading MLS. So he had to back off. Despite the recognition that to develop our youth players they have to play, JK is expected by his bosses and fans to win while giving young players the needed experience. It's real easy for commenters and bloggers to say that losing is ok if the result is more experienced young players. Unfortunately JK 's bosses and the major media don't exactly share that opinion. Most MNT coaches merely have to select players, JK was brought in to first find these players and then develop them into world class players in a few weeks each year. As a final footnote, people who say that the current team doesn't play better soccer than previous teams is just ignoring the obvious. Previous teams never even tried to carry the ball out of the back now we are doing that successfully. Is there anyone who seriously believes that previous CB's would have even attempted the successful actions of Cameron and Brooks? And as for midfield possession--you actually need two or more players who can actually pass and trap and want to pass. We have seldom in the past met that requirement. Now we have begun to see more of that with Bedoya, Zardes, Woods, and Jones, and soon with Nagbe and Pulisic.
    The MNT will consistently perform at a higher level only when we are able to fix our youth development and until then a coach who only works on tactics, and formations will be a hindrance not a help. JK is the only coach we have ever had who actually tells the soccer fans what needs to be improved. The fact that we don't always like what he says doesn't mean that it shouldn't be said.

  54. Jeffrey Organ replied, June 23, 2016 at 6:47 p.m.

    Excellent points. Exactly how would you change the youth development system and who will pay for it?

  55. Jeffrey Organ replied, June 24, 2016 at 1:58 p.m.

    I wish I thought it was as easy as you do. In other countries you generally have clubs paying transfer fees to other clubs because that is where soccer development happens. We don't have that kind of system in this country. Where do you draw the line? Do you pay transfer fees to some church league where a player started playing when he was 5? What kind of confidence do we have in a system that gives tens of thousands of dollars to volunteer run youth soccer leagues? Do high schools get paid? I don't dismiss your thoughts out of hand. I believe there is a role for a transfer fee system like this. What I object to is you responding to me like a child with your simple, knee jerk solutions.

  56. Claus Fischer, June 23, 2016 at 7:26 p.m.

    Who else is with me? Who else says: Ezequiel Lavezzi goal at the 44th minute (just before the half) is good. He is not offsides after great long pass that goes right through the Swiss cheese US team (in the middle of the field), that pass coming from Argentina's left defensive back. 3-0 for Argentina at the half. Lavezzi was not offside, now was he? And the card for Brad Guzan clotheslining Lavezzi? This is purposely trying to keep the scoreline close so as to not lose potential second half TV revenue. True?

  57. Jeffrey Organ replied, June 23, 2016 at 8:10 p.m.

    Not me. Give the conspiracy theories a rest. The game is over and we got our butts kicked. Whether it was 4-0 or 8-0 is irrelevant. It was humiliating enough without you piling on dude.

  58. Chuck Redding, June 23, 2016 at 8:26 p.m.

    FIRE Gulati...Get a real soccer person. I'm sick of this IVY league mentality. Get a proven international coach. ALL successful programs start at the top!!!!

  59. John Sciore, June 23, 2016 at 8:34 p.m.

    I wonder how many of the blue and white boys played Futsal as a foundation of their training vs USA?

  60. James Froehlich, June 23, 2016 at 10 p.m.

    Jeffrey Organ -- to be completely honest right after I submitted my post, I read yours and was going to complement you for the most concrete recommendation. I was delayed by a card game which I duly lost!! There is an obvious problem with the MLS option, namely getting the owners to recognize that the success of the MNT is a positive for them even if many of the NT players end up coming from other leagues (for now). Despite that, it is certainly more feasible than getting every for-profit big club to suddenly start selecting the right players, agreeing that youth teams(u6 to u12) are for development not W/L records and getting those same clubs to emphasize basic skill development. (Parents are a major part of this problem)
    Feasible or not though, watching how US Soccer clubs and coaches have for the past 30 years continued to hold back not only the development of our players but also the appreciation for the skills of passing, trapping, shielding, and of course dribbling. Most American spectators still don't pay attention until the ball approaches the box!!!

  61. F B, June 23, 2016 at 10:42 p.m.

    Mr. Sciore, with respect, you are almost on the right path. Most non-US players play Futsal or a similar technical skills-dependent game early in their development and on into their maturity, but not because it is a predetermined foundation of their formal training. They do it because it is FUN! They do it because it is ingrained in their concept of what the GAME is all about. Cleverness, agility, mental speed, dominion of the ball are the components that comprise the model player that they all aspire to be. The football hero. This combination of traits is what is honed over hours upon hours of child's play in vacant lots/driveways/streets/alleys/schoolyards in countless cities and villages around the planet. Much of this, mind you, goes on without even an adult professing to be a coach/trainer being present. The individual player instinct is already present by the time these kids join a formal team. Futsal is a formalization of the vacant lot game that many of the best in the world experienced as kids. Here, we try to TRAIN teams of faster, larger, and ofttimes cruder team players hoping that the team effort of these team players will overcome the teams of highly skilled individual players that are fielded elsewhere. Hence, you end up with two different "styles" or philosophies of the game. Which style wins on a given day is to some degree a probability and statistics exercise. What really matters, is what style of game you would prefer to play/watch, and secondarily, whether or not winning is the only outcome of interest. I personally prefer to play/watch the skills/agility dominated game, but my preferences are by no means universal. It is a very difficult problem to solve if you want to INSTILL in this country that football mentality that is nature in other football countries. I believe we have in our country the resources to develop either style for a national team program. What you cannot do is develop one style by emphasizing the qualities of the other in teaching/selecting our youth players for such a program. I think that this is a fundamental misconception that we suffer in the US. We idolize the individually gifted player, but we select/train toward the mediocre team player. The truth is that it takes much more effort and time to teach individual skills/agility, and it is debatable if you can even teach mental speed. It is much easier to teach team players to play team roles, and teach a team as a whole, expecting the individual skills and agility to teach themselves. The latter might work if kids here went home and consistently played nothing but football in their "off time", but that does not by and large happen here. We have too many other competing activities, in part because of the very resources that we possess as a "first world" nation. The "soccer academy" industry, and it is a growing, thriving industry, focuses on the easier road of TEAM development, instead of PLAYER development that they advertise.

  62. Allan Lindh, June 23, 2016 at 11:16 p.m.

    JK took Wondo over Donovan (who at that point was not only the past of US soccer, but one of the best 5 players in the pool.) That was stupid, cost us, he should have been fired.

    This time he finally settled on a back line -- choices which have been obvious for 2 years. He took Wondo over Jordan Morris. Because of Deuce and our back line, JJ and a favorable draw, and some luck, we made the semi's, where we stood 0.00 chance against the Argentine's. Should have started Pulisik, and Nagbe, moved Cameron to Holding Mid, and Morris -- but he wasn't there. Fire the guy now. Has no one else noticed he's not very smart???

  63. Kevin Sims, June 24, 2016 at 11:40 a.m.

    Until, if ever, the USA is awash in the passionate soccer culture that exists in other countries, the USA will have no hope of competing with the elite. Speed of play can be taught a bit and we try; but the comfort the elites display and the decision-making on and off the ball whether defending or attacking is a function of culture more than any coaching. We will from time to time compete well enough to steal some big victories; but consistent play at the elite level is simply beyond our grasp now. JK is correct when he pushes players to aspire to play in the best leagues and with the best teams ... duh. Make no mistake, LeBron James raised in New Zealand never becomes The King.

  64. Jeffrey Organ, June 24, 2016 at 2:16 p.m.

    James...thanks for the compliment. What I would like to see is a dialogue amongst the posters on the SA board, who are some of the most educated soccer fans in this country, that leads to positive steps forward and concrete and real solutions. Talking about firing everybody and saying everything sucks accomplishes little. I do not pretend that MLS Academies are the perfect solution, but I do believe they are the best near term approach to improving the player pool. What is common to all of the teams we have played from South America in this tournament is that the players started playing for professional soccer clubs when they were 10 and 11. The kinds of mistakes we saw from US professionals in the Argentina game are not tolerated once they reach a certain age in the best countries. They either learn how to play out of pressure, not panic and have a certain amount of tactical awareness by the time they reach 16 or 17 years old or they are not selected for national teams. The MLS owners are spending substantial amounts of money to develop these Academies, either because MLS mandates it or they see them as the best way to be competitive. I frankly am amazed that they do...given the long term requirement to spend millions of dollars with uncertain results. We need to pay attention to this and let our local MLS teams know we are paying attention. It is my understanding that there is a European organization hired by US Soccer who is working with the Academies and are holding them accountable to best practices from top soccer countries. That is an exciting development, if for no other reason than it we are not continuing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

  65. Andrew Kear, June 27, 2016 at 3:18 a.m.

    The US will finds ways to win despite Klinsmann. What else choice do the players have? Unfortunately, Bradley has been the most adversely effected by Klinsmann's strange tactics.

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