Commentary

If the song remains the same, how can it be rewritten?

By Ridge Mahoney
(@ridgemax)

Get whomped by the best team in the world and every expert knows where to put the blame.

Of course, said experts provide myriad reasons and numerous scapegoats as to why the U.S. national team is manhandled by Argentina, 4-0, in the semifinal of a major tournament. A glaring talent gap is the primary culprit, and there’s many fingers being pointed this way and that regarding how to address a complex and touchy subject.

Whether or not a Centenario-type competition blossoms into a regular fixture on the FIFA international is, for now, irrelevant. The Americans attained the objective set forth by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann of reaching the semifinals, which they did by rebounding from defeat against Colombia in their opening game to beat Costa Rica, 4-0, and Paraguay, 1-0, in group play, and prevailing, 2-1, in quarterfinal with Ecuador.

A thorough butt-kicking inflicted by Argentina was fairly represented by the scoreline and had the Americans been at full-strength rather than deprived of starters Alejandro Bedoya, Jermaine Jones and Bobby Wood the margin would have been narrower. The best teams in the world are still much better than the USA as has been the case for many decades, but the insertion of Graham Zusi, Kyle Beckerman and Chris Wondolowski accentuated the differences.

There doesn’t seem to be much consensus about what can be done to ramp up the national team, other than magically transform MLS into one of the world’s greatest leagues and turn every domestic elite player into a potential World Cup starter. But what can be done is to look at the semifinal and determine what hidden truths, if any, can be comprehended.

LINEUP CHOICES. Not for the first time in his tenure did Klinsmann take on a tough task and make it worse through questionable decisions.

Why Klinsmann excluded an experienced, reliable defender in Matt Besler -- who manned the left-back slot in the quarterfinal against Ecuador -- with a shorthanded squad taking on the best player in the world is difficult to fathom.

Reverting to the back four that played the first three group made sense on some level. Criticized throughout his tenure for churning through formations and personnel with little or no regard to continuity, Klinsmann’s decision to stick with the same quartet of (left to right) Fabian Johnson, John Brooks, Geoff Cameron and DeAndre Yedlin in the group phase imbued some consistency and cohesion.

Yedlin’s suspension for the Ecuador game prompted a logical decision to use Besler -- whom Klinsmann had deployed on the left side for the first half of the final tuneup against Bolivia -- on the left and move Johnson to the right. To face Argentina, Klinsmann could have kept Besler at left back and returned Yedlin to right back and move Johnson again into midfield, where he plays club ball for Borussia Moenchengladbach and his experience could have helped blunt Argentina’s dominance in the middle third.

Besler may not be a natural left back, but he’s a zealous, determined defender and unlike Johnson, Brooks and Cameron had not slogged through four pressure games in 14 days. Many Americans looked fatigued, including Johnson, but he could have been somewhat effective in a primarily defensive role on either flank, backed by either Besler or Yedlin or even as a second defensive screen in front of the back four.

In any case, adding Besler to the back line would have increased the USA in its individual and collective defense as well as freshness and experience.

BECKERMAN'S REPLACEMENT. The RSL stalwart looked overmatched against Argentina, but nobody else on the roster comes close to taking on Jones’ defensive resiliency.

That said, trailing at halftime, 2-0, and lacking any real presence in central midfield, a change was desperately needed to give the U.S. any chance of getting back in the game. But Klinsmann made no such move until 10 minutes after Argentina scored its third goal in the 60th minute. Only then did Beckerman come off in favor of --- wait for it – defender Steve Birnbaum

I don’t agree with many who were clamoring that Darlington Nagbe should have started against Argentina. For all his skill and cleverness, he’s prone to costly turnovers in the middle third that would have been eagerly gobbled up by Argentina. A solid run for Portland during the last few months of its run to the 2015 MLS title can’t be instantly transformed to the national team level and among other problems, his inconsistency is one reason the Timbers are teetering this season.

But at 2-0, Klinsmann could have made this move rather than that of Christian Pulisic for Wondolowski. Ironically, the third goal stemmed from a ball Beckerman played to Pulisic with a pair of Argentines about to close down the teenager. It was a bad decision by Beckerman and when Pulisic turned, he did so right into a double-team that easily snapped up the ball. Argentina swept over the midfield line, and though Geoff Cameron nearly snuffed the sequence by stretching his right leg to intercept a ball, he couldn’t recover it, and a few seconds later Gonzalo Higuain smacked a shot low just inside the post.

Though he too is new to the national team, at 26 Nagbe has a lot more pro games under his belt than Pulisic. Their double entry together in the opener against Colombia changed the game a bit but not significantly, and so Klinsmann might have been reluctant to pull the same double-switch at halftime.

Yet Argentina’s total dominance in the middle of the park demanded drastic measures, and Klinsmann didn’t act soon enough. 

PLAYER DEVELOPMENT. Every time the national team doesn’t look good, the sky falls on U.S. Soccer and president Sunil Gulati and Klinsmann and MLS for botching up player development. They are all to blame, but only partially.

The fact is, the U.S. is still decades away from a true pyramid structure in which player scouting and development starts at the grassroots level and is interlocked at each stage. This interlocking goes beyond the formal process at the regional levels that feed into the youth national teams; rather it emerges along more organic lines. In youth hockey and baseball, leagues and organizations are monitored by scouts, both paid and volunteer, who pass on information regarding promising players to people higher up the chain.

There’s no substitute for time in this regard. In the past two decades, several different levels of competitive soccer outside the traditional club system -- both youth and adult -- have blossomed: USL, NASL, PDL, NPSL, etc. In turn, they are fed by a vast array of leagues and clubs at the local and regional levels that may or may not be formally tied to U.S. Soccer or other umbrella entities.

Certainly, U.S. Soccer can do a better job in its Development Academy programs and many MLS teams are still grappling with the logistics and best practices of running several youth teams, fielding a USL operation or joining with an affiliated club, along with the myriad headaches of staying competitive and solvent in MLS.

Contrary to what many believe, it is not the job of MLS to groom players for the U.S. team. MLS teams are businesses and will take any measures necessary – which may include fielding as many non-U.S. eligible players as the league permits —to succeed financially and competitively. Otherwise, it would be counterproductive to allot each team eight international slots and allow teams to acquire more of them if they so desire. That limit is subject to U.S. Soccer approval; it has been as low as three players per team in the past.

Klinsmann can only pick the players who are eligible and available. His penchant for foreign-based players and critiques of MLS rankle many, including Commissioner Don Garber, but as head coach he is obligated to make decisions whether they ruffle feathers or not. The limitations of Gyasi Zardes are likely to remain even if he plays another 100 games for the Galaxy. Starting for Sunderland rather than Seattle is why Yedlin has improved significantly though deficiencies persist.

The issue of what Klinsmann can achieve as technical director isn’t so clear. In more than five years of his tenure, the song remains the same. Some critics contend his true value lies in player identification and development, and someone else should select the national team and prepare it for games and competitions. His glowing reputation as a former international player and recruiter might dim if he were not the head coach as well as TD. 

Gulati reiterated his stance following the Argentina game that the federation makes no decisions on the basis of one result. As it should be. But the body of work under Klinsmann is extensive and at some point conclusions need to be drawn and acted upon. The Centenario fell precisely in the middle of a cycle between World Cups and changes can be wrought in time for 2018.

38 comments about "If the song remains the same, how can it be rewritten?".
  1. Garrett Isacco, June 23, 2016 at 9:26 p.m.

    I never understood the decision to put Wondolowski on the roster for Copa, much less playi him against Argentina. He is out of his depth at the national team level. I hope we never see him in the national team kit again.

  2. Kent James, June 23, 2016 at 9:33 p.m.

    Keeping the back 4 the same was reasonable, but given the need for a defensive CM, it would have been better to have brought in Besler (for the reasons Ridge suggests), but at CB, and move Cameron to DCM (leaving Beckerman on the bench). That way you have speed on the flanks (Yedlin and Johnson) to at least provide a chance to stop Messi (I like Besler, but I'd be concerned about him trying to deal with Messi on the flank). Bringing in Birnbaum made no sense, unless JK had written off the game and was just trying to get him some experience (which would be logical, but not appropriate).

  3. Kent James, June 23, 2016 at 9:36 p.m.

    As for JK's tenure, if you're going to change, now is the time. I wanted a change after the WC, but I feel like until the Argentina game, JK had been doing better (finally, a consistent line-up!). Firing him certainly won't solve our problems, but unless we're making strides with his work with the youth (as technical director), it might be time to part ways. Maybe keep him on as a world-wide talent scout...

  4. Carlos Rocha, June 23, 2016 at 9:38 p.m.

    Well, I think you are being a bit harsh towards the USMNT. Yes we weren't the best team in the Copa but we damn well were not nearly the worst. Being the 3rd or 4th best team in the Americas, with the likes of the Brazils and Uruguay ain't bad. For the record we can now beat most if not all of the Americas,Africas, Asia's and Europe and Australia...

  5. Carlos Rocha, June 23, 2016 at 9:45 p.m.

    ...yes there's still work to be done but we've made much progress in my opinion. Soccer is not easy when the entire world is trying to do it, and win. Remember that. So go easy on our team because even England struggles and they've been playing the longest.

  6. Ric Fonseca replied, June 23, 2016 at 11:17 p.m.

    Hola Carlos, I could not agree with you more, your comments are VERY spot on. Like I said in another post, just liuke some politician several years ago said, "you go to war with the army what (sic) you have, not the one you wish you had..." And so, JK has been going to games with the players that were left for him, and while supposedly sufficient time has now elapsed since he took over and every one literally fawned over him and worshiped the ground he walked, it didn't take him long to note that what was left in the cupboard was insufficient. And now we ALL know, yet are wanting for Gulati & co to dump the guy with nary a few years before the next WC!!! Raging Ridge and his some of his SA cohorts want to dump the guy to begin the cycle yet again!?!?! Lastly, as I've been sayhing but only a few have agreed, the US Soccer scene has been deeply mired in a recreational soccer mindset that is taking us a helluva long-arsed time to extricate ourselves from. Maybe we've reached that corner and are about to turn it for the better. And so, if we finish 3rd or 4th in this Copa, hell it ain't nothing to be ashamed of being considered among the TOP four soccer countries in the Western Hemisphere!!!

  7. John Soares, June 23, 2016 at 9:56 p.m.

    This loss was not a disgrace. Argentina is the best in the world. Only in our dreams (mine too) was there any hope for a win. We did better than many... can you say Mexico. Many thought Mexico would go all the way. As to JK's choices, somehow even though he has few. He does seem to find a way to make the team look bad.

  8. Carlos Rocha, June 23, 2016 at 9:57 p.m.

    I meant"... the likes of Brazil and Uruguay involved in the Copa."

  9. Brian Quesinberry, June 23, 2016 at 11:36 p.m.

    Am I the only person that thinks Michael Bradley is horrible? The article calls out our weakness in center midfield but never brings up his name. I don't get it.

  10. Ric Fonseca replied, June 24, 2016 at 12:06 a.m.

    No Brian, I am in your corner! There is an unwritten "code" to worship the ground MB walks on, time and again I went bonkers when I saw him give his half-arsed passes that were intercepted. IMHO, the reason he's being lauded on high is due to his name, mind you if B. Arena had his kid playing now, he'd be having his behind cleaned by lots of folks! MB is at best a good MLS player, and at worst, shouldn't have suited up up for the USMNT!

  11. James Griffin, June 23, 2016 at 11:51 p.m.

    True Brian. Bradley may be the most fit and can run the whole game, but his passing decisions have been terrible the whole Copa. Someone has made the whole MNT drink the "possession Koolaide". Our team is one of the few who will attempt possession while under pressure in our defensive third. We had a dominant possession game against Guatamala and only lost by 2 goals. To me this is poor coaching. Watch how many negative passes we make in a game (square or back passes). If Argentina, Chile, or even weaker teams play a 60 yard pass, it called a direct attempt. If our team does it, it's called "kick ball". It seems we would rather look good, than be good.

  12. Brian Quesinberry replied, June 24, 2016 at 7:55 a.m.

    I see the stat of him traveling the farthest but that is what midfielders do. It does no good for the team if that distance is traveled during stoppages because he is always 20 to 40 yards behind the play.

  13. R2 Dad replied, June 24, 2016 at 5:15 p.m.

    Apparently another scolding on kickball is in order. When Barca, Argentina and other top teams that can hold possession as needed play directly, it's a tactic. When you have a team full of poor-touch/low skill players playing directly all the time, it's a strategy--the strategy of crappy teams that no international coach aspires to manage. Since we cannot manage possession at all times we must continue to work on that under all circumstances. Only when our backline and midfield can play as Argentina did can we use the direct ball occasionally. Balls over the top at every turn is the sign of a BAD TEAM. Repeat after me: Kickball BAAAAAD. Possession, Good. Kickball results = luck. Possession results = skill. A counterattacking team only works when you're Jose Mourinho and you can go out and buy the very specific pieces to the puzzle to become the best in the world, and even then he fails spectacularly on a regular basis.

  14. James Griffin, June 24, 2016 at 12:02 a.m.

    Ridge is correct in saying that it is not the job of professional soccer to develop our national team. If one has watched USSF for any time, then one could readily conclude that USSF soccer is also not interested in developing our national team. The ODP and other "wonderful programs" they have developed will continue to retard our national development. As a strong soccer advocate, I hope that MLS does not continue down the road that ruined the NASL -- reliance on "used up players from Europe". Our other professional leagues do give more opportunities for American players but who is actually looking at them for potential MNT talent?

  15. Ric Fonseca replied, June 24, 2016 at 12:16 a.m.

    James, Ridge is WRONG because it is THE job of pro soccer here in the US, to HELP develop our national team. As one who has now been watching USSF since 1970, it is a wonder that I've some hair left, as it has and it hasn't developed our national team. For cripes sakes, I've been saying now for some time that we, the US soccer playing community, have been stuck in a recreational mode, that is, I blame ayso and its recreational concept that was introduced in the late '60s and into the 70s of "every one plays," and the deep seated anti-soccer mentalities of high school and collegiate ADs and other sport coaches (baseball, football, basketball, etc) that soccer is some "anti-american" sport and not worthy of being made part and parcel of sports in the US. As for seeing the MLS retard to the old NASL, well, my friend, take a good look and just examine how many early and mid 30-year olf Euro and Latino pros want to finish their careers here at the expense of our OWN home grown players!

  16. Claus Fischer, June 24, 2016 at 12:19 a.m.

    There is talent aplenty within US borders and within those who have US citizenship yet live and play abroad. This is not rocket science. Americans know how to succeed at sports - at sports of all kinds - and a host of much more - yes, much more - meaningful life endeavors. But you have to have, as AA posted above, the right leadership. JK is not that. JK cannot lead a starving dog to a dog dish. Never has been able to. Not in North America and not for his very brief coaching stints in Germany as FC Bayern learned within 9 short months of hiring him. Good players often (most often) do not make good coaches too. Just see how JK has not developed or enhanced even one US striker, a position that JK ought to excel at coaching. How can that be if a man knows what he is doing? It's no slight to lose to Argentina or to any of the other top male squads in the world if one has given it best effort. What we've seen over the last 3.5 years is not 'best effort.' However, with the human potential always there (for the last 40 years too) within US states, territories, and living overseas, it's beyond mental contortions to think that the US cannot field a squad that outplays (significantly) what we've seen in these last five Copa games, the Guatemala debacle of just a few months ago, and the real, the failure to win in LA to Mexico last October and thus be part of the 2017 Confed Cup, cringeworthy embarrassment that the USMNT displayed last summer at the Gold Cup. The US is in the easiest confederation within FIFA - berths to World Cups are a given. US citizenship is an amazing thing for dual citizen players who are riding the fence, not sure whether to go USA or with whatever nationality they have through their other parent. (How difficult can it really be to lure talented dual citizen players to play for the Red, White and Blue?) There really are no viable excuses to not have a very dynamic set of skilled US players proudly representing the US colors in every national team match. There always ought to be a 60 player pool of top notch players and GKs at the ready, just salivating to be in the final selected roster of 23. Most countries in the world would love to have the player pool that the United States can tap into - a player pool far greater than any other nation in this hemisphere. Let's stop with the silly excuses and get a real leader as coach, not a guy for the media and PR marketing. JK should have been fired one day after the Gold Cup third place game embarrassment last July. Stop the diddling. And -- while we're at it - Gulati needs to go too. (No severances for either -- both have already earned far and away above their actual value.)

  17. Carlos Rocha replied, June 26, 2016 at 6:39 p.m.

    Yes the problem could be the leadership Fischer. The problem as well could be that we the USMNT are trying to win everything over night. Even with the perfect "systems" being applied these things take time. US soccer (USMNT) has got to work on its true identity first, find and explore its strengths before it can truly compete worthy of the best in soccer. You may not even need to depend so much on foreign expertise (JK). But if we US men's soccer don't focus on our own style and try to perfect it first, nothing will come soon enough.

  18. Wooden Ships, June 24, 2016 at 12:52 a.m.

    We certainly missed BW, JJ and Yedlin. I feel all three had lost their minds in the moment. But moments can be managed better and there was a lot at stake and IMO no leadership tried to prevent it. Poise is practiced and reinforced. I didn't see poise from the bench area, nor with our Captain. For me its time for a change. MB has become player emeritus, stale. Ridge, you mention Fabian and his potential contribution as a defensive mid at left or central. What? Is he not the most accomplished, currently with the USMNT, equally adept in attack and defending, all the while being able to combination play in what many would argue is amongst the top three leagues on the planet. On one of the better teams to boot. So naturally lets have him in back. Nagbe too inconsistent? MB's passes and touches are better, you must be recalling his brief Roma stint. Starting in Brazil, his effectiveness is fleeting at best. With Argentina, all of our opponents, possessing the ball in the mid to relieve pressure and to looking for attacking regularity you have to have players in the middle that can control the ball and show quickly. Also, is JK telling me, us, that MB or JJ is a better player with the ball than Benny Feilhaber. Nonsense. Judgement. Personally, I'm sure JK, AH and MB are great guys but they aren't cutting the mustard. It's not about tactics for me its about their decisions. I just disagree with to many of them. Cameron is my Captain going forward. MB's play isn't good enough and he doesn't have the personality to lead a group of men. Judgement, I'm also starting Horvath. He's better now. Get him ready for qualifying and hopefully Russia.

  19. Bob Ashpole, June 24, 2016 at 1:40 a.m.

    Very good article. You hit the points that are most disturbing, primarily because I had thought JK had left that problem (lineup selection and substitutions) behind. I have two tactical concerns, the almost total failure to break the press and the failure to defend the far post on the first corner. Both of these suggest coaching failures. I have one motivation concern--the team was not focused at the start of the game. That too is on the coach. Each of these areas are basic coaching tasks. These are not rocket science or dealing with tactical surprises.

  20. Bob Ashpole replied, June 24, 2016 at 1:48 a.m.

    My mistake, it was the near post, not the far post that was undefended.

  21. Ric Fonseca replied, June 24, 2016 at 2:47 a.m.

    Sorry Bob A, but I disagree with you. As a former coach, all I could do is hope and pray that my players remembered the training and preparation for an important match. Once the team takes the field and the whistle goes, IT IS UP TO THE PLAYERS to execute the game plan, and the coach can't do jack diddly. For cripes sakes, it ain't like basketball, fb, or even baseball wherein the coach can have a time out to re-set the game plan, or readjust. The beauty of our sport, as I am sure you know, is that it is a player's sport/game, the opponents are faced with the same scenario, and YES, experience counts, as well as tradition - that we are just in the beginning stages, something that we. at least many of us, will see in our life time. Face it, for crying out loud, we're just two-three steps behind and slow to the ball, our reaction time is woefully slow when it is necessary to close down an attacking player, etc. Face it, we're about half-way to catching up with the more sophisticated and knowledgeable soccer playing countries.

  22. Bob Ashpole replied, June 24, 2016 at 11:04 a.m.

    Ric ordinarily I would think the problem was the players failing to execute a solid game plan, but this was essentially a complete failure to beat the press even after JK had a chance to adjust at halftime. On the first goal, one player moved to the ball on the short kick, one moved wide to cover the near pass opportunity, and both remaining players protecting the area near the post moved up higher leaving the space behind them for the attackers to exploit. So that is the key point for me. Did the set piece defense require those players to stop defending space near the post at that time? Or did the keeper tell them to push up? Ignoring the game plan, I agree with you that the individual defending by the three players nearest the finish was blameworthy. These are what suggested a coaching failure to me.

  23. Bob Ashpole replied, June 24, 2016 at 11:19 a.m.

    I expect you agree that the MNT is likely to see the same type of isolating press in the future by other teams. Team mates have to move to support a switch away from pressure. It is one thing for an isolated forward to attempt to dribble out of pressure in the final third, but we don't want players losing the ball trying to beat the press by dribbling in the middle third.

  24. Kevin Leahy, June 24, 2016 at 7:32 a.m.

    As poor as the MNT played it, would have been still been in the game score wise with a real goalkeeping job. J.K. was hired and is paid for better than, he has given. They should never struggle the way they have especially, in CONCACAF! I believe that, Sunil wants to make a change now but, is not sure where to turn. A coach should always be examining what he did wrong in his preparation when, his team starts and plays that poorly. It is tough to watch four players from the Bundesliga & the Premier league look so harried and out of sorts on 2 extra days rest. The MNT could be better with improved leadership at every level.

  25. Kyr-Roger St.-Denis, June 24, 2016 at 11:15 a.m.

    Finally! A good idea from Soccer America: "magically transform MLS into one of the world’s greatest leagues and turn every domestic elite player into a potential World Cup starter." Let's do it.

  26. Joe Linzner, June 24, 2016 at 11:47 a.m.

    another all star, Mahoney with expertise in a game as a sideline. Always knowing better than everypone else. At one time praising and at the same time condemning choices, formations and tactics. Even when opting for once popular choices when these are made they could should and have to be different/ These armchair expert write their dribble from a position of absolute amateurism based on zero experience. enough, cry wolf and perhaps things will suit your nirvana. Look at the players on Arg. Team and individual compare the talents one on one with the USA. Chile destroyed Mexico, who have decades of soccer history, competitively at least and we lose 4 zip and fire the man and his boss... yupp that is the solution....

  27. Joe Linzner, June 24, 2016 at 12:15 p.m.

    as far as leading a dog to the dish is an enlightened observation then one has to understand the logic. Leading a dog to the dish is never the issue. The issue is to get him to consume what is in it. that then reverts to the dog. Is he/they capable of consuming that which he is offered. Concacaf perhaps/ Conmebol and some Europe. Perhaps not...

  28. Winston Reyes, June 24, 2016 at 12:24 p.m.

    is not the solution,but part of,Klinsman resignation,change USA,change

  29. uffe gustafsson, June 24, 2016 at 6:29 p.m.

    Question to all you experts?
    This is a huge country with 350 million people.
    How can we possibly keep track of players that have the skills to move up and be looked at as prospects for our national teams, women and men's teams. If you don't play for a reqogize club what are your chances.
    And on the pay to play issue, why is it the cities charges big fees to use the fields same with school districts, $100 and hour to rent a turf field.
    That's the root of the problem why we have pay to play. Ask any club what is your biggest expense?
    Field time and that money have to come from somewhere. Until we fix that you will see no changes. You think Iceland charges the clubs field time, not a chance. It's called tax dollars in good use, not cities and school districts making money renting out fields. Never understood why my tax dollars that build fields are turned around so they can make money on a field I paid for to be used by our kids.

  30. Carlos Rocha replied, June 26, 2016 at 7:11 p.m.

    Noted

  31. Carlos Rocha replied, June 26, 2016 at 8:21 p.m.

    ...to your point, most countries don't even need fields. (To learn soccer).

  32. uffe gustafsson, June 24, 2016 at 6:40 p.m.

    As an example, a local JR college is charging one of our clubs 60k a year to use their fields, that was a cpl of years ago. If that is not insane I don't know what insane is.
    Tax dollars already paying for grounds staff and up keep. It's money in their pocket.
    Welcome to capitalism at it's worst.
    When municipals are out to make money of their cititizens.

  33. Ric Fonseca replied, June 24, 2016 at 11:46 p.m.

    Mr. Gustafsson, I don't know where you live, but on the case of a "JR college< "charging" for the use of a field, after 35 years teaching and coaching at this level, I never heard of a college charging so much for the use of a field. So if you were to tell us where you live....

  34. John Schultz replied, June 26, 2016 at 11:09 a.m.

    In Illinois they do the same thing. Charge crazy amounts of money at JR colleges, High Schools, etc. In Wheeling, Il. where there are mostly Hispanics playing soccer who are low budget, they are charging the same fees as next door Arlington Heights, Il whose residents are high income. Wheeling Elementary and JR High schools used to be free to use 3-4 years ago. Now people are getting kicked off of fields and charged for them as if they were PArk District fields. SO my question is, is this even legal for School Districts and Park Districts to charge for fields that should be at least partially budgeted by the state? I mean, these schools were free for many years. Not until more Hispanics started using it did they decide to start charging for them. Can they legally kick people off of them as well? I mean, how can you charge rentals for scrimmages on soccer fields and not do the same for outdoor basketball, tennis, baseball. etc. fields/courts? Ive never seen anyone get kicked off of these courts. Why would that be allowed on soccer fields? $$$$$

  35. beautiful game, June 25, 2016 at 10:37 a.m.

    It all boils down to decision making and instinctive reaction to the situation...these qualities are lacking on the squad. Several players have it, most don't. So how can one expect better results when soccer IQ is below par. Too many players have to think about the next move when instead they need to react.

  36. Carlos Rocha replied, June 26, 2016 at 6:46 p.m.

    US Men's soccer is missing Identity.

  37. uffe gustafsson, June 27, 2016 at 5:30 p.m.

    To ric
    I live in Oakland.
    And it's not one field but but think they chalk it into 4 fields depending on the size needed.
    It's kind of beside the point, the point is field cost is the biggest expense for clubs.
    Our club rent fields but also pay for the up keep.
    And to the other comment of no field needed, so where are we to play, parks are already used as fields for clubs. And u get kicked out if you don't have a permit to play.
    I hope u don't mean that playing in the streets w cars coming at you is your solution.
    So pay to play is not going to change until field fees are gone.

  38. Carlos Rocha replied, July 2, 2016 at 8:14 p.m.

    Ask England's Wayne Rooney about that problem Uffe. (Playing in the streets).
    But seriously, that's exactly what they want us to do.

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