Commentary

DiCicco and Dorrance react to USA's U-17 World Cup exit

By Mike Woitalla

On Friday, Japan faces North Korea in the final of the 2016 U-17 Women’s World Cup, a biennial championship launched in 2008 that the USA has never won.

This time, in Jordan, the USA, coached by B.J. Snow, exited in the first round, after losses to Ghana (2-1) and Japan (3-2) followed a 6-1 opening win over Paraguay. Two years prior, under the same coach, the USA failed to qualify.

U.S. Soccer went to great lengths to prepare the team for this World Cup. In the nine months before the tournament, Snow’s team played 14 international games -- including five games in Grenada at the U-17 Concacaf Championship the USA won. Since the cycle began in 2015, it held training camps in Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, San Diego, Italy and at the National Training Center in Carson, California. The squad trained in Cyprus before the World Cup in Jordan.

U.S. Soccer’s youth national team program begins at U-14, and most of the players on the roster had been part of U-14 and/or U-15 national team training camps.

USA U-17 Women's World Cup Record
Year Finish (Coach)
2008 runner-up: 3W-2L-1T (Kazbek Tambi)
2010 did not qualify (Kazbek Tambi)
2012 first-round exit: 1W-0L-2T (Albertin Montoya)
2014 did no qualify (B.J. Snow)
2016 first-round exit: 1W-2L-0T (B.J. Snow)

“The first time there was a U-17 World Cup, Kaz Tambi did pretty well with that team,” says Tony DiCicco, who coached the USA to the 1996 Olympic gold medal, the 1999 Women's World Cup title, and the 2008 U-20 Women's World Cup crown. “What has happened since then?”

U.S. Soccer has taken several steps to expand the women’s national team program within the last decade. April Heinrichs was named Women’s Technical Director in January 2011 and the federation made several full-time hirings for the women’s youth national team program, including Snow, who became the first full-time U-17 coach in 2013; April Kater (Head Development Coach, hired in 2013); and Michelle French (hired full-time in 2014 to lead the U-20s). More recently, Mark Carr, Jitka Klimkova and Jaime Frias were hired as Development Coaches.

“This is a failure,” says DiCicco of the 2016 U-17 Women’s World Cup performance. “U.S. Soccer has to look at this. The thing that troubles me: There are not many U-17 teams in the world that have the programming opportunities, number of training days, training camps as we do. In 2014, we didn’t even get of Concacaf and in 2012 we didn’t get out of group play. It’s a failure of our system. We can’t blame everything on the coach of the team.”

As far as the performance in Jordan, DiCicco says the Ghana game was distressing because the USA played in a manner that suited Ghana.

“An open, athletic game, really back and forth,” DiCicco said. “The game that Ghana can’t win is a possession game, because most African teams are not organized enough. They’re athletic and if we controlled possession we would have broken them down, instead, we played the game that they could win. And that troubles me.”

“In the Japan game, I was troubled by the fact that the game could have been 6-2. They had so many chances. They broke us down so easily. I was disappointed not in the loss but in the quality of our soccer. We might not have as much possession as they have, but we should have enough possession to force them to defend for longer periods of time.”

DiCicco says that the USA must be able handle diverse types opponents.

“The women’s game in America is a pretty narrow demographic in how we play,” he says. “It’s combative, it’s athletic, it’s not incredibly sophisticated. Often, possession isn’t required. We need to understand how to play a team that bunkers and counterattacks.”

Next month, the USA will compete in its third world championship of the year, the U-20 World Cup in Papua New Guinea.

“We’re looking at failure in the Olympics [quarterfinal exit], although they did have some bad luck, and you need luck,” says DiCicco. “Failure in the U-17s -- and that puts a lot of pressure on Michelle French’s team, to at least get to the semifinals. I think all U.S. teams should get to the semifinals.”

Anson Dorrance, who recently celebrated his 800th win at the helm of the University of North Carolina, coached the USA to its first world title, victory at the inaugural 1991 Women’s World Cup in China.

He sees positives in the performance in Jordan in that Snow, in a tournament for players born on or after Jan. 1, 1999, gave to experience to younger players. The squad included five 2000s and four 2001s.

“My fear is division -- that there will be finger-pointing in different directions,” Dorrance said. “Finger-pointing at the federation, the federation player development leadership pointing fingers at the youth system. That’s not a healthy process and I don’t support any of it.

“This is an opportunity to see where we are at this age group and be self-critical. That’s the key phrase. To be self-critical -- for all of us who are involved in the game in the United States to think about how we could have made our run more successful.

“My fear is that people in powerful positions in U.S. youth soccer development are going to use this as a cudgel to create a world where they have more control. I think we’ve done a good job of developing kids across the country and I don’t think we need to start dictating systems of play and styles of play as a knee-jerk reaction whenever there’s any sort of failure.

Dorrance is concerned that U.S. Soccer launching a Girls Development Academy, which will ban players from playing high school ball, in 2017 is already creating divisions in the soccer community.

“My huge terror is [U.S. Soccer] doing things, which they’re already starting to do -- competing with the ECNL, which has been a very positive platform for girls development. …

“We have a fantastic forum at the annual NSCAA convention where U.S. Soccer leadership has an opportunity get ideas from all the extraordinary coaches at the youth level, the collegiate game, and now the professional level, and the extraordinary coaches coaching in U.S. Soccer. Have a forum to review where we are, and discuss how ideas can be implemented.

Dorrance says the most important message should be like the one from William Wallace in the movie “Braveheart” -- “Unite us!”

“Instead of claiming that all a sudden through some mysterious alchemy we can pick the perfect player development structure system across the United States, we should galvanize all the different elements,” Dorrance says.

72 comments about "DiCicco and Dorrance react to USA's U-17 World Cup exit ".
  1. JR Salazar, October 18, 2016 at 8:44 p.m.

    I believe B.J. Snow has coached his last game as manager of the USA Women's Under-17s. I expect him to be sacked as a result of this. The USA will finish with a victory if this happens.

  2. Joe Linzner, October 18, 2016 at 8:59 p.m.

    I agree that it isn't just the coach that is to blame. It is the basics of the game that are not automatic. Basics such as ball control, vision and position and anticipation as well as commitment to win the ball. I personally feel that US SOCCER spends too much time playing and not enough on basics. The possession game is all about ball control and movement and anticipation, Finding an open spot and being prepared to pass before even receiving the ball which requires one's team mates to move and make themselves available. That does not happen in any US National team, Men nor women! Passes should always be crisp, any side of the foot, receivers must step towards the ball to prevent interception and so and so forth, those are basics!!!!

  3. Brock Hotaling replied, November 4, 2016 at 9:29 a.m.

    100% correct. With that sentiment alone, you can walk into almost any youth league in America, drill your kids on basics, and you'll win the league, even over coaches with all paper certifications galore. How do I know? I've proven that to be the case. American coach training and certification is mostly nonsense, as are many of the typically observed drills and practice plans.

  4. Joe Wilson, October 18, 2016 at 9:17 p.m.

    Not sure why you're going to Anson Dorrance here, his comments were predictable. He doesn't have anything invested in whether the US team's do well or poorly.

    Surely BJ Snow is out, but I think the problem is that there's not enough turnover from the U14s to the U17s. Once the girls get in the program, they tend to stick around. I'm sure there are 16 year-olds that are better players than some of the girls on the roster, but if they haven't been invited to camps consistently for the previous few years, they aren't going to get a chance. A lot can happen in those 2-3 years - improvement and regression.

  5. Frank Fonte, October 18, 2016 at 10:39 p.m.

    It should come as no surprise that the younger teams arent doing well. Since April heinrichs has taken over, what has really gotten better? not much. and US Soccer getting involved in the developmental end to compete with the ECNL was a mistake. especially the high school rule. April Heinrichs should be replaced with someone who actually has some ideas. and can run counter to US soccer talking heads. I watched the Spain v Germany game for the u-17's. great skill for both teams. Fitness levels were over the top. and their awareness of group play was amazing. great game. I dont the US girls are capable of playing like that. They seemed shocked when they lost to japan. and BJ Snow was just over his head on the international level. when the base is weak, it wont be long until the top crumbles.

  6. Brock Hotaling replied, November 4, 2016 at 9:31 a.m.

    100 % correct.

  7. Chris J, October 18, 2016 at 10:48 p.m.

    Tony D nailed it - there is no other word to describe this result – top to bottom, start to finish, a failure. I do, however, put it completely at the feet of the head coach, BJ Snow. He had complete control and a seemingly unlimited budget to build a team to win the first U17 WC for the USA, and he was absolutely ruthless in how he went about it – BJ’s way is the only way. As for the Ghana comment, not only is a possession game one Ghana could not win, neither could BJ’s team! It was not designed to win that way. Ghana took the team BJ built head on and did what he said wasn’t possible – played tougher, faster, stronger. Possession was not even an afterthought for BJ’s team - any kid who had the technical ability on/off the ball to possess and creatively combine with teammates was systematically dropped or conditioned over all those camps into BJ’s pattern-driven, robotic, long ball, physical style of play. My forwards are tougher than yours, so we are just going to bang it up there and watch the goals pour in. Possession is something for the other team to worry about. So, I don’t believe it’s on the kids. You can see some good soccer across the US being played by girls at this age. It was the selection and training to a specific style of play that relied primarily upon the physical and mental side of the game. After two cycles, and all the time and money spent, not to mention all the empty rhetoric from US Soccer on needing to be more technical, and we should give this guy another shot? No way.

    As for Anson D’s comments – five 2000s and four 2001s are a positive?! That’s NINE slots taken up by younger girls. Are you telling me that there weren’t any 1999s out there that could have had an impact and helped deliver a more positive result? The team that completely dominated the US – Japan? Their roster is majority 1999s and only five 2000s, NO 2001s. So, is AD telling us that creating a WC experience for some additional 1999s who were not picked couldn’t deliver a better return for the senior team someday versus pushing some not ready 14 year olds who could get the same experience next cycle? I don’t buy it.

  8. Brock Hotaling replied, November 4, 2016 at 9:31 a.m.

    100% correct.

  9. Bob Ashpole, October 19, 2016 at 1:50 a.m.

    The solution is not a matter of picking a different coach. We have many fine coaches, but not near enough to go around. For significant improvement, reform has to start at the youth level with fundamentals. For that we need more and better youth coaches so that meaningful opportunities for development will reach more children. How to develop players is not a secret. Generally speaking, however, youth soccer (and youth sports generally) develop teams to win competitions. Player development is a long term proposition. Youth sports are too often fixated on the short term gratification of winning matches. We need a culture change. Develop superior players and a bad game plan is an easy problem to solve.

  10. Brock Hotaling replied, November 4, 2016 at 9:35 a.m.

    Mostly correct, except we don't have "many fine coaches". Of all US youth and national team coaches, only 5-10% are "fine". The rest are mediocre or worse. It's a small probability that a young girl or boy will therefore happen to get trained by a coach who actually knows what they're doing. BJ Snow is a symptom of the bigger problem that clueless coaches keep getting promoted up for reasons unrelated to their competence in developing technically astute players.

  11. Ryan Dold, October 19, 2016 at 9:35 a.m.

    So according to Dorrance, its positive because we played 5 2000's and a 2001? Did he even bother to check the rosters of other countries at same world cup to claim somehow we were at a disadvantage? If anything we should have the biggest advantage of any othr country on girl's side. We can certainbly blame the coach for tactics and not picking the best roster which surely is the case. We can give some blame to the players as well. But in the end they are both products of our corrupt system and the most blame should go to the federation for everything that is wrong with our entire system. WHy? Because they alone have the power to change. We have the power to force that change on them. Dont watch National team games at any level until it happens.

  12. Ryan Dold, October 19, 2016 at 9:57 a.m.

    Fact is USSF hired BJ SNow. He is obviously not qualified for the job and the federation should have known this. We should really make comparisons of how other federations conduct themselves and how we do it. The biggest and most effective difference is accountability at all levels. Who in USA is getting fired for Snow's embarrassing display? This was nothing less than embarrassing for us having the most resources and biggest player pool. All other countries best players on girls want to play in USA in our college system. Who's fault is it that to even tryout for Girl's National Team is so exclusive for big club players and its almost impossible to even get a tryout for any other player at even a local training center? Not even a consideration. Thats directly USSF fault. ECNL is exclusive for high mid income to high income players. IS it ECNL's fault? Sure but most of it is on USSF for allowing it. For not making ECNL accountable and not requiring they include low income players. There is so much money involved in USA Youth soccer, so why are we so surprised that National Team selection is so political and corrupt? USA National Coaches, scouts, staff, people in charge, etc. are always looking out for themselves when selecting players. They might need a job later down the road. The bigger clubs are the safest bets.

  13. Bob Ashpole replied, October 19, 2016 at 5 p.m.

    A driver's license is a qualification to drive. The license doesn't mean the person is the best driver in the world. I am sure Coach Snow has a USSF license. I am not defending Coach Snow. Just upset that every time a team loses someone calls for the coach to be fired. A new coach may be the right move, but it is almost never fixes what is wrong.

  14. Ryan Dold replied, October 19, 2016 at 8:46 p.m.

    I said qualified. A licnese, in my opinion does not qualify a coach to run a National Team. I must have not been clear. I blame the federation for the system they have allowed to remain in place and made no real progressive adjustments today. We all sound like a broken record about our developmental malpractice. There must be an incentive implemented to promote change in how we develop overall. Saying whats wrong is obviously not helping.

  15. Bob Ashpole replied, October 20, 2016 at 3:50 p.m.

    Suitable and qualified are two different concepts. What little information is available about Coach Snow did not indicate any prior experience coaching age 14-16 year old girls. He was an assistant to Jill Ellis before he replaced her at a college. Recruitment was mentioned as a strength. Before that he coached high school boys. I could find no mention of a license, but I think it is likely he was at least an A candidate when hired by USSF. He certainly is qualified, and we really don't have any basis to judge whether he is suitable or not, if we wanted to.

  16. Ryan Dold replied, October 20, 2016 at 6:33 p.m.

    We do have basis. Watch the games and tell me someone could not have picked better players and done a better job tactically with the ones he did pick. That is something that whoever hired him should have known on wether he was suitable/qualified to do. A license makes you eligible. Prior experience, right man for the job, makes you qualified. However you want to word it he was no where ready for the job, whatever his license may say. He is not the first A license coach that is worse than many E or F license coaches Ive come across. Catch my drift?

  17. mike renshaw, October 19, 2016 at 10:01 a.m.

    The rest of the world has caught up to the Title IX inspired, 20 year 'head start' that the USA's girls/women's programs enjoyed. The top European and Far Eastern countries are pouring a ton of money into developing female soccer.

    The huge deficit we face is that these girls grow up in a soccer dominated environment, in a culture where soccer is part of the national identity and has been for many decades...I do not believe the U20's will fare any better making this a trifecta of failure...

  18. Bob Ashpole replied, October 19, 2016 at 5:17 p.m.

    I disagree. Soccer, especially girls soccer, is generally the dominant participant sport in the US. The US U17 national team ought to give player development priority over winning the U17 world cup. That means we should take the players with the greatest potential instead of the team with the greatest chance of winning the tournament. The true test of this U17 team will be 5 years from now and how many of this team are in the pool for the senior team. I am sure both DiCicco and Dorrance believe this and still think such a US team ought to reach the semi-finals. I think DiCicco's underlying point is how the team plays matters more than the result. Dorrance makes an excellent point about the strength of the traditional US decentralized management approach ("federal" system). While some programs will be more effective than others, a uniform approach puts all the eggs in one basket. The decentralized approach allows programs to adopt the best practices of the most successful programs.

  19. Chris J, October 19, 2016 at 12:05 p.m.

    Spot on, Mike, the value of growing up in a soccer dominated environment is huge in terms of the player's understanding of the game and identification with a style of play, importance of technical abilities on and off the ball, and combining with teammates. The USSF remains focused on the athlete - physical & mental - as the primary selection criteria for youth camps.

  20. Ryan Dold, October 19, 2016 at 3:45 p.m.

    Yes. The rest of the world has caught simply by acknowledging and investing in woman soccer. Our girls follow same developmental path as our boys and we all know ho we compare there with the world. Why would both outcomes be any different?

  21. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, October 19, 2016 at 6:15 p.m.

    Premature to say they've caught up based on an age group tournament. The senior team is still the best in the world.

  22. Ryan Dold replied, October 19, 2016 at 8:47 p.m.

    Olympics? More and more teams are showing to have more tecnical and better overall players but I guess you want to wait until we lose at that level so you can finally accept what is now too obvious.

  23. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, October 20, 2016 at 11 a.m.

    Sweden played anti-football for 120 minutes, created one chance and won on penalties. That can happen in tournament football. Now a team isn't the best unless it wins every single competition? Japan didn't even qualify for the Olympics.

  24. Ryan Dold replied, October 20, 2016 at 2:04 p.m.

    Didn't say that either, did I? Looks like you really like to assume stuff. USA is better than Sweden for obvious reasons but Sweden was effective playing the only style they could to beat USA and USA helped get that result because of its failure in finding ways to create chances vs them. There is a good amount of evidence that more and more top players in the world are not American on the girl's side. There is a reason for that. There is great reason to believe that Japan will be dominant for many years to come looking at their players pool from U15 and up. It's not rocket science dude. You seem to think we can get by playing like crap at U17, U20, U23, poorly coached, poorly scouted when other countries are investing in the opposite. Something tells me you have blind patriotism. Tell me, Do you think the results USA had in last world cup were due to anti soccer as well on Men's side? Would you compare to what Sweden did?

  25. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, October 20, 2016 at 2:14 p.m.

    I don't understand your question. If anything, the USMNT played anti-football in the world cup, although I don't think it was to the same extent that Sweden did in the Olympics. What does the USMNT have to do with this? In the men's game, we are nowhere near the best.

    And you contradict yourself badly. You reference the US defeat in the Olympics as though it is great evidence that the USWNT is slipping but then you say Japan is set to dominate for years and they didn't even qualify.

  26. Ryan Dold replied, October 20, 2016 at 3:21 p.m.

    Just checking your logic. We agree on mens USA team and Sweden. I never said that Olympics result was reason to think USA was on a decline nor did I say Japan not qualifying mean it is no good. I said that all the results of U17 and up along with the way they lose and play is what makes it quite obvious that USA is on a decline or/and getting passed up by many more improved countries.

  27. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, October 20, 2016 at 4:46 p.m.

    I don't see how you can say the national women's soccer program is in decline because a U-17 team lost a couple of games. Just like if they won the tournament it wouldn't mean we were going to dominate at the senior level.

  28. Ryan Dold replied, October 20, 2016 at 5:44 p.m.

    Wow, you really have a hard time understanding me. I am not judging on one U17 Result in this world cup. The U20's played recently in a tournament and couldnt score a goal in 3 games. Its the way they are playing compared to more and more country. It's the way we are losing. It's the soccer IQ on behalf of the players and coaches. It's the obvious lack of proper scouting that is displayed in watching great individual players from other countries when compared to ours, more and more every time. That soccer IQ was one of the reasons we lost to Sweden.

  29. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, October 21, 2016 at 10:05 a.m.

    I don't see it that way. It's not that rare in tournaments for inferior teams to park the bus and hope for penalties. It happened in France/Portugal at the Euros. Portugal made zero effort to do anything but defend although they managed to get a goal in extra time. Same thing with Sweden/US. We weren't able to break down their defense but I'm not sure that's down to "soccer IQ." Let's see how the U-20s do. That age group is a bit closer to helping the senior team and we have won that tournament in the past.

  30. Ryan Dold replied, October 21, 2016 at 12:27 p.m.

    Ok so you, as I, hate when teams park the bus and make no attempt to play. So why are you so lenient with the way USA U17 played in this tournament then? Regardless of the results, it should be unacceptable to you for our team play as the inferior team. If you also dont care how we play at U17 then what would you say is the purpose of even having a U17 team? If the U20's do bad will you then believe that our future generations on Senior team are in trouble or will you say it doesnt matter?

  31. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, October 21, 2016 at 1:10 p.m.

    I think U20 matters more than U17 but ultimately doesn't matter that much. Even at U20 level, many of those players will never play for the senior team and other players who aren't at that tournament will emerge.

    Serbia won the U20 WC on the mens side last year. Nigeria have dominated it too, winning multiple times. How many WCs have Nigeria won? How many times have the reached the QFs even? Is Serbia going to win a world cup on the mens side any time soon? Doubt it.

    Youth tournaments provide experience to the players who play in them. And we should take them seriously and try to win. But we should also realize it's hardly the end of the world if we don't.

  32. Ryan Dold replied, October 21, 2016 at 2:33 p.m.

    Again with the winning. Can you not read? ITS THE WAY WE PLAY, WHO WE PICK, SCOUTING, COACHING. I gave you several examples of top 4-6 teams in the world about how much of their U17's and U20s make the senior roster. Over 90%. But you just seem to not care. I hope you are no where near a National team. You just simply choose to ignore facts. Can you at least tell us what the point is in having a U17 or U20 National team?

  33. Goal Goal, October 19, 2016 at 7:22 p.m.

    How in the world do you put a national team together where the players cannot make two passes back to back. How do you field a team with players on the national level who can't position themselves to be open to receive a pass.

    Poor ability of staff to identify talent. Needless to say unacceptable coaching. A shame.

  34. Brock Hotaling replied, November 4, 2016 at 9:26 a.m.

    US coaches clueless about how to run a training session for positioning and technical awareness. It's a function of US soccer authorities to properly guide and train US youth coaches in techniques that most of the rest of the world knows but we're too stubborn to adopt.

  35. Tony Green, October 19, 2016 at 7:38 p.m.

    I've read all these comments some valid,others?A lot seem to miss the point about soccer it was a game for the people ,only in this country do you need to be financially secure to be able to advance in the game, and if your parents don't have the finances then you are not going to play in the new ENCL or ODP programs.You learn ability by playing the game with your friends with pickup games in the school yard or field near your home,their is not enough of that here as it is all structured by these "coaches" who want the kids to play "their way" or they don't play.Ive been involved in soccer my whole life and lived in the states for over 40 years .Ive never heard or spoke to any scouts out looking for players for the national teams and I've coached youth and high school teams for 30 years ,The potential in this country for talent is unbelievable now they want to stop it in high school ?Why!Why!Why! You should be promoting it in schools that's were the problems lay,people in the USSF making decisions who have probably never been " nutmegged" and no idea how to kick a ball.

  36. Brock Hotaling replied, November 4, 2016 at 9:40 a.m.

    You make a lot of good points. Too bad the national organization doesn't seem to be acting on those insights. That's on Gulati and the internal politicians of the US soccer hierarchy. Oh... unfortunately, they all come from the same crowd. Sorry.

  37. mike renshaw, October 19, 2016 at 8:48 p.m.

    The recent Olympic results would suggest that the USA 'Senior Team' is most definitely NOT the best in the world...

  38. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, October 20, 2016 at 11:01 a.m.

    How? Because they lost a game on penalties?

  39. Ryan Dold, October 19, 2016 at 8:49 p.m.

    Fully agree with your comment.

  40. Chris J, October 19, 2016 at 11:27 p.m.

    Bob – yes, girls soccer is most likely the dominant participation sport in the US. However, it’s a tiny little cocoon in the grand landscape of sports in the US. At the early ages these girls who play are being coached by a parent who most likely played a sport other than soccer. When these girls go home, what sport is on TV? Soccer? Not likely. Most of these girls NEVER watch soccer, unless the US women are playing. Their parents’ exposure to soccer is almost exclusively watching their daughter play. In other countries, soccer is not just a participation sport, it’s the national sport. Their girls go home and what’s on TV? Soccer. What gets talked about, reviewed, analyzed, highlighted on their sports programs? Soccer. What’s the big game they go to with their Mom or Dad? Soccer. What jersey do they wear? Soccer. Their soccer players are national celebrities, both male and female. I’d being willing to bet if Alex Morgan or Carli Lloyd walked through any airport in the US, 95%+ of the people wouldn’t even know who they were. The point being that that level of immersion in other countries creates a much higher base level of soccer IQ in their youth players, and a much stronger identity with the sport and a style of play. This makes it easier to close the gap created historically by the US’ numbers and money. If the US doesn’t upgrade its technical skill and its style of play, we will eventually stop being a dominant force on the world stage at all ages.

  41. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, October 20, 2016 at 11:02 a.m.

    There is something to this but it increasingly less true in America.

  42. mike renshaw, October 20, 2016 at 12:07 a.m.

    This reminds me of when I first took over the soccer program at our school, four years ago. At the first 'parents meeting' I held up a color picture from a soccer magazine...a picture of an older gentleman. I asked " Does anyone know who this person is ?"....dead silence...I said his name is 'Vicente Del Bosque'...does anyone know who he is..?...again dead silence from the 30 plus parents in attendance....I told them who he was and then said 'This shows me that you lot do not know the first thing about soccer and your interest in the game starts and ends with your child's involvement ...as such I do not want to hear a single word from any of you all season'....Our head of school found out about this and when, at our all sports athletic dept meeting one of the basketball coaches asked her.." How do I deal with parents"...she looked at me and said "Mike, tell him how to deal with parents"....so I relayed the story...the basketball coach said " I wouldn't know who he is" and I answered.."Well if you didn't know who Phil Jackson was then I don't think you would know the first thing about basketball"....he got it then.

    The point is: We do NOT live in a country where soccer is a part of the very fabric of society...just the way it is....and the very reason the rest of the world has caught up and passed the USA in women's soccer...

  43. Ryan Dold, October 20, 2016 at 8:38 a.m.

    To assume there arent any girls families that are all about soccer in USA is mindless and completely out of touch. Look at all the 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation soccer loving immigrants we have. That is far from being the reason. Then you must compare with many countries like Venezuela and Mexico who dont have even the strucutre for girl's leagues at a national level and dont have the funding or very little. At some point you need to play the game and play vs good players to develop other than just "watch it on tv" or have "a parent that played". The main differences I see there is simply these 2 countries simply look for the best possible players with no politics involved and they are scouted, picked and coached by competent people. In USA you cant get a tryout at even state level in hopes to land on National Team. Im sure that being poor or not being able to play for a big club does not matter in those countries. I heard that Mexico holds open tryouts in Mexico City for "anyone" that thinks they are good enough. Thats the difference.

  44. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, October 20, 2016 at 11:05 a.m.

    What have Venezuela and Mexico ever accomplished in womens soccer that would justify us copying them? Venezuela has never even qualified for a world cup and Mexico has never advanced past the group stage.

  45. Brock Hotaling replied, November 4, 2016 at 9:50 a.m.

    What Ryan is saying is that per unit investment and time, developing countries such as Mexico and Venezuela get a lot more bang for their buck, comparing results to the financial and organizational advantages of the US. And that point is overwhelmingly correct. We get very poor results for our dollar, because the US soccer hierarchy is mostly a kind of welfare organization for soccer-passionate control freaks with a poor grasp of grass-roots youth development.

  46. Ryan Dold, October 20, 2016 at 1:58 p.m.

    Where did I say they accomplished anything in woman's soccer? I am not talking about woman's soccer at all. Maybe this isnt the forum you want to make comments on since it is talking about U17 girl's world cup and you think it has no importance?

  47. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, October 20, 2016 at 2:25 p.m.

    Seems to me you are talking about girls soccer in that post above. Even if it's mens soccer, I don't see what Mexico or Venezuela have accomplished that should be copied. Mexico has underachieved greatly considering the size of its population and the popularity of the sport there.

    And I never said age group tournaments have zero importance but there isn't a great correlation between age group success and senior level success. So we shouldn't get too concerned about this tournament. I'd be more concerned is the US had dominated this tournament in the past. We've never won this tournament but it hasn't stopped us winning world cups and Olympics at senior level.

  48. Ryan Dold, October 20, 2016 at 5:35 p.m.

    I didnt say anything about Mexico or Venezuela accomplishing anything but why doesnt it make sense to you that we shouldn't hold open tryouts and to have better scouting and coaching at U15 and up for National Teams? If Mexico and Venezuela can do it wouldn't that also make us better? Just because they haven't achieved anything better at senior level means we can't learn from them? Ok, how about Japan? Same thing. So your logic is that just because, according to you, there is no correlation between younger tournaments and senior level we shouldnt run a better youth program and provide better coaching at youth level when compared to other countries? If you look at the 4 most successful countries in the last 2 men's world cups you will see that most if not all the players had youth world cup experience at U17 or U20. So this means it is important for countries to qualify, first of all, and it also means that the right coaching with the proper playing style, regardless of if they win or not, goes a long way. Scouting the right players at young ages also seems to be an important trait for these top 4 countries. Check out Spain, Netherlands, Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Chile. SO your theory makes no sense according to facts. Success on woman's side is more due to the fact that few other countries ever took it seriously in the past.

  49. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, October 21, 2016 at 10:08 a.m.

    Ok but I'm sure every country has some players with youth national team experience. That doesn't tell us anything. These girls all have that experience now too. Sure, it'd be nice it they had won but it doesn't really matter. Go look at a U-17 squad from ten years ago for any top country and see how many are regulars for the senior team. It isn't usually that many. The best players at age 16/17 aren't always the best players at age 22 or 25.

    I don't have a problem with a national tryout but this is a huge country. It will be tough for anyone but rich girls to travel to it unless they happen to live nearby.

  50. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, October 21, 2016 at 10:09 a.m.

    In addition, those countries don't have robust development systems for girls like we do. That's why they need national tryouts.

  51. Ryan Dold replied, October 21, 2016 at 12:24 p.m.

    Yea most countries have a few former youth national team players but you fail to grasp what I said. Take some time and look at the rosters of the "top 4-6 Countries in last 2 world cups and compare them to bottom 4-6 countries in those same world cups. What you will find is the top 4-6 have 90-95% of their players with at least 2-3 years of National youth team experience. This means they accurately identified these players at an early age. This is not random. This is substantial. African teams for example have a poor youth National team to Senior team turnout. So does USA. I dont get why you want to minimize those facts.

  52. Ryan Dold replied, October 21, 2016 at 12:39 p.m.

    USA U17's do not have the same experience simply because of playing style and poor tactical awareness which, I dont know if you coach or not, but goes a long way in development, especially at that age. There are a few late bloomers and I agree not always are the best 16/17 the best at 25 but you seem to imply most picked at U17 or U20 will not make senior team and that just doesnt make sense especially when you look at Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Argentina rosters who are full of U17, U18, U20 national team players. Are you saying thats a coincidence? IS it also a coincidence that they did so well with those rosters? At the least the U17 and U20 National team should set a very important high bar for the late bloomers to achieve and we are not even doing that.

  53. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, October 21, 2016 at 1:12 p.m.

    Ok first of all, are we talking about men or women here? It makes a difference because most countries don't take womens soccer as seriously and don't devote the resources that we do.

  54. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, October 21, 2016 at 1:14 p.m.

    Also, I would say that with either mens or womens, if 95% of the players you've picked at age 17 are still getting picked at age 25 for the senior team, you are doing something wrong - i.e. not developing players properly outside of the national youth teams. No one can predict to that level of accuracy which 17 year olds will be the best when they're 25.

  55. Ryan Dold replied, October 21, 2016 at 3:34 p.m.

    wow. Lets keep short sentences so you can understand me. Germany, SPain, Netherlands, Argentina Senior teams full of former U17, U18, U20, U23 former National team players. Are they doing something wrong? Afircan National senior teams opposite. Are they doing something right then, according to you? This is all men's side

  56. Mark Calcat, October 20, 2016 at 9:26 p.m.

    There is something wrong in the ranks of US Soccer. The MNT is pretty sad, the WNT is depressing (bunker play is a problem not solely for the U-17s), the handling of Hope Solo and on and on. Our teams are failing on the world stage with sad regularity. I have always respected Coach DiCicco and still do, but the Federation needs to clean house and the problem starts at the top with Sunil Gulati. His record is shameful and US Soccer has been to long led by academics. No more college professors, please. Next we will have safe places on pitches.

  57. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, October 21, 2016 at 10:10 a.m.

    Yep, what a failure by the USWNT at the last world cup. Oh wait...

  58. Brock Hotaling replied, November 4, 2016 at 9:56 a.m.

    A starting point would be for the US soccer leadership to only promote coaches who 1) have solid experience in training and coaching in Europe, South America, or Africa, and 2) have a track record of results.
    Simple. Will never happen because of the arrogance and insularity of our soccer leadership at too many levels.

  59. Ryan Dold, October 21, 2016 at 12:45 p.m.

    Thats why they need National tryouts? Only rich girls can travel to them? Are you serious? Tell me why cant USA hold free state, then regional, then National Tryouts? Why would they need to spend for a National Pool tryout when USSF already pays for 50-100 players to go to a camp at times? But let's say that a player did have to pay for travel to these 3 events. Cost would be no more than $1000 in flights and hotels for a National and Regional tryout together. Now compare that to ECNL $5,000-$1000 or ODP $2500-$3500 a year prices. You must not get out much. I guess those other countries lack of a "robust development system" has made them much more efficient.

  60. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, October 21, 2016 at 1:15 p.m.

    If you think we need to follow Mexico's development practice in womens soccer, I would encourage you to look at their results. They aren't good. There is no reason to copy anything they do.

  61. Ryan Dold, October 21, 2016 at 2:24 p.m.

    And again with Mexico. LOL. If you think we shouldnt follow what Germany, Spain, Argentina, Netherlands have done in how they accurately select and develope National Youth Team to senior players I would encourage you to take the blinders off and see their results.

  62. Bob Ashpole replied, October 21, 2016 at 4:38 p.m.

    I believe we should adopt what Germany does as far as identifying and training elite male players (and apply it to both genders), but it is nothing like what you are talking about.

  63. Ryan Dold, October 21, 2016 at 6:41 p.m.

    How is it then? I didnt say how Germany did it. Did I? I know they are efficient at identifying talent young. I know that their senior roster has over 90% former U17-U20 National team players. How about we start with that?

  64. Bob Ashpole replied, October 22, 2016 at 1:22 a.m.

    I suggest that you read "Das Reboot, How German Soccer Reinvented Itself and Conquered the World." I think the key is the regional training centers and the national FA staff coaches (not club or regional FA coaches) that identify, evaluate, and train weekly the top 8% of teen boys not in professional club academies. They train players, not teams.

  65. Ryan Dold replied, October 22, 2016 at 10:52 a.m.

    Great. Lets do that! But if we can't then why isnt what I propose better than what we have?

  66. Bob Ashpole replied, October 22, 2016 at 5:40 p.m.

    Because no one can reliably pick future national team stars out of a group of U12 players. The success rate is not significantly better than random selection. Even at U16 it is extremely difficult and by then everyone left behind without advanced training opportunities at U12 cannot catch up. Everyone is doing what you described, but the idea is to do better at identifying and developing. Right now outside of Germany it is very unorganized and largely happenstance. Ironically Germany's training center program is like our ODP program on steroids. The important distinction is that our elite USSF programs are run by club coaches who have allegiances to their clubs, not independent coaches employed by USSF.

  67. Bob Ashpole replied, October 22, 2016 at 5:48 p.m.

    In other words the success of talent identification evidenced by the amount of individual youth national team players moving up through the age groups is largely overstated because it is a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The selected youth are given better development opportunities and so they tend to be the better players due to access to better training rather than better potential.

  68. Brock Hotaling replied, November 4, 2016 at 9:16 a.m.

    Once again, although Bob makes some excellent points, it still comes back to the soccer culture and mentality. Go observe a German training and selection process, then observe an American one. The difference is monumental. How they each spend their practice time, what drills they use, how they condition, and the type of players they select is very different. A Venn diagram of the types of players selected would show an intersection of 60% or so. The German players MUST have technical and positioning awareness to advance, and are skillfully trained for fitness. The Americans, not so much.

  69. Ty Aydin, October 22, 2016 at 10:05 a.m.

    The US U17 age bracket has not been a complete failure. As Tony DiCicco indicated, Kazbek Tambi's groups did play an excellent brand of soccer, producing short and long term results. His 2008 team went to the World Cup finals, and lost in overtime to North Korea. And his 2010 team, which was a stronger group, went through the Concacaf qualifications with a 38-0 goal difference, only to be subject to Concacaf's strange one game playoff system, where they lost to Canada on penalties, after a scoreless match. This group did produce some of the better current senior national team players: Crystal Dunn, Morgan Brian, Lindsay Horan, Samantha Mewis, Abby Dahlkemper, Casey Short and Kealia Ohai, among many others that have been in the senior national team pool and currently playing in the NWSL.  

  70. Brock Hotaling replied, November 4, 2016 at 9:23 a.m.

    Excellent points. Just goes to show that with a proper coach who knows how to train and select, good results are achievable here. The problem is way too many coaches with the athleticism-longball-scrimmage obsession that stunt the growth of players from a young age.

  71. aaron dutch, November 4, 2016 at 12:28 a.m.

    It will only get worse as the rest of the world invests, and leverages their men's leagues to build out a full pyramid for women. Until USSF/MLS/SUM create a pyramid real leagues for women which is linked to each team in MLS/NASL/USL etc.. our football for women will only get worse and fall every 10 years from #1 to #2-4 (where we are right now) from U-17 to National. On our way to #5 - #8

  72. Brock Hotaling, November 4, 2016 at 8:51 a.m.

    Ryan Dold makes the strongest points in this discussion and the harpies come out to pick him apart. He sees the forest dying and his detractors keep talking about a tree here and there. Just stop. Please.
    US soccer development in general (men and women) tends to train and select by athleticism and socioeconomic status, and de-emphasizes technical awareness and fitness. The German and Japanese models are well-organized but de-centralized and they work because of a soccer culture of technical development and fitness. Countries like Ghana can compete because 90% of the time of youth players is spent developing technical skills in local clubs and even street games. Our players never get the positioning and technical skills development required, since our players from well-off families (who dominate) don't EVER play street games and inevitably end up with American coaches (or second-rate foreign coaches) embedded with that athleticism and win at all costs mentality. I often claim that a young Lionel Messi would never have been selected for 50% of the youth teams in our country. Not big, fast, or strong enough (yes, I've directly observed this bias over the course of many years in US soccer at all levels).
    It's simple - 1) technical and positioning skills are learned at the youngest age and need to become habit. BY the time you're 16, it's way too late. 2) US women's soccer pioneered the concept of making soccer a "thing" for young girls just as important as for young boys. We had a huge head start on the rest of the world, and Tony DiCicco's teams were the best ever for our women - he knew how to select and train. US Soccer should be listening to what he says. We've squandered that enormous lead on the world and failed to build on it. That's the point Ryan Dold is trying to make and he's correct in the essentials of his argument.

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