SheBelieves Cup: Takeaways from historic U.S. rout

The USA finished last at the SheBelieves Cup when it suffered a 3-0 loss to France in the final game of the four-team tournament at Washington's RFK Stadium. It was the USA's worst defeat in almost a decade and marked the first time since 2000 that it had lost back-to-back home games.

1. France gets it all together a year after finishing last.

It was role reversal as the USA, last year's SheBelieves Cup winner, finished last, and France, last in 2016 without scoring a goal, won the tournament.

The Bleues have a reputation for underachieving, but that certainly wasn't the case this year. They rallied to beat England, 2-1, in stoppage time, and they routed the USA, going ahead 2-0 on a pair of goals a minute part after only nine minutes and adding a third goal in the second half.

They showed off their traditional strengths -- skill and pace -- but added to that a direct style that punished the USA time and again. When Olivier Echouafni took over as France's head coach last fall, he was derided for his lack of experience in the women's game, but in six months has put together a team that will enter Euro 2017 in the Netherlands as the favorite.

2. U.S. defense punished for lack of speed by Le Sommer.

On all three goals, the French ripped apart the U.S. defense like it was a freshly baked morning baguette.

On the first goal, Eugenie Le Sommer blew past Allie Long and Becky Sauerbrunn and was taken down by keeper Alyssa Naeher for a penalty. The second goal was even worse: Le Sommer turned Long around and left Sauerbrunn on the ground before slotting the ball past Naeher.

The third came after right back Eve Perriset bolted down the right wing and played the ball to Camille Abily, who was open between Long and Sauerbrunn to score.

3. Lloyd's poor performance worrying in midfield.

The USA had its chances -- Tobin Heath was again the most influential player in midfield -- but it always looked in danger of falling apart under pressure from the French.

The three games of the SheBelieves Cup were the first of the year for all of the USA's players except the three based in Europe -- Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd and Crystal Dunn -- so a disjointed performance by players lacking in match fitness could have been expected.

Morgan has battled illness in recent weeks, so the fact she was no factor was understandable, but Lloyd's poor performance against France was worrying.

March 7 in Washington, D.C.
USA 0 France 3. Goals: Abily (pen.) 8, 63, Le Sommer 9.
USA -- Naeher; Sauerbrunn, Long, Short; Lavelle (Pugh, 46), Mewis (Horan, 70), Brian (Johnston, 70), Heath, Lloyd (O'Hara, 78); Williams (Morgan, 70), Press (Dunn, 46)
France -- Gerard; Perisset (Tounkara, 68), Renard, Georges, Henry, Toletti (Bussaglia, 53), Le Sommer (Delie, 65), Abily (Thiney, 81), Thomis (Lavogez, 70), Majri (Catala, 81), Karchaoui.
Att.: 21,638.

SheBelieves Cup, Standings:
7 France 2-1-0 5/1
4 Germany 1-1-1 1/1
3 England 1-0-2 2/3
3 USA 1-0-2 1/4

USA, Schedule:
April 6 -- Russia in Frisco, Texas.
April 9 -- Russia in Houston.
65 comments about "SheBelieves Cup: Takeaways from historic U.S. rout".
  1. Gary Levitt, March 8, 2017 at 8:13 a.m.

    I usually do not watch the USWNT other than WC or Olympic competition but I took the time to watch last night's match. I am not telling anyone anything they don't know (or did not see last night): With the understanding that Ellis was testing some of the less tenured players last night's match was an eye-opener. Yes, the world's top women's teams have come a long way in the last five years but the U.S. women have regressed. Lack of pace, technical abilities at speed, and physicality are obviously missing. Lloyd not feeling well? Ok, then why play her for 78 minutes? Ellis has a tremendous amount of work to do and she better figure it out soon.

  2. Wooden Ships, March 8, 2017 at 8:14 a.m.

    I know we were experimenting with 3 in the back, well we looked slow both in back and mids in adjusting. Really not sure of the available personnel and whether mandating a 3-back is doable. Carli was regularly outplayed and slow along with Brian. Must have Heath, Pugh and Lavelle on together. I know AM hasn't been feeling well, but for awhile now she has lacked the motor and desire compared to Press. France played good. Random thoughts.

  3. James e Chandler replied, March 8, 2017 at 9:54 a.m.

    Sorry, but the criticism of Saurbrunn is unwarranted. She's a center back, and has saved her teams time, after time. Some of the USA's most dangerous late attacks came with her moving into the attacking third with the ball at her feet.
    Always blaming the central defender, or the keeper when goals are scored is one of the brutal things about soccer.
    Why not put a little more blame on who turned the ball over cheaply in the middle third.

  4. Wooden Ships replied, March 8, 2017 at 11:10 a.m.

    Good points. And, all too often, not scoring is given a pass while defending isn't.

  5. Daniel Clifton, March 8, 2017 at 9:31 a.m.

    I believe Jill Ellis may have to re-think this 3 in the back formation. On the first two goals it looked to me like the 3 woman back line was part of the problem. With two centerbacks both of those attacks may have been squelched.

  6. James e Chandler replied, March 8, 2017 at 10:01 a.m.

    If you are going to play three in the back, then those on the outside had better be fast enough to not get constantly outrun into the corner.
    Outside backs are in the habit of moving up to join in the attack too which gives more opportunity to get in behind the defense.
    Surrendering goals while experimenting with a defensive alignment is less troubling than not being able to score when you're supposed to have more numbers forward.

  7. j bapper, March 8, 2017 at 9:32 a.m.

    For years the US team could rely on their athleticism and better technical skills to beat these other teams that were just developing women's soccer in their countries. Everything has changed as these developing countries have progressed and passed the US in their technical ability and quickness on the ball. Our team is too slow, too methodical and lacks the technical ability to play at a quicker pace. This is a systemic problem all the way down to the youth levels. On top of that, you have a coach that is way over her head and needs to be replaced.

  8. E Velazquez, March 8, 2017 at 9:32 a.m.

    PLEASE , change the coach before more disgraces occur. Ms. Long and Ms Saurbrunn TOO slow to be defenders. . Sauerbroonn appears to be incapable to shoot with both feet because of poor skill? .The coach should be responsable for not selecting a roster with more skilled players if this is the time of experimentation . Ms Lloyd and Ms. Morgan seem to be overrated and do not impress anyone who knows about football(soccer). Ms Press can not be a starter, lacks skill with control of the ball. They should be replaced by the more talented :Ms. Pugh, Ms.Lavelle and Ms.Dunn. If these players are remunerated to play for our Country , then they need to meet their responsabiltes and perform accordingly. PLEASE change the coach., she does not impress us as having knowledge of soccer.

  9. R2 Dad replied, March 8, 2017 at 12:55 p.m.

    a) Friendlies
    b) Friendlies
    c) blah blah blah frozen pitch blah blah new formation
    d) changing coaches after every loss isn't something the US does. However, learning from those losses and changing accordingly, that IS something we should do, and explain/discuss openly (which doesn't happen).
    5) There are repercussions, we just don't get to see/hear them. Players stock rises and falls, substitutes adjust, formations tweeked because lack of skill/chemistry. Our deep bench must continue to be refreshed and Ellis has done a good job of retiring the old horses.
    f) Sunil should be looking at a list of candidates to replace Ellis after the 2019 WC. Who do you suggest?

  10. James e Chandler, March 8, 2017 at 10:05 a.m.

    Poor or even just mediocre first touches, and bad passes to the feet of the opponent are just unnacceptable at this level. Lavelle was a disappointment. She nutmegged herself to lose the ball into touch. Yeah, we all make the "take your eye off the ball" mistake, but if you can't make the ball stick to your feet like Velcro when you're playing against world class athletes, you're going to turn it over.
    It's not good enough to just be fast and athletic any more. You have to be a soccer player.

  11. frank schoon, March 8, 2017 at 10:16 a.m.

    Guys, first of all let us do away talking about all these different systems to use, 5-3-2; 4-4-2, 5-4-1; 3-5-2 scooby doc ; 4-6-0. Lets keep it simple which to me is the 4-3-3 that covers all basis on the field ,horizontally and vertically. To Cruyff there is no better system because of its simplicity. It is simple grid that allows the ball to move quickly from position to position and than you can add various nuances to the system itself. We have simple players ,so keep the game simple.With 3 attackers up front, 2 of which are wingers. We NEED to employ attacking wingers on both flanks. Why? Because we have players with speed, athletic prowess and build to run. It is that simple. This is how our women's have brought success over the years and it is not because of great soccer, but much weaker opponents. The European are becoming better,athletically, and now they are receiving better coaching. That means the US women have to elevate the game to a higher level. With all due respect to the present coach, she is not cutting it. I would hire someone who has played at the highest level of the game. That would be a male , for example, I'm just throwing a name out like Lahm from Bayern who is retiring. He's been coached by Guardiola and he could bring in so much insight into the game for we definitely need a better, higher level input. After having watching the U20 Men's team and how they make such basic ,stupid mistakes on throw ins which can be seen so often even at the U10 level. It leads me to believe soccer quality needs to be raised and the Developmental Academies AIN'T doing it. Our men's national team's quality of play back in the 90's soccer was raised by Bora Milutinovic. Let me continue on the next post.

  12. James e Chandler replied, March 8, 2017 at 10:37 a.m.

    the best players are not always the best coaches. Yes, a coach needs to have experienced the game at a high level, but not necessarily on the pitch themselves. Michael Jordan, maybe the best basketball player ever, stunk as a coach because he expected everyone to "Be like Mike", and they're not.
    That may have been part of Klinsman's issue with the men's team too, a really good player that grew up in a well established system that is taken for granted.
    Well there's no hard and fast rule, but the important thing is to have a manager that the players respect enough to put their egos aside for the good of the team.

  13. Bob Ashpole replied, March 8, 2017 at 1:12 p.m.

    Frank I like this comment better than your subsequent ones. The things I saw in the first two matches was that Ellis was using 2 CFs with Lloyd instead of 2 wingers and that the team was not defending with 2 lines of 4. The latter is the shift that I expect to see at the senior level, if not earlier, in this system. But then I have never coached or played this system. (I won't count playing WM a couple of times in high school. It was very unsophisticated.) These changes would make 343 play very much like the 433 you (and I) prefer.

  14. Bob Ashpole replied, March 8, 2017 at 1:16 p.m.

    I should add that Ellis is trying to convert Lloyd to a second striker role while Lloyd is still instinctively playing like a CAM behind 3 forwards. At that was what I thought of the first two matches.

  15. frank schoon replied, March 8, 2017 at 2:10 p.m.

    Bob, I don't like playing with 2 CFs for it blocks oncoming attacking traffic from the midfield line. I much prefer to have them on the wing in order to spread out defensive line to allow the other midfielders to come through. Ellis seriously has to consider what she has and keep the play and the system real simple. To me it is the 4-3-3(if there are 3 attacking opponent otherwise employ always one more defender than number of attackers) for you many lines or Linies to use for playing. The grid is well established with the 4-3-3 as mentioned before. But you have in total ,not counting the goalie, 6 lines (not just 3) of players. In other words there is more back and front support offensively and defensively, which creates easier ball movement, less running , and allowing more ball movement.

  16. Bob Ashpole replied, March 8, 2017 at 5:42 p.m.

    I agree with you. The two forwards should have played wider. Lloyd was starting off in the gap in front of the center backs instead of moving into the gap. I think you are exactly on point, both of them pinching in takes space away from Lloyd.

  17. R2 Dad, March 8, 2017 at 10:40 a.m.

    The sky is not falling. Ellis tweeked after 45 but it wasn't until the 70th minute did other starters come on. Those last 20 minutes were not too impressive, either, but I think the idea was to have our starters come into the game behind to see how they reacted (the answer: not well enough). The reason why you keep old centerbacks is because of their experience, but neither were terribly smart. That second goal, where we got beat for pace, shouldn't happen against an experienced centerback. There is a legal shoulderbarge or at worst a foul outside the 18, but you can't let a striker waltz into the 18 like that. Our players are all shooting when they get near the 18, but against a top team we're lacking the final pass. Pugh's shot to the near post should have been a short pass to the waiting teammate for a goal. There is too much passing to feet instead of passing into space. Heath's backheel in the box should have been buried by Lloyd--no one gets two touches in the box like that. The slow pace could be that the French team is in mid-season form while US-based players are not. This is the same problem we have with the men's side in CONCACAF CL play. Lastly, the field was atrocious. Can't this tourney be moved to Florida? PA, NJ and DC in March doesn't sound like a picnic.

  18. Fire Paul Gardner Now, March 8, 2017 at 10:45 a.m.

    Overreaction by many people on this thread. It was just last year the USWNT won all three games against the same teams in this same competition. We have work to do and other teams are improving significantly as their countries take the womens' game more seriously. But the sky is not falling.

  19. Pasco Struhs, March 8, 2017 at 10:47 a.m.

    Quick thoughts. Watched last 20 min on and off, so really didn't get a chance to evaluate all players. Not our best performance. Agreed, other countries have gotten better. Pace seemed to be an issue for us - two possibilities 1) we didn't prepare properly - after all it is just a relatively meaningless friendly established to bring capital to the respective national programs involved (which I really like generally) - and don't forget ALL other women's programs come in to our house with a something to prove and a chip on their shoulders, so a bit easier to motivate their girls. 2) some of our girls are getting older and may have lost a step but isn't this the time to try and meld the experience (read older and may have lost a step) with the youth (read faster and talented with little international experience/presence) so that we continue to progress and build out program? I like the 3-woman backfield tactically. We just need to find the right girls to slot there. @Steve - agree there are issues with our program on both sides, but I see great hope for both despite our current system. Some of the girls my 8 year old daughter plays with and against are more technically proficient than some of the women on the USWNT. That's no accident or anomaly. It's partly due to the rise in the level of coaching in the US and partly due to the continuing education of US parents who seek out better training and development opportunities for their children.

  20. frank schoon, March 8, 2017 at 10:49 a.m.

    Guys, When I saw how the first two goals were scored, I realize that anyone with half a brain should not have employed those 3 defenders. Why? well you don't need a soccer brain to figure this one out. LOOK at the buns and heavy thighs of two them that can probably put to shame any rhinoceros. In other words, NOT BUILD FOR SPEED!!
    A good coach must realize when choosing to play with 3 defenders means they will have to cover more space, meaning that have to employ more speed instead of size. That was already the first BAD move. Next she employed a player as pivot in front of the defenders, who is also build on the heavy side, a little, and her turns with the ball is as fast as the Titanic making a U turn and slow to turn in the defensive transition. 95% of the balls she received from the back line were received with her back facing downfield, thus slowing down the tempo of attack and thus making it easier for the opponent's to read the game defensively. Also other players coming back to receive the ball were also positioned, with their backs facing downfield.
    Next when receiving the ball from the left back, she would make a 270 degree to go forwards.(It is time we need to bring in someone to teach the finer aspects of ball distribution obviously never been taught at the Academy or college or whatever she played at). Next , the goalie should not have used the 3defenders to pass the ball to, resulting with the pivot player with back facing downfield. Instead the initial pass from the goalie or from the back should have gone to a midfielder, in other words skip the first station, and thereby allowing the pivot player to move up to midfield causing numerical superiority and receiving the ball facing downfield. In this manner the tempo would have been much faster by employing the 3rd man off the ball. But this wasn't happening, in other words we had lots of midfield players or rather passing options forward, but no, instead the initial ball went either to pivot or the fullback, which was useless. Another aspect I find with the women soccer is the lack of cross field passing to an open space or switching the field. I was impressed with the direct kick of a French player for it was hard and with beautiful spin on it, so rarely seen in women soccer. Another problem I noticed that midfield was packed with players, so running off the ball didn't really accomplished much for it would block another teammates passing lane.

  21. frank schoon replied, March 8, 2017 at 11:06 a.m.

    Guys, we need to realize that we need 4 defenders which is standard. As a our opponents get better, attacking wise as individuals ,we can't depend on simply 3 defenders back there...THAT'S RIDICULOUS. It might look good on paper but it doesn't work out in practice. Not only that with 4 defenders it makes it easier to build up an attack which is also missing, in our game.
    James , your statement that best players might not make the best coaches....that is true. But between the best players there are also good coaches. I rather be coached by someone that can teach me the better and higher level of the game for that our players so seriously need, then Bozo with A-license. In Europe what we do know about the American players is that they fighters and are not lazy players but what they do need a higher level game introduced by people with the finer insight of the game....

  22. R2 Dad replied, March 8, 2017 at 12:13 p.m.

    The US played against a France team that used a 3-4-3 so I don't know how you can assert that. Chelsea is walking away with the title and they use a back 3, so there is nothing sacred about a back line of 4. And certainly a flat back 4 is a waste of player space/positioning. Our problem with the back 3 is that our d-mids didn't turn with the ball and dribble/pass up-field--it was mostly backpasses that ended up keeper kicks resulting in a compressed midfield.

  23. R2 Dad replied, March 8, 2017 at 12:24 p.m.

    Frank, why are you focusing on physical attributes? We lost the game between the ears. This is what separates us from being the top, dominant team we need to be to win in 2019.

  24. Bob Ashpole replied, March 8, 2017 at 12:49 p.m.

    I haven't watched the match yet, but I was very interested in seeing Frank's and other's comments about it. I have a couple comments before I watch it. 1) From what has been said, the system was not being beat on the flanks, which is the classic weakness of 3 backs (the narrowness of the back line). 2) France had 2 US matches to study what the US was doing and come up with a solution. So this was the strongest test of the 3 back experiment. The question is how to improve it. 3) Defenses should not depend on sprint speed. That is what can get you out of trouble, but teams having to use it have already made a mistake. 4) I am not surprised at the heavy criticism of the reigning world champions and FIFA women's coach of the year for losing 2 matches in a row. Every team and coach comes under heavy attack for losing.

  25. frank schoon replied, March 8, 2017 at 1:34 p.m.

    R2Dad, First of all it is a given that the defensive line should always outnumber the opponent's attacking line by at least one player . Do you remember how the 3-4-3 came about in the 80's when Cruyff instituted it. It was because at that time all teams played with 2strikers. Therefore Cruyff decided we don't need 4 defenders but only 3, just one more than the number of attackers. The back line is the last line of defense and therefore you must always build in that extra cushion. It is that simple. That the French played with 3 attackers against 3 defenders of ours is the most stupidest move Ellis pulled. Just REALIZE who would be worse off the 3 defenders making a defensive mistake or the 3 opponent's attackers making a mistake on offense in the defensive third. That is why you need an extra player defender in case there is a mistake made. That France played with 3 defenders does not minimize the situation any. Apparently they were a stronger more experienced team as well and their defenders were also better. I mean , just compare their backline to our backline of Blimps who lack the speed. And if you lack the speed you need to build in that extra cushion factor. We lost the game between the ears? We lost simply on Speed. Games on higher levels are decided on details not on a system. For example the second goal was a long ball, a very simply pass, to the attacker who outran two Blimps and scored that doesn't take brains. Simple enough. No different than the other goal first goal. Don't look at the fourth defender as wasted against 3 attackers. Having the 4th defender increase the attack on the transition in the backfield. It just makes it easier to start a quick attack by the goalie throwing it to the open extra defender. This open defender can quickly move upfield with the ball causing numerical superiority and thereby creating an open man for the opponents midfielder will have to make a choice , either stay with his man or pick up the attacking defender. So having the 4th defender is another way of thinking a step ahead and not just look at defensively. As far as Chelsea goes, I have not watched them although I'm aware of their 3-4-3, first of all their 4th defender plays in front of the defense and none of these are BLIMBS. I can explain after watching them play for although it stated they play a 3-4-3 I want to see the NUANCES they bring into the system. Like the 3-5-2 it really 3-2-3-2.

  26. frank schoon replied, March 8, 2017 at 1:43 p.m.

    R2Dad, I'm not focusing on the physical attributes but this is the real world . No matter how you look at Speed is a factor a physical one, especially on defense. Just look at the goal(s) was scored by simple a physical attribute in which one player was faster than another. And as far losing the game between the ears.. not in this game. I agree we need to learn to play with head for we are still too physical oriented. For us to play an intelligent game between the ears that is still far off.. What I mean by that is that there would have to be some serious changes made in coaching and training by the USSF as I had mentioned previously.

  27. :: SilverRey ::, March 8, 2017 at 10:55 a.m.

    I'm not putting too much behind these results. This is basically a preseason tournament for the ladies. The majority haven't played in 4 mos.
    I'm more interested in seeing them working on the 3 woman back line. It still needs work, but this was a great opportunity to try it out for an extended run of games. I'm hoping that this stays in the playbook - Ellis just needs to work on which teams it's best to use it against.

  28. K Michael, March 8, 2017 at 12:48 p.m.

    Thus, the advent of the Girls’ DA! Our women have officially been caught; the speed of play/technical advantage (what little we had in the first place) is gone. Our big-girl-kick-ball-hard-win-state-cup soccer culture is found wanting. The boys’ DA is finally, after ten infancy years, beginning to better embrace the international standards of development. The good news is the Girls’ DA starts at a much more advanced stage with a robust player pool. The pacy, technical girls now have a place to percolate without fear of being elbowed aside (often literally) by the thuggish lawnmowers dominating the ECNL. Plus, the ladies already have a few world-class players that will assure them of being very competitive while waiting for the technical, high IQ wave to arrive.

  29. Bob Ashpole replied, March 8, 2017 at 12:57 p.m.

    Your comments sound good until you consider that in the international game the new US players will face thuggish defending and elbows flying.

  30. R2 Dad replied, March 8, 2017 at 1:21 p.m.

    Bob, you cannot build an entire soccer philosophy and coach/team/player selection and performance based on the fact we have poor CONCACAF officiating. That's how you end up dominating CONCACAF and getting skunked at the World Cup. Look at the Honduras BU20 & their MNT to see how this plays out, or our own history with Arena and Bradley.

  31. frank schoon replied, March 8, 2017 at 2:17 p.m.

    K, we have had always good players or rather the more talented ones going to Europe and play without having the Developing Academy play a part. Quite a few players over the 26 years have gone to Europe and play without the DA. It was due more to talent and not DA. And it will always be more innate talent of the player than anything the DA produces..that to me is still up in the air....Look at Pulisic he barely was the academy for a year.

  32. Bob Ashpole replied, March 8, 2017 at 6:05 p.m.

    R2 imo at the professional level, ether gender, professionals will through an elbow at you especially if they think it will put you off your game. I saw this because it happened all the time in the low level college matches I played in and I have seen enough professional matches to see it there too.

  33. beautiful game, March 8, 2017 at 1:08 p.m.

    It all boils down to, "can the players make things happen" on a consistent basis." Making it happen is talent up stairs and down stairs; keep it simple as Cryuff said.

  34. Bruce Gowan, March 8, 2017 at 2:05 p.m.

    I predicted the loss because of the speed of the French team. Lesson 1, don't play a 3 back against a 3 front. Lesson 2, Long, Saurbrunn,Mewis, Horan and Brian are not quick and once beaten can not recover. Lesson 3, Lloyd, Morgan, Williams, Press are not 1v1 attackers who can make their own offense.There are players available just put them in the right position in the right system.

  35. R2 Dad replied, March 8, 2017 at 3:24 p.m.

    I'm pretty sure, whatever your opinion of Ellis, that she fully well knew this ahead of kickoff. I haven't heard her discuss this specifically, but it seems the goal was to use this formation for every match, regardless. Ellis may know, but part of coaching is for the players to learn this through their own experience--talking/coaching/diagraming only goes so far. Again, these are friendlies and Ellis has the latitude to lose them.

  36. Bob Ashpole replied, March 8, 2017 at 6:01 p.m.

    Correction Bruce: a coach doesn't play 3 backs against 3 forwards unless she wants to work on their 1v1 defending.

  37. frank schoon, March 8, 2017 at 4:57 p.m.

    BOB, it is now on Youtube, watch it.

    "Gerald Vanenburg- van straat tot stadium". I would show it to kids and it so inspiring. He was an Ajax player and was 18. Watch the whole thing. It shows how kids play street soccer , shows him doing so much. I'm glad it was on Youtube for I had video since '82. I showed at camps , everywhere and it is incredible. It is in dutch but it doesn't just look what he can do at 18....It is an hour and 15min long. You will enjoy much to see there

  38. frank schoon, March 8, 2017 at 4:59 p.m.

    Bob, it is called Gerald Vanenburg - van straat to stadion"
    I spelled the last word wrong..

  39. Bob Ashpole replied, March 8, 2017 at 6:54 p.m.

    I watched it Frank, but unfortunately I didn't understand the interviews. I did enjoy the clips and could follow what was happening and who was family and who were former coaches. I never saw it before, because aside from matches I stick to stuff that is at least subtitled. That man could certainly dance with the ball.

  40. frank schoon replied, March 8, 2017 at 7:17 p.m.

    Bob, the interviews are not important. He was actually 17.
    I had edited all the interviews out in my CD of him . I was hoping they put in on Youtube someday and they did but unedited. But it show his technical skills. This was taken back in '83 and I remember than what guys from my generation were complaining about skill level of the players of the 80's, LOL. And it is funny the generation of who played professional previous to my generation were how saying how bad the skills have gotten of my generation...
    In the beginning you notice how the kids were picking teams using their feet. Later they showed a picture of a little car parked where he lived. He hid underneath that car for 3hours that day for he broke a few windows playing street soccer. Every kid in Holland has broken a window playing street soccer. Look at the videos on the side offering other Vanenburg videos.

  41. Bob Ashpole replied, March 8, 2017 at 10:14 p.m.

    That was my first thought when watching him with the ball--What? I thought Dutch skill levels went down in the 80s! He was great. I especially liked the scissor kick finish of the left to right cross.

  42. frank schoon replied, March 9, 2017 at 9:51 a.m.

    Bob, One of the all time greats in Holland the Cruyff before Cruyff whose style was copied by Johan likewise , walked out of one game because he thought the technique has gone downhill while watching the Cruyff generation play. Fans today are not aware of 'yesterday's soccer as far as the technique goes. A simple example is today you don't see good,nice crosses executed. The players just whack the ball across the goal mouth or it ends up behind goal. One of the reasons is that the outside back who runs down the flank or the outside halfback are not good crossers of the ball .But wingers could make beautiful crosses bending curving away from the goalie.
    The simple kicking techniques have suffered. Unless you have lived through the different periods and generations, of soccer ,a young fan today is not aware of it. Another technical deficiency is the lack of body shielding while dribbling. Today's player would rather use you speed and more energy to get away from the opponent when it is much more efficient and energy saving shielding the ball while dribbling. To see that really is to watch Cruyff and watch he dribbles and shield the ball. I've watching an old 50's game the other day with Real Madrid with Puskas, and Di Stefano. Watch how these players immediately have their arms or position their body first right before receiving the ball. I'm afraid the developmental academies are not teaching this stuff.

  43. frank schoon replied, March 9, 2017 at 10:20 a.m.

    Bob, I hope Don will watch the almost 40year old Vanenburg video, seeing how slow the technique is.LOL
    We're talking about a talent Pulisic....well he couldn't shine the shoes of the 17year old Vanenburg. I might sound critical in my opinions but most of todays fans don't seem to understand where I'm coming from.
    Note in the Vanenburg video ,in the beginning those kids play in a very small space,not to mention the large number of them. It forces them to employ technique, tricks and dribbling skills and street savvy(they would use the garage doors or walls for a give and go to beat the opponent). There is so much to learn from that environment,also video. These kids learn and see a higher level of soccer by introducing a new input in their game( Vanenburg). Seeing his skills and how get out of situations will imprint the kids. Some will like his moves and will copy and work on them . Likewise in coaching to raise the level of coaching is to introduce a higher level type of coach for example I mentioned Lahm from Bayern. We are not going to improve the level of coaching through the US coaching school for those who teach there have never played at a high level. In the video you see Cruyff #10 in yellow playing for Feyenoord,
    later a guy Jan Mulder (not the old guy in a hat who played with KOPA who just died last week see SA) talk about Vanenburg. Look up "Jan Mulder-Show (twee ballen)" on youtube. He was also a former dutch great...Look at his skill. He juggles two at the same time, but not his body balance, and the timing of how receives the second ball. Fans today have no idea how good technically players were in the old days...The more you watch this video the more things you'll see. I would fast forward through the interviews

  44. frank schoon, March 8, 2017 at 5:22 p.m.

    Guys if you want to watch how an 18 year old talent looks like at Ajax in 1982, compare it to those 18year olds of today. Watch on YOUTube
    " Gerald Vanenburg- Van Straat tot Stadion (1984)."
    After watching this you'll see how far we still have to go technically. Note Frank Rykaard, Ronald Foeman, and other players who became great. Coach was Cruyff at the time
    I would recommend it to put it in your favorites...
    It is Dutch but watch the whole thing...

  45. Mike Calcaterra, March 8, 2017 at 7:06 p.m.

    Sunil does not need to look for a replacement for Jill Ellis, that is not his job. His job is to stop idiots around him from firing the best goalkeeper in the game. Alyssa Naeher was awful. The referee did France a huge favor by not ejecting her for the take down. Hope Solo made fewer mistakes in her career with the WNT than Alyssa made last night.

  46. K Michael, March 9, 2017 at 3:33 p.m.

    Frank, to be clear, I am not intimating that the DA creates talent; that comes from feet on ball from a young age; and having access at that age to see the greats do their thing! But, the DA is the largest, and most organized system of top talent in our country, just as the academy systems in Europe are the greatest aggregators of talent there. It is this system which allows the best to compete regularly with the best in an environment that promotes long-term development better than other systems (travel, ECNL, college, high school, et al). And with the exponentially growing numbers of talented kids in our country due to the increasing exposure to footie they now get from birth, a robust academy system is vital in funneling talent to first teams and national camps. Looking thru the windshield and not the rear view mirror, it is obvious the DA system is going thru a period of tremendous evolution, which bodes well for our national team setup. It is far from perfect, and pales to the well-stocked academies of Europe, but not nearly as pale as ten years ago when the DA took flight.

  47. frank schoon replied, March 9, 2017 at 6:17 p.m.

    K, The clubs in Holland develop the youth not Academies. For example Ajax ,scout, find talent and develops its talent they have. As far as the Academies, their focus on teams is not the way you develop players. All these academies basically have taken the better players and play each other. So first we started ,with house league, that they took the better players from house to make travel and now the Academies have taken the better players from travel. The focus is too much on teams.

  48. Bob Ashpole replied, March 10, 2017 at 1:37 a.m.

    I agree with Frank. First problem is the clubs developing teams to win matches instead of players. Second problem is the clubs that improve their teams by player recruitment instead of player development. Formal matches are more important with teens, but not important at all for teaching fundamentals.

  49. frank schoon, March 9, 2017 at 4:43 p.m.

    K that is where you are wrong...Looking at U20mens is living proof of that. It is not about top talent playing each other. That is not how you develop players. Like Cruyff says, "We only employ playing a game to see how much they have learned. I want to see these players coming out of these academies being able to pass the ball and shoot the ball with either foot, employing the instep, inside and outside of either foot....just for starters. Cruyff could do that by the age of 14. I have yet to see one player able to that in the MLS or how 'bout dribbling with either the either the left or right under pressure. I want you to watch on Youtube "Gerald Vanenburg- Van Straat tot Stadion (1984). He was 17 at the time. It is in dutch, you might have to fast forward at time ,the interviews but ,PLEASE watch the whole thing...

  50. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, March 9, 2017 at 5:25 p.m.

    Frank you don't rebut a single thing K Michael says other than by pointing us to some video in Dutch which is mostly interviews. Your standards don't make any sense especially since you've characterized Messi (arguably the greatest of all time) as a "limited player".

  51. Bob Ashpole replied, March 10, 2017 at 1:44 a.m.

    FPGN K Michael's point is that the DA is the "biggest, bestest" league in the country. Frank's point is that players are developed in training sessions and playing/practicing outside of training sessions. IMO having the "biggest, bestest" league wastes a lot of time and money on travel.

  52. frank schoon replied, March 10, 2017 at 7:54 a.m.

    Bob, thanks for explaining it a little better. You tend to explain things looking at the big picture and I tend to explain things employing in details format. The dutch tend to look at details more so which you will notice when Cruyff gives explanations. Also you have a much better way of expressing yourself in English than I do for I tend to think in dutch when I write English. Dutch players because of their Dutch nature will challenge their coach. Knute Rockne types would never make it in Dutch soccer. For a dutch coach to get respect he better back up everything he says in detailed format players to accept his tactics.
    This is why English coaches were not to happy with Dutch players for they will challenge a coach when talking tactics in the locker. Unlike the Germans, Italians, Spanish, English, they follow what the coach says and be done with it. This is why we have in holland and is often applied when trying to debate Cruyff, "you can't even find a pin hole in his argument". Another aspect to my argument is that you don't use as a focus teams playing each other to develop players and besides that so much money is wasted. If you look at the U20 mens game against Mexico the crosses from the wings were ATROCIOUS.... so much for developing good kicking/crossing techniques using team play. These poor parents are paying through the nose for lousy development. If I had a kid I would train him and when he is about 13 he would play with a men amateur team, which I did with one of my young players. He was all MET in high school...

  53. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, March 10, 2017 at 9:49 a.m.

    FYI, once I read the word "Cruyff" in a post of yours, I just stop reading. I don't care about Cruyff. He is not the answer to everything. Your worldview when it comes to soccer is incredibly narrow and outdated. Your sole purpose in every post is to aggrandize Cruyff. It isn't relevant to this topic.

  54. Bob Ashpole replied, March 10, 2017 at 11:43 a.m.

    FPGN there several brilliant teams and dozens of player heroes, but what Cruyff did as a coach at Barcelona is special and what makes Cruyff relevant to coaching today. I suggest that when you see "Cruyff" you think "Guardiola."

  55. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, March 10, 2017 at 2:29 p.m.

    Cruyff is a legendary player and manager. One of the greatest. But hardly the only one whose example should be studied. Frank's answer to everything is talking about Cruyff. It's a big world out there and Frank is missing most of it.

  56. Bob Ashpole replied, March 11, 2017 at 5:43 p.m.

    The reason I said Cruyff was special was because he successfully applied Dutch attacking principles and Ajax player development methods to a different culture and different style of play. I am not aware of any other coach, except Guardiola, who has had success in this area. Dutch Style soccer is bigger than Cruyff and the best thinking on attacking soccer that I have seen. And I have been reading widely in the area for over 40 years. To anyone interested in improving their nation's soccer, this is important.

  57. frank schoon replied, March 12, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.


  58. charles davenport, March 9, 2017 at 8:12 p.m.

    How long before Hope Solo is invited back?

  59. Bob Ashpole replied, March 10, 2017 at 1:48 a.m.

    Hope Solo is recovering from surgery. If she was playing and healthy, I would say in about 2 more losses :)

  60. Rankin S, March 10, 2017 at 12:56 p.m.

    Frank- are you familiar with the Cruyff Courts in Europe? They seem like a fantastic facility that would be a good fit in US and maybe a way to institute a modern version of the street soccer game.

  61. frank schoon replied, March 10, 2017 at 1:14 p.m.

    Rankin, I"m glad you noticed should would to begin institute a culture street soccer, for that is what we need. These Developmental Academies are jokes it is a great money maker..I wish these parents would wise up, but they just don't know any better.

  62. frank schoon, March 11, 2017 at 12:20 p.m.

    Hi Amari ,haven't seen you before...I assume the Pro-team academies will probably win here in America. In Holland our pro-clubs have youth teams have usually the better players and of course they will win but not always. But that is not important whether they win or not. THE IMPORTANT THING IS DEVELOPMENT OF THE PLAYERS which is in America is done through playing better player of other teams ?????? PLAYER DEVELOPMENT to me is the most important aspect. I'm not impressed with the players who are being developed, hers. I want you to watch this video on Youtube; Gerald Vanenburg-Van Straat to Stadion (1984). He was a 17 years old talent when they made this. He played on the first team of Ajax. He learned much from street soccer and joined several club teams and later at 15 he went to Ajax. You can fast forward through interviews but watch the WHOLE thing. Pulisic our talented American player couldn't shine Vanenburg's shoes.

  63. Nick Daverese, March 11, 2017 at 6:08 p.m.

    I never was comfortable playing three backs even in the men's game. I always thought playing 4 is the way to go. But especially in the women's game.

    This is how the Ajax system works. Fran if I am mistaken please correct me.

    They have 10 youth teams of 16 players each.

    Plus 36 first team full professionals.


    So, a "unit" would be right back, right mid, and right striker.

    Players RARELY move between these units.

    So if you are the world's SECOND best right striker playing behind the world's BEST right striker, and perchance the Left striker gets injured.

    You still sit on the bench, and they fill in with another left side player or bring one up from a lower age group.

    That is what I was told any way.

  64. frank schoon replied, March 11, 2017 at 9:18 p.m.

    Nick, I honestly don't know The make up of the teams ,as how many on a each team and such. But as far as not switching positions ,that is far fetched,and all leftfooted is on the left and right footed on right, depends on the coach. They have a new coach this year and perhaps he has now placed the right footed wing on the right side and vice versa on the left . That is the way they should play, for at least we'll see crosses again unlike the other way around where the wings go inside into the middle where all the traffic is. Of course players switch positions, how else can they play. Ajax plays with 4defenders for most teams play with 3 attackers which is what most teams in Holland play. Yes they bring in from time to time a player from the second team which is part of their way of developing younger talent. Ajax doesn't have big money to buy expensive players, they have to develop players. Now this whole unit stuff , I never heard of it, sounds to structured. I mean Ajax developed total soccer, switching positions. I will email a friend who played for Ajax tomorrow and ask about this, but I think what you told me sounds weird. I do know Ajax historically prefers to left footed players on the left and vice versa, for that is the most efficient way to play, and it contributes for faster ball movement. Remember the ball moves faster than any player,therefore they prefer that the ball do the running, thus a faster game

  65. frank schoon replied, March 12, 2017 at 1:33 p.m.

    Nick , I found this
    It is not at all what your friend stated. And after having read your post it sounded too restrictive. It is much more integrative the system for otherwise it would be too predictable. But I will say they do train the 3 vertical axis in order the players know what to do when switching positions. The center axis is where the most important players are stationed and therefor they switch position horizontal as much as they do vertical when necessary..

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