Under-17 World Cup ends in debacle for USA and its Swiss coach

Raphael Wicky's first experience with coaching young Americans came when U.S. Soccer hired the Swiss earlier this year to lead the USA's U-17s. It did not go well.

That's an understatement.

Losing 4-0 to the Netherlands in its final group game -- after a 4-1 loss to Senegal and a 0-0 tie to Japan -- ranks his team's performance with the worst of the USA's 17 appearances at the biennial world championship:

-- Exiting with only one point matches the team from 2015, and the worst came in 2001 (0 points) and 1995 (0).
-- The only time the USA scored just a single goal in group play at its previous 16 appearances came in 1995.
-- In terms of goal difference (1-8) -- it was never that bad.

Two years ago, the John Hackworth-coached U-17s reached the quarterfinals in India. This U-17 World Cup is the first world championship since Hackworth and the other six YNT head coaches who had been in place before Carlos Cordeiro replaced Sunil Gulati as U.S. Soccer president departed. The seven included Shaun Tsakiris and Dave van den Bergh. Tsakiris was the U-16 coach and Hackworth's assistant. Van den Bergh coached this cycle of players at U-15s and coached them as U-17s after Tsakiris' departure followed Hackworth's.

So Wicky, who was able accommodate the new U.S Soccer policy forcing coaches to relocate to Chicago, became these players' fourth coach -- seven months before the World Cup. Wicky, for whom moving to the USA was especially enticing because he had married an American, is currently the only full-time youth national team head coach employed by U.S. Soccer.

For sure, the draw compounded Wicky's challenge. Japan and the Netherlands are Asian and European champions. And Senegal, although it qualified only because Guinea was thrown out for using overage players, undeniably arrived with some exceptionally talented players.

But Wicky had the benefit of more players who had already started pro careers than any U.S. U-17 team in history. Yet on Saturday against the Dutch, even the USA's most experienced and usually impressive players looked off their game and uninspired. Gio Reyna, who's played first-team friendlies with Borussia Dortmund, showed frustration early on when he wasn't getting the ball. Then he fumbled it when he had chances to pull the trigger. Based on this game, you'd had never imagined that Gianluca Busio has played nearly 30 MLS games for Sporting Kansas City. Left back George Bello, who's debuted for Atlanta United, made two promising forays in the first half, and that was pretty much it. Midfielder Daniel Leyva usually defends well and knows how to handle the ball when he gets it. He looked pretty sharp against Japan but in this must-win group finale his savvy disappeared.

Such performances by those players against the Dutch and the overall incohesive play in all three games point to coaching deficiencies.

Tactically, coaches like the cliche of getting their players on the same page. Wicky didn't get these guys in the same book. He had them playing conservative soccer yet they still got spanked by the Dutch.

Yes, after American failures in international competition there comes scrutiny of the players' talent. We'll see later what becomes of the boys. But so much wouldn't have gone wrong if U.S. Soccer had given them the benefit of coaching continuity and a staff familiar with taking U.S. kids to a world championship, the way things worked when Tab Ramos was still in charge of the youth national team program. Tsakiris, for example, served as Hackworth's assistant at the 2017 U-17 World Cup.  During Ramos' era, his staff -- the full-time guys and ones who came in for assistant coaching stints -- included several with youth world championship experience. They also had familiarity with American culture and the international game. Tsakiris, like Ramos, also played in a U-20 World Cup for the USA. Van den Bergh worked in U.S. youth soccer after retiring from MLS, played in a U-20 World Cup for the Netherlands, and served as a U.S. U-20 World Cup assistant.

And the youth national program had been on track, making obvious progress under Ramos' guidance. But U.S. Soccer dismantled it and took only one action to reconstruct it: hiring a coach from a nation with an unimpressive soccer history who had zero experience in American youth soccer.

The players deserved to be put into a more likely position succeed. The ones with true talent will overcome. Failure at a tournament for teenagers doesn't reliably measure a nation's entire national team program. But when your U-17s are playing as dismally uninspired soccer as your full national team, and the only full-time coach its YNT program employs is one who failed monumentally ...  That's a crisis.

Nov. 2 in Goiania
USA 0 Netherlands 4. Goals: Hansen 42, 51, Taabouni 70, Braaf 86.
USA -- Odunze; Scally, Hernandez-Foster, Gray, Bello; Dobbelaere (Ocampo-Chavez, 46), Saldana (Kayo, 46), Leyva, Busio; Jasson (Carrera, 80), Reyna.
Netherlands -- Ratste; Hoever, van der Sloot (Proper, 71), Rensch, Salah Eddine; Regeer, Taylor; Braaf, Taabouni, Unuvar (Braanis, 68); Hansen (Hansen 93+).
Yellow cards: USA -- Scally 90. Netherlands -- Taabouni 80. Red cards: none.
Referee: Amin Mohamed (Egypt).
Att.: 1,305.

Stats: USA/Netherlands
Shots: 9/19
Shots on Goal: 3/9
Saves: 5/3
Corner Kicks: 5/8
Fouls: 9/18
Offside: 1/2
Possession: 53%/47%

49 comments about "Under-17 World Cup ends in debacle for USA and its Swiss coach".
  1. Bob Ashpole, November 3, 2019 at 7:21 a.m.

    Good summary, Mike. I agree that the consistently bad play stinks of coaching failure.

    To me, this hints of how much positive influence Tab Ramos had on the program before USSF marginalized him. In my mind USSF also marginalized April Heinrichs before she left. Lately USSF has referred to her position as the girls youth director, but in 2011 she was hired as the "Technical Director" of the Women's National Program. Ellis was hired in 2011 as the Director of Youth Development for girls. This rewriting of history by USSF in connection with the WNT winning the World Cup in 2015 after a long period of dissapointments is quite disturbing to me. It is petty and reeks of the worst type of corporate struggles for personal power. Heinrichs as well Ellis deserves recognition. Ellis has publicly recognized the behind the scenes support she had, and specifically mentioned the late Tony DiCicco.

  2. Santiago 1314 replied, November 3, 2019 at 12:10 p.m.

    BOB; I'm afraid you are more Correct than you know. The USSF has Finally got all the National Teams(mens) playing the same Style... CRAP.!!!... The Women's Program will be Next... (Latest hire looks like this u17 hire)... Coaching here was Bad,  but the Lack of Character displayed by this group of Players was Pathetic, Disgusting, and DISTURBING.!!!... These players and the Leaderless, Whining Captain Reyna, should never be allowed to Don the USA kit again.!!!... There is a INFECTION of Character and Commitment throughout the Program... Drastic Action is Needed NOW.!!!

  3. Wallace Wade, November 3, 2019 at 8:22 a.m.

    1 goal in 3 games. I'm sure this team has some problems, but, it's biggest problem is there is no pure goal scorer on the roster! 

  4. Derek Mccracken, November 3, 2019 at 8:49 a.m.

    Why Tab Ramos and his team were marginalized and squeezed out of the progam is difficult to rationalize. Ramos had made some significant strides with his U.S. youth teams and us American soccer fans were proud and hopeful of the U.S. youth program. Now, under Carlos Cordeiro, it seems as if we've taken some negative steps backward. Unfortunately, the responsibility, and blame, for this debacle has to fall on Cordeiro; the ultimate boss. 

    Between this U17 team embarassment, the mistep with the lack of hiring of Hispanics by U.S. Youth Soccer and the USMNT shocking 2-0 loss against Canada in the Concacaf Nationa's League Cup (not just the loss, but how pitiful they played), Cordeiro's era has started incredibly poorly. Much of these issues seem to stem on poor coach hiring decisions.

    Perhaps, rather than hire a great administrator like Cordeiro (ie, Harvard grad, ex-Goldman Sachs, etc.), they shoudl hire a "soccer person"? - Someone that's actually played the game (Cordeiro was born in non-soccer country of Bombay, India and lived there until 15) and hire someone that  knows what it takes to succeed on the pitch with American players, and not just at the box office.

  5. frank schoon replied, November 3, 2019 at 10:41 a.m.

    Derek ,quit being so logical!

  6. Kerry Solomon, November 3, 2019 at 9:11 a.m.

    Ditch the coach.  It was either poor prep, bad player selection or bad overall coaching.
    the performance was very poor and a bit embarrassing 

  7. Harry Hutcheson, November 3, 2019 at 10:28 a.m.

    The poor performance of the team falls on US Soccer, top to bottom.  Carlos inherited a sinking ship.  If he cleans house that would be him telling everyone that the past administration was wrong.  Not PC in the corporate world.

    What has happened is that US Soccer has allowed too many leagues to come into play. DA, ECNL, and PDL.  DA's putting MLS academy teams into flight one of the league. And almost all non-MLS teams put in flight two.  When there are teams that deserve to be in the top tier.  US Soccer cowtowing to MLS.
    ECNL was the girls answer to DA prior to the start of girls DA.  Instead of competing with ECNL, US Soccer should have tried to bring them into the fold.
    PDL is now just another league competing with the other two to stake their claim to the youth soccer dollars.
    Until the competing leagues can get sorted out there is never going to be a change.  Players are not playing in these leagues due to cost.  Good players are also playing in inter-city leagues.  US Soccer needs to send their regional scouts to these leagues to look for talent.

    In order for everyone to be happy hire some of our "A" Licensed coaches from the U.S.

    A bit long winded, but, just my humble opinion.

  8. Ric Fonseca replied, November 3, 2019 at 1:35 p.m.

    Mr. Harry:  A coaching license does not a coach make!

  9. frank schoon replied, November 3, 2019 at 1:38 p.m.

    Ric, AMEN

  10. humble 1 replied, November 3, 2019 at 2:38 p.m.

    some things come back an bite you...


    [accidentally placed this in wrong 'reply' thread below - appologies for duplicity] 

  11. Goal Goal replied, November 3, 2019 at 3:56 p.m.

    This country is enhanced by licenses, certificates, diplomas etc.  Give me practical experience.

  12. James Mcalister, November 3, 2019 at 10:33 a.m.

    The problem goes deeper then just the coach. Without the support of the federation, and a vision for the future these type of results are inevitable. The loss of Tab Ramos, the sterile play of the DA, lack of quality coaches at the younger levels all lead up to results such as the u-17 World Cup. Seems to me that the our young players are use to playing one type of football, which is a slow developing play out of the back possession based game. When the script is flipped we have no answers. Negative play out of the midfield pretty much made us easy to defend. Passive defending made us easy to pad the stats.

    The federation needs to take a good look at themselves from top to bottom. Making coaches live in Chicago is the most ridicules mandate yet. The loss of Tab Ramos is a real shame.

  13. frank schoon replied, November 3, 2019 at 10:43 a.m.

    James , You're righ the problem is deeper than the coach...

  14. Bob Ashpole replied, November 3, 2019 at 12:27 p.m.

    James, they say that they are playing a "play out of the back" possession style game, but that is not what I am seeing. Most of the teams I see play "in the back" not "out of the back". I have had my fill of coaches that instruct players how to play rather than teach players to solve tactical problems. Pattern passing drills are technical practice, not tactical practice. It reinforces bad habits so that in a match players are playing by habit instead of using their brain.  

  15. humble 1 replied, November 3, 2019 at 2:32 p.m.

    somethings come back an bite you.


  16. frank schoon replied, November 3, 2019 at 3:28 p.m.

    Humble, I remembered that one....quit a few comments were made....Thanks for the reminder

  17. beautiful game, November 3, 2019 at 11:12 a.m.

    When players underperform finger pointing is directed at the coach? It's the player performance that counts and if there is an issue with the new coach bring it out. U.S. soccer problem has always been team cohesiveness and players unable to make things happen mostly because of poor decision-making process.

  18. frank schoon, November 3, 2019 at 11:22 a.m.

    To blame the coaching on our disastrous display in this world cup, is like taking a sweater back to the store to complain that some of the stitching is bad when in fact the fabric of the sweater is lousy. To make excuses, that we should have had Ramos as the coach or there is a lack of continuity in the coaching of the NT is meaningless drivel. I suppose that Senegal that took us to the cleaners had a great coaching continuity for their national youth national teams. I'm willing to bet if you the took coaches away and allow the teams to organize and lead on their own, the results would not have changed much or any at all, and I can say that the quality of soccer played WOULD NOT HAVE CHANGED one iota, for that is the fabric itself. In sum, complaining about the coaching is on par withcomplaining that the reffing was bad....

    Realize the national team is not like a club team where the coach is constantly with the team. A NT coach gets to see their team sparingly and not often. A NT coach picks the best players out of the crop that's offered to him. In other words he is not responsible for their development, that is not his job. He picks the best players for the short time he has team and makes a team.

     Why is anyone surprised with the outcome of this WC when you look at our senior NT that likewise has difficulty. Hey, remember that game against Curacao...that was a real eye opener for it showed our weaknesses. The U17 is just a microcosm of our NT...We have to look at the development of these players, that's where PROBLEM lies.  NEXT POST

  19. frank schoon, November 3, 2019 at 12:06 p.m.

    Look at all the little mistakes that are made in this game. A perfect example was at 65min 30sec.of the game ,where we began an attack. Bussio receives the ball from a teammate #6 who is initially positioned with his back facing downfield receiving the ball , that, initself,worth a critical page to write about. Anyway, Bussio receives the pass from #6, and proceed to pass to Reyna in the midcircle with a dutch player in his back. Bussio had all the time in the world to see Reyna's predicament and should have past to Jasson who was WIDE OPEN ,making a run on the left flank.
    Bussio a player who according to Mike Woitella has had 30 MLS game under his belt, no doubt has some experience ,failed to see obvious open flank run. Next, Reyna who is able to see the whole play from the start has a perfect view of things since he has his back facing downfield. 

    Reyna being positioned on the midline, knows he's marked at the midline, realizes there is no way he is going to make 50meter dash downfield ; therefore he knows he needs to pass the ball off, and he is in perfect position to see Jasson making the wide open run on the flank. EASY PEASY....
    But here is the problem, technically speaking. Reyna is the type player who likes to receive the ball to his feet, he doesn't like to run for the ball but waits for the ball to come and therefore, mind you, Reyna is not the type of player that is good on 'secondary balls, since that implies having to go to the ball. With this negative quality about Reyna, notice how Reyna waits for the ball, doesn't use his arms and body to shield and protect himself. Next Reyna should have never tried to receive the ball to his feet but instead should have run to the ball and immediately have one-touched to Jasson making a wide open run on the flank.

    What I"m saying here is that this has nothing to do with coaching but development( I wonder what Reyna is learning in Germany?) They have not taught Reyna how to shield the ball or use his arms and think the next step. There are so much going wrong with our players and there is no excuse for it ,for after all most of them are professional and thus getting the training of which I have serious but serious doubt on the quality of it.

  20. Bob Ashpole replied, November 3, 2019 at 12:37 p.m.

    Frank, you are making too much sense. I would like to point out that charging and shielding are unavoidable playing 1v1 so I don't understand how even pre-teens don't charge and shield the ball. I covered it with 8 year old girls because I considered it an important fundamental.

    I started with training what they needed to play 1v1 and progessed from there. What kind of coach would start somewhere else?

  21. frank schoon replied, November 3, 2019 at 1:12 p.m.

    Bob, mayby Reyna should stop by your training sessions and learn this. Did you see ,he never even attempted to turn his body sideways with one stretched out in to the dutch players chest therefore forcing the dutch player to fetch a broom stick to even get near the ball. This is one of the salient features or rather faults of American players, the lack of ability  to shield the ball on the dribble.
    What I hope and it probably won't happen is for Wikileaks(whatever his name is)to go over the video and show Technically(what I just gave an example of) all the individual mistakes made by the players, for if they are not shown this ,how can they begin to learn.

  22. Goal Goal replied, November 3, 2019 at 4:04 p.m.

    Reminds me of Georgia Chinaglia, except when he got it he put it in the net.

  23. Goal Goal, November 3, 2019 at 12:29 p.m.

    Blame?  Many degrees of blame to be shared here.  USSF CARRIES THE BRUNT OF IT.  To give Wicky the total blame is rediculous.  A share of it of course.  Coaching in general in US Soccer is questionable at best.  The DA program is a bust and has created a gravy train for many coaches who’s only interest is money.  The US scouting program is questionable and is so politicized that many good players are left out of the system because of this.  There is no doubt that continuity in coaching staff would be ideal but disagreeing with Mike I believe some of the past coaching is part of the problem in that they failed to identify players who were better than others.  There were so many players, good players who were sent home discarded so to speak.

    Trying to meaure our past performance on goal differential tells me one thing.  That programs in other countries have improved and ours hasn’t.    You have to be able to identify the enemy.  Just in case USSF doesn’t know the enemy.  The enemy is us.

    There is only one player on the field yesterday who in my mind showed desire and ability and that was our keeper.  Certainly an advantage because the game has to come to him to be able to  perform.  Everybody else failed to go to the game.  Now I don’t know if that was because of coaching or just lack of interest.

  24. Peter Bechtold replied, November 6, 2019 at 8:28 p.m.

    @ Right winger.(I used to play that position(:-)). I can assure you that the problem with the U-17s was NOT lack of interest. I have coached at youth(select),college, and Top league (overseas). There are no teams that lack desire. Especially among 16-year olds with good-looking futures, I can assure you that they wanted desperately to win, every game for that matter. So, why did they look the way they did ? BECAUSE THEY HAD CLEAR INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE COACHING STAFF TO PLAY A CERTAIN WAY. I do not know if that was R.Wicky ? My guess is that he was under instruction from top management to play the same style as the USMNT. This was clearly Berhalter.2. And Wicky has been a new hire, so I assume that he would have been unwilling to challenge his superiors in his first assignment. If I were him, I would confront the USSF leadership and say that I will coach successful soccer my way and if they disagree, would give them my written letter of resignation within minutes.

  25. Bob Ashpole replied, November 6, 2019 at 8:41 p.m.

    I agree with you Peter. This is what I suspect as well. Someone that is as independent as you, however, would not have been offered the job.

    Some people take jobs thinking that they can ignore what they don't like. Sometimes that works out and sometimes it doesn't. For something as visible as a soccer match, I don't think ignoring management's instructions would work out.

  26. frank schoon replied, November 7, 2019 at 8:47 a.m.

    Peter ,you made a good point about Wickey and the understanding he had with the upper management in how he should play. For example, if you bring in a Italian coach, obviously defensive minded, I could see GB stipulate that we don't want to play a la Italian type of soccer. But with Wickey the difference in soccer philosophy is much closer or moderate, so in this case I don't see the problem. I totally have no idea what the GB's stipulations were  other than wanting to see certain players perform. I hope SA will interview Wickey and ask him.  Without having further information I'm not going to make judgement either way on this....

     Why the players looked the way they did was as a result of the "clear instructions from the coaching staff to play a certain way, is way too vague of a reason for me . The only thing that effects a player is lack of playing time.  What were the playing instructions that supposedly caused the players ,as you state, effect how they played? I certainly didn't get that feeling. The Dutch lost their first two games from Senegal and Japan ,which the US tied. The dutch coach seeing the handwriting on the wall, decided to start 8 Ajax players and were successful against the US. It made it much easier as a team to play Ajax ball, instead.

    It was their lack of technical/tactical finess, due to lousy player development than the system the team supposedly has to play. It is not the system for it is nothing out of the ordinary they were asked to play. I can understand if the players were playing totally out of their position like the centerback was placed on the wing or at centerforward or Reyna playing leftback,stuff like that, but other than that it is just whistling in the until we get more information.. 

  27. Goal Goal, November 3, 2019 at 12:30 p.m.

    Blame?  Many degrees of blame to be shared here.  USSF CARRIES THE BRUNT OF IT.  To give Wicky the total blame is rediculous.  A share of it of course.  Coaching in general in US Soccer is questionable at best.  The DA program is a bust and has created a gravy train for many coaches who’s only interest is money.  The US scouting program is questionable and is so politicized that many good players are left out of the system because of this.  There is no doubt that continuity in coaching staff would be ideal but disagreeing with Mike I believe some of the past coaching is part of the problem in that they failed to identify players who were better than others.  There were so many players, good players who were sent home discarded so to speak.

    Trying to meaure our past performance on goal differential tells me one thing.  That programs in other countries have improved and ours hasn’t.    You have to be able to identify the enemy.  Just in case USSF doesn’t know the enemy.  The enemy is us.

    There is only one player on the field yesterday who in my mind showed desire and ability and that was our keeper.  Certainly an advantage because the game has to come to him to be able to  perform.  Everybody else failed to go to the game.  Now I don’t know if that was because of coaching or just lack of interest.

  28. frank schoon replied, November 3, 2019 at 1:20 p.m.

    RW, 'gravy train", NO KIDDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!   The DA program is  TOTAL JOKE, a waste of good money.... If my kid, lets say, would go to a DA program which I would never do, I would make a stipulation and that is my kid after 2years in the DA program better be able to dribble ,shoot, shoot, pass, and receive the ball with either foot, for i"m not concerned in the first few years how well they do in team play or tournaments. Lets first give these kids the  necessary tools before worrying about how Johnny plays team ball. First get the technical skills down then the theoretical much later....

  29. humble 1 replied, November 3, 2019 at 3:01 p.m.

    So spot on with above comment Frank.  There are techinal gates players must pass.  They are not easy, as the final test requires that the player execute in 'game' situations.  That teaching process requires highly refined coaching and parental support and player commitment.  Whether it is the cause or not, boys DA creation and expansion over the years from 125 boys teams in 2007-08 to over 500 in 2017-18 is highly correlated with degredation of perfomance of MNT.  We all know correlation does not imply causation, but we also know that when it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck...Conversly, DA expansion caused a contraction in ODP.  ODP is still alive, but on life support.  Most of the MNT 28 y.o. and up came through ODP and many played in HS.  It is interesting that the ODP footprint was much larger than DAs.  Today nearly all the players on YNTs come from DA.  What this means is that by design, boys YNT is less inclusive.  Of course the O in ODP is Olympic and it will be revealing what happens in this upcoming Olympic cycle.  If the trend continues it will be the next 'shoe to drop'.

  30. Santiago 1314 replied, November 3, 2019 at 8:37 p.m.

    Humble1... the US Olympic Team "Non-Qualification" for last Olympics, was the "Canary in the Coal mine"... I doubt that the Spirit of the '88 Team will Resurrect in this next Round... So, Sad; that the Program has Fallen back 30... Now 40 yrs, with the Loss to Canada.!!!

  31. Ric Fonseca, November 3, 2019 at 1:49 p.m.

    Sad state of affairs US Soccer is in.  However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, hopefully it ain't a train coming the other way!, I'd nomitate Frank Schoon to replace Mr. Wicky, so how about it Mr. Cordeiro?  (BYT and FYI, mr Carlos Cordeiro surname is as result of the colonization period of the world after the 16th Century and continuing, with the English, Portugese, Spain, France, Netherlands, etc.)  Can we say PLAY ON!!!

  32. Kevin Leahy, November 3, 2019 at 2:31 p.m.

    Is anyone home @ the federation?

  33. Goal Goal replied, November 3, 2019 at 3:04 p.m.

    Kevin there were a few home but they can’t find anyone after yesterday

  34. Justus From SoCal, November 3, 2019 at 4:05 p.m.


  35. Santiago 1314 replied, November 3, 2019 at 8:28 p.m.

    Aren't these kids all members of DA, or Pro Team.???...NO CHARGE.!!! (At least for MLS, "Foreigners")...How can Pay for Play be the Problem.???... That's an Old excuse... When Roy Reese used to sell National Team "Trials" on his Club Team(Texans)... We at Least had a Competitive Program... I say go back to Residential Program.. u15, u17... Before the DA's can mess them up.... Make them; Eat, Sleep, Play USA.!!!

  36. R2 Dad, November 3, 2019 at 5:34 p.m.

    Voting members of USSF, this is the staus quo you voted for--hope you are satisfied with your results.

  37. R2 Dad replied, November 5, 2019 at 5:30 p.m.

    "Oh, no, we were voting for the pre-2017 status quo, not this latest one", they all said, pathetically.

  38. Goal Goal, November 3, 2019 at 5:57 p.m.

    We are supposed to have a great scouting program.  I would assume if a kid has been identified as a prospect that a profile is created which I think would include the position he plays, you think?

    Many of these kids who showed up at the u15, 16, 17 camps were asked by the coach what position do you play.  Would that be in the profile along with attributes of the player. Just wondering.  

    I am am still floored by what FS kiddingly identified as new age coaching when I mentioned it on another site.  Why in the world would one of the tallest players, 6 feet one inch on our team be taking the corner kicks instead of being in front of the goal.  Back to my newly purchased color tv.

  39. frank schoon replied, November 3, 2019 at 6:29 p.m.

    RW, LOL

  40. Philip Carragher, November 3, 2019 at 9:02 p.m.

    Some points of interest based on the article and comments: first, a coaching friend of mine in the Chicago area would be an amazing national team coach, has been asked multiple times, but says he doesn't want to because of the politics; second, I've had first hand experience of kids getting sent to Bradenton to work with the national team and except for one player (out of six or seven), they weren't very good; third, I've had told to me that the concept of the DA program had more to do with putting a fence around US players than to develop players so the USSF could assure themselves payments if a player was picked up by an international club (Jonathan Spector was picked up by Man U and no one here received transfer money...again, so I've been told); fourth, my son joined a DA team back in the early years and I truly thought I was going to witness amazing talent and was very disappointed in the lack thereof (I bet I saw maybe one player in every five to seven games that had something special that might help the national team); fifth, in my experience, one out of maybe a hundred youth players has that special mix of talent to be a great goal scorer, but somehow we find a way to ruin rather than support those players; lastly, I had close experience with a not-so-great coach who was responsible for handing out A licenses...yikes!  I could keep going but, like in Looney Tunes, that's all folks.

  41. frank schoon replied, November 4, 2019 at 9:26 a.m.

    Philip, so true.. THis whole DA program is a way tieing in everything...it's all about control not quality. Once the control over the players, the supply,in other words, the licensing of coaches along with hierarchy what you may or may not coach depending on the level of license you have comes next. And ofcourse the money aspect, the 'gravy train'.
    There are so many of these licensed coaches involved on the 'gravy train" who I personally wouldn't let him near my son, if I had one,within a 150 feet.  

  42. Santiago 1314 replied, November 4, 2019 at 9:03 p.m.

    I hope you are Talking about Frank Klopas... Chicago Native would be a Great "Get" for a Youth National Team.

  43. Ron Frechette, November 4, 2019 at 6:55 a.m.

    The failure of the U17's is to be shared by many - but the ownership of the failure is USSF as they have let down the players.
    Almost all of the USSF teaching/training for coaches is setup to instruct coaches on tactical and orginizaion skills for running a training session. When you attend any of the coaching clinics/classes that have youth players to train - you can see the differences in who knows the game and who does not. Most of those "good" coaches have a sound practical experiance in what is needed for SKILLs to play the game and make sure that even in the "tactical" pattern play activities they correct and help work on the technical weaknesses of the players. (I totally agree that too many coaches teach patterns with no real thinking/decission making needed to get through the activity!) I have yet to see anything in USSF coaching videos/litature that really shows a new coach what to look for and how to correctly teach technical aspects of the game - example a player who only wants to play with thier right foot wants to trap a ball using the outside of the foot - but they get the foot too low to the ground and the ball travels up the players leg or better is settled directly under the body where they can get the ball into a position to make the next play - pass or dribble.
    Waiting on the ball creates "dead space" waiting for someone to run through the incoming ball and win it.
    Point is that we don't teach our youth coaches what to teach technically using correct methods and those players get pushed along/up the ladder. I am hoping that when I go to watch yet another DA program's coaching staff run a (U12/13/14...) training session to see something of technical being worked on and corrected. When that happens it may be my first time seeing it...
    USSF need to understand that the players are doing what they have been allowed to learn and develope for skills and the coaching is what is failing them!

  44. frank schoon, November 4, 2019 at 9:40 a.m.

    What should happen is for the USSF to invite over a technical staff from Ajax which is comprised of retired Ajax players or dutch greats who know the ins and outs of player development and go around  the US and study the DA programs, including the DA programs of the MLS teams and write a rapport on the failings and what is wrong and how should it be improved.
    I'm sure I can guess one of the criticisms would be , 'who are these people who are coaching/training the youth in the DA programs'; 'Do these individuals even have the technical capabilities to demonstrated the technical aspects along with all the variables of the game". 
    In other words I don't want a few idiots from the KNVB coaching school who have a license to come over here with their theoretical, organizational garbage, who look great in the classroom with a blackboard but have difficulty taking on  a lamppost one on one. Instead I want the kind people who played the game and demonstrate everything and have truly played at fantastic level. It is those kinds of people that kids can respect and learn by watching and doing. The kind of people a Johan Cruyff learned from when was young

  45. Goal Goal, November 4, 2019 at 12:59 p.m.

    Thought I would throw one more log on the fire.

    How much improvement did the DA players show as a result of not playing high school soccer?  Any stats for that conundrum?

  46. frank schoon replied, November 4, 2019 at 1:25 p.m.

    RW, you know I see improvement in a player first of all by their technical finesse. As I stated above concerning if I had son and what I would expect after 2years at a DA program. How many players  actually can actually use both feet, crossing passing, placing, dribbling, shooting, passing, trapping and receiving a ball after being in DA program after 4-5 years. Did you anyone on the U17 use both feet....LOL..
    I find playing high school soccer a plus for a DA player. You know why because high school soccer is tougher to play, due to perhaps smaller field area, rougher game perhaps,perhaps lesser players, who knows. I want to see how a DA player survives in this type of onslaught. It is good to play under those tough conditions for the DA player to learn to adjust, think more, look more for space. So yes I think it is an excellent experience for DA player to survive. It is the same reason why a player should play mixed ages pickup soccer for their are so many more variable that he needs to deal with as compared to same age players...
    I'm not comparing the quality of soccer to DA quality to high school, I'm just saying if you can survive high school due to the tougher conditions that  will help and improve your game...
    Cruyff would take a player like a Van Basten and put him back down to a lesser team to see how he reacts with lesser players and deals with the different variables as a way to improve Van Basten....

  47. Goal Goal, November 4, 2019 at 1:38 p.m.

    Frank, I am with you.  The more you play under tuff conditions will only make you better.  My point was how adamant US Soccer was about this.  US soccer was worried about the ants walking by while the elephants stepped on the back of their neck.

  48. Bob Ashpole replied, November 4, 2019 at 6:05 p.m.

    Love that analogy. Just like they teach players--to play with their heads down.

  49. Peter Bechtold, November 6, 2019 at 9:03 p.m.

    You know, folks: I just have to get this off my chest>
    Surely, the scouting for U-17s left something to be desired. Surely, the DA,etc system can be improved. Surely, we must bring in more talented minority players--although our current youth teams are majority non-white now. But all of this misses major points. 
    One of them is this: If you gave the identical US roster to the Netherlands coach, or the Serbian, or the Japanese,or the Argentinian, they all would have produced superior results. Hell, I would have gotten better results(of course I played/coached on 3 continents, but never mind that). Our players were afraid to play up to their abilities because of their instructions from the coaches(Berhalter+Wicky). These are 16-year-old boys who dream of world cups and do not want to jeopardize their careers.It is not about finding even better players in the barrios of SoCal, Texas, etc. The present crop is good enough; otherwise most would not have contracts with good senior clubs.
    Two, a huuuge problem here is that "soccer" covers too many diverse activities. Some of you write here @SA about U-9s and rec.league players,teams,exercises,etc. None of this exists in any other country on earth. I am glad that many kids want to play in a local league,wearing soccer "kits" and get trophies; but that should be given a different name because it never leads to real Football/futbol/fussball/calcio/futibol except for maximal 1 %. What we have is more like softball (leagues and recreational) in US sports; perfectly fine with me. I watch it. But it is a mistake to assume that these softball leagues will produce Major League Baseball players.(Which is what the articles and comments are asking in soccer terms). Our type of kids'soccer IS NOT DESIGNED to produce top players; it is designed to provide a venue for children to engage in a relatively wholesome activity--compred to Am.Football and inner-city basketball--out of reach for most today. 
    There is a way to fix this malaise: Some of you remember when the USMNT in Basketball stopped winning,esp. in the first decade of this century. Well, BB writers started to complain big time, the US leadership completely reorganized, they brought in Mike K. from Duke and gave him what he needed and, voila, they won the WCs and Olympics again. More difficult for Soccer, otherwise Brazil would win everything; but progress is not beyond reach. OK.

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