USA vets Alejandro Bedoya and Dax McCarty assess the Gregg Berhalter approach

It's been a difficult transition for the U.S. men's national team since the disastrous qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup.

It took a year before Gregg Berhalter, not necessarily a popular choice for the job, was brought in as head coach, and his team's inconsistent form and often piddling results while building around young talent -- led by Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and Josh Sargent -- hasn't done much to convince fans with the 2020 World Cup qualifiers just around the corner.

Alejandro Bedoya, who played in the 2014 World Cup and saw the last of his 66 caps a month after Trinidad & Tobago ended U.S. hopes for Russia, wonders whether Berhalter's efforts to fit his players into a specific, attacking, possession-emphasizing system -- as he did with some success in charge of the Columbus Crew -- might not be “naïve.”

Fellow midfielder Dax McCarty, who made most of his 13 U.S. appearances after Bruce Arena's return as head coach for the final stretch of 2018 qualifying, thinks Bedoya is onto something while warning that the landscape is extremely nuanced.

The USA on Saturday afternoon takes on Costa Rica at the LA Galaxy's Dignity Health Sports Park to end a nearly month-long camp in Florida. Games in Europe against the Netherlands and Wales are set for late March, and the Yanks head to the Concacaf Nations Cup final four in June.

The World Cup qualifying Hexagonal begins in August, and there's concern that the Americans could be shut out again if things don't improve soon.

Bedoya offered his analysis to ESPN during Major League Soccer's two-day Media and Marketing Tour at Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles FC's home.

“We've come to the stage where some guys are lacking confidence after the debacle that we had, because it was a debacle, not qualifying,” said Bedoya, who is entering his fifth season with the Philadelphia Union after seven years in Sweden, Scotland and France. “Sometimes, I see it a little bit too naïve, I guess, trying to play a certain system.

“If I'm being honest, everybody wants to play like Barcelona, tiki-taka. Playing the [Concacaf Gold Cup] final against Mexico [last summer, a 1-0 loss], you could see our center backs were behind our goalkeeper at times, trying to play out of the corner flag. For me, that's just too naïve. Guys just weren't thinking the game like they're used to. It was more like they're just forcing players to play a certain way, instead of playing a little bit that American style that we're used to. We're not technically, maybe, there yet.”

Bedoya was asked if he'd seen progress with the national team since his last call-up.

“You're seeing me hesitating, right?” he replied. “I'm not so sure there hasn't been progress. I'd like to think so. I'd like to think that eventually this style of play we're trying to implement will come to fruition. To have all these players from different mentalities [and playing in] different countries all over the world to come in and try to play this style that's been imposed on them can be tough. I don't know if it's improved.”

McCarty, in his media session the following day, said that Bedoya's “way of seeing the game, it's in line with my way of seeing the game.”

“I think that it's not an easy answer to just say there has been progress or there hasn't been progress, that it's a much more complicated answer than that,” said the 32-year-old Nashville FC midfielder, who was born the day after Bedoya. “I think that Gregg Berhalter has come into a very difficult situation with where the national team program is now, and it's in a period of transition, and I think that needs to be said, and I think that needs to be acknowledged.

“Now what Alé said about maybe trying to force square pegs into round holes, I think that holds a little bit of weight, and I think we have to be cognizant of what has made us a success as a national team in the past. But also, you know, we have to start to think outside the box and implement ideas and ideologies that will make us better in the long run, and I think that's what Gregg is trying to do.” McCarty noted that there, of course, would be “growing pains” during this transition, and that those who thought otherwise were “just kidding themselves.”

“These are the growing pains you have to go through, and let's not forget, these are all very young players that he's breaking in, right?” he said. “And so I 100 percent agree with what Alé is saying, but I also want to be more patient, because I think we've seen, at least with what Gregg Berhalter built in Columbus, which is a team that constantly contended for trophies and played a really attractive brand of soccer.

“I think that if he wants to try to implement that with the national team, he should be given time to try to do that. Even if it hurts in the short term.”

26 comments about "USA vets Alejandro Bedoya and Dax McCarty assess the Gregg Berhalter approach".
  1. Nick Gabris, January 28, 2020 at 11:26 a.m.

    Say it like it is! Change the coach not the american system. 

  2. R2 Dad, January 28, 2020 at 12:25 p.m.

    The veterans seem to prefer a counterattacking style of play--they're more "comfortable" with that. Meanwhile, the "kids", our U teams, have been playing a more expansive, expressive, attacking flavor or soccer. It hasn't been tiki-taka, but those younger players are playing with better touch, better vision, better reading of the game. If I'm GB I'm definitely bringing in those kids, definitely pushing those old guys out of their comfort zone. This transition in style is difficult to implement, is hard on the personnel, but is absolutely necessary if we are going to evolve as a soccer-loving nation. Bedoya can complain, but what is he going to replace this with? If The American System is counterattacking, pump it down the channels, cross it in to the mixer-type of soccer, why bother growing our youth teams up playing anything else? I'll tell you why--because that's wrong, that's retrograde, that's a less skillful way to play the game. We've been down that path for 75 years and are trying to grow out of it. But the troglodytes keep pulling us back to that hole in the ground where it's "comfortable".

    If comfortable kickball is such a good idea, why is it embarrassing to ask your kid to play that way? 

  3. Seth Vieux replied, January 28, 2020 at 6:34 p.m.

    R2 I fully agree with you that we must make an evolution forward and that significantly higher technical levels are the first major step - and I also think the pain will be worth it. I have that opinion while still holding significant reservations about whether GB is the guy to make that evolution. I'm laughing pretty hard at any suggestion that GB's teams have been 'trying to play tika-taka.' I've yet to see any midfield combination that looks to have any idea of how to purposely participate in effective build up and maintenance of possession. I've only seen two showing wide rather than intentionally using width to create options for for the back on the ball while simulataneously creating space for CM AND passing lanes for others. Whether it's Bradley, Trapp, or Yuiell, they've generally just been aimlessly wondering around the center of the park by themselves, not working in combination with other mids to create patterns for unlocking the opponent and presenting them with mulitple dilemmas. 

    The good news is that coaching and observing U10-U15 players for the last several years has left me confident that at least our current U19s and below are vastly superior than my generation from a technical and tactical perspective. An 'average' club player anywhere near premier divisions will have a technical level exceeding all but the most talented kids of my generation, and they certainly connect passes, move off the ball, are comfortable with the ball under pressure, and understand team defending in a way a strong youth player from the 80s or 90s couldn't imagine. We're headed in the right direction on that front. If GB tried to install his system with just about any top level U15 team he would not mystify them with what he wants to do. I think we've hit a level of coaching experience in many clubs and communities that we're delivering sound technical players with the ability to do much more than bang the ball down the wings and hit hopeful crosses (to players that never learned how to head the ball correctly no less), but think even at the top levels of US coaching we're still far behind in our tactical philosophies where we can't put that newly available technical ability to good use. Hiring an MLS coach rather than a well-regarded international coach still stings. Hoping for the best, would love GB to prove me wrong.

  4. Bob Ashpole replied, January 29, 2020 at 6:48 a.m.

    I agree with Seth's observation about GB's coaching. I was watching very closely for any indication that GB was trying to implement Dutch Style principles AKA positional play. My conclusion was that he was not, but rather following current conventional USSF doctrine. (I call it "playing IN the back".

    To the contrary, I thought that Jill Ellis after 2016 was incorporating some Dutch Style principles (positional play) into how the US WNT played. The team was less compact but I believe she was creating more 1v1 opportunities for the attackers, exploiting the traditional US "triple threat" front line. Strangely in the past the Mexican MNT used the same triple threat tactic to overwelm defenses. But our MNT has never adapted any of these. Sadly under the new coach it appears that the US WNT has moved away from positional play.

    That is my view from the cheap seats.

      

  5. Seth Vieux replied, January 29, 2020 at 12:03 p.m.

    Bob - I didn't get to watch USWNT last night and only saw the brief highlights. For the most part the goals scored were on crosses that any WC level keeper should easily cut out. Crosses finding heads and feet well inside the 6 with the defense not caught in transition.... the commentator can laud Rapinoe's 'stunning accuracy' all she wants - IMO they were sent far too close to the keeper and she repeatedly just stayed on her line. Hopefully will get to at least see some extended highlights to see what the run of play looked like. 

    Think you absolutely nailed 'playing IN the back' in regards to USMNT under GB. No purpose to it that I can see. Midfielders seem totally lost in how to contribute to the build up, break lines, and create opportunities higher up the pitch. 99% of the time we'll connect 4-5 passes between the backs with maybe the 6 dropping in to one touch it back to the same or another back and eventually just end up pumping forward anyway. Hell if we're going to end up launching a ball up to see what the forwards can manage we might as well do it right away rather than giving the opposing back line 10 seconds to get perfectly organized...

  6. Donald Lee replied, January 29, 2020 at 5:08 p.m.

    Neither Bedoya nor McCarty are saying play bunker and cross.  They are saying be flexible to your talent and the situation.  Don't just try to force a particular style.  There is a wide range of options other than tiki-taka and bunker, lump and cross.   


    Folks who criticize US soccer as just bunker and cross are not familiar with the 1994 team, or 2002 team, or the entire history of US soccer.

  7. Bob Ashpole replied, January 29, 2020 at 6:25 p.m.

    Donald, nobody in this thread or in the article except you said anything about "bunker and cross". I don't like to use "possession style" or "tiki-taki" to describe Dutch Style play. I think "positional play" is a better description. It is attacking soccer and the primary objective is to attack and score. It is "possession style" in the sense that low percentage play is avoided. "Positional play" is also about playing defensively while attacking. Like chess.   

  8. Frans Vischer, January 29, 2020 at 3:57 p.m.

    I also agree that we must move forward, striving for a more skill-based, possession/attacking style. With time it will come, and I do believe we are slowly developing the players to do it.

    One note on GB- when he coached Columbus Crew they had a wonderful attacking flair, exciting to watch. But GB had Higuain running the show- he made all the difference.
    The current USMNT has no one in midfield like that- possibly Tyler Adams can become that. I'm disappointed in McKennie. Pulisic plays on the wings, not many options for a real midfield general. 
    We may have too wait a year or 2 for Gio Reyna. 

  9. Bob Ashpole replied, January 30, 2020 at 11:22 p.m.

    I don't like systems with role players. It is a crutch to cover up weaknesses. So I don't want "a" number 10.

    I am really old fashioned and prefer the classic 433 with 3 CMs. In theory they all are capable of performing each midfield role. In reality any group of 3 players will develop a chemistry in how they function as a group. But that is not the same thing as a system that says you are "the" number 10, you are "the" number 8, and you are "the" number 6. No wonder players today have low soccer IQs.

    The most apparent difference in the new WNT coach from Ellis is how he restricts the midfield. It is still a 433, but the midfield is less effective. Ertz is wasted as a stay at home DM. Why not just play her at CB.

  10. Bob Ashpole replied, January 30, 2020 at 11:25 p.m.

    Frans, the way I should have phrased it is: I don't want "a" number 10--I want 3 of them.

  11. frank schoon, January 30, 2020 at 3:59 p.m.

    I can tell that Bedoya and Dax are very measured in their opinions on GB. We all agree, we need to  up our style of game in the US. Here's the problem all these players have been trained and developed in the typical soccer style that the US has been playing all these years. That means it is very difficult to teach a whole new format of play, characterized as  more sophisticated. Well ,we're going to have to go through this process step by step process. 

    What I'm saying is that what we want to do on a National level has to be followed through to the lower levels as well for it's at the lower levels that will prepare our future players to a play a more sophisticated style. You can't expect our current players to be successful in this new dynamic...Let me explain...

     Going back to the step by step process, GB needs to hire and bring a top retired players who can teach the positional soccer. He himself is not capable of teaching this, NONE of his coaching have that ability. Cruyff had stated one of the problems of teaching "positional" soccer is that he considers that 95% of the coaches/trainers are not able to teach it, PROPERLY; in other words, how to improve the positional game. He stated even if the coach has played pro soccer doesn't mean he can teach it. Teaching the "positional" game takes specialization. In other words, a player needs to have been brought with the positional game , that played for teams like Ajax,  Barcelona, etc,who have grown up being taught the positional game. 

    The word 'positional' soccer is thrown around , used so liberally, as if one can learn it by watching a Youtube on it....
    First of all ,when you talk about 'positional' soccer ,you have to take into account 'TECHNIQUE', you can't seperate the two. Just taking into account TECHNIQUE that in itself one requires good technical ability, ( ofcourse it is a must to be two-footed which is rare initself)good execution but it also requires, knowing what you have to do, recognition of when to do it, and how to do it. So there are a lot of factors a "positional' trainer/coach has to be able to see and read these nuances at a moment's notice and that requires reading the positional flow ahead of time. This takes a lot of "practical' experience which we don't have in our coaching pool. So if we're going to initiate a higher of level of soccer we need to bring expertise who are have the backround for this...

  12. frank schoon, January 30, 2020 at 4:33 p.m.

    The other aspect so often mentioned in our game is we have to play attacking soccer. Well, that's all nice and dandy but we need first all 'attackers'....we are not blessed with attacking soccer players.
    Just think in the past 50 years we have YET to produce a TALENT,a player that European teams would fight tooth and nail to get. I mentioned TALENT for great players are born have with certain qualities that need to be nurtured in order to become a great player. How many of millions of US soccer have come through the system but none have produced an innate talent. Take Wesley Sneyder, Raphael vander Vaart, Frenkie de Jong, etc for example , you think they were a no talent before coming to Ajax . NO, ofcourse not these players came to Ajax allready as a talent, but they were a rough diamond that needed further polish.  We don't even have produced a diamond in the rough in 50years. The Ajax program of development is not made for players like a Wesley Sneyder or a Vander Vaart but for the mediocre players to make them better. That is what youth development of Ajax is set up for..We produce basically worker 'ants', who can fight, run, with the best of them, for that is one we no shortage of.......

    I find it ironic that a country , like the US where individualism, flair, creativity, is tantamount in our culture, our middle name,  produces such 'stiffs', with little creativiness as soccer players. It is mindboggling. This is why enjoyed Zlatan playing in the MLS , how refreshing even if he is 80years old. 

    To play offensive, brings into account 3 other factors, Technique, well versed in Tactic and play good Positional soccer. In order to attack you need BAll POSSESSION , which requires a good a positional game. An offensive/atacking team requires to have fast backfield to be able to cover the large space behind them and the goalie when moving upwards; and that means also the goalie has to do more than just to cover the goal. Our whole team has to move up, to close down space in order to get the ball from the opponents to attack....This is just the beginning....I think we have to take a serious look at how much of these initial qualifications can be carried out by the player we have....

    ...

  13. Bob Ashpole replied, January 30, 2020 at 7:27 p.m.

    The way I see it, Frank, is that we don't have to raise the level of every player in order to succeed. Although in the US it is not politically correct to target only a few individuals for special treatment.

    What we need is some professional clubs to replicate the kind of outlier programs that Ajax, Barca and some others are known for. Spain for example builds its national teams around Barca and Real Madrid. Holland does the same thing. So what we need is for an MLS club or two to strive for excellence rather than fake it.

    We also have a problem which has become a problem in Europe too. Kids are not playing unorganzied sports like when we were kids playing every day. Adults are too involved and too controlling. And as you pointed out, the trainers who have the knowledge necessary are typically not the parents and not involved with kids during the pre-teen years. When we do have standouts, it is usually the children of elite athletes, for obvious reasons.

  14. frank schoon replied, January 31, 2020 at 8:40 a.m.

    Well put Bob, but it does help to raise the level of play of all players, if we are to improve the quality of play. What good is it when a couple of players are so good that the quality of the other players actually reduce their better player's effectiveness.  A good example is Zlatan , I"m willing to bet he had to hold his frustrations of his other LA teammates who fail to read certain game situations or give him a less then good pass of which he's used to having in Europe....

    Currently our state of soccer in the MLS doesn't have 2or3 quality teams producing the majority of players for the NT.  We don't have a history as those countries aforementioned. That will come about in an organic process but take some years to do that... We are currently lucky  to have players that can compete internatinally.

    Yes, we have some standouts relative to what we have here. And yes we have little or none nonorganized activity. But when you look at 50years of soccer, milliosn of kids have or are playing we can't even have the  the law of average give us a boost...

    We have  4 aspects of which the former three has to work in tandem to improve our soccer. One, our quality of soccer has to improve as far as my suggestions aformentioned in previous comments; Two, soccer commentating has to IMPROVE with bringing retired players from who can give more insightful comments thus aiding the education of the fan, player and coaches...we don't have that currently; three SOCCER JOURNALISM, needs to step up their game and more indepth interviews. I'm not happy with the state of American soccer journalism , which reflects a level of expertise of the game that can easily be read in 'Ladies Home Journal', 'People' magazine....It is all to Wowzie, feel good , but nothing insightful to help the reader, and coaches....If you read my comments on Bojan's interview is a good example what I see is wrong or rather lacking in soccer journalism...Four, is ofcourse nurturing non-organized soccer...

  15. Bob Ashpole replied, January 31, 2020 at 3:12 p.m.

    Frank, the way I would put it is that soccer journalists are writing stories that are comfortable for the entire audiance. They do write educational stories, but they only write high school level stories, not college level stories. The exceptions are the Youth Soccer Insider, which has a lot of informative articles, and the authors that write about off-the-field topics (like Beau Dure, Ian and Ahmet).

    It would be nice if they tossed the more educated readers a higher level story occasionally about the game itself. What about having an "Insider" for the professional game. They do have guest authors occasionally. Perhaps they could get a retired professional player or a pro coach to write an article. SA has a lot of professional writing and editing talent to help guest writers. 

  16. frank schoon replied, January 31, 2020 at 3:46 p.m.

    As far as soccer journalists write stories that are comfortable for their audience, I would say our audience who pay a fee, nonetheless, are a little more into the game and deserve a more sophisticated interviews. Lets take those last 2 interviews since we have such few interviews dealing with pro players, ( don't know why) one with Nagbe ,the other with Bojan. There was totally no  substantive material talked about the game, sum it up in a nutshell with "how do you like you new team and coach, and what do think of your coach" blah , blah..... Sorry, but these types of interviews are perhaps good for 11 or 12 year olds who are not sophisticated  about the gamethe to ask good questions or to those who have a superficial interest, which is fine. 

     We need journalist who have a feel for the game and think like a player or coach and therefore ask questions appropriately that deal at higher other asking, "Golly Gee Whiz, Wowzie, Feel good questions". The thing is we need these of soft interviews but the problem where can we find more sophisticated ones...And I'm saying we need these types soccer journalist to educate the soccer public...

  17. Bob Ashpole replied, January 31, 2020 at 5:05 p.m.

    I don't know about the other editors, but Mike is deeply involved in the sport as a participant. My impression is that he fits the journalist profile that you propose. 

    One problem interviewers face is that some of the best subjects are extremely busy and have only limited availability. A bigger problem is that typically the subject has complete control over the content of the interview. So the topic chosen is very important. Most coaches don't want to talk publicly about specifics. They may be very generous mentors, but that is not the same thing as publishing the information for all to see.
     

  18. Philip Carragher, January 31, 2020 at 8:03 a.m.

    Here in the US, soccer isn't attractive to great athletes. I've seen great young athletes play and leave soccer to go play other sports: basketball, football, baseball, squash. They had their enthusiasm for soccer drummed out of them for various reasons like bad coaching, abusive coaching, politics, or, in some cases, just the embarrassment of playing soccer seriously here in the US. How can anyone really take the USMNT seriously? We do. We spend time writing responses to each other trying to vent or teach or share or whatever our reason might be, but, in the end, if we don't qualify for the WC this time around and we're unable to experience the hype and excitement around watching the US team play in Qatar, how long will it be for our soccer to achieve some degree of attractiveness to a young American boy who happens to be a great athlete? It's good that our boys are learning how to play better technically, but without that special player we're just making square passes and hoping to get to a nil-nil draw. Scoring is special, so where is the pool of young great scorers to choose from? They do arrive at soccer fields right under our noses, not many since they are rare players, but they show up and leave. I don't think we have the luxury of missing another WC, not unless it's so painful that US Soccer is inspired to follow the upheaval that US Hockey undertook years ago to become a premier training ground for international talent. So maybe our best chance is, unfortunately, to brutalize our way into Qatar.


  19. frank schoon replied, January 31, 2020 at 8:50 a.m.

    Philip, 40 years ago I would have agreed on the athletic part. But today with the popularity of soccer that is really no longer the case in LARGE part.  Do you think  an athletic kid 5'4" up to 5'10" whose build is more for soccer is planning to leave  later  on  for Basketball, or how 'bout football....Come on, that's a no winner, all the way around for he's certainly not going to get scholarship for those sports....

    We have plenty of players. Look how little Holland is , population wise, and the stars they produce.
    We have different sports there also like Basketball but you have to be tall  at 6'5" to play. We have plenty of kids in this country to produce stars...

  20. Bob Ashpole replied, January 31, 2020 at 3:20 p.m.

    Hockey is the same way. If you aren't 6'1", you are short. That is the average height in the NHL. Average weight is 200 lbs. flying around the rink.

  21. Bob Ashpole replied, January 31, 2020 at 3:29 p.m.

    Phillip, professional soccer players are great athletes. Size is not athleticism. The athletic demands of the sport are the broadest of all sports. In terms of athleticism, soccer requires everything basketball does plus much greater demands on all types of endurance. I don't know why people don't consider soccer specific skills as athletic skills. Also about 95% of soccer matches are spent performing general athletic skills.

    I have personally seen hundreds of outstanding athletes, some of the best in the country, playing amateur soccer. The business of soccer focuses on professional soccer, but it is a very tiny fragement of the sport. 

  22. frank schoon replied, January 31, 2020 at 3:48 p.m.

    Philip , it's not about athleticism, but ball handling skills and brains...Look at Xavi and Iniesta of Barcelona. 

  23. frank schoon replied, January 31, 2020 at 5:50 p.m.

    Bob, I have not seen or are aware of any of these types of soccer journalists,here. Mike, although he is deeply involved in soccer doesn't leans more with issues of the game. And that makes for nice talk but it doesn't deal with the real meat of the game, for me that is. The problem lies with American soccer journalists as a whole they don't get into the meat of the game itself instead they are more concerned about issues surrounding the game. Just look at all the interviews ,they all deal with issues that has nothing to do with the ball but rather what goes on off the field. That in itself is fine to read about but we need more balance, that's the problem.

    Remember that interview with Nagbe, why wasn't he asked about the difference in coaching styles between de Boer and Tata. That's the first I would have asked. The problem ,I find is that the Amercan soccer journalist should interview players/ coaches with the intention of what can my reader learn from this interview concerning the game of soccer...
    I can't understand the lack of insightful questions, even simple ones like that...

    We also have in Holland journalist who don't get into the meat of the game and rather cover issues of the game, but then we have also other journalist that do, so there is a balance that we lack here. . There was once a Dutch magazine called Elf back in the 80's that covered a lot about the game. I still have those. There was interview with Rinus Michels, Cruyff and Piet Keizer , all three together, answering questions...great stuff, so thought provoking. I use to subscribe to a Belgium soccer mag. and it was terrible. The Belgians journalist just didn't cover the game like the dutch do. England likewise didn't impress me,  neither thes Germans but  all 3 are still better than our soccer journalist. Spain is excellent, they cover everything...

  24. Philip Carragher, January 31, 2020 at 8:03 a.m.

    cont'd: I'm not sure about any of this except to say that unless we can attract and keep at least a reasonable amount of great athletes (and yes, some with blazing speed) either by grinding it out via WC visibility and hype, or by changing the entire system, we'll be right back here in 20 years. 

  25. Philip Carragher, January 31, 2020 at 5:17 p.m.

    So where is the extensive pool of great finishers for the USMNT to pick from? I never said size was a determinant, just athleticism, and by that, in the case of superb finishers, speed would be a fantastic asset. (Although I do wonder whether Zlatan, if he grew up here and at 6'5", would have chosen soccer as his sport of choice.) Helpful as well is having the coordination to become a two footed player and do so efficiently. Better athletes pick up new techniques more quickly. Three great international players and difference makers that I've seen play all entered games that were pretty even and totally changed the game. Rooney and Nani entered a match between Man U and the Chicago Fire that was pretty even and their movement and speed was remarkable. One or both of them scored and Man U won; Messi entered a game, also somewhat even, between Argentina and Panama and scored three goals, one simply because his superior quick feet got to a ball first even though three opponents were closer to it. His runs were also at blazing speeds. These are the finishers. Great athletes from countries with smaller populations. I've witnessed kids with these attributes get turned off to soccer for various reasons. We need to give them good reasons to stick around but today those reasons are absent.

  26. frank schoon replied, January 31, 2020 at 6:07 p.m.

    Phil , how many players in the world are Zlatan's size and are that good.....Zlatan is not an athlete, he doesn't outrun, outmuscle anyone. Zlatan at 38 can still play ball. Remember Romario of Brazil ,the little guy who scored goals, not by being the most athletic, on the contrary he good was 1v1 in small area. Better athletes pick up things more quickly that's true but soccer is a sport where being the fastest ,the strongest, doesn't mean anything for it is all about ballhandling skills in small areas, and brains. 
    If if it was athleticisim East Germany would have great soccer teams... A good 1v1 player doesn't have to be fast..but able to place the opponent offbalance. Remember, all you need is one step not 10 steps to be successful and doesn't require athleticism . And if even if you use speed, to beat an opponent many other aspect still come into play, like accuracy of passing, timing of the pass, controlling the ball on the run......

Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications