USA-El Salvador Concacaf Nations League Player Ratings

March 27 in Orlando, Florida
USA 1 El Salvador 0. Goals: Pepi 62.
Att.: 18,947.

* * * * * * * * * *

Needing at least a tie to advance to the semifinals of the Concacaf Nations League in June, U.S. interim coach Anthony Hudson put out maybe his strongest possible XI against El Salvador in Orlando. It produced a shutout and a nice goal from open play. In the 62nd minute, having just replaced Daryl Dike, Ricardo Pepi flashed across his center back and beat him into the space where Weston McKennie struck a hard, low through ball toward goal. Pepi shrugged his defender, took one touch to steady himself and then chipped goalkeeper Mario Gonzalez.

The USA took 16 shots (four on target) and possessed the ball well, especially in the second half and even more after the goal. The ball was mainly in El Salvador’s half, as the U.S. midfield and defensive line pressed high and consistently double-teamed the Salvadorans. For all the possession the USA had, though, the attacks often went frustratingly to nowhere or broke down on a bad touch.

USA Player Ratings
(1=low; 5=middle; 10=high.)


Matt Turner didn’t have a save to make all game. He caught a few dangerous crosses and distributed to his defenders finely.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Matt Turner (Arsenal/ENG); 26/0 (28)


One story of this game is the return of Miles Robinson, who last played for the USA 361 days ago, a few weeks before suffering an Achilles tendon rupture and missing the entire 2022 MLS season with Atlanta United. The central defender commanded the air and the ground against El Salvador to the point where he was catching up with players in an offside position and still completing his tackles. Right back Sergino Dest continues to struggle in some one-on-one situations, but you can’t deny his mesmeric dribbling and tight-space passing play. So afraid was his marker of him getting the ball that he opened up space for Ricardo Pepi’s run on the USA’s winning goal. On his 51st appearance for the USA, Tim Ream continues to prove experience is everything. The tendency from the opposition to go long suited the 35-year-old’s game just fine and with the ball he never panicked. Antonee Robinson’s speed is great, but if he can’t consistently deliver dangerous crosses or play small well, the U.S. attack suffers. One wonders if a reason Pulisic didn’t get the ball as much tonight was because there was no Joe Scally to play in tight spaces with.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Sergiño Dest (AC Milan/ITA) 24/2 (22)

Miles Robinson (Atlanta United) 21/3 (26)

Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG) 51/1 (35)

Antonee Robinson (Fulham) 34/2 (25)


Is Gio Reyna’s new midfield role working? In the first half in Orlando, Reyna picked up the ball deep and played diagonal balls wide and forward. In 26th minute, he beat his man one-on-one and fired a 28-yard shot that Gonzalez tipped wide with a diving save for a corner kick. Early in the second half, Reyna beat Roberto Domínguez with a smart first-touch and hit the post from 13 yards. One benefit of Reyna's midfield presence is that it masks Weston McKennie’s on-ball deficiencies and gives Yunus Musah another playmate in midfield. Against better teams, though, Reyna might have a harder time finding pockets and will definitely need to work more on defensive transitions. McKennie, for his part, struggled in possession, losing the ball several times in crucial moments right in front of El Salvador’s box. He played a good ball to Ricardo Pepi in the 62nd minute that ended in Pepi chipping El Salvador’s goalkeeper for the only goal of the game. McKennie committed five fouls (but escaped getting cautioned). Musah was responsible for repeated waves of attacks with his plowing runs from deep. He was stronger than McKennie on the ball and performed his role well, continuing to show that he is a must-start. For all the free kicks the USA won, they ended in really just one excellent chance, wasted by McKennie at the very end of the first half.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Weston McKennie (Leeds United/ENG) 43/11 (24)

Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund/GER) 18/4 (20)

Yunus Musah (Valencia/ESP) 25/0 (20)


The U.S. attack showed talent in the first half but couldn’t turn successful one-on-one and two-on-ones into clear-cut chances. The Salvadorans denied Christian Pulisic the ball high up the field and Daryl Dike was left isolated for stretches of the game. When Pulisic did get the ball he was dangerous, more so than Zendejas. But the few times the forwards advanced with the ball they were quickly fouled, to the point where Coach Hudson complained to the fourth referee about persistent infringement (although the USA out-fouled El Salvador 16-11). Dike and Zendejas were the first U.S. players subbed, in the 60th minute.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Alex Zendejas (Club America/MEX) 3/1 (25)

Daryl Dike (West Bromwich Albion/ENG) 10/3 (22)

Christian Pulisic (Chelsea/ENG) 58/23 (24)


The substitutes made a make difference in this game, where tired legs exposed spaces in the second half where they didn't exist in the first. Ricardo Pepi was the first to take advantage, peeling off from center back Domínguez two minutes into his appearance and scoring with his second touch. Brenden Aaronson and Luca de la Torre helped the USA win the ball high up the field. De la Torre created triangles with McKennie and Pulisic, or McKennie and Dest, and the USA was able to circulate the ball in ways they struggled to earlier in the game. El Salvador, with a weaker bench, had no response. Taylor Booth had a couple of nice plays but overall still has not made an impact in a U.S. shirt.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)

Ricardo Pepi (Groningen/NED) 14/6 (20)

Brenden Aaronson (Leeds United/ENG) 30/7 (22)

Taylor Booth (Utrecht/NED) 2/0 (21)

Luca de la Torre (Celta/ESP) 14/0 (24)

Johnny Cardoso (Internacional/BRA) 6/0 (21)

NOTABLE: Eight of the U.S. starters — all besides Daryl Dike, Alex Zendejas and Miles Robinson — were part of the USA's 2022 World Cup team.

NEXT UP: The USA hosts Mexico in a friendly on April 19 in Glendale, Arizona.

March 27 in Orlando, Florida
USA 1 El Salvador 0. Goals: Pepi 62.
USA — Turner; Dest, M.Robinson, Ream, A.Robinson; McKennie (Cardoso, 90+2), Reyna (Booth, 72), Musah (de la Torre, 71); Zendejas (Aaronson, 60), Dike (Pepi, 60), Pulisic.
El Salvador — Gonzalez; Tamacas, Dominguez, Zavaleta, Roldan (Blanco, 46); Landaverde (Martinez, 56), Dueñas (M.Gil, 56), Orellana, Henrique; Reyes (Menjivar, 77), B.Gil (C.Gil, 70).
Yellow Cards: USA — none; El Salvador — Reyes 66. Red Cards: none.
Referee: Mario Escobar (Guatemala). ARs: Luis Ventura (Guatemala), Humberto Panjoj (Guatemala). 4th Official: Julio Cesar Luna (Guatemala).
Att.: 18,947.
USA / El Salvador
Shots: 16/4
Shots on Goal: 4/0
Saves: 0/3
Corner Kicks: 13/2
Fouls: 16/11
Offside: 2/5
Possession: 58%/42%.


38 comments about "USA-El Salvador Concacaf Nations League Player Ratings".
  1. John Richardson, March 28, 2023 at 12:20 a.m.

    Matt Turner didn’t have a save to make all game. He caught a few dangerous crosses and distributed to his defenders finely.

    So why such a low score.  You must have  never played  the postion.  The best GKs prevent  dangerous situations from happeneing by reading the game and communicating with the defense.  
    Woitalla knows this and would have given him a more accurate 7.  

  2. Santiago 1314, March 28, 2023 at 12:27 a.m.

    OK Frank... I Owe you an Apology....
    These Euro Guys CAN'T Play any Better than the MLS Guys.!!!
    WTF was That.!?!?!?
    Good Home Field Surface, and We COULDN'T properly Control the Ball on our 1st Touch.!!!.... Terrible... I thought I was watching some High School kids suffer on the Astroturf...
    So, 1st Poor Touch, Either Too Bouncy, or in the Wrong Direction;
    Instead of Crisp Clean Rhythmic Interpassing and Dribbling,
    We got a Bunch of Guys, STANDING AROUND, with Their Fingers up their A$$es, As they Tried to Figure out What Their OWN Teammates Next Move would Be.... What a BUZZ KILL of a Game.!!!

  3. Bob Ashpole replied, March 28, 2023 at 3:02 a.m.

    Lucca DLT is simply too good to leave off the field.

    I thought Dike played very well. He drew a free kick in wonderful position and had probably the best opportunity of the match, which McKennie stole from him.

    When McKennie holds he contributes. When he goes forward he doesn't add anything. He just plays on top of his team mates. To me it appears that he has a very low soccer IQ and is not a team player. Which is not what you want in a midfielder. And then he completely blew a dead ball service put on a platter for him. I was upset with him from the start when he got physical with a smaller opposing player for no good reason at all. It hurts this US team to provoke the opponent into playing rougher and signal the officials that we are okay with rough play. While physical play may work to McKennie's advantage, it doesn't work for the teammates in front of McKennie. He simply does not think like a team player.

    For me the best sequence was in the first half between Dest and Reyna working the ball up the right flank. If only....

    Let's see what Hudson learns from this match.

    About the coaching, I thought pairing McKennie and Musah as holding with Ream in the back line was attaching two sea anchors to the US attack.

  4. Santiago 1314 replied, March 28, 2023 at 6:36 a.m.

    LDLT was AWESOME, He Really did get Control of the Game and The Ball.
    Cardoso also Looked Good on the Ball, during the Limited time he was on the Field.
    Booth looked better in that "Zone of Operation" than Zendejas.(Too bad he Got that Bloody nose that Ate Up about Half of his Playing Time)
    Miles Robinson showed the Quality Difference between himself and Zimmerman/Long ( He did All the Dirty Work, and left Ream, to Operate more like a Sweeper; Maybe my Theory of Moving ADAMS back there for him Could actually Work.!!!)
    Pepi got THE GOAL, and Moved Better OFF the Ball than Dike(Not Shocking, because Dike is the Kind of Ct.F that only Should be Coming IN for the Last 20 minutes, when you are Behind)
    BUT, Pepi once again, didn't Finish the Other Chance he had INFRONT of the Goal... **Would Balogun.???**
    The Starting 10 Field Players, Minus MRob and Ream...
    WERE CONcacaCrApF Level CRAP.!!!
    WHINNING AT THE REF, Instead of Crisply and Cleanly Moving the Ball; So, you Don't get Fouled( And this goes for the Coach, Blaming the Refs, instead of Correcting his Players)
    LACKADAISICAL "GEGENPRESSING"... Actually, I was DISGUSTED by the way Reyna would Stand up there Next to Dike, and then Point at Everyone Else to "PRESS, WHILE I JUST STAND HERE"...
    If he is going to Bitch and Moan like the Spoiled Kid, Then he Better; MAKE THINGS HAPPEN When he gets the Ball.!!!(And He is NOT Doing That)
    SELFISH NON-SHARING OF THE BALL. The way they Looked at each other, Saw others Open and INSTEAD, Then just Put their Heads Down and Tried to Dribble thru "Brick Walls" was High School Level PETTY, JEALOUS Type Stuff... Disgusting.!!!

  5. frank schoon replied, March 28, 2023 at 11:21 a.m.

    Santi, Adams is not a midfielder he needs to be one of the Centerbacks for that would give more quickness in the middle. They don't need Twin Towers back there for so few cross are made from the flank these days. 

  6. Santiago 1314 replied, March 28, 2023 at 1:24 p.m.

    Frank, I think you and I are Talking the Same thing...
    Ream, though he was Left CB... Was Really just "Hanging Out" and Sweeping up the Loose Balls.
    MRob was doing All the Dirty Work.
    Why Couldn't Adams do the Same thing.???
    Adams gives us NO Midfield Build-UP... Excellent Ball Winning and Lateral Possession Passing YES, 
    Not Really a "Pre-Vision" for the "Killer Pass" that i would like to see a Ct.Mid Player have.

  7. James Madison, March 28, 2023 at 1:26 a.m.

    Ball movement was sadily lacking in tempo and accuracy.  Crosses and free kicks, both corners and DFKs lacked accuracy. Swarming defense worked because El Salvador ball movement was no better. 

    McKennie is a puzzle.  Like the little girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead, he plays like he shouldn't even be called up, let alone start, and then, with one brilliant pass, he combines with an excellent run and skillful chip to score the game's only goal.

  8. Bob Ashpole replied, March 28, 2023 at 3:08 a.m.

    McKennie's pass was a good decision and well executed, but routine for a midfielder. I would expect that any international midfielder would do as well with the same opportunity. 

    It was an excellent finish with Pepi punishing the keeper for going to ground.

  9. Peter Bechtold, March 28, 2023 at 1:45 a.m.

    Sad to say: Pulisic received a "10" in Grenada" and should have earned a "3" at best in Orlanda. Almost every attack died when the ball reached him; no wonder that he cannot start for Chelsea. Was it all the A.Robinson vs. Scally factor or his quite limited play. He can be our "hero" against very poor opposition, but not against average teams. Maybe another coach can figure this out.

  10. Santiago 1314 replied, March 28, 2023 at 1:44 p.m.

    Did you ever use a Metronome during Practice Session.???
    I used to get a BOOMBOX and Walk around the Field with it, during Practice.
    Set up a Rhtym of: 1- One Thousand, 2- One Thousand, 3- One Thousand PLAY...
    1- One Thousand, 2- One Thousand, 3- One Thousand PLAY...
    1- One Thousand, 2- One Thousand, 3- One Thousand PLAY...
    1- One Thousand, 2- One Thousand, 3- One Thousand PLAY...
    ("PLAY" Can either be PASS or Change of Direction/Speed Dribble)
    {The Pass must also Arrive, to the Receiver in Same Rhythm, MANY of the Passes USA made last Night, Made it to our Player... But, they were SO SLOW getting there, That El Salvador had time to Adjust and our Player was Under Immediate Pressure or STANDING STILL Waiting on the Ball, instead of the Pass, being OUT IN FRONT to Continue Transition}

    When you Establish this Rhythm, it Accomplishes 3 Things...
    #1 The Defense Can't get a "Bead" on you... It's akin to Ships that Zig-Zag at Sea, so the Submarines have Trouble Hitting the Target.
    #2 The Speed of Play Tires out the Chasing Team 
    #3 Your Own Teammates are MOVING IN ANTICIPATION that they need to be in a RECEIVING Position because the "PLAY' is Going to Occurr

    It's OK to "PLAY" under 3-One Thousand,,, Just NOT AFTER ...
    Because Now you have "Pissed Off" Your Teammates and Lost the Ball or Killed the Rythm of the Team...
    Now, you have a Bunch of Players Standing Around... In-Activated and having to "Lurch" into GO from a Dead Standstill... And you get what we got Last Night... 
    Herky, Jerky, Disjointed, Ball Hogging...

  11. Bob Ashpole replied, March 28, 2023 at 3:25 p.m.

    I am not sure counting seconds is going to help. Some people just can't dance.

  12. Santiago 1314 replied, March 28, 2023 at 6:20 p.m.

    Hey, I Resemble that Remark.!!!

  13. Kent James, March 28, 2023 at 1:55 a.m.

    I'm not sure what Reyna's "new position" is.  I thought he was playing an offensive center midfield, but he seems very uncomfortable in crowded spaces; he seems much more comfortable coming back to get the ball, and going wide, and taking runs at defenders.  The shot he hit off the post was a nice move, but he was essentially playing as a wing.

    Our touches did seem off, the defense was quite solid (though AR had is usual get beaten and recover).  Turner did have a nice save early in the game (at least I thought; they gave ES a corner kick).  McKennie's pass was beautiful; it was a long pass and it was perfectly weighted to get Pepi in stride, and Pepi held off the defender nicely and had an excellent finish.  Dike wasn't playing badly, he just wasn't getting many opportunities.  So did Pepi create opportunities for himself, or just take advantage of a tiring ES team? 

    All in all, not great performance, but it was important to get the win.  I thought we did put out a much stronger team (clearly the A team), but it took a while to get going.  

  14. Santiago 1314 replied, March 28, 2023 at 6:05 a.m.

    Right you are Kent: "Just Win Baby, Win"
    After All, the Winner of this Nations League gets a 1/2 Million Dollar Prize.!!!( Of Course the WNT gets Half of it)

  15. Kevin Leahy, March 28, 2023 at 7:04 a.m.

    Sometimes it is hard to watch professional players struggle to control the ball or strike the ball well. Pulisic had a terrible game. Jedi is a detriment to the attack but, defends well and has the wheels to make up for a lot of things. Pepsi's goal was nice but, his misses are concerning. Reyna needs to play more to determine whether he has it or not. It's nice to see adjustments made by the staff and different looks on dead balls.

  16. Santiago 1314 replied, March 28, 2023 at 10:40 a.m.

    Spot On Kevin.

  17. frank schoon, March 28, 2023 at 9:19 a.m.

    We won ,that's what counts.  El Salvadore's plan,HUGO'S, was defense, hoping for a tie or keep it 0-0,which he almost did. Got tired of watching ES passing ball backwards to the goalie and wasting time. ES has no offense or punch but hoped for a counter-attack, for offensively that had one player who was basically stopped by Robinson, whom I though was the best player when I look at his efficiency of play.

    I have no idea what contribution Reyna gives to this team, in these two games . Obviously ,he won't be awarded the Louis Vuitton carry-on bag, for player of the game. I read the raves how well he plays around midfield, well, my next door neighbor can do what he does in her wheelchair. When he drops back to midfield he has so much space around midfield, due to ES dropping back on defense. They might as well setup a table with coffee and donuts at midcircle to make his wanderings out there enjoyable for him.  What Reyna does out there around with all that space any idiot can do that. so WHY waste him there, if he has talent?

    So who was the genius on the coaching staff to think of dropping Reyna back to midfield with all that space out there making him look good and at same it would also help the team offensively?
    To think that Reyna should play midfield takes away from his offense potential suited ES just fine. And one thing we do need is offensive up front.

    Reyna's efficiency rating was very poor around midfield. To be a midfielder, a Reyna type, you have to look at his overal offensive contribution, for I don't expect him to be Mr. defense. He needs to be more aware of the 2nd. station passes not the 1st. for that's too easy. All his passes at midfield don't contribute to a more offensive threat. They are either diagonally square, or to open a semi-open flank player like CP with his back facing downfield. Reyna, does not make or give an up tempo passes to the attack. In other words, anybody can do what he does around midfield. He's even got time to charge up his scooter out there that he moves around with. I saw only about 2 passes he gave to Zendejas on the run.  I don't want to get on Reyna's case but they need to get someone a retired midfield great to work with him, for he is just wasting himself like that.

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  18. frank schoon, March 28, 2023 at 9:57 a.m.

    Pulisic, if he keeps playing like that and the natural tendencies he shows will make more of a MIDFIELDER,not a wing, for he doesn't have the finesse because no one works with this kid teaching him how to play wing. This is the problem with modern soccer, you have these coaches ruin a wing with some talent and capability,  forcing him to work and roll up the sleeves and fight....This is what is happening to CP, "blood, sweat and tears" and you can see his frustrations out there. Likewise he needs to work with some expertise that gives him more finesse and feeling. What the hell has learned from playing in Germany under Thomas Tuchel, and the all-Turbo environment including England. so what happens, in effect, the player tends to become of a workhorse and this effect his timing and style of play.

    In soccer there is a GOLDEN RULE,  as Cruyff states, "you're either good in small spaces or in large spaces ,but you can't be in both." For example, Helmut Haller ,a great German player as well as van Hanegem ,the dutch great, were slow players, and were told by their coach to work on speed. It turned out to be a disaster for them for it effected their timing ,thinking and technique for those aspects taht made them so great. Like Beckenbauer, the coaches told him to not pass with the outside of the foot, but inside. These idiot coaches like always , "RUIN A GOOD THING". Beckenbauer was pidgeon toad and it was more natural to pass with the outside of foot for him.

    Look at Mckennie, another example of a player ,a scorer in the beginning, and now he's midfielder who carries the pianos....Guys ,don't you see the USSF better get started in hiring former greats to help out in the MLS who can teach the finer aspects of the game, specifically attacking qualities.

    I watched Zendejas...not impressed. I can see why he chose to play for the US for he wasn't going to beat the Mexican competition for wing position. He lacks the ball handling skills. He's not a good dribbler, he loses the ball too much, he dribbles the ball too far in front of him, he doesn't shield well.   Dest playing wing could do a much better than Zendejas. Just look at the difference between as far as ball skills, in small spaces and most important, Dest has more savvy.....

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  19. frank schoon, March 28, 2023 at 10:15 a.m.

    Furthermore, what Cruyff stated about dribbling , that he hated players  who dribble but don't know why. Zendejas, needs to improve his field view and than try to incorporate his dribbling instead of moving with the ball. Of course I could apply this all of them out there but the position Zendejas is important, it's a 'foxy' position....He also needs to improves momentary quickness for he gets too quickly caught with defenders... Try Zendejas at leftwing as well, see what happens.

     The problem I see from time to time, is how players in centerlane run towards the flank to help out, but don't realize that they're bringing a man with him which causes blockage. It happens constantly and I guess the coaches don't see that and it's so simple to solve it. You want to help an attacker ,"STAY AWAY FROM HIM". Give CP or A.R space. Same with Zendejas, he gets the ball and all of sudden a ton people are over there.  Furthermore, A.Robinson should ONLY receive the ball when he's running in the opponent's half, NOT TO HIS FEET !!!  He's not a good 1v1 player and I don't know how often I've seen him receive a ball to his feet and goes out of bounds...

    Mc kennie has to use more smarts out there....On throw-ins you don't cover a man so close, less than arm length allowing his opponent to push using his chest to go towards the ball. These are simple ABC's of the game....

  20. Santiago 1314 replied, March 28, 2023 at 10:45 a.m.

    Frank... I can't even Argue with you today... You are TOO Correct.!!!

  21. frank schoon replied, March 28, 2023 at 10:53 a.m.

    I'm sending you a  Luis Vuitton bag...

  22. Santiago 1314 replied, March 28, 2023 at 1:46 p.m.


  23. Philip Carragher, March 28, 2023 at 11:04 a.m.

    Can someone help me understand what both McKennie and Pepi were doing when they had great opportunities to score using headers but chose not to head it in? And McKennie, not only a totally uncharacteristic decision to not try to score himself (and it was a great chance needing only a decent effort), but poor form on his header as well? A torpedo header?

  24. frank schoon replied, March 28, 2023 at 11:10 a.m.

    Philip, good question....I thought McKennie try heading the ball with his crown..

  25. Santiago 1314 replied, March 28, 2023 at 1:49 p.m.

    When You are OUT of Rythm and Balance...
    You end up doing some Pretty Quirky things...
    McKenNie didn't seem to get "Activated" until he did that Crushing Slide Tackle on the Sideline in the 2nd Half.

  26. Philip Carragher, March 28, 2023 at 11:33 a.m.

    Another instance that astounded me: I think it was Dike who drew a foul just outside the box when he put on the brakes and had an ES player crash into his back. But didn't he have Reyna wide open to his right and easily within his periferal vision? And put on the brakes before going into the box? I don't understand where these decisions are coming from especially on a team that thirsts for goals combined with this being the primary performance issue throughout the World Cup. What the heck is going on?

  27. frank schoon replied, March 28, 2023 at 11:42 a.m.


  28. Philip Carragher, March 28, 2023 at 2:28 p.m.

    Pepi's finish was first class. Done, but can someone please help him with his play when his back is to the goal? Once, in this last game against ES and another time in a pre-WC game, Pepi received the ball with his back to the goal and if he simply turned, he would have had an opportunity to go and put pressure on the opponent's goal. Instead, he looked to pass it back, to someone even farther away from the goal. He must not see what's behind him but needs to if he wants to be more dangerous, more 9-like.

  29. Philip Carragher, March 29, 2023 at 12:07 p.m.

    Eric Wynalda's piece in today's Guardian. It takes a finisher to be this direct. He provides an explanation for our lack of scoring/finishers:

  30. frank schoon replied, March 29, 2023 at 12:35 p.m.

    Philip, He threw a lot things against the wall, of which I agree on and other things I disagree on....
    He seems to stress the importance on Pro-coaching license which you don't need, likewise in Holland they restrict the number of Pro-coaching licenses. You don't need it. And certainly it has nothing to with developing players which is our MAIN problem. 

    There nothing wrong with so many kids playing soccer, what we need is for them to learn and get used to playing pickup. He never mentioned bringing over expertise, former great scorers to help to get our scorers to a higher level....suprised he never mentioned this... We do need to see players like Lampard, Zlatan, to see a better quality players and I disagree it is at the cost of some American player not playing. This is just a sample, he made some good points,and things I totally disagree 

  31. humble 1 replied, March 29, 2023 at 1:56 p.m.

    Phillip and Frank, Wynalda, as usual, all over the place.  Punditry, he's become very good at it.  Solutions, insights, missing, the obvious, yes.  We keep working in this space, supported by and supporting SA, in plain text, no edit, and, one day, in this forum, we will articulate the solution. When it finally appears, it will contain more of Frank's ideas than Eric's complaints.  Free play before 14 and experienced, not necessarily licenced, but experienced coaches that have played the game, coached and maybe trained coaches, actually identified and developed talent, not just talked about it, like Plannenstiel, Sporting Director at St. Lous SC, whom SA recently interviewed, we need more and more like him, to help us lift up our soccer players.  We have too many posers and pundits, we need doers, people, not looking to make a buck, but looking to exercise and share their passion for the game, and to serve others, especially our youth!  Thank you! Keep it going!

  32. Bob Ashpole replied, March 29, 2023 at 9:05 p.m.

    Youth coaches don't develop finishers or any other type of player. They focus on building winning teams by selecting the oldest most mature players available. They figure that they can't coach physical advantages so that is what they select for. There are exceptions but by the teen-years prior selection for elite soccer becomes a huge barrier leaving coaches little ability to select for talent even if they want to. Indeed most people think talent refers to current performance rather than future potential.

    I have been making comments like this for 30 years and I don't see any changes. We are not going to make significant qualitative improvements in youth development by tinkering with development of high school age players. Players have been sorted before that.

  33. Philip Carragher, March 30, 2023 at 12:40 p.m.

    Bob, is this where we're at, in this travel team twilight zone of pay-to-play/win-today juggernaut that's too big to change? Any feasible solutions? I like the idea of more street soccer but that won't play in the suburbs I'm familiar with. Kids don't have free time anymore.

  34. Bob Ashpole replied, March 30, 2023 at 10:45 p.m.

    People know how to develop players, even most of the coaches who don't. The formal competitions and organized teams drive the costs up. I don't know if it is still the case, but years ago there were state cup competitions for as young as U10. Huge waste of money and waste of potential playing time. 

    They aren't used by many clubs, but other cheaper, more efficient organizational models have been around for over 30 years.

  35. Philip Carragher, March 31, 2023 at 9:17 a.m.

    Thanks Bob. One travel organization in my area that's less expensive or was several years ago was in Evanston. They had two helpful differences compared to others. First, no big wig running the show who required a salary; their board and officers were all volunteer. This cut the cost of player tuition in half. Big savings. Still paid coaches but one less layer to collect from moms and dads for. Still crazy travel costs. Second, they promoted pickup soccer by providing fields and balls on Saturdays and everyone was welcome to show up and play. I believe they're still doing that.

  36. frank schoon replied, March 31, 2023 at 12:32 p.m.

    Philip, good to hear about promoting pickup soccer....SA should interview the president of that organization....

  37. Philip Carragher, March 31, 2023 at 2:57 p.m.

    Team Evanston:


    Team Evanston sets up opportunities for players to play on Fridays under the guidance of a coach but without the coaching. This free play allows players a safe environment where they can enjoy the game with friends without any expectations for performance. This means players determine which skills to try or which passes to make. A Team Evanston staff coach oversees the environment to make sure it is safe and that equipment, including field time, is used equitably.

  38. frank schoon replied, March 31, 2023 at 3:58 p.m.


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