Originally Posted by Atwater His Ass
The problem is the US doesn't have the infastructure to train and develop players like most all other countries in the world do. The investment required just isn't there currently. This was one of the main things Klinnsman wanted to change when he came on board. The MLS is modeled after American sports, with the draft, playoffs, etc., to keep interest in the American sporting public who just by and large doesn't understand promotion and relegation and I'm not sure MLS is a deep enough league to be ran in that fashion anyway.
MLS teams need to establish their own acadamies to develop young talent. Letting kids go through the current system and relying on colleges to develop them further will never achieve the results that people want. I know some MLS teams are doing this, but it needs to be a point of focus for the league to develop players for the national team, not colleges and youth club traveling teams.
About Shea...well I've never really been impressed by him. But I love seeing Americans pack up and head over to Europe. Anytime a young player can get some time in Europe is a great thing and to me is by far the best thing they can do to advance their game mentally and technically. Getting the experience of playing in the EPL and training with an EPL team will grow him quite a bit.
MLS does have the developmental Academy attached to it, but that is the worst run pile of BS I have ever seen. I have friends who run the one in INDY with Carmel United SC. The structure is so freaking terrible for the players and PARENTS pay the costs to have their kids play, instead of the teams bringing the Kids into their academies like Europe.
The biggest problem with the USMNT, is we have third tier Athletes competing with other countries top level athletes. It means the US never has a chance to win the one v one battles across the field to make a difference. Hell, the USSF had the audacity to print T-shirts that said "outwork them" last year admitting they had no chance of beating them with talent, athleticism, and Skill. They appealed to the American sense of hard work, but for goodness sake don't embrace that as our redeeming trait!
As a multi-sport Coach, Soccer and Football, I see the difference in the level of athlete from 8 years old-high school playing the sports by a long shot. I also watch the "Semi-Pro" Baseball teams Like the Indiana Lids who produce Major League Prospects every year and have like 10 MLB's on active rosters. The level of commitment and the level of athlete that Football, Basketball, and Baseball youth sports have is far superior to the Elite Soccer athlete in this country.
That is where The US fails. It is a testament to the US that they can still compete at all with this failing. It is because they are tactically aware and proficient, plus they have ZERO superstars (yes Dempsey is the closest thing ever), and play a total team game that they can compete. Watch the skill level difference between the US and ANY other National team and you can see how technically deficient our best really are.
I still support them, but there are no longer any players there I played with professionally or against in the mens Open Cups. I had played with and against the Brian McBride, Claudio Reyna, Harke, Cobi Jones, Chris Klein etc. I also Coached Demarcus Beasely and others on the regional teams growing up. I have put four kids into MLS right now and Dozens into college soccer.
I still go to England and learn training methods from greats like Rene Meulensteen who is Manchester Uniteds Academy and first team technical director under Sir Alex Ferguson. What they do to develop athletes at a young age differs dramatically in scope with what Americans allow their young soccer players to do. The critical years are 7-12 years old and most Kids playing soccer are playing rec style with dad as a coach and learning all the ways NOT to play soccer. In fact, they get Zero effective technical development at all playing rec soccer.
So, I left coaching higher level kids and started working with this age group on purpose. I work almost exclusively with training the youngest the right way to play. We train 4 times as much as we play games. Parents just are not trained that kids need to practice and get 800-1000 touches on the ball as many days as possible versus winning a U8 rec game where their kid may get 40 touches if he is the best player on the field. They believe it is good if their kid scores 5 goals against kids who would rather not even be there, versus having their kid learn how to master the ball and be able to kick it more than 10 yards without using their toe with both feet.
Until the level of training matches that of countries abroad, where some of these poor kids do not have xbox, Ipads, or nintendo DS's and they play pickup soccer to pass the time, the US will continue to be good enough to compete, but Never close to being an Elite team internationally despite the stupid FIFA world rankings. They will be a team good enough to draw results against Mediocre competition, but never good enough to beat 3 elite teams in a row in an international competition.