I came across this blog post today describing in strong words the state of soccer development in our country. Food for thought. Here’s an excerpt:
“Landon Donovan is painfully shallow and naïve calling for Jurgen Klinsmann’s firing if USMNT loses to Mexico in upcoming CONCACAF matchup. Firing Jurgen is akin to cutting off your nose to spite your face.
Despite a player pool and youth pipeline chock-full of mediocrity, Jurgen has the highest winning percentage of USMNT coaches.
If the feeder USMNT pool/pipeline (MLS, college, and USSDA) is serious about success, it must genuinely look within to fix the problem and not symptoms, or to quiet dissent from the USMNT coach.
It’s without question the USMNT is an average team at the stronger World Cup international level, while dominant at the regional CONCACAF level against the likes of Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, El Salvador, et al.
If Jurgen were shown the door and a new coach unveiled, there would have to be a corresponding seismic change in how we approach youth development, USSDA, college, and professional soccer.
Any change in coaching absent this would be in name alone. The underlying structure would be untouched as it has been since Sampson, Arena, and Bradley were at the helm of the USMNT.
To seriously have a chance to compete with the world’s elite in a generation or two, the men in charge (Gulati at USSF and Garber at MLS) must immediately lay the groundwork and scrap the historically ineffective system. A total bottoms-up revamp is required. No sacred cows. No gatekeeper status quo yes men to redesign it. Look for fresh ideas, benchmarks from European and South American gold standards.
Find alternatives to pay-to-play, rethink college soccer, reassess USSDA, implement pro/rel, find ways to expand the pyramid, establish a preferred style of play and supporting player ID and development philosophy and the coaching to execute it. Decentralize MLS and turn it into a club-oriented league. Synchronize with the international league calendar.
Drastic times call for drastic action. Think of how Germany and Spain fundamentally reinvented themselves.”