Disgraceful – time to cut the BS!

This is my first post in many months – I’ve simply been too busy at work and with family. But Tuesday night’s US MNT elimination from the World Cup jolted me into posting again.

I have not felt this angry in a while. This is a national disgrace, an international embarrassment.

Let me be very blunt: what a joke of a team and coaches. USSF lacks leadership that understands this beautiful game deeply enough. The quality of soccer in the MLS is poor and the incentives in that league are not aligned with developing players to compete internationally. And don’t get me started on college soccer.

Time to stop the BS and start with a complete and deep revamp of how we teach, play, and organize the beautiful game here.

We need to hold our coaches more accountable and support only those that truly understand the game and how to teach it. This also means that we as parents and the leaders of our youth clubs educate ourselves about what it means to learn and play futbol properly.

In contrast to pretty much all soccer powerhouses such as Brazil and Germany and Spain, we’re paying our coaches and clubs a lot of money, right? So if we have a pay-to-play model here let’s at least demand a service that can justify these cost.

This applies to all levels of coaching – national, pro, college, and youth. And it applies to US Soccer leadership as well as us parents.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while then you know that this doesn’t come as too big a surprise to me, but I still feel angry about it.

We have inmates running the asylum and it needs to stop.

In contrast, tiny Iceland (pop 335,000) qualified for the World Cup yesterday in first place (!) in its European (!) qualifying group. And remember their recent remarkable European Championship performance?

That’s a country only about one-third the population of the City of San Jose here in NorCal.

Let’s do that again: 335 thousand people with limited resources on an icy island in the Atlantic ocean near Europe perform better than 335 million people living in the wealthiest country in the world with unbelievable facilities and resources and brainpower and a deep and pervasive tradition of sports.

When will there be enough evidence to finally trigger deep changes in how we train and play this beautiful game in our country? Have we finally reached a tipping point?

I’ll leave you with these three clips to reflect on:

#ussoccer #soccer #futbol #usmnt #mls #ussf

Author: James

Lifelong player and student of the beautiful game in Germany, England, and USA. Volunteer futsal coach and USSF referee.

4 thoughts on “Disgraceful – time to cut the BS!”

  1. People need to educate themselves about the soccer landscape here in the US and the soccer media need to hold those in power accountable. Pretty good reads below…

    U.S. Soccer failures has an easy fix


    Pay to Play is a CONSEQUENCE of not having pro/rel – Pay to Play and the Link to Promotion Relegation


  2. Welcome back! No fall season brawls to report? I’ve been seeing bad things from these teams south of SJ on the boys side at U15 and older. Why is it that referees can’t manage to keep the parents off the pitch? The first thing the fans want to do is run onto the field and make things worse….
    RE: non-qualification cluster. There must be a re-evaluation of these big picture issues that Sunil has avoided: professional league divisions and structure with a focus on how to rectify why youth development in this country is so weak. Trapping our best players in-country until they are 18 is NOT a very persuasive argument for the MLS DA programs in place. MLS isn’t going to offer to develop players, and frankly given the poor officiating and poor play of half the MLS teams, our young guys aren’t going to learn much in that environment anyway. When JK was let go, the media/players all said how much better the atmosphere was, it was no longer tense, everyone knew who was playing ahead of time; they relaxed. Maybe one of the benefits of JK was that players WEREN’T relaxed, always had to be ready to play at a moments notice. I don’t think JK was a great tactician, but the professional environment he established was important because that’s how the game is run at the highest levels of the sport. With JK gone, Garber and Sunil have no one to complain about, which was probably a mistake on their part–they were sure we’d qualify as well and all we needed were “safe hands”. That February USSF election can’t come soon enough.


  3. I believe that Solidarity Payments are one thing that would change the model for youth clubs now chasing rankings and trophies to show their quality. Clubs that have proven to develop players would have the credibility to attract talent. They probably would have a different metric for training as well.


  4. Totally agree (and loved Twellman’s full out blast on ESPN!). The Us has been given an opportunity to revamp the entire system – let’s hope they take it and make good use.

    While I commend Iceland’s success, I think its own simplicity begets greater accomplishments. Simply put, fewer politics allow them to cut straight to the heart of the matter. In the US, we have so many complexities (regional, economic, style, etc.) and a vast number more of people to deal with, all adding complexity – good and bad.

    For sure, we can – and should – do better on the world football stage. There certainly is no shortage of talent in the US; it’s a matter of identifying it and bringing it to the forefront. How to do that remains the question. Pay-for-play certainly allows those who have the funds to be seen. But we also know how many truly talented players there are on the small, barren fields across the nation – kids who will never be seen, but deserve to. We need to get those kids identified and in a place where their talents can be developed and optimized. However, is USSF (or clubs, like a DeAnza Force) willing to pay the bill to do this? To put those kids in an Academy program and pay their bills (food, housing, tuition, etc.) while developing them as players? If you want something good, you’re going to need to pay for it (this holds true for USSF as well).

    Also, there is the question of “are we a footballing nation?” Many of the pay-to-play models are based on trying to get a kid into college, so they can have a successful career path should the sport not pan out (a Plan B?). Many of the successful programs throughout the world do not put such a Plan B in place – it’s all about the football, and nothing else. If your athletic abilities fall short, you’re released and on your own for whatever career you can now carve out for yourself. From a social standpoint, this gets risky.

    There are lots of questions, to be sure. And I don’t foresee the answers coming right away – nor with the existing regime. Change is needed, but hopefully the answers will come from those who have been studying this situation for many years, and can now come in and make the positive changes that are needed to vault us out of the cellear we are now in.

    We aren’t Iceland, nor should we pretend to be. But Iceland also isn’t the US, and we possess an incredible picture otential and resources to go so far beyond so many smaller countries . We just need to figure out an intelligent path that will take into consideration the plethora of complexities we face – and ensure that we are able to live up to our potential!

    Thanks for the thoughts, and I look forward to hearing what others have to say as well.


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