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LeeEvans

USMNT Thread: Wandering in the Wilderness

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Good win last night. Spent the entire evening in Ecuador's half. If Arriola finishes the easy setup or if the assistant hadn't improperly disallowed his later goal, would have been more comfortable, but a great defensive performance. Guys still looked like they were getting used to their jobs (especially those that only had a couple days of practice), but I really like how this team plays and what Berhalter has done so far.

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USA draws against T&T, Panama and Guyana for the Gold Cup. 

I'm so excited to see them playing at Allianz Field in Minnesota. 

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22 hours ago, Heimdallr said:

USA draws against T&T, Panama and Guyana for the Gold Cup. 

I'm so excited to see them playing at Allianz Field in Minnesota. 

I'll be there too!

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18 hours ago, LeeEvans said:

So, uh, what the hell?

We suck so much that our players don't know basic concepts like "if you're clearing the ball from your endline, don't kick it straight down the middle to the opposing team?"

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2 hours ago, Imarobot said:

[USMNT] I laughed initially when I took this photo before kickoff yesterday, little did I know it was foreshadowing

Effectively, if US Soccer wants to turn the USMNT into anything close to a competitive team on the world stage, they need to tear out the entire system as it exists today down at the U8-10 level and rebuild up from there. Roll with what is in the pipeline for 2022 and 2026, but target 2030 at the starting point for when the country can start being competitive (2034 might be more realistic).

The "minor tweaks" approach isn't going to cut it. It's time a wholesale root & branch removal and replacement.

320M people
~1/2 male = 160M
~10% in prime age range (18-28) = 16M
~0.01% have raw athleticism to be able to play professional sports = 1600

Need a way to find 100 people out of that (6.25% of that final group) to want to become a soccer star, so you can have a large pool of talent to create a 25 man roster from. That means making soccer not pay-to-play and lots of outreach, especially to underserved/underexamined areas. That means not letting kids slip through the cracks because they couldn't travel or they developed later or maybe they found a love for the game later than their peers.

 

Unfortunately, that's not going to happen. US Soccer will still promote MLS as some solution, thinking that they can make it rival the best leagues in the world instead of accepting that it should be a feeder league to the best leagues in the world. They'll think that since the US is one of the best in CONCACAF that they don't have to worry too much about the fact that CONCACAF is arguably the fourth best confederation (worse than CAF, better than AFC).

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8 hours ago, Woz said:

Unfortunately, that's not going to happen. US Soccer will still promote MLS as some solution, thinking that they can make it rival the best leagues in the world instead of accepting that it should be a feeder league to the best leagues in the world. They'll think that since the US is one of the best in CONCACAF that they don't have to worry too much about the fact that CONCACAF is arguably the fourth best confederation (worse than CAF, better than AFC).

You need MLS to really establish itself before anything else can happen, because that is where the money is going to come from. The more big-name players come over, the more people will watch (more ad money, merch sales), and the bigger TV/sponsorship deals they can get. More money means teams will invest more in their academies, and invest more in the developmental teams. The more money is involved, the more airtime MLS will get, and the more kids will be exposed and want to play. USL finally solidifying the lower leagues will also be a huge help. In a few years, every MLS team will have a full range of academies, and affiliated D2/D3 teams. LAFC and Atlanta (and Miami when they come in) have brought HUGE hype and new viewers with all the awesome players they bought. The league (and overall soccer interest) is going to explode in the next decade.

The academies and lower league teams are what really matter for the USMNT, but growing MLS is the means to accomplish that end. 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Heimdallr said:

You need MLS to really establish itself before anything else can happen, because that is where the money is going to come from. The more big-name players come over, the more people will watch (more ad money, merch sales), and the bigger TV/sponsorship deals they can get. More money means teams will invest more in their academies, and invest more in the developmental teams. The more money is involved, the more airtime MLS will get, and the more kids will be exposed and want to play. USL finally solidifying the lower leagues will also be a huge help. In a few years, every MLS team will have a full range of academies, and affiliated D2/D3 teams. LAFC and Atlanta (and Miami when they come in) have brought HUGE hype and new viewers with all the awesome players they bought. The league (and overall soccer interest) is going to explode in the next decade.

The academies and lower league teams are what really matter for the USMNT, but growing MLS is the means to accomplish that end.

If that's the case, then they're screwed because that ship has sailed with NBC signing the contract with the Premiership. Fans can see top quality games and buy the merch of those teams.

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2 minutes ago, Woz said:

If that's the case, then they're screwed because that ship has sailed with NBC signing the contract with the Premiership. Fans can see top quality games and buy the merch of those teams.

I don't think MLS is competing with European soccer (or at least they shouldn't be trying to). They just need to compete with baseball. Get the casual fans who like supporting their local teams, which is the majority of people in the US. 

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12 minutes ago, Heimdallr said:

I don't think MLS is competing with European soccer (or at least they shouldn't be trying to). They just need to compete with baseball. Get the casual fans who like supporting their local teams, which is the majority of people in the US. 

Problem is that for most of the franchises, that means competing with fans against three, four, or five other sports that have deeper roots than soccer does. Falls into the category of competing for fans with professional lacrosse or tennis leagues. The league cannot get big enough to invest like you (and I, to be fair) think they must for the USMNT to become competitive on a world stage.

 

The only other option is for US Soccer to work down at the lower levels and build up through the youth, which will take a decade plus. Maybe you can reap some of the benefits in time for the 2026 Cup, since it's on home soil.

An alternative plan would be to reach out to the existing fanbase and have them crowdsource for talent that is (almost undoubtedly) falling through the cracks. The problem with that is that means having to evaluate a metric ton of tape of random players (most who will not be anywhere close to professional talent), and then trying to get those players into tryouts. That of course assumes that they can go to the tryouts, want to go tryouts, and are could even qualify to play for the USMNT.

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24 minutes ago, Heimdallr said:

I don't think MLS is competing with European soccer (or at least they shouldn't be trying to)

For the record, I agree with you here. They should try to be a Double AA affiliate for the European leagues (the AAA's are going to be your Championship, Ligue 2, etc.).

I don't think one or two random guys coming at the end of their careers to get one last paycheck is really going to move the needle all that much for the MLS in the long term.

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11 hours ago, Woz said:

That means making soccer not pay-to-play and lots of outreach, especially to underserved/underexamined areas

This is the big thing. Soccer should be so marketable to them because all you "really" need is a ball. Really cheap to play if US Soccer allows it to be. Only basketball can really compete on an economic scale. 

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There are definitely a huge amount of problems with youth soccer but I dont think it's the only thing that is causing these issues. Our U-20 teams have reached the quarterfinals three competitions in a row and that shows a decent amount of talent and a somewhat functional process. We've also got more and more younger guys heading to Europe which can only be a good thing. 

The last two games have raised a lot of eyebrows about the manager and the MLS more so than youth talent in my opinion. The likes of Trapp, Arriola, Roldan and many others have simply not shown anywhere near enough to suggest they have a future with the national team and they aren't exactly young talent. I don't mean to turn this into an MLS is crap argument but at the moment we've got a handful of good players surrounded by talent that just isnt anywhere near the same level. 

I think Gregg definitely has something to do with the performances because, as poor as some of the talent maybe, its certainly better than a Jamaica side with mostly USL players. I'm not shouting for the guy to be fired but hes going to have a lot of questions to be asked and at a minimum his sticking to a system is going to be under a lot of scrutiny if the US does poorly in the Gold Cup. Those last two games were some of the poorest I can remember and there have been plenty of competition the last four years or so.

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