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Why US soccer is not on par with the rest of the world


jbooma

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Look, I believe we DO have the athletes that could be developed into world class elite soccer players. I just dont believe they are drawn from the same pool that will be developed into the next great football or basketball players.

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The two skills you mentioned, endurance and ball-control skills can be LEARNED.
Only to an extent.

That's like saying dribbling in basketball can be learned. Plenty of NBA guards who have dribbled a basketball their entire lives don't have the handles to play the point.

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You're missing the point. I'm not saying if you plucked LT2 out of Chargers OTAs right now, and placed him on the US World Cup team that he would excel. In fact he'd be embarassed. I'm saying if you took LT2 back in time, and raised him in Brazil where he played soccer every day of his life instead of football. THEN he would be an elite soccer player.

You never know. He could also suck. If he grew up in Brazil, he would be named Tito, and he would be the quickest player around. Ronaldinho would still kick his ass though.:D

But I get your point.

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Look, I believe we DO have the athletes that could be developed into world class elite soccer players. I just dont believe they are drawn from the same pool that will be developed into the next great football or basketball players.

:laugh: :laugh:

Show me the international soccer star who could follow Barry Sanders after he made a cut....

(you can't. He doesn't exist ;) )

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I played everyday after school, during recess, in the schoolhalls, on the streets, in organized competition growing up in Nigeria. I was all-state keeper for my highschool. Yet in my heart I knew I was not a good footballer. I was an excellent goalie though and I went that route because I just could not play.

I tried and tried until that fateful day that I decided that being a goalie was cooler (read: gave up). I witnessed kids way smaller and slower than me do all kinds of incredible things with the ball. I realized that it had to be a God-given talent. You would see someone settle in to a mental zone and joggle a ball without letting it touch the ground till they had to stop to rest.

Soccer ability is skill, creativity and vision. I am fairly athletic at 6'3" 185 lbs. I am a very good basketball player, and usually bested my peers. But I could not hold their jocks in soccer till I switched to goalkeeping.

Athletic ability is necessary but hardly the be-all in soccer. You have to possess the talent and soccer vision. You may wonder what the hell is this soccer vision? It is the ability to slow the game down in your mind and see things develop before a defender anticipates it. That is why a lot of football greats make good coaches... Jurgen Klinsman of Germany, Carlos Alberto Pareira (brazil) Franz Beckenbauer, Rudy Voeller, Marco Van basten, Ruud Gullit... the list is endless.

Steve Nash is a self-proclaimed soccer player and league MVP. But he is hardly the best Canada has to offer in soccer.

I hope I didn't bore any of you with my input but I felt compelled to address this seeming misconception that being a Michael Jordan automatically makes you a Pele or a Zico or a Maradona. Mind you all these guys were sub 5'8".

Excellence in one sport does not translate to equal excellence in another.

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Why do you assume that his skills now could have been developed into completely different skills?

Because its common sense. If you train at a particular thing all your life, you're going to get good at it. Combine that with basic athleticism, and you become elite.

That is the difference...the athleticism. I know a guy in Florida who can keep a soccer ball in the air forever with his feet "juggling" it. He has phenomenal foot-eye coordination. What does he lack? The necessary speed and quickness to move on to the next level. I'm sure you could go to Brazil and find tons of kids with phenomenal ball-handling skills that just lack the athleticism to move on to the next level. Same with sports in America.

Why do you assume that hand-eye coordination can't be translated to foot-eye coordination? Why do you assume that NFL field-vision can't be translated into soccer field-vision?

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Only to an extent.

That's like saying dribbling in basketball can be learned. Plenty of NBA guards who have dribbled a basketball their entire lives don't have the handles to play the point.

Exactly....there are some athletes that are suited better for small forward or shooting guard; you are correct. However I'm talking more about football players than basketball players....although in basketball, its the guys at the point who I think could translate into soccer players.

Athletic ability is necessary but hardly the be-all in soccer. You have to possess the talent and soccer vision. You may wonder what the hell is this soccer vision? It is the ability to slow the game down in your mind and see things develop before a defender anticipates it. That is why a lot of football greats make good coaches... Jurgen Klinsman of Germany, Carlos Alberto Pareira (brazil) Franz Beckenbauer, Rudy Voeller, Marco Van basten, Ruud Gullit... the list is endless.

Isn't this exactly what a great NFL running back does? When they hit the hole, the great NFL running backs have the ability to see the field and where the open spots are.

I hope I didn't bore any of you with my input but I felt compelled to address this seeming misconception that being a Michael Jordan automatically makes you a Pele or a Zico or a Maradona. Mind you all these guys were sub 5'8".

Of course it doesn't automatically translate....I'm saying these phenomenal athletes would be good if they trained all their lives. No offense, but I'm guessing that you couldn't hold a candle to LT2 athletically....:)

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Your making my point for me. I dont believe they can.

Kilmer, you are fighting a losing battle. I don't think one that has never played soccer will understand that it is not about speed (definitely a bonus) but skill and talent.

Now skill and talent are not acquired. They are things you are born with and can hone. Why isn't every athletic tennis player the best? Or is Pete Sampras, the most athletic tennis (when he dominated)?

So Kilmer, spare yourself the angst let sleeping dogs lie.

PS: I'm on your side incase you missed it.

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Look, I believe we DO have the athletes that could be developed into world class elite soccer players. I just dont believe they are drawn from the same pool that will be developed into the next great football or basketball players.

What does that mean, Kilmer? I mean, it makes no sense. There are fewer black baseball players then there used to be and one reason is that other sports took from that pool. Years ago there was an outcry about the death of the tight end position and the answer was, "they're all power forwards now." Now, of course, we have guys who were multi-sport athletes who were helped in football by playing basketball.

Now the pool for every sport isn't EXACTLY the same and it's not the same for each position, but really, I don't get what you mean. What makes soccer different?

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Of course it doesn't automatically translate....I'm saying these phenomenal athletes would be good if they trained all their lives. No offense, but I'm guessing that you couldn't hold a candle to LT2 athletically....:)

I sure can't Jrock. But I guarantee that neither can Ronaldinho. I mean have you seen him? Dude, I played soccer, it is not only about training, it is a talent to do some of the things these guys can do. You learn to paint but wont be a da Vinci unless it is your god-given talent.

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Kilmer, you are fighting a losing battle. I don't think one that has never played soccer will understand that it is not about speed (definitely a bonus) but skill and talent.

Now skill and talent are not acquired. They are things you are born with and can hone. Why isn't every athletic tennis player the best?

Genius, that's the case with every sport. Do you think magic Johnson was as good an athlete as Dr. J, James Worthy, etc?

Here's another example: Larry Bird.

EVERY sport is like that other than pure timed events and even then, once you get past the ultra-fast guys, there is a technique and mentality that makes the great ones.

Again, what makes soccer unique? Now, would a Jordan fit in soccer? Perhaps not. But there are LOTS of 5-10 WR or guys who could never cut it in pro basketball that would seem to be able to make it.

Steve Nash's brother is an excellent soccer player and he was no slouch himself. I fail to see the relevance of the arguments that you and Kilmer are advancing.

Or maybe something else is going on that no one wants to address directly?

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Don't get me wrong, not every player has to have the mindnumbing skills of Ronaldinho or Okocha, that's why it is a team sport. Like my initial post suggested, it requires a different skill set to be a good goalie. If we keep your arguement to defense players, I may yield a little, because athlecism is more the norm in fullbacks and centre backs.

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OK, I guess what I'm getting at is that you're stating the obvious.

Da Vincis aren't made, they are born. But not really. It was Hakeem growing up with soccer that gave him such great footwork. Now, he was already a good athlete, probably born to be.

In any event, let's agree on that point. It's obvious and applies to all sports. I mean, OK, LDT might not ever be 'born' to be a Ronaldinho but SOMEONE who is playing football or basketball or hockey or baseball IS.

I just don't know if it's important to the discussion to bring up that the elite players aren't necessarily born and that they aren't solely dependent on athletic ability. Anyone think that MJ was solely reliant on athletic ability? it takes coordination and inborn talent and vision and anticipation to be on that level--in ANY team sport.

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Genius, that's the case with every sport. Do you think magic Johnson was as good an athlete as Dr. J, James Worthy, etc?

Here's another example: Larry Bird.

EVERY sport is like that other than pure timed events and even then, once you get past the ultra-fast guys, there is a technique and mentality that makes the great ones.

Again, what makes soccer unique? Now, would a Jordan fit in soccer? Perhaps not. But there are LOTS of 5-10 WR or guys who could never cut it in pro basketball that would seem to be able to make it.

Steve Nash's brother is an excellent soccer player and he was no slouch himself. I fail to see the relevance of the arguments that you and Kilmer are advancing.

Or maybe something else is going on that no one wants to address directly?

This whole debate started because some on here where advancing the thought that the US would dominate world soccer if supreme athletes like 6'7- 7ft NBA stars and powerful NFL RBs opted to play it from childhood.

I disagreed because I have witnessed firsthand where pure skill outmatched and embarrased athleticism. I am not here to insult or denigrate anyone, I am simply presenting my opinions so please spare me the "compliment".

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Anyone think that MJ was solely reliant on athletic ability? it takes coordination and inborn talent and vision and anticipation to be on that level--in ANY team sport.

There is also what I would call sheer basketball talent. Which coupled with athleticism results in the likes of MJ, Kobe et al.

That is the essence of my premise. You have to possess the requisite talent before you can excel to such heights. I accept that there are NBA and NFL types that possess that soccer talent, statistics require that there should be. But extrapolating that that subset will lead to world domination is a tad cavalier in my humble opinion.

PS- there are different levels of talent to boot. Mr Obvios Strikes Back

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haha. That's fine. I don't assume we'd dominate the world but with our total pool of people and the physical talents (an array of types) they possess, I don't think it would be unfair to say that we'd show near the top far more frequently.

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I root for the US, born in Vermont and educated at Uof M. I see the US winning the World Cup in the future. But it wont be because of the syphoning of NBA and NFL talent. I remember wathcing Kasey Keller in SAudi '89 almost single handedly eliminate Nigeria. The US finally lost 2-1. Great gut-wrenching game.

By the way, enjoy this video collage of one of Nigeria's and the World's finest. He is almost over the hill now though.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEkk8VobWk0&search=okocha

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The US has one of the largest talent pools in the world to draw from. But the fact is that our best natural athletes play other sports. First they play football or basketball. Then they play baseball. Then they play hockey (if they're from the right part of the country) or tennis or (thanks to Tiger) golf. With his hand-eye coordination and competitive zeal, Michael Jordan would have been a great soccer player, I guarantee you. So would have Deion Sanders, who was good enough an athlete to play at the highest level of two completely unrelated sports. Same with Bo Jackson. Some guys have skill sets that more or less gear them towards one sport. I don't know how good of a soccer player, say, Mark Teixeira would have been. Or Shaquille O'Neal. But elite athletes can play more or less any sport they choose - it's a matter of developing the correct skills, which comes from playing the sport. Do you really think that if Jason Kidd had spent his time learning to pass a soccer ball rather than a basketball, he couldn't lob up a corner kick that Randy Moss could head in every time?

The US would be unstoppable at soccer, if the sport mattered here at all.

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The US has one of the largest talent pools in the world to draw from. But the fact is that our best natural athletes play other sports. First they play football or basketball. Then they play baseball. Then they play hockey (if they're from the right part of the country) or tennis or (thanks to Tiger) golf. With his hand-eye coordination and competitive zeal, Michael Jordan would have been a great soccer player, I guarantee you. So would have Deion Sanders, who was good enough an athlete to play at the highest level of two completely unrelated sports. Same with Bo Jackson. Some guys have skill sets that more or less gear them towards one sport. I don't know how good of a soccer player, say, Mark Teixeira would have been. Or Shaquille O'Neal. But elite athletes can play more or less any sport they choose - it's a matter of developing the correct skills, which comes from playing the sport. Do you really think that if Jason Kidd had spent his time learning to pass a soccer ball rather than a basketball, he couldn't lob up a corner kick that Randy Moss could head in every time?

The US would be unstoppable at soccer, if the sport mattered here at all.

:slap:

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Imagine if this country's best athletes played soccer.

Imagine Michael Vick, Deion Sanders (in his prime of course :silly: ), Michael Jordan, and Jerry Rice in soccer uniforms.

What country would stand a chance?

The rest of the world who laughs at our soccer program should spend less time laughing and more time being thankful that we don't take it seriously. :laugh: B/C if this country ever did get serious about soccer, they would basically hand out a jar of vaseline to all of the other world cup teams every 4 years. Pray for lubrication... that would be about all other countries could do. :2cents:

Yeah spped is just one of the skills required buddy. these other countries have vsatly superior junior soccer leagues so your analogy would not work. I don't think anyone ever will be afraid to play us, because we won't be on their standard till we have atleast 2 or 3 really good players on our team.

We have made progress but took a huge step back last week, now if we somehow beat Italy....then we talking!

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Yeah spped is just one of the skills required buddy. these other countries have vsatly superior junior soccer leagues so your analogy would not work. I don't think anyone ever will be afraid to play us, because we won't be on their standard till we have atleast 2 or 3 really good players on our team.

We have made progress but took a huge step back last week, now if we somehow beat Italy....then we talking!

Again, the junior soccer leagues over there are better because that is where the sport is taken more seriously. There are great youth programs over here, but they are for baseball, basketball, and football. All the great youth programs in Canada are for hockey.

No one is saying that if a bunch of NFL All-Pros showed up at the World Cup on Thursday, they'd knock off the Italians. What they are saying is, if this country funneled its best athletes through youth soccer programs like the rest of the world does with ITS best athletes, US Soccer would be as big a powerhouse as there is.

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