Posted February 22, 2014

Responding to Klinsmann, U.S. players say it’s opportunities they lack – not belief

2014 World Cup, Americans Abroad, Brian Straus, Clint Dempsey, U.S. men's national team
Jurgen Klinsmann

U.S. national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann has repeatedly expressed his desire for U.S players to compete at the highest level possible. (Alex Silva/AP)

NEW YORK — If it can be measured or tested, Jurgen Klinsmann has measured and tested it. From strength and agility to VO2 max, pattern recognition, sleep and caloric intake, U.S. national team players have been subjected to an unprecedented amount of quantitative analysis under their thorough and ambitious coach.

As Klinsmann has claimed repeatedly over the past two-plus years, it’s all designed to help forge players who can compete at soccer’s highest level.

“You can only get better and get closer to the best in the world if you do more than them,” he has said.

But what about an athlete’s intangibles? What about heart, resilience and commitment? Klinsmann insists they’re just as crucial, especially when the games matter most.

“Confidence, at the end of the day, plays a vital role,” he said a few months into his tenure. “You go into a World Cup and we’re 50/50 with an opponent, the only thing that matters is who’s stronger mentally. Who wants it more? Who’s hungrier?”

Mental strength and hunger may not be scientific, but Klinsmann thinks they can be gauged as well, at least intuitively. He pays acute attention to approach and attitude. He prefers players who are eager to embrace a new challenge and desperate to get better. That requires steadfast belief and it is there, in that more delicate part of an elite athlete’s constitution, that Klinsmann has found the American player wanting.

The manager expressed his concern in a recent interview with ESPN while discussing the lack of U.S. impact at major clubs in Europe.

“It needs to take the U.S. team in a World Cup to go into at least a quarterfinal, if not a semifinal, to give more credibility to American players,” he said. “But it’s also the American players when they go to Europe to prove that they can be big players in Europe. So it’s also down to do they have the belief? They have the qualities, but do they have the belief?

“Because you go into a European top club and if you want to play in the top five, six teams in England or Germany or Italy, you have 15, 16, 17 national team players on the roster. So you have to kick somebody out. I think the American player still doesn’t have this last belief that they can kick somebody out. This is something that they have to build … My wish is that maybe after the World Cup we get Jozy Altidore, our No. 9, into a Champions League team or Tim Howard becomes goalkeeper of a big team. We have good players, but we don’t have the belief yet that we belong in there.”

Klinsmann often challenges his charges. He reminds them that they must be constantly striving, never resting on their laurels. Clint Dempsey may have been a hero back home for his exploits at Fulham, but Klinsmann famously reminded everyone in January 2013 that Dempsey “hasn’t made s***.” Klinsmann told The Wall Street Journal, “You play for Fulham? Yeah, so? Show me you can play for a Champions League team, and then you start on a Champions League team. There is always another level.”

CREDITOR: Onyewu on search for playing time as World Cup approaches

Dempsey, of course, did join a club with Champions League ambition. He spent the 2012-13 season at Tottenham Hotspur. But an increasing sense that he’d soon be surplus at White Hart Lane, not to mention a remarkably lucrative offer from the Seattle Sounders, led to Dempsey’s MLS return last summer. Now Michael Bradley is back as well, along with Maurice Edu, Michael Parkhurst and Clarence Goodson. Meanwhile players like Landon Donovan, Omar Gonzalez and Graham Zusi all re-upped with their MLS clubs, leaving Klinsmann to wonder where their ambitions genuinely lie.

Last week, as many of those players gathered in New York City (and Red Bull Arena) as part of an MLS media and marketing tour, Klinsmann’s comments and the league’s influx of national team players dominated the conversation. Not surprisingly, the athletes had a different take on the situation.

“I actually see it a little bit the opposite,” Donovan told SI.com. “I think our best attribute over the years has been our belief in what we can do. We’ve won a lot of soccer games because we believe we can win, and I think most countries around the world would say the one thing they hate most about playing the Americans is our spirit and the way we do things. We’ve beaten the Brazils, Argentinas, Germanys, teams like that — that in some circumstances we had no business competing with, when you just look at the value of [our] players versus some of their players — we shouldn’t be on the same field. But we believe in ourselves and we believe we can win and that’s what I love about playing for this team is we always have that belief and I think we always will.”

In an SI.com interview last year, Gonzalez even credited Klinsmann with instilling some of that belief.

“I can’t speak for how it was before, but from my experience he does give us the sense we can play with everyone on the field and if we show up with the right intensity — he really preaches that, that we have to show up – that if we show up we can win,” the defender said.

If the belief shines through when wearing a U.S. jersey, does it somehow fade away for players at foreign clubs?

“There’s no doubt that as Americans we continue to have to fight for respect and we have to continue to show that we have teams and players who can play at he highest level,” said Bradley, who spent eight years in Europe.

“You would have hoped that now, what’s gone on, whether it’s MLS or the national team or whether it’s certain individuals over the past 10, 15, 20, years would have done more for us. But the reality is, at the moment, there’s still a little of a feeling that now if [a European club] can have an American or an Argentine, you’re taking the Argentine. That’s something people can look at that as feeling sorry for yourself but for me, that’s reality.”

When asked if U.S. players lacked motivation or belief, Bradley shook his head and said, “No,” simply and emphatically.

“When I was at [Bayer] Leverkusen in the beginning, when you’re a young kid there you’re one of 50 or 100 young kids that they’re hoping pans out,” Donovan said. “And guess what? If it’s time to play for the reserve team or the first team and you’re at this level and another German player is at [the same] level, the German player is getting the chance. That’s just the way it goes. That’s the way it should be … I’m not saying that’s an excuse as to why we haven’t had more players play in Champions League, but that’s definitely part of it.”

Edu signed with the Philadelphia Union after failing to secure playing time at Stoke City. The midfielder spent more than five years in Europe and won three Scottish Premier League titles at Rangers.

“From the beginning of when I went over to Europe, the perception of how Americans are viewed over there has slightly changed. It hasn’t changed dramatically,” he said. “But in saying that, we are still viewed as Americans. ‘This isn’t your first sport. You guys play basketball. You guys play baseball. But soccer? Football? Really?’ It’s always going to be a battle going over to Europe. You have to have that mentality going into it, it’s going to be a fight and it’s going to be a grind. Sometimes that might play a factor in coach’s decision. He might view a player from Argentina or Brazil [differently].”

Such talk probably sounds defeatist to Klinsmann, who won a World Cup and European Championship with Germany and starred for the likes of Tottenham, Bayern Munich and Inter Milan.

But it seems to feel like reality for American players. Dempsey, who Donovan once described as having a “crazy hunger to succeed,” has spoken openly about the frustration he faced each time he was benched by a new manager at Fulham. He’d prove himself, earn his way back into the starting 11, score goals and then have to start from scratch again. And that was Fulham. Getting the benefit of the doubt at a club like Spurs or Roma is even tougher.

It’s a complex issue, and each individual player’s situation is different. Edu played in the Champions League with Rangers, DaMarcus Beasley with PSV Eindhoven and Sacha Kljestan has gotten a taste at Anderlecht. But those clubs aren’t among European soccer’s royalty, at least not anymore. For now, despite all the progress made over the past two decades, U.S. players remain on the wrong side of the velvet rope.

Of course, American players still may not be good enough technically, but that’s not what Klinsmann was claiming.

“If you’re European, you’re going to have more chances to break through with a European team if you’re already there,” Thierry Henry said at Red Bull Arena, searching for the gray area. “Clint Dempsey was doing well at Fulham, then had the chance to break into the top five [with Spurs] … You had a lot of nationalities in that team. It’s just the way it was.”

The former Barcelona and Arsenal star continued, “It’s not an easy one. I speak to some of the guys sometimes. You just can’t go to Europe and say ‘Hey, I’m here.’”

Henry offered ample credit to MLS for bringing the best American players home. Bradley and Dempsey are each earning some $6 million per year. In an ironic twist, they now might be overvalued because of their nationality. Neither could be expected to turn down that kind of money, given their options. The choice often comes down to grinding for a mid-to-lower table outfit in England, Italy or Germany or coming home, getting rich and acting as a leader for a growing MLS club.

If they did lack belief as Klinsmann suggested, if they’re in MLS rather than the Champions League because they were missing some key intangible, it’s not because of something absent in their character. It comes from a lingering perception that there may be a glass ceiling abroad, and that shattering it will take more time and strength then they could muster at this juncture of their career.

That breakthrough will require a collective, generational effort. The players who returned to MLS from Europe did their part. Like most professionals, they value stability as well as glory. Hunger can be sated in different ways, and there’s plenty left to accomplish. MLS has a long way to go. It’s not crazy to suggest that the momentum generated by the commitment made by Bradley, Dempsey, Donovan and their compatriots might lift the league to new heights. They’re in position to lead. Perhaps they’ll inspire more American kids to dedicate themselves to soccer. Perhaps one of those kids will grow up and win the Champions League.

38 comments
doellison
doellison

More than anything, I, like a lot of other Americans want an awesome league here.  So I like when our best come home, because it's best for the long term growth of soccer in the states.

TimGrisham
TimGrisham

Donovan had a couple of good loans with Everton and really won over those fans with his quality of play.  Coach J likes to talk about benchmarks.  The USMNT will really see where it stands after 2014.  Hopefully it's more like 2002 or 2010 and not 1998.

timbrrrr
timbrrrr

The American quitters (Donovan, Dempsey, Bradley) have done more to set Americans back in Europe than any European could have done. Donovan doesn't realize it, but his own words prove him wrong.


"If it’s time to play for the reserve team or the first team and you’re at this level and another German player is at [the same] level, the German player is getting the chance."


Then why not work harder to get better than that other player? Why settle for "I'm as good as that guy" when you should be striving to be better than that guy? Competing for a spot in the first team will make a player better than having a guaranteed spot in the starting 11 in MLS - continually striving to better yourself, knowing there's others who want your spot. For these guys who've come home, they don't realize it, but complacency will set in, and their game will suffer.


It's comical to me to see these players move to larger clubs and not understand that they're not being handed a spot, but rather being expected to fight for a spot like everyone else. That's where the belief comes in. 

humdrumdrumhumming
humdrumdrumhumming

This article loses a lot of its credibility by including so many comments from Landon Donovan -- the poster boy for quitting in Europe when things get tough, or playing for average teams on your own terms only.


I really don't want to hear about how Landon was scarred by his experience at Leverkusen, and it was "just too hard". Donovan never grew into the great player he could've become, BECAUSE he's a quitter. The USMNT may be resilient, but Landy Cakes just wanted to hang out in LA and earn more than any other soccer player in the US, because he was the "greaatest player ever", but never tried to get better.


And, I don't want to hear about a few weeks with no pressure at Everton, if you add up Landon's total league matches in the Bundesliga or EPL during his ENTIRE CAREER (30) - it's less than one full season. 


Over his entire career Landon spent less than one full season in a European first division, and as the (supposed) greatest US soccer player of all time now he wants to bihtch and moan about the perception of American soccer players???


Excuse me???


Gee, i wonder if Landon could've actually improved since he turned 25, because he hasn't. Gee, i wonder if Americans would have a better reputation if Landon would've cracked a good squad and been a quality contributor during his prime.


But no, Landon preferred to take all the endorsement money that comes with being called the "greatest American player ever" while luxuriating in Los Angeles. But Landon was never up for the challenge of proving it overseas, improving his game, or, wait for it ---  changing the way other countries think about american soccer players.


I actually think Landon could've been a star in La Liga for a team like Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, Valencia etc. He speaks perfect Spanish, plus his physical size, speed, one touch passing and movement were better suited for Spain.


But please don't write this article and include Landon whining about all the Comp at Leverkusen 10 years ago, when Landon is more responsible than anyone for the consensus opinion that American players are soft, afraid of competition, not good enough for quality teams --- and basically just puhssies.


When the going gets tough, Landon stays at home in LA, hides under the bed, and never improves.




Landon Donovan whining about the perception of US players ---- that's rich!

soccertransfers
soccertransfers

While America competes against the world well at international level part of that is due to the fact that the players spend much more time training together than do other national teams whose players are spread around the world.

Klinsmann will have his squad minus a few players that are in Europe for nearly a month as they train in Brazil in preparation for next summer’s World Cup while countries like England that does not have a winter break will be trying to get players from teams that are still involved in the Champions League and the Premiership title race to release players so that they can play a friendly against Denmark.

Klinsmann is right when he says we are yet to have an American reach the top level as was evident today in Jozy Altidore’s performance for Sunderland and the unlucky incident of Tim Howard conceding a goal two minutes into injury time.

The U.S.A. play well as a team, but as individuals cannot make the grade.

JasonBras
JasonBras

"it's opportunity they lack, not ability/belief?"  

well, let's start an affirmative action (or Equal Opportunity) program in Europe where every team must have x% US passport players as starters. 

mysterious.j
mysterious.j

So there isn't a player real enough to admit that it doesn't make a lot of sense for them to work a LOT harder and risk sitting on the bench for a modest increase in pay?

RickPotts
RickPotts

This is clearly not a black and white issue and is compounded by the fact that Klinsmann comes from the Euro-snobbery that has been doubting and limiting the US players opportunities for quite some time.  The fact that soccer (football) is not our first sport still rubs many Euro purist the wrong way.  Just ask Mexico how they feel each time they lose to the US where the majority of the US public doesn't even know the game was even played.  I do not fault any of these players for "coming back" from Europe.  I will, however, be very critical with them on how they embrace and execute the leadership roles they have been cast into in the MLS.  Winning cures all and a good showing in the upcoming WC will silence many of the critics who have been slamming these returns to the MLS.

usamnt
usamnt

Donovan has a good point about how as a team the USA has had belief that kept them in matches they had no business being in. But on the other hand, you are basically admitting - we don't think we have the quality to be here, but because of our belief in teamwork, our hunger, our never quit mentality - we were able to compete. So they did have belief to win and to be a better team; but he admits in that phrase that they don't believe individually they are equal to their counterparts in many cases. Once you don't have to believe in American never-say-die attitude to find a way to win - but instead you believe that regardless of the salaries of each player, WE have the better players - then you've achieved what Klinsmann is talking about.

usamnt
usamnt

This is a particular generation of players that have had contracts in Europe, who due to unrelated issues as well as the desire for playing time ahead of the WC, and the sports investment world finally seeing MLS for what it is and they are stretching their wings - all combining for this return home. The next generation will split, some pushing to Europe where technical skills are more valued over team-oriented heart, and some staying home to build a league that will soon be clearly ahead of any league in the world outside the big 4. This isn't a bad thing. Plus, I see Bradley back in Europe before he retires, bank on it.

Davos1
Davos1

Here we have a German coach whose mentality is European and still thinks U.S. soccer is back in 1990 with no domestic league. Klinsmann hasn't evolved so U.S. soccer thankfully is evolving without him. Perhaps one day an American will win the Champions League on an American club. Sorry, but the days of Europe controlling soccer are coming to an end. The Champions League will one day be global with teams from MLS, South America, and Asia.

therednorth1
therednorth1

I disagree--it's that USMNT star players are more valuable to clubs in MLS than they are to clubs in Europe.

salvaje50
salvaje50

Maybe they would rather play in their own country than in Europe

RickPotts
RickPotts

@timbrrrr  So according to you its just a matter of "working harder" to get ahead in Europe.  Well what if the Euro player is "working harder" too?  So by your logic the American players have to "work harder-harder"?  Your argument is predicated on the Euro players being static and just standing still and the "harder" work from the American players will pass them by.  The article and American players are implying that everything being equal between an American player and a Euro player, the Euro will get the nod because of a Euro bias by Euro coaches.  You and HummingDumDum haven't been to every practice, have not heard every conversation, have not seen the efforts and the sacrifices to criticize decisions that were made.  

RickPotts
RickPotts

@humdrumdrumhumming  So how is your restraining order thing going with Landon?  Geez, think you have an ax to grind or what?  Maybe you need to review the stats again about how many WC goals Donovan has scored (5 in 12 games) vs how many combined WC goals Messi, Rooney, C Ronaldo and Ibrahimavic have scored (2 in 31 games).  You focus on Donovan but he is not the only one sited in this story.  Although he would surely have the most insight to the case at point.  So lets hear all about YOUR experiences trying to make it in Europe.  Oh, don't have any.  What, you never actually made it off the couch.  I see.  So you don't have a pot to p*ss in, as it goes.  I will discount most of your argument do the extreme man-crush you seem to have on Donovan.  Carry on.

Patokev
Patokev

@soccertransfers  Brad Friedel was considered by many in England as the best keeper in the Premiership for several years which he was. The US is known for quality goalies. It is the other positions that are considered lacking.

pcwhite2
pcwhite2

@JasonBras  


But that wouldn't be affirmative action or equal opportunity, Jason. 

DSmithy3211
DSmithy3211

@RickPotts  Accusing Klinsmann of Euro-snobbery? The same guy who moved to California as soon as his career was over? The guy who tried to introduce US-style training regimens to Bayern Munich? The guy who could just take the easy life and be a TV commentator in Europe or coach anywhere else in Europe, but chose to coach the USMNT instead?  THAT GUY is a Euro-snob?  That's rich.

timbrrrr
timbrrrr

@RickPotts  Wrong. Our players exhibit an entitlement mentality and don't understand that they have to work and fight for their spot in the lineup. It's simply far easier to come back to MLS, collect a fat paycheck and know that your name is penciled into the starting 11 every match. It's not enough simply to be playing - our players must be training and competing at the highest level possible.

timbrrrr
timbrrrr

@RickPotts @timbrrrr  Are you seriously this dense? Do I need to hold your hand while I walk you through it?


Let's assume player A (American) and player B (British). B gets the benefit of the doubt, according to American players. Player A works harder to get his shot, to show that he's better. OF COURSE player B isn't going to just let that guy pass him by - he's going to work harder as well. It's a never-ending cycle that drives BOTH players to improve. Of course simple hard work isn't going to get them by, it's a continuous cycle, and it's far more beneficial to player A's career to stay in this cycle, to keep pushing and working hard, and GETTING BETTER, than it is to crawl home to MLS and be assured of a starting spot simply because they're a "name" that MLS is trying to sell.


You know nothing about my background. You don't know how many college and professional practices I've been a part of (let's just say the latter is higher than Landon's combined forays into the EPL). Fighting for a spot in the lineup in Europe is more beneficial to player development than playing every single match in MLS. 

humdrumdrumhumming
humdrumdrumhumming

@RickPotts @humdrumdrumhumming  


nice stats, 


funny how you just passed those off as your own when that article just came out a couple days ago… 


if only you were original, or prescient, like me, anyway...


your irrefutable retort cites five goals in 12 games played over eight years?


~child please


Landon could've played 400 games in top European leagues by now… 


now that's how you change perception (and become a better player)..


------

but it's clear you're a fan of worthless, random, anecdotal data based on small sample sizes?


how bout my  (unplagiarized)  data on your boyfriend


1) the US has only won two of the five WC games Landon scored in


ummmm, that's not good


and, 


2) in 2006, when he should've been razor sharp from european combat, Landy Cakes didn't score a single goal -- doing his part to help the U.S. go out bottom of the group in Germany…


worse...


well, gotta go  --- try not to cheat on your next exam…



toodles..


humdrumdrumhumming
humdrumdrumhumming

@Patokev @soccertransfers  


agreed… say all you want about position players, but it's just dumb to lump Howard and/or US goalkeepers into that…


Howard was the first team keeper of the PFA Best XI during his first year at Man United, many rate him as one of the best 3-4 keepers in the EPL currently, and he's certainly world class


this article from December rates Howard the 2nd best keeper in the EPL, and rates Guzan 6th!


http://www.fanatix.com/news/best-goalkeepers-top-10-premier-league-keepers-this-season-with-arsenal-ace-pipping-evertons-american/168312/8/



the US has consistently produced some of the best and deepest group of keepers in the world…


Casey Keller, Guzan, Howard, Meola, and Brad Friedel… 


Friedel made the PFA team of the year in 2003, now has almost 500 league appearances in the EPL and has always been considered one of its best keepers..


the US knows how to put on the gloves, and that reputation is already secure...




ps Romario's not a bad player



Keller’s most iconic moment came in the U.S.’ historic 1-0 win over Brazil in the 1998 Gold Cup, which caused Brazilian legend Romario to remark, “That is the best performance by a goalkeeper I have ever seen.”

RickPotts
RickPotts

@DSmithy3211 @RickPotts  Don't get me wrong.  He and the US team have all of my support.  But you cannot deny that he comes from that same institution that US players overseas are struggling against right now.  Maybe he is not as hardened as others that have stayed in Europe after their careers ended but yes, he exhibits Euro snobbery characteristics.  How many GermAmericans did he bring in right away?  How long has he stuck with Jones in the midfield when he has other options and Jones is clearly the unsettling force there?  His insistence that Europe is the ONLY place to improve your game.  Need I say more?  I like what he has done with the US team but lets call a spade a spade.

RickPotts
RickPotts

@timbrrrr @RickPotts  Wrong?  Sorry I didn't know you were the end-all-be-all with opinions.  You honestly don't think that a professional soccer player from the US doesn't understand that he has to compete for playing time, anywhere he plays?   To me, that is an over simplistic view of the point of this article.  There is way more to it than that.  You just refuse to believe it.

RickPotts
RickPotts

@timbrrrr @RickPotts  You don't know sh*t about sh*t.  I was one step below all American in college at the Univ of Delaware (1st team all East Region 1984) and played at IU when they lost in the national championship in 1980.  Played on a national amateur championship team in 1987, 2 years professionally before the MLS and played with and against more US national teamers than you can name.  Players, like there name, like to PLAY, a**hole, not practice.  You can only take getting picked over for so long before you have to make a move to PLAY.  If you were a real f**king PLAYER, not a practicer, you would know that.  Yeah your words struck a nerve with me all right....for not supporting the American players that did what they had to do to PLAY and everyone that has struggled to advance this sport in this country before them.  So f**k off.

timbrrrr
timbrrrr

@RickPotts @timbrrrr  I'd say that my points have struck a nerve with you, since you've had to resort to childish namecalling and "clever" substitutions for swear words. 


It's clear you've never spent a minute with a professional or even a collegiate side - or even with a Development Academy team - most players have a certain drive to be among the best and to compete among the best. And yes, that means moving upwards in clubs, to compete against better players, not downwards because you're tired of competing.

RickPotts
RickPotts

@timbrrrr @RickPotts  You really don't get the fallacy of your argument as it pertains to these players experiences do you?  Lets say it happens exactly as you say, Player A and Player B above.  If in the end Player B is continually picked over Player A, even though both have worked just as hard and are at the same level (as this story implies), you are saying Player A should toil away his career anyway just because he is competing in the "holy grail" of all football, Europe.  B*llsh*t my Euro snobish friend.  Complete and utter b*llsh*t.  You keep "practicing" .  Call me when you finally get in a game.

Jesus Hitler
Jesus Hitler

@bsoccer17 Thank you.  Beautiful words.  Seems like there is so much negativity in the US fanbase sometimes... how could we have become so jaded so quickly?    I'm a dual US/UK who stopped wasting attention on England years ago because the bizarre self-loathing had just become too tiresome.   Heroes are built up for the sole purpose of being torn down.  The enthusiasm for identifying players deemed to be "overrated" is a national hobby that borders on fetish, and even the national team's management admits that the players underperform on home soil, which is an unsurprising effect of of a fanbase that has learned to enjoy a public debacle every bit as much as a goal.


USMNT fans are best off never going to that sad place.  Jeez-  we wait through a four-year cycle for the one tournament that benchmarks us and tells us (theoretically) whether we have made progress in becoming "good enough" at the world level.   And it seems an uncomfortably high number of people are working overtime on identifying the potential permutations of events that constitute failure, and drafting the "i told you so" along with indictments and dishonorable discharges for all the meaningful contributors of last 10-15 years.


That stuff is lame.  32 teams will go to the World Cup.  31 sets of fans will get to conduct a post-mortem.  I'm too busy getting amped to think about ours.  USMNT is on the right curve and they will give us plenty to be proud of this summer and for years to come.  

timbrrrr
timbrrrr

@RickPotts @timbrrrr @bsoccer17 @humdrumdrumhumming  "Dominating" the region is nothing. How many global tournaments have we won? Mexico won the Olympics in 2012 - a tournament we didn't even qualify for. And we don't consistently get out of group play - how'd that work out for us in 2006? (don't forget, the US got out of their group 20 years ago as well), and we've beaten top 20 teams many times over the past 20 years. That doesn't mean squat. You and your fellow soccer moms can go pack your orange slices and Hi-C juice boxes and go watch your "thriving" professional league. I'll keep pushing for Americans to compete day in and day out with the world's best - and that's not MLS.

RickPotts
RickPotts

@timbrrrr @bsoccer17 @humdrumdrumhumming @RickPotts  You are the leader of the USMNT Gloom and Doomers.  Moving backwards?  Really?  Let's see, consistently dominating the region, regularly getting out of group play in WC, thriving and growing professional league, development of professional academies, regularly competing and beating top 20 teams.  Yep, looks like we are going backwards to me.......

timbrrrr
timbrrrr

@bsoccer17 @humdrumdrumhumming @RickPotts  20 years ago, we had a number of players in Europe's best leagues. Tab Ramos was playing in Spain, Eric Wynalda and Tom Dooley in Germany, Alexi Lalas in Italy... We've moved backwards as a footballing nation. Previous generations of players were more technically skilled and had a ton more heart than today's quitters.

RickPotts
RickPotts

@humdrumdrumhumming @RickPotts  Never claimed that Landon stat was my own, you intellectual wannabe. Yeah, and 2006 was ALL Landon's fault since he was the only one on the field for the US.  Guys like you really p*ss me off.  You want to drag everybody down because they didn't live up to your lofty armchair expectations.   You, my friend, are a watcher not a doer.  What the f**k have you ever done to advance the game of soccer in this country?  Until you have walked a mile in his shoes or sacrificed ANYTHING for the sake of the game....SHUT THE F**K UP!

bsoccer17
bsoccer17

@humdrumdrumhumming @RickPottsLandon is a bad example as we don't have any players playing on any top teams in Europe. Should we at this point? NO!  Shite, 20 years ago I don't think we had any players playing in any of the Top 4 Leagues in Europe. Now, there are quite a few even if some of dual nationals. The world will be licking our boots once we realize how to play football. Once we learn technical ability and Tactic.= GAME OVER. We will win World Cup after World Cup after World Cup. Somehow our American players have played in the TOP leagues but they have the Technical ability of 3rd of 4th Div European Players. This is a crazy thought! We have just gotten by on Athletic Ability, heart and cohesiveness until this point. I think it will take another 20 years before we are challenging for world cups and another 40 until we win a world cup. Europe has a 100 year head start on us.  It's not like we are going to catch up over night.   I am thankful we have players playing in the Bundesliga, PL, and at times in La Liga and Italy. Can I get a Shout out for Steve Cherundolo! Anyway, yeah our players are not yet good enough, but they were not good anough 20 years ago for any TOP 4 league.  OK, there were a few players in there but not the 10-20 we have now. We should think in long term blocks of 20 years for improvement as a nation. This is the end of ACT I. We didn't even have an act before 1990 right? ACT II shall commence at the end of the World Cup 2014 with the swelling of MLS and the Growth of Youth Academies, and American players being paid Top Dollar in the MLS while many Americans will be given the opportunity to play in Europe and is not only achieved, but expected by the fans.

RickPotts
RickPotts

@timbrrrr @RickPotts  You talk a big game and are quick to criticize.  Fact is they are making career and playing decisions that you will NEVER have to make.  I think they made good decisions.  You do not.  You are a Euro-centric a**hole.  I am not. We will have to agree to disagree.

timbrrrr
timbrrrr

@RickPotts @timbrrrr  Do you honestly believe that Clint Dempsey or Michael Bradley will be kept out of a match as long as they're healthy? Who's competing with them for playing time? What coach is going to park the guy making the highest salary in a fledgling league desperate for marketing dollars on the pine?


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