From College to the Pros - The US soccer ladder

Friday, April 03, 2009

Enjoying the MLS Season?

Hello folks. Sorry for the slow rate of posting recently. In many ways life has prevented me from focusing a lot of attention on FCTP recently. Apologies.

If you don't know about the MLS Confidential blog, you should learn about it. It is run by Soccer America, the longest serving American Soccer media outlet I know of. The blog features the thoughts of Ridge Mahoney, a great soccer journalist. In his most recent post Mahoney talks about young American players moving to Europe.

I find the following quote particularity interesting.

MLS, and U.S. Soccer, regularly take broadside hits for their efforts to find, develop and groom players, but ours is not a soccer culture, where being steeped in the game nurtures understandings and appreciations most American players need to be taught. Just about every player who heads overseas talks about feeling out of place, surrounded by so many teammates for whom so much about the game is second nature, learned by absorption as much as instruction.

That is the truth, isn't it? American kids who have lived soccer for their first 18 years are living in a "new" soccer nation if you listen to MLS. However, this isn't a soccer nation. MLS is still the outsider to the American sports landscape. Maybe in 50 years people won't remember a time when there wasn't professional soccer on our shores but even then there will not be the history the sport has in Europe. Will American kids ever grow up with the sport at a level where it is "learned by absorption as much as instruction?" That is really the difference between our young players and the rest of the world.

I hope that will change someday. I hope my kids grow up with an understanding and appreciation of the beautiful game. Anyway, be sure to subscribe through Google Reader or a similar service to MLS Confidential. It is one of the best blogs out there.

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  • Good post. I've been talking about this recently with several key soccer bloggers in the states. With the downsizing of MLS benches and of the reserve teams, we saw some players go over to try out for European 2nd and 3rd division teams. Most USL-1 coaches will tell you that they've tried out players from 2nd and 3rd division teams in Europe and most aren't good enough to play in USL-1 let along MLS. So a player isn't really doing himself justice by leaving the states to play that level soccer -- except for 2 things.

    1) Exposure. There is a better chance of being seen in Europe if you really are that good. But there's also an awful lot of competition and a player can take a beating mentally as well.

    2) This one has everything to do with your topic. The whole experience of playing on teams with players who are steeped in tradition of football. They have lived it and breathed it since childood and this may be the greatest reason for a US player to move to Europe to play in a lesser league. Just for the experience of understanding a real football culture.

    By Anonymous bq, at 5:38 AM  

  • in my personal opinion I think that the MLS should have something more interesting than a couple of old soccer players in their last years of their careers, maybe they should include more pay per head bookmaking activities every time there is a game, who knows, it would make it more attractive

    By Blogger joseph burrell, at 7:32 PM  

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