The US Men’s team just missed the cut for the World Cup for the first time in 4 decades… I think it’s safe to say that being disappointed is an understatement.
But I’m not sure if we’re supposed to feel better that we made it for the last 4 decades or if pointing this out is a way to further illustrate what a disaster this is for the US men’s team?
The most amazing part is that we still lose to countries that have fewer residents in total than we have kids playing soccer in the US.
Costa Rica? Trinidad & Tobago? In what other major team sports are they even allowed in the same venue much less toppling the hopes and dreams of a US team from competing on the world stage?
But is this really surprising?
When you really look at soccer programs and compare them to other sports in the USA where we’ve dominated year after year, it’s obvious that soccer is light years behind technologically.
When “hi-tech” soccer training is defined by having multi-colored plastic cones instead of only one color, or using an iPad to draw out the X and O training diagrams instead of a dry erase board, there’s a really good chance we’re not using all the advantages afforded the wealthiest nation on planet earth.
Here are a few suggestions to bring US soccer out of the stone-age and onto the world stage:
- Emulate Successful Sports – Stop trying to copy other successful countries, with different cultures and social systems, and start looking at why the USA is successful in other sports and copy those programs instead. The USA is not Germany, or Brazil, or Spain, etc. so stop copying them and start copying sports where we dominate the podium.
- Utilize Technology – It’s our edge… it’s something we can do that others cannot. Quit lamenting the fact that our kids don’t play shoeless street soccer and start taking advantage of the things that are uniquely our advantage.
- Embrace Free Markets – Socialized economies lag free markets and socialized sports programs will never perform as well as a free market approach. Let the creativity of individual coaches’ flow and allow their success to bubble to the top without artificial restrictions from the “controlling body”. Other coaches will copy, follow, modify, and improve with a virtuous cycle pushing success through endless iterations to achieve new heights month after month and year after year. There is no single person, or single entity, that will ever be as smart or creative as the collective of individuals all competing and experimenting with their teams and programs.
- Stop Diluting the Talent Pool – Quit making kids choose between high school soccer and club soccer. Kids like playing high school soccer and forcing them to choose 1 versus the other does nothing but dilute the top players into multiple soccer programs or into other sports outside of soccer. If you want the best athletes to play soccer, you need to let them enjoy “high school glory”!
- Recognize our Culture – The US is “school year” centric and this isn’t changing any time soon. Whether other countries base their leagues on the calendar year is immaterial and should be ignored. Kids like to play with kids in their same grade regardless of age. High school freshmen do not want to play with middle school 8th graders and college freshmen are not coming back to play with high school seniors.
The USA is so good at other sports that it’s not even considered “fair” for us to field our best teams and there’s no reason why soccer should be any different. To not be considered a perennial top 10 team is truly a disgrace.
PS I hope I didn’t sugar coat my opinion too much! But I’ve always been one to put my money where my mouth is and in this case, we’ve created SocrPro.com to bring coaching software into the 21st century and SocrLabs.com to bring soccer speed and skills development into the modern age.
SocrPro.com is free to use so get your account going today and let’s do everything in our power to improve the sport we all love.