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Soccer America Miss The Ball with Gerard Houllier Interview

What would you do if you had 15 minutes with Gerard Houllier and you had the opportunity to ask the world-class manager any questions you’d like?

If you’re a reporter for Soccer America, you won’t believe what they asked and how out of touch they are with the world of soccer. Let me explain.

On Friday evening, three Soccer America reporters and I had an opportunity to interview Houllier after his coaching workshop at the NSCAA event in Baltimore. The three Soccer America reporters — Mike Woitalla, Paul Gardner and Paul Kennedy — encircled the former Liverpool and French national team manager.

What questions did they ask him?

  • His insight into whether he was considered for the Newcastle, England or Republic of Ireland manager positions?
  • As a former Liverpool manager, his opinion about the way that Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has been treated by American co-owners Hicks or Gillette?
  • Or, why Lyon was unable to translate their success in France to Europe under Houllier’s guidance?

No, instead they spent 15 minutes asking basic questions about the French system for coaching young children soccer. Some of the questions included how important dribbling was, how many French youth national coaches there are, how coaches are judged and whether the children in the French academies are allowed home each weekend to spend time with their family.

Ridiculous.

What a waste of an opportunity to speak to a masterful manager such as Houllier. If the reporters from Soccer America had done their research before the interview, they would have discovered the answers to those questions and wouldn’t have needed to waste monsieur Houllier’s time. Heck, they could have watched a few episodes of the “Soccer Academy” TV show on GolTV, or interviewed someone from one of the academies in France.

To me, this is a perfect example of the ineptitude of Soccer America and what a disservice they’re doing to readers of Soccer America and the general soccer public at large.

In those 15 minutes, I only had the opportunity to squeeze in two questions while Soccer America monopolized the conversation (whether France had anything like the NSCAA event, which Houllier answered no and shared how impressed he was with the American event, and whether the rumors were true that he was in the running for the Republic of Ireland position).


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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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