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Why I’m Optimistic for US Soccer

 Why Im Optimistic for US Soccer

A little more than a week after Colorado, an original club, won its first MLS Cup and less than a week before the U.S. potentially wins a second World Cup bid, I am optimistic about the progress of American soccer overall. The progress made since the 1994 World Cup has been incredible, and the U.S is positioning itself to become a player in international soccer.

MLS has become a solid part of the American sports landscape. While not in the same category as the NFL, soccer is becoming more and more a part of the sports rotation for Americans.  Next season, MLS will continue its expansion to add two great new markets in Portland and Vancouver. These with other recent additions like Seattle are spicing up a league with established franchises. And despite our complaints about a geographically stupid (and next year expanded) playoff system, the playoffs are producing compelling playoff matches and allow many teams to compete for a championship, a kind of parity other sports are also trying to achieve.

The quality of play is improving overall, due to the rise of young players (see below) and overseas talent.  While the designated player rule has not yet helped a team win an MLS Cup, it has brought much needed attention to the league.  It started with David Beckham, who’s signing gave international legitimacy to the league, and continues with Marquez and Henry.  Don’t dismiss this development; although these players are no longer at their top form, they could easily choose to play in Qatar or the UAB, where they could make more money.

One of the areas in which MLS is really growing is its youth development.  I know people got tired of hearing how Omar Cummings and Chris Wondolowski came up through the original reserve division, but the truth is the original reserve league did help with youth development, which is why its return was greeted with so much praise.  Between the reserve league, youth academies, and Generation Adidas, youth is flowing through American soccer.  The Juan Agudelo goal shows the youth development is churning out the young talent that will be critical to US success in the 2014 cycle.

Speaking of 2014, I am not a fan of the Bob Bradley rehiring and the way in which it was done.  However, it still does not diminish the progress the American national team is making at all levels.  The faults in the national team (no scoring from forwards, aging defense) look like they can be answered within the next few years (Altidore/Dempsey maturation, young up-and-coming players).  The South Africa friendly was a good preview of what could be coming for the USMNT.  While it was not like beating Spain (which the US did in 2009), the US found a way to get a result in front of a hostile crowd.  And it was the youths that did it; the goal by Agudelo and play by Diskerud et. al. was impressive.  Speaking of Diskerud, he is a young potential star that has dual-nationality that looks to have chosen the U.S., just like his teammate Teal Bunbury; after the Guiseppe Rossi loss the U.S. is working hard to keep stud players that could play elsewhere nationally.

Is everything perfect in American soccer?  Far from it.  MLS could fall victim to labor/financial problems and the national team could fail to develop under the current leadership.  But I am cautiously optimistic about the direction of American soccer; we’ve come a long way from the days of the Continental Indoor Soccer League and I don’t expect us to be going back.

54 Responses to Why I’m Optimistic for US Soccer

  1. CoconutMonkey says:

    I agree on a lot of points. The league certainly has come a long way from where it started. And the academies, reserve teams, etc are something every US fan should be excited about.

    Regarding the playoffs, however, I really do think that they (this system, not playoffs in general) have turned off a lot of casual soccer fans. To prove my point, just google “MLS Playoffs are” and go through the first 3 pages of results, I think you’ll find that the results are mostly critical.

    Warning Relevant Re-Post-ignore if you like ;):
    That said, I don’t think anyone is saying that the matches themselves have been boring. If they are, they clearly they didn’t watch RSL and Dallas in the first round. The biggest gripe for playoff wannabe playoff reformers (not removers) like myself is the tournament format.

    Let’s say the playoffs go to a single bracket, 2-leg tournament like the CCL, Copa America, D2 Playoffs, Mexican Playoffs, etc. Do you think the matches would be any less exciting if your Sounder’s had New York in the first round? Or if every fan has the opportunity to see their team play for a championship?

    If you ask me, Colorado playing for the MLS Cup in front of their own fans, after possibly knocking off both RSL and New York, would be a great moment in a Cinderella story.

    • Charles says:

      Anyone blogging about soccer is NOT a casual fan, that is soccer only fan….and yes they don’t want anything different than what their favorite ( non-MLS ) league does.

  2. Andy says:

    There’s a lot to be excited about with the national team and the youth.

    CM,

    The playoffs turn off the casual fan and also the traditional soccer fan. We know what a real soccer league looks like and it’s not playoffs (and certainly not half the league making the playoffs)

    I hate to say it but I think the best thing for domestic soccer in the US is if MLS were to fold . Or better yet a rival league that understands the history of the sport and how it is structured globally.

    • Charles says:

      Wow,

      So the reason they sold out many of hte playoff games waaaaas..because playoffs turn OFF the fan ? hmm interesting theory, not supported.

      Yeah if MLS folded I see money just streaming into professional soccer on a level never seen before. Probably have Arab, Russian, and US money streaming in like it does for the big franchises in England.

      • Andy says:

        yes playoffs to decide league champion turn off the traditional soccer fan in this country. No other successful league in the world uses playoffs to decide the seasons league champion. (Dont bother mentioning the Mexican league. I said successful)

        of course you can get fans to show up at the stadium. But the television ratings were horrendous.

        • sylc says:

          I guess all domestic cup competitions should be abolished too, since they’re just giant playoff systems that turn off the casual fan. And the World Cup should be a single table league. So should every major international tournament for that matter, because the knockout stages turn me off.

          And that piss poor Mexican league. What is it? Only a top 20 league? And let’s ignore most of Central America and parts of South America, because that doesn’t count as part of the globe you speak of.

          Your image of the soccer world smacks of Eurosnobbery. The lack of playoffs don’t make the clubs better anywhere else. The money put into the clubs to get better players makes the clubs better. America is no exception.

          • Andy says:

            no dude…i’m talking about an end of year playoff to decide a league champion. It’s not what a real soccer league looks like. You would still of course have league cups which are playoffs which would be separate trophies.

            We should be emulating what works. Look at Japan. Their domestic league started just 3 years before MLS and they now have over 100 clubs in a pro/rel pyramid.

            hell… with pro/rel and single table you would have a lot more playoffs during a domestic season ; playoffs to decide the final champions league slot , playoffs for promotion and relegation, the league cup which is a playoff, the USOC which is a playoff. I’m not against these playoffs. I’m against a dopey 10 team end of year playoff to decide the league champion. With a balanced schedule the league champion is the team with the most points.

            It’s pretty simple. Why do people have to keep repeating this stuff to you uneducated MLS-snobs?

  3. MadFan says:

    The progress in MLS and USMNT itself has nothing to do with each other actually as more than 90% of the USMNT players are those playing in Europe or other league, and only Landon Donovan who represented MLS players in the starting 11.

    However, as regards to the development of soccer as a whole in the US as well as the MLS itself, I agree there much, much more development now. Lots more people are tuning to the game in America and it could be as big as other leagues in the world one day.

    BUT, that one day is a long time to come. If it’s ever come. MLS and US soccer are far from being a player in international soccer. In fact, they are not one of the players in international soccer at all. As long as MLS continues to ignore the international dates and worst, keep playing on during the World’s biggest event and the sport’s biggest champonship a.k.a. World Cup, they won’t go anywhere. It’s the same as having no respect to the game and the players at all. If MLS has no respect towards the game’s biggest tournament (not to mention FIFA Confederation Cup where USA was almost its certain contenders everytime), no respect to the international dates thus no respect to the players who wanted to play successfully for their club and country, and no respect for the clubs by depriving them of having their best players playing week in, week out for their regular season games, then MLS and US soccer certainly have no rights to call themselves as international soccer players.

    Not to mention no A-list players will joint MLS during their best years because the league is depriving them from achieving their dreams in both ways. LD is an exception because USA has no other players as talented as him, not even those playing in Europe. So they need him even though he’s playing in a much lower level league. But, everytime LD is gone for the country, MLS has deprived his club and its fans from having their best player playing in the league’s competitive games. So, it’s a win for USMNT but a loss for MLS and the fans.

    It doesn’t mean that MLS has to change their schedule to the standard August-May like those in Europe. NO. They can still stick to their own schedule like they did. I am very much wants to see US soccer grow and for MLS to be as big and successfull as EPL, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and so on..but until they change their system to accomodate all of the international dates and respect all of the clubs’ and players’ desires to be successfull for clubs and countries, then MLS and US soccer will have a hard time to achieve their dreams to be international players.

    • Ryan says:

      “The progress in MLS and USMNT itself has nothing to do with each other actually as more than 90% of the USMNT players are those playing in Europe or other league, and only Landon Donovan who represented MLS players in the starting 11.”

      And what percentage got their start in MLS when no other league would take them?

  4. bandeeto says:

    I enjoy the playoffs. Not the format this year, especially the seeding. Obviously that needs to be fixed. Also I’d rather get rid of conferences, and I don’t have the answer to wether the league champion should be crowned at the end of the season or by winning MLS cup. I think being first all season is harder, however no one can tell me that LA was better than Dallas in the final. No one. I like cinderella stories and the unexpected. I couldn’t care less about the EPL when ManU or Chelsea (probably spelled wrong… whatever) win it with 4 games to spare. At that point i turn my attention towards the bottome of the EPL… because I want to see the unexpected and that isn’t really happening anywhere else. Again, I don’t pretend to have any answere, just (i believe) a valid opinion)
    Oh, I’ve played soccer all my life, through college, and into my adult years. Growing up I got up at 2:30am to watch European soccer. I saw two 1994 WC games in person. I’ve support whatever MLS team I am closest to, though I will probably stick with RSL for life now. I take friends that can’t even spell soccer to games with me. My point:
    I am a “traditional soccer fan” and the people I take with me, including my wife kids, are casual soccer fans. We love every minute of the game. My daughter asks me “Daddy, when are we going to a soccer game?” (she speaks well for a 2 year old). Practically no one that I see on a daily basis would have any interest at all in soccer without the MLS. It’s not perfect but I’d rather have MLS than go back to driving 50 miles to find a hole in the wall pub and watch soccer with strangers.
    One final thing. I didn’t care at all about tradition when I was playing on the field. I just wanted to do the best I could and win. I hope the USSF leaves respecting tradition to the historians and does the best that they can no matter what anyone else thinks.

  5. Charles says:

    Robert HAY ( not to be confused for obvious reasons ),

    I find it very interesting that you failed to mention the place where most of the studs are coming from right now….COLLEGE.

    Everyone that has US player developement in mind should have read MoneyBall. Trying to guess who is going to be a stud at age 12-18 is as close to random as it gets. Baseball has been failing at it for decades. I personally know guys that have signed for millions of dollars to never even play one inning in the Big Leagues.

    The ONLY reason for a franchise to do it is for money making reasons like Ajax.

    It is funny, the MLS single enterprise guy ( me ) likes for open system to be the determiner of which player is going to get the chance to shine, but the get rid of the salary cap guys say, no let some rich guy who runs a very controlled environment, determine who gets the chances to be a stud in the soccer markets ?

    US will crush the rest of the world in player developement very soon, if they are not already, if only for that reason. Our player developement is so much more open and thus better. Have you seen the teams in the Final 16 of the NCAA tourney ? There are so many choices as to where to go to learn how to play after High School.

    Is it a coincidence that Zakuani left Arsenal to go play for Akron, and now is getting a trial at Everton ? No, he found the best option and went for it. It worked out well for him.

    Finding the right choice, best coach, etc will happen, but not if we only have academies as the only real option. Love the great stuff about it or hate the very bad stuff about it….The college rout will be a HUGE part of the US success.

    • sergio lima says:

      Charles said:
      “US will crush the rest of the world in player developement very soon, if they are not already, if only for that reason. Our player developement is so much more open and thus better. Have you seen the teams in the Final 16 of the NCAA tourney ? There are so many choices as to where to go to learn how to play after High School.”

      AMAZING !!!
      I wish the person making that kind of statement had the international experience in order to make such a bold or empty statement. You know, Charles, the way you see soccer is completely the opposite of pros working with youth for generations in other nations.

      And like always you always use the exceptions to make your point but the sport is not developed by exceptions.

      College should NEVER be an important portion of your development. NEVER. It should be, in fact, used as your last resort. At the age those kids arrive in college, at 19, in any soccer nation in the world they should be ready to play as a pro. But as I told you before, MAYBE the American way to develop soccer will revolutionize the way other nations do it, but I don’t think so.

      • Charlest says:

        Use the exception to make my point ?

        I hope you are not talking about Zakuani?
        I can’t figure out what you are talking about, because there ais no way you are talking about Zakuani as the EXCEPTION.

        I just re-read what I wrote. You are using Zakuani as the exception aren’t you ?!?! Do you follow MLS ? At all ?

      • Charles says:

        ps. just looked up the median age of the EPL, 31. I guess the 19 year olds are being balanced by the 40 year olds. ;-)

        I dont believe that the US will change the rest of the world, they are not set up to have college sports be such a big factor, but it is the way for the US teams to use it to figure out who the real talent is.

        Read Moneyball and let me know where it is wrong.

        • Dave C says:

          just looked up the median age of the EPL, 31. I guess the 19 year olds are being balanced by the 40 year olds

          I’m kind of surprised by this? If you found it through answers.com or something like that, do you know how they worked it out?

          Although even if this is true, you’re wrong to deduct that that it means that 19 year olds are being balanced by 40 years old. It just means that the number of players aged OVER 31 is equal to the number of players aged UNDER 31.

      • CoconutMonkey says:

        “College should NEVER be an important portion of your development. NEVER. It should be, in fact, used as your last resort. At the age those kids arrive in college, at 19, in any soccer nation in the world they should be ready to play as a pro”

        @Sergio:

        I agree with you for the most part, but I don’t think you give the college game the props it deserves for growing the sport.

        Even with the MLS Academies and Development Academy system, the vast majority of players probably won’t sign a professional contract. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t make a valuable contribution to the system as a whole. Behind every great professional, is a legion of players who never made it as far (but may have actually been better at the time). The college game gives those players who didn’t make the cut at 17-18 years olds something great to play for: a chance to get a degree and continue their development. If they manage to make it on a professional level after that, awesome. If not, you have a college graduate who loves the game (and a potential coach). Certainly not bad either.

        That said, is the quality of college soccer (and high school for that matter) as good as it could be? No, of course not. But no private amateur clubs (at least, none that I know) have the kind of quality infrastructure of our universities. There’s a lot of potential for building great players (whether they go pro or not) in our schools. The stone just needs a lot of polishing.

        • sergio lima says:

          I did not say that. I agree that TODAY colleges are responsible for what we have and of course we should appreciate that but MOVING FORWARD I believe we should never use college as our major tool for development. And that is what Charles said and I disagree completely.

    • Dave C says:

      will crush the rest of the world in player developement very soon, if they are not already

      Ha, wow, you really think that???? It might be a crap-shoot to guess who will make the grade at the age of 12*, but at 16 you should definitely be learning with the pros, not in a college.

      *That’s not entirely true. It might be true that some kids that look good at 12 will flake out by 16, it’s incredibly rare for anyone to make the opposite transition. (i.e. from average 12 yr-old to pro-level adult).

      • Dave C says:

        Is it a coincidence that Zakuani left Arsenal to go play for Akron, and now is getting a trial at Everton

        If you think that is evidence that the college system is a good way of developing pros, that’s like saying:

        - Ian Wright played Sunday-league amateur football till he was 21, then went on to be an Arsenal legend. So the local pub team MUST be a great way to develop players.

        - Dean Windass was rejected as a pro at 16, worked on a building site and drank too much until he was finally re-discovered at 21. He went on to play in the EPL . Therefore laying bricks and drinking beer is a good way of developing pro-caliber players.

        Just because you can find one or two freak examples doesn’t mean the college system is a good alternative to the traditional path.

        • Charles says:

          Good point, but how about this :

          Zakuani, Gonzalez, White, Wallace, Pontius, Frei, John
          That was the first round 2009.

          Mawanga, Tchani, Opera, Bunbury
          That was first round 2010.

          I only included guys that are starting/playing quite a bit, there are PLENTY more guys that made rosters, got secondary amounts of playing time.
          There is at least one later than first round pick: Tim Ream.

          • sergio lima says:

            Charles, you just don’t get it, man.

          • Charles says:

            Oh I get it.
            You could put together a GREAT team with those players.

            MLS quality is going through the roof and it has been on the backs of guys that developed in…..COLLEGE.

            The infrastructure is there, the money is there, and the future will be there too.

            We will talk next year, there will be another 5 more from the 2010 class that are total studs, and 4-5 more from the 2011 class.

            IF you disagree, and there really is no way you can, then you don’t get it.

          • Dave C says:

            Ha, you’ve got a different interpretation of “great” if you think you could make a great team out of those guys.

  6. Peter C says:

    I’ll have a chance to see the young players beginning this week as all of the academy teams and the USMNT U17′s will be in Phoenix for the 2010 Development Academy Winter Showcase and Nike International Friendlies.
    I suspect that some of the players I see will be on MLS rosters next season as the new roster rules come into play.
    I was at this event last year, met some scouts from Man U and Tigres(Mexican Primera) as well as college scouts. A fun time for a footie fan. Come on down if you can make it and judge the progress of some of the US’s best young players for yourselves.

  7. Vious says:

    Americans have reasons to be optimistic but there is little reason to think that Yanks are anywhere near close to being a major-consistent player in world soccer.

    • Charles says:

      Vious,
      Almost making the final four in 2002 and final 8 this year aside of course. right ?

      Is this just wishful thinking on your part ? NO WHERE CLOSE !?!?
      We just won CONCACAF with Mexico in it. And a group stage of the WCup with England in it.

      • Dave C says:

        The US didn’t make the final 8 in south Africa. It was knocked out by Ghana in the second round (i.e the last 16).

        And though the US may have had a good (if lucky) run in 2002, you also have to consider that they were garbage either side of that (in 1998 and 2006) – i.e. they’re not a consistent force, exactly as Vious said.

        • sergio lima says:

          Hold on a second here. Every respectful soccer annalist in the world agreed that the South African World Cup was the worst technically played in the history of the game, so, let’s not forget that. Charles again using the exception to make his point.

          • Charles says:

            Oh my word,

            So you are using the 2010 World Cup wasn’t very good as your arguement ? Wow.
            We have hit new lows, so the arguement is:
            no the US was not consistantly good, because the whole World Cup stunk when they did well.

            WOW…and you are saying I don’t get it…wow.

          • Dave C says:

            Sergio’s point (that the S Africa world cup wasn’t technically very good) is both stupid and irrelevant. What is relevant is that the US did not make the last 8 in South Africa.

          • sylc says:

            To be fair Dave C I believe he meant almost making the last 8. Which they did almost make it.

          • Dave C says:

            @slyc
            After re-reading Charle’s initial comment, I realize you’re right – he meant the US “almost” made the last 8.

  8. short passes says:

    Charles, I’ve read a lot of your posts and while I often disagreed, I could at least understand your position however, when you start singing the praises of college soccer as a basis for future development, you have totally lost me! College soccer is a wasteland where white suburban players go to end their careers. The style of play is medieval — England from thirty years ago. If college soccer was such a treasure trove of players, then why are many/most MLS teams establishing their own development programs. And why do so few college draft players even make their teams. It’s fine to support US Soccer but to do so blindly does no one any good. The US Is at best a mid-level soccer country, FIFA rankings not withstanding. Our natural peers are countries like Austria, Switzerland, South Korea, Denmark, etc. The 2010 WC draw gave us a perfect path to the final 8 and England paved the road but despite that we struggled at every step. We won games through sweat not skill and skill is ultimately the measure of great teams — sorry we aren’t even close yet.

    • Charles says:

      Shortpasses, Thanks for the post.

      When we beat England for first in the group after tying them head to head, it sounds like England is our pier no ?

      I got the feeling you didn’t want them that high, maybe I don’t either, but not far behind, but whatever, maybe I am wrong on your intentions as South Korea has probably been right on par in the World Cup if not ahead of England anyway in the years the US has been relevant…the last 12.

      LACK of players making the MLS teams ? You need to brush up on your MLS fact dude. You are missing a LOT of great ( yes Dave C. I said great ) soccer players. See my list above for a VERY incomplete list.

      If Sergio is being sincere, thank to you too. I appreciate opposing view points, nothing to be learned from talking with people that agree with you.

  9. Charles says:

    yeah, beating Italy (2006) = garbage

    Please stop the US hating, they are one of the top 16 teams in the world and moving up very quickly.

    It is just wishful thinking on your part to think otherwise.

    • CoconutMonkey says:

      We never beat Italy in 2006. We drew 1-1.

      The national team may not be as good as some of us think, but if your barometer for having a good national team is to make the best 8 every World Cup, then you’re just being difficult.

    • sergio lima says:

      Hey, Charles. Thanks, brother.
      Cheers.

    • short passes says:

      Alan Rothenberg in Zurich making a pitch for the 2022 WC: “We’ve made a ton of progress: when we got the Cup in ‘88 there was no pro league, now the pro league continues to grow and build; the national team has done well; and for the last World Cup the TV rights brought FIFA more money that from any country in the world. What is disappointing, however, is that over the last 10-15 years I don’t think we’ve developed as much talent on the field. On one hand, it’s great we got past the first round of the last World Cup, but when you step back we had a fluke goal against England, fell behind Slovenia and went to the 94th minute to beat Algeria.” He must be a US Soccer hater too!! LOL

  10. ExtraMedium says:

    MLS only needs to be “good-enough” in order to have a league where fans don’t fret about how long the league will survive. Look at college football vs. the NFL, or the NBA vs. college basketball. Hell, look at La Liga vs. FMF, or Bundesliga vs. Eredivise:

    1. Drop single-entity. It was never needed in a hard salary-cap league.
    2. Make DPs tradeable/loanable.
    2a. DPs don’t count against the cap or roster spots.
    3. Drop the draft, you have to recruit your own players.
    4. Non-cash benefits and bonouses tied to winning games and titles are exempt from the salary-cap.
    5. Bottom two teams can’t pay bonouses, and don’t get revenue sharing (I’m assuming no pro/reg). 1st place reg. season team gets 50% of this money, MLS Cup champ gets the other 50%.
    5a. No sharing of non-MLS reg. season/Cup money.
    6. 8 team playoff, high seed hosts, high seed chooses their opponent, double elimination.
    7. Scrap Superliga, and put all ex-Superliga resources into USOC. The USOC beginning at the round of 128 becomes a single elimination tourney played during the summer, like March Madness. Non-MLS/D2 teams qualify via regional tournaments.

  11. Charles says:

    Re-reading the posts. I find it amazing how insecure people are about US soccer.
    I can understand the wanting the US soccer to not succeed, once the US passes some of these countries in talent/results there will be no reversing it.

    But the insecurity is a mystery to me.
    MLS has a player, one of the best 11 this year, a very good player no doubt, who played with Everton and looking like the one of the best if not the best player out there for Everton and one of the best players on the field against teams that actually have a shot of beating Barcelona. They are guarenteed 10th place finish every year in the EPL, a very good league with tons of talent and they are begging for him to come back.

    I said he is great, but it isn’t like the rest of the best XI pale in comparison. It isn’t like he is playing against 10th graders when he plays. There are so many players at/close to his level.
    He didn’t win the MVP ( don’t think he was a finalist ? ) and I didn’t hear one word of complaint…from anyone.

    The national team won CONCACAF, not a playoff which some hate and think is random, the HEX. Very difficult to do. Mexico has been one of the most consistant finishers in the World Cup over the last 30 years, the elite of the elite match their record of getting out of group stage…and that is it. Period.

    • sergio Lima says:

      MLS is great! USA national soccer team is great! Let’s not criticize! Because in United States I had learned that criticizing is not good. So, maybe Dave C is right, all former players and coaches from Europe and South America who said the last world cup was very week are all stupid and irrelevant, because in Dave’s head, you are not good as your competition, so, in his mind winning a week tournament is the same as winning a strong one, yeah, we are all stupid, he is the smart one.

      And Charles, beating Mexico by inches is great..? With all due respect for the Ermannos, but Who ta hell is Mexico in the world of soccer? WHAT DID THEY WIN? EVER? At any level? Under 15, 17, 20, 23, pros? We are talking about UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!!!!!!!!! Why is so difficult to find some Americans with old folks mentality? The ones who could not accept being behind anyone?

      Did you realize that MLS and the USA Soccer Federation don’t ever give you a date or a time when they think they will be competitive? Do they have goals for achievements or they expect you as a fan to buy tickets, watch bad games for your entire life while they make money now instead of reinvest the capital into the sport? For how long? What is the time frame? Ten years from now, twenty, thirty?

      You write my words, if you fans and all your soccer management people don’t start kicking your own buts right now putting pressure on those executives, Chinese people will start a soccer program and will end up becoming a contender sooner than USA. Everybody is talking they are the ones for 2026 WC. Do not expect they will host a world cup without having a good team.

      Let’s stop being satisfied with one of our players making the big leagues in Europe. We should be the BIG LEAGUE!

      Let’s forget about Americans for a second. USA has forty million Latinos living inside the country and with money to spend, including in soccer, their only sport. Add the millions of Americans who love the game and you already are one of the largest soccer markets in the world. But why do you guys who love to defend MLS think MLS is not a big NFL yet? The product stinks!!! You may love MLS and the National team but your emotions or your opinions won’t make them win championships or increase their credibility in the eyes of the soccer world.

      But I’m good. My native country is considered the best soccer country in the world and the team I had the honor to play for, to coach and direct for many years was just elected the 12th best of the century with 3 FIFA Club World Championships. I am very happy. I love to win.

      Cheers.

      • Charles says:

        “..credibility in the eyes of the soccer world” is EXACTLY the insecurity that I am talking about. Why would I care what some idiot who still thinks Everton might win the EPL someday think ? First of all he could care less about the Rapids, second I DON’T.

        You are barking up the wrong tree. Remember I was the guy that wanted Landon here, not Europe. The only reason I bring his success in Europe up is that some need proof MLS guys are good enough. I don’t, I don’t think you do either….we all should be able to see a Tim Ream one year out of college and know he is very good player….without the insecurity of “well he ‘only’ plays in MLS.”

        I think the US WILL be the best league in the world and of course I want it that way.

        The difference between between us, Sergio, is that I think the US is definitely going in the RIGHT direction and your think the opposite. I guess time will tell.

        Winning the HEX, making the round of 16 are BIG accomplishments !

        Unless you want to count grass roots teams that didn’t make it, like FC Seattle, that everyone but me on this thread thinks is the solution to US Soccer. The US has only had real teams/real league for 16 years now.

        So is equal with Mexico the END, the accomplishment, no it is a stepping stone, but a pretty big one…and it is definitely forward.

        • sergio Lima says:

          Charles, this has nothing to do with insecurity. Soccer is not an American game, you are measured by what you do in the world against the best teams of the world. My biggest issue against MLS is the way they treat the players. They pay the lowest salaries in the WORLD for a professional league but some of the teams are already making money while giants like Barcelona is 186 Million Euros in a row and Real Madrid 400 Millions. Just because their fans won’t accept other than great teams. Now, do you really think you are in the same level? MLS paid third division salaries to its players, IT IS A SHAME! United States of America is not China where people work for nothing just to make the state rich. If what you keep saying about the quality of the players is truth, then is even worst, so, pay the players more than 40k a year. NO, because if they do that they won’t make any money. That is why a lot of rich guys are entering the business of MLS, they pay amateur like salaries to 90% of the players and get one or two stars and guys like you get crazy about it. You are happy with the league because you don’t know better. You are confusing MLS with something American, IT IS NOT. Pay that kind of salaries and offer crap show is exactly the opposite of what it is being American. People who really love soccer not just because it is American really hate MLS. It is impossible to watch, I am sorry, Charles, but I am not the only one who thinks that, believe me. It doesn’t give me any pleasure to disagree with you. It is just because guys like you should be the ones on my side of the argument. If people who support can’t see what they are doing, then we are all screwed.

          • Charles says:

            Man I typed an essay, like you and I have been doing and it didn’t take.

            Summary:
            MLS pays the lowest salaries because people don’t support the league. Only the Sounders, on the verge of becoming the most profitable team in the world, no expenses and huge revenue, are in a position of way under paying.
            Why doesn’t the median LaLiga team pay as much as Barca and RM ? that was a joke to do that comparision and you know it.

            You can argue that MLS gets rid of a salary cap, but the fan they are trying to attract, like me, would jump ship. We are NOT going to support LaLiga Joke League. Champions being crowned last Monday in 5-0 games just doesn’t work. I would start watching the NBA again before that. Ok maybe not, but it is a toss-up, it is that much of a joke. They don’t support it in Spain, and they love soccer there. Sounders are the third highest drawing team in LaLiga. Not sure which teams are the top two. ;-)

            I am the first guy to protest if MLS doesn’t raise salaries to match revenue. Mariners didn’t and I, who used to go to 20-30 games a year, skipped MANY MANY games. I still don’t. I was not alone.

            The spending on “superstars”, it is a stupid way to run a league, they need to be able to go after US Nat members ( and other great players ) instead of signing Ljungberg’s for millions. I was angry about Ljungberg before he made the AllStar team last year….what a joke. MLS must be making money on jerseys. IF it helps MLS financially it might be a neccesary evil.

          • Charles says:

            even my summary was an essay.

          • sergio lima says:

            Are you sure these Sounders are that good? You always talk about them, I will follow them to see if you are not …pulling my leg, like you guys say. If they are bad…

            I am against huge salaries, but, if you guys pay salaries like the ones paid in South America, the appeal of living in US would bring a lot of talent here and then, when mixing with those talent and coached by GOOD COACHES you would start forming your own line of players one after another and then you would have options. You don’t have to go crazy like the Europeans are doing, but give some pros a chance to look at MLS as a viable option. I have great agents in Brazil who are friends of mine who keep asking me about the market here and I don’t have anything to tell them. You don’t need Beckhan or Henry, they’re gone. You need new hunger talent. Level A players who could in fact, even play for the American national team.

            C’mon Charles…Help me out man.

            Cheers

            If I write to you today again, I will probably get a boot from my wife. So, see you soon.

          • Charles says:

            Not saying the Sounders are that good, you can judge for yourself how good. Some are very optimistic and think the league is doing great. Some, well you read their comments, MLS is 77th best league in the world.

            I am saying the Sounders are profitable. I bet they made $40 million in revenue, and had less then $5 million in expenses. Just WAGs ( wild ass guesses ) on my part, but is just the amount of money the are rolling in to be guessed at.

            Montero just signed a contract extension today. I haven’t seen any numbers but more than $400,000 per year.

            THIS IS HUGE FOR MLS. Guys like him ( and Donovan ) are the guys the MLS needs to sign and keep in the league to succeed long term. Others were signed and rumored to be signed to keep them here too.

            Man I can’t wait for next year. There are going to be some great teams out there.

  12. Tom says:

    I thought Mexico won the Hex.

  13. Robert says:

    US soccer is going to take a step behind Mexican Soccer this next go around. I even think Mexico will win the Gold Cup. Gold Cup is a sham of a tournament because US has hosted it several years in a row. Let Mexico host it and see what happens.

    The reason, Mexico has more and more young players playing in Europe and their domestic league is in the top ten in leagues around the world. You can not compare their youth system (Pumas, Chivas, Pachuca) to ours and the crop of players who won the U-17 world cup are now hitting stride. Not to mention Chicharito playing for Man U who will destroy our CBs.

    • Charles says:

      So you are saying Mexico, who has been very good forever is getting better.
      I hope so. US needs someone to challenge them locally.

      • Robert says:

        Well, the coaching uphevel that Mexico has been dealing with is one of the reasons for the recent downfall. If i were bradley I would capping every one in site who is eligible to play for both US/Mexico.

  14. Nino ojo says:

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  15. Scottie says:

    Charles,

    The Sounders are not on the verge of becoming one of the most profitable teams in the world. When you combine that statement with your earlier one where you suggest the US might already be crushing the rest of the world in player development…well, you lose all credibility.

    Good lord, have just a bit of perspective, will you?

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