Gluck: US Soccer “Inject Some Energy”

An interesting by-line perhaps; in the most recent matches against Costa Rica and Hondurus TV broadcasters, in both games, were noted as offering the need to ‘inject some energy’ as the second half played on.

For me that’s a death-knell for two reasons – one it shows TV broadcasters don’t have the nous to offer up more critical feedback for viewer consideration and two, it reinforces that athleticism has greater value than technical skills and nous of players.

I’m not going to get into a barrage of battering current players – it’s not fair – all those players were out there performing as best they could.

no… my point here is the failure of US Soccer to generate a worthy US Men’s National Team squad rests solely with Sunil Gulati and the ‘front office’ of US Soccer.

For over 20 years (since the World Cup was held in the United States) we’ve seen a steady decline in technical nous and talent but a steady increase in athletic skills of players – they are faster, have better heart rates, and can play longer…  sadly these are not skills that win games; they are skills that allow “presence” on a pitch that (may?) provide players the opportunity to win a ball against a more talented player (more technically skilled with nous).

If the United States had to qualify for the World Cup playing in Europe it would never happen.

There’s a phrase many may have heard that goes like this – “when all else fails go back to square one”.  For those who don’t know – that’s a phrase that comes from playing soccer where the pitch was divided up into quadrants and “square one” was the goal-keeper’s box.

It was used more when the goal keeper was allowed to field back-passes with their hands…

I’m using it now to “inject some energy” into US Soccer and mandate a vote to unseat Sunil Gulati and insert new blood and an entirely new technical skills development format where players are brought in because they show great skills on the ball (first touch and vision) not great speed and heart rate…

Next, the players are taught and asked to player (beginning at age 11) every position beginning with the most basic formation – so that players not only understand their role they also understand the role of everyone else so they ‘know’ and have awareness on where each of their teammates need to be in order to support that tactical formation.

After all – you really can never be a great center-back (which we need) without first recognizing what a great center-forward needs to do to beat you… and vice versa.

And yes, I have seen professional teams train – and no – I don’t see those professional teams giving a tinkers toss about that type of training – they train to win given an expectation that the player they’ve just purchased already knows these things…

So.. it’s up to US Soccer to train those things because domestic teams don’t…  I’m sure some college teams do but that’s far too late in a player development curve and as for youth teams – not likely as most youth head coaches I know, and have known, don’t care about developing players, they get paid by rich parents/guardians to win… not develop.

And as for High School, the season isn’t long enough…  BUT the ‘learning environment’ is perfect – BUT usually Head Coaches get paid more to coach private youth clubs so they don’t train in those environments.