With the failure of the US Men’s National Team not making the World Cup in Russia the focus by many expert pundits from around the World are questioning the quality of player developed by the USA system. The USA is not the only Team/Country to fail to get ticket to Russia take power house Nations like Italy, the Netherlands, Chile plus 100’s of others who came up short. When the USMNT lost to Trinidad and Tobago the defeat matched up to many unlikely combinations of results that blanked the USA out of the World Cup finals for the first time since 1986. The 2-1 loss to the CONCACAF Hexagonal Groups bottom team sent the USA into 5th place and elimination. One of the many questions being posed is how can we improve the quality of the game in the USA. ESPN and Gabriele Marcotti tries to give 7 points of reference on espnfc.com with a great piece called ‘Understanding why the US failed to qualify for the World Cup an outsider’s point of view’.
My initial response is that the US Soccer management group, administrators, coaches and players who were selected to get the men’s program into the World Cup hit the perfect storm of events that thwarted all of their collective efforts. Yes changing the head coach half way through the campaign definitely hurt the process. Bruce Arena did a terrific job until the last game. The depth of the player pool ready to play for the National Team has never been this solid. The domestic interest and support of the National Teams has never been more intense or knowledgeable. My perspective is that the glass is more than half full, I would hope that the next coach will be American raised, have a complete understanding of the history of the North American soccer culture. His leadership will need to mold the vast supply of super athletes into a unit of experienced game savvy, intelligent, energized soccer warriors that have been shown how to get the job done!
The first task is getting the correct person in place who has and shows the courage to tackle this ‘huge’ undertaking. There are several individuals who have the credentials, not many, but several who fit the bill and have the experiences needed for success. US Soccer leadership will certainly have a big say in what and who comes to the forefront, once they get that correct, many of the pieces will fall into place.
Nothing changes if Nothing Changes!!
Just to keep you thinking what do you think went wrong?
What areas do you believe need to be improved to ensure the USA gets back into the next World Cup and to make player development in the USA match up to those aspirations’?