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What's Next for United States Men's Soccer?
United States Men's Soccer Federation could use these next passive four years to reinvent US Men's Soccer once and for all and not to just put a band-aid on it like they have done for the past decade. There are many resolutions to resurrect soccer in America that I will touch on in this article, but none of this would be accomplished if there is not an obvious shake up to the powers that be representing the US Men's Soccer Federation, either have an entirely new perspective towards men's soccer for the future or let others with more experience and love for the game to take over.
The need for Proper Youth Development
The American Youth Soccer Association is the fundamental stage for the US to develop and discover new exciting talents. The notion that 'soccer moms' that pay up to $2,000 a month for their sons to play at a local club to make them 'well rounded' or try 'different hobbies' and the coaches go along with it cannot be the label for Boys Youth soccer in America, it needs to stop. Players young as U10 level of course needs to have a fundamental feel for the game like spacing,interactive games and learning about teamwork, but they also need to learn the fundamental love for the game. The players at this age need to create skills on their own, meaning that they need to dribble around the ball as much as possible and passing, lots of passing! By the time they are ready to move on to U13 level, they would be equipped with the basic tools to play good football than to make coaches who coach the teenage levels to go back over and reteach the same basic concepts of soccer again and again, like learning to pass and controlling the ball. At the teenage levels, they need to apply these basic concepts for in game strategies. There should be less emphases on making money off kids and more in individualizing concepts of the game to meet their skill level which is crucial to development and this responsibility starts at the coaches at all youth levels.
How the MLS can be beneficial to local players
Major League Soccer (MLS) is getting better each year. With the more emerging clubs, stadiums and revenue, the MLS is on the rise and can help with local players as well as the USL second division. The draft after college to big soccer clubs in the US is not the answer to discover great local talents because not all good soccer players went through the school system, it is good to get prospective college players but the emphasis should be SCOUTING. MLS or USL clubs need to scout more thoroughly for prospective soccer players across the nation, whether at Youth club tournaments, High School competitions, College tournaments, or even the Sunday afternoon leagues. Most good players do not have the funds to play club soccer or the opportunity to play in college, but they would play somehow; in the streets, Sunday leagues, indoor, etc. American soccer scouts need to stop feel as if good players would come to them and start doing their jobs and finds these diamonds in the coal type players in these small towns and poor neighborhoods, all they need is one trial then you'll know what type of player you have. As the MLS is getting bigger, almost half of the players are from overseas,42%, the league should consider giving contracts to more domestic young players than mid-aged washed up foreign stars.
Build around Christian Pulisic
Christian Pulisic, a young, exciting, fast, hungry, creative, ok might be carried away with all those adjectives, but Pulisic is the light through the dark tunnel for the US Men's Soccer team. He grew up and played soccer in Philadelphia, but of course, lack of proper youth soccer development in the United States, from an early age with the support of his family, he had to make a decision to pursue his career in Germany, clawing his way up the ranks and making a name for himself and couple years later got called up to play for the starting eleven for German power house, Borussia Dortmund. USMNT Federation needs to consider building the team around Pulisic for the upcoming years. We haven't seen such an arrival of a domestic star since Clint Dempsey. His playing style evolves around pace and is effective with counter attacks, thus why he play so well with Dortmund. There maybe other Pulisics out there in the US, they just need to be discovered. The US men's team need to understand that they are in no position to boast against CONCACAF teams any longer, but to start afresh, get a coach that will play attacking style football and build around Pulisic.
© 2017 Aj Aird