Thursday, June 22, 2006

End of the Line

The US lost to Ghana today to end their run at the World Cup. It's a huge disappointment considering their quarter final showing at the last World Cup. Is there blame to be placed? Well like it or not, Bruce Arena is going to take most of the blame for this one. He could have utilized Eddie Johnson more, but in the end, I think it was very apparent that the US just doesn't have the skilled players that it takes to compete with the best teams in the world.

As I've stated before, Soccer is an afterthought to most kids in the US. It's amazing considering the fact that youth soccer is played by more kids in the US than little league baseball or pee wee football. Of course it's mainly a suburban sport, so the best athletes still aren't playing soccer. This result will not spark a soccer revolution in the US. If the team had a miracle run to the semi finals, it may have provided some momentum for a soccer movement here in the States. I don't see that happening at this point.

The goal of the US soccer federation was to have a team that would be ready to win the World Cup by 2010. Clearly that goal is now off track. Bruce Arena is going to be replaced and I think it's about time for the US to look outside of its borders for a replacement. If Arena is the best that the US has to offer then its clear that they have to bring someone else in to try and build a foundation for the future.

The problem with the US team is not effort. Outside of the game against the Czech Republic, they seemed to give maximum effort. The problem is lack of skill and imagination. Perhaps Freddie Adu or some other foreign born player will be the one to finally bring a world class offensive player to the US side. Until the US produces a player who can truly hold his own against the best players in the world, they will continue to struggle on the sports biggest stage. Landon Donovan is definitely not that player. He was a non factor during the World Cup. He looked overmatched and confused. It's amazing that the US has been unable to produce that kind of player. You would think that just by luck that in a country of over 250 million that one person would be a world class soccer player. No such luck as yet. The only hope is that some 16 year old is about to explode on the US soccer scene.

Until the US produces it's version of Pele or Maradonna (hell even someone as good as Alan Shearer or Dennis Berkamp would be a huge upgrade), they will struggle to produce favorable results in the World Cup. Freddie or someone else has 4 years to mature into that player or else it'll be three and out again.



Blogger shmooth said...

this tourney was all about Arena. we've got more than enough skilled players - every one of them could be playing over in Europe, and many of them are. and many of them feature or even star for their european teams. england. germany. you name it. this had almost nothing to do with individual players. a horrible coaching job can break down even the best of players.

2:35 PM  

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