MLS, Europe, etc. (pulled from Camp Cupcake 2016)

Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by DHC1, Jan 10, 2016.

  1. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    With due respect, I completely disagree.

    Right now, MLS is somewhere between the 10th-20th best league in the world IMO (I put us in the tier behind Mexico) and there's a pretty big gap from the best teams in the world to MLS both in terms of talent and coaching. In addition, there is a direct correlation between the total number of minutes played in Champions League by a team's players and teams that make it to the World Cup semi-finals. So if we really want to compete for the World Cup, we need to have players who play at that level every week and as of now, MLS isn't very close and MLS' current strategy of trying to take on the Big 4 head-on bears significant risk IMO.

    Furthermore, MLS is not trying to emulate other strong football nations who are not the Big 4 by focusing their efforts on developing their internal domestic talent and then selling them to the best teams in the world. In fact, it's the exact opposite in that MLS is giving the vast majority of its money to players, most of whom are not Americans, who are on the backside of their career. It would be one thing if we were emulating the Brazilian and Argentinian strategy but MLS is hell-bent on trying to challenge UCL head-on.

    Why would we spend USMNT efforts on developing MLS' go-for-broke strategy? By doing so, we're effectively saying that not only will MLS become equal to the Big 4 in terms of level of play, but even more important, it will do so while playing Americans in key positions rather than importing the most talented in the world.

    Maybe the first part happens but I have no faith that the second one happens concurrently and that puts us in a terrible position.

    To be clear, I'm not a believer that going to an equivalent tier 2/3 league (e.g., BL2, Belgium, Norway) is a better play automatically but at least there's a track record of top players from that league going on to play for UCL semi-finalists.
     
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  2. tab5g

    tab5g Member+

    May 17, 2002
    #2 tab5g, Jan 10, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2016
    I'd call MLS's strategy more of a go-for-success (and sustainability) rather than a "go-for-broke" strategy. ymmv.

    The US Soccer efforts can and should be coordinated (or at least concerned) with (and ideally supportive of) what MLS is doing since the USMNT can and does improve as its domestic league does the same.

    And what is actually wrong with MLS stating those goals and attempting to work to realize them. I see no issue with the end result you outline for MLS.

    MLS is not going for broke.

    It is wisely and steadily trying to improve itself.

    At some point the most talented in the world will include American players as well. Where those players will opt to play professionally will be an interesting item to track and see.

    I am not convinced that the UCL will always be the benchmark it is today, as the ultimate level of club/player success.
     
  3. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    It's a bit inconvenient when the other time we missed the Olympics was when LD/DMB were in their prime and were expected to take us deep. Makes it hard to generate conclusions when LD was in his prime and we whiffed. Stuff happens.
     
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  4. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    I'm not saying that MLS' rise isn't a great thing for the USMNT as we came from literally nothing to a respectable league that is improving significantly.

    However, the interest of MLS and the USMNT are different and MLS's current intent is not to build primarily around American talent. Therefore, our talent shouldn't be exclusively tied to it either.

    But MLS' goal is to be bigger than the Big 4: that's a huge goal that dwarfs the Russian Hockey league trying to become the best hockey league or the Spanish Basketball league usurping the NBA.

    You can call it what you want but it's certainly not what non-Big 4 WC contending nations do with their leagues (e.g., Brazil, Argentina, Belgium, [France], Mexico, etc.)

    That's all well and good but for the next 20 years, UCL will be the benchmark and a US technical coach should try and get our players to be best level possible and there are levels above MLS. It doesn't mean that we shouldn't have a lot of Americans in MLS but our best should be seeking to play at the highest level.

    From your mouth to God's ear.

    Absolutely
     
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  5. Suyuntuy

    Suyuntuy Member+

    Jul 16, 2007
    Vancouver, Canada
    Beasley and Donovan were terrible in that semi-final versus Mexico. I remember that 4-0, not even the Mexicans expected that. Total meltdown.

    On the other hand, Donovan played (and scored) in the U23 team that made #4 in the 2000 Olympics.
     
  6. tab5g

    tab5g Member+

    May 17, 2002
    I haven't read that.

    Not that it matters, but MLS states it wants to be "among" the best leagues, and 3 of the 4 metrics it seems to be focused on are business metrics much more so than competitive on-the-field metrics.

    I prefer to focus on the parallel goal of making MLS be the best league it can be. Americans are always going to play in this league, so the sooner everyone gets on the same page and really working toward being committed to and being involved with the work MLS is doing to improve itself, all the better.
     
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  7. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    My point wasn't about LD himself (lord knows I have no desire to wade in those waters) but rather that even with two of our best field players in their prime, we missed the tournament so stuff happens.
     
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  8. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    And that's fine for MLS and for US viewers but it's not sympatico with what's best for the USMNT. MLS has decided to build its brand around well-known global soccer players, of whom very few are American. Furthermore, the poor performance of MB and JA relative to their salaries* will probably poison the well for Americans at their peak going forward.

    A strategy that built around American home-grown players and recalling overseas Americans (not Beckham, Drogba, Dos Santos, Henry, etc.) would be a strategy that lines up well with the USMNT IMO.

    * not that they suck but they're way overpaid.
     
  9. napper

    napper Member+

    Jan 14, 2014
    Fullerton
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I agree that MLS is going slow and steady. It's been 2 decades already.

    MLS going halfers with USSF on Double Pass is part of the coordinated effort that's needed.
     
  10. tab5g

    tab5g Member+

    May 17, 2002
    #10 tab5g, Jan 10, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2016
    "Very few" for now, but likely more and more each year/cycle, it seems the trend would be.

    Certainly a USMNT that had (even) more success would help create a reality of more well-known American soccer players on the global stage.

    No, it probably won't poison the well. A lot of players are overpaid (while "underperforming"), and pretty much all leagues/clubs continue to make those kind of contract offers.

    MLS is doing that -- all of Dempsey, Bradley and Altidore are American homegrown players and "recalled overseas American" given their club career paths.

    And MLS can multitask, and bring in the best US players as DPs and also bring in names and other great players from around the world to be DPs. It doesn't have to be an either/or.

    The point is that MLS can build itself around the likes of Jordan Morris, and honestly Morris never really needs to have a club like Bremen (or any German) club on his resume (to start his career or truly at any point in his career).
     
  11. Suyuntuy

    Suyuntuy Member+

    Jul 16, 2007
    Vancouver, Canada
    We were much weaker in other positions, though. Team play, can't have one or two players lift the team above the mean --specially at that age group, when they were all still learning. If I remember correctly, we had Borchers and Marshall in CB, and Borchers got a red stupidly (two yellows in under a minute, one for the foul and one for insulting the ref). We had Brad Davis and Kyle Beckerman as our CM pair, our motor, slow as molasses even then.

    But the left side was what did us in, with Ricky Lewis & Bobby Convey. Whatever you say about the batch we have now, there's no one like Lewis, who didn't even manage a pro career.

    I think missing two Olympics in a row at this point is a lot worse than what happened in 2004.


    PS: FWIW, even though I love how it's improving and growing and what not, being honest with myself I have MLS as #24 in my personal league ranking (down from #23 last year).
     
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  12. thedukeofsoccer

    thedukeofsoccer Member+

    Jul 11, 2004
    Youtube: Jimmy Dore, Secular Talk
    Club:
    AFC Ajax
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    http://www.mlssoccer.com/post/2016/...-are-saying-about-mls-prospect-and-usmnt-call

    GM 1
    : “Vincent’s just a prototypical MLS defensive guy. He’s going to have longevity, takes care of his body, super mature, good leadership. Quite frankly, he’s never going to be the superstar, but is always going to be the guy you can count on.”

    Head coach 1: “In terms of left backs in the past few years, it’s hard to think of one that has the full package of things that he has. He’s athletic, he has a good engine, he can get up and down, he’s got good feet, serves a good ball, pretty good 1-v-1 defender. So you would think that in terms of outside backs, this is a place to often get good players in that position and he’s a guy that I think could make the transition pretty quickly. I would expect him to go pretty high.”


    GM 2: “Good, got much better as the year went on, a good, solid player.”


    Head coach 2: “Very good, an excellent cross. The thing with him, and it’s like a lot of guys that come into our league, is going to be the pace and everything is going to be a lot faster. But I think he’s a solid left back, one of the better ones in this draft.”



    Head coach 3: “He gets up and down the line, you can tell he’s committed to getting forward, he’s intelligent, he doesn’t look to try to dribble and take guys on in silly spots, he’ll just serve a good ball into the box. He just kind of fits that mold of the guy that makes you sleep well at night. He’s intelligent out there, he’s not going to be the flashiest, but he’s an honest, hardworking, MLS effective guy.”
     
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  13. Mahtzo1

    Mahtzo1 Member+

    Jan 15, 2007
    So Cal
    I hope I'm not removing any context in the quote above but I wonder why you say this. First, what exactly do you mean by "taking on the Big 4 head-on"? Second of all, in your opinion, what is MLS risking by doing so?
     
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  14. Geneva

    Geneva LA for Life

    Feb 5, 2003
    Southern Cal
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Was that 4-0 game even broadcast? I don't remember seeing it.
     
  15. LouisZ

    LouisZ Member+

    Oct 14, 2010
    Southern California-USA
    Club:
    FC Barcelona
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    That is a big spread considering just in the Americas there is probably 7 leagues better than ours.
     
  16. Rahbiefowlah

    Rahbiefowlah Member+

    Oct 22, 2001
    Las Vegas
    A nice articulation, and a macro perspective to which Klinsmann's maverick authority is at best tangential.
     
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  17. swedust

    swedust Member+

    Aug 30, 2004
    I don't fully agree with all your points but a well reasoned argument (repped).

    In both the context of your point (best league for USMNT prospects to develop) and of this camp roster (best way to foster high-achieving USNTs) I happen to believe that the basic pragmatism of Euro soccer clubs, with their endless depths of player development, will always skew against the US youth player trying to escape the NCAA's gravitational pull.

    In other words, your data about UCL semi-finalists + WC achievers is accurate but not necessarily predictive when in comes to the anomaly of US domestic player development.

    Anyway, this camp on it's own won't prove either of our points....
     
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  18. swedust

    swedust Member+

    Aug 30, 2004
    Now hold on.

    In no particular order:

    Mexico
    Brazil
    Argentina
    Colombia
    ...?


    I can't convince myself fully of any but the first one, in terms of absolutely being "better" than the MLS (although maybe you have a more specific sense of "better" than I am aware of).

    But even if I gave you all those, that's only four. Which would be your other three -- and we are talking leagues here, not just the top one or two clubs.

    Guatamala?
    Costa Rica?

    Even if I gave you those that's still only six. Sorry dude but I am not buying that.
     
  19. cleansheetbsc

    cleansheetbsc Member+

    Mar 17, 2004
    Club:
    --other--
    #19 cleansheetbsc, Jan 11, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2016
    Their prime? Their prime was age 20?

    IIRC, that was the 'Donovan' peed on the field game? Anyway, that was losing a one-off game vs. Mexico, in Mexico, not something you hang your heads on. What has happened the last two times? Mexico hasn't even been in the equation.
    4 years ago, we were done in by the Mighty Canada and El Salvador. This time by Honduras.

    Did I mention that all these games were at home?



    Edit: Here was the roster in 2003. Eddie Johnson and Kyle Martino were replaced late because injury:
    Goalkeepers (2): D.J. Countess (Dallas Burn), Doug Warren (D.C. United);
    Defenders (6): Kelly Gray (Chicago Fire), Ricky Lewis (L.A. Galaxy), Oguchi Onyewu (FC Metz -- France), David Stokes (D.C. United), Chris Wingert (St. John’s University), Alexander Yi (Royal Antwerp FC -- Belgium);
    Midfielders (7): DaMarcus Beasley (Chicago Fire), Kyle Beckerman (Colorado Rapids), Brian Carroll (D.C. United), Ricardo Clark (MetroStars), Justin Mapp (Chicago Fire), Logan Pause (Chicago Fire), David Testo (Richmond Kickers);
    Forwards (3): Landon Donovan (San Jose Earthquakes), Alecko Eskandarian (D.C. United), Nate Jaqua (Chicago Fire).
     
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  20. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    I'd like MLS to be the best league it can be but don't believe that being a weigh station for international players on the back half of their careers is a great long-term strategy. Furthermore, I firmly believe that all US players that have the ability to play at the highest level of the game should do so and should get to a very good European developmental program instead of college or MLS (even sooner if they have EU access). In other words, the Zelalem, Hyndman, Rubio et al route is better for the USMNT than if they had stayed in MLS.

    Question for you: why is MLS' current strategy better than every other soccer league outside of the top 5-6 in the world (e.g., focus on developing local talent and feed to bigger clubs)?
     
  21. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    First, I think that Morris should stay in MLS given his age and the likelihood that speed-based forwards aren't successful into their 30s. IMO his window is the next 4-6 years and getting the most playing time right away is more important than development of his tactics, skills and touch.

    Do you believe that Miazga should stay in MLS then? If MLS is trying to build itself around domestic talent, why let a young, high potential player leave? What is better for the USMNT?
     
  22. tab5g

    tab5g Member+

    May 17, 2002
    #22 tab5g, Jan 11, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2016
    And my take is that "wanting the USA's best players to play outside of MLS" is not at all supportive of the idea of having MLS be the best league it can be. It is that simple.

    That's a short-term and non-sustainable focus, imo. It undercuts the idea of improving MLS (and the USMNT program) in the long term by continually keeping MLS as a substandard option and one that is not a "league of choice" for all players (even the best and youngest, and those likely to soon mature into key components of the USMNT).

    I don't think anyone said it was "better than" some other approach.

    My point is that MLS is doing a lot of good, and it would likely benefit both US Soccer and MLS if more of the decision-makers and "player career guidance counselors" involved with the USMNT programs (as coaches and TDs) were more focused on the necessary collaborative work to help MLS improve itself, rather than the apparent preference to get the likes of Jordan Morris over to a UEFA club ASAP, at the expense of strengthening the actual content of those MLS academies and teams.

    I'm fairly certain that is not MLS's (only or even primary) long-term strategy, thankfully. Improving their academies and signing and utilizing some of the best domestic talents seems to be more of the evolving focus. (But yes, MLS and many of its clubs are still young and at the point -- and may stay there for a very long time -- where it needs to market itself and be a league that does sign/use "international players on the back half of their careers." But again, MLS can multitask, and it can sign the Kakas and the Keanes and the Henrys of the world while also bringing up/in players like Besler, Miazga, Nagbe and Morris.)
     
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  23. tab5g

    tab5g Member+

    May 17, 2002
    I think every player should do what they want and what they feel is best for their career. I've enjoyed watching Miazga play in MLS.

    I'm not going to get too concerned with what any one player opts to do (now, or across their career).

    I appreciate it (greatly) when talented players opt to sign with and play in MLS. It helps MLS improve, and it helps the USMNT program.
     
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  24. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    Mahtzo,

    Every other football league outside of the top 5-7 has the strategy of developing young domestic talent and selling their top players to better leagues. Sometimes domestic players come back on the backside of their careers but they certainly don't pay a couple of foreign players the vast majority of their payroll.

    I see the biggest risk is in "renting" foreign DPs who are on the backside of their careers. I think they take away playing time from American rising young players, aren't emotionally invested in the program (i.e., have a deep seated desire to build younger players here) and force teams to build their style of play around them (not literally but economically).

    Many posters here posit that developing a strong domestic league is the best way for our youth to want to excel in soccer: I strongly disagree as I believe that the best way for us to develop an even stronger youth following is to have an American player star for a team that wins the UCL. Americans want the best in the world and it doesn't matter where the stage is: look at how popular Lance Armstrong was domestically even though cycling was barely present in the US. Furthermore, it's easier to watch UCL matches in NYC as it is to watch NYRB and I believe that there's a far bigger TV audience for UCL matches than MLS playoffs (but that's admittedly a guess).

    I'm a proponent of US players returning to MLS once they've hit their max level as it provides a great opportunity for them to become a team-leader, rather than a cog on a better team. IMO, it's failed badly in MBradley's case but I applaud the challenge that MBradley took and really thought it would have been good for him instead of an almost total failure.
     
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  25. DHC1

    DHC1 Member+

    Jun 3, 2002
    NYC
    I guess we can agree to disagree but wanting our best players to play at the highest level possible is very different from wanting the US' best players to play outside of MLS: right now MLS may be the best level possible for our best players but, quite frankly, that's a significant problem.

    Look, MLS isn't a top league and the USMNT goal should be having its players compete weekly at the top level (which IMO is UCL quarter level teams). Our talent level isn't there now but IMO it's easier to grow into that role while training at top club's developmental academies in Europe.

    I asked about Miazga and you dissembled re: not wanting to focus on any individual (which is fair). However, my point being that if you believe that our best players should stay in MLS even if they are UCL level, I'd like to understand how that helps the USMNT. For example, if Neymar was American, you'd want him to stay domestic?

    Perhaps I can ask it another way with the assumption that all nation's domestic leagues want to be the best league it can be.

    Why is MLS absolutely alone in not wanting to be a domestic development/feeder league? Or is it that other nation's don't want to be the best league they can be?
     

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