A Theory: College vs. Pros

Discussion in 'College & Amateur Soccer' started by LuvDaBears, Oct 10, 2003.

  1. LuvDaBears

    LuvDaBears New Member

    Sep 4, 2002
    It's been talked about before, but now that we're in the middle of the college season, I thought I would offer up some food for thought.

    Here's what's wrong with college soccer, by and large.

    The biggest problem is coaching. BAD coaching. Most college coaches are simply incapable of developing players for the next level. It seems as if the vast majority of these guys look for the fastest players possible, with very little regard for technical ability and tactical awareness. If the kid can run fast, he must be good. That's the prevailing mindset in D1 soccer, and it's why so many games are so difficult to watch. Granted, speed is a big part of the game, but I believe too many college coaches take speed in the 100 yard dash over soccer skill. I've seen it for years now, especially in the ACC and other top conferences. I think these coaches confuse running speed with speed of play. I've seen many good young players with good speed, not great speed, excel because they have vision on the field, they can hold possession, they can read the game two or three passes in advance. However, I don't see those players succeeding in college soccer very often. They are truly the exception. A top school in the southeast last season, added a guy to their team who was cut from his club team his senior year in high school because he had no soccer sense. Yet, because he can run fast...this college coach thinks he's a player. Never mind that the guy's touch is horrendous, and he couldn't string two passes together in his wildest dreams.

    I see guys with national pool experience, sitting on the bench, because the coach elects to play the other guy who is a half step faster. It's absolutely crazy. I also see excellent players sitting on the bench because the coach thinks the game is going to be "too physical" for him because he stands only 5-7.

    Simply put, a player's perceived athleticism is more important to the college coach than the player's soccer playing ability. IMO, that is the real problem with college soccer.

    How many times do we sit at college games, with no flow whatsoever, with little skill and constant "booming" the ball out of the back? How often do we see college soccer games as track meets, instead of pure soccer? The more college games I see, the more players I see dribbling in to pressure and losing the ball, when a simply played 7 yard ball would suffice.

    Maybe I'm just watching too much pro soccer on Fox Sports World, but the differences are so immense between college and the pros, that it concerns me. It concerns me because we could be producing SO MANY more pro players, if it weren't for the college game, which actually hinders most players potential.
  2. Hax

    Hax BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 1, 2000
    I guess I'll assume the mantle of apologist for college soccer. I don't entirely disagree but here's two points I have a small beef with.

    "Most college coaches are simply incapable of developing players for the next level."

    I do not disagree that some coaches assume some defensive tactics and too much longball at times, but I say they're no different than any coach. The fact you overlook is this, it is NOT the coach's job to prepare players for the pros. NCAA soccer is NOT a developmental league, it is a league in its own right and the coach is there to "just win baby." In every other college sport coaches are expected to win, why should college soccer be any different? The unfortunate truth is that some dreadful tactics win games. For example, I watched Wisconsin bunker in for the entire second half of a game against PSU last weekend but they hung on for the win. Criticize the tactics, sure, but they won so what can you do?

    "How many times do we sit at college games, with no flow whatsoever, with little skill and constant "booming" the ball out of the back?"

    Give me a break, how many games in the EPL or Champions League do we watch that have no flow whatsoever, with some skill and constant "booming" the ball out of the back? I have watched tons of games at every level across the world in which the tactics can be second-guessed, college is no different there.


    I don't entirely disgree with you. But I don't think the fault lies entirely within NCAA soccer. Some of the flaws include the short fall season of college soccer, a spring season would help guys play more and improve. Also, with only 10 MLS teams and no reserve teams, it's hard for youngsters, unless they're named Donovan or Beasley, to step on the pitch. I firmly believe that there's some great talent out there, the problem is they're not playing in enough games. The atmosphere in NCAA soccer (even though it requires 20 hrs/week) is not intensive enough. A dissertation could be written on this, so I'll quit now. Let me know what you think, these are just some thoughts.
  3. Attacking Minded

    Attacking Minded New Member

    Jun 22, 2002
    LDB, I agree with you for the most part but I think the biggest cause of problems with college soccer is that it is done for something other than putting fans in the stands. Soooo many things would be different if attendance were the driving force.
  4. Hax

    Hax BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 1, 2000
    I disagree. Attendance is a driving force at a lot of schools, I've been to many college games at many places where they have all kinds of promotional events to get people to attend games. The problem is that many colleges have sparse budgets for soccer, terrible facilities, saturated sports markets, etc. The reality is that college soccer in general is not a big draw and that's not simply because of the style of play. Football and basketball have storied traditions in intercollegiate sports while soccer is an afterthought at best. Lacrosse, hockey, and baseball even draw more in certain regions. Some soccer schools can boast similar followings but as a whole the college game is unvervalued, just look at the amount of people who post on the college boards here versus other ones. Soccer snobbery contributes some, I hate to be Paul Gardner-esque here, but I know many MLS fans who won't be caught dead at a NCAA match.

    I think one underlying problem is perception and awareness. Many people like LuvDaBears considers the tactics terrible in college soccer and find the game a lower level even though some really great players have come through the collegiate ranks. Some soccer fans watch with an awfully critical eye without appreciating NCAA soccer for its drama, excitement, and passion. Yet some soccer fans feel that NCAA soccer should prepare players better for the pros and be more flowing. But do you criticize Rick Pitino for full-court pressing when they rarely do that in the NBA? No, because he wins. How about the Princeton back-door play? People loved it as a throwback style of basketball and that UCLA couldn't handle it. But if someone were to bunker-in or play longball a soccer game, everyone would cry that the integrity of the game has somehow been compromised. Yes, we hope for attractive soccer, but I do not feel cheated if teams assume a win at all costs mantra, it's their job, it's what they're playing for...to win! This is something Paul Gardner doesn't understand, and I think it's something those who look down upon college soccer don't understand as well.
  5. Attacking Minded

    Attacking Minded New Member

    Jun 22, 2002
    Attendance is A driving for but it is not THE driving force. I would rank attendance concerns at around #10 on the list of concerns.

    Take college soccer tactics (please!) for instance. Why are college teams so reliant on big fast players that run at defenses looking for a good ball over the top? We could talk about the sub rule, the limited number of scholarships, older coaches, the exclustion of players with poor SAT scores, the bias against players who couldn't afford ODP, etc. BUT none of these problems would be in place if producing an entertaining and winning team were the goal. Colleges keep the season short, expect soccer players to make up for the poor grades of the Bball program, limit sport scholarships, etc. because they don't care ENOUGH about attendance. Let the football team go bellow .500 in conference or for five home games not to be sold out and the head football coach is getting his contract taken away. A new head coach will come, a new scouting team will come, there will be more pressure on the admisions dept. to let in marginal student athletes, etc.

    That's why I think the lack of enough pressure on getting fans through the gate is the root problem with college soccer. If coaches, AD's, presidents, etc. were under more presure to bring people in to the big programs then I think that scholarships would increase to something like 19.9, there would be a more FIFA like sube rule and so on.
  6. due time

    due time Member+

    Mar 1, 1999
    Santa Clara
    Undoubtedly there is some truth to the premise of LDB. But I've seen a big improvement in the last few years. Last year there were a number of collegiate players that stepped into MLS well prepared. You can't expect every college player, or even every high draft choice to be able to do that. That doesn't happen in the NFL either.

    Some examples this year:
    Todd Dunivant
    Ricardo Clark
    Damani Ralph
    Pat Noonan
    Shavar Thomas
    and I think you can even extend that to some others like:
    Nate Jaqua, Jamil Walker, Nat Borchers, Ricky Lewis and several others that have made some important contributions in their first year in MLS.

    I think there are several coaches at least on the West Coast that know how to coach soccer, not just kick-ball - Bret Simon at Stanford, Kevin Grimes at Cal, Cam Rast at Santa Clara just in my local area. And since Tom Fitzgerald at UCLA actually coached several years in MLS, I'd guess you'd have to consider him good enough.
  7. KinleyDog

    KinleyDog New Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    i'm sure that the players that leave college and go to the mls are fine players, but when you put that into perspective with the combination of volume / quality that is produced by club systems in europe then you really begin to see the picture that soccer in the US is not on that level.

    one could argue that if you abolish ncaa soccer and give the money to the club level programs up to the u23 level that would eventually feed the mls with some highly talented players. the club teams would have to be regionalized with levels, and relegation handed to those that aren't successful. further, the mls clubs would need to establish a long line if u10-u23 teams that produce players. college isn't for everyone, and many people that i know are very successful even without degrees.

    one could also argue to keep ncaa soccer and try to build feeder systems similar to what baseball does (college and minor leagues). in this case mls could create a second division (similar to triple a baseball).

    in reality, the US is at a very early stage of soccer rennaissance (since wc in '94), and still hasn't matured regarding the feeding infrastructure to its top teams.

    the bottom line; however, is that it does come down to fan interest. fan interest produces advetising dollars, and advertising dollars produce opportunity and growth. its as simple as spelling nascar, nfl, nba and mlb. i don't see fan interest doing anything more than small yearly growth until the national team happens to obliterate the rest of the world teams in the world cup - even better on our soil.
  8. Karl K

    Karl K Member

    Oct 25, 1999
    Suburban Chicago
    You know, we had a similar thread a while back after some folks complained mightily about the quality of play in the NCCA finals.

    Let me add the following points as a perspective here.

    First, when you see a college game, you are watching U18/U21 soccer -- it's probably not as good as 2nd division soccer or 1st division RESERVE soccer overseas. Ever see a Serie C game in Italy?? Hide the women and children.

    Look, 90% or more of these kids -- and we forget they are KIDS, not hardened pros -- will never see the inside of a paid professional locker room. They weren't all that great to begin with, and they aren't likely to get any better in a professional environment.

    What you see is pretty much what you are going to get.

    Second, as you would see in any "reserve" or "2nd division" game, you are going to see some fine moments that show that SOME of these kids, the better ones who are likely to go onto better things, DO have some skills.

    Third, in any game where teams are evenly matched athletically, you are almost ALWAYS going to have defense win the day. That's soccer.

    Fourth, talent in college is diluted -- even the exceptional talent.

    In 1998, I saw in person at Northwestern's lakeside field Indiana win the Big 10 title; they went on, if you recall, to win the NCAAs. There were five professional level players on that team, and they were obvious after about the first five minutes of play: Nick Garcia, Lazo Alavanja, Dema Kovalenko, Yuri Lavrinienko, and Alexksy Korol.

    You know who was THE best player on the field in THAT tournament?


    Yet his career is in tatters. Kovalenko teases us with potential, but has been maddeningly inconsistent (and he left EARLY!). Korol was a poacher; Lavrinenko could dance rings around the competiton with the ball in college but STRUGGLED in the A league. Garcia may turn out to have the best career, but I would be surprised if he got more than 20 or so national team caps; we may have other better options at central defense.

    But I enjoyed watching Indiana beat Penn State in OT that crisp fall day; there was some decent, and certainly intense soccer.

    Meanwhile, I do think college ball puts a premium on athleticism over skill. But that's because in, say, the top 35 Division I Schools you have 750 players on those rosters. Take any group of 750 U18 to U21 high level players, in any one country, and you are going to have many more athletic types than you are super-skilled types. If I am a coach, who needs to win, and I have a choice between a highly skilled guy who doesn't move well, and a somewhat lesser skilled guy but who can run all day at high speed, well, the choice is clear.

    By the way, this is a trend not just in college but professional soccer too. If you are not careful in your roster selection, you can be out-athleted, even if you are more skillful, which is why Frankie Hejduk has had a nice career--and why South Korea went deep into that little tournament on their home soil last year.

    Again, your confusing development with winning. At THIS level, it is about winning.

    So, let's not get carried away here. It's Reserve soccer at best, 2nd or 3rd division soccer at worst, and that's how we should watch it. It's foolish to get your hopes up.
  9. LuvDaBears

    LuvDaBears New Member

    Sep 4, 2002
    I'm really enjoying this thread, because everyone is making many valid points. If I may address a few of the key issues.

    First, Karl Keller and Hax are right...college soccer is about winning, and I agree, but what I'm saying is this: why can't college coaches win, AND develop players for the pros at the same time? In my mind, it's because MOST of the college coaches in this country don't have the ability to develop talent. And, I don't think they can recognize talent. I realize that there's nothing in a college coaches contract that says he needs to develop players, but I guess that was sort of an "unwritten" law. Sadly, I am mistaken. Since we don't have a real club system like they do in Europe, we HAVE to rely on colleges to produce the majority of our talent. All too often, I see college games that are nothing more than a "hackfest."

    I also see kids who are darn good youth players with national pool and international experience, yet they get passed over in college for some kid who is 6-2 and can run fast, even though the kid has no soccer sense, first touch, or passing ability. THAT'S WHAT BOTHERS ME WITH COLLEGE SOCCER.

    I have seen many good young players digress once they get into a college soccer environment, and that's just not right. Sure, we've had some very good players come through college...Ramos, Pope, Twellman, Mathis, etc....but think how many more players we would have if college coaches actually thought it was part of their job to develop these guys?

    I hate to revert to basketball, but I will, even though some will say it's like comparing apples to oranges. Here goes. At UNC, Dean Smith knew his job was to win the ACC, and to win the national championship. That was his job. But he also realized that to accomplish that job, he had to develop players for the NBA. College hoop players USE college as a stepping stone to the NBA. Okay, not all, but a lot of them do. Why can't soccer do the same? When Jerry Stackhouse came to UNC, he was a raw talent who could jump and dunk, but he didn't have much of an outside shot, and his defense was mediocre at best. Dean worked with that guy and within two years, he was one of the best defenders in the country. Now he had the total package, ready for the pros. In college soccer, I see players with potential, like Stackhouse, going downhill all too often because soccer coaches have NO PATIENCE, for one thing. They don't give players a chance to prove themselves. I was watching the Duke-State game the other night. Duke brought in a kid, who was in for about 6 or 7 minutes. He made one bad pass, and Rennie yanked him. Gee, that does wonders for that kid's confidence, and development. The bad pass had no outcome on the game, and the kid was just getting into the flow of the game. Every player knows that it takes time to get into the match.
    Are college coaches that stupid?

    Due Time talked about the quality of coaches out west...and since I don't live out there, I usually only see those teams when they travel east, or in the tournament. I can't argue with the credentials of those guys.

    I also believe that college soccer rosters are by and large, too big. Do teams really need 26 guys? There are roster limits in b-ball and football, why not soccer?
    I think 20 is plenty for a soccer roster.

    Karl Keller says if he's a coach, and he has a choice of using a highly skilled guy, or a lesser skilled guy who's a bit faster, the choice is clear. Why? I watch our USMNT play against teams like Brazil, where we clearly have better athletes on the field. Bigger and stronger guys. Brian McBride, Eddie Pope, Eddie Lewis, etc....but Brazil throttles us. Same for Argentina...a bunch of 5-6 guys with great skill. Let me make this analogy. Kerry Wood can throw a 96 mile an hour fastball. He's got speed. But if he doesn't have one or two other pitches, big league hitters are going to time him, and take him deep. You have to have a variety of pitches. Soccer is the same way...you have to have variety. Yet in college, all these guys see is how fast someone can run. They don't take into account so many key ingredients of what it takes to be a high level player.

    Karl mentions that a lot of college players aren't great to begin with. I agree. But a lot of the good players waste away in college because the coach is too dumb to see the kid's potential.
  10. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

    Feb 13, 2001
    Even though this has been rehashed some before, I think this is a good, and importnat thread. And, I think everyone has made good points so far.

    To me, it all comes down to accountability, or a lack of it.

    Teams don't draw? So what. The coach or AD doesn't lose his job.

    Teams don't win? So what. The coach or AD doesn't lose his job.

    He has zero pressure to win or to put a product on the field that draws fans.

    No one has any incentive to put a better product on the field, to play more entertaining soccer, to give the fans a reason to come watch. And, I think the coaches like it this way.

    If college soccer was like college football or basketball, John Rennie and George Gelnovatch would be losing a lot of sleep worrying about losing their jobs because their teams aren't living up to expectations.

    So, why create a scenario that would bring more accountability and pressure to succeed. As some have pointed out, the coaches make a decent salary from the school, some make a bit from a shoe deal (though those deals have gotten much smaller at the college level since MLS started... and the economy went south) and then most of them clean up through their summer camps.

    Most college coaches at the bigger programs are making six figs or more..... with no pressure. Why would they want to change that?

    If they suddenly started making money because their program was selling 4-6K tickerts per game, kids were buying "(Insert School Name) Soccer" t-shirts and sweatshirts (I mean enough to make money) and getting on TV regularly, then the ADs would start expecting that all the time.

    So, when they didn't deliver, then they'd be held accountable, and lose their six figure income. And who wants that?

    Now, in fairness to the coaches, to make the programs profitable would take an initial commitment/investment from the programs that most ADs are unwilling to make. But, it would be a lot easier to make that commitment IF the product they were putting on the field was much better.

    That means getting better players, teach better tactics and letting them showcase more skill. As we all know, too often that doesn't happen and schools rely on kick and run. And, that is ugly for US to watch, let alone casual fans.

    So, that has to change, IMO, for the game to grow. But, that isn't going to happen unless there is accountability. So, we are kind of stuck in a Catch 22.

    Oh, one other thing. It would help tremendously if college soccer's biggest even - the NCAA Tournament - wasn't held in a cold part of the year and when its competing with major holidays.

    How many NCAA Tourney games have you heard of where the crowds were impacted because the students were away for Thanksgiving or had already left for Winter Break or the weather was tits cold outside and you froze your tush of watching. Well, we go because we love college soccer and are gluttons for punishment. But, how many more would go if the games were held in the spring when the weather was nice.? I think more.

    So, changing to a fall-spring calendar, besides giving us more games for the kids to play, which would help development and provide a better product, would also allow the games to be played in warmer weather.
  11. Attacking Minded

    Attacking Minded New Member

    Jun 22, 2002
    Well, if you look past attendance, then I think you get into all the smaller reasons boring, unattractive, single minded soccer wins in the NCAA. I fully aree that College soccer is about winning soccer matches. However I don't think that motivation needs to change. The problem will college soccer is that too many things, other than winning, are concerns for the coaches, i.e. grades, finals, etc.

    Also, I think Karl is right in one sense in that these are kids and expecting them to play like Real Madrid is nutty.

    However the problem is exasperated by those problems that LDB mentions.

    I would rather they take the training wheels off and let them learn to ride even if they aren't ready for the Tour de France (to over extend an analogy).
  12. KinleyDog

    KinleyDog New Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    i've enjoyed reading all the comments, and they are very valid and quite interesting.

    i'm still of the belief that the quality of soccer in this country boils down to interest.

    sports are a business and that means decisions will be driven by money. soccer is not on the radar screen for most fans, ceo's, marketing executives, advertising executives, etc. if you have more at stake financially, you will get commitment. you will have accountability. you will have playing for quality and developing from the ground up. you will have investment that will ensure strength for te future. you will have coaches that get fired for not being good trainers. you will also have more youth looking to play the game, because it will afford them a better living.
  13. soccerfreak #1

    soccerfreak #1 New Member

    Oct 6, 2003
    If it´s true what youre all posting, there will be no chance for the USMNT to become a major competitor in world soccer.
    Young players shouldn´t be just judged by their strength and speed, but by their potentials and skills.
    Now it´s obvious to me, why the best american player, landon donovon decided to go to europe in the age of 16, so he wasn´t forced to go through this awfull college stuff.
    The americans should change that quickly if they want to become better in future.
    In germany we had also some problems with our youth system, cause many coaches did the same thing as the college coaches. the result is the poor performance of the german NT during the last decade, but we changed that system in ´98 and now it begins to pay of with some exelent youth players in U21 and U19.
  14. LuvDaBears

    LuvDaBears New Member

    Sep 4, 2002
    Sandon's point about accountability is exactly right. The coaches LOVE it the way it is. As he mentions, Rennie and Gelnovatch aren't winning jack, yet their jobs are in no way in danger. Players have literally been complaining about Rennie to the Duke AD for 5 or 6 years now, and nothing happens.

    Imagine if Coach K was losing to South Carolina State and Northeastern, and he wasn't getting in the NCAA tournament? He'd get canned. Not with college soccer.
    And it's because there is no accountability.

    I'm not saying I expect these guys to play like Real Madrid...but here's what's amazing. I know kids in D1 programs right now, who have played and scored against teams like Inter, Juventus, and AC Milan, and yet they get only 20 minutes a match in college because some other kid is 3 inches taller, runs a little bit faster, and knocks the crap out of people because his skills are weak.

    Guess what...if college soccer coaches had to answer to an AD who know something about the game, things would be different. If college coaches had to answer to an MLS coach, things would be different. These guys are King of their little soccer fiefdom, and they don't give a rats a__ about putting an entertaining product on the field, and they certainly don't care about producing MLS players and pro European players.

    I'm sorry, but I think that's truly a shame. I know a lot of college football coaches, and those guys take pride in how many of their athletes are playing in the NFL. I know plenty of college baseball coaches who take sheer delight in sending players to the big leagues. Actually, college baseball used to be similar to college soccer. Until about 10 or 15 years ago, the only baseball players who went to college were the ones who wanted an education first, and the kids who didn't get drafted. If a kid had potential, like a 90 mile an hour fastball, he got drafted, took the money, and lived his dream.

    However now, a lot of baseball players are choosing college where they can develop, bypassing instructional league and possibly Class A ball. After 3 years, it's into the pros, and for a lot of these guys, straight into AA, AAA, or even the bigs. Baseball coaches in college now see that they have a responsibility to get their players ready for the next level. Is winning important to them?
    Of course it is....but you can mix winning with development. I don't see that happening in college soccer.

    The players with whom I am most familiar, made it to the pros out of ACC schools IN SPITE of their college coach and his program. These guys made it because they were driven, had the talent, and refused to let some college coach who never sniffed the A-League as a player get inside his head.
  15. Attacking Minded

    Attacking Minded New Member

    Jun 22, 2002
  16. Karl K

    Karl K Member

    Oct 25, 1999
    Suburban Chicago
    Well, I think we already ARE a major competitor in international soccer (don't ask me, ask Oliver Kahn) and will continue to be one for the forseeable future

    The reasons for this are:

    --MLS. We have a continually improving 1st division professional soccer league. So a 4-year degreed college youngster with talent who enters the league at 21 or 22, despite his college years, STILL has time to get 4-6 years of professional seasoning. Some will indeed blossom into international level players.

    --Players leaving college early for MLS. Bocanegra is the prime example.

    --Young -- very young -- players working their way onto MLS rosters, without even going to college. Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley are the poster children for this, but fast on their heels are players like Eddie Gaven, Justin Mapp, Logan Pause, Memo Gonzalez -- and soon, very soon, Freddy Adu.

    --Young -- very young -- players taking advantage of youth academy opportunities oversears. Spector, Cooper, Johnson, Whitbread. And there will be more.

    For these reasons, I think it is a bit presumptuous to say that since college soccer is bad, that will spill over into our international team. I think 1990 was the last time that happened, and if MLS survives (and I think it will), I don't think it will ever happen again.
  17. KinleyDog

    KinleyDog New Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    i agree with this....
    mls, in my opinion, is more like 2nd division european
    can't see this....most players coming out of college would not make the the reserve nor u23 rosters on european clubs
  18. kayasoleil

    kayasoleil New Member

    Aug 14, 2002
    Firstly, I agree with much of what you say as I was a product of the collegiate system and it did do a lot to myself and other players in terms of stifling development and even killing love for the game (which, obviously by my soccer dork appearances on this board, has returned). But you go on to give George and Rennie much slack about not winning, when you are really, if I am not mistaken, focusing on development as the key piece of your arguments (given that winning in this country is a staple of NCAA programs on any level). George has produced a slew of pros (aleague and mls) over his tenure, though I cannot prove that he developed them to that level- as they might indeed have done it themselves in spite of him. Either way, with guys like Martino, Esky, Arena, Leblanc, Trout, West (and others) in the pro ranks, he is not doing too badly from his squads over the past 5 years or so. Besides that, the squads he carried with Martino running the midfield were far and above the most entertaining college soccer games I have ever seen, especially in Martino's final year. I did not give a *#*#*#*# that they did not bring home any trophy that year, I was treated to great soccer nearly every home game they played.

    At any rate, anyone who knows a bit about the game will agree that the quality is painful to watch most of the time. However, this is obvious for all the reasons that have been mentioned and will not likely change much in the near future with the NCAA making decisions with no regard whatsoever for how players will do in the pro ranks.

    I mentioned some time ago that you will soon see coaches getting your message and will recruit kids not based on some promise to take home the championship trophy, but instead to get a spot on the roster of some professional team, somewhere (some do at this time and are trying to find a way to build their entire programs around the concept).

    Stay tuned... patience is a must if you want your vision for soccer in this country to manifest. In the meantime, we just might see each other at some college game cringing simultaneously many times throughout the game, holding out for a rare flash of brilliance or promise.
  19. Karl K

    Karl K Member

    Oct 25, 1999
    Suburban Chicago
    I'd say MLS right now is high 2nd division, low 1st divisions. The top 3 or 4 teams could easily play in the Mexican league, for example, or the French and Dutch leagues.

    In EPL and the Bundesliga, they would probably be perennial relegation candidates, but wouldn't necessarily be pushovers, except for the CL level teams.

    As for 4-year college players evolving into international level players, I think there will be a handful who do. Though he's not an American, Damani Ralph I think will make a splash with Jamaica. Some other 4-year guys who might blossom over time include Adin Brown, Chris Gbandi, Corey Gibbs, Todd Dunivant, Pat Noonan. Meanwhile a bunch of guys who did 4-year stints have gotten USMNT caps.

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