Almost...

Discussion in 'USA Women: News and Analysis' started by Elroy, Oct 11, 2003.

  1. Elroy

    Elroy New Member

    Jul 26, 2001
    This is quoted from US v Germany.

    You put the long term USA problem into perspective. Our program, through three head coaches, has chosen to put all their eggs into one basket. And, it's a big basket - count the number of US players who have participated in four World Cups and compare it to the number of men ( all time ) with similiar experience. I believe that the US team equals the men within their program alone. These women have been given ( hogged? ) all the development opportunities for nearly fifteen years. Don't get me wrong, the "Eternals" are all quality people, but they have been produced and promoted into being. The concept that one program could produce as many ledgendary players in fifteen years as the entire men's world has in over fifty, is so staggering as to be unbelievable.

    It was done one decision at a time and it happened b/c the core group was considered irreplacable. This concept alone crippled the development of younger players with equal physical and intellectual talent. How many players were almost as good?

    I'll name one - Debbie Keller. Let's see how many more you can name.
     
  2. penubly

    penubly New Member

    Feb 11, 2002
    League City, TX
    Club:
    Borussia Dortmund
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    What ever happened to Fotopolous (SP)?
     
  3. FanOfFutbol

    FanOfFutbol Member+

    May 4, 2002
    ACL in the WUSA.
     
  4. DCUPopeAndLillyFan

    Apr 20, 2000
    Colorado
    Jen Grubb
     
  5. Elroy

    Elroy New Member

    Jul 26, 2001
    Another name, Sara Whalen.
     
  6. Jo

    Jo New Member

    Jan 15, 2000
    Kansas
    Is she in condition? I remember she had a knee injury, surgery, and then had bad complications. Has she been playing this last year?
     
  7. Elroy

    Elroy New Member

    Jul 26, 2001
    What I'm concerned with.

    Your question is good concerning this season. I'm really asking what players - over the last ten years - showed enough promise to equal the Founders if they had been given the same training opportunities.

    Sara Whalen is a prime example. She showed real promise as a forward, but was shifted to defense when her playing style didn't fit the desires of the UNC mafia. Same could be true of Danielle Fotopolus. She possessed the most accurate shot that I've ever seen. She needed to run on to through balls to be effective. Oops, that didn't fit! Isn't she a mom also?

    My point is that we concentrated our entire resources on a very small group of women. The fact that they became ledgends was something of a self fulfilling prpohesy.
     
  8. TOTC

    TOTC Member

    Feb 20, 2001
    Laurel, MD, USA
    Jena Klugel

    Nikki Serlenga

    Devvyn Hawkins

    Aleisha Cramer (Rose)
     
  9. charcroson

    charcroson New Member

    Nov 22, 2000
    Aleisha Cramer *was* being developed. She took herself out of the NT pool when she decided that playing on Sundays was too much of a conflict with her religion.
     
  10. Beau Dure

    Beau Dure Member+

    May 31, 2000
    Vienna, VA
    Re: What I'm concerned with.

    IIRC, Whalen played both at UConn. I forget whether she switched from defense to forward or vice versa.

    You can't compare the men's pool with the women's pool. The depth is so much greater on the men's side, and it's not simply a question of DiCicco and Heinrichs keeping certain players out of the mix. The WUSA did its job in contributing a couple of players to the mix (Wambach, Boxx, Hucles), and that added to the gradual incorporation of college stars (Slaton, Wagner, Reddick) and youth stars (O'Reilly, who seemed likely to make the team before getting hurt).

    I'm not buying Grubb, Serlenga, Hawkins or Kluegel. All of them have had a few chances (Serlenga had 26 caps in 2000 alone). Keller is a truly unusual case.

    I could see some more urgency in suiting up more players, and I hope they'll do it in the Algarve and other events next year. But they still capped 33 players in 2002 and managed to add Shannon Boxx in 2003. The U.S. media guide lists 77 players called into at least one camp since Heinrichs took over in February 2000.

    And some of the "Eternals" have been in and out of favor (Chastain, Scurry, even Tiffany Roberts). The only players who slide by without a challenge to their spots are: Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, Joy Fawcett and Julie Foudy. Of those, I can't imagine anyone losing their starting jobs with the possible (but unlikely) exception of Foudy.

    So yes, give Fotop, Hawkins and a bunch of players from the U-19 championship team a shot next year. But as far as this year goes, we might just have to face the prospect that the U.S. put its best possible team on the field and still lost.
     
  11. Elroy

    Elroy New Member

    Jul 26, 2001
    Pools

    QUOTE]Originally posted by Beau Dure
    You can't compare the men's pool with the women's pool. The depth is so much greater on the men's side, and it's not simply a question of DiCicco and Heinrichs keeping certain players out of the mix. [/QUOTE]

    The fact that the men are selected under different circumstances is the problem. Even before MLS, the men had a much deeper pool. This is in part b/c the men's college program is deeper - i.e. not run by a single college. UNC domination in the NCAA translated to UNC domination on the NT. My point is that we need to avoid this situation in the future, especially if a new league doesn't arise. The Women's situation is different for non-soccer, political reasons.

    A step in the right direction, but Ape had to by dragged into it. Twenty six caps is a drop in the bucket compared to the number of camps and caps given the Eternals.

    This thread is about the women who were almost good enough. Twelve years of women who took a back seat to the anointed few. It's also a warning to future NT coaches that the game has changed and our sport must move with it. The world does not recognize Title Nine.
     
  12. Beau Dure

    Beau Dure Member+

    May 31, 2000
    Vienna, VA
    Re: Pools

    I agree that the sport has changed, but I don't think it's because of the player pool. Heinrichs made a good point -- the European teams play a constant stream of meaningful games with all the Euro and World Cup qualifiers at international level and the UEFA club tournament. The European game is more serious than it was several years ago, and they've done a great job of building on stable domestic leagues.

    But again, I don't buy the "back seat to the anointed few" argument. Only four players have survived without being displaced or seriously challenged. Hamm, Lilly and Fawcett would likely make an All-Time Best XI in the brief history of the women's game. Perhaps you could argue Foudy, but her leadership skills give her an edge.

    Plenty of players have passed through camp -- more than 70 in the past three years. Almost everyone has been displaced from the lineup at some point. Even the Big Four took a couple of breaks.

    If the U.S. had played more games in the past three years, there would've been more caps to spread around. But what do you do, suspend the WUSA?

    Again -- I'd like to see more players get a shot next year. But I don't think the player pool had anything to do with the U.S. losing to Germany.
     
  13. TOTC

    TOTC Member

    Feb 20, 2001
    Laurel, MD, USA
    Re: Re: Pools

    I made the point earlier that CONCACAF should redo WC qualifying and have Actual Home Qualifying Matches.

    Have Mexico come to Blaine, Minn. in February. Go down to Saprissa and play Costa Rica (given our thrashings of the Tico-ettes the past few Gold Cups, perhaps it would make it a fair fight!). Azteca, Edmonton, whatever ... BRING IT ON!
     
  14. Elroy

    Elroy New Member

    Jul 26, 2001
    Look at the numbers.

    It had everything to do with it. Our player pool lost!

    I did a little research at the National Soccer Hall of Fame web site. The men's NT has played 434 total matches in its existence. In that time, six players have exceeded 100 caps. They are, Cobi Jones 160, Jeff Agoos 134, Marcello Balboa 128, Paul Caliguri 110, Eric Wynalda 106, and Joe-Max Moore 100. The USNWT has played 306 matches in its history. Sixteen players have more than 100 caps. They are Lilly 260, Hamm 243, Foudy 236, Fawcett 221, Millbrett 196, Chastain 172, Overbeck 168, Akers 154, Mac Millan 138, Parlow 132, Venturini 132, Gabarra 117, Fair 114, Roberts 103, and Sobrero 102. This is as of 10-1 and does not include the WWC.

    This shows the difference in player development. The " Big Four " women have played in at least 70% of total women's matches. What is interesting, is that the top seven had to get their cap totals after Michelle Akers left the game. This is recent enough that the Title IX generation was around to develop. So, it's not four, it's nine going down to Parlow. It's not just the number of players who became tenured, it's the completeness of that tenure - Mac and Parlow have more caps alone than 2/3 of the men who have over one hundred.

    So yea, the men's pool is deeper - but there is a reason.

    These figures ( the women's caps ) would suggest that seven female Ted Williams were born between 1970 and 1980. Poor men.
     
  15. Beau Dure

    Beau Dure Member+

    May 31, 2000
    Vienna, VA
    Re: Look at the numbers.

    Major apples and oranges here. The men's national team has been around for a long, long time. The women's national team is a blip on the soccer timeline, and for most of its existence, there was no real feeder system of players.

    I'll agree that a lot of players fell through the cracks in the early days because once you finished college, you were either on the national team or you pretty much weren't playing soccer. Very little in between. And those were the years that the national team was playing tons of games -- similar to the brief period in men's soccer before 1994 that inflated the numbers of 100-cappers you list above. If the men's team had prepared for 1998 the way it had prepared for 1994 (lots of national team play, no first-division league), some of those guys would be at the 200 mark.

    I'm going with four because those are the people who haven't faced serious competition for their jobs. Everyone else has been dropped at some point and fought their way back.

    Yes. More men than women play soccer, especially at competitive levels. Today's men have had professional opportunities for more than a decade, going back to the first European excursions (and the A-League). MLS has been around since 1996; the WUSA is at three years and hoping for a fourth.

    If you're looking for someone to blame, blame Birgit Prinz and Maren Meinert. They're good. And if anyone in the WUSA were at their level beside the usual suspects, we'd know about it.
     
  16. Metros#1

    Metros#1 New Member

    May 14, 2001
    NJ
    Re: Re: What I'm concerned with.

    April Heinrichs simply failed. 77 players into camp since February 2000 means little. How many new comers become impact players?? Boxx and Wambach were literally falling into her lap, thanks to their WUSA play that basically forced her to take them, and no thanks to her player development. How many caps did they have before WWC?? If they and a few other new players had had a chance to play together regularly for a while before WWC, in expense of the eternals, the results might be different.

    We the casual fans might not know the potential of Wambach, Boxx, etc, but Heinrichs is THE COACH. Her reliance on the eternals is a key factor in poor development of new impact players.
     
  17. Metros#1

    Metros#1 New Member

    May 14, 2001
    NJ
    Re: Re: Look at the numbers.

    What is your point?

    Without WUSA, Prinz and Meinert would be still good, but we won't even have Wambach and Boxx. Don’t forget Kerstin Garefrekes of Germany played a key role in both the semifinal and the final. She’s a 24-yr old with 24 caps. Where is our Garefrekes?
     
  18. Beau Dure

    Beau Dure Member+

    May 31, 2000
    Vienna, VA
    Re: Re: Re: Look at the numbers.

    Wouldn't Wambach be the U.S. Garefrekes?

    The point is this -- we're failing to give Germany credit. For my money, Germany 2003 beats China 1999 or even Norway 1995. I think this is the best team the U.S. has faced, period.

    As far numbers of caps before the WWC go -- remember, the women's team has played substantially fewer games in the past three years because of the WUSA. They also haven't played that many meaningful games. The CONCACAF qualifying tournament is a poor place to build a team -- it's too important to risk an upset by starting 11 newcomers, but you're not going to develop much because the only serious opposition is Canada.

    In 2003, they played two serious tournaments -- the Four Nations in China and the Algarve in Portugal.

    The lineup that lost to China in the Four Nations: Beene, Bryan, Fawcett, Chastain, Benson (Pearce -- in her first appearance since July 2001), Roberts, Hucles, Kluegel (Wagner), Fair (Tarpley), Parlow (Milbrett), MacMillan (O'Reilly).

    The U.S. rebounded from that loss to win the tournament, beating Germany 1-0. The Woman of the Match: Devvyn Hawkins. The rest of the lineup more closely resembled the WWC starters, though Tarpley, Wagner and the unfortunate O'Reilly still played.

    The Algarve team was even closer to the WWC lineup -- only O'Reilly and Tarpley failed to make the cut. I'd argue that's not such a bad thing. This was the last chance to have the team together before the WUSA season. Even here, though, players were developing -- this is where Aly Wagner put her stamp on the team, and Hucles gained valuable experience.

    After the Algarve, they played six friendlies. Canada, a late substitute for Nigeria, didn't have all of its WUSA players and lost 6-1. England, Ireland, Costa Rica and Mexico weren't good opponents, though Ireland was a substitute for South Korea. Brazil put up a good fight.

    Perhaps the U.S. could have scheduled better friendlies. Perhaps those friendlies could have been used to experiment with more players, but honestly, are you going to start Fotop over Parlow if Fotop manages a hat trick against Ireland?

    Have I least convinced everyone that this question isn't so simple?
     
  19. ditch

    ditch New Member

    Jul 29, 2002
    St. Paul, MN
    I seem to remember some blackball stuff being talked about in the DiCicco regime. Beene was one that April brough in. The other two mentioned were Keller for the lawsuit and Clemens for skipping a youth tournament once upon a time.

    April was really forced to pick Boxx, what type of coach has to pick someone with 0 caps for the NT in the WC.

    What the WC squad missed was players between about 50 and 100 caps. There was one. Sobrero with 97. Behind her is Wagner with 46. I think Sobrero's generation (Jen Grubb?) was the one that really got shafted because Lilly, Foudy, Hamm etc were developed nationally from the age of 15, the generation behind didn't have that benefit.

    just my $0.02

    d
     
  20. kra2800

    kra2800 New Member

    Nov 1, 2002
    Shannon Boxx was a great addition to the team. When the NT went to a 442 the piece that was missing was a strong holding/defending midfielder. AH tried everyone there Foudy, Wagner, TR, Fair and even Parlow went there at some time. AH should have identified Boxx or someone else for that spot long before the WC. I believe had AH stuck with the 442 with Boxx behind Wagner throughout the WC we would not have been playing for third. We finally had the pieces in place to free the most tactical player in the country and AH screwed it up. We also would have scored some great goals in the run of play. AH finally had all the pieces with Boxx and Wambach added to the squad she just did not know what to do with them.
     
  21. charcroson

    charcroson New Member

    Nov 22, 2000
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Look at the numbers.

    Well, you've convinced me. I'm not sure how much that counts, though.

    It's interesting to me that whenever there's a conversation about the WUSA, we hear a lot about how women's soccer is in its infancy, there aren't enough players to support it as quality soccer, that a big plus of the league was going to be development of players -- instead of the 6-month residency camp that everybody acknowledged let a lot of players slip through the cracks.

    But, talk about player development for the NT, and all of a sudden we're supposed to be pulling players from -- where? If the 91ers were supposed to step down, who was supposed to take their places? Where are all these *dozens* of high-quality soccer players supposedly feeding into the NT coming from? Were these players supposed to come from the W-League?

    The fact is: before and after the WUSA (if "after" it's going to be) if a college player didn't have the grit, the bullheadedness, the indefinable sense of crusade, to continue playing competitive soccer when there was literally nothing to support her in that -- she fell off the radar regardless of her talent.

    There is a generation gap between Hamm and Wambach. But it's because of the WUSA that Wambach is even around. Without the WUSA, there might not be a gap -- there might well be a hole where Wambach was supposed to be. And the WUSA as true feeder system was ever only its infancy, and hadn't really started to actually devlop talent.

    Which is to say that the generation gap doesn't necessarily exist b/c the 91ers wouldn't step down, but because there weren't (and maybe still aren't) all that many who could step forward to replace them, because there isn't any real way to develop replacements comfortably and consistently.

    Given the residency camp system that's been operating for so long, player development and replacement could only ever really go in lurches. I think Akers and Lilly are prime examples of that. Where are their replacements? Nowhere, because there's no place to develop replacements without kicking those two off the team, or drastically reducing their playing time. Who's going to do that? You can't be your own player development system. It's why baseball has the minor leagues and football and basketball have the NCAA.

    I had hoped that the WUSA would mean that there aren't any more 200 cap players on the NT. But, without the WUSA, I think we're going to see the same pattern repeat itself. Go for building a long-term team around those with enough grit and determination to stick it out when you can't make a living at it. Which, again, is going to create huge generation gaps and lots of lost talent and player development.
     
  22. Elroy

    Elroy New Member

    Jul 26, 2001
    Facts.

    Fact: The US women only had so many training opportunities. They chose to give the vast majorty of them to a very small group of women.

    Fact: The US men also had a finite number of training opportunities. They chose to spread them among a far larger group.

    Fact: Neither program had a league prior to 1996.

    Fact: Both the men's and womens programs are fed by hundreds of college athletes graduating each year. Out of that number there ought to be at least five or ten per year who could be expected to have impact on the NT program.

    Question: What happened to all the women? Who were they and where did they go?

    Anyone can justify what was done, especially if they concentrate on the micro picture and analyze one decision at a time. Anyone can say that there was only one way to do things. But, that's rarely true. Pull back and consider the big picture. This is especially important if we are to return to a camp based development system. I believe that the concentration strategy was successful when the US women were from what was then the only nation with large numbers of women playing. I don't think that it will work now that several programs have caught up.

    Some more names. Susan Bush, Danielle Borgman, Heather Mitts, Mandy Clemens.
     
  23. Beau Dure

    Beau Dure Member+

    May 31, 2000
    Vienna, VA
    Re: Facts.

    5-10? That's awfully optimistic.

    The rest of the "facts" are oversimplified. Check back through the thread, and you'll find many reasons not to compare the men's and women's pools.

    Is it possible that the reason the U.S. lost to Germany is that Germany has made rapid strides in its development?

    If you insist on comparing the men's game to the women's game, consider this ... NO men's team can walk out on the field and assume a victory. The defending World Cup and Euro champions didn't make it out of their group in 2002. That's parity, and there isn't much the U.S. can do (or would even WANT to do) to prevent it.

    Multiple injuries, only started two games for the Courage this year, injured this year (did you somehow not know that?), not so good in WUSA this year.
     
  24. Metros#1

    Metros#1 New Member

    May 14, 2001
    NJ
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Look at the numbers.

    Garefrekes had 24 caps before WWC, and she had been brought along by the German National Team for the past few years. It’s not the same case for Wambach. That’s my point. While I’m happy that Wambach’s WUSA play enabled her to make USWNT, her case actually accentuates the failure of April in developing new impact players and her reliance on the eternals.

    A good coach should have an eye for talent (potential) in new comers and have a plan to develop them into impact players on the international stage. WUSA should only be complementary to her development plan, but in reality her development plan was like “using veterans, giving a few young kids a little experience and waiting for WUSA to help me.” She’s failed as a WNT coach in that department.
     
  25. Beau Dure

    Beau Dure Member+

    May 31, 2000
    Vienna, VA
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Look at the numbers.

    I'm somehow missing your point. Wambach had eight caps through the end of 2002 and was somewhat out of favor around the start of the WUSA season. She actually fought her way back into the team. She went from fringe player to starter.

    To avoid going around in circles, let me ask a couple of specific questions:

    1. Should Heinrichs have taken a team of fringe players to the Four Nations Tournament? How about the Algarve?

    2. Was Heinrichs wrong to put so much stock in O'Reilly, who wound up missing the Cup because she was hurt?

    3. Should the U.S. team have scheduled more friendlies against better teams, bearing in mind that many European teams wouldn't be available because of qualifiers and other tournaments?
     

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