American soccer players and ball control

Discussion in 'Soccer in the USA' started by Brasitusa, Aug 6, 2017.

  1. Brasitusa

    Brasitusa Member+

    May 14, 2014
    Club:
    New York City FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    This is not to troll and to bash the standards of soccer in the USA. I'm a big, big fan of US soccer and sincerely want the standards to improve, and I think they have and will.

    But I'd like to discuss something here. I just watched the Gold Cup, a rather awful and atypical one with Mexico fielding a B team, and our team was an A/B mix or B+. Well, we won it; there's that, and we made half-way of the qualification for the Confederations Cup in Qatar (or whenever, if FIFA changes the venue); we can lose the next one and still go into a play-in game against the winner.

    But watching that Cup I posted about how only Clint Dempsey in our team seemed to have really advanced ball control skills and a nice ball touch - able to have the ball kind of glued to his feet, and then able to deliver it well to the next player. His assist to Altidore that resulted in a gorgeous goal is one clear example.

    Sure, Pulisic has it too. Bradley when he is at his best kind of has it but not quite. Donovan of course used to have it.

    But today I'm watching the FA Community Shield 2017 game between Arsenal and Chelsea. It's sort of a glorified friendly but I'm just amazed at the ball control these players have.

    It's like I'm watching a game with two goalies and 20 Clint Dempseys. They all master all the fundamentals of the game. Starters for two of the greatest European teams are homogeneously good at the fundamentals, of course.

    Someone replied to me when I made the Dempsey observation in one of the Play by Play threads about the Gold Cup, that the reason Clint has it, is that he trained and trained from a very young age, and not many of our current senior players had this much soccer training when they were growing up, unlike players from the traditional soccer countries.

    So, my question is, now that youth soccer in the United States is a phenomenon with thousands of players, will we be significantly better when this generation reaches the age that USMNT players need to have?

    Or will we continue to have a poor talent pool given that many athletes with great athleticism and motor coordination end up chosing other sports in America?

    Opinions?
     
  2. An Unpaved Road

    An Unpaved Road Member+

    Mar 22, 2006
    Club:
    --other--
    Depends on the culture of youth soccer today. When I played in the 90s as a kid the majority of participants didn't play soccer for fun outside of organized practice and games. I assume the situation is better today, although probably not enough to field a team of Dempseys anytime soon.
     
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  3. Elninho

    Elninho Member+

    Sacramento Republic FC
    United States
    Oct 30, 2000
    Sacramento, CA
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The answer is: it is improving, and will improve as our sports culture changes. We've come a long way since 1996, when seemingly no one in MLS had decent touch. Last night I was at a USL match, and at one point I watched Sacramento left back James Kiffe bring down a 50-yard cross-field ball on the run and continue dribbling without breaking stride, the ball never going beyond a half-step away from him. And maybe I was reflecting a little more because Sacramento was also handing a pro debut to the son of an indoor player I remembered from the 90s, but I realized that back in 1996 there were probably only a dozen Americans who could do what Kiffe had just done at that speed, and now I'm seeing a USL fullback do it routinely.
     
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  4. Geauxlden

    Geauxlden New Member

    Manchester United
    United States
    Apr 30, 2017
    I truly think that playing the game "just for fun" is the key to us improving as a nation. The more that kids play the more comfortable they should feel with the ball at their feet, just like kids developing handle and shooting skills in basketball by hooping on the playground with their friends.
     
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  5. Brasitusa

    Brasitusa Member+

    May 14, 2014
    Club:
    New York City FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Nice, that's encouraging.

    On the other hand...

    I watched three games on TV today, Arsenal-Chelsea, Cruzeiro-Botafogo (Brazilian league) and NYCFC-NYRedBulls.

    I'm sorry to report that the MLS game, even though it was exciting, 3-2 for NYCFC (my team, yay), the other two games were so much better, it hurts.
     
  6. Geauxlden

    Geauxlden New Member

    Manchester United
    United States
    Apr 30, 2017
    I watched two of the games that you listed and I agree that there was a definite difference in quality between the Community Shield match and the NY Derby. It will take a while for American players as a whole to get to the same level as top level Europeans, because the game still hasn't become totally organic in our culture, except for the segments of our population that have originated in other countries. We can get there but it'll take time.
     
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  7. Elninho

    Elninho Member+

    Sacramento Republic FC
    United States
    Oct 30, 2000
    Sacramento, CA
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    True. I'm not saying MLS and American soccer are all that great yet. But if you watch games from 1996, you see how unbelievably bad most American players' first touch was back then, and realize how far we've come from those days. The USL in 2017 generally has better ball control than MLS in 1996.
     
  8. Paul Berry

    Paul Berry Member+

    Notts County and NYCFC
    England
    Apr 18, 2015
    Nr Kingston NY
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    #8 Paul Berry, Aug 7, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
    I have an idea why Arsenal may have been a tad better at passing than New York City.

    Weekly salaries

    Petr Cech $130,000
    Sean Johnson $4,231

    Shkodran Mustafi $117,000
    RJ Allen $1,953

    Laurent Koscielny $97,500
    Ben Sweat $1,250

    Per Mertesacker $91,000
    Alexander Callens $3,461

    Nacho Monreal $85,400
    Yangel Herrera $2,376

    Mathieu Debuchy $91,000
    Jonathan Lewis $1,538

    Aaron Ramsey $130,000
    Maximiliano Moralez $38,461

    Granit Xhaka $117,000
    Thomas McNamara $3,557

    Jack Wilshere $117,000
    Alexander Ring $6,538

    Santi Cazorla $117,000
    Jack Harrison $3,182

    Mesut Özil $182,000
    Rodney Wallace $4,230

    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain $85,400
    Sean Okoli $1,019

    Theo Walcott $143,000
    Khiry Shelton $1,787

    Olivier Giroud $130,000
    David Villa $107,884

    Danny Welbeck $91,000
    Mikey Lopez $1,442

    Lucas Perez $91,000
    Ethan White $1,250

    The way I look at it, if you compare MLS and the English leagues, most American based players are getting League One salaries and giving Championship level performances.

    Having been at a lot of English games over many years, I think the quality of MLS soccer today is as good as English First Division football in the 1980s minus the top 4 or 5 clubs.
     
  9. VBCity72

    VBCity72 Member+

    Aug 17, 2014
    Oki, J-pan
    Club:
    Plymouth Argyle FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    It hard to compare two of the worlds biggest, best and richest clubs to two teams who has no one that could make the bench on either of those team save Villa and maybe BWP.
     
  10. Brasitusa

    Brasitusa Member+

    May 14, 2014
    Club:
    New York City FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Interesting posts here, thanks everybody for participating.
     
  11. Stephen_Says_

    Stephen_Says_ New Member

    LAFC
    United States
    Aug 13, 2017
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    It's definitely getting better as others have said.

    I've heard in other places that some of it comes down to how players are being developed. With youth club soccer as well as college, the emphasis is on winning rather than development. If clubs or colleges were compensated for the players that sign pro contracts I think we'd see a shift towards development, and consequently, a better first touch. Not sure how feasible this idea is though.
     
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  12. ko242

    ko242 Member+

    Jul 9, 2015
    Getting paid more money does not give you a better touch, nor make you a better play. if you pay mls players billions of dollars the quality will remain the same. neither will reducing the salaries of top players make their touch or ball control worse you must go to the root of the problem and that is at the youth level. that is why a player like pulisic can play at the same level as such players. his father would constantly allow pulisic to religiously come up with knew ways of honing his technique and focused on development and the right way to play over going to the biggest club team in the state or the country.
     
  13. EvanJ

    EvanJ Member+

    Manchester United
    United States
    Mar 30, 2004
    Nassau County, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Premier League players are much better than MLS players. I don't know if anyone is claiming that players play better because they are paid more, but you can't deny that better players tend to get paid more.
     
  14. ko242

    ko242 Member+

    Jul 9, 2015
    i`m not denying that better players get paid more but pertaining to the subject ``American soccer players and ball control`` then money has nothing to do with the problems that americans have with ball control. ball control is something that is required as a little kid until about 15-16 years old, that is why i am confused about why salaries are even mentioned when that does not include to the solution in improving ball control of americans.
     
  15. KCbus

    KCbus Moderator
    Staff Member

    United States
    Nov 26, 2000
    Reynoldsburg, OH
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    He's saying the reason Arsenal, et al, have players that have better ball control is because they have the budgets to go out and buy players with better ball control.

    He's not saying higher salary gives you better skills; he's saying better skills give you a higher salary. And since MLS doesn't pay the higher salaries quite yet, they're not going to be able to get players with world class touch, except for limited instances.

    I think it's part natural instinct and part coaching.
     
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  16. Lovac1

    Lovac1 Member

    Jun 6, 2012
    A couple of observations on this issue.

    1. 99% of the time when kids go to do some ball kicking, the exercise consists of going as far away from the goal as possible and taking long-range shots, of which half don't reach the goal. Everyone wants to be next Roberto Carlos. Working with the ball is not as fun as taking the shots, and that's why youth leagues should try to communicate maybe little better.

    2. Whenever I walk by my soccer field, I see kids of all ages playing on a field too big for their age group. There is really no purpose in having 12 year olds play 11v11 on a real soccer field. The game just turns, for the most part, into useless booting of the ball and a lot of running. I personally believe that kids under 15 should never play on a large soccer field or be on a team of more than 6 players. They can work on their conditioning and positioning when they are 18, but if they don't learn ball control at this age, there is no hope to acquire it later.
     
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  17. EvanJ

    EvanJ Member+

    Manchester United
    United States
    Mar 30, 2004
    Nassau County, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    That's what I was saying.

    I agree with you somewhat, but there are U-17 World Cups, and the USMNT will get worse if none of its players can play 11v11 on a full size field until they are 18. Kids start high school before age 15, and I think high schools should play 11v11 on full size fields. If you have a U-12 league, I could see using a smaller field. If youth clubs have 6 players, kids can't get used to being a central defender with another central defender, a left back, and a right back as teammates. Kids should learn the laws of the games, the roles of positions, and interactions between teammates when they start playing. Would you want to be a high school coach and have to coach players who hadn't played 11v11 before? Little League Baseball uses smaller fields, but I'm assuming high schools use full size fields. The same policy about what ages use what field sizes could apply to soccer.
     
  18. Paul Berry

    Paul Berry Member+

    Notts County and NYCFC
    England
    Apr 18, 2015
    Nr Kingston NY
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I was responding to
    The reason has nothing to do with their nationality, it has to do with the quality of players on the pitch, which is reflected in their salaries.
     
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  19. Olo2317

    Olo2317 Member

    Jun 1, 2014
    Club:
    CA River Plate
    Nat'l Team:
    Argentina
    its piss poor
     
  20. bostonsoccermdl

    bostonsoccermdl Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 3, 2002
    Denver, CO
    This. I mainly blame pay to play. Coaches are under pressure to "win" and put the biggest, fastest , strongest, early puberty hitters out there for the soccer moms to get their kid eventually noticed to get a scholarship. The mindset is all wrong from early development.
    Poor coaching also has to do with this. The focus on winning over developing technical skills needs to be addressed. American soccer needs to get rid of the hubris, and do what other countries with strong youth or revamped youth development do and try to emulate it. (France, Belgium, Germany)
     
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  21. MonagHusker

    MonagHusker Member

    Liverpool FC
    United States
    Feb 25, 2016
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    It sounds like everyone seem to understand the issue and that the solution doesn't appear too difficult. It may require more work and possibly better coaching, but what else?

    It's not like there is a secret. I have an assistant coach that talks about how many touches players in Europe get at this age and that. There seem to be lots of threads and discussion around it.

    I am also not disputing any of it, but where are the teams and coaches at any level that are implementing it? Even if some focus more on winning at the expense of development, wouldn't the more fully developed start winning if they keep at it?

    What is the "win first" style that seems to be working at least outside of international play? What makes it so effective that coaches would prefer employing it?
     
  22. Paul Berry

    Paul Berry Member+

    Notts County and NYCFC
    England
    Apr 18, 2015
    Nr Kingston NY
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    US Youth Soccer Coaching Manual

    How France is helping mold MLS academies, coaches
     
  23. Master O

    Master O Member+

    Jul 7, 2006
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    As long as any change involves kicking out powerful people currently in USSF, it will never be implemented.
     
  24. CoachP365

    CoachP365 Member

    Money Grab FC
    Apr 26, 2012
    https://prorelforusa.blogspot.com/2017/10/my-first-mega-tournament-experience.html

    Chaos ball. The team's style of play is built around a series of 50/50 balls, launched from midfield to midfield, until someone shanks a kick and your team's next launch gets a little closer to the box, where maybe you can hit 1 pass to the kid on the team that is a good 1v1 player - or maybe he even gets to the 50/50 ball first.

    It's easy on the coaches at tryouts - everybody can judge speed/size and most can judge repeated 1v1 winners - when the tryout gets to 4v4 or larger for scrimmage it is unlikely anybody is working on cover/pressure/balance defending, so beat your defender and you're in on goal.

    If you win, the checkbooks open - most parents aren't on bigsoccer, or following soccer people on twitter. Teams that aren't "good" can't "win", right? What they don't realize is the team is good at playing a style that doesn't work at higher levels.

    When %90 of the teams you face also play this way, you just have to hope you have the fastest/strongest kids that day.

    When you do hit a team that plays a style that doesn't rely on randomness, you can make excuses when the parents ask "Why don't we look like that?" You can dismiss their intentional passing as "they got to more loose balls than us", when those balls were never loose, they were going exactly where they were intended. "They're faster than us" where, if you lined everyone up for a race from box to box, your teams most likely are the same. The other team's speed of play is better because they know the game can be controlled, and so the players know when the ball is coming to them, what their next move is, vs having trained for years at "first I win the race/joust, then I look up to see what I want to do, darn this kid is still on me, boot..."
     
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  25. MonagHusker

    MonagHusker Member

    Liverpool FC
    United States
    Feb 25, 2016
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Reading the article and will go back to this later (work is getting in the way!), but in the interim from the article:
    What is POFTB?
    What is drops out of pressure?
    What about he build out line? I feel dumb not knowing, I have a girls in U12, U9 and U7. No impact on the U7,but I think I would get it better for the other two.
     

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