Connolly: Memo talks about the difference between Bradenton and the Pros

Discussion in 'Youth National Teams' started by Nutmeg, Oct 9, 2003.

  1. Nutmeg

    Nutmeg Member+

    Aug 24, 1999
    Making the Transition

    There has been a LOT - and I mean a ton - of discussion on this boars that speculates on the differences in a professional and academy environment. I think this quote from Memo sums it up:

    “But it’s also more demanding now that you’re with professionals who demand that every time you step on the field that you work your hardest. I didn’t real feel like that was the case in Florida. I always saw players taking plays off, and taking days off.

    “Here, you have to come to play every day.”

    I don't think this disparity can be emphasized too strongly. Those who think that Bradenton is anything close to a professional environment are dilusional. When you know your spot is in constant contention, when you know your job, your livelihood, your well-being and that of your family is in constant jeopardy, you perform. There is no need for someone to motivate you - the motivational factor is built in to the system.

    Until young US players are involved in a professional environment, they will be a few steps behind their competition from around the world, both individually and as a team.
  2. Bruce S

    Bruce S Member+

    Sep 10, 1999
    and that is why the health of MLS is the single most overriding issue in the USMNT. everytime I hear someone running down Landon or McBride for foregoing Europe, I think of the phrase: be careful what you wish for, it might come true.
  3. Attacking Minded

    Attacking Minded New Member

    Jun 22, 2002
    I wonder if the biggest problem wwith Bradenton is that the players are never sent home when they don't produce.

    Our U17 coach, Ellinger, publically complained that the defenders were trying to play too much long ball, yet the kids aren't benched or sent home, AFAIK. I wonder if it isn't time for some tough love for the U17's (or their coach if he continues to let them make bad decisions).

    I have seen memo's comment made by other new professionals. That is, the pro enviroment is all about pressure, constant pressure. The trick is learning to deal with the physical and mental pressure that's on all the time. Those that can handle the pressure make it. Those that can't, don't. Success has more to do with being able to keep one's head than raw talent.
  4. American40

    American40 Member

    Jan 9, 2003
    Er, I don't think I'd want that kind of pressure put on kids 16 years old and younger. Not good for their mental health, in my opinion.
  5. Dan Roudebush

    Dan Roudebush New Member

    Mar 31, 1999
    Saw the quote myself Nutmeg and you beat me to it.

    Think you covered about everything.

    Good post.
  6. Isisbud

    Isisbud New Member

    Mar 10, 2003
    Well, by 16, they should have stones.
  7. bigdush

    bigdush New Member

    Jul 22, 2003
    Parker, CO
    Some kids barely have hair on their franks and beans at that age (those youngsters are probably the exception to the rule).

    There has to be a happy medium for sixteen year olds. Enough pressure/enough down-time for the academy to be successful (as it can be).

    I do agree that there is no place like the professional environment to spur progress. Because at 16 that's what it's all about. But not all 16/17yr olds are ready for the professional environment.
  8. gsc29

    gsc29 New Member

    Mar 5, 2001
    I believe they plan on expanding this years class to 40+ players. That should create a little more competition.
  9. red&black1

    red&black1 New Member

    Mar 8, 2003
    Kearny NJ
    What 16yr old kid doesn't have hair down there??

    Greater competition between players within a system or a team makes for certain players to rise above the rest... thats when u get a star. Brazil had been doing that for years and its been very sucessful for them.
  10. DoctorD

    DoctorD Member+

    Sep 29, 2002
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Gymnaisum vs John Dewey

    I was going to start a thread about this, but I'll stick it here.

    A lot of these development discussions ultimately resolve to how early these kids should be put into specialized training programs. The dilemma is that the "gymnaisum/lycee" educational system, where kids start specializing in their career path at age ~12, is anathema to almost all Americans. This is true no matter what race, family income, location, etc., we are discussing. Realistically that includes us BS posters as well.

    Compare to baseball which does have elaborate development programs. You complete high school before going to the minor leagues. In fact, the most popular US sports require the kind of physical development that only occurs at age 16-18 (i.e. height, weight, strength, pitching arm).

    So the key question for US soccer development is that to succeed in this sport at an international level will we need the kind of extreme specialization at age 12-17 that is basically unknown in US society?
  11. Karl K

    Karl K Member

    Oct 25, 1999
    Suburban Chicago
    Re: Gymnaisum vs John Dewey

    The answer is yes.

    Soccer is arguably the most demanding sport from a technical point of view. It is unnatural to use the lower half of your body to handle a spherical object. That's why you have to imprint techniques at a very young age.

    While every sport has difficult technical tasks -- hitting a small thrown object in baseball, skating forwards and backwards in hockey -- no sport has the sheer NUMBER of difficult technical skills to master.

    Meanwhile, football is all about size, strenght, speed, and athleticism (there are key techniques to learn, but they are limited in scope and can be picked up quickly by a dedicated athlete). Basketball , too, has a limited range of technical requirements, but very demanding athletic requirements, which is why a great athlete like Tim Duncan can start playing seriously at 16 and become a dominant NBA player.

    Anyway, a very interesting quote from Memo, and thanks to Nutmeg for posting it. Yes, indeed, Bradenton, for all its virtues (and it has many) is NOT a professional environment the way overseas club teams create professional environments.

    Finally, on the issue of whether or not it is appropriate for 15 and 16 year olds to be in that kind of Darwininan environment, I say this. Some can handle it, some can't. That a kid CAN'T handle it is not a reflection on his qualities as a person, or the person he can become. Is it possible you might drive away a kid who could be great because THEN he couldn't handle it? Yes, you might.

    But in the end, it's about developing players to play at the highest level. The method and approach has been used for a long long time, and it has been very successful.

    But like most things in life, it has a flip side to it, which certainly has its unappealing aspects. But there are lot worse things going on in life in general, and to develop elite soccer players, there is a certain emotional price to pay.

    Some can pay it, some can't.
  12. bigdush

    bigdush New Member

    Jul 22, 2003
    Parker, CO
    It was kind of a joke.....................I was just trying to make the point that some kids can handle pressures at 16, some can't. No matter what the level of pressure is on someone that age, someone will always be left by the wayside. Some 16 year olds thrive under pressure some don't. Just because a 16 year old can handle the pressure, doesn't necessarily make them a shoe-in for being a great player 3-4yrs down the road.

    Sorry, I don't know how to use the smiley faces.
  13. bostonsoccermdl

    bostonsoccermdl Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 3, 2002
    Denver, CO
    Re: Re: Gymnaisum vs John Dewey

    True, and if he cant handle it as that particular time in his development, it doesnt mean he wont mature/develop mentally/physically 3-4 years down the line.....

    As long as the outlet is there, the cream will rise to the top in one form or another (college, A-league, etc).
  14. JohnR

    JohnR Member+

    Jun 23, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Bradenton & Pro Climate

    A true story -

    A couple of years ago, our U10s got hammered bigtime in Spain, by a La Liga youth team. One of our Spanish-speakinig guys goes over after the game to the coach and compliments him. They talk. He learns -

    1) The youth team sifted through about 1000 U10s (!) to select 15 kids.

    2) The Spanish coach said -- and this is roughly a direct (translated) quote -- "These guys are really focused. They all know that #16 on that list of 1000 kids is ready to join the team if called."

    If the 10 year old kids can't handle that kind of pressure, then La Liga figures they wouldn't have been good pros anyway.

    Not like Bradenton, huh?
  15. Brownswan

    Brownswan New Member

    Jun 30, 1999
    Port St. Lucie, FL
    We are producing hothouse tomatoes; I'm not surprised our salad gets tossed.
  16. DoctorD

    DoctorD Member+

    Sep 29, 2002
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    On the other hand,

    1) we may have come up with an extraordinarily cost-effective (on a society-wide basis) system for producing a top-20 international team

    2) its doubtful Tottenham will be visiting RFK to play at a DCUnited retired players charity game any time in the near future
  17. GersMan

    GersMan Member

    May 11, 2000
    It's good to have that post here. While this is a minority opinion on this board, it is definitely the presiding opinion among the youth soccer population.

    The overriding rec theme that plagues top-level soccer development, has a lot of connectivity with American psychobabble, particularly the incredibly exaggerated concept of adolesence that tends to put off emotional maturity and adulthood to a later and later age all the time.

    I'm not arguing for that Spanish model by any means, but players 15-18 should be considered adults and definitely should be made ready for a full-time environment. Yes, you still work to develop those at the next lower level, but you have to raise the bar.
  18. JohnR

    JohnR Member+

    Jun 23, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    American Youths

    Wow! I'm not going to go there.

    However ... you are correct in highlighting the differences between American and European mentalities. I thought about this when reading SI's recent article on the 10 Year Old Athlete, with the usual debates about Too Much, Too Soon and overcompetitiveness. Then I thought about that La Liga team. Up 8-0 with 3 minutes left and coming at 100% intensity into tackles so as to get that 9th goal (they did). Those kids couldn't give the faintest of damns over psychological handwringing . Don't hustle, player #16 is waiting in the wings. Eat or be eaten. It was really that simple.

    Different worlds.
  19. tacos

    tacos Member

    Aug 5, 2003
    Yes, I think that is the main problem facing our society today.

    Keep up the references to 16-yr-old boys' genitals, guys. Great stuff.
  20. voros

    voros Member

    Jun 7, 2002
    Parts Unknown
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think a bigger point, at least in Baseball and Football and Hockey in Canada, is that the current systems for those sports are developed enough, and populated enough with good talent, that the little-league/pee-wees, high school, college development path is competitive enough and developed enough to provide for the kids. It should also be noted that without a change in the draft rules in those leagues, there's no incentive for these clubs to start their own academies.

    Still, it should be noted that MLB clubs have set up academies in other countries designed to develop players for the big league club (the Dodgers were the trailblazers here). The Dominican Republic has a fair number of these academies, and the league has even set up a low level minor league where the games are all played in the Dominican. It should also be noted how ridiculously the Dominican Republic's available talent base has been tapped. If there were a real baseball World Cup, the United States would be favored, but I don't think there'd be too many surprised baseball people if the Dominican Republic won it instead.

    I think the talent level in these other sports would be increased greatly by a professional developmental system, but there are currently absolutely zero motivation to spend money to do so, since all American amateurs go into their sports' respective drafts.

    That said, there's generally seven levels of professional leagues that most major league teams have affiliates at (Majors, AAA, AA, High A, A, Short season A, Rookie) as well College Ball and several independent leagues. So while the development process is slower up until age 17 or so, once kids hit that age in baseball, things get cranked up considerably. And College Football is as close to a pro environment at the amateur level you will ever find.
  21. Karl K

    Karl K Member

    Oct 25, 1999
    Suburban Chicago
    Yes, well said.

    Our soccer developement environment is currently "undeveloped" and, as such, probably sub optimal.

    That we show as well as we do on the world stage stems from a combination of a large population, and pretty good development system, reasonable high level coaching, and a well-organized and efficient federation.

    Think how good we could be if we REALLY got our act together.
  22. NGV

    NGV Member+

    Sep 14, 1999
    The question of cost and cost-effectiveness is one that often seems to be overlooked in the debate over possible changes in the US development system. But it's obviously a crucial question, given that pro soccer isn't a very profitable business in the US at the moment.

    I wonder how much the the 40 or so teams in Spain's first and second division spend, total, on youth scouting and training. Anyone have any rough estimates, or even wild guesses? Judging by JohnR's anecdote about the thousand U10's, I'd imagine the number for all those teams combined is pretty high.
  23. nancyb

    nancyb Member

    Jun 30, 2000
    Falls Church, VA
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Gymnaisum vs John Dewey

    That applies to Americans, only, and not the kids from the Dominican Republic and like places that are a great source of baseball talent for the US.
  24. Attacking Minded

    Attacking Minded New Member

    Jun 22, 2002
    We have this quote from Memo

    And this quote from Cooper

    The pro enviroment is psycological, emotional, mental and physical pressure. Any time, any day the coach can walk up to a kid and tell him he's going home. And he will go home an emotional wreck if he lacks the ability to handle the pressure.

    No wonder US parents won't let their kids become professional players.
  25. diablodelsol

    diablodelsol Member+

    Jan 10, 2001
    New Jersey
    Re: Bradenton & Pro Climate

    The fact that a bunch of parents would spend their money to send a bunch of 9 and 10 year olds to Spain for a game is pretty f-ing disturbing.

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