The Age Issue

Discussion in 'USA Men' started by Scordad, Sep 5, 2007.

  1. Scordad

    Scordad New Member

    Dec 17, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    Here, I'd like to bring up a debate about "The Age Issue" and our National Team. It seems as if everyone on this board believes that we should always call in the younger players, since they are young and thus will have years to play together and, hopefully, win a World Cup in the future.

    While this reasoning makes some sense, I personally think people need to stop worrying so much about the age of players. We need to call in players who are in top form, regardless of age. Luca Toni was not capped by Italy until he was 27 years old, and he has done wonderuflly well; people need to realize that each players' careers follow very unique paths. Few can argue that Brian McBride is not the best American striker at the moment (though injured), and he is the oldest of the bunch.

    What we need to all understand is that not everyone can be Messi, Ronaldo, or the like who achieve tremendous success at a young age. Our younger players certainly have incredible potential, but guys like Kamani Hill and Charlie Davies should NOT be in camp. We need players who are in form, scoring goals, ect., regardless of age. Davy Arnaud has been playing well, and deserves his shot. This is how we will achieve success.

    Another potential topic of discussion: Do American soccer players reach their athletic prime at a later age than European players? Look at McBride...most European players can not play at that level at his age. It just seems to me that our players have ALWAYS come into their prime around 30, while European players have around 27-28. Discuss.
     
  2. OWN(yewu)ED

    OWN(yewu)ED Member+

    May 26, 2006
    chico, CA
    you could certainly make the arguementfor Davies and Hill (although i havent seen anything to hurt their cause, both have performed comendably well so far). Maybe even Freddy, although id like to see him brought along quickly as well.

    But Jozy Altidore, absolutely not. That guy is doing everything the big boys are doing, and then some, he is certainly a case where he can be our Rooney, he can be our Ronaldo. Not to say on that skill level necessarily, but he is a young player who could right now have a profound affect on this team. If he wasnt hurt id see no reason why he would not be there.
     
  3. rgli13

    rgli13 Member+

    Mar 23, 2005
    Memphis, Tn
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    i agree for the most part. i have no problem with an arnaud (well, based on his age) or a wolff if they can help the team win. the world cup is a long way away- we dont have to have our team intact tomorrow.

    and i certainly agree you play whos in top form- which is why i dont buy into "we cant rush altidore". i mean, whats going to happen? how much did it hurt donovan and beasley playing in qualifiers and the cup at what, 17/18?

    i agree that its not absolutely imperitive to play him immediatly (and i know hes injured, im not complaing hes not in camp), but theres no reason hes not first on the list when fit.

    but it goes both ways- what justification is there for bradley getting the minutes he does if its NOT building for the future? thats my beef with that- not nepotism, its that hes not the best player at that spot. but he is getting all the minutes he can handle, so its easy to understand the "confusion" over adu, or altidore, or anyone else not getting a look because theyre "not there just yet, no need to rush", cause the biggest project going is michael bradley.
     
  4. Aaryque

    Aaryque Member

    Apr 26, 2007
    Norcal
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    It all depends on your ultimate goal. If your goal is to perform well in the World Cup then you're building towards 2010 or even 2014. So you obviously call in the players with the most potential to be difference makers in 3 to 7 years. Then in friendlies like this one with Brazil, you worry more about getting those people experience and playing quality soccer than you do about the final result.

    If your goal is to build the US's international reputation through getting results in every match, then you are absolutely right about calling in the people who are in the best form at the moment and give you the best chance to win now, regardless of whether they are realistically capable of contributing 3 to 7 years down the road.

    Sometimes these goals overlap. Often times they don't. Personally I'm more into the first option. I look at friendlies like this (Brazil) the same way I look at preseason NFL games. Sure, you want to win, but it's more important to play well, get a good look at your players, and give them a chance to gain experience playing together. Thus I'd much rather see a 4-2 loss in which the US showed a willingness and ability to get forward, create chances and hold some possession than a 1-0 win in which we concede possession, give up tons of chances and get our goal on one quick counter attack against the run of play. Obviously that feeling changes in matches that really matter (WC matches, Qualifiers, Tournament games, etc.) But for friendlies I believe it's about the performance, not the result.

    Through playing and coaching plenty of sports (like most people here I'm guessing) I've realized (Once again as many others do, I'm sure.) that a well-played loss can go much further towards creating long-term success than a sloppy or undeserved win can.
     
  5. BenfromUSA

    BenfromUSA Member

    Jan 20, 2006
    Minneapolis/St. Paul
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    When we suck richard at the international level we need to be looking for the next stars for our national team. Maybe if we had real west ham type youth academies here we would be able to produce more talent which would boost our league and our national team.
     
  6. Scordad

    Scordad New Member

    Dec 17, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    I understand everyone's points so far. By no means in Hell am I saying we shouldn't play Jozy. In my opinion, he is HEAD AND SHOULDERS above anyone we have now (besides McPimp).

    Here's a scenario: say we have a national team coach that comes in and focuses solely on young players. More specifically, he plays the same 26 players in his (hypothetical) 4 year tenure, making the argument that he believes these 26 guys have the most talent/potential and in four years they would have played together long enough to have a legit shot at the Cup. Many of these guys aren't even playing much at club-level when he starts playing them (like Davies/Hill), while there are other, older players performing well at the time but not getting any looks. The argument is that in four years we will be better off, since we MAY make a run at the World Cup. However, some of the players never materialize at club level, and huge dips in form come about. Success is never achieved, since so much stock was put in these younger players to become great, while very few actually did.

    What I'm trying to say is that a player's experience should NOT come from playing internationally. This is not nearly as important as playing tremendous time with his club, where true "experience" comes from. And being an older, club-succesful player is better than being a young guy "with potential" sitting the bench. I'd take an in-form Steve Ralston over a not-playing Freddy Adu anyday, and I do not like Ralston one bit. But for his experience at CLUB LEVEL, he is much more valuable than Adu to us right now. Ralston knows how to win, and news flash folks: we haven't yet qualified for the World Cup. We need our players in form and ready to go by the time qualification comes around....whether or not this EXACT same group is gonna be with us in 3 years is not material. We need results, and we need to allow our younger players to establish themselves at club level first before playing for the NATS.
     
  7. Captain10

    Captain10 Member

    Jul 26, 2000
    Marietta, GA
    Club:
    Corinthians Sao Paulo
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I say focus on the task at hand with a view to the future. Bring in the guys that are experienced and playing at the top of their game right NOW, but also add some up-and-comers (who are also getting time and playing well) to integrate them into the squad. Of course, this depends on where we are in the World Cup cycle.

    But please, no more lame experiments like Convey to left back or Quaranta. No more dislocating Lewis to left back. No more Beasley to right mid. Those were feeble attempts to try to "youthanize" the program -- instead, they euthanized the program. ;)

    In addition, take into account the importance of having a result in selecting players. Arena took some guys with the most experience - Pope, Reyna - to the World Cup and they failed miserably because they are at the twilight of their career and were no longer the best options we had available.

    There's no way those two should have been included in a tournament of that type. IMO, unless there needs to be an extremely compelling reason to have someone over 30 on the World Cup team (excluding keepers.)

    There is a careful balance that needs to be achieved -- youth and experience. While youth adds excitement and energy, experience usually provides better decision-making and composure. But above all, for the core players, select the guys that are in form and at the top of their game. For the last two or three, integrate the young guys.
     
  8. casoccerdad47

    casoccerdad47 Member+

    Mar 31, 2006
    Other than McBride, I don't know who else you can use to support this argument. Other than goalkeepers I count 11 players in the USMNT pool that are 30 or older, Barrett (31), Berhalter (34), Conrad (30), Hejduk (33), Lewis (33), Marsh (33), Mastroeni (31), Ralston (33), Razov (33), Olson (30), and Wolfe (30). Conrad and Mastroeni are the only two who still get regular call ups to the national team and with the exception of Conrad they are all clearly past their prime. McBride is an exception, he always has been, but other countries also have their versions of Brian. Ryan Giggs and Claude Makelele, both of whom are one year younger than Brian are still playing soccer at a high level in the Premier League; Roberto Baggio and Dennis Bergkamp both retired at age 37; Teddy Sheringham played for West Ham last year at the age of 40. However, these players are all anomalies. The physical demands associated with running what is essentially the equivalent of two half marathons a week, week in and week out forces most players to retire in their early 30s. Soccer is a young mans game. Many top players achieve success before they are 20. Donovan and Beasley in the 2002 World Cup. Both Renaldo's, Messi, Rooney, the aforementioned Mr. Giggs.
     
  9. Scordad

    Scordad New Member

    Dec 17, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    Donovan and Beas are both significantly better now than they were during the 2002 World Cup. Without these two players, we would have 0 offensive ability.
     
  10. casoccerdad47

    casoccerdad47 Member+

    Mar 31, 2006
    Some might debate your point, but they're still only 25, 5 years younger than the age at which you suggested that American players reach their prime.
     
  11. KennyWoo

    KennyWoo Member

    May 21, 2007
    Pasadena, California
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Repped, specifically for this paragraph.
     
  12. green94

    green94 Member

    Jan 1, 2007
    Minneapolis
    Club:
    Hamburger SV
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Yeah, seriously, Clint Dempsey sucks. Open your eyes people!



    ...(Sappose I should throw in a :) before anyone gets offended)
     
  13. Scordad

    Scordad New Member

    Dec 17, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    I never said Dempsey sucks. He plays target forward for the USMNT. Without Donovan and Beas he gets zero service.

    Thus, zero offensive firepower without Landon and Beas.
     

Share This Page