The State of the College Game Address

Discussion in 'College & Amateur Soccer' started by LuvDaBears, Nov 3, 2003.

  1. LuvDaBears

    LuvDaBears New Member

    Sep 4, 2002
    Ladies and Gentlemen, friends and colleagues, soccer fans everywhere. As the self appointed commissioner of WDBS (We Deserve Better Soccer), the state of the college game is dismal and in serious need of reform. The problems and what needs to be done.

    Coaching. In a nutshell, it is abysmal. Universally, the level of the players far exceeds the level of coaching, and therein lies a major problem. Soccer clubs in this country are doing a better job every year, educating and training our youth players to succeed at the next level. Players with international experience, regional team and national team experience, are being underutilized and forgotten in the college game, and it's due to the fact that most college coaches are incapable of recognizing talent, and developing that talent. Most of these coaches were marginal players at best. The style of play in the college game is becoming more direct each and every day, and it is becoming more defensive and physical, with very little emphasis on creativity, combination play, and possession. College coaches stress physicality over skill, running speed over speed of play, fouling over smart defending, and dribbling over passing. Soccer fans, I feel your pain. Like you, I am sick and tired of watching Division 1 players dribbling into pressure and losing possession. I am distressed to watch defenders REFUSE to play the simple ball, a 6 yard pass to a wide open midfielder, opting instead to send a long ball to a forward with his back to goal while being marked by two opposing players. I too am tired of NEVER seeing a team build an attack from its own third, using combination play and smart off the ball movement. The culprit is bad coaching, and it's reached epidemic levels. We need to cure this ill, and we need to clean house in the coaching ranks. Players who enter the college game with great credentials are being forced to the bench by coaches who prefer "athletes" over soccer players. Coaches who tell players that the impending game is going to be "too physical" for them, therefore, the coach starts a lowly skilled player whose best attribute is repeated fouling and hacking. There is no longer a flow to the game, and look around at most D1 schools and you will find highly skilled players with outstanding backgrounds, sitting on the bench while other players who couldn't hold possession against a U-10 team are getting most of the playing time.

    There is a serious lack of integrity among college coaches, who are allowed, and even encouraged, to lie and mislead recruits and players in order to serve their own misguided agenda. There are many instances of coaches "putting the word out" that a certain player has committed to that coach, when in fact that was not the case at all. Yet if a recruit was to verbally commit to more than one coach, that recruit would be chastised and blackballed. In college soccer, it's perfectly normal for coaches to be dishonest, while recruits and players are expected to take the high road. The double standard we have in college soccer is disgusting. At D1 progams all over the nation, coaches show favoritism to their "chosen few", while treating most players on their roster as commodities and interchangeable parts.

    After extensive research, there are fewer and fewer upperclassmen playing college soccer every year. It has become a sport dominated by freshmen and sophomores, with very few exceptions. The reason is simple. Players get sick and tired of dealing with all the crap that these incompetent, manipulative, and dishonest coaches throw their way. By the time the player becomes a junior, or senior, he's ready to have become a "normal" college student because all the bull far outweighs the benefits of playing. This is in direct contrast, to college football. While I recognize that soccer and football are two very different sports, there are several similarities as well. While it is true that most football players will redshirt their freshman season in order to become physically stronger and faster, MOST players will stay with the team through their senior year, barring injuries. This is because football coaches realize that upperclassmen are crucial to the success of their program. It is the upperclassmen who provide leadership and continuity. They also play a key role in recruiting. By contrast, soccer coaches feel a need to treat upperclassmen as chopped liver, restocking with more and more freshmen every year. As a result, there is no continuity...there is no senior leadership...there is no true feeling of TEAM.
    College soccer has become a sport of individuals, which is due in large part to the lack of upperclassmen who are playing the game. The only uppclassmen you see playing the game today, are the ones who LOVE the game dearly, or the players with pro potential. And as we are seeing now, more players are turning professional following two or three years of college, or no college at all.

    College soccer coaches are awful people managers, lacking the necessary skill and experience to effectively manage 25 players while football coaches are hired primarly for their ability to manage people. Imagine what the game of college football would be like with only freshmen and sophomores playing.

    Athletic Directors. These men and women have a responsibility to their alumni and fans, not to mention their student athletes, but soccer continues to be widely ignored. Even at the most tradition rich schools in our country, soccer coaches are allowed to rule their fiefdom without accountability. Until athletic directors begin to hold soccer coaches accountable, nothing will change. Athletic Directors need to demand the same kind of excellence from their soccer coaches, as they do from their football and basketball coaches. Olympic sports do matter, and they need to be treated with the same passion reserved primarily for football and basketball. Athletic directors need to attend games, interview the players, EDUCATED themselves on the game so that they can make informed decisions. As it is right now, most AD's simply ignore soccer, while the student-athletes suffer the consequences.

    The college game is in dire need of fresh, new faces to coach our players. Out with the old and in with the new. We need coaches with playing experience similar to that of their players. We need coaches with passion for the game, who recognize talent, and who consider it part of their job to develop our players' skill and character. We need coaches who will consider it imperative to make the game attractive to watch, while STILL focusing on winning. We need change.
  2. stevewhit0

    stevewhit0 New Member

    Jun 26, 2001
    Champaign, IL
  3. Dsocc

    Dsocc Member

    Feb 13, 2002
    I've observed the same trend, although I suspect the reasons are more subtle than you indicate. Soccer players are playing more games in a year (sometimes 3 a week), and with the PDL, the good ones are also playing all summer long, often in small market cities. That's basically 40 plus games. To be competitive, you basically give up much of the fall campus social life (Friday/Sunday games), you get no fan adulation or press, and you're expected to do it all for... a shot at MLS? I just think that many upperclassmen see the end of their careers plainly in sight, with no future personal gain in the sport, and opt to be "students" their last year or so. Since scholarships are limited and many are weighted toward years 3 or 4, once a player has all their money, many aren't as inclined to be as dedicated as they once were.
    Most players, from the time they enter high school, to later college years, have played probably over 300 games. Compare that to football, which might be 75-85 actual games over the same period.
  4. recsoc

    recsoc Member

    Oct 4, 2003
    Who is giving State of the Game?

    If you are going to pontificate w/ an address- please help us understand your background. I am not disputing your points, just curious as to your frame of reference.
  5. LuvDaBears

    LuvDaBears New Member

    Sep 4, 2002
    recsoc, send me a pm if you'd like.
  6. here here

    Luv, whether you are exactly right or not, what you said needed to be said. I am sure everyone out there has a coach/program that they can say, "wait a minute, this guy does it right, you've gone overboard," but there is a lot of truth in what you say.

    I think recruiting is a big issue. Every HS player needs to be told a few things. #1, soccer is not football or basketball. There are not more scholarships than starting positions. Your AD and Alumni HATE every dollar that goes to your program. #2, a coach needs at least 22-24 players for the team. He HAS told certain players they will start (despite telling everyone he does not do this). He has to do this because guys he is recruiting against are doing it. Thus some of the double standard LUV speaks of. If the coach hasn't told you that you will be a starter, in the mix is acceptable but be careful, then your chances are at best 50-50 that you will ever see meaningful playing time. Your coach has to say anything he can to fill out the roster for his starters. Does he worry that you may become discouraged or angered and leave the program, not at all, he has a file of over a hundred players waiting for the chance next year. I don't think D1 soccer coaches are neccessarily bad, they are just what they are and kids/parents should just be more realistic.

    Coach's background. I love this story. It deals with ODP, which is another thread on its own, but also with a D1 coach. A client of mine that has international playing experience and played on his national team moves his family to the US. He hears of ODP and takes his son that has had much training in his home country, but just part of a season with the local classic (but not one of the major) teams to the tryouts. My client's son is herded over with a small group of kids and two college players, while a select group trains in front of the D1 coach and two others. After the morning session my client goes to the coach and asks him what is going on and is told to be patient, his son will get a chance. As the afternoon wears on and his son still plays with the other kids, my client goes to the coach and tells him this is no way to run a tryout. The coach then tells my client that he is an ncaa D1 coach with so and so level license and who is my client to question him. My client tells the coach it doesn't take a license to smell BS and politics, but just so the coach will know, it the last game my client played in, he scored a goal for his national team in a friendly against Mexico. He then went and got his kid and went home. The point to this to back up what LUV says about the level of youth player coming up in the US. They are simply above the level of many coaches in the college game.

    I will finish with this. A few years ago an old soccer friend with playing and coaching experience in Europe told me that while the MLS and interest in soccer in the US was great for the game, it would be the downfall of many college coaches. If people ever really saw how players could develope they would see how poor a job was being done at the college level.

    LUV, I hope you saw the thread on Earnie Stewart's frustration. I think some of what he is seeing on the field what is being produced by our college system.
  7. Attacking Minded

    Attacking Minded New Member

    Jun 22, 2002
    Feel better LDB? ;)

    I enjoyed the rant but I would like some specifics. I'm sure many players just want to forget about the whole thing but a few references to specific people would make it easier to make your case.
  8. nikefan

    nikefan New Member

    Jul 14, 2003

    LuvDaBears You hit it right on. Unlike the majority of universities, we can look to one team, VT that has actually done something about this problem. Giving Oliver the head job was very good for their program, but think about the situation before him. The former coach was a wrestling coach before getting the soccer job. There are many cases like this in the NCAA.
    Stlye is another component that needs a look, and this is often a consequence of formation. Many D-I colleges play a 3-5-2. This style of play is no longer a fesible option in the real world of soccer, and it does not help to evolve players players minds in terms of reading the game. There needs to be more emphasis on forcing players to think rather than turning them into robots.
  9. cantona24

    cantona24 New Member

    Apr 26, 2001
    Re: wow

    Check out some of the South American national teams and see that the 3-5-2 is not dead. Yet, your point can be well taken if taken in context--most college programs don't have the ability to play a possession based 3-5-2 in a south American style.
  10. cantona24

    cantona24 New Member

    Apr 26, 2001
    LDB has many good points in his thesis on the state of the current college game. Yet, he is so tied up with these college coaches that he's blinded by his seemingly insatiable hatred for the D1 coaching community.

    The fact of the matter is that the college game today is better, has more depth, and plays at a higher TOTAL level than ever before. There are more good teams, even if some of the teams from long ago who were stacked with former national teamers may have been better overall (a la UVA in Reyna days.) Is the college game the answer to our country's player development? No. It never has been and it never will be. But the obstacle to development lies with the NCAA and the asinine rules and regulations on practice times and games. For our players to get better they need to be playing tons of games in FALL and SPRING. But this is an issue that we all see and have tried to combat with PDL and players leaving for P40, etc.

    As far as the coaches...I agree that there are probably a lot of scumbag coaches who make promises and break them, lie to players, and do all the things that get LDB and others fired up. Yet, there are a lot of scumbag anyones...doctors, lawyers, terrible teachers, etc. You deal with the ones who suck and hope to get the ones who really care about the patients, clients, students or players. I realize that kids decide to go to a college when they are 18 (or younger nowadays) and can be easily fooled by an insincere coach. Would the world be better if coaches were all honest and shot it straight--yes. But in our Enron-world it's just not a reality. A sad reality, but a reality nonetheless.

    Now to the players...I believe that LDB overestimates the American players who are filling the teams are not the exceptional talents who read the game better than all the coaches and know everything about the game of soccer. LDB claims that our players come from club with knowledge that outweighs the college coaches. What a joke! The problem in player development starts much earlier than in college. If it seems that college coaches simply send out a team of athletes, maybe just maybe, it's because they have a team of athletes that have skills that breakdown and don't read the game quite as well tactically as LDB and others give them credit for. There are more youth in the US playing soccer from an early age, and more and more are being identified as good players. Thus, there are more with ODP, regional and international experience. Yet, we are still drastically behind the European and others in terms of technically sound players. What the club system has created are a bunch of players who think they are the next big thing, when really they have much to improve on. It's hearing that they need to improve on parts of their game that these players don't take too kindly too. You talk about all the players who quit...and many do. But how many of them are just burned out because of all the years of soccer and want to get a real college experience. The ones who really love the game stick it out, transfer, or thrive.

    I agree, there are probably a good number of unqualified coaches in the D1 ranks. Yet, there are a number of coaches at the top schools who are sound technical and tactical teachers. While there is always room for critique and analysis of the coaches, it seems that some have gone a bit overboard. There are many things wrong with the college game. It seems like some want to put it all on the coaches. Maybe there's some sour grapes from bad experiences with them or their kids. I don't know. That's my take.

    FIXXXER New Member

    Feb 16, 2001
    Hotlanta, GA
    Amen. Turn the page, get over it already.
  12. LuvDaBears

    LuvDaBears New Member

    Sep 4, 2002
    A person's perspective comes from that person's experiences, and I have been closely associated with college soccer since 1980. I never said there weren't any good coaches out there, but having witnessed first hand what goes on in the world of college soccer between coaches and players and recruits, I believe massive change is needed. I never said life was fair, or that college soccer was fair, but is there anything wrong with being an advocate for change? Especially when that change will benefit our student-athletes?

    Guys, I've seen this world of college soccer from the inside, not the outside, like so many of you.

    cantona, contrary to what you say, the best coaches in this country are at the youth level, not the college level.

    The director of coaching for my son's club could be a D1 head coach tomorrow if he wanted to be, given his credentials and experience. But, in his words, who wants to deal with all the garbage of college soccer? This is someone with an A license who played D1 12 years ago, and was a D1 assistant not too long ago.

    cantona, I agree with you completely that playing 20 games a year is a lousy way to develop players, but that's why PDL has become so important for college players. You talk about changing the system, and so do I. All I can say is if you saw things from the inside, you would understand my points.
  13. cantona24

    cantona24 New Member

    Apr 26, 2001

    Congrats, your son played for a big club with a great director of coaching...let me guess, Jay Howell at CASL. If it's not him than it's surely someone like him. I think that's great and your son probably had a great experience. I sure hope that Jay doesn't make the decision to move into a D1 head job because then he would become one of the hated.

    The system itself needs changes, and for recognizing the need for change you should be commended LDB. Just don't act like the only problem is coaching and that you're the only one who has seen things from the inside before.
  14. LuvDaBears

    LuvDaBears New Member

    Sep 4, 2002
    cantona...feel free to PM me if you'd like, so that you can share with me your experiences from inside the system of D1 soccer.

    Look, many of us agree that the system is flawed, and coaching is not the only problem, but IMO, it's the biggest problem.

    By the way, many current and former coaches agree with me that there needs to be a major overhaul, and the "old guard" needs to be replaced with young coaches who have a passion for the game.

    Take John Hackworth, Ellinger's U-17 assistant. Great young coach. Looked like he was one of the bright young stars, along with Dan Donigan, in college soccer.
    Hackworth jumped at the chance to leave the college game, and who can blame him?

    People talk about the USA becoming a worldwide soccer power when the current college age players start having kids, and those kids actually grow up with the game. I guess that's what it'll take with college soccer. Until the old guard retires, and we get fresh new faces in there, it's going to be status quo.

    FIXXXER New Member

    Feb 16, 2001
    Hotlanta, GA
    From another thread....anyone know who they are talking about? Notice that not everyone thinks college soccer is in disarray....

    "He's also the guy who said that the P-40 program would cripple college soccer by taking all of the best talent (it's done the reverse by stimulating the talent development and college soccer today is better technically than its ever been)."
  16. lastword

    lastword New Member

    Sep 20, 2003
    College Park, MD
    state of the college game

    Read Luvda's previous posts, and the common complaint is in reference to bad coaching. Rarely if ever does he give specifics. I also do not believe this forum should be used to repeatedly berate the college "system". I for one would like to know specifically what dishonest, manipulative, and incompetent coaches he is referring to, and examples of that behavior. It is real easy to accuse a "system" of being corrupt and full of incompetent leaders, it is quite difficult however to offer examples for scrutiny. How about some facts or other evidence, and not just ad hominum attacks Luvvy?
  17. gsterp

    gsterp Member+

    Jul 16, 2003
    College Park
    Anyone else enjoying the complete irony of lastword going after someone for attacking others? (Note, I don't really have an opinion one way or the other on this issue at the moment)

    And FIXXER, that quote can be attributed to Sasho Cirovski from roughly two years ago I believe. I think he might have still been a little bit bitter about losing so many players to pro ball (Twellman, Califf, Cooks, etc) at the time.
  18. KinleyDog

    KinleyDog New Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    help little johnny...

    no, let's instead use it to diss gsterp 8^}

    lw, i normally enjoy your posts (except the pissy stuff with gsterp) as they are more often terse and right on.

    imo, luvie makes a good point that i think brings out some awareness to a certain group of people that may view the college soccer system as more than it is and have higher expectations of the system than it in reality can deliver. the reality is that only in very rare cases will the college system produce a world class player, and little johnny is more apt to get a degree (not bad) or transfer to another program that 'fits' johnny better. only in the rarest case will johnny play in foreign leagues. johnny and his parents may believe he has special gifts, but the norm indicates that johnny won't move past this level.

    as i've mentioned in other posts, i believe there should be other avenues for younger players to advance to a career in soccer, as not everyone is fit for univ life. this avenue should be through a network of club systems that are professional and feed professional leagues. this requires marketing, which requires money, which has a requisite of interest, which in this country is not widespread, although the pocket of interest is quite passionate.

    FIXXXER New Member

    Feb 16, 2001
    Hotlanta, GA
    Re: state of the college game

    Make me the second, then. It comes off, to me, as a proud Papa whose son didn't get the Division 1 offer that they thought they should get. Happens all the time in more sports than soccer.

    There are great coaches and terrible coaches at every level of athletics and in every sport. To make such a broad statement, Youth coaches are great and college coaches stink, is ridiculous. It's easy to sit back and make judgements when you get to sit in the stands and watch. So, withdraw your generalization and name some specific coaches and some specific situations and then a real discussion may begin.
  20. Hosscat

    Hosscat New Member

    Jul 21, 2003
    Why does women's college soccer seems to have a much higher profile than men's college soccer? (At least in the this part of the country it does). At CU-Boulder, the men's team isn't even sanctioned by the NCAA (it's just a club sport), while the women's team is Division 1 and gets all the local "press"- if you can call it that. I think this just reinforces the notion that soccer is a chick sport in the US (when the reality is quite the opposite everywhere else in the world).

    Have men's programs been cut due to title IX, or did they never exist in the first place? Hmmm...
  21. Emre5

    Emre5 New Member

    Mar 25, 2003
    chelsea,the death of
    Re: help little johnny...

    great summary. just one question,. I had heard that Santiago Solari of Real Madrid had played DII or DIII ncaa a year or two, possibly after the 1994 world cup in usa, in which papa was a coach or assistant coach for argentina(I am really forgetting the details here). In any event, Solari is now a great player on the bench for Real.
    While definitely not the norm, at least ncaa can claim he played there, if not for his entire development period.

    Any one want to research this? I am sure DMN or someone could shed more light on players like Santiago that have 'stopped over' in the ncaa leagus before heading for brighter lights.
  22. Dsocc

    Dsocc Member

    Feb 13, 2002
    Re: Re: help little johnny...

    He played D3 for Richards-Stockton.

    FIXXXER New Member

    Feb 16, 2001
    Hotlanta, GA
    My opionion is this:

    #1 - Yes, Title IX causes loads and loads of problems and there has been a lot of discussion here about that. Those threads are probably archived.

    #2 - Our Women's team won a World Cup and our men haven't. A radio station in ATL commented after we lost 1-0 to Germany at how bad our men's team was b/c they didn't win. Nevermind that we made the quarter's and outplayed the Germans...

    #3 - Brandi took off her shirt and the whole country took notice, especially with it being on ESPN and on the cover of SI. Instant Interest.

    #4 - Let's face it...a lot of people don't know the game of soccer. And if you are on a college campus and looking to go to a sporting event, chances are high that you are a male. You have a choice to go see a women's team or a men's team. Which do you choose?

    Just my opinion....
  24. lastword

    lastword New Member

    Sep 20, 2003
    College Park, MD

    What a great moniker! Almost as good and certainly synonymous with Big *#*#*#*#*# from the Sopranos.
  25. Hosscat

    Hosscat New Member

    Jul 21, 2003
    Word up lastword..... Thanks for the monkier props. All the title IX ladies love it...... Let's face it, the biotches pretty much love any guy who spends a significant amount of time discussing footy on the internet.

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