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Discussion in 'Youth National Teams' started by GersMan, Sep 10, 2003.
Perhaps a better title would have been, "In Defense of Ellinger." Although I disagreed with some of the points of the article, many of Ellinger's points were enlightening.
That's so funny! "some of the more fanatical sectors of U.S. soccer support, who were apparently convinced (based on their knowing the names of some of the players) that the U.S. was going to win the event." (I think he's talking to us . . . . )
I agree with that 100% and the people who said "our players should do whatever it takes to win" were idiots. The purpose of the tournament is to showcase players. No one (outside of BigSoccer) cares who wins the U17 WC.
Sorry! Nope. Those players would have made college teams without Bradenton. The success of Bradenton should be judged on the number of pro contracts their players get.
Which bring up the critisim of Ellinger. Our players looked too stressed and as if they couldn't handle the pressure and stopped thinking.
I hope for Ellinger's sake that Freddy comes out of Bradenton better off. I hope Ellinger doesn't get blamed for any slippage in Freddy's potencial.
"I hope for Ellinger's sake that Freddy comes out of Bradenton better off. I hope Ellinger doesn't get blamed for any slippage in Freddy's potencial."
I hope a giant hemerroid doesn't come out of David Platt's bum and try to take over the London Underground.
I might remind you that almost everything that people have come to know about Freddy has happened while he was playing under Ellinger.
The point re colleges is NOT that they wouldn't have gotten into school, the reference was to "impact" as in, they are already top-level college players as incoming freshman - just as a gauge. The U20 team is actually "the next level."
same with this year's seniors, the residency guys to a man are highly coveted, even though they are typically a year younger than the others in the class. He has them for the equivalent of four schools years. You can't say on one hand, he is hurting them, then when they excel, say, they would have done it anyway.
The hemerroid thing scares me too.
On college players, the way scholarships are limited,freshman players must come ready to play. I think it's a little early to say that this crop of freshmen are so much better than those from a few years ago. If they are better or worse it would be imposible to say how much of an effect Bradenton has.
So how much credit do you think Ellinger deserves for Freddy's growth in the past year? Do you think he's added a lot to Freddy's game? In what way?
Well, either us or Paul Gardner
What should we read into the Robbie Rogers situation, if anything? I guess he is back from Munich -- what next?
I can't recall a more blatant job of pandering in my life.
Incredibly presumptuous writing---(I hope it's listed as an editorial or "opinion piece,") but then again, nothing new in attitude--just a fan with a boner because he talks to Ellinger, and that validates his soccer importance to himself somehow. Then again, that's what you get when a web-hack thinks he's a writer/reporter.
This echoes what we've all been saying but at least he recognizes the gap. Does his saying this possibly dissuade some of the more talented youngsters into entering the Bradenton system in favor of a youth reserve team in Europe or SA?
If a youth player signs with a pro club and enters their reserve, wouldn't they give up their college eligibility?
Why the personal attack on Gersman? If you don't like the guy's articles, don't read them but don't attack the guy personally. Frankly, Gersman does a good job of keeping all of us updated on the youth teams. I like the stuff so I'll continue to read it. You don't like it so find another source for info. Just don't belittle yourself with unnecessary personal attacks.
I agree. Gersman is on of the best posters to read on BigSoccer and is generally more reliable and more knowledgable about the US Youth Program than just about any other youth media outlet
So when I was working for newspapers, was I a writer/reporter then? But now that I'm writing for a web site I'm not?
There is opinion in the article rather obviously. I trust I don't have to "label" that for those reading.
Rob, another fine article. TopDrawer takes a perspective no one else does out there. Keep it up, and don't let moronic comments get in the way.
You mentioned Adu, but to me this cycle will be remembered for Ellinger's decision to turn Spector -- the heir to Eddie Pope?? -- into a central defender. That decision alone justified his paycheck.
I thought everything Ellinger said was dead on, especially his understanding that our system is different than that of other soccer nations.
As a result, I think it is a misnomer (and I've said this on the Paul Gardner thread) to call Bradenton a professional environment. That term simply does not apply, so I think Ellinger is engaging in a bit of bad faith here.
Bradenton can be considered the highest level of youth soccer, really a pre-professional environment.
Attack? Lilsten, I don't know who writes this stuff--am I supposed to? A link was provided, I followed said link, read said article, and was commenting on it.
All I am saying is that it is an editorial.
I will break down my particular gripes with the article over the weekend when I have time, but I do give credit to the writer for breaking the news that Ellinger is around til '05, and he is smitten with his "accomplishments."
The thing is, why doesn't someone who has "access" to these guys ask the RIGHT questions, such as, "Many say you had no idea how to use Freddy or what kind of team to build around him--what do you say to those critics?"
"Mr. Ellinger, where did you play your professional soccer?"
"Coach, why only boom ball? Why not get the ball to Freddy's feet, as opposed to over-the-top launching of the ball?"
"Why don't you choose skillfull players, generally?"
Because interviewers that ask loaded questions and questions with an assaulting tone typically don't have access for very long.
If I were a professional coach under the spotlights of a lot of wannabes, I wouldn't be granting interviews with them, not much good for me would come out of it.
Gers, I did not realize that you were the writer. I knew you had a writing position somewhere but I did not know your name.
So where are we? The soccer community isn't a bunch of idiots. Sure we have a few here or there but we all watched the U17 games and have come to reasonable conclusions. We all know that we played well against SK. Played just a bit better than Cameroon. Played worse than Spain and got spanked against Brazil. I think the goals could have been edited out the goals and we would have known that.
The score didn't matter. It didn't matter who won the games. What mattered is how well our players were developed at Bradenton. Their selection for college soccer is not an indication of development. In fact, I think we can count more U17 players who peaked in college rather than started for the MLS or overseas.
So, rhetorically, how can we say Ellinger did a good job?
It is certainly easy to criticize him for the style of our play. We all know it was ugly. Ellinger knows it was ugly. That's why he said, "We tell them, when you’re playing out of the back, to look long and if it’s there, you make that play. Brazil, Argentina, Spain, they all have that option and they all can make that pass. Our guys think they can make that pass, but don’t’ make it all the time, and if you try it and it doesn’t work, you get that kickball effect. If you can’t make it, you need to keep possession which is the other option we didn’t use enough." So he even criticizes our players' thought process. I don't like it when a coach places blame on his players so I do think that Ellinger should take responsibility for a lack of mental preparation of our players.
I do agree that Ellinger made a great change when he put Spector in the back. We should pat him on the back for that.
After all that writing one thought has struck me. Most of the attention our players have received has been for the defensive players. Hmmmmm . . . . . . . Food for thought. I don't think we had a style of play that highlighted our attacking abilities.
A slight revision of your post to put things into the PROPER perspective.
So, only coaches who have PLAYED professional soccer can be successful? This is "old school" thinking about what it takes to be a top level coach. How many national teams caps did Sven Goran get?? Gimme a break.
Look, I could care less -- and frankly, you and everyone else should too -- about whether the USA U17 YOUTH SOCCER TEAM...repeat YOUTH SOCCER TEAM.... played boom ball against the PROFESSIONALLY TRAINED... repeat..PROFESSIONALLY TRAINED youth national teams of two of the top soccer nations on the entire globe.
Your contempt for this program and Ellinger is completely misplaced.
My contempt for you -- and I daresay the contempt others share as well -- is most certainly not.
Was he placing blame, or simply reciting the situation as it is??
Having been around youth soccer in this country a long time -- and make no mistake, the U17 national team program as is currently constituted is youth soccer, albeit very high level -- I can say with pretty much authority that even the best teams can be great the one day, and absolutely hideous the next. "Schizophrenic" would be an apt word.
These are kids, players who are not fully formed.
As for mental preparation, our approach puts our kids at a handicap. Bradention is NOT a professional environment. Those kids from Spain and Brazil are already pros. You can do the best mental preparation in the envionment you have, and it will NOT be as good as the mental preparation done at Corinthinians....or at Barcelona. Until we have our own professional youth development systems, with the same level of ruthlessness and competitive intensity you see at these top Euro and SA clubs, we will always be at a disadvantage.
That is a recitiation of the facts.
I would modify this to say that our youth teams will always be at a disadvantage to other countries youth teams when they play straight up. However, that isn't the issue. The question is whether or not they environment that the players develop in will help them to succeed in the pro and senior international level. Anotherwatds we don't have to win at U-17 if the losing teaches lessons that can be learned and applied at an older and critical level
AM - no big deal. As you note, I did ask about the style of play, which I thought was the big question about the performance in Finland. I honestly didn't write it be a defense of the coach. I think from a distance evaluating his performance ends up being pretty subjective for all of us. I do think what the players do on the next level is a truer test of it than what happened in Finland.
I don't mean to question the soccer acumen of fans, certainly not on Big Soccer - I read the posts here as much as anyone and I do learn things (and like the rest of you, i see things on here that I disagree with).
I do take issue with the fact that anyone should have expected something in particular with this team at the worlds. We can all have fun with predictions but in all honesty, how would any of us really know where it stood compared to the other teams? We can generally say, Brazil has good teams, but even there we don't know until we see the team. For most of us, what we "know" is who some of the players are. I am pretty sure that for many on here, the first time they had seen a match with this team was at the event itself. They just don't get much coverage so unless you happen to live or were at aplace where they played, you couldn't have seen them (again, let alone vs another international team). But when I call you part of the "fanatical" support, that's not a bad thing. I absolutely count myself a fanatic. Just saying a lot of the vitriol seems to be fueled by disappointment, and that due to speculative expectations.
Now I am lucky enough to have seen them a few times before, and I have seen them play some attractive soccer (against not as tough opposition) and so, as you mention, I did ask about the style of play (not in the impolite way lsisbud suggests, but more directly without trying to score some kind of point with someone).
In his first post lsisbud accuses "the writer" of
2. "presumptious writing"
3. self-important attitude because of access to John Ellinger
4. being a hack
in the second its "all I was saying is that it's an editorial"
you know, you get a lot further with your points if you don't wrap them in such abrasive terminology, honestly.
basically what I see is that since I didn't make the same observations as you, I'm pandering and being presumptious. Did you ever think that maybe we just see it differently. Now there is a style difference, I asked the longball question without the in-your-face approach you recommend, and yes, when you deal with someone long-term it often helps use some manners and respect. Much easier to use a lot of bluster behind an anonymous moniker on the web rather than over the phone or face to face.
As for the other questions:
"Many say you had no idea how to use Freddy or what kind of team to build around him--what do you say to those critics?"
How many is "many"? To me, Freddy Adu seemed to have quite a bit of freedom on the field. The only criticism i have heard related to that was the very same question about the long balls, which Ellinger himself acknowledged. The forwards, including Freddy, weren't getting the ball. So that's basically the same question except for the Fox Sports Radio "you had no idea" line, which by the way, is VERY presumptuous, to think you know every idea the coach has.
"Mr. Ellinger, where did you play your professional soccer?"
Why do I need to ask him where he played professional soccer? I have his bio already. There again, YOU have an opinion that his not playing professionally calls his qualification into question (where Bruce Arena's season with the Tacoma Tides apparently makes all the difference). What would asking THAT question accomplish. You are free to do a piece tying pro playing experience to coaching qualification, but it wouldn't really be the postscript piece on the worlds or a look ahead at the new crop of players, would it?"
"Coach, why don't you choose skillful players, generally?"
Yeah, I didn't ask that question because, umm, it's not true. And if you really want to belabor the point, you are presuming that it is true. In fact, all of our objective observation leads to "presumption" then, hey? And again, it's just no way to conduct yourself with a fellow human being.
It's not unusual to argue player X is better than player y, that's just part of what makes following sports so well, but a blanket statement/question like that one, come on!
But I've watched these guys with their clubs and with this team. You get to see Eddie Gaven holding off a defender while advancing with the ball, that's skill; Memo Gonzalez curling a free kick about 90 degrees at the Combine or spraying passes around i matches, that's skill, Jamie Watson flicking balls past defenders to set up goals, Jonathan Spector winning tackles and Brandon Owens reading passes before they are hit, even other guys he selected for residency that weren't as prominent, like Michael Harrington running down the wing with the ball at regionals and hitting a perfect cross, Steven Curfman scoring a beautiful goal, chipping a keeper in Dallas, Robbie Rogers turning defenders inside out running at them, Brian Mascarenhas doing much of the same and hitting perfect passes. To say then that these guys are generally not skilled, it just wouldnt be true.
So we ALL editorialize, it seems to me.
Now, it's hard for me to defend against charges of self-importance. Actually, in previous professional incarnations I've worked closely with people a lot more "famous" than John Ellinger. That stuff all kind of leaves me cold to be honest. I'm more concerned with what my kids think of me than them. I just love being around the game, am trying to make a living from doing the thing I enjoy the most, and I do enjoy being close to the action, but mainly for the sake of sharing the things I'm able to find out, with a lot of other people who, like me, love all of this stuff but are smart enough (unlike me) not to quit their day jobs to find out about it.
The reaction to the performance at worlds, to me, was over the top because it was based on an expectation that had no foundation, and so I said so. To me the specific item to question was the style of play, and so I did.
Anyway - that's why I wrote what I did. I'm a fanatic too. No problem with different opinions, A problem with personal insults. Be ye kind to one another.
Here's to an 11-0 stuffing of St. Kitts in the Olympic qualifier. Anything else will be unacceptable (oops, I did it again .
For the most part, this is correct. You can't have 40 kids in your system when other countries have hundreds. But I don't think the US will ever be quite as "ruthless" as countries like Brazil. There's been stories about African players who don't make the cut being cut adrift in Europe. Not even returned to their families. How ruthless can you be when the players who don't immediately make the cut and join the first team professionals will get a free college education? In a lot of countries, soccer is a ticket to a better lifestyle for kids in the poorest areas. I doubt it will ever be like that here. Although I support the concept of the MLS having youth programs and reserve teams, I think that any system like that should reflect American values like access to education.
GersMan, keep up the great work. Your web site is one of a kind and I only wish there were 10x more articles on it!
thanks parm (and everyone else) - help me get sponsorship and I can pay people to write articles for us - then we would be doing tons more.
Gersman you should make that post your mission statement.