US soccer festival

Discussion in 'Youth National Teams' started by big bonnie, Aug 4, 2002.

  1. big bonnie

    big bonnie New Member

    Jul 13, 2002
    I just got off the phone wit one of my buddies who played wit the east squad at the festival. He said that at the end of the week there was a pool of about 32 chosen then that pool was cut down to 14 and these players would be part of the u-23 national team pool. He said the festival was incredible wit the amount of good players there. Players would ask him where he was from and he'd say Connecticut and they'd be like CT has soccer players???? He said Marcus Storey dazzled everybody which Im not surprised at all with. I do question the player pool thing tho. If anybody has any solid info regarding the end of the festival pool selection please reply.
  2. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

    Feb 13, 2001
    If past is precedent, I have a hunch that is not quite accurate.

    In the past few Soccer Festivals, the top players from the respective regional teams were selected to something called the US Amateur National Team. Basically, it's a "national team" for players that participated in the Soccer Festival with no age-limits like U23 and U20 teams have. I'm guessing it was the Amateur Team pool that these guys were selected to, not the U23 pool.

    Unlike other youth national teams that are sponsored and paid for by US Soccer, the US Amateur National Team is paid for by the US Amateur Soccer Association, which is affiliated with the USSF but in theorey is autonomous, a la the USYSA.

    In 2000 the US Amateur Team featured the likes of Ryan Suarez, Corey Gibbs and Chris Gbandi (who isn't even a US citizen yet). They played all of 1 game together, a friendly against the Canadian 23s.

    Last years' amateur national teams featured Billy Sleeth, now with the Fire, Matt Crawford, who was a starter on UNC's national championship team, and Jason Thompson, who just got called into to the real U23 team.

    Now, here's where it gets interesting. The Soccer Festival is the USASA's annual week in the sun that is the American Soccer community. It's a big deal to them and they struggle to get top amateur players to come.

    Therefore, the USASA has a policy that to make the amateur national team, you have to participate in the soccer festival. Doing that requires jumping through a couple of hoops. It's open to all n on-pro players 20 and older but first they must make their respective state's amateur national team. Theoretically there is a tryout for that though some players get invited on to that. Then, in the early summer the four respective regions have tryouts for the regional teams. These tryouts are a series of games between the state teams in their respective region and the coach of said region picks a team to take to the Soccer Festival. If you don't go to the regional tryout, you aren't allowed to go to the Festival, regardless of talent.

    Once at the Festival, the top players are picked to be on the Amateur National Team. Currently, the Amateur National Team head coach is Keith Fulke, who last year led Tampa to the D-II national title and then accepted the head coaching gig at West Virginia.

    While on the surface, the idea of being on the amateur national team seems like a nice honor, they didn't really do much and it wasn't worth the effort for some players to go through all the hoops to make it to soccer festival.

    To make the Amateur Team more appealing, and thus get more and better players to the Soccer Festival, the USASA has started having the Amateur Team play a series of games against MLS teams in pre-season in Fla. with this past spring being the first year they've done this.

    They are also hoping to get the funding for the ultimate carrott, which is for US Soccer to give them some cash (and split the cost with USASA) of sending a team to next year's World University Games (which is the last 2 weeks of August in Korea). The USASA is hoping that if the World University Games are an incentive that that, along with the MLS spring games, is enough incentive to get more players to come to soccer festival. (BTW, to play in the World Univ. Games, the criteria is that the players must have been full time college students the previous year.)

    I hope they end up playing in the WUG as I like the idea of better players going to soccer festival and I like the idea of late-bloomers and players who aren't neccarily in the U-whatever pool still getting some international exposure, as well as somke extra games for the U-whatrevers that stay in school.

    The problem is, the calendar is very crowded and not all the players have the time to jump through all the hoops the USASA requires to go to Soccer Festival, let alone the Festival itself.

    Take this year's, for example. The Festival started last Sunday and ended the following Saturday. During that same time, the PDL was having its Final Four, featuring exactly the kind of players who should be going to the Festival. After spending all summer with their PDL team, should they bail on their club and their teammates to go to Soccer Festival?

    Also this week was a U23 national team tour of England with all but 5 of the players on the tour being current college students, the kind of players who should be going to the Soccer Festival. But who is gonna pass up a call up to the Olympic team to go to Soccer Festival? No one, that's who.

    Also going on last week was the USYSA championships. That event ended in Maryland the same day the Festival started in Texas. While some players, like Marcus Storey, were able to play in both, it isn't exactly logistically friendly.

    So while I applaud the USASA's attempts to make both the soccer festival and the Amateur National Team more important and talented, it seems like they need to do a lot more coordinating with the USL, USSF and USYSA to allow for more players to participate and/or adjust the criteria for participation on the amateur national team.

    Sorry to make this so long-winded but it's kind of a complex explanation of what should be a simpler issue.

    BTW, prior to the Great Big Soccer Crash of July, there was a thread that listed the players who were on the Amateur Team's spring MLS tour; if anyone saved that list, feel free to re-post it.

    And, if anyone knows the players selected to this year's Amateur Team pool, please post those as well.
  3. big bonnie

    big bonnie New Member

    Jul 13, 2002
    Thanks for the clearification and info. It sounded a bit sketchy when my friend said he made the u-23 national pool when they already had a set pool. Im gonna feel sorry burstin his bubble.
  4. soccertex

    soccertex New Member

    Aug 8, 2000
    It was suposed to be the same way this year. The USA "select" team was to play Canada on the last day but the game was cancelled due to heavy rain.

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