Youth development - this year's thread

Discussion in 'Youth National Teams' started by voros, Sep 26, 2003.

  1. Dan Roudebush

    Dan Roudebush New Member

    Mar 31, 1999
    well I'm late to the party.

    MF served dinner for me. I won't repeat what he's advocated since I've said the same elsewhere since the original days of MLS.

    Maybe I can add desert.

    One has to examine the underlying arguments here.
    I do agree fundamentally about pro development being preferred, but not seeing MLS as able to do this now (and they have too many other vital issues to focus on)
    Why do they have too many issues to focus on? The largest was stadiums and six of the ten teams have them or are under construction with two more in preliminary planning stages.

    I disagree strongly here, it's all about money, and the right climate.

    Take Peter Wilt for example. He's been up to his eyeballs in Chicago with youth teams, academies, etc Give him some bucks and you will see the Fire readily absorb youth pro development.

    The other part of Gers arguments (and others) for a "new structure" ignores evoluation versus revolution. The super clubs and super Y league have evolved.

    Rather than a new costly structure you take the next step up which is youth pro teams as addendums to super clubs. The next step in evolution. The climate has been setup and only in the last three-four years.

    BTW in regard to some of the other arguments:

    1. Lots of overseas clubs run pickup vans for their kids that live at home. Residency isn't a requirement for pro youth development.

    2. Life is not fair. Read the book of Job. Scholars think the last verses were changed (pentameter shifts)over time because follow on generations couldn't accept the original book's premise. So if you don't live in an MLS city TS. Get in the local progam that exists or move. Even happens in small countries like the Netherlands with kids trying to get closer to Ajax.

    3. And Karl I'll disagree on level of play. Ours needs improvement. Do you get money from better attendance or improved play? In this case IMHO the improvement egg comes before the chicken of attendance.

    Your picking on NASL for failure even with "high level of play" ignored too many other factors that were even more relavant. Including that the level of play stunk in some cases: ie: Oakland Stompers populated with ex second division Brit drunks. {stories to be told over a few beers including Shep Messing tales}. I also remember the offside rule change with the Tulsa Roughnecks only offensive weapon was to pass back to the keeper and have him send it into the other teams box where three guys were already waiting.

    4. Social equality? Checkout the US Soccer Foundation. That's the spin off of the USSF that handles the inheritance of $50 mill from the '94 WC. Most all of the interest goes to amateurs. As does a lot of fees from international team play in the US (part of FIFA rules). All of this money comes from...... pro play.

    5. Part of being on a pro youth squad is interacting with the senior team. Something missing in most arguments I've seen here.

    I'm sure I missed a few points. The thread is pretty long. Keeps most issues of development in the forefront whcih is good. Hopefully USSF, IMG, and Nike will continue to feel the pressure to overhaul the Brandenton system
  2. GersMan

    GersMan Member

    May 11, 2000
    thanks Dan - I really should have noted that much of my early thinking about this was formulated on your old A-League boards.

    I'm not sure what you are saying about evolution. To me it is ALL about evolution. It's just what happens. For the top clubs to start doing this would be an i mportant step, and if it's done well, I think pro teams will then decide to get involved. Then you'll have that first team involvement.

    Thanks for the great discussion, everyone.
  3. the Next Level

    Mar 18, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    Let's keep talking

    Is this thread a dead horse now?

    I sure hope not because it is SUPER INTERESTING to me personally, and something I have been on the inside of for many years now.

    Before I make my case. JohnR isn't (or perhaps can't) tell you guys that his son looks excellent on his club team. The kid can flat out play whether they are playing 9v9 in club play or 11v11 at tourneys and State Cup. The boy's speed, size, strength and attitude you can't coach, but his understanding of the game, decision-making et. al. is coached.

    Why did I say that? Not to stroke John's ego but to make a point. That team has taken apart every top club team in the state by more than 2-3 goals. Their coach is an MLS assistant. What's funny is that the kids play a better, sharper brand of soccer than the MLSers. Some of the kids are really not that talented, but they can all play. I mean REALLY play (obviously taking into account any physical or mental talent limitations).

    Here's the point. Many top youth soccer club coaches absolutely want to coach top players and develop pro kids. In fact in this country it is really the only way to develop a resume as a coach. I know. It's how I got my job.


    Guys, if you think that just because a club has an MLS name on it (with accompanying resources, academies whatever) that they will develop better players in the United States you are sorely mistaken. Top American youth teams have been beating top European teams for years. American kids have been winning Man of the Match, Golden Ball, and Golden Boot awards for probably the last 10 years at international youth tournaments. Hence the argument that it is NOT in the best interest of MLS to mess with the youth club setup is correct.

    Why spend lots of extra money, and risk alienating a portion of your core customer base (many Chicago area youth club players stay away from Fire replica jerseys because the Fire Jrs. wear them - at $70 a pop the Fire is losing some money there) when you cannot guarantee your results will be measurably better than the current?

    And you can bet grandma's last girdle that if the clubs find out the MLSers are making money at this academy thing they will play the big boys out of the market. The clubs will be MUCH MORE aggressive about making $500,000 or $1 million annually than MLS and that's their core business. History has shown in other industries that big business just cannot beat small business at small business (unless MLS franchises started to BUY some of the existing profitable soccer businesses.... another topic)


    Unless you have been in the meeting rooms at the top clubs you wouldn't know this: youth clubs are working FEVERISHLY to figure out how to make more of a presence of themselves in untapped regions of the country. The race is on to solve the financial problem. There is enough money on the pay-for-play side of the equation. The question is how do you acquire a larger share of the more lucrative markets? In every business the answer to that question is effective marketing. In every successful soccer business the most effective marketing tool is a high-profile, otherworldly successful club team setup.

    With the top kids now just going back and forth from one top club to another it's getting very difficult to sustain the highest level. The player pools are getting too thin and too predictable. The evolution is on at an accelerated pace now. At our club there is serious discussion every week about this very subject.

    You may see substantive change much sooner than you think because these ideas have been kicked around and experiments being made for the last 4 or 5 years. And the solution to the financial problem is not necessarily as huge as you may think.

  4. GersMan

    GersMan Member

    May 11, 2000
    NL speaks truth.

    We intend to highlight some very good examples of these efforts in coming months. It's not ALL a pipe dream.

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