Identifying Soccer Talent Still An Issue In North America

If you're not a soccer fan, best you be moving along for this post.

I don't know what the etiquette is about copy/pasting comments from other sites but I've done in the past and will do so here.

As usual, the FIFA world rankings stir way too many emotions for its worth. It's just a ranking based on a formula of games played over a period of time. Too often people forget it's a concrete (and imperfect) equation meant to be objective and a ranking where a group of people subjectively subject who they thing should be #1 like they do with the BCS or college basketball. If Portugal is ranked ahead of the USA it means precious little. It does provide some insights into the consistency of a program but I tend to look at the long-term coefficients for that (like you would for a mutual fund or any investment. I don't care who is number 1 for three months. I want to see how they've done for 40 years).

FIFA doesn't publish those but ELO does under 'Strongest football nations.' since 1970.The top three are of no surprise. They do one better, they calculate and break it down per decade going back to the 1910s.

Back to the comment. I post it because I think he's accurate with his argument. It's one I definitely witnessed and experienced.

"To many of you people try to down the MLS. To be perfectly honest i currnetly play proffesional soccer in norway second division and have also playing 2nd division in italy for 3 years and there is almost no difference if any in the quality of players with the MLS and other leagues in eroupe what makes the game so poor in MLS is not the players but the coaching the training the tactics of our game we are tought the game incorrectly our youth system is so messed up and this is the main reason why gusieppe rossi left for italy... He was a good friend of my we played youth soccer together and he was not chosen for youth state team which was a joke. Coaches here are terrible...it makes me sick college soccer is even more of a joke..."

It's worse in Canada. At least the Americans can compete with the likes of Mexico, Brazil and Argentina and are consistently ranked in the top 20 and even made appearances in the top 10.

About his mention of Rossi. Canada did the same with Owen Hargreaves. The program failed him even though he was good enough to play for Bayern Munich's (one of the world's great clubs) youth academy. Following this, he ended up with another soccer giant in Manchester United and then was in the starting eleven for England.

Somehow Canada missed this?

Better yet, we then call him a 'traitor' for our own stupidity!

How a country so hard up for talent can let him go?

Simple. The chap above explains it well.

When I was playing the progress of soccer was reverse in Canada's favor vis-a-vis USA. It always baffled me how the quality of players on Team Canada was so poor - subpar tactics, ball movement and technique - since the local soccer parks were filled with highly skilled albeit raw talent screaming to be developed. We used to joke we can put together a local team and give Team Canada a run for their money.


When I was playing, players like me - big on vision, small on physical strength - being overlooked was the rule and not the exception. It just the way it was. The main prevailing tactic, if you can call it that, was to tell players to run like madmen and be "aggressive" on the ball. All the coaches would do is yell as if that would motivate players. Basically it was a hockey mentality in a soccer setting.

They never showed you to play without the ball or how to pace a game. That was left to chance if a coach cared enough to take the time to teach but it was always independent of any developmental strategy. 
I still marvel at how good we were with scant proper instruction. It was pure, raw, tupelo honey.

It's a bit better now. I see Canada's talent is finding its way into the national team (it's nice to see short passes with some purpose now) but I still think we're a long way off.

Finally, it's pleasing to see the team reflect its cultural makeup a little more now as well.

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