Thursday, July 13, 2006

Final World Cup post

All right, I mean it.  This will be the last official World Cup posting.  At least for a while.
I just wanted to sum up a few things that I was reading on the USA national team and what this country is going to have to do to compete on the international stage.  If nothing else, we’re going to have to get more serious about paying attention to what’s going on, because one thing you need that the rest of the world has that we definitely don’t have is absolute passion.  I’m not saying our boys didn’t try hard, but the kind of importance that other countries place on this tournament and this sport drives the players to higher levels of performance.  You don’t think so?  Ask yourself why the same countries win time and time again, despite how much exposure the sport has in the rest of the world.  America is a land of many choices when it comes to our pastimes, and winning the cup just isn’t that important yet.

Oh, yeah, and American fans aren’t going to give it that kind of importance until they learn the game, and they aren’t going to learn it until they get more exposure, and they aren’t going to get that exposure until ESPN, ABC and everyone else shows something more than the World Cup every 4 years.  Hear that TV People?

There are a lot of other reasons.  This Boston guy who worked in soccer for years says that the game is still too difficult for American athletes.

      Though hitting a baseball may be the single most difficult feat in sports, soccer is hands down the most demanding team sport to master. Soccer players must contemplate a seemingly endless number of possibilities regarding what to do when the ball comes. In motion on a field that is up to 120 yards long and 75 yards wide, with 9 other field teammates to consider, the possibilities are many, and relatively complex. It is like a chess game, but the board is gigantic, and the pieces are moving quickly. From an intelligence perspective, the only other somewhat analogous sports are basketball and hockey, which also demand quick thinking within a free-flowing game. Yet, given that players in those sports must consider merely 4 other teammates over a smaller field (i.e., court, rink), mastering the intelligence of soccer is a far more intricate and demanding feat.

Jamie Trecker asks 5 questions that American Soccer needs to answer before it can progress:
-If Claudio Reyna is the best American player, why did he play in only ONE World Cup win in this three Cup appearances?
-Did Landon Donovan fail in 2006 because he isn’t good enough to get the ball, or because it was not given to him?
-Was the USA team over trained?
-Do we need better coaching or what can a coach to with the players he has?
- What can be done to attract superior athletes?

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