Saturday, July 08, 2006

World Cup recruits

With the recent exit of the United States' team from the World Cup there have been a variety of conversations about what next for the US team. We need to make some changes to be sure, and the natural order of change has to do with replacing the coach. In this case Bruce Arena is on the firing line, maybe even more so since Claudio Reyna has retired.

There has been recent conversation about Bruce Arena's replacement and whether or not this person would be an American or an "outsider". There are several names being thrown around including Glenn "Mooch" Myernick, who was the primary face of the US coaches at the World Cup appearing in a lot of sideline interviews, and Bob Bradley, whose son Michael is a very likely fit for the next World Cup and appeared in two of the preparation matches leading into the tournament. Those guys are Americans and good choices. Then there are the international voices projecting Sven Goran Eriksson, the former skipper for England (and apparently has a girlfriend here in the US) and the hopeful voices that suggest Jurgen Klinsmann, skipper for Germany currently and who has already pushed aside any such rumors and just that.

ESPN profiled the Portuguese team and noted that outstanding players Deco and Miguel are Brazilians with ties to Portugal. I noted there were several other mentions of such players on other teams playing in the World Cup. Players who were overlooked by their native countries and went back to play for another nation they had ties to (baseball aficionados think Mike Piazza playing for Italy) have made contributions and maybe ought to be the source of our reviews, rather than the coach.

I wondered about the possibility of some "outsiders" who ought to be considered for the US squads of the future. I wish I had some names to throw out there, but my knowledge is just not vast enough to answer such a question, so I threw the entire idea for a column over to Alex Chick at

Certainly much has been made of Freddy Adu becoming a US citizen and we were certainly fortified in previous Cups by Thomas Dooley and Joe Gaetjens, notable "outsiders".

Who should we think about in our soccer future? Maybe the trick to winning at the World level has less to do with US players playing overseas, and instead with "recruiting" as so many other nations do to strengthen their squads.



At July 10, 2006, Blogger gavin richardson said...

i don't know if we will be able to compete at the highest level until kids are given a reason to choose soccer over football or baseball. some of those intl players were much bigger and faster than ours. i think our best athletes just go to other sports around high school age. still, i think some of the coaching and game plans never gave us a shot (literally and figuratively).

At July 29, 2006, Blogger The Thief said...

And furthermore, when kids are given that reason to choose soccer, the level of coaching even at youth levels has to get better.

But we need to have as many of our players playing at the top level internationally, and, unfortunately, that's not MLS at this point.


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