I saw your post by Roby Stahl, “U.S. Soccer Needs to Reset,” who advocated a great reset in American soccer. Here are a few thoughts that came to mind reading it.
The American soccer scene is basically looked down and frowned upon by many. As an outsider, I don’t understand that. Sure, the international results don’t reflect the points I will give and come to, but that’s a different ballgame.
Let’s take the coaching education. You have the USSF/USYSA and the USC, which are the same regardless of the state you take it in. When I moved there, I was surprised at the number of courses available, which grew in numbers and quality.
In Europe, you have the same UEFA badges everywhere, but depending on where you live, it can be like night and day what you get out of it.
Then you have the coaching pool. The vast majority of coaches are excellent in the states. Since I was a coaching director for several clubs in the states and Sweden, I can easily compare it. The USA has many outstanding coaches, but the setup holds them back.
The player pool is better than in most countries until age 14, then high school hits. I am not against high school soccer, but everyone else continues in club soccer year-round worldwide. The USA players get split half and half (hs/club-fall/spring). It’s just an observation, nothing else.
The USA has the players and coaches to become the powerhouse it should be. Not only do I judge it based on my personal experience and the results of American teams in international tournaments.
It’s just the current setup that needs to be restructured.
First, it is almost impossible unless you put every entity running a league under the USSF umbrella. If the federation is not running the top to the bottom pyramid, you’ll have problems with everyone who wants to run things their way, just like now.
Second, soccer also differentiates itself in the regions USYSA is using. You have those in the north who can only play outdoors for a limited time of the year. You have the states where you have half/half and then the south where you can play outdoors year around.
Finding where a regular season would fit in would be a scheduling nightmare. It would either be too cold/snowy or too hot.
Then you have the consideration of town soccer, travel soccer, and ODP to fit into this scenario. plus, you have national playoffs in all kinds of leagues to top it off. 🙂
And now, I haven’t even mentioned the most significant income source for many clubs; tournaments. The majority of clubs that are “Pay to Play” are not making ends meet unless they have a decent tournament or something similar to fundraise. Having worked in a ton of different clubs, it’s always been a struggle with money for the clubs at the end of the season. But then, on the other hand, it goes back to the regions again. The further southwest you go, the more money coaches make and the more it costs to play.
Last, the biggest obstacle of all School soccer. Having coached that as well, I think it has its place, but it’s a different discussion.
Okay, I will let all of that go since it has been all the problems I see with doing a reset. Instead, let things be like they are and create a new environment side by side. If the major clubs in MLS and USL want to have youth soccer down to u4, then make that opportunity.
However, the clubs should pay all the fees for clothes and everything to differentiate from the others. Once parents get a grip on the different sides and see the options, they’ll make decisions that will create a normal reset in things to come.
But the big three, USSF, USYSA, and USC, should sit down and have a round table discussion about the future. Then, the states can begin implementing it when they have sorted it out. However, it will take years and years and a lot of willingness.
All the best from across the pond