Is the US falling behind technically?

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Is the US falling behind technically?

Post by Psychotic on Sun Jan 23, 2011 8:28 pm

Tony DiCicco, coach of the 1999 World Cup-winning U.S. women, said, “On the girls’ side, our players are not smart players, they lack sophistication, they're not technical enough" – and he blamed the youth soccer structure, which he referred to as a big business.

http://www.socceramerica.com/article/41101/new-leaders-aim-to-boost-girls-soccer.html


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Re: Is the US falling behind technically?

Post by onetouchfutbol on Mon Jan 24, 2011 6:10 pm

You could argue that we are falling behind or that the rest of the world is catching up to our women. I'll say this. I thought that DiCicco was the best technical coach our women's national team ever had. But, I disagree that the problem necessarily starts in the youth programs... There are still amazing players coming through the youth programs. I think the problem actually starts with coaching at every level....even at the national team level. Too many players try to go one-on-one instead of focusing on playing one to three touch, Brazilian-style soccer and remembering that the ball is the fastest thing on the field. The players who have the ability to go one-on-one are in the minority, and a lot of players seem to forget that. It happens in the men's game too though. Actually, in the men's game, I think it's even worse...but, it's been that way for years...

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Re: Is the US falling behind technically?

Post by UPSoccerFanatic on Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:24 pm

I'm not sure I agree about the one-on-one. It seems to me that players learn technical skills (I'm talking here about how to handle the ball with skill) by keeping the ball and learning to deal with one or two defenders. I.e., hold the ball until you draw the defense and then make a smart decision about where to send it. Players with potential who do that become better and better at it. Early on, they may look like ball hogs, but over time they become great players.

A case in point is a certain left defender who was the first drafted defender in the recent WPS draft.

What do others think?

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Re: Is the US falling behind technically?

Post by onetouchfutbol on Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:12 pm

UPSoccerFanatic wrote:I'm not sure I agree about the one-on-one. It seems to me that players learn technical skills (I'm talking here about how to handle the ball with skill) by keeping the ball and learning to deal with one or two defenders. I.e., hold the ball until you draw the defense and then make a smart decision about where to send it. Players with potential who do that become better and better at it. Early on, they may look like ball hogs, but over time they become great players.

A case in point is a certain left defender who was the first drafted defender in the recent WPS draft.

What do others think?

I don't think what we're talking about is so radically different. I would just argue that many players in the US (in both the men's and women's game) hold the ball for a little bit too long before they send it. The players like Wambach, Mia Hamm, Milbrett, and Rapinoe are few and far between in my opinion. In the last men's World Cup, Spain was a team with great technical skill. It's partly talent, but, it's also largely style of play and coaching.

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Re: Is the US falling behind technically?

Post by keeper on Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:30 am

All of the comments have good points. The reality is the world is catching up with the US women and in many cases it is via improvements in their technical skills.

If you look at youth games, the kid who shines is usually faster and more aggressive. As success builds, they tend to rely on these traits versus developing the technical abilities to move without the ball, control a ball in traffic or pass quicker. An example of this is Sidney Leroux -- she has scored a lot of goals at the youth level by outrunning the competition. The downside for Sidney is she is starting to play with players who are just as fast as she is and unless she works on the technical side will end up as a sub or left off of the national team.


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Re: Is the US falling behind technically?

Post by A_Fan on Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:16 am

Good point Keeper. You can even see this even with some of the young players at UP. The good ones generally learn pretty quickly that the people they are playing against at the college level are also very fast. They learn they must improve their technical skills to be successful. An example would be Elli. When she first arrived at the UP she often tried to use her speed to defeat opponents. She quickly learned that was not going to be a successful strategy. She developed her technical skills and made herself a top tier player at the collegiate level.

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Re: Is the US falling behind technically?

Post by onetouchfutbol on Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:58 pm

A_Fan wrote:Good point Keeper. You can even see this even with some of the young players at UP. The good ones generally learn pretty quickly that the people they are playing against at the college level are also very fast. They learn they must improve their technical skills to be successful. An example would be Elli. When she first arrived at the UP she often tried to use her speed to defeat opponents. She quickly learned that was not going to be a successful strategy. She developed her technical skills and made herself a top tier player at the collegiate level.

Yeah, I guess what we're talking about is slightly different. There's the idea of being a ridiculously skilled technical player like Lionel Messi on the men's side who can dribble through and break down almost any defense, and then there's the idea of playing technical team soccer which I consider more of a national problem in the US on both the men's and the women's sides. I would argue that the most important thing from a coaching standpoint is that players need to understand their strengths and weaknesses. It's okay to have players with weaker technical skills as long as they are aware of that and they are willing to pass or give up the ball sooner. On the best teams in the world, only 2-3 players are given the liberty to hold the ball for longer periods of time.

I don't think that ND was the most technically skilled team in last years' College Cup, but, the players were possibly the most aware of their strengths and weaknesses...

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Re: Is the US falling behind technically?

Post by Indigo Kid on Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:48 am

I stumbled upon this article in TopDrawer Soccer that has this youth player discussing his experiences training in Denmark and also in the US. Talks about differences in technical play for both.
http://www.topdrawersoccer.com/players-to-watch/players-to-watch-archives/nid-19531/American-youth-Clark-moving-through-Denmark

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Re: Is the US falling behind technically?

Post by onetouchfutbol on Wed Jan 26, 2011 8:08 pm

Great article, Indigo Kid. I think that article really gets to the root of the problem. Our youth programs don't teach tactics as well as they are taught in other countries. Tactics and being technical players really go hand in hand. If a player can't trap the ball effectively, for example, then one touch or two touch soccer becomes less effective. A poor touch becomes an interception at any level of the sport...

I would argue that in the US this is more than just a youth problem though. Our players are less technically skilled at every level; even on the national teams. I would also argue that it's more apparent in the men's game than the women's game. For me personally, the problem needs to be solved at both the bottom in youth programs and the top on the national teams. As the article implies, it starts with coaching.

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Re: Is the US falling behind technically?

Post by keeper on Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:26 pm

Agree with One touch. That said, I still enjoy watching the Lady Pilots over many of the US professional men's teams I've seen. While the LPs may not be perfect, they have shown an ability to play the "beautiful game" better than most and in a manner that is fun to watch.

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Re: Is the US falling behind technically?

Post by Geezaldinho on Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:14 am

Yesterday I was reading a book with the TV on to a soccer channel, when they interviewed the Dutch National team coach Bert van Marwijk, who went on and on about how the Dutch aren't technical enough and have fallen behind other teams, especially Brasil, and how Dunga was a brilliant tactician.

I had several thoughts.

1) er... It was Spain that you couldn't keep up with tactically and tried to mug into submission, not Dunga's Brasil side.

2) oh jeez... If the Dutch think they aren't technical enough, what hope do we have?

3) hey! Aren't you the guy that made van Bommell team captain?

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Re: Is the US falling behind technically?

Post by DaTruRochin on Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:23 am

Well... if you want to have one guy talking to officials it's van Bommell...

That guy could talk his way out of a card even if he used a club in the process.

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Re: Is the US falling behind technically?

Post by onetouchfutbol on Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:14 pm

keeper wrote:Agree with One touch. That said, I still enjoy watching the Lady Pilots over many of the US professional men's teams I've seen. While the LPs may not be perfect, they have shown an ability to play the "beautiful game" better than most and in a manner that is fun to watch.

Yes, that is true. I've actually been surprised at how the US men's MLS teams tend to actually play better technical soccer when English Premier league teams or Mexican league teams come through town on their exhibition tours or as part of CONCACAF. To me it's proof, that we could play a different style of soccer if the coaches actually made a point of asking the players to do it more consistently. But, few coaches make those kinds of demands...

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Re: Is the US falling behind technically?

Post by purple haze on Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:12 pm

Remember the journalist's rule of thumb: Anytime a headline asks a question, the answer is always "no." Seriously, the overall skill level of players these days is sky-high compared with the past. The sum total of training expertise, better nutrition, sports psychology, how-to books and videos, TV availability of world-class games ... it boggles my mind compared when I couldn't even FIND soccer shoes to fit me in Portland when I played in grade school. I do love the Pilots for the skill level they bring to the field, and to see them develop as they go through college. Coaches can and must always improve too -- they're part of the human equation that makes soccer a great sport.

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Re: Is the US falling behind technically?

Post by onetouchfutbol on Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:11 pm

http://www.prostamerika.com/2011/02/16/american-game-is-more-technical-than-the-football-in-scotland-37105/

Another interesting perspective from someone in the men's game: the American game is slower, but, more technical. I'm not sure if I agree (on the more technical part), but, it's an interesting opinion.

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Re: Is the US falling behind technically?

Post by DaTruRochin on Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:25 pm

Well, he's talking about Scotland... Not Spain or England, so that very well could be (With the exception of about 2 Scottish clubs, and sorry Hearts fans, I'm not talking about you)

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