clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

US Soccer: Youth ranks revamped

3 thoughts on Monday's announcement by Sunil Gulati

This past Monday, US Soccer announced some major strategic changes to youth development.

"It’s fundamental to the growth of the sport in our country that we examine and improve the different areas of development for our players and coaches," said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. "We are better situated than ever with the resources to do that. With ambitious programming for our National Teams, new investments in education and technology, and a continued effort to align our technical practices with the best in the world, we are positioning ourselves to take another important step forward."

Amongst the bullet points, I offer these observations about US Soccer's plans going forward.

1. Klinsmann's fingerprints are all over this. Whether it being training techniques, motivational retreats, or telling you that your preferred sandwich is shit, Klinsy is extending his vision to the periphery of detail to make sure we deliver perfected machines to the pitch. If you forgot about the memo, he'll make sure you get another copy.

Much like the senior team, It will be interesting to see how the coaches will respond to the new licensing requirements put forth by US Soccer. I'm also curious how the parents of the youth in the team react. Oh...and the kids. Almost forgot about them- how well will they adapt to the new level of micro-management? Kids like that sort of thing, right? Honestly, it will be interesting to see how effectively this is adopted as the new culture in the land of the orange slice. To what extent will this be met with heavy resistance? Will funding to improve access for low-income aspirants make it a moot point?

2. Expansion of scouting and youth teams. The USMNT has broadened the pool massively in recent years by recruiting dual nationals in Europe and South America. Now US Soccer is taking steps to expand the base at home. With earlier identification and added youth teams (which I'm assuming will mean added international tournaments), one can assume that a broader pool of homegrown talent will have more meaningful experience at a younger age. As well as being a boon to the Senior Team and future Olympic rosters, I am going to project that this will be a boon to MLS teams not in Canada as their top academy prospects will likely make up a big part of the added youth teams. It should keep the Woman's team on top of the heap, to boot.

3. Expanded NCAA schedule. This is the biggest head-scratcher amongst the proposals advanced on the 8th. At this level, is this really a good investment for US Soccer? The college ranks are chock full of good talent, but how many of these guys will eventually represent the US at any level? How much would split season competitions serve to boost this number, and who is going to pay for it? Not to mention the fact that the added travel would detract from the hypothetical reason for being there in the first place, and you are really flirting with this just being another version of USL Pro.

I will expand on that last point in a future post, but a couple of things in the release did give me a case of the Mondays. What do you think? Feel free to debate, bloviate, or post funny pictures of cats below.