Author: Buddy

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USSF Needs to Quit Playing Games in LA

10 years ago the US played Costa Rica at Arrowhead Stadium in KC.  It was my first trip to see the team in person and a game that I will never forget.   At that time, it was difficult to find US games on TV (many games were on pay-per-view if they were broadcast at all) and you had to scour the internet for hours just to find any news relating to the team.  That game, on a Wednesday night, drew over 37,000 fans to Arrowhead and set a midweek attendance record that would last for years.  The atmosphere was electric and very Pro-American, and from what I can remember the celebration started early and continued deep into the night.

Contrast that to the game Friday night at the Home Depot Center where at best it was half-full and of those that were there, many were supporting the visitors.  10 years later, much has changed for American soccer fans.  We have unprecedented coverage of games on ESPN, with great production and announcers.  Soccer news is all over the Internet and even appears on SportsCenter and other mainstream media outlets.  When the US National Team plays, twitter is abuzz about the game.  Yet despite unprecedented coverage, people in Southern California refuse to attend, or better yet support our National Team.

Why US Soccer continues to put games in LA is baffling.  If they were short of funds, you could understand playing Mexico at the Rose Bowl or Coliseum would make sense from a financial standpoint.  But playing these games, in a half-full Home Depot Center makes no sense when there is demand for these games in other cities.  They could make more money and have a much friendlier crowd in pretty much every other city in the country.  Yet games are played at the Home Depot Center with tiny crowds and marginal support.

There are so many better candidates to host the National Team.  Portalnd sells out their stadium and gets larger crowds then what US Soccer got in LA for reserve team matches.  Seattle can always pull in a large Pro-American crowd.  Kansas City has the nicest stadium in the country, and has one of the largest supporters groups, American Outlaws Kansas City.  It is also close to other large American Outlaw groups that travel well from Des Moines and Omaha.

Although the result didn’t matter last night, in a year’s time the US will begin qualifying for the World Cup.  It is time to play games only in places where we can have a large Pro-American crowd and sell out the stadium.  Kansas City provided a great atmosphere 10 years ago and did it again last summer.  If US Soccer were smart, it would set up shop in KC.escort independent

Klinsmann Right Man for the Job

US Soccer logoFinally.  After pursuing Jurgen Klinsmann for 5 years, the USSF has hired Jurgen Klinsmann to be the next National Team coach, replacing Bob Bradley.  Most fans wanted Klinsmann to lead the National Team back in 2006, but US Soccer would not pay him the money or give him the control he wanted to implement his agenda.  While the timing was somewhat of a shock, Bradley’s dismissal is long over due.  Klinsmann is just the right man for the job.

Klinsmann is one of the greatest strikers to ever play the game and someone the players can look up to.   No past National Team coach in recent memory has had the playing career or experience that Klinsmann had.  He won the World Cup with West Germany in 1990, and at a minimum, our young strikers Jozy Altidore, Juan Agudelo, and Teal Bunbury should improve under his tutelage.   All 3 of these players are very young, a little raw, but with a lot of physical ability.  We’ve never had a world-class striker on our roster, and while the three players named above may never have the technical skill to develop into one, they can become great players under Klinsmann’s guidance.  With his accomplishments as a player, it will give him instant credibility with the current team.

He has also had a lot of success as a coach, leading Germany to a 3rd place finish at the 2006 World Cup.  Following a disappointing Euro 2004, Germany named Klinsmann their head coach. The Germans had an aging squad, and needed to interject new players and new tactics.  Klinsmann elevated many young players into the starting line-up and also had the team play an attacking style.  The team played with an attacking flare that up to that point had rarely been seen from German teams.  This is very similar to the challenge facing him today with the US.

With the job openings at the Youth National Team Level, Klinsmann will have the opportunity to shape US Soccer for the considerable future.  Because of a pretty fortunate draw in World Cup Qualifying, Klinsmann will have at least the next 18 months to experiment with new young players and tactics without risking progression to the final round of qualifying.  It will be exciting to see who is brought into the team.  The goal should be bringing in players that can start in 2014, not necessarily the best players at the moment.

The turnaround will not be overnight and there will be a lot of growing pains in the future but finally US Soccer has shown a commitment to someone who has a vision for developing a world-class program.  For the first time in a year, there is excitement surrounding the future of the National Team, something Bradley could not do.  Hopefully, the hiring of Klinsmann is not 5 years too late.dubai escort tonight

See Jack Jewsbury playing in the MLS All-Star game July 27th on ESPN2

My prediction, Jack Jewsbury will score Wednesday night in the All Star game!

Springfield native Jack Jewsbury will be making his first Major League Soccer All-Star game appearance in his 9 years in the league. The team will be playing against Manchester United. As captain for the Portland Timbers, he has started in 19 games this season and leads the team in goals and assists. To many this may be a surprise. It has been comical to listen to the ESPN and Fox Soccer announcers talk of how surprised they were that he could score…

From an early age many people in Springfield grew up watching Jack hit the back of the net. First the old days with me on the Titan Soccer Club, to his days at Kickapoo High School where he has the Missouri state record for most goals in a season. He has always found a way to score. Jack has always had an ability with the ball and a mental toughness just faster then the rest of us.

Now after 9 seasons in the league he has been rewarded for his hard work. He was transferred to a great new expansion team in the league, started every game, taken every set piece and look what happens! He is scoring goals and is one of the best set piece takers in the league. He has also been selected as one the top 11 players in the league by the fans.

On Wednesday night in New York, 7:30 central time, Jack will take the field with some of the greatest players in the world. He will be playing along side David Beckham and Thierry Henry. The opponent Manchester United with Wayne Rooney, Nani, Ferdinand, and the legendary Ryan Giggs. This is an honor well deserved and I congratulate him on such a great career.

Based on the years of following Jack, if he can get a set piece away from Beckham, there will be a goal for sure! So tune in to ESPN2 to find out. Check out sgfsoccer for an interview with Jack about his experiences at the All Star game.dubai escorts

US Soccer logo

USA Stuck In Neutral

The website welcomes a new contributor, Matt Isaacson is a Drury grad and KC resident who will following the US National team. Here’s his opening salvo…

The US National Team is facing a critical period and a possible loss in identity. After being the undisputed kings of Concacaf for the majority of the last decade, Mexico has knocked us off our perch. With stronger competition for World Cup qualification, the path to Brazil will be incredibly difficult. To qualify, we must develop new young players that are capable of developing into reliable contributing members of the national team. The biggest question facing US Soccer is whether or not Bob Bradley is the right man to lead us to Brazil 2014? Past history tells us to question the decision making of the USSF.

Following a break through World Cup in South Korea/Japan 2002, where the team was a bad call away from a semi-final date with South Korea, the USSF decided to retain coach Bruce Arena. At the time, it seemed to be a good decision. Reward the man that took your team to new heights. But in hindsight, a change was needed, as the team did not improve in the four-year cycle between World Cups and was poorly prepared for Germany 2006. As any coach can tell you, if you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse. Now, the USSF is making the same mistake.

Other countries often limit their coaches’ tenure to one cycle. Of the 32 teams that qualified for South Africa, only 12 coaches are still leading their teams today. By the time European and South American qualifiers begin, the number will be further reduced. Many teams out of principle change coaches just so someone fresh takes a look at their player pool and stirs it up a little bit. The new coach does not have the same loyalties to the squad as the previous one. A new coach often drops players that are getting too old, that have underperformed, and has the ability to bring younger or otherwise overlooked players into the team. While many cite the US has a model of stability, it alternatively shows that we are unable to make difficult decisions and unwilling to pay a top tier coach and give him the control required to take our team to new heights.

Looking back at recent competitive results (Confederation’s Cup, World Cup, 2011 Gold Cup) Bradley supporters will point to reaching the final of two of those competitions, and being group winners at the World Cup. But when individual games are analyzed, the team has underperformed in the vast majority of them. Consistently falling behind early, and often times relying on the ability to comeback; the team has rarely played from a position of strength. When a team consistently gives up early goals, the team is not prepared to play. The coach is picking the wrong players to start, or is putting players in the wrong position. All of those issues are Bradley’s responsibility, and our team does not have the talent to overcome those deficiencies against top competition.

At the Confederations Cup, the US was beaten convincingly by Italy, destroyed by Brazil the first time, blew a two goal halftime lead in the final to Brazil the second time, and beat Spain in a game where we were outshot 29 to 9. Considering the Spanish firepower and past record, that result was reminiscent of the Miracle on Ice. If the US had not found a way to hold on against Spain, the tournament would have been a complete disaster.

At the 2010 World Cup, the US was about a minute away from failing to get out of the easiest group at the tournament. It was the latest goal scored for a team to clinch qualification to the second round in the history of the World Cup. The reward for that late goal was top spot in our group and a game with Ghana to go to the quarterfinals. What has come to be expected, the concession of an early goal, finally caught up with the US, as we conceded early in the first half and almost immediately after extra time started. The first goal was especially painful, as Bradley had unexpectedly inserted Ricardo Clark into the line up and his error led to the goal. Bradley then replaced Clark in the first half, using one of three available substitutes to correct his error. It is rare to see a coach make a tactical sub in the first half, probably because most of them pick the right players to start the game in the first place. Having to use a sub early, we were left without a substation late in extra time when we were losing. With many established teams already eliminated, South Africa presented an opportunity for a deep run to at least the semi-finals, but Bradley squandered it.

The Gold Cup completed this summer was a complete roller coaster. While the US made the final as expected, two embarrassing loses show that a change at head coach is needed now. I’m not going to waste your time talking about the Panama loss. We shouldn’t lose to Panama at home in anything. Period. The game against Mexico was a microcosm of the problem with Bradley. He inserted Jonathan Bornstein into the game, and moments later a 2-0 lead evaporated in the hot California sun. How Bornstein was even picked to be part of the team is worthy of an investigation, as he has done nothing to warrant to selection. But Bornstein played for Bradley at Chivas and has continually been given chances only to cost the team each time he plays. The result was a humiliating loss that cost the US a major championship and the chance to play at the next Confederations Cup.

Looking ahead, the US is going to face a difficult road in World Cup qualifying. Mexico is strong, and getting better. Honduras and Costa Rica are very competitive sides, capable of winning here and even in past years were tough road trips. Jamaica and Panama are vastly improved. A home loss, like the one to Panama, could doom qualification for the next World Cup. The time is now to make a change; we can’t afford to stand still.
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