Monday, June 28, 2010


Here's a good analogy for those of you who are new to following the US Men's National Team and their too-early exit from the 2010 World Cup. They're like whatever team in the sport you usually follow that is good enough to make the playoffs, but then that's about it. They're like a solid 8-8, or 9-7 NFL team.

So here's my question, now that you can all relate. Is getting to the playoffs enough? Is it enough that the USMNT got out of their group and onto the Round of 16?

Sunil Gulati expressed disappointment at our results at this World Cup and that made me feel better. I'm glad they all get it. I think everyone involved at USSoccer is crushed because they all expected a lot more this time around. But now it's going to be tricky. Think about it. Look what the Cleveland Cavaliers are going through right now because of an early playoff boot. The road from "pretty good" to "great" is often harder to find than the road from "terrible" to "pretty good". The USMNT is pretty good. Everyone wants great. Me, Sunil, the ball boy, everybody. We all want the USMNT to be as feared as Argentina before we die. But how to get there? Especially in a culture where so many people go out of their way to openly despise your sport. (Yeah, yeah, you hate soccer. Football is better. Thanks for yelling it at me. And fuck you too.)

This is a critical moment for the USMNT. Nobody is happy just being pretty good anymore. It will be interesting to see how the next few months (and next few years) play out.


  1. I'm Scottish, so understandably I wasn't supporting England yesterday. And I have to say that I'm disappointed that the USA got ejected when they did. They weren't my favourite team, but any team that manages to only give England one point gets my vote!

  2. How do I get to be the disapointed ball boy? Will they take a 40 year old? If I pay my own way can I be there in 2014?

    Go USA! Go Sounders!

  3. You're right....US has to find a way to make a leap from Mexico status to the next level...won't be easy.

  4. Nail on the head Mr Carey.

    American Outlaws - Greenville, NC

  5. The fact that they made the knockout round is pretty awesome to me. I still think back to the US Woman's win over China back in 1999. It was the first soccer game I watched, but since I was recovering from broken femurs, I hadn't anything else to do and loved every minute of that game. And I really enjoyed watching the USMNT this year in South Africa, especially since I've been reading Nelson Mandela's autobiography.

  6. I'm a big UT baseball fan. The Horns kicked butt in the regular season and then got beat in the Super Regional by TCU. I'm ok with that because it's a playoff (unlike NCAA football). Disappointed, yes. But I will continue to be a fan. They are an exciting baseball program.

    I would like to see the USMNT do better in the World Cup. But their loss will not prevent me from watching them again. I would love to see futbol be bigger in the U.S. I don't think it will happen - the format doesn't fit neatly into the moronic commercial TV format. Hard for beer swilling NFL and NASCAR fans to sit still for two 45 minute periods with no TV breaks.

    ESPN has been courageous with their WC coverage in the last few weeks. Had to hard to justify profitability without commercial breaks every 10 minutes.

  7. Personaly i think what the MLS (soundersFC specificaly) are doing in youth leagues is the way to go! we have the athletic tallent here in the states, we just have to show them that (at a young age) there is noteriaty and a future for them in soccer.. I played for select teams, from 5-13, I quite because football became available to me. if the soundersFC mls side had been around with its youth leagues and awesome home games, or if EPL games were on tv who knows what I would have done, and i think that goes for many of our youth players, imagine if chad ochocinco had stayed with soccer ! his pace on a pitch would be deadly.. my prediction is that by 2018, maybe even 2014 a sounders youth player makes an impact on usmnt

  8. Drew, thanks for posting this. It's not enough. We had the talent to beat Ghana and give Uruguay a run. Yes, we were a wildcard team, but Ghana is not the Colts. So I'm disappointed.

    But I'm hopeful. We've come a long way. In 4 years, our team will have 18-23 year-old players fighting for spots on the team because of the opportunities opened up for them by the USMNT success, soccer fans across the US, ESPN and Fox Soccer Channel's money, MLS, MLS academies, international clubs, and sponsorships.

    And in 8 years we'll see a 17-year-old kid arrive on the scene with Arjen Robben's talent (but hopefully better hair.)

    Thanks for all you do.

  9. I'm still very sad and frustrated, but I guess if there IS a good thing to pull from it, maybe it's the very subject of your blog entry. Because yeah, that is exactly what is on everyone's mind. This very conversation is part of the next step...

    '90: We're ready to start playing.
    '94: Don't underestimate us.
    '98: We actually expect results.
    '02: It's working. We're progressing.
    '06: sadly, a step backward
    '10: We're serious about this and the fans are watching.
    '14: ??? Perhaps we will prove ourselves as contenders?

    This time, this conversation... This is the tipping point. Let's hang on to the frustration and sadness and anger. This is the beginning of the next big revolution in American soccer.

  10. Was sad they did not go further.....was not a bad season....get it next year.

  11. Agreed. But so far we are not on the level of the teams that have advanced to the quarter finals. Ghana is going to have their rear's handed to them by Uruguay, and that would probably be us. What we need to focus on is that we are more talented than England right now, and go from there. England think they are better than they are and worth a 9 million dollar coach, there in lies their fault. If we want to be feared like ARG then we need to get a flamboyant ex player as a coach that pisses off the whole country with with his choices, so that we will be highly underestimated.

  12. We really need to change how America approaches youth soccer. Jürgen Klinsmann made a great point on ESPN the other day about how soccer is a middle to upper class sport for children in America. In every other country it is more a lower and middle class sport. Kids in Africa, Europe and South America grow up with dreams of being a soccer star. Here in America, urban and lower class children tend to gravitate towards basketball. So even though we're the largest country to participate in the World Cup, we have one of the smallest talent pools.

    Also, our domestic league needs to continue to grow. My local team, the Columbus Crew, released their player salaries recently. My mother is a nurse and she makes more than a couple of the players combined. Sports shouldn't be about the money, but we'd be lying to ourselves if we said it's not.

    The biggest problem we need to work on with our current team though is focus and playing through till the whistle is blown. Coming back from early goals is dramatic, but unneeded. Also, am I the only one that thinks it looks like Bocanegra just let the guy run past him on the second goal in the Ghana match? He gave him a little shoulder check and then just stops running! You can't slow down in a situation like that. I would have rather seen a PK then just giving up.

    Another thing we have to ask, where was Buddle? Buddle is the goal leader in the MLS. He is currently averaging about a goal a match and he has chemistry with Landon. Their work together with the Galaxy has been amazing! How often does a national team have the fortune of having a talented midfielder and striker combination that also plays on the same team in league play? Seems like a giant waste.

    One last thing, I might be bias, but why did they not at least take Chad Marshall? He is hands down one of the best defenders in the MLS and will likely be going international in the next couple years. He should have at least been on the bench. He brings focus to the defensive line and is a legit offensive threat on set pieces.

    Love you Drew. Thanks for supporting the beautiful game.

  13. Thanks so much for all your wonderful tweets during the World Cup. I am a really newbie soccer fan, all the miss-reffing made me want to scream, so unfair to the teams.

    You are doing your part to support USMNT, good for you.

  14. So here's a different way to look at it. Remember when the U.S. Olympic basketball team did NOT include members of the NBA? When they did, there was almost complete domination of the world. There is a huge difference between each sport of course. U.S. Soccer is not so much the U.S. team competing against other teams, as it is competing against the entire WORLD. That's because soccer is the dominant sport in almost every nation outside of developed nations. Having said that we can compete, and we've shown that! Top 16 is better than Top 50 or 100. Yes, in 4 years we will have different players on the team. Maybe better! I say there's a better story when the Portland Timbers start a rivalry with the Seattle Sounders in the MLS! Go Timbers! :D - Wylee Coyote Jim

  15. Giving up the early goals were the main thing and they still didn't have any decent strikers - strikers score goals and ours didn't really. We have enough players who have played in Europe that we should be doing better now.

  16. Wow, the 'f-bomb' from the host of the Price is Right. I like it. Seriously, Drew, I love USA Soccer as much as you do. Thanks for all you do. Don't give up on 'em (our Nats) now or ever.

  17. Do you think next time we'll even make the round of 16? Most of our stars are old and such a disappointing delivery in this years world cup is not going to boost soccer's popularity in the USA.

  18. so they're like every Philadelphia team? We get so close, then fumble it.

    No getting to the playoffs is not enough, we need to get to the quarter finals, if not the finals. Though as soccer/football isn't played as much outside of college/university, other than by expats; I don't think we're ever get there. The best players on the US team, don't play for US teams & as greedy as american athletes are they're need to be making $1MM or more per year to keep them active.

  19. Well, first off I think it's worth at least something that we didn't just get out of our group-- we won it. And I think it's also something that, as disappointing a finish as the USAMNT had, England's was probably comparatively worse. For a country that gets zero respect on the world stage when it comes to football, I think we got that much closer to showing the world that we're here to play. I thought I read somewhere that US fans bought up more tickets than any other nation. Not sure if that's true, but nonetheless, the amount of US fans that eagerly took the chance to fly all the way to South Africa (yourself included, Drew), shows the US does have a enthusiastic group of die-hard football fans (even if we are in the minority).

    The ratings for US World Cup matches continue to be huge every tournament. The MLS is growing. The ever-increasing minority population in the US will also help the sport grow.

    But anyway, getting back to the main question, is this USAMNT performance good enough? No, not really. No team can consistently give up early first half goals like we did and expect to survive. That's just sloppy. It felt like this team could only pull it together if they were playing from behind. That doesn't work very well in this sport. Maybe that's a coaching problem, I don't know.

    But the other thing is, as you yourself have pointed out, this only takes place every four years. It's not like we can go, "Oh well, we'll get our shit together and come back stronger next season." Next season isn't until 2014. That's a long time to wait to have your hopes and dreams crushed.

    It's clear there's talent to be tapped into. Maybe it means spending more money to bring over a staff from various European leagues to run our players. I also think it would help to hype friendlies a lot more (right now, only fanatics really know they are occurring at all). There's plenty of opportunity to concentrate on international football during World Cup qualifying; hype that, and let US fans know that you can also support our team on the road to the World Cup, not just during. I think once the team becomes a regular focus instead of an appearance every four years, public support and enthusiasm will make it easier for the powers that be to bring in the proper elements necessarily to nurture our players' talents and increase their discipline.

    Also, FIFA seriously needs to adapt replay, not to mention crack down hard on flopping. This particular World Cup will, unfortunately, probably end up alienating a lot of people that otherwise would have been fans for life-- merely because of frustration.

    In the end I think it's a mixed bag. I think the team was a success insofar as they played hard when down and percervered despite some jaw-droppingly atrocious calls against us (if I were a conspiracy theorist, I'd think FIFA had some sort of vendetta against the US). But the USAMNT needs a lot of work. You can't have sloppy defense in the first half and consistently give up early goals and expect second half miracles every time. That can only go so far before you fall.

  20. I hear ya, Drew. "My team" is good, since I'm from Argentina. But I still think people should catch up, even tho you guys have a cultural thing for football (that we lack of) doesn't mean shouldn't considerate other sports and give the people with money something else to bet on.

    -Another big fan of Who's line and the Drew Carey show.

  21. I'm a new soccer fan, rabid Sounders fan and new ECS member (got some great pics with you). I'm fairly sick of my American Football fan friends calling it "Commie Ball", although I really don't know what that even means. I was a SeaHawks season ticket holder 8 years, still a die hard fan; but God Forbid I get into another sport.

    The loss was frustrating, especially the same weekend as the Sounders' loss, was also rooting for Mexico (sigh). But I think the USMNT team is pretty close to where the MLS in general is; not great on a world wide scale but definitely coming up. The MLS is growing, fast, and I think our performance on an international scale will grow as we grow domestically.

    But is it good enough? Kinda has to be for now. Ask any Red Sox fan; it's all about patients and diligence.

    That's all I got; GO SOUNDERS!

  22. I thought Bill Plaschke of the LA Times had a great comment on this very topic (published before the US v. Ghana match). Article was titled, "When it comes to the World Cup, aim higher, America" Excerpt:

    "We diminish the game of soccer, and inhibit its growth here, by setting expectations so low. We've been here before and must go deeper in the tournament to push the sport forward in our nation."

    Full article here (scroll down to June 24):,0,5883852.columnist

  23. ....and one last thing. I can't tell you how upset Seahawks fans were when you raised the 12th man flag at a game, I think you were in town for early Sounders planning or something. The week before we were beat by Cleveland, then here you are, Mr. "Cleveland Rocks", the next week raising our flag. DANG peoples were pissed .... I must admit I was one of 'em.

    Ah sports makes great friends and enemy's.


  24. so true. i see a lot of similarities between the USMNT and the Australian team. There was a blog by a football writer down here about 10 things we've learned at this world cup and this ninth point, i think, rings true for both teams.

    9. Stop living in the past

    You know what? We're not the rank outsiders any more. We're not the underdogs. We're not the battlers trying hard in the face of apparently invincible might. The rest of the world and our own media like to portray us that way - even those who should know better - and even Pim thought of us that way. (He was genuinely scared of Germany). We're not. We're a top 25 ranked team in the world and have been for a long time now. It's not just a blip, it's a fact. We shouldn't be scared of playing anyone. Not just because we're Australian, but because we've earned that right with a series of excellent results against excellent opposition. No, we're not world-beaters yet. We don't have the depth of talent and skill in the squad to go all the way through a competition like the World Cup. But - and this is the important part - on our day, we DO have the depth of talent and skill that can beat ANY team. There is no reason why a Top 20 team cannot take on a top five team with a realistic expectation of pulling off a win. It would be an upset, of course. But it would not be a HUGE upset. We have moved on. We're not the little minnow on the world stage anymore. it's time to stop selling ourselves short by pretending (or worse still, believing) we are.

    the full blog is here if you're interested:

    i had a ball watching the US play in this world cup (including getting up at 3am to go to the sydney fifa fan fest site to see them play ghana but especially when we had my english mates and american mates over to watch the opening match) and i'm looking forward to more and more from USMNT in the future :-)

  25. Have you read the book "Soccernomics"? If you have and you agree with their premise, it's simply a matter of time before the US becomes a soccer powerhouse. If you haven't read it, I can't recommend it enough.

    Apart from that, if you look at the countries that are the traditional soccer powers, they all have storied club leagues, too. I think continuing to build the MLS into a league that commands the same respect of Americans as MLB, the NFL, and the NBA do is vital to improving the USMNT's quality. Right now, soccer is bigger than it ever has been but it's still a niche sport (albeit with a rabid following). If more mainstream attention is paid to it (if Sportscenter starts giving equal time to MLS highlights, for one example), the league's revenues grow and the player salaries increase, then over time (let's say a generation), kids will grow up dreaming of the glory and riches of the average MLS soccer player just like they do with the other pro leagues. And when soccer grabs that big of a cultural foothold, you can rest assured that the USMNT will be a force to be reckoned with.

    I'm optimistic the process has started and it simply a matter of time.

    (Go Sounders.)

  26. Harrumph Drew! Those of us who have been following the team since the "old" days of qualifying for Italia '90 are starting to get spoiled with just qualifying and starting to have expectations. I don't think those expectations are unjustified. The USSF needs to step up youth training and the MLS needs to let young quality players go to Europe...maybe set up a feeder system for MLS teams to European clubs.

  27. I think the MLS and the Sounders are going to play a key role in developing the players to take the USMNT to the next level. I can't wait to see 5-10 years down the road when the MLS Youth Academies really start to bear fruit. BTW, what is the status of the Sounders academy?

  28. My favorite part of this one was "Yeah, yeah, you hate soccer. Football is better. Thanks for yelling it at me. And fuck you too.", I LOVE it! I have a few buddies of mine who keep dissing soccer, it's really annoying 'cause it's not like I bust their chops every time the Super Bowl comes on! Glad your a fan of the World Cup Drew!

  29. I think that this result was to be expected. The majority of the team we took was young, which is a good thing. Charlie Davies out with injury, Gooch was clearly not 100% even though he did play with heart of a lion.

    I think there is a greater question about Bob Bradley. Throughout the qualifiers and friendlies his starting rosters left a little to be desired, experimenting with Conner Casey and Brian Ching as long as he did. This did not lead to the type of team cohesion that this team needed to take on the teams at this level, even though teams like England, France, and Italy's performances were lackluster at best.
    Bradley's choice to leave Frankie Heyduk off the roster left me perplexed, sure he's older but what he lack in age he makes up for in heart and that is clearly what shocked the pants off of Spain in the Confed cup, (Chuck D, and Micheal Bradley). Not to mention the strange substitution schedule he was running. If you are playing on the world stage you shouldn't end the game with a sub left over, you can't take them with you to the next game.
    In the Confed Cup for instance Jozy was clearly gassed at the end of the first half, yet Bradley left him in until the 65 min at least. You can see him feigning interest in the attack several times in the final of the Confed.

    Not to say that he is a truly terrible coach or that he is wholly responsible, but I think that there may be better candidates for the position (Alexi Lalas). I had us going through to the second round, at least, with a second to England which would've had us playing Germany on Sunday. I think this would have been a better match up for us, which I know is counter-intuitive, but I think we understand their game better than Ghana's.

    I cannot wait until the next one Landon's going to be back along with most of the starting line up from this year, with Charlie Davies, and a healthy Onyewu. The next two cups should be EPIC!!

  30. Drew, Jurgen Klinsmann had some incisive comments on ESPN about the state of American soccer, from hw the youth players are developed, to player management at the national team level. His comments start at 1:30

    I think he's onto something, and I say give him the job for 2014.

    (P.S. Sounder season ticket holder here.)

  31. Slow growth is good growth. (That's what she said!) And I've been around long enough to say that the USMNT has grown steadily across the soccer universe. I'm stilled psyched about Red Bull Arena! The newest MLS stadium opening demonstrates this nation's citizenry's commitment to its footballing teams. I am greatly depressed about the Ghanarians' victory, but I believe this just sets us up to the win World Cup at HOME in 2018. (C'mon. We'll never win in Brazil in 2014.) THEN, the US of A will go nuts. And I can die peacefully. (A man has to dream, doesn't he?)

  32. Great comments,and dead-on. Until we overhaul the youth system so that our best kids are playing professionally in their teens, rather than busting their humps trying to get college scholarships, I fear we'll never get over that hump. Rooney was playing professional soccer in a developmental system at 14. By the way, I'm a fellow Browns I kind of wish we could get that team to play in some professional developmental league as well. Think the Big 10 would take us?

  33. As a bills fan, I really don't have any clue what it's like to root for a fairly average team, however, I've followed the USMNT for as long as I can remember, and the feeling of disappointment this time around is greater than ever. Yes, it was a great show they put on throughout group play, but we wanted more. They wasted such a great opportunity. I feel as if I just spent 200$ on a nice dinner, and didn't get to eat the entree.

    Also, thanks for letting me live vicariously through you at this World Cup with all of your updates.

  34. I read an interesting article earlier today that had a solid point... I forgot to Tweet it, but basically it was a sports writer who was impressed that soccer fans are content to enjoy their sport of choice without recruiting everyone on the face of the planet to agree that it is the best sport in the world.

    To that end that may just be our problem as fans. We are complacent.

    I don't know how your Sounders supports fair (poke poke), but in Chicago we have a pretty active Fire supporters community. We have seen some growth, but we don't push for it. We don't actively recruit. We don't solicit our sport to the masses. Ultimately it belongs to us and the people that are part of it are there because they want to be.

    We see quite the opposite when it comes to baseball or even football here in Chicago. North Side, South Side, Bears, even those dastardly Green Bay fellows, we force people to take a side, choose a loyalty, and abide by it.

    Is this such a bad thing? If Toyota Park is 80% full of excited, committed, genuine Fire fans, do we really need another 20% to justify our position as a professional sport?

    I was glad to get through group play, and the let down was a BIG one. I think the team relied too heavily players like Altidore. Sure he's tall and he can get a header over just about anyone, but when you are a one trick pony do you really think the other nations are going to let you play that over and over again?

    Defense was weak. DeMerit was simply not cutting it, and Bradley didn't choose to make a change.

    Ultimately until we start paying players the seven figure salaries in the MLS that other sports play the talented will go to other sports. Unless someone genuinely wants to be a futboller (is that even a word?) You aren't going to attract a star athlete to soccer in the US. Kids start getting pushed to play American Football or Basketball before they ever really get a chance to develop a taste for soccer. Their parents don't want them wasting there time with a sport that won't make them rich and famous.

    I really hope we don't see Landon leave for Europe. That's yet another reason we don't have a fan base that draws advertisers and investors. The big names go overseas and try to make their mark, only to be treated like second class players because the happen to be born in the US.

    It sucks, but that's the way it is. Looking back on my life I wish I had continued to play soccer. I was one of those kids that saw Michael Jordan and wanted to "Be Like Mike". I put all my time and energy into basketball. I reunited with soccer 2 years ago, and I can say I regret not pursuing it.

    Will we see a US World Cup victory in our lifetime. Probably not. Do I really care. Nope. I love the sport for what it is. If it happens, great, but I'm not holding my breath.

    It's almost like finding some indie band. You really dig their sound, and then the hit the radio and go huge and all the sudden you lose that connection with them. They aren't so cool.

  35. Well said Drew :) I am extremely disappointed in their early exit and I'm also disappointed in the way they played the first half. But I am PROUD of how they played the second half and fought til the end. I just believe they finally ran out of gas, and that they simply at the end got outplayed by Ghana.
    I don't know if Bob Bradley is the right man to lead them into the next WC, but I believe he is a good coach and a good man who MAYBE was not quite ready for such a big undertaking.
    GREAT run though...I applaud all of them and I'm so happy that even for a brief little while, most of America was finally behind them showing support.
    Onward and upward!
    ~Laura R

  36. Yes and no...

    This is like equating the Olympics with/mixed professional sports.

    For instance, US Basketball in the current Olympic scheme. Would it be OK for us to have made it "just to" the quarter finals? NO, why? Because the team is made up of professionals. We expect more from them.

    For our USA soccer team to have made it as far as they did... HOO-Frickin-YaY! They did an awesome job, on an Olympic level.

    MLS compared. Watching the level of athleticism of the WC compared to watching the last Sounders game... it's like watching college football compared to NFL, in a bad way. There is no "hunger!" What is there for the players to work "toward?" Like college players wanting to be seen by an agent to pick them up in an NFL contract. They are working their asses off to get noticed, respected.

    I for one, am NOT disappointed in our showing at the WC. I am proud, because I feel in my heart that the team members played to the best of their ability. And as a fan, that's all I can ask.

    "Play like you are honored, to be playing!" "Don't play like you are privileged."

  37. Drew I think increasingly hatred of soccer is a generalational thing. When a person expresses an opinion of absolute disgust towards the sport I would lay a lot of money on them being 45 or older. While there are younger poeple who don't like it that deep rooted hatred seems to be dying off as the WWII genreation and their babyboom generation age.

  38. The underlying problem of the USMNT this year in the World Cup is the lack of a philosophy. Are we an attacking team? Are we a defensive team? Do we counter attack? Do we have a style? The USMNT has been defensive in the past but we don't have the players to play like that any longer. Our strength is in the midfield; overwhelmingly. I would argue that our next biggest strength (outside of the keeper) is our attack. Though you'd never know it because Findley is not a world class player, yet started 3 games, and Jozy has no touch and very little finishing ability. He's an incredible athlete but it's not a track meet or a wrestling match. We need players who can put the ball in the back of the net. It would have been interesting to see how well our attack could do with Edson and Hurculez up front together. Each of them has scored more goals individually than Findley and Jozy has scored, combined, in the last 6 months.

    We have the players to compete, as we have showed time and again. On any given day, we can be the best team in the stadium. We need a coach who can work with the players we have to develop a philosophy that will be successful.

    My idea would be to wait until June 2011 when Frank Rijkaard's contract is up with Galatsaray and sign him to take over the team. Let's get some freeflowing attack minded football in the USA. Even if we weren't vastly successful, don't you think we could get a lot more fans playing a more entertaining game? (But I think we would be successful, we have the people).

  39. First, send Bob Bradley off with a pat on the back for achieving the minimum expected from the team. Then, move whatever mountains we need to in order to hire Klinsmann.

    I expected the US to lose in the round of 16, but against Germany who would have torn us apart. It is hugely disappointing to lose to Ghana when we really are more talented than them, especially since they are missing their best player, Essien. Also knowing that our Quarter Final opponents were going to be teams we are capable of beating makes the loss even worse. Some mistakes were made by Bob Bradley in Clark and Findley starting, and some mistakes were made by our defense. As far as our play, we were getting tunnel vision and only trying to work within a narrow slice of the pitch way too often. This makes it really easy for Ghana and the other teams we played to shut us down. We needed to change the point of the attack quickly to break down a defensive minded team. We didn't do that well at all. Our defending was at times terrible, we were unable to keep our shape and weren't getting pressure on the ball from our midfielders. Especially late in the Ghana game we could hardly touch the ball because we were only closing down the ball handler, but leaving all his passing options wide open. It is too easy for a team to just pass around that kind of defense. Late in the game especially we kept just lumping the ball forward and hoping for something to happen but they were bunkering in 8 men in defense and finding all those long balls easy to sweep away. You can get the ball forward almost as fast with smart crisp passing through the midfield, especially when they are sitting so deep. Movement off the ball was often lacking and we relied upon a couple of players to make the breakthrough alone.

    That aside, the way forward for the US is in youth development. We need more coaches with better training teaching youngsters ball skills and how to enjoy the game. We also need to look at setting up academies modeled after Ajax, Arsenal, Barcelona, and Manchester United. We also should look at developing a National Center for Excellence like the French have done and the English have been trying to do for years (currently, tentatively ready in 2012). We should also be looking into the Netherlands and Germany's youth development programs because they have talent pools closer to the realistic talent pool in the US because of so many of the best athletes going to Basketball, Baseball, and American Football.

    We also need to continue to develop the MLS because the only way for The Beautiful Game to really catch on in the US is for a strong domestic league that gets good airtime and sponsorships. I think the MLS is progressing in a careful and positive manner that should be applauded and continued. But we also should recognize that getting our players experience overseas is a massive boost to our national team. Being exposed to the different play styles around the world is only a good thing. It is in my opinion one of the greatest factor in the English national team's failure. There are hardly any English players playing outside of England. This narrows their experiences and understanding. It is no mistake that Dempsey and Bradley were our best players and even Donovan's loan to Everton was a big help for him and the USMNT at this World Cup. This aspect of development shouldn't be ignored even if the MLS was to become the "best" league in the world. It contributed greatly to the US's poor showing in 2006 that we had so many players from the MLS. To be the best you need to be playing with the best and that is not the MLS right now.

    That is the majority of what I wanted to say, I wrote a long note then lost it when it didn't post so this one is smaller. Even this one ran into the character limit, but hopefully gets most of what I mean across.

    I'm very happy to know that you are involved in our Sounders! Keep up the good work and I've enjoyed your tweets from South Africa.

  40. The hype for the Americans was a bit much. I think they did well. You can see from watching the team isn't that good compared to the elite teams.

  41. Dear Drew, Don't particularly care for soccer, but think you are the greatest. Howled regularly at "The Drew Carey Show" and watch "The Price is Right" every day. You got off to a shaky start,but the hosting job has grown on you. I'm so glad you've lost all that weight. You look fabulous and will surely be around to see the little boy graduate and become a man. Good luck in the upcoming new season.

  42. Hi Drew. Just read the story about your weight loss. Way to go man!!! I noticed from your pic at the World Cup that you had slimmed down, but 80 pounds down is absolutely friggin' awesome! I'm also T2 and struggling with the weight issue, but you've reinforced for me that diet & exercise are the only way to go. Sounds like you did "no carb" instead of "low carb". Did you work with a nutritionist to develop that routine? Any side effects? Anyway, just wanted to say THANK YOU for being an inspiration to me. I've enjoyed your work for a long time. Take care and again, congratulations.

  43. I think am a little late for this forum:)

  44. Drew, Drew,'re sounding like a true Brown's fan. Ruff ruff!

  45. Come back to the blog Drew! You are missed...:)


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