For The Love of The Game: The Current US Soccer & Potential for Excellence

The Current

  1. Strengths and Weaknesses 
    •  Strengths: physical level of players
    •  Weakness: technical & tactical level of players
  1. The Big Experiment: The team is going in with the same sense of entitlements, and looking for results, instead of gratitude and focusing on the process.  Any experiment would eventually require changes, and by that, I mean real changes that carry depth, not superficial ones that don’t touch the root of the problem.
  2. Approach: the approach is too goal focused instead of process focused, we want to be the best, and want it today without placing the seeds for success, there is no 1-, 3-, 5- and 10-year-old plan. 
  3. Beating the Uncomfortable with Comfort: we continue to show up to win without looking at how much we are putting in.
  4. Individual Versus Collective Effort: key importance to create a team culture where all is united
  5. The No Street Blame: yes it is definitely true that kids not playing in the street, causes a loss to the sport and player development, but hockey and football is not being played on the street either, gymnastics is not played on the street in Rumania, the best school fo music in New York is not being practiced on the street, so let’s tackle the problem why not being able to develop as the primary tool of player development, then look at other supplement like the street.
  6. Klinsmann: it was fair he eventually had to go, but even more fair that he had to come, it was a move in the right direction. Not succeeding it means we go further forward and look to hire a top tactician at international level.

The Future

  1. Project: Initiate a 12-month project on coach education to reflect three key points:
  2. A clear licensure education to reflect updated curriculum
  3. An ongoing continuing coach education process based on quality
  4. A high standard coaching education minimum requirement (to be set very high) for ages 5-12
  5. Set clear tactical and technical standards and provide games and environments to support
  6. Emphasize work ethic, nothing happens unless the work is done
  7. Project D:  Create a clear standard on all academy clubs, hold them responsible to hold standard.  The level of development must be pressed very strong here, so academies are the ones that deliver.
  8. Project E: Creating 300 centers in the USA, channeled to 36, channeled to 4, channeled to 1. Each free to members, paid staff for talent assessment.
  9. Create one system not 100 levels, a universal system where teams move up or down based on performance not ability to pay for their place.
  10. Project F:  Hiring 5 top international coaches to coach these teams and assist with coach education:
  11. USA National Team
  12. USA National U21 Team
  13. USA National U19 Team
  14. USA National U17 Team
  15. USA National U14 Team
  16. Project G: Set goals for National U14, U17, U19, U21 and Final Team, and focus on the process that achieves those goals. 
  17. Project H: Create a research-based taskforce, whose role is to assess all every 3 months and come up with suggestions.

Eventually, it is a matter of time before USA becomes fantastic and plays the best soccer at the international level.  This will take time but will have with all the players and their love for the game.

Ilir Lushaj

Forge Excellence