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Discussion in 'RayGator's Swamp Gas' started by gatorchamps0607, Jul 24, 2013.
When were we ever there?
Just like a typical soccer game.
From an MLS viewpoint, this is a big signing because they got the premier European based US player following their latest expansion talk.
For Deuce, theres acouple reasons to make this move.
1. Biggest contract in MLS history. Yes. Dempsey is making more from the MLS than Beckham and is getting a nice pay bump from what he made at Spurs.
2. Guaranteed playing time. This is probably Dempsey's last WC run, so getting that guarenteed PT is crucial due to the depth of Tottenham's midfield. There are alot of guys to fight there and a manager who hasnt proven he knows what hes doing quite yet.
I figure LimeyGator might like this one...
Insert PK joke here :wink:
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We weren't ever "there" but in the early 2000s we were pretty good by our standards.
Also, weren't we pretty good when Pele was around?
This winning streak is great, but I believe we need to advance in the World Cup before we get too excited.
I do think we have the talent to make some waves. We will have to see how it plays out.
Are you talking about the NY Cosmos or US soccer?
Even in 2002 when we went to the final 8 of the WC, we did it at Mexico's expense. In each of our other Round of 16 games, we faced much better opponents than Mexico: Brazil in '94 and Ghana in '10 (the best African side ever). I would say the US was its best in 2002 and 2010 with no appreciable difference. 2010 was 1 year removed from a great Confederations Cup run too.
I think we were "there." We moved all the way up to the #10 ranking in the world in the early 2000s. Do we have to win or make the World Cup finals to be "there?"
Well, both.. I wasn't around at that time but I thought I remembered that US Soccer was good and had a lot of fans around that time. I know Pele played for Brazil when playing for the World Cup. I just thought we were pretty good then, I could be mistaken.
I wasn't around then either so it is possible. Not sure. I grew up on Alexi Lalas, Tony Meola types.
The league was good, had a lot of fans, and brought over a lot of top international stars, but the national team didn't benefit.
The only time the US was ever good before the last 20 years or so was in the 20s and 30s when our team. I want to say we went to the quarterfinals of the 1932 WC as well. And, before the Depression killed the league off, pro soccer was more popular and more supported than the then-nascent NFL.
I remember going to Rowdies games in Tampa with 50,000 fans...in the early-mid 80's they would outdraw the Bucs on occasion.
But the NASL had different rules than the international game. Making it somewhat more offensive. (Offsides line was 35 yds out instead of midfield...shootouts were similar to hockey rather than penalty kicks, etc..)
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That was an 8 team world cup where many of Europe's top teams didn't play. Not exactly a great measuring stick.
The World Cup didn't really become big until the 1950s, but it still doesn't take away from the fact that the US fielded pretty good international teams in the 20s and 30s.
US Soccer has come a long, long way in the past 25 years. The NASL fielded some competitive teams with big name stars, but didn't have too many domestic players. In fact, in the late 70's, the NASL instituted a rule that teams had to start at least 2 US born or Canadian born players, and carry at least 6 on the roster. Most teams had a US goalie and a left or right back, and little else.
As for the USMNT, just qualifying for the World Cup was out of reach until 1990! It took a Paul Caliguri goal against Trinidad and Tobago just for the men to reach the WC in Italy in 1990. And to say the team was overmatched in Italy would be a nice way of saying it.
But what the NASL and the 1990 WC run did was set the stage for players like Tony Meola and Tab Ramos (both from the NY/NJ area and big Cosmos fans), and others like Alexi Lalas and Marcelo Balboa to become somewhat household names during the 1994 World Cup here on US soil. Their success helped pave the way for MLS and future USMNT success.
Sure, it hasn't been all smooth, and MLS was in danger of folding a few times, but today, they are on very solid ground. It's not the NFL or MLB, but the look at MLS tv ratings and fans per game, and the MLS is healthy. And while the men's team isn't feared like Brazil or Spain, we have qualified for every WC since 1990, are arguably the best team in CONCACAF, and are capable of beating anyone, any given pitch, including Brazil (98), Portugal (02), Spain (09), and Italy (12). Again, consider where we were 24 years ago, needing a bit of a prayer just to advance to the WC, US Soccer is a huge success story.
And if this is as far as we can take it, consistent World Cup participants, but not a true threat to win it all, it will still be a huge success. That would put us top 20 in the world, and considering our best athletes don't often choose soccer, that would be quite the achievement. Heck, Mexico hasn't done any better, and soccer is their national sport!
Very good post.
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I see your point but let's not forget we have 315 million people. The Czech Republic has what 10? Croatia? If you look at some of the better teams in the World based on FIFA's rating system (which I put zero faith in btw), 2nd rate US athletes should still fair well given the shear numbers. Sure Croatia can produce a Modric better than our Donovan or Dempsey but how is their starting XI top 5-10 in the world and best hope is 20? The US should be a top 12 team in my opinion. I don't expect to ever be consistently top 5 but top 12 consistently seems reasonable to me. Save the odd year like France is having. They won't stay down for long.
Just think about what it takes to become an elite athlete in a given sport. First, it takes natural athletic ability, which eliminates the majority of people from ever being professional athletes. Next, it takes amazing dedication to hone your craft. Just think about how many thousands of times Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant shot a basketball before they ever put on a Bulls or Lakers jersey respectively.
Now think about how many professional athletes the US produces. We have thousands of professional baseball players between MLB and the minors. Thousands of professional football players on NFL rosters, plus hundreds more when you include the Arena league. Plus thousands of professional basketball players when you include NBA, D-league, and overseas. When you do the percentages of professional athletes versus total population, percentage wise, the US probably doesn't stand out. Again, the difference is the the majority of the top athletes in a small Euro Country want nothing more to be in the starting XI playing for a World Cup. In the US, that's often not even on the radar as a child.
And as you mention, a player like Modric is better than a Donovan and Dempsey, and can change the entire dynamics of a team. Imagine if Michael Jordan or Tim Tebow spent all that time playing soccer instead of shooting a basketball or throwing a football respectively. Jordan could have been an unstoppable up-front target, with his size, speed, and leaping ability. And Tebow? Could you imagine a more imposing center back and target player on set plays? But unlike Modric, Jordan and Tebow grew up in the US, where being a professional soccer player took the last bench on the van behind football, basketball, and baseball.
There are still different skill sets such as eye-hand coordination and eye-foot coordination. It is impossible to say what Michael Jordan could do in soccer. It is pure speculation. Could Gretzky have played another sport and excelled? I don't know that person X is a great athlete and therefore they would dominate sport Y if they put all their energy into is a fair hypothesis.
I also disagree about the people argument. There are 30 MLB teams with 25 men per roster meaning 750 people. However, I would bet at least 30 percent are not American hence they don't count for this argument. So there are at most 500 MLB players that are American. Then you count AAA, AA, A and you have have 2000. Add a few extras for rookie ball and so forth and maybe baseball has 2600. Then the NFL has say 70 per roster including some scout teammers and 30 teams again (give or take, I don't track the NFL). That is 2100. There is no minor league football of note. The Arena league at best might have what 1000 athletes? So baseball+football yields at most 6000 athletes. NBA is tiny (30 teams times 12 players minus 15% or so which are non-American and very little to no minor leagues), hockey is very diverse so maybe 30-50% are American at best and again very little in the way of a minor league system.
At best the US has 8000 athletes and that includes all minor leagues (ignoring soccer and the smaller sports like tennis, boxing, cycling, etc). Therefore, 8000 out of 150 million (I will only count males here) yields 0.0053% of the population of males. Assuming those numbers hold for Croatia, Croatia has 112 (assuming 50% of the 4.2 million people are male) male athletes. They have 112 to choose from (all athletics by the way) and the US has whatever smaller number you want out less the 8000 and you think we can't compete favorably? 112 is there total pool assuming the same percentages. The US should be better than we are. I think we will get there but I don't like the notion that we should be happy we aren't excrement. Bullsh**. We are the 3rd largest population-wise in the world and we have the most resources per person of the large population countries. There is no excuse for not being at least comparable with Croatia any given year. I think we get there but I am not happy with the current state of affairs. I am still optimistic that Klinnsman is the right guy and the US has clearly shown progress since the last Gold Cup but the US should not be patting itself on the back because we are better than Honduras.