Uncle Si wrote:Calihawk... thats a common debate with American soccer. I just disagree with it. First, more kids ages 5-14 play organized soccer than all the other sports combined. And its not that close. Look it up.
The best athlete thing is purely American. Soccer players are world class athletes. The speed, balance, agility and strength they have while using their feet to control the ball is extraordinary. Its too easy to assume that calvin johnson or lebron james would just become world class soccer players if they grew up playing. As if the rest of the world only has 175 pound 5foot 8 men in their populace. The game is far more than that. If it wasn't why wouldn't the germans or dutch produced these 6 foot 8 soccer players. Is america the only country that has these athletes?
Not saying its impossible. But honestly our best athletes play soccer as well.
We just havent made them the elite soccer players yet. (thats a whole different post about the failures of youth soccer here)
As far as more kids playing it than any other sport, I believe it. That is probably counting girls though too? Football and baseball don't even have a punchers chance.
Next if you look at the cutoff age being around 14 years. Many places around the country don't have football available until then. I understand it is the fastest growing sport and with player safety I assume that parents will tend to lean towards leaving them in soccer rather than letting them try out for football. As of right now as long as teenage American boys want to get laid they'll be turning their shin guards and soccer cleats in for shoulder pads and helmets as soon as they hit high school.
Also before I forget, our women do play through high school and college and they are halfway decent. That said I can imagine that if American males did the same the results would be similar. That's just me dreaming though.
The age thing is an interesting dilemma, and one ive invested alot of time researching as VP of one of the biggest clubs in the state out here. basically its not about taking advantage of new sports. On the contrast, most kids between 5-14 are playing 2-3 sports a season. However, football (kids now play in the summer and fall), baseball, basketball, hockey and soccer are becoming 6-9 month investments now, not just "seasonal".
The dynamic changes drastically at 14. kids have to make a choice of one sport. (maybe two) because of the time and monetary investment involved. Football doesnt suffer too much as aside from camps there isnt much in the offseason (high school football doesnt evolve into summer club teams, but does have alot of camps) Soccer, hockey, basketball and baseball however continue to balance club and high school for up to 9-12 months a year. The kids then are really forced to concentrate on one.
It really has alot less to do with "getting laid" as much as choosing the sport you want (that want might be friday night lights, but athletes that make the choice for that typically arent going far in either sport). The football programs at high schools in most states arent any bigger in terms of participants than soccer programs (typically 60-100).
The USMNT has been built on physical, athletic players. What they are finally realizing is the game is far more technical and tactical and got not be influenced consistently by these types of players. They need to develop skillful, innovative, creative, etheral players, not just athletic ones.
Our youth system as it stands now is in a crossroads between development and fighting for the resources to keep it going. the duplicity is stunting its growth.
its little to do with the athletes that choose to play soccer and more with the way in which they are coached... sadly