Penn men's soccer roundtable: Why doesn't US soccer stand up?
September 17, 2013, 8:46 pm · Updated September 17, 2013, 10:53 pm·
Michael Chien | DP
American soccer has struggled in the past to compete seriously for World Cups. What is your outlook on the future of American domestic soccer talent? Do you see player development from youth soccer to U-18s and U-20s, etc. substantially improving in the foreseeable future, and what needs to improve?
Duke Lacroix: I think U.S. soccer has made tremendous improvements over the last couple of years, more so recently. It has been evident in the recent World Cup qualifying games. In order for the United States to develop and compete at the world stage more seriously, players need to play outside of MLS. Having American players participate in foreign leagues will substantially improve soccer talent of not only current players but also of the youth.
Stephen Baker: I agree — the United States has made incredible strides in the right direction towards competing with international powerhouses like Spain, Brazil and Germany. There are many U.S. players who have realized that the best way to improve their game is to surround themselves with the highest level of competition.
Personally, some of the best players that I played with and against growing up who chose to bypass college are now playing overseas instead of in America. They realized that this would be the most beneficial move in helping them hone their skills. Many of them come back occasionally to play for the U.S. youth national teams and do very well against international competition.
Also, within the United States, the Development Academy is continuing to grow. The academy has moved to a 10-month season that allows for younger players to have a high level to play at for longer, instead of playing for their high school. As long as the interest in soccer continues to grow in the United States, so will the opportunities to play against better and better competition within the country. In turn, this will help groom younger players into future impact players for the national team.