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An American Soccer Fan’s Musings

With another United States – Mexico matchup on the books, let us take a moment to think about this rivalry in a broader context. I have drawn an interesting mix of criticism and praise for my suggestion that, at least right now, the Mexican side seems better than the American team. The United States has managed to dominate the series of late, in large measure because the American side has taken a more intelligent and calm approach to the rivalry. The Mexican players are more likely to boast unnecessarily, to commit foolish fouls, and to otherwise show the signs of a team under much greater pressure to win without the emotional resources to overcome its fans lofty expectations.
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That said, Mexican fans will likely eventually need to come to grips with the fact that the American team will not just continue their head-to-head dominance, but will also soon occupy a much more prominent role internationally. There are a number of reasons for this, but in my estimation here are the five biggest reasons:
1. Momentum. Isaac Newton famously noted that objects in motion tend to stay in motion. Despite the setbacks suffered in 2006 and 1998, over the last 15 years the United States has been on an incredible ascent. They used to be a mere exhibition opponent against top international competition- the quintessential homecoming opponent that you could beat up on and look great doing it. Now, the United States has become less phased by playing top South American and European competition.

On the other hand, Mexico has been very consistent. This is both good and bad; good because you can usually count on them to reach the Round of 16 at the Cup, but bad because they never really look like doing much more than that. To be sure, Mexico has a new crop of youngsters who look pretty classy, but it isn’t clear to me that Castillo, Guardado or Ochoa represent a clear improvement over Borgetti, Blanco or Marquez in their primes.

Now, the American fan needs to remember the second part of Newton’s maxim, namely that, “objects in motion tend to stay in motion, unless acted upon.” In international football, there are myriad forces acting against the continued ascent of any team. After all, to climb up the ladder, you have to do so at the expense of other nations, most of which are equally dedicated to improving, or at least maintaining, their position. As such, it’s always important to remember that it’s much easier to go from bad to good than from good to best.

2. Youth System. Though the American youth system has been much maligned for its apparent exclusion (or at least inability to include) of Latinos, blacks and urban youth, there are more good things about it than bad things. First, the sheer size of the system makes it the largest in the world. More American kids play soccer than Little League baseball and youth basketball combined. Though most kids eventually turn in their soccer boots for football cleats or high-top sneakers, this is slowly changing. With more kids playing organized soccer at an early age, the talent pool from which the next generation of players will be drawn is an order of magnitude bigger even than the one that produced Donovan, Beasley, Bocanegra and the rest of the current USA starters.

Critics of soccer in the United States love nothing more than to bash college soccer as detrimental to the development of the game in the United States. True, if the United States depends on college soccer to identify and develop its talents, then it is in trouble. What college soccer provides, though, is a forum for thousands of young people who might not be at their developmental apex in their teens, to continue to grow, develop and season into more polished players. A good analogy to draw is with the NBA. Great players like Kobe Bryant or Kevin Garnett will always look to begin their professional careers as quickly as possible, but the NBA is full of players who have elected to stay in college, often because they were not ready -either physically or in terms of the development of their game- right out of high school. Similarly, for every Adu or Altidore who begins his career early, there is an Edu or Dempsey who college to hone their games. As the United States progresses, I believe that many players (not most) will be college attendees or graduates, and this will provide a competitive advantage for the US. Perhaps as importantly, college soccer also provides a venue for players to develop their knowledge, thus eventually allowing them to join the next generation of coaches.

3. Major League Soccer. You really cannot underestimate the impact of the MLS on the growth of American soccer. All of the points that I make about the college system, apply them here at ten times the volume. For the most part, the league has been very well run, and though the near future likely will not allow it to compete with the top leagues in Europe, the day may be close at hand where the MLS has better quality at the top and greater depth throughout than does the Mexican league. Indeed, no reasonable observer would assert that Mexican league soccer will compete on the level of, for example, the Premiership before the MLS does. As is often the case when comparing American entities to their Mexican counterparts -in both sporting and non-sporting contexts- the United States simply has a much higher ceiling. People like CNNSI’s resident troglodyte Luis Bueno often lose sight of this important fact when uttering foolishness about Mexico winning a World Cup before the United States.

4. Money. You can’t buy happiness, you can’t buy love, and you can’t buy a championship, but having nice things doesn’t hurt, having a pocket full or money will make you a little more attractive to the ladies, and having enormous resources at your disposal can make pursuing a championship just a little easier.

By western European standards, soccer in the United States may seem like a relative pauper. The United States Soccer Federation does not have the riches or clout of the English FA or the DFB in Germany, but it does have resources. First, the substantial investment of Nike and other corporate sponsors has allowed the construction of some truly first-rate developmental facilities that have attracted increasingly impressive talent. In addition, if the relative prosperity of soccer families in the United States has a benefit, it is that top youth teams in the United States have access to training, fitness, facilities, nutrition science, travel, tournaments and clinics that far outpace what most Mexican youth have access to.

5. The weight of expectations. From the moment Landon Donovan’s header sealed Mexico’s fate in the 2002 World Cup, Mexico has slowly been ground down by the weight of unreasonable fan expectations that get constantly frustrated by their inability to beat their hated rival to the north. By contrast, American fans are fewer, generally less critical, and are not given over as much to histrionics when their team falls short. Distilled down, Mexican fans give the stick, and American fans offer carrots. For whatever reason, Mexico has never responded well to this adversity. Good teams can become psychically damaged by failing to meet expectations. Take England, for example. Certainly one of the top ten footballing nations in the world, their fans and players are in constant agony in large measure because they are not good enough to win the World Cup. They are a good team, maybe even a great team, but they haven’t been the best team in four decades. Similarly, Mexico is a good team, but just not a great team; same with the United States. The difference is that American fans have come to accept this reality (for now), while the Mexican fans have not.

2010 World Cup Soccer Starts

1 of many World Glass Soccer Shirts have you found yours? Think about considering the black one of the German team, that is in the semi-finals? Certainly if you are linked with your national team, then there is no conversation, but if you are fascinated by black then you should consider the one of the already 3 times soccer winners.

You could also go for the All Blacks rugby outfit from Fresh Zealand, but the choice were trying to make is among precisely what is the hottest matter right now. There are still four teams participating in at the time being in S. africa: The Netherlands, Paraguay, Germany and Spain, ie. the four strongest in the world. The only thing, typically to clarify is in which order.

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If you consider the soccer china jerseys of these 4 groups you can come plan some fancy colors, such as orange, blue-white-red, white, red. But where is the black? The known color of the German born team’s jersey is white, but this year they have made an exclusive appearance with their black clothing, quite unusual.

Now that the games are arriving to an end and this there are only two matches left, the question remains who may be going to be the winner between Germany and Uruguay for the next Place and between Spain and The Netherlands, who is heading to win the world title?

Strong and important teams, such as Portugal, Italy, UK, Brazil, Perú got lost on the way and the 2 most effective teams of 2010 are going to face the other person in Johannesburg on eleventh July.

What about the controversial World Cup sports balls? They have offered to the elimination of the strongest teams? Or perhaps is it the Octopus Paul, that foresees the outcome of the video games, who is really in charge of the results?

Nobody has put in any words on the world cup soccer shoes, but it is a must to make a choice on the soil Cup soccer shirts. Purple of the Spanish team or Orange of The Netherlands? Or maybe the two as a tönung flowing from one in the other?

Amazing Soccer Trivia on the world

Pele, the king of basketball, is said to have stopped two factions struggling with a civil war in Nigeria in the previous year 1967. Both factors actually held a forty-eight hour ceasefire to watch Pele play in Lagos! That’s the power of football and Pele!

Gerd Muller managed to credit score 68 goals out of the 62 games this individual played for West Australia.

Tommy Docherty was sacked as Manchester United’s director for sleeping with the physiotherapist’s wife!

Before this individual joined Barcelona, Luis Figo had actually signed against the law contracts with Parma and Juventus!

Brazil’s striker Cr7 was declared the Virtually all Valuable Player of the 1998 Cup, even though Brazil lost the tournament final to France. Cr7 is named World Participant of the Year 3 times!

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Lilian Thuram is France’s most capped player with 137 caps and 2 goals.

Hungary has earned the most gold medals in the Olympics for soccer because the year 1952!

Robbie Fowler signed for Manchester City from Manchester United with the understanding that his former team would continue to pay him a salary!

During the most significant soccer competition ever held, as many as 5, 098 groups and 35, 000 players competed for the second Bangkok League Seven-a-Side Competition it happened in 99!

Germany’s Oliver Kahn is the first goalie to win the Most Beneficial Player of the Globe Cup in the season 2002.

Brazil happens to be the only country that has made an appearance in every solitary final! In fact it is also the only country to obtain lifted the trophy 5 fold.

The speediest goal in a World Cup match was scored by Czechoslovakian Vaclav Masek after just of sixteen seconds into the game against Mexico in 62!

American Bert Patenaude was the first to credit score a hat trick in World Cup history while playing against Paraguay in 1930.
Sweden’s Erik Nilsson and Switzerland’s Alfred Bickel are the only players to obtain played in a World Cup before and after World War 2. They both wore their national team’s World Glass soccer jerseys in 38 and 1950!

Germany lost two World Cup titles in 1982 and 1986, making soccer uniform amount 11 Karl-Heinz Rummenigge the only captain to have lost two finals!

The first own goal during a World Cup was scored by Paraguay’s Ramon Gonzales in a first round match up against the Usa States in 1930.

Sports legend Eusebio scored up to 46 goals in the European Cup for his team Benfica!

The most effective hat trick was made by Hungarian Laszlo Hug throughout a match against Un Salvador in 1982. This individual scored throughout the 70th, 74th and 77th minute of the game, which also makes him the only substitute to have ever before scored a hat technique!

The major attendance for a soccer match found a whopping 199, 854 fans arrive for a match played by Brazil and Uruguay during the 1950 World Cup at the Maracana Municipal Arena at Rio de Janeiro!