Monday, June 29, 2009

The Breaking Of The Fellowship

The last of the 23-man roster has just departed for the airport in Johannesburg, silver medals and memories in hand of what was and what might have been, and more importantly, what there is to come. The U.S. team has spent the last week stunning the soccer world, and has but a moment to catch its breath before the next journey begins.

It's already almost time to get back in the saddle for the U.S. national team as a host of players are given the opportunity of a lifetime - to demonstrate in a real competition that they have something to contribute to a side determined to qualify and compete in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. We are less than a week away from the start of the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup, where the U.S. seeks to defend back-to-back titles. The group gathers in Seattle beginning tomorrow evening in preparation for the opening match on July 4 against Grenada. The coaching staff will be on the ground for less than four hours before the start of the first meeting.


shubbz said...

Well these players (or most of them) get to rest since the Gold Cup roster is completley different. However my cheers go the coaching staff that wont have a break anytime soon in the next couple of months. They also did a great job in the Confederations Cup so good luck to them and the entire team in the Gold Cup!! Go USA!!!

It sounds like the guys are a little upset (which is understandable) but come on guys cheer up. We are all soooo proud of you!!!!

davidm said...

Why won't anyone associated with the US team tells us what's going on with Torres? He was the best player on the field in the Costa Rica game, was taken out at half time, and hasn't seen a minute of action since. And he's not on the Gold Cup roster. I believe the fans of the US national team deserve an explanation.

Jack said...


I'm sure USSOCCER media is just as tired (if not more so) of the conspiracy theories as are davidm and myself...but without any feedback from the source, all we have is speculation.

I think all of the "noise" after the Italy and Brazil defeats has shown that the American fan base is invested (though certainly in need of maturation) right along with the team.

However, there must be a reciprocal relationship.

"We played with 11 guys for 90 minutes," Michael Bradley said. "All the f------ experts in America, everybody who thinks they know about soccer, they can all look at the score tonight and let's see what they have to say now. Nobody has any respect for what we do, for what goes on on the inside, so let them all talk now."

I believe I speak for the average USNT fan when I say, I want to understand what "goes on on the inside" ..but there are some major elephants in the room that the US sports media is not adept enough (or too indifferent) to address and USSOCCER has not taken the initiative to clarify.

I hardly mean to suggest that the staff must explain every move/choice, but we are USSOCCER's constituency and the future of what seems(ed?) to be a very promising prospect is a valid concern.

AdamTheRed said...

Soooo did the Gold Cup training start?

Who is coaching?

Are the inmates running the asylum?

Toddzilla said...

Davidm, since you're simply not going to get an answer to the question about Torres from anyone official, I'd throw out the fact that the Gold Cup isn't an event that clubs are obligated to release players. I'm guessing that Pachuca said that they wouldn't release him. He's a regular for them and it doesn't follow that they'd just let him off for another month for the Gold Cup.

Leonardo said...

wow do the coaches sleep? seriously The Special1 was right. Murinho replied to a question if he would be a national team coach by saying he wanted to have time to play himself, implying that the national team level requires too much of a coach.

geez there is no time to breathe! cheers bradley, i'll buy you beer next time ur in NorCal

davidm said...

Toddzilla: I don't know; he was on the expanded 30-man roster, so, the coaching staff must've thought (known) he was available. I'm just afraid that there is some kind of a pattern here that makes young talents (Rossi, Subotic) pick another country to play for. And with new FIFA rules, I'm not so sure that Torres is bound to the US forever anymore.

shannon said...

davidm he is, im 99% sure bc he played in a wcq game, which is an offical fifa match. but i too want to see him play

AdamTheRed said...

Torres played in an A match.

He is forever tied to the US.

Daisy Chick said...

us Americans and our "entitlement" claims. does it feel to want? Have your demands really ever gotten you anywhere?

There "must" be a reciprocal relationship you say......

Hmmmm.....sounds to me like that is an empty threat. Like.....if you don't tell me I won't support you anymore. Yet, you will keep on supporting so how are you going to back up your there "must be" claim? Inquiring minds want to know.

KO said...

We demand answers! (hoists pitchfork)
We deserve an explanation! (angrily pumps fist in the air)

What? Huh? No, we have no basis for those demands. Yes, we believe the CIA killed Kennedy. Everything is a conspiracy. Torres clearly should have played in place of Bradley, Feilhaber, and Clark. The coach doesn't know better than we do. He should publicize the reasons for all tactical decisions, anyway.
Seriously? After the run the team just went on? Give me a break.

Jack, then I am not the "average" USMNT fan, because I understand that some stuff is out of my league and none of my business,

Bone Daddy Sammer said...

I heard some people discussing the issue of tired legs in the finals. That the US staff used a small core of players for the tournament. The group and the teams the US played did not give much of a chance for rest. The Egypt game was the only opportunity to experiment and those guys came through.

The fans and staff need to consider the toll a tournament takes on the fans and players. Some of us go out to the games to support our team under any condition. We will do what we can. The staff should realize that these fans are the soul of US Soccer.

When we get together for a game we give our opinions and state our concerns about the team to each other. It would be nice for these fans to get some feedback. To hear the staff address some issues we bring up. To explain the thought process so that we can better understand our team. We have seen fans from other countries that are amazing and would like to equal the passion they show. Give us that chance by sharing with us a piece of the world inside US soccer.

Plus, what is the deal with Torres? He has my support, hang in there kid.

davidm said...

To Daisy Chick and KO: please read carefully. No one is demanding anything. No one claims to be entitled to anything. No one is threatening to stop supporting the team. However, do tell me that you have no interest whatsoever in a rather mysterious disappearance of Torres. Why can't the coaching staff tell us if he's injured, tired, not playing well, conflicting with teammates or coaches, doesn't fit into Bradley's tactics or plans? Anything, even if it's just a meaningless generality. Same goes for Adu.

Jack said...

I do feel entitlement to USMNT. I expect (at the least) as a benefit of this government program for my passionate support to go to good use (hardly a quantifiable expectation, but that is why these are just words on a blog) and for my children to grow up in a healthy soccer environment (more tangible benefit that has shown massive improvement even in the last decade). In this sense, we are all entitled to USMNT - that's the point. It is not beyond our right to have expectations - not when they wear the colors.

"Jack, then I am not the "average" USMNT fan, because I understand that some stuff is out of my league and none of my business"

-If that is the case, leave this discussion to people invested and intrigued - you have gone above and beyond your role as the lemming.

Toddzilla: Thank you. That is a perfectly reasonable explanation. If USSOCCER came out with that, no biggie.
The purpose of my original post was to point out that the "FIRE BB" bonanza after Italy & Brazil should have been a wake-up call - not to the security of the coaching staff (Bob is here till 2010 even if we hadn't advanced), but that the soccer public is paying attention. If it's as simple as Pachuca calling him back, why not say so? My hope is that the reason is completely benign, but all we have is speculation.


KO said...

C'mon, Jack.

First, nobody was demanding answers? How about what davidm said: "I believe the fans of the US national team deserve an explanation." Incidentally, I was using hyperbole and visual imagery to criticize the approach of fans on this blog.

And I don't know what it means to be "entitled to USMNT," but let me give this a shot. You think that U.S. fans, by virtue of being fans, are entitled to explanations of personnel and tactical decisions by the head coach of the that right? If that is what you are asserting, you have no basis for that.

By the way, I am going to need to see some support for the assertion that the USSF is a "government program." That's the most ridiculous thing that I have heard on this or any other soccer blog--and there has been a lot of junk said. The USSF is an independent governing body, with NO relationship to the federal government of the United States of America. This ain't Congress or the EPA, sport.

What if the coaching staff says Torres is not ready to play at this level? I am sure some would disagree, but what if the staff were keeping that close to the vest for Torres's sake (like, in light of a move to Deportivo la Coruna)? Why is silence automatically negative?

I don't hear them giving explanations (nor hearing you "request" explanations) on why Luis Robles didn't get a start. Or why Wynne or Pearce didn't play. And nobody seeks accountability for those decisions. But you and the supporters of this idea think you have it all figured out. Try this: the following players did not play in the Confederations Cup because they were not on form or ready to play: Robles, Wynne, Pearce, Califf, Adu, and Torres. It's an assumption you can bet on if you have nothing else. And you can disagree, but nobody owes you anything. Believe it or not, the coaches and staff make personnel and tactical decisions for a LOT of reasons, many of which you probably cannot appreciate. The ONLY difference between Robles/Califf (who left for personal reasons midway through)/Wynne/Pearce and Adu/Torres is that YOU and other individuals without much to go on thing the latter grouping should have played. But that is just your opinion, isn't it?

Finally, I distanced myself from your "average" fan comment, and I am sure most would, because it was baseless. You don't get to assert that you are speaking for the base of soccer fans when you clearly aren't.

Why am I a lemming again? Show me that I am a blind follower.

davidm said...

To KO: First, there is a difference between "deserve" and "demand". Second, there is a reason why coaches have to appear at news conferences, talk to media, give interviews. Third, the Torres situation is very different from any other name you mentioned. All those other players either have had their chances and didn't impress much or, like with Robles, were known to be 3rd or 4th stringers. Torres, on the other hand, was, in the opinion of many fans and experts, the best US players against Costa Rica (and had impressed previously), was taken out at half-time, and has since mysteriously disappeared. All the other names you mentioned are on the Gold Cup roster; Torres isn't. Klestjan who hasn't probably completed a single pass in the last few games keeps getting playing time, but Torres, one of the very few players we have who can hold the ball, gets no time. If you're not interested in Bradley's reasoning, well, you're in the minority among the US fans. If Bradley doesn't think the team needs fans and doesn't want to show some respect for the fans, then we'll continue having anti-american crowds during "home" games.

I'm going to root for the team regardless, but this can't but leave sour taste in my mouth.

Andrew said...

what are "caps" and are we not playing the same players in the gold cup that we had over in south africa just to give them rest? Or is there some sort of regulation with "caps" whatever that means? please explain..

Jack said...

True enough. I'll eat my crow. USSOCCER is not technically the USPS, but as the self-proclaimed, "governing body of soccer in all its forms in the United States" and considering the very real monopoly this independent governing organization has upon our national representation in the sport - my argument and our entitlement is no less valid.

I think the "fan" argument is enough in the parameters I previously stated: hardly quantifiable - thus extent is blog commentary
Would my NSCAA membership entitle me? Are only players and staff entitled to expectations? If we are not entitled to anything, what are you defending by responding to me? The fact is, we all feel ownership/pride in some way over this team. Whether we express it at the pub during the match or if we come here and pontificate/emote about events (including our intrigue, cynicism, and defense). Whether that pride has any tangible effect - I still can't say, but it seems to work for people that like zebras.


Regarding Torres and personnel decisions - I cite my original post in which I took specific care not to place "blame" anywhere in particular: "..but there are some major elephants in the room that the US sports media is not adept enough (or too indifferent) to address and USSOCCER has not taken the initiative to clarify."

Speaking for myself (and no one else!) - I want to see the US amongst the world's elite federations on a consistent basis. I think in many ways we are forging our own brand of the game that is already proving to be competitive - though we still have a ways to go.
An inevitable facet of my ideal for USSOCCER is that we are blessed/cursed with a sports media that has no choice but to care/ASK QUESTIONS. If YOU think that me/people wanting to know why one of our most promising talents (sorry Pearce, Wynne, Califf) has dropped off the map is unreasonable.. then I fear for your sanity when the US becomes a world power in the game.

I never said that silence was inherently negative! My original intent was to express that I am tired of the VOID being filled by conspiracy theories and people saying don't ask questions. Are you saying there is no middle ground?


As for Califf, Pearce, and Wynne.. I would offer a suggestion to your question, but you don't want an answer. Either you think you are the only one able to pass judgment, the only one capable of assessing quality or you have no standards of your own (out of ignorance [which I doubt] or out of a lack of confidence [which I also doubt]). So which is it? Am I the bullheaded narcissist that has overstepped his bounds, or are you? Perhaps both..but we'll never know because no one should decide anything about anyone for themselves. What else can we be but lemmings?

Jack said...

Double ditto, Dave!

MadMexican said...

WOW! I love this blog! I love the arguments and ditto Jack and Dave!