• The KillerFrogs

2024-2025 European Football Thread

Purp

Active Member
So the wife and I were chatting with my daughter's teacher a few years ago during parent teacher night, and, as a "get to know my kid," the teacher asked about some of her interests, hobbies, etc. We mention that she plays soccer, and her preferred position is defense. Teacher's eyes immediately brighten, and she proceeds to tell me that her son's "elite select team" was "chosen" to participate in a tournament in Madrid run by Madrid, and how they were so excited to head to Spain for a few weeks of "coaching and real competition. Does [amazing daughter of @dawg] play on an 'elite' team?" No, I reply. She plays in the local rec league. "Oh... well, that's ok, too." Of course it is, I say, before causally asking how much their trip is costing per kid? "A little over $6,000." Was it unrelated that my daughter got on worse with this teacher than any other before or since? Maybe. But maybe not.

Later on in the school year over dinner, my daughter mentions that they're playing soccer for a few weeks in gym class. Have you seen [teacher's kid] playing during gym? "Yeah." He any good? "Not really. I shut him down." She smiled, and I immediately give her a crisp high-ten.

Now I'll be the first to admit no one on my daughter's team, including her, is likely getting anywhere near a college scholarship, let alone the WNT ranks, and select teams do serve a point, in that kids who are good at a particular sport only get better by playing with and against better kids. That coaching and time cost money; in other countries it is fronted by the big clubs (Ajax, Liverpool, Dortmund, etc) who run the academies. In this country it's fronted by the parents. But I have no idea how we (we meaning the US and US Soccer) begin to go about capturing the the missing strikers and wingers as @kaiser soze mentioned up thread and getting them the development they need to reach that level.
I resisted club soccer as long as possible for my son, but he finally reached an age where he was going to regress and lose the joy of the game if we didn't find a more competitive environment.

I was coaching with another dad in 7v7 (9U) and we had 4, maybe 5 players who ranged between decent and very good. My son was in the middle of that range. The remaining 6 players ranged from bad with one useful attribute to completely mediocre with zero athletic potential whatsoever. We couldn't teach any tactics at all because there weren't enough players ready for that for any of them to get anything out of it. The 4-5 good players spent all their time covering for the deficiencies of their teammates and learned way too many bad habits as a result. Any success we achieved was almost exclusively because of individual efforts, luck, or occasionally the stars aligning for two talented players to combine and make a great play.

For 10U we were going to go to 9v9 so we'd need to add 3-4 more players to our roster. We were losing our best player to a club team (they hadn't decided on one yet, but they were definitely going that route) and the players we were going to get in the draft were going to likely be more mediocre than in that serviceable range. It wasn't going to benefit our boys at all to further dilute their ability with a larger share of mediocre players and the league wasn't going to allow us to add players I knew from other leagues to our roster so we could actually teach real soccer so we had to make a difficult decision.

My 6 year old (at the time) had his entire team start training with Texas Lightning b/c his coach (a mother of 4 with 2 older ones already at TXL) so we went out to training sessions because he wanted to keep playing with his buddies (and he's much better than his older brother so continuing in rec soccer wasn't going to challenge him). We ended up liking the coach and returned every week. When I saw older boys training one field over I brought my oldest out there to knock it around with them and the talent gap was stark. My son was a decent player. He knew how to move without the ball and processed things in his head to know where to move the ball when it came to him, but his individual skill level and first touch were so bad compared to those kids I realized I'd held him back for too long. He made significant strides this past year and I think he'll further close the gap this coming year, but it's been worth the money for us to see him grow in the game the way he wants to and rise to the challenge. I wish I'd done it when he was 8 or 9, but those are the mistakes we make with the first kid.

The club environment isn't for everyone and the kid has to be invested more than the parents, but in our case that's the way it works out and as long as that remains true we'll pay for it. I just wish there was a better way. We'll never have the academy structure that exists in Europe until every small town and village has its own football club competing at some professional level beyond a local open adult league. And even then I suspect club membership largely subsidizes that training for the kids so it's probably not completely costless to the families.
 

dawg

Active Member
I resisted club soccer as long as possible for my son, but he finally reached an age where he was going to regress and lose the joy of the game if we didn't find a more competitive environment.

I was coaching with another dad in 7v7 (9U) and we had 4, maybe 5 players who ranged between decent and very good. My son was in the middle of that range. The remaining 6 players ranged from bad with one useful attribute to completely mediocre with zero athletic potential whatsoever. We couldn't teach any tactics at all because there weren't enough players ready for that for any of them to get anything out of it. The 4-5 good players spent all their time covering for the deficiencies of their teammates and learned way too many bad habits as a result. Any success we achieved was almost exclusively because of individual efforts, luck, or occasionally the stars aligning for two talented players to combine and make a great play.

For 10U we were going to go to 9v9 so we'd need to add 3-4 more players to our roster. We were losing our best player to a club team (they hadn't decided on one yet, but they were definitely going that route) and the players we were going to get in the draft were going to likely be more mediocre than in that serviceable range. It wasn't going to benefit our boys at all to further dilute their ability with a larger share of mediocre players and the league wasn't going to allow us to add players I knew from other leagues to our roster so we could actually teach real soccer so we had to make a difficult decision.

My 6 year old (at the time) had his entire team start training with Texas Lightning b/c his coach (a mother of 4 with 2 older ones already at TXL) so we went out to training sessions because he wanted to keep playing with his buddies (and he's much better than his older brother so continuing in rec soccer wasn't going to challenge him). We ended up liking the coach and returned every week. When I saw older boys training one field over I brought my oldest out there to knock it around with them and the talent gap was stark. My son was a decent player. He knew how to move without the ball and processed things in his head to know where to move the ball when it came to him, but his individual skill level and first touch were so bad compared to those kids I realized I'd held him back for too long. He made significant strides this past year and I think he'll further close the gap this coming year, but it's been worth the money for us to see him grow in the game the way he wants to and rise to the challenge. I wish I'd done it when he was 8 or 9, but those are the mistakes we make with the first kid.

The club environment isn't for everyone and the kid has to be invested more than the parents, but in our case that's the way it works out and as long as that remains true we'll pay for it. I just wish there was a better way. We'll never have the academy structure that exists in Europe until every small town and village has its own football club competing at some professional level beyond a local open adult league. And even then I suspect club membership largely subsidizes that training for the kids so it's probably not completely costless to the families.

I've seen some what you've mentioned in my daughter's team. She's been playing in the same team since U7 (they're going in the fall U12), and there's a core group of eight or so who have all become friends and stay with the team to continue playing with each other. There were two girls who were there her first year that obviously were just better than everyone else who eventually went club, a few others who were better at other sports and left to focus on those, and new kids will come in every year (some who have never played organized sports or soccer before, which -as you know- affects how much the coach can do or teach in terms of tactics.) They're also at that awkward age where some girls have hit puberty and look like high schoolers, and others haven't. The time will come, likely in middle school, when schoolwork, youth group, and other extra-curriculars will make her want to quit soccer, and I'm OK with that. If she develops a life-long interest in the sport from her time playing, even better. Sometimes she'll plop down and watch some EPL or recently Euros/Copa with me from time to time, so that's a start. But until then... I'll keep breaking out my Arsenal/FCD/MNT kits on Saturday mornings, and the wife and I will cheer her on as long as enjoys playing.

For some, like your kids who have the ability, it makes sense to go club, and I think you nailed it that the child has to be more committed than the parents. If the wife or I thought our kid had real potential and ability and was outside practicing and really working hard for hours a day after school to improve, we'd have real decision to make RE club.
 

Chongo94

Active Member
Really good article on ESPN+ about some of this. Pretty much asks what I’ve been saying, that this “golden generation” is just what it is….this is their level….barring some sort of rerouting to the potential many thought they had. I can try to paste some of it here if y’all don’t have espn+.

 

FROG2597

Active Member
So the wife and I were chatting with my daughter's teacher a few years ago during parent teacher night, and, as a "get to know my kid," the teacher asked about some of her interests, hobbies, etc. We mention that she plays soccer, and her preferred position is defense. Teacher's eyes immediately brighten, and she proceeds to tell me that her son's "elite select team" was "chosen" to participate in a tournament in Madrid run by Madrid, and how they were so excited to head to Spain for a few weeks of "coaching and real competition. Does [amazing daughter of @dawg] play on an 'elite' team?" No, I reply. She plays in the local rec league. "Oh... well, that's ok, too." Of course it is, I say, before causally asking how much their trip is costing per kid? "A little over $6,000." Was it unrelated that my daughter got on worse with this teacher than any other before or since? Maybe. But maybe not.


Later on in the school year over dinner, my daughter mentions that they're playing soccer for a few weeks in gym class. Have you seen [teacher's kid] playing during gym? "Yeah." He any good? "Not really. I shut him down." She smiled, and I immediately give her a crisp high-ten.

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Now I'll be the first to admit no one on my daughter's team, including her, is likely getting anywhere near a college scholarship, let alone the WNT ranks, and select teams do serve a point, in that kids who are good at a particular sport only get better by playing with and against better kids. That coaching and time cost money; in other countries it is fronted by the big clubs (Ajax, Liverpool, Dortmund, etc) who run the academies. In this country it's fronted by the parents. But I have no idea how we (we meaning the US and US Soccer) begin to go about capturing the the missing strikers and wingers as @kaiser soze mentioned up thread and getting them the development they need to reach that level.

I've seen some what you've mentioned in my daughter's team. She's been playing in the same team since U7 (they're going in the fall U12), and there's a core group of eight or so who have all become friends and stay with the team to continue playing with each other. There were two girls who were there her first year that obviously were just better than everyone else who eventually went club, a few others who were better at other sports and left to focus on those, and new kids will come in every year (some who have never played organized sports or soccer before, which -as you know- affects how much the coach can do or teach in terms of tactics.) They're also at that awkward age where some girls have hit puberty and look like high schoolers, and others haven't. The time will come, likely in middle school, when schoolwork, youth group, and other extra-curriculars will make her want to quit soccer, and I'm OK with that. If she develops a life-long interest in the sport from her time playing, even better. Sometimes she'll plop down and watch some EPL or recently Euros/Copa with me from time to time, so that's a start. But until then... I'll keep breaking out my Arsenal/FCD/MNT kits on Saturday mornings, and the wife and I will cheer her on as long as enjoys playing.

For some, like your kids who have the ability, it makes sense to go club, and I think you nailed it that the child has to be more committed than the parents. If the wife or I thought our kid had real potential and ability and was outside practicing and really working hard for hours a day after school to improve, we'd have real decision to make RE club.
Club soccer is not for everyone for sure. My time with my kids watching them play and travelling were some of the best times of my life. IMO, when picking a team/club it varies. Girls typically like to have a social aspect. Boys may or may not need that as much. My daughter played club soccer from U9 on predominately with Solar. She was fortunate to have friends on the team and a really good coach. Many of the girls went on to scholarships at various B12 schools. My daughter wanted a different route and played at Trinity in San Antonio. It was the best fit for her. She started as a freshman and became to 2-time All-American making the sweet 16 three of the four yrs. They were beaten by the National Champ every year in the final 16. Many of the girls who committed to B12 schools quit by the end of their Soph year.
My son started early. They created a Solar Red team when he was 5. He was fortunate enough to be on a successful team that won Plano Labor Day 4 years in row, Super Copa 3 years in a row and other nonsense. We had 5 kids who are playing college soccer and Jonathan Gomez in Europe now. When age pure started, the team ended and everyone went their way. Funny thing is by Spring of his 8th grade year, he was burned out and quit soccer all together his Freshman year in HS and ran cross country. By the end of cross country his 10th grade year he was ready for soccer again. Made the HS team that should have won the State title but COVID hit. He moved on from Solar and played for the Texans ECNL team. Ironically, this was literally going to the enemy from his youth days. Had a good ECNL team making it to the semi-finals and losing on the 10th PK. All that said, he is now going into his Junior year at West Point and Captain of the team. He had several other offers from some D1 teams, but think this was the best fit.
All of this is to say, from my perspective there are many roads in a kids career. The most important being on a team that encourages creativity of the player and even more importantly playing time. It does no good to be on a club team filling the financial gap while your child gets minimal to no playing time.

Just my 2 cents.
 

froginmn

Full Member
I resisted club soccer as long as possible for my son, but he finally reached an age where he was going to regress and lose the joy of the game if we didn't find a more competitive environment.

I was coaching with another dad in 7v7 (9U) and we had 4, maybe 5 players who ranged between decent and very good. My son was in the middle of that range. The remaining 6 players ranged from bad with one useful attribute to completely mediocre with zero athletic potential whatsoever. We couldn't teach any tactics at all because there weren't enough players ready for that for any of them to get anything out of it. The 4-5 good players spent all their time covering for the deficiencies of their teammates and learned way too many bad habits as a result. Any success we achieved was almost exclusively because of individual efforts, luck, or occasionally the stars aligning for two talented players to combine and make a great play.

For 10U we were going to go to 9v9 so we'd need to add 3-4 more players to our roster. We were losing our best player to a club team (they hadn't decided on one yet, but they were definitely going that route) and the players we were going to get in the draft were going to likely be more mediocre than in that serviceable range. It wasn't going to benefit our boys at all to further dilute their ability with a larger share of mediocre players and the league wasn't going to allow us to add players I knew from other leagues to our roster so we could actually teach real soccer so we had to make a difficult decision.

My 6 year old (at the time) had his entire team start training with Texas Lightning b/c his coach (a mother of 4 with 2 older ones already at TXL) so we went out to training sessions because he wanted to keep playing with his buddies (and he's much better than his older brother so continuing in rec soccer wasn't going to challenge him). We ended up liking the coach and returned every week. When I saw older boys training one field over I brought my oldest out there to knock it around with them and the talent gap was stark. My son was a decent player. He knew how to move without the ball and processed things in his head to know where to move the ball when it came to him, but his individual skill level and first touch were so bad compared to those kids I realized I'd held him back for too long. He made significant strides this past year and I think he'll further close the gap this coming year, but it's been worth the money for us to see him grow in the game the way he wants to and rise to the challenge. I wish I'd done it when he was 8 or 9, but those are the mistakes we make with the first kid.

The club environment isn't for everyone and the kid has to be invested more than the parents, but in our case that's the way it works out and as long as that remains true we'll pay for it. I just wish there was a better way. We'll never have the academy structure that exists in Europe until every small town and village has its own football club competing at some professional level beyond a local open adult league. And even then I suspect club membership largely subsidizes that training for the kids so it's probably not completely costless to the families.
I just stumbled on this thread; despite playing through high school and considering trying out for TCU, then coaching for a long time and playing casually into ny 40s, I don't love watching the game.

Anyway, in college I joined a fraternity instead of trying to play (and intramural was pretty good). A fraternity brother suggested that four of us should coach a YMCA team in downtown FW. It was 2nd/3rd grade I think, and co-ed.

The first week went great and on week two I showed up Saturday morning after a party in Denton. Suddenly instead of four coaches, it was me. The others came by occasionally but I became head coach.

We only played five games over the course of the season. I happened to have two VERY talented players and I tried to move them around, challenge them to get assists instead of goals, etc.

In the last game we had a big lead (over the entire year we scored 25 goals and gave up 0) and one of my top two got a breakaway. I looked and there was a meek girl in goal.

"Please don't hit her with the shot, please don't hit her". My luck: his shot didn't just hit her, it hit her square in the face... "good save!"
 

Purp

Active Member
Really good article on ESPN+ about some of this. Pretty much asks what I’ve been saying, that this “golden generation” is just what it is….this is their level….barring some sort of rerouting to the potential many thought they had. I can try to paste some of it here if y’all don’t have espn+.

I saw this too. Compelling piece. I thought there were a couple conclusions drawn that were a bit lazy, but the numbers are the numbers.

One example is the Gio analysis. The kid was on part with Bellingham 3 years ago. Injuries and a massive family drama derailed 2 of the years since. It's not unrealistic to see him reach his full potential in the next couple years. His next club decision is vital, though.

Similarly, I think Puli could reach his peak a couple years late bc of his bad fortune at Chelsea. He was great in Serie A and I don't see why he can't continue to build. That said, his season outperformed the advanced metrics for what you'd expect (actual goals and assists higher than xG and xA) so maybe he regresses to the mean.

Also, I think the piece discounts the impact Berhalter has had on all these guys. I think most have been misused with the Nats and I think a lot of issues they've run into at clubs could be due to regressive ideas they get from MNT camps. Berhalter plays one way and I think his narrow-mindedness has rubbed off on most of this group. I think a new boss for the U.S. would make a huge difference for all of these guys at their clubs. A Jurgen Klinsmann type who challenges the guys at their clubs is what this group needs. Jurgen was 2 WC cycles too early for us.
 

Purp

Active Member
I just stumbled on this thread; despite playing through high school and considering trying out for TCU, then coaching for a long time and playing casually into ny 40s, I don't love watching the game.

Anyway, in college I joined a fraternity instead of trying to play (and intramural was pretty good). A fraternity brother suggested that four of us should coach a YMCA team in downtown FW. It was 2nd/3rd grade I think, and co-ed.

The first week went great and on week two I showed up Saturday morning after a party in Denton. Suddenly instead of four coaches, it was me. The others came by occasionally but I became head coach.

We only played five games over the course of the season. I happened to have two VERY talented players and I tried to move them around, challenge them to get assists instead of goals, etc.

In the last game we had a big lead (over the entire year we scored 25 goals and gave up 0) and one of my top two got a breakaway. I looked and there was a meek girl in goal.

"Please don't hit her with the shot, please don't hit her". My luck: his shot didn't just hit her, it hit her square in the face... "good save!"
We've got a lot in common with the game. I considered playing in college. Centenary, UMHB, Hardin-Simmons, and LeTourneau were the spots I gave the most consideration for college soccer, but ultimately I decided I'd rather play intramurals, indoor, and men's league outdoor and go to college for academic purposes.

Even still I met with David Rubinson a couple weeks before classes started just in case I wanted to try to walk on and play. After 30 minutes with him I had no interest in his program. His only requirement for me to make the team was to run 2 miles in 12 minutes. Nothing else. I was like, "You don't want to see me touch a ball?"

I played for a bad coach in high school and wasn't going to do it again. Hindsight being 20/20, I should have done it. The program was terminated after my freshman year so I could have been a Lettermans Club member for just a 1 year commitment. Oh well. I ended up playing with and against all those guys for 3-4 years after. Several joined my men's open team in FW and we were really good.

Anyway, I also coached a YMCA team in college. A Kappa was doing it and asked me to help. A few weeks later I was the primary coach. I'm also still playing well into my 40s. We differ only in my affinity for watching the game. Love it. Always have. Maybe you should give it another shot.
 

froginmn

Full Member
We've got a lot in common with the game. I considered playing in college. Centenary, UMHB, Hardin-Simmons, and LeTourneau were the spots I gave the most consideration for college soccer, but ultimately I decided I'd rather play intramurals, indoor, and men's league outdoor and go to college for academic purposes.

Even still I met with David Rubinson a couple weeks before classes started just in case I wanted to try to walk on and play. After 30 minutes with him I had no interest in his program. His only requirement for me to make the team was to run 2 miles in 12 minutes. Nothing else. I was like, "You don't want to see me touch a ball?"

I played for a bad coach in high school and wasn't going to do it again. Hindsight being 20/20, I should have done it. The program was terminated after my freshman year so I could have been a Lettermans Club member for just a 1 year commitment. Oh well. I ended up playing with and against all those guys for 3-4 years after. Several joined my men's open team in FW and we were really good.

Anyway, I also coached a YMCA team in college. A Kappa was doing it and asked me to help. A few weeks later I was the primary coach. I'm also still playing well into my 40s. We differ only in my affinity for watching the game. Love it. Always have. Maybe you should give it another shot.
One of the first people I met on campus was a guy planning to try out. He tried to talk me into it but I decided to rush instead. The intramural league ended up being really good and filled with guys who had played for Rubinson and quit. That reputation was largely why I didn't try out.

My soccer brush with fame was due to the fact that my high school was a chief rival of St. Paul Academy. They were coached by Buzz Lagos and when I played, his sons Gerard and Manny played, along with Tony Sanneh. All three of those guys played professionally.
 

Moose Stuff

Active Member
That one was good, but Canada -Venezuela..,. Damn that match was drunk. Oh, and I’m glad the MNT players wanted scheissing GGG instead of Marsch.

Gordon Ramsey Idiot GIF

That one really paid off.
Speaks beyond poorly of what our players motivations are. This federation better secretly have had Klopp (or someone similar) as their guy all along or I’m about to lose interest. Watching them is like watching Gary’s teams at the end.
 

Purp

Active Member
Speaks beyond poorly of what our players motivations are. This federation better secretly have had Klopp (or someone similar) as their guy all along or I’m about to lose interest. Watching them is like watching Gary’s teams at the end.
I don't think there was a secret high profile guy waiting to finish his club commitments, but I'll be encouraged if they're willing to make such a move right now.

I can see the rationale behind bringing Berhalter back. He had a very young group and did reasonably well at the WC and the end of his contract went sideways bc the Reynas were childish. I didn't want him back, but I can see why bringing him back was an option. Giving the Reynas a middle finger by bringing him back makes sense too.

That said, I'd expect the federation to have higher expectations than Berhalter. If they make the move now I'll give them some grace.
 

Moose Stuff

Active Member
I don't think there was a secret high profile guy waiting to finish his club commitments, but I'll be encouraged if they're willing to make such a move right now.

I can see the rationale behind bringing Berhalter back. He had a very young group and did reasonably well at the WC and the end of his contract went sideways bc the Reynas were childish. I didn't want him back, but I can see why bringing him back was an option. Giving the Reynas a middle finger by bringing him back makes sense too.

That said, I'd expect the federation to have higher expectations than Berhalter. If they make the move now I'll give them some grace.
If they don’t make a move then they just don’t care. And if they don’t care why should I???

Seriously, anyone but Berhalter. If not a big name then just hire the best guy in MLS (Cherundolo???). It’s an immediate upgrade at the very least.
 

Purp

Active Member
If they don’t make a move then they just don’t care. And if they don’t care why should I???

Seriously, anyone but Berhalter. If not a big name then just hire the best guy in MLS (Cherundolo???). It’s an immediate upgrade at the very least.
Agreed. I told someone a couple days ago I'd even take Boob Bradley or Arena again. Berhalter has to go. But there are 2 dozen guys out there right now who would be better than anyone we've ever had.
 

Moose Stuff

Active Member
Agreed. I told someone a couple days ago I'd even take Boob Bradley or Arena again. Berhalter has to go. But there are 2 dozen guys out there right now who would be better than anyone we've ever had.
I’m not quite as desperate as being OK with Bradley and Arena but I hear you.
 

Purp

Active Member
I’m not quite as desperate as being OK with Bradley and Arena but I hear you.
I'm being slightly facetious. If the federation went back to either of those 2 it would signal all the wrong things to me. But I'd be happier with either of them than Berhalter. And I've always been Boob's biggest critic.
 
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