Your Letters & Pictures

The only chance for professional soccer to succeed in the U.S. is to deeply change it! (Part 2)

If you don’t remember the previous article, please go to, click on ’Your Letters and Pictures’ and scroll dawn to the title ”The only chance for professional soccer to succeed in the U.S. is to deeply change it!”

I moved a few paragraphs here to introduce today’s topic.

-There's an elementary concept missing. THE PYRAMID.
The pyramid of value.

-If a Franchise starts from the bottom of the pyramid as a semi-professional team, with an affordable budget, in a few years they can climb the pyramid and reach the MLS, increasing the budget gradually with the help of sponsors. This will work. On the contrary, starting from the top, where can you find 20 or 30 million dollars out of the blue?

-PROMOTION and RELEGATION are unknown concepts in the U.S. In any sport. The pyramid doesn't exist. There are no A or B levels. Everyone is the best. Result? Everyone is no one! How could it be possible that everyone is the best? In the name of an artificial equality a sport is forbidden to grow.

-Another absurd aspect is that the top teams don't raise new talent. Don't have dozens of youth teams that compete at state and national levels. They simply pick the best players after colleges (when is too late!) or players from other countries who can barely play there at a B level!

-The top teams that in Europe invest millions of Euros in raising new generations of players, are allowed to put them under contract and when they're 17 or 18, they're inserted into the first team or traded with other teams. It's this simple mechanism that holds the structure of the pyramid. Outstanding 18 or 19 year old players don't play at college for friends and parents. They make millions playing for Real Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester United, Barcelona, A.C. Milan, Juventus and other hundreds of teams!

-Entering into this mechanism means interacting with the most important clubs in the world and in less than 10 years we'd see the actual Beckham, Ronaldo, Zidane, Ronaldino, Owen, Figo, etc., come to play in the U.S. at 20 or 22 not at 35 or 36 at the end of their career, like Pele` or Beckenbauer in the past and maybe Beckham when he's 35. This 'import' of international stars, in exchange for 'local' stars, would bring 50/60 thousand spectators to the stadium and finally convince the TV networks that soccer, too, is a great business.

To confirm that THIS IS THE ONLY WAY, I’ll give you the news of the last transfer, out of the dozens of transfers, among youth PROFESSIONAL soccer players in Europe from team to team. Arsenal engaged a 16 year old player from the B division team Southampton for 18 million Euro. (more than 22 millions dollars!)

The name of the player is Theo Walcott and, being a minor, he can’t sign the contract now. He’ll be able to do it in mid March when he will be 17.

Arsenal has beaten teams like Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham.

Until a few months ago, the ’value’ of this player was 7,5 million Euro. The fight between the teams to have the player, brought the value to 18 million!

This transfer was fundamental for Southhampton. With that money, they can reinforce their team and try to come back to the Premiere League.

I repeat. This transfer of a young player, is not an exception. Giuseppe Rossi in Manchester United is barely 18. All the Mexican players that recently won the World Cup U17, are highly requested by the greatest teams in the world.

This is made possible ONLY because the teams that raise youth players, starting when they are 10 and investing a lot of money in doing this, are allowed to be ‘in charge’ of the players. Aside from the contract that the youth player will sign with the new team (this is only his business!) he is a ‘property’ of the team that raised him for many years and made him a great professional soccer player, who doesn’t loose the chance of a lifetime, staying at colleges or universities and playing in front parents, teachers and friends, until he is 20/21 years old!

That is the professional soccer reality and we need to stop complaining about the fact that American soccer doesn’t succeed at a professional level.

It can’t succeed because the way it’s managed is deeply WRONG!

Think about how many youth American soccer players, among the 12 million who are playing in this moment, are potential world superstars who probably will give up when they are 14 because the environment isn’t right to raise youth champions. They get bored by playing with intermediate team mates.

They need to grow in the right atmosphere and environment of a professional team that raises hundreds like him! What are American professional teams waiting for? Just because, in the past, we found Donovan, do we really believe that it could happen again by some miracle?

Do you really believe that Colleges and Universities care about the possibility of a professional future career for their soccer players, when they are 17 or 18? They need those players, because the ONLY thing that they really care about, is winning seasons and championships for the good name of the school, to attract new students and, consequently, more money in donations, etc. etc.

Wake up, American Soccer. Colleges and Universities destroy every chance that a super player has to succeed at a professional level at the right age.

These super-talented players, in exange for a scholarship, throw away an unbelievable and unrepeatable opportunity. There are already millions of students that will become architects, doctors, dentist, lawyers, scientists, researchers, financial advisers and on and on. These restricted elite’ of a few hundred super-talented, can have a professional soccer career and make 3/5 million dollars a year. Even if they don’t make it in a super club, they can play until they are 35 on a second level team, making at least 700/900 thousand a year in playing soccer.

Of course, if their dream is to become a dentist, good luck, and instead of having fun on the field, have fun in the mouths of your clients!


Coach Gianni

Posted on 18 Feb 2006 by coachgianni
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