The right comparison in soccer.
The U.S.A. is the leader in many sports of the world. Even though, in this moment, in basketball the ‘dream team’ is just that, only a dream of the past, we can say that at the NBA level, the 10/15 top teams can regularly beat every team in the world. The same in baseball.
Because the most talented players in the world come to play here! In basketball, the greatest players from Europe and South America and in Baseball the greatest players from Mexico, South America and Cuba.
This doesn’t happen in Football, because in the rest of the world it’s not developed like it is here.
If this principle is correct, and I believe it is, what are we waiting for? Let’s bring the greatest soccer players in the world here too. Not when they are 35 at the end of their career, like has often happened in the past, but when they are 18/20!
Do you remember the Adu phenomenon? Even if he is a product of the American Soccer school and not a foreigner, I remember the first game he played in San Jose against the Earthquakes. Officially he was only 14 (I know for sure that he was older!) and it was clear that he would not play the entire game, the usual 8,000 spectators became more than 20,000!!! Can you imagine what could happen if you brought players here like Ronaldinho, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rubinho, Gilardino or Rooney? You could easily fill the stadium with 50/60,000 spectators every game. If the summer friendly games, that are only exhibitions, between Barcelona, Manchester United, Juventus or A.C. Milan, brought 67,000 spectators to the stadiums, can you imagine what would happen, with the same level of players if that game was part of the MLS play-off?
Force yourself to believe that players like Donovan, could hardly enter into the roster of the 22/24 players of a top team in Europe, like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Manchester United, Juventus, Arsenal, A.C. Milan or Bayer Monaco, just to name few, and play some 20 minutes here and there during the season. This is the reality and the real proportion through a real comparison.
As I said at the beginning, the U.S.A. is the leader in many aspects of the world. But we can’t say, for example, that they are the leader in high cuisine! French and Italian cuisine are. And people here know it really well. Often, you can hardly enter in a good Italian restaurant. Many products like cheese, oil, pasta, salami, olives, or wines and champagnes are imported even though there are good local products too.
The same is true for fashion. The greatest clothes, shoes, hats and so on, come from Europe. Elegant and powerful cars, like Mercedes, Volvo, BMW, Audi, Saab, Porsche, Maserati or Ferrari, just to name a few brands, are from that continent too.
In all these fields it’s like that because people do a really simple thing. They make comparison and draw conclusions. But this is relatively easy, because you have elements to make comparisons.
I noticed a phenomenon that happens in the young generation. It is something that starts in everyday life and ends in soccer. The absence of the right comparison.
We can’t say that in America the arts have had an important past, since it‘s a very young country. There is no past so, arts can’t have it either. When I say past, I’m referring to millenniums and not centuries and I’m referring to the modern American society, not the pre-existent societies that were ‘washed‘ away.
When you walk around in Florence, Venice, Rome, Naples, Paris, Athens or London, you are surrounded by great masterpieces with every step, so you can make comparisons. You know what is ‘normal‘, ‘good‘, ‘very good’ or ‘outstanding‘.
Here, there is something deeply missing in all fields of art. COMPARISON with timeless masterpieces. So we miss the last step of gradation: the outstanding. Not having that comparison, we bring all the other steps back one step. So ‘normal’ becomes ‘good‘. ‘Good’ becomes ‘very good‘, and ‘very good‘, becomes ‘outstanding‘.
The absence of the last step of comparison provokes this phenomenon. When a kid puts his hand on a piece of paper and outlines it with a pen by going around all the fingers, drawing his hand, instead of considering it absolutely normal, moms says: “Wow!!!!!”
There is no “WOW!!!” in doing this! This is normal. If kids can’t do this, with all do respect, they are sub-normal! So when kids, not only go around their fingers to draw the hand, but even put some color in it, there is not only the “WOW”, but that elementary doodle, becomes a painting that is shown to everyone, like the greatest of achievements.
If by chance, a kid, instead of going around the fingers with a pen, is able to really draw his hand acceptably, in this country we are in the presence of a modern Michelangelo, because we don’t have the correct comparison.
If you go into your kid’s room, and on the ceiling you see scenes from the Sistine Chapel, painted by him, that kid is the new Michelangelo, but because you don’t have the correct comparison by walking under the real Sistine Chapel everyday, you believe that the good drawing he just did of his hand, is an outstanding masterpiece! This is why the last step, the REAL outstanding, is missing.
Thinking in this way and coming to soccer, when they just trap the ball acceptably and pass it to a team mate, things that are absolutely normal, parents cheer and yell like the new Ronaldinho or Beckham is there on the field. This way, the kids believe that they are really good and don’t need to work on getting better, because they’re already outstanding!
The correct comparison is fundamental in order to recognize the outstanding, otherwise the general level of the highest performances will be too low, in the false belief that it‘s already outstanding. This phenomenon prohibits the development of outstand players, because when they are good, or really good, they believe that they have arrived at the maximum of their development.
We need to give them the right comparison, by bringing players to the U.S.A. that are outstanding for real!
By the way, in spite of great youth organizations like the Vikings League and the CYSA, I found out this in Craigslist. If soccer in California was manage by parents in the way it is shown below, I think we’d have a big problem.
-Clearlake Youth Soccer League in need of Board Members!!!
Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: 2006-03-22, 9:19PM PST
WE ARE IN NEED OF BOARD MEMBERS SOCCER KNOWLEDGE IS NOT NESSESARY!!
REFEREE COOR. ASAP SOCCER PLAYING,COACHING OR REFEREEING IS A MUST FOR THIS POSITION!!
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTION ABOUT THESE POSITIONS E MAIL ME!
SOCCER REFEREE COORDINATOR NEEDED
Reply to: email@example.com
Date: 2006-03-22, 9:16PM PST
CLEARLAKE YOUTH SOCCER LEAGUE IS IN NEED OF A REFEREE COORDINATOR A.S.A.P!!
IF YOU HAVE REFEREE KNOWLEDGE OF SOCCER OR HAVE PLAYED SOCCER AND KNOW ALL THE INS AND OUTS OF THE RULES OF THE GAMES....WE NEED YOU!!!!
IF YOUR LISCENSED THATS AWSOME!! GAMES ARE ON SATS BUT WILL NEED YOU TO LEAD REFEREE CLINICS YOU CHOOSE THE DATE AND TIME!! ALL INTERESTED PARTIES PLEASE E MAIL ME I WILL GIVE YOU MY PHONE NUMBER!
If the youth organizations are not able to prevent this kind of situation, Soccer in California is dead.
Rest in peace.
Thanks to my friend and soccer student Bruce, who sent me this link. Here’s a little reminder of what soccer was:
Posted on 17 Apr 2006 by coachgianni