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the state of futball in the USA: women's soccer from Andres



Ciao Gianni,

I am an avid reader of your newsletter and several players from my club have participated in your clinics. Overall, I think you are doing a great service to the international football community in the US. However, there is a subject you have never (since i have been reading) addressed the level and quality of women's soccer here in the us, especially at the collegiate level.

I, myself, attended graduate school at Penn State (who were at the time ranked 2 or 3 behind North Carolina). I went to the men's matches as well, but I always enjoyed the woman's game more: it seems to me that collegiate women, although lacking in the physical attributes of a man's game, play a more refined, pure, elegant soccer-- there are no long balls just launched into the box hoping for one Brutus to overpower another to score a goal; nor is there an emphasis placed on 1v1 domination. It is my opinion that women in the US, (both from coaching 12-14 yr olds and watching collegiate women's soccer) is the pinnacle of soccer in the nation. This is a truth that has and can be translated to the international level. To what do you attribute this? quality of life? lack of sexual discrimination? In the US, girls are encouraged to play sports as much as boys (and the law that states that colleges must spend the same amount of money on women and man sports probably helps)......... but my point is: when was the last time you saw a woman's collegiate match? They play elegant, are always thinking one pass ahead, THEY TALK LIKE CRAZY, and overall it is a more enjoyable game to watch.

In comparison, you could contrast Norway and Sweden, who also have a higher standard of living and thus, have a society that enables women to pursue football further, as opposed to nations like Ghana, Mexico, etc.

In essence, of all the football I have ever witnessed in the USA, women's collegiate soccer is the best. I hope that at some point you can comment on this. I agree with you fully that the US development of players is alarmingly bad, yet this is not true for women. Take Brandi Chastain for instance, she is, in my opinion, one of the greatest footballlers the US has ever produced-man or woman: always won the ball and passed it to a team mate; no need for overpowering tackles and the overly physical game that taints men's collegiate soccer.

I played collegiate football and I agree with you very much on the fact that the NCAA is not a proper grooming ground for international level players. However, this is where there is a cultural divide-unlike basketball or american football, NCAA soccer will never be fertile ground for future super stars- for men, although it is for women. Do you think this has to do with the age of football maturity
for men vs women? That would be the easy answer. But there is an obvious divide both at thte collegiate level of women's soccer vs that of men's both in skill and maturity.

I do not know what your thoughts are on women's football in this country, and I do read every newsletter- but how can we reconcile the two to produce a successful program?

Where I am from, Mexico, girls dont play. Thats it. However, all of the clubs (Atlas, America, Chivas) round up lads at age 10 and begin to train them --all at very little expense to their families! I know you have addressed this in the expense of the ODP. The recent innovations of MLS to begin youth programs is a good start, don't you think? However, you know as well as I do, that in order for the best athletes to follow football and not basketball or american football, there is going to have to be some kind of incentive.

Andres Marin
Manager, FC Garamond, SFSFL

and yes it is sad that , although we are the oldest amateur league in the country, we had to fight to gain access to fields to complete our season last year.

Lastly, sometime during the season (starting 11 march) our team will be holding several functions after games-bbq's at golden gate park or at a pub, and would like for you to consider joining us for hot dogs beer and football talk. We might even consider having you attend one of our matches and then provide us with input after the game for a negotiable fee

. It is surprising that most of the teams in the sfsfl are majority foreign born- in our club we have 22 on our roster, but only 6 americans.

I hope to hear from you.

Andres

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Posted on 01 Mar 2007 by coachgianni
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