Friday, July 6, 2007

Sad to say

When I talked to Gabriel Ferrari about playing for the U.S. U20 team, he didn't seem to have any regrets about choosing to represent his birth country over that of his parents (Ferrari also holds Italian and Brazilian citizenship).

However, that didn't mean that he didn't pine for a little bit of what players from other countries have had at the U20 World Cup - strong support.

"Unfortunately, it seems like every game we play, we’re the away team. When we were playing Korea, it seemed there were so many South Korean fans. There were American fans there, but I don’t know if they have that unity to get all together and cheer and sing for their country. There was a small group of Americans who were making a lot of noise and after the game, we actually went to applaud them, because they were great the whole game. But it’s like we’re the away team every game we play. I don’t think it’s because soccer’s not big here. I think it’s because of the passion that other countries have – that maybe the United States doesn’t have."


Anonymous said...

young man get use to it. Welcome to life as a US National soccer player. One of the few teams in the world where people you grew up with, people who dress like you, or talk like you cheer against you b/c you play for USA. Hang in there young sport car:-)!

Anonymous said...

The only bright side is that you can actually visit your local grocery store as a national-team player in this country without a six-person security team.

Anonymous said...

Soccer will not become the phenomenon it is abroad until the USSF and/or the MLS get working-class fans behind them.

The biggest problem we have is this perception among blue-collar fans is that rich kids play soccer. I know a lot of you will disagree with me, BUT if you look at how the USSF used to recruit, this was certainly how things worked out. Simply put, the soccer maching in the US depends on affluence. Why do i say this?

First, in order to be noticed, you had to play on a club team during HS that traveled. Well, guess what? Traveling costs money and poor kids from the inner city can't afford those costs, let alone the inscription fees some of these club teams charge to play in their ranks and use their uniforms.

Second, the main driving force behind talent in the world - the working class - is not heavily recruited. If we look at teams like Brazil, Argentina, etc. you will see that the greatest players all have a common story of using soccer to persevere over poverty. This of course happened because someone noticed their skill at a young age and got them on the company payrol. WE NEED TO DO THE SAME - I.E. WE NEED TO SEEK TALENT. I find it hard to believe that in a nation of over 180 million people, with MILLIONS of immigrants from most of the best soccer nations in the world we have very few players on the national teams that have foreign blood running through their veins. Doesn't it strike you as odd that we have millions of mexican-americans in the US and yet only 1 has made an apperance on the national team? What about the millions of AMERICANS with 1 or more parents from Brazil, Argentina, Germany, England, France? I really think that if the MLS and the USSF focus their attention in scouting talent, it would pay off more. You want to create buzz? Offer find a talented kid from East LA, Crenshaw, the Bronx, the South Side and offer him the chance to play for the "youth team" of the Galaxy, the Fire and the Red Bulls at no cost - AND pay him for his time. I guarantee we'll see results in no time.

I know my comment about the rich kids in the MNT and the USSF is an overgeneralization, but I'm speaking from this point of view after talking with counteless soccer fans who cheer for other countries even though they are Americans. I know kids like Dempsey do not fit this stereotype, but let's be frank: he's an exception to the majority.

I know the MLS is trying to be "different" and be unlike all other prefessional leagues where we have jokers and thugs palying. BUT, ask yourself, even with all of these thugs/bozos/jerks in the NFL, NBA and in the MLB, why do kids keep identifying with them? Well my friend, because a lot of them are have used their physical talent to persevere over poverty - and these kids want to do the same.

A.C. said...

The "rich kid" stereotype of U.S. soccer has not been true for a while. It wasn't true back in the days of Hugo Perez, or Carlos Llamosa or the present day.

Landon Donovan was raised by a single mom who was a special ed teacher - and I know that doesn't garner big bucks.

I remember how at the 2005 U17 World Cup in Peru, quite a few of the kids only had a single parent travel out for games because they couldn't afford the trip for both. Jozy Altidore was 15, and he was down there without any family because it was too expensive for them.

It's true that some soccer clubs charge high fees and it costs a lot to join travel programs, but the kids who excel often get scholarships. I'm not saying the system can't be improved, but there's a lot of misperception going on as well. The reality is different.

rep21 said...

To the anonymous guy, do you realize that like the majority of the players on the u20 team and probably half the players called up to the senior team match the descriptions your stating?

Do a little research and find out what backgrounds/ethnicities players like Feilhaber, Bornstein, Gomez, Ching, Johnson, Nguyen, Davies, Clark and countless others have. You seem to think the US mens nats is full of rich white kids that inner city players can't connect with. You know who also grew up privileged, isn't that "ethnic" by your logic and is probably the best player europe/world right now? Thats right, Kaka.

Really, get a clue guy.