Wednesday, July 23, 2008

California knows how to play

First of all, Rob Hues, it's Grahame, not Graeme. Also, I'd like to offer my own thoughts on what California offers soccer.
I mean, I'm not sure that I even understand the point of the recent article - is it that California allowed Jurgen to relax and Beckham to smile? That's all one can put together about the state and soccer? As the surfers here would say, lame.
California has given the U.S. national team, at every level, more players than any other state. It maintains three Major League Soccer teams responsible for four league championships in the 12 year history of MLS. The first goal in league history was scored in the state (Eric Wynalda, San Jose).
The weather allows players to practice and improve their skills year-round and attracts clubs such as Chelsea to train here. In the past ten years, more international teams have played exhibitions in the state than anywhere else in the Americas. California stadiums have hosted the finals of three FIFA World Cups.
California gave birth to AYSO, the youth organization that introduces millions of American children to the sport.
The player widely considered the best on the U.S. squad at present, Landon Donovan, is a native Californian who spent by far the bulk of his development and professional career here.
Notable players who have played on California teams include George Best (LA Aztecs and SJ Earthquakes), Johan Cruyff (LA Aztecs) , TeĆ³filo Cubillas (LA Aztecs), Hugo Sanchez (San Diego Sockers), and Jurgen Klinsmann (Orange County Blue Star)
The soccer culture here is diverse, with obviously a large number of Mexican and Central American players, but also Brazilian expats, Argentine expats and English expats can be found at any park pickup game. The mix and meld of styles offers players of various talents chances to shine and broadens their understanding of the sport. More soccer leagues, more youth clubs and more adult teams exist in California than in any other U.S. state.
California contains the current national champions of women's university soccer, USC, as well as past champions Santa Clara. Men's colleges in the state have won the title eleven times, while one university, UCLA, has developed more players in the professional ranks, both at home and abroad, than any other U.S. school.
Klinsmann began his coaching career here, serving as assistant to then-Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid. Rinus Michels coached here (LA Aztecs), and Guus Hiddink played (SJ Earthquakes)before turning to coaching.
Of course California is a place to relax, and that philosophy is an integral part of the state of mind here. But Californians are also serious about their soccer, and Beckham's smile is only a very small part of that.


JkR said...

I'm with you. What was the point?

Anonymous said...

Just another reporter who knows next to nothing about what he is covering and chooses to report about his trips to HuntingDon Beach to talk to Juergen making him a "player" in the international sports community and who doesn't know how to fact-check. Journalism 101, take it! I can reccommend a great instructor.

Evan said...

Don't forget Rob visiting Klinsi in "Huntingdon Beach"...

Anonymous said...

One point in this article is that it is not just enough to win in soCal-you have to entertain also...absolutely correct-as an example, while the Lakers thrive, the Clippers are not greeted with hostile fans, but total apathy....there are too many other things to do beside worry about losing sports teams.

ghostwriter said...

Nice riposte, AC. Not sure the original article was worth the effort, but loved all the Ca soccerfacts.

What I mostly wanted to comment on though was about the AP assignment on El Sal/ Guatamala match that I missed a couple days ago. Is that an expansion of your scope and recognition of talent by the big organization? If so congrats...bummer the most exciting thing that happened was the flag bit, been nice if they scored some. If they know what's good for them, AP'll send you a steady stream.

Hey, if we can all send cudos to lb for losing weight, you oughta get some for the AP... You know we all pontificate (speaking strictly for myself) and speculate all over your pages here, but I think everybody is appreciative of the effort this takes and the great job you both do. Thanks. AP should feel the same.


A.C. said...

Well, actually, like a lot of things, it was a personal connection that got me the AP assignment. Joe D'Hippolito is a longtime writer for the wire service and he has recommended both Luis and I for matches that he wasn't able to cover. Ken Peters, the LA AP editor, reached out to me based on that suggestion (Luis and Joe were both covering the Chivas/Revs game) and I was able to do it.
Thanks for the kudos - it does still feel like a milestone.

ghostwriter said...

Ha! Kudos... Kwite cilly of me, really.

Thanks for the history of the contact. Makes a positive difference.