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What's amazing to me is Belgium didn't even qualify in 2010. It can change on a dime. We just need a few of these young kids to be study (asking a lot I know) and we can start to see a total shift.

Also, I do think we are better than a lot of the diehards and trolls say we are. That was a whale of a schedule we played. Very few teams would navigate those 4 games with more than 4 points. And we advanced and came out of it -1.

That's what I mean by the feedback loop. I forget who was in Belgium's 2010 qualifying group. But let's look at Sweden this year. They finished second in a group headed by Germany. They then had one more chance to qualify, by playing a home/at home series with Portugal (and a healthy Ronaldo). You can be a great team and still not even go to the World Cup out of England.

Point taken, but probably a bad example - they finished 4th behind Spain, Bosnia and Turkey. 3-1-6 in their group of 6

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What's amazing to me is Belgium didn't even qualify in 2010. It can change on a dime.

it did not change on a dime. I have posted this a few times but it is worth a read if you have not read it. What Belgium did to fix their issues was extreme and impressive. It started back in 2004.

http://grantland.com/features/world-cup-2014-belgian-national-team-vincent-kompany-eden-hazard-marouane-fellaini/

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Once the U.S. team is considered a challenger, if not really a contender, every World Cup then interest will grow.

Can the team ever become a true WC contender? The rest of the world caught up to the U.S. in basketball for a while (again, on the scoreboard, like at the 2004 Olympics).

but there is a difference.

The rest of the world was chasing one team in basketball.

The US is chasing maybe 8-10 top teams with 20 or so other countries all at an equivalent level as the US

I don't see the US being a true WC contender in my life time. BY that I mean that they would be listed as one of the favorites going into the tournament.

I am pretty sure they will make the semi finals before I kick but that is more due to the nature of a short form tournament than anything else

I think that the US will have a "Golden Generation" within the next 20-25 years. I don't think that will make them a perennial contender or anything, but I could see the US coming into a World Cup as a fanciful dark horse pick the way Belgium and Colombia came into this one.

The gap between the USMNT's current state and fanciful dark horse is pretty small. A couple of high profile players and/or encouraging pre-tournament performances would do this.

The gap between fanciful dark horse and perennial contender is much greater. To be a perennial contender, you obviously have to be a contender first. Even then, there are no guarantees. Ask Italy how great it is to be a perennial contender.

I hope it doesn't happen but I wonder what the national reaction would be to a flame out like in 1998. The expectations have risen but so has the understanding of the game and of the challenges this country faces. I'm not talking about how PTI and talk radio would respond but how the US Soccer establishment would react (or over-react).

Two comments:

1) Do you consider Belgium a fanciful dark horse? If so I think the gap between where they are now and where the US is pretty big. Their team is loaded with talent up and down the roster. They have guys on the bench who would be instant impact or even best players on the US squad IMO.

2) As for how the soccer establishment would react, I think it all depends on the group. Had we failed to advanced from this group with 1 point, I think many would have shrugged their shoulders and said it was kind of expected. Had we been in Belgiums group and got 0 points, I think it would have had a huge reaction. A lot of the expectations and fall out depend on the perceived quality of the group.

Fanciful dark horse was Scoob's term but I interpreted it as more about perceptions than expectations than what happens during the 90 minutes.

ok ignore the term and still answer my general question about Belgium. Do you really think we are only a couple of players away from a team like that or were you referring to another type of team?

The US isn't particularly close to Belgium in quality and especially depth. But they were a Wondolowski miskick away from advancing yesterday.

I'm still not sold on Belgium. They haven't impressed me yet but Argentina have raised question marks of their own. Ask me again in a week whether they're fanciful dark horses, prancing show ponies or thoroughbreds.

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I get how expectations vs. group and all that. And knowing that I know jack #### about this stuff I'm still not impressed.

Never felt this team was in control of any of the games and only manufactured chances when put on their backs.

If this thing didn't have the goalie of a lifetime they would have been out of it before Germany.

Ultimately I don't see this as anything but a failure.

that is fine. it is your opinion.

Most people understand how enormous underdogs the US were in every game but the Ghana game.

Portugal, Germany and Belgium have multiple single players with valuations higher than the entire US team.

How one can claim failure when they went further then most experts felt they should have is a strange take on this situation.

Did you come in the tournament thinking the US were one of the better teams or something? If so then I can understand the failure item. This US came in as a lower middle of the road team in the 32 teams.

I think confusing the term "not impressed" with "failure" is where things are going wrong. You have every right to be unimpressed but failure by definition means that you had expectations beyond what most did.

Maybe the hype wasn't there, but you gotta win 2 games somewhere in the tournament to really say you did anything. This just has all the markings of a Dallas Cowboys season. Beat the teams they were favored to beat and then drop the rest of the games and then cry about HOW CLOSE WE GOT IF WE ONLY GOT A BREAK!!!!!11!!!! Maybe you only won one game because you just aren't that good. Cream has a way of rising to the top.

Regarding the bolded, I am unsure how many more times we can provide the exact same information to you.

In 3 of the 4 games the US were severe underdogs.

In 1 of the 4 we were even strength (not unsurprisingly the game we won)

It appears like you are trying to act like people (or yourself) felt like the US was favored in these games. I don't get it.

I guess it's something we have to settle for, covering the spread in a manner. At some point all the hype on how things will change with Freddy Adu (whooops) and with all the euro poaching has to pay off. Otherwise it will remain a fringe sport that is only half followed every 4 years or so.

The goal shouldn't be to go in as the 3rd best team in a group and be happy with 1 win over the 4th team. This is America.

Being happy with this is what leads to mediocrity.

wow, there is so much wrong in here I don't know where to start.

Can you please tell me if you are just trolling so I don't waste any more time trying to share information?

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ok ignore the term and still answer my general question about Belgium. Do you really think we are only a couple of players away from a team like that or were you referring to another type of team?

I think we're a few players away from a Belgium or maybe a Chile type team. As has been covered, Belgium has had this success in relatively short order. So it isn't crazy to think that our youth system won't start to develop similarly. Even if not to the same success, our population size should help.

Maybe our line up isn't littered with guys from Man City, Arsenal, Man U, or Chelsea but I could see one or two guys there with the rest of guys playing for mid table teams. Heck, I think quite a few guys could probably play for bottom to mid level table teams now (like Dempsey or Bradley) if they wanted to.

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What's amazing to me is Belgium didn't even qualify in 2010. It can change on a dime. We just need a few of these young kids to be study (asking a lot I know) and we can start to see a total shift.

Also, I do think we are better than a lot of the diehards and trolls say we are. That was a whale of a schedule we played. Very few teams would navigate those 4 games with more than 4 points. And we advanced and came out of it -1.

That's what I mean by the feedback loop. I forget who was in Belgium's 2010 qualifying group. But let's look at Sweden this year. They finished second in a group headed by Germany. They then had one more chance to qualify, by playing a home/at home series with Portugal (and a healthy Ronaldo). You can be a great team and still not even go to the World Cup out of England.

Point taken, but probably a bad example - they finished 4th behind Spain, Bosnia and Turkey. 3-1-6 in their group of 6

The finished fifth if you count Herzegovina

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I get how expectations vs. group and all that. And knowing that I know jack #### about this stuff I'm still not impressed.

Never felt this team was in control of any of the games and only manufactured chances when put on their backs.

If this thing didn't have the goalie of a lifetime they would have been out of it before Germany.

Ultimately I don't see this as anything but a failure.

that is fine. it is your opinion.

Most people understand how enormous underdogs the US were in every game but the Ghana game.

Portugal, Germany and Belgium have multiple single players with valuations higher than the entire US team.

How one can claim failure when they went further then most experts felt they should have is a strange take on this situation.

Did you come in the tournament thinking the US were one of the better teams or something? If so then I can understand the failure item. This US came in as a lower middle of the road team in the 32 teams.

I think confusing the term "not impressed" with "failure" is where things are going wrong. You have every right to be unimpressed but failure by definition means that you had expectations beyond what most did.

Maybe the hype wasn't there, but you gotta win 2 games somewhere in the tournament to really say you did anything. This just has all the markings of a Dallas Cowboys season. Beat the teams they were favored to beat and then drop the rest of the games and then cry about HOW CLOSE WE GOT IF WE ONLY GOT A BREAK!!!!!11!!!! Maybe you only won one game because you just aren't that good. Cream has a way of rising to the top.

Regarding the bolded, I am unsure how many more times we can provide the exact same information to you.

In 3 of the 4 games the US were severe underdogs.

In 1 of the 4 we were even strength (not unsurprisingly the game we won)

It appears like you are trying to act like people (or yourself) felt like the US was favored in these games. I don't get it.

I guess it's something we have to settle for, covering the spread in a manner. At some point all the hype on how things will change with Freddy Adu (whooops) and with all the euro poaching has to pay off. Otherwise it will remain a fringe sport that is only half followed every 4 years or so.

The goal shouldn't be to go in as the 3rd best team in a group and be happy with 1 win over the 4th team. This is America.

Being happy with this is what leads to mediocrity.

You spelled everything correctly in this post. So it has that.

yeah I think I have been fished completely. I will stop responding now. Dumb of me to try and explain.

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OK, credit to guys for not using the normal ludicrous examples (LeBron James! Calvin Johnson) and at least picking guys who seem somewhat plausible as soccer athletes.

With that said, I think that even the smaller football style athletes are different types of athletes than soccer players. Let's just acknowledge right away that a guy like LeBron would have cramped up after 15 minutes in Manaus. They have tall, muscular guys who grow up in Brazil. They end up playing basketball or volleyball.

But what about an elite corner or a slot receiver type? Maybe Wes Welker could have been an elite player. But its hard to know. Wes Welker runs less than 2 miles in a football game. He does so in short, very quick bursts, but we have no idea how he'd do covering 7+ miles in a soccer game.

When I was growing up, we did lose great youth soccer players to football. My brother was a very good soccer player (despite having awful coaching and being raw as hell). He started playing football as teenager. He was a very good high school football player, but as a guy who was 5' 9" and 170, he wasn't ever going to be an elite football player. He might have been a very good professional right back in another universe. So really, I don't think we need different kinds of athletes. I just think we need to train the guys who are built for soccer to be better soccer players.

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ok ignore the term and still answer my general question about Belgium. Do you really think we are only a couple of players away from a team like that or were you referring to another type of team?

I think we're a few players away from a Belgium or maybe a Chile type team. As has been covered, Belgium has had this success in relatively short order. So it isn't crazy to think that our youth system won't start to develop similarly. Even if not to the same success, our population size should help.

Belgium has not had the success in short order. They made massive changes in their development system back in 2004. Read the Grantland article I linked. People have to get away from this idea that these Belgium players sprouted by luck the last 3 years.

I also feel like we are more than just a couple of players away from a team like Belgium. They have subs who might be better than anyone we have playing. They have injured players who did not make the WC who would be huge stars on the US. This is a pretty big gap IMO.

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You would think 2nd generation hispanic immigrants would start to show up in spades. I mean look at France, these don't look like the guys you would think would be sauntering down the street in a beret with a baguette.

I think we are 1-2 cycles away from this.

If you look at the make up of the younger US national teams, they are loaded with hispanic names.

It is going to be tricky figuring out how to blend all the various skills sets together.

It is probably a good thing though b/c I fear our German pipeline will soon run out. Our servicemen in Germany is dwindling. Pretty funny how that history played an important part in our current team makeup.

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The US team lacks a true star - De Bruyne and Lukaku are both MILES better than anyone we can trot out there - and the execution is very sub par compared to the major world powers. I think Alexei Lalas is a pompous dick but he was right - possession, possession, possession, especially in the attacking end. We aren't technically sound enough to maintain enough of it against good teams and we make way too many bad decisions. We aren't close to seriously competing for a WC, and likely wouldn't be there very often if CONCACAF wasn't so easy to qualify out of.

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You would think 2nd generation hispanic immigrants would start to show up in spades. I mean look at France, these don't look like the guys you would think would be sauntering down the street in a beret with a baguette.

I think we are 1-2 cycles away from this.

If you look at the make up of the younger US national teams, they are loaded with hispanic names.

It is going to be tricky figuring out how to blend all the various skills sets together.

It is probably a good thing though b/c I fear our German pipeline will soon run out. Our servicemen in Germany is dwindling. Pretty funny how that history played an important part in our current team makeup.

the German pipeline probably ends too once JK is gone. There are only a couple more players on the radar that I know about at this point anyway. Shawn Parker and Zelalem and Zelalem spent some of his youth in the US so he is not quite the same thing.

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ok ignore the term and still answer my general question about Belgium. Do you really think we are only a couple of players away from a team like that or were you referring to another type of team?

I think we're a few players away from a Belgium or maybe a Chile type team. As has been covered, Belgium has had this success in relatively short order. So it isn't crazy to think that our youth system won't start to develop similarly. Even if not to the same success, our population size should help.

Belgium has not had the success in short order. They made massive changes in their development system back in 2004. Read the Grantland article I linked. People have to get away from this idea that these Belgium players sprouted by luck the last 3 years.

I also feel like we are more than just a couple of players away from a team like Belgium. They have subs who might be better than anyone we have playing. They have injured players who did not make the WC who would be huge stars on the US. This is a pretty big gap IMO.

10 years is very short order, especially when you consider the US developed project 2010 in 1998. Obviously, it wasn't as extreme or successful as the Belgium system but I certainly don't think we're starting from where Belgium was in 2004 either. If you tell me that in 10-12 years, we can have a similar system, I'd more than take it. Heck, I'd take it in 20 years and that is what I mean when I said Belgium did it in short order.

Like I said, Belgium might be an extreme example but what about Colombia or Chile? They were both in that dark horse category and their teams aren't as loaded as a Belgian side.

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You would think 2nd generation hispanic immigrants would start to show up in spades. I mean look at France, these don't look like the guys you would think would be sauntering down the street in a beret with a baguette.

I think we are 1-2 cycles away from this.

If you look at the make up of the younger US national teams, they are loaded with hispanic names.

It is going to be tricky figuring out how to blend all the various skills sets together.

It is probably a good thing though b/c I fear our German pipeline will soon run out. Our servicemen in Germany is dwindling. Pretty funny how that history played an important part in our current team makeup.

the German pipeline probably ends too once JK is gone. There are only a couple more players on the radar that I know about at this point anyway. Shawn Parker and Zelalem and Zelalem spent some of his youth in the US so he is not quite the same thing.

Hoists one for Thomas Dooley :banned:

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As a 10+ year coach of youth soccer, I applaud Klinsmann for searching out foreign players to play for Team USA.

How does this sort of thing work. Does a player have to have some kind of connection to the USA (either by birth or club affiliation) to play for the USA? Can they change their mind for future WCs and play for some other country instead? Or is this like college football where once you sign, you're essentially there forever barring a cumbersome transfer?

1) A player must be a citizen of the US to play for the US. Does not need to be by birth, just being a citizen

2) Once you appear for any country at the full international level (not a youth international team), you are tied to them for life

3) If you appear for one country as a youth international but were not yet tied to them at the full international level, you can make a one time switch

4) To be tied, it has to be an official game, friendlies do not count

let me know if this is clear.

It's not just citizenship though, I don't think. I looked it up to respond to a post in the WC thread a week or two ago. Some countries just naturalized players who had zero connection to the country and FIFA didn't like that. I think FIFA says it needs to be a clear connection....either you were born there, a parent or grandparent was born there, or you need to have lived there for a number of years.

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OK, credit to guys for not using the normal ludicrous examples (LeBron James! Calvin Johnson) and at least picking guys who seem somewhat plausible as soccer athletes.

Although ... does anyone remember ESPN a few seasons back showing "catch radius" for different WRs? IIRC, the upshot was that any ball within 7 feet of Megatron (it was 80-something inches) was in his "catch window".

Had Calvin Johnson started out as a goalie in elementary school, and stayed there from then on ... that natural "catch radius" should have helped, right? But again, this discussion sounds a lot like the "Michael Jordan as a goalie" stuff -- and I'd bet prime MJ's short-area quicks were a lot better than Calvin Johnson's.

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I don't mind Lalas as much as a lot of people, but he definitely speaks out of both sides of his mouth. If you follow him at all on Twitter, he admits this. Its what he's paid to do. Lalas will talk about the "beauty" of stout defending and set piece goals on one show. He'll call such a win "quintessentially American." And then, on another show, he'll say that there are "questions about our ability to have possession." And I'm fine with all that, its what he's paid to do.

But to me, this World Cup has shown that the emphasis solely on possession is misguided. Spain crashed out of the World Cup while dominating possession. And the US was dominated last night (IMO) even though the possession numbers were pretty even. To me, the most important stat in soccer is chance creation. Conversion rates will vary up and down, but over larger populations the teams that: 1) create more chances; and 2) prevent more opponent chances are going to win.

I agree with dparker somewhat that Howard's save totals were a bit inflated compared to Belgium's actual chances, but they nevertheless had many more clear chances. By a much wider margin than they controlled possession.

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What's amazing to me is Belgium didn't even qualify in 2010. It can change on a dime.

it did not change on a dime. I have posted this a few times but it is worth a read if you have not read it. What Belgium did to fix their issues was extreme and impressive. It started back in 2004.

http://grantland.com/features/world-cup-2014-belgian-national-team-vincent-kompany-eden-hazard-marouane-fellaini/

Well maybe ours has already started and we don't realize it yet. :)

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What's amazing to me is Belgium didn't even qualify in 2010. It can change on a dime.

it did not change on a dime. I have posted this a few times but it is worth a read if you have not read it. What Belgium did to fix their issues was extreme and impressive. It started back in 2004.

http://grantland.com/features/world-cup-2014-belgian-national-team-vincent-kompany-eden-hazard-marouane-fellaini/

Well maybe ours has already started and we don't realize it yet. :)

please don't make me post our lack of success at the youth level in recent years :(

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As a 10+ year coach of youth soccer, I applaud Klinsmann for searching out foreign players to play for Team USA.

How does this sort of thing work. Does a player have to have some kind of connection to the USA (either by birth or club affiliation) to play for the USA? Can they change their mind for future WCs and play for some other country instead? Or is this like college football where once you sign, you're essentially there forever barring a cumbersome transfer?

1) A player must be a citizen of the US to play for the US. Does not need to be by birth, just being a citizen

2) Once you appear for any country at the full international level (not a youth international team), you are tied to them for life

3) If you appear for one country as a youth international but were not yet tied to them at the full international level, you can make a one time switch

4) To be tied, it has to be an official game, friendlies do not count

let me know if this is clear.

It's not just citizenship though, I don't think. I looked it up to respond to a post in the WC thread a week or two ago. Some countries just naturalized players who had zero connection to the country and FIFA didn't like that. I think FIFA says it needs to be a clear connection....either you were born there, a parent or grandparent was born there, or you need to have lived there for a number of years.

I said for the US he has to be a citizen. I was not talking for all countries.

Here is the exact wording

Any Player who ... [assumes] a new nationality and who has not played international football [in a match ... in an official competition of any category or any type of football for one Association] shall be eligible to play for the new representative team only if he fulfills one of the following conditions:

(a) He was born on the territory of the relevant Association;

(b) His biological mother or biological father was born on the territory of the relevant Association;

© His grandmother or grandfather was born on the territory of the relevant Association;

(d) He has lived continuously for at least five years after reaching the age of 18 on the territory of the relevant Association.

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OK, credit to guys for not using the normal ludicrous examples (LeBron James! Calvin Johnson) and at least picking guys who seem somewhat plausible as soccer athletes.

With that said, I think that even the smaller football style athletes are different types of athletes than soccer players. Let's just acknowledge right away that a guy like LeBron would have cramped up after 15 minutes in Manaus. They have tall, muscular guys who grow up in Brazil. They end up playing basketball or volleyball.

When I was growing up, we did lose great youth soccer players to football. My brother was a very good soccer player (despite having awful coaching and being raw as hell). He started playing football as teenager. He was a very good high school football player, but as a guy who was 5' 9" and 170, he wasn't ever going to be an elite football player. He might have been a very good professional right back in another universe. So really, I don't think we need different kinds of athletes. I just think we need to train the guys who are built for soccer to be better soccer players.

Most of the normal guys people bring up like Calvin or LeBron would make for great goalies. But we already have an above average goalie so I'm not really sure how much that would help.

But I do agree that its the guys who want to play basketball or football but will never make it that would be the great soccer players. I can't help but think getting into the inner city and taking some of these athletes would be the way. Is it possible? Not sure.

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What's amazing to me is Belgium didn't even qualify in 2010. It can change on a dime.

it did not change on a dime. I have posted this a few times but it is worth a read if you have not read it. What Belgium did to fix their issues was extreme and impressive. It started back in 2004.

http://grantland.com/features/world-cup-2014-belgian-national-team-vincent-kompany-eden-hazard-marouane-fellaini/

Well maybe ours has already started and we don't realize it yet. :)

please don't make me post our lack of success at the youth level in recent years :(

I have no choice other than to be optimistic about this team.

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OK, credit to guys for not using the normal ludicrous examples (LeBron James! Calvin Johnson) and at least picking guys who seem somewhat plausible as soccer athletes.

With that said, I think that even the smaller football style athletes are different types of athletes than soccer players. Let's just acknowledge right away that a guy like LeBron would have cramped up after 15 minutes in Manaus. They have tall, muscular guys who grow up in Brazil. They end up playing basketball or volleyball.

But what about an elite corner or a slot receiver type? Maybe Wes Welker could have been an elite player. But its hard to know. Wes Welker runs less than 2 miles in a football game. He does so in short, very quick bursts, but we have no idea how he'd do covering 7+ miles in a soccer game.

When I was growing up, we did lose great youth soccer players to football. My brother was a very good soccer player (despite having awful coaching and being raw as hell). He started playing football as teenager. He was a very good high school football player, but as a guy who was 5' 9" and 170, he wasn't ever going to be an elite football player. He might have been a very good professional right back in another universe. So really, I don't think we need different kinds of athletes. I just think we need to train the guys who are built for soccer to be better soccer players.

Along those lines, it seems like the US youth programs are much better off emphasizing athleticism and direct play. I only mention this because I think I remember JK saying something about wanting to implement a possession-based 4-3-3 across all levels of the US team, which just seems crazy to me. We aren't Spain as a nation. And while there is obviously a need for highly-technical players, I don't think Xavi was ever torn between whether he was going to play soccer or something else when he grew up. But a guy like Yedlin (and more players like Yedlin in the future) could be players who maybe could've gone a different way athletically, but soccer appealed to them.

OK, credit to guys for not using the normal ludicrous examples (LeBron James! Calvin Johnson) and at least picking guys who seem somewhat plausible as soccer athletes.

Although ... does anyone remember ESPN a few seasons back showing "catch radius" for different WRs? IIRC, the upshot was that any ball within 7 feet of Megatron (it was 80-something inches) was in his "catch window".

Had Calvin Johnson started out as a goalie in elementary school, and stayed there from then on ... that natural "catch radius" should have helped, right? But again, this discussion sounds a lot like the "Michael Jordan as a goalie" stuff -- and I'd bet prime MJ's short-area quicks were a lot better than Calvin Johnson's.

Sure, but I don't think goalie has ever been a problem area for the US, at least relative to the other positions. We'll always have plenty of tall guys with quick reflexes who can read a ball, I think the real trick is going to be developing world-class attacking players.

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OK, credit to guys for not using the normal ludicrous examples (LeBron James! Calvin Johnson) and at least picking guys who seem somewhat plausible as soccer athletes.

Although ... does anyone remember ESPN a few seasons back showing "catch radius" for different WRs? IIRC, the upshot was that any ball within 7 feet of Megatron (it was 80-something inches) was in his "catch window".

Had Calvin Johnson started out as a goalie in elementary school, and stayed there from then on ... that natural "catch radius" should have helped, right? But again, this discussion sounds a lot like the "Michael Jordan as a goalie" stuff -- and I'd bet prime MJ's short-area quicks were a lot better than Calvin Johnson's.

You know how running backs tend to be something like 5'10" to 6'1"? How an inch one or two either way is a pretty big outlier? Its similar with goalies. There's a bit more variation, but they tend to be around 6'3" (Casillas is 6'1", Courtois is 6'6"). Too short and you probably have too small a "save radius", but too tall and you probably leave more room between your legs and sacrifice your ability to get down quickly.

So maybe one of those guys would have been great goalkeepers, but I kind of doubt it because the great goalkeepers now just don't look like they do.

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ok ignore the term and still answer my general question about Belgium. Do you really think we are only a couple of players away from a team like that or were you referring to another type of team?

I think we're a few players away from a Belgium or maybe a Chile type team. As has been covered, Belgium has had this success in relatively short order. So it isn't crazy to think that our youth system won't start to develop similarly. Even if not to the same success, our population size should help.

Belgium has not had the success in short order. They made massive changes in their development system back in 2004. Read the Grantland article I linked. People have to get away from this idea that these Belgium players sprouted by luck the last 3 years.

I also feel like we are more than just a couple of players away from a team like Belgium. They have subs who might be better than anyone we have playing. They have injured players who did not make the WC who would be huge stars on the US. This is a pretty big gap IMO.

10 years is very short order, especially when you consider the US developed project 2010 in 1998. Obviously, it wasn't as extreme or successful as the Belgium system but I certainly don't think we're starting from where Belgium was in 2004 either. If you tell me that in 10-12 years, we can have a similar system, I'd more than take it. Heck, I'd take it in 20 years and that is what I mean when I said Belgium did it in short order.

Like I said, Belgium might be an extreme example but what about Colombia or Chile? They were both in that dark horse category and their teams aren't as loaded as a Belgian side.

I know some people didn't care for their style of play but I think Switzerland is a better example. They instituted top-to-bottom reforms with a consistent style of training and play the same system at all U-** levels. They've had to aggressively court immigrant players over the indifference and occasional xenophobia of the native born population. The national team has benefitted from Basel becoming the Ajax of the Alps with their outstanding youth setup and their consistent feeding of players into bigger European leagues.

And yet they still started Djourou and Senderos in back :bag:

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I don't mind Lalas as much as a lot of people, but he definitely speaks out of both sides of his mouth. If you follow him at all on Twitter, he admits this. Its what he's paid to do. Lalas will talk about the "beauty" of stout defending and set piece goals on one show. He'll call such a win "quintessentially American." And then, on another show, he'll say that there are "questions about our ability to have possession." And I'm fine with all that, its what he's paid to do.

But to me, this World Cup has shown that the emphasis solely on possession is misguided. Spain crashed out of the World Cup while dominating possession. And the US was dominated last night (IMO) even though the possession numbers were pretty even. To me, the most important stat in soccer is chance creation. Conversion rates will vary up and down, but over larger populations the teams that: 1) create more chances; and 2) prevent more opponent chances are going to win.

I agree with dparker somewhat that Howard's save totals were a bit inflated compared to Belgium's actual chances, but they nevertheless had many more clear chances. By a much wider margin than they controlled possession.

Yeah, I was trying to say this but you put it much more eloquently - when I mentioned possession in the attacking end, I meant to infer that this would lead to more scoring chances. Instead, we give the ball away too much down there and it leads to counterattacks which lead to goals.

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ok ignore the term and still answer my general question about Belgium. Do you really think we are only a couple of players away from a team like that or were you referring to another type of team?


I think we're a few players away from a Belgium or maybe a Chile type team. As has been covered, Belgium has had this success in relatively short order. So it isn't crazy to think that our youth system won't start to develop similarly. Even if not to the same success, our population size should help.

Belgium has not had the success in short order. They made massive changes in their development system back in 2004. Read the Grantland article I linked. People have to get away from this idea that these Belgium players sprouted by luck the last 3 years.

I also feel like we are more than just a couple of players away from a team like Belgium. They have subs who might be better than anyone we have playing. They have injured players who did not make the WC who would be huge stars on the US. This is a pretty big gap IMO.
10 years is very short order, especially when you consider the US developed project 2010 in 1998. Obviously, it wasn't as extreme or successful as the Belgium system but I certainly don't think we're starting from where Belgium was in 2004 either. If you tell me that in 10-12 years, we can have a similar system, I'd more than take it. Heck, I'd take it in 20 years and that is what I mean when I said Belgium did it in short order.

Like I said, Belgium might be an extreme example but what about Colombia or Chile? They were both in that dark horse category and their teams aren't as loaded as a Belgian side.

We are closer to Chile than Colombia. We might never see a player in our lifetime as gifted as Falcao or James.

Put this same Chile team in a European WC and I don't think they would be that highly regarded.

We are in complete agreement about the length of time it takes. 20-25 years sounds about right to me.

Edited by NewlyRetired

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please don't make me post our lack of success at the youth level in recent years :(

Is there really a correlation between how youth teams finish and how senior teams evolve? I'd think that have 3-5 talented players in the youth pipeline is more important than how many games they win?

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As a 10+ year coach of youth soccer, I applaud Klinsmann for searching out foreign players to play for Team USA.

How does this sort of thing work. Does a player have to have some kind of connection to the USA (either by birth or club affiliation) to play for the USA? Can they change their mind for future WCs and play for some other country instead? Or is this like college football where once you sign, you're essentially there forever barring a cumbersome transfer?

1) A player must be a citizen of the US to play for the US. Does not need to be by birth, just being a citizen

2) Once you appear for any country at the full international level (not a youth international team), you are tied to them for life

3) If you appear for one country as a youth international but were not yet tied to them at the full international level, you can make a one time switch

4) To be tied, it has to be an official game, friendlies do not count

let me know if this is clear.

It's not just citizenship though, I don't think. I looked it up to respond to a post in the WC thread a week or two ago. Some countries just naturalized players who had zero connection to the country and FIFA didn't like that. I think FIFA says it needs to be a clear connection....either you were born there, a parent or grandparent was born there, or you need to have lived there for a number of years.

I said for the US he has to be a citizen. I was not talking for all countries.

Here is the exact wording

Any Player who ... [assumes] a new nationality and who has not played international football [in a match ... in an official competition of any category or any type of football for one Association] shall be eligible to play for the new representative team only if he fulfills one of the following conditions:

(a) He was born on the territory of the relevant Association;

(b) His biological mother or biological father was born on the territory of the relevant Association;

© His grandmother or grandfather was born on the territory of the relevant Association;

(d) He has lived continuously for at least five years after reaching the age of 18 on the territory of the relevant Association.

Is that a US rule that the person has to be a US citizen? Seems to me like there'd be plenty of kids living in other countries with American grandparents who would be eligible under FIFA rules but would not be US citizens.

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OK, credit to guys for not using the normal ludicrous examples (LeBron James! Calvin Johnson) and at least picking guys who seem somewhat plausible as soccer athletes.

Although ... does anyone remember ESPN a few seasons back showing "catch radius" for different WRs? IIRC, the upshot was that any ball within 7 feet of Megatron (it was 80-something inches) was in his "catch window".

Had Calvin Johnson started out as a goalie in elementary school, and stayed there from then on ... that natural "catch radius" should have helped, right? But again, this discussion sounds a lot like the "Michael Jordan as a goalie" stuff -- and I'd bet prime MJ's short-area quicks were a lot better than Calvin Johnson's.

You know how running backs tend to be something like 5'10" to 6'1"? How an inch one or two either way is a pretty big outlier? Its similar with goalies. There's a bit more variation, but they tend to be around 6'3" (Casillas is 6'1", Courtois is 6'6"). Too short and you probably have too small a "save radius", but too tall and you probably leave more room between your legs and sacrifice your ability to get down quickly.

So maybe one of those guys would have been great goalkeepers, but I kind of doubt it because the great goalkeepers now just don't look like they do.

And then there was Campos.

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OK, credit to guys for not using the normal ludicrous examples (LeBron James! Calvin Johnson) and at least picking guys who seem somewhat plausible as soccer athletes.

With that said, I think that even the smaller football style athletes are different types of athletes than soccer players. Let's just acknowledge right away that a guy like LeBron would have cramped up after 15 minutes in Manaus. They have tall, muscular guys who grow up in Brazil. They end up playing basketball or volleyball.

When I was growing up, we did lose great youth soccer players to football. My brother was a very good soccer player (despite having awful coaching and being raw as hell). He started playing football as teenager. He was a very good high school football player, but as a guy who was 5' 9" and 170, he wasn't ever going to be an elite football player. He might have been a very good professional right back in another universe. So really, I don't think we need different kinds of athletes. I just think we need to train the guys who are built for soccer to be better soccer players.

Most of the normal guys people bring up like Calvin or LeBron would make for great goalies. But we already have an above average goalie so I'm not really sure how much that would help.

But I do agree that its the guys who want to play basketball or football but will never make it that would be the great soccer players. I can't help but think getting into the inner city and taking some of these athletes would be the way. Is it possible? Not sure.

We've never lacked for good, fit athletes on the USMNT. No team has ever beaten us because they were faster, stronger or fitter. We've always lacked technical skills and, prior to this current team (IMO), tactical awareness and maturity. You can put Kobe, Calvin, or whomever you choose through the youth soccer system in the US from the day they were born and they would not be any better or different than the guys we have - great world class athletes who lack technical skills. We've got plenty of good athletes playing soccer here - probably as many as any other country on earth - but we don't have the infrastructure or the national will to train them to be world class soccer players.

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As a 10+ year coach of youth soccer, I applaud Klinsmann for searching out foreign players to play for Team USA.

How does this sort of thing work. Does a player have to have some kind of connection to the USA (either by birth or club affiliation) to play for the USA? Can they change their mind for future WCs and play for some other country instead? Or is this like college football where once you sign, you're essentially there forever barring a cumbersome transfer?

1) A player must be a citizen of the US to play for the US. Does not need to be by birth, just being a citizen

2) Once you appear for any country at the full international level (not a youth international team), you are tied to them for life

3) If you appear for one country as a youth international but were not yet tied to them at the full international level, you can make a one time switch

4) To be tied, it has to be an official game, friendlies do not count

let me know if this is clear.

It's not just citizenship though, I don't think. I looked it up to respond to a post in the WC thread a week or two ago. Some countries just naturalized players who had zero connection to the country and FIFA didn't like that. I think FIFA says it needs to be a clear connection....either you were born there, a parent or grandparent was born there, or you need to have lived there for a number of years.

I said for the US he has to be a citizen. I was not talking for all countries.

Here is the exact wording

Any Player who ... [assumes] a new nationality and who has not played international football [in a match ... in an official competition of any category or any type of football for one Association] shall be eligible to play for the new representative team only if he fulfills one of the following conditions:

(a) He was born on the territory of the relevant Association;

(b) His biological mother or biological father was born on the territory of the relevant Association;

© His grandmother or grandfather was born on the territory of the relevant Association;

(d) He has lived continuously for at least five years after reaching the age of 18 on the territory of the relevant Association.

Is that a US rule that the person has to be a US citizen? Seems to me like there'd be plenty of kids living in other countries with American grandparents who would be eligible under FIFA rules but would not be US citizens.

I thought it was. Can you think of any player who we have had that fit your description?

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We are closer to Chile than Colombia. We might never see a player in our lifetime as gifted as Falcao or James.

Put this same Chile team in a European WC and I don't think they would be that highly regarded.

We are in complete agreement about the length of time it takes. 20-25 years sounds about right to me.

To consistently churn those guys out, I agree. But as a one off talent, all it takes is one and that Colombia 1 in 50 million is only 1 in 300 million here.

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Saying that Americans won't support any national team that doesn't win championships with some frequency does a disservice to American fans, I think. If we had won the World Cup this year, I would have lost a lot of respect for the sport. It's not like with hot girls, there's no thrill if it's too easy.

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You know how running backs tend to be something like 5'10" to 6'1"? How an inch one or two either way is a pretty big outlier? Its similar with goalies. There's a bit more variation, but they tend to be around 6'3" (Casillas is 6'1", Courtois is 6'6"). Too short and you probably have too small a "save radius", but too tall and you probably leave more room between your legs and sacrifice your ability to get down quickly.

So maybe one of those guys would have been great goalkeepers, but I kind of doubt it because the great goalkeepers now just don't look like they do.

Gary Payton at 6'4"? Jerry Rice at 6'2"? Fun to think about what could be in an alternate universe :D

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What youth changes are really practical?

I have heard that field size vs. team size is one thing that is being looked at.

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ok ignore the term and still answer my general question about Belgium. Do you really think we are only a couple of players away from a team like that or were you referring to another type of team?

I think we're a few players away from a Belgium or maybe a Chile type team. As has been covered, Belgium has had this success in relatively short order. So it isn't crazy to think that our youth system won't start to develop similarly. Even if not to the same success, our population size should help.

Belgium has not had the success in short order. They made massive changes in their development system back in 2004. Read the Grantland article I linked. People have to get away from this idea that these Belgium players sprouted by luck the last 3 years.

I also feel like we are more than just a couple of players away from a team like Belgium. They have subs who might be better than anyone we have playing. They have injured players who did not make the WC who would be huge stars on the US. This is a pretty big gap IMO.

10 years is very short order, especially when you consider the US developed project 2010 in 1998. Obviously, it wasn't as extreme or successful as the Belgium system but I certainly don't think we're starting from where Belgium was in 2004 either. If you tell me that in 10-12 years, we can have a similar system, I'd more than take it. Heck, I'd take it in 20 years and that is what I mean when I said Belgium did it in short order.

Like I said, Belgium might be an extreme example but what about Colombia or Chile? They were both in that dark horse category and their teams aren't as loaded as a Belgian side.

I know some people didn't care for their style of play but I think Switzerland is a better example. They instituted top-to-bottom reforms with a consistent style of training and play the same system at all U-** levels. They've had to aggressively court immigrant players over the indifference and occasional xenophobia of the native born population. The national team has benefitted from Basel becoming the Ajax of the Alps with their outstanding youth setup and their consistent feeding of players into bigger European leagues.

And yet they still started Djourou and Senderos in back :bag:

Not sure how I feel about a consistent formation throughout. I guess its better than nothing but I do like the flexibility our guys have and ability to use different formations. I guess in their most basic idea, most formulas become a 4-3-3 in some respects but I fear you might lose a creating #10 who might not fit in that box to box MF position nor as a forward.

I do think that the formation isn't as important, especially if we focus on training and small sided games anywhere. Tactics can be taught and at least to start, they wouldn't be taught til U13 or older. I think the bigger thing is just getting the kids better with the ball. You watch Messi, Neymar, etc. The ball is never more than 6 inches away from their feet and that is something most likely developed before you are 14.

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I said for the US he has to be a citizen. I was not talking for all countries.

Here is the exact wording

Any Player who ... [assumes] a new nationality and who has not played international football [in a match ... in an official competition of any category or any type of football for one Association] shall be eligible to play for the new representative team only if he fulfills one of the following conditions:

(a) He was born on the territory of the relevant Association;

(b) His biological mother or biological father was born on the territory of the relevant Association;

© His grandmother or grandfather was born on the territory of the relevant Association;

(d) He has lived continuously for at least five years after reaching the age of 18 on the territory of the relevant Association.

Is that a US rule that the person has to be a US citizen? Seems to me like there'd be plenty of kids living in other countries with American grandparents who would be eligible under FIFA rules but would not be US citizens.

I thought it was. Can you think of any player who we have had that fit your description?

I don't have anyone in mind. I know we've been waiting for Darlington Nagbe to get his citizenship, but it would look to me like he'd be eligible for the USMNT right now, no? He's been in the US for more than 5 years after the age of 18. I'm sure there's something I'm missing.

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ok ignore the term and still answer my general question about Belgium. Do you really think we are only a couple of players away from a team like that or were you referring to another type of team?

I think we're a few players away from a Belgium or maybe a Chile type team. As has been covered, Belgium has had this success in relatively short order. So it isn't crazy to think that our youth system won't start to develop similarly. Even if not to the same success, our population size should help.

Belgium has not had the success in short order. They made massive changes in their development system back in 2004. Read the Grantland article I linked. People have to get away from this idea that these Belgium players sprouted by luck the last 3 years.

I also feel like we are more than just a couple of players away from a team like Belgium. They have subs who might be better than anyone we have playing. They have injured players who did not make the WC who would be huge stars on the US. This is a pretty big gap IMO.

10 years is very short order, especially when you consider the US developed project 2010 in 1998. Obviously, it wasn't as extreme or successful as the Belgium system but I certainly don't think we're starting from where Belgium was in 2004 either. If you tell me that in 10-12 years, we can have a similar system, I'd more than take it. Heck, I'd take it in 20 years and that is what I mean when I said Belgium did it in short order.

Like I said, Belgium might be an extreme example but what about Colombia or Chile? They were both in that dark horse category and their teams aren't as loaded as a Belgian side.

I know some people didn't care for their style of play but I think Switzerland is a better example. They instituted top-to-bottom reforms with a consistent style of training and play the same system at all U-** levels. They've had to aggressively court immigrant players over the indifference and occasional xenophobia of the native born population. The national team has benefitted from Basel becoming the Ajax of the Alps with their outstanding youth setup and their consistent feeding of players into bigger European leagues.

And yet they still started Djourou and Senderos in back :bag:

Not sure how I feel about a consistent formation throughout. I guess its better than nothing but I do like the flexibility our guys have and ability to use different formations. I guess in their most basic idea, most formulas become a 4-3-3 in some respects but I fear you might lose a creating #10 who might not fit in that box to box MF position nor as a forward.

I do think that the formation isn't as important, especially if we focus on training and small sided games anywhere. Tactics can be taught and at least to start, they wouldn't be taught til U13 or older. I think the bigger thing is just getting the kids better with the ball. You watch Messi, Neymar, etc. The ball is never more than 6 inches away from their feet and that is something most likely developed before you are 14.

I like consistent formations and consistent emphases on teaching in the youth ranks precisely because it focuses the emphasis where its important. Obviously there are different "axes" that matter for a soccer player. Technical, physical, tactical, mental. But technical seems to me to be the far most important.

Now, I find the skills in basketball plenty hard to master, but consider that a guy like Joel Embiid is considered a big time prospect despite only playing for a few years. Some positions in football are the same way. Tight ends who were basketball guys. Offensive tackles who were college wrestlers. That just doesn't happen in soccer even if you're the greatest athlete of all time. The pure, technical skills are just too important. More along the importance of individual sports like tennis or golf.

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McIntyre on ESPN has the US' projected XI for 2018, but it's behind the paywall.

Starters

Brad Guzan GK

Timmy Chandler D

Matt Besler D

Omar Gonzalez D

Fabian Johnson D

Michael Bradley MF

Julian Green MF

DeAndre Yedlin MF

Mix Diskerud MF

Aron Johansson F

Jozy Altidore F

RESERVES POS.

Terrence Boyd F

Juan Agudelo F

Luis Gil MF

Gedion Zelalem MF

Graham Zusi MF

Danny Williams MF

Chris Klute D

John Anthony Brooks D

Erik Palmer-Brown D

Geoff Cameron D

Cody Cropper GK

Sean Johnson GK

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I said for the US he has to be a citizen. I was not talking for all countries.

Here is the exact wording

Any Player who ... [assumes] a new nationality and who has not played international football [in a match ... in an official competition of any category or any type of football for one Association] shall be eligible to play for the new representative team only if he fulfills one of the following conditions:

(a) He was born on the territory of the relevant Association;

(b) His biological mother or biological father was born on the territory of the relevant Association;

© His grandmother or grandfather was born on the territory of the relevant Association;

(d) He has lived continuously for at least five years after reaching the age of 18 on the territory of the relevant Association.

Is that a US rule that the person has to be a US citizen? Seems to me like there'd be plenty of kids living in other countries with American grandparents who would be eligible under FIFA rules but would not be US citizens.

I thought it was. Can you think of any player who we have had that fit your description?

I don't have anyone in mind. I know we've been waiting for Darlington Nagbe to get his citizenship, but it would look to me like he'd be eligible for the USMNT right now, no? He's been in the US for more than 5 years after the age of 18. I'm sure there's something I'm missing.

I am like you. I really don't know exactly but I do think the US uses slightly different rules than anyone else. I can't think of a single US player (at least since 1990) who was not a citizen.

Nagbe is an interesting example that might show that we do need citizenship. He is nearing the end of the process but every article I see says he expects it some time in 2015 and no one seems to be thinking he can join the team before then.

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McIntyre on ESPN has the US' projected XI for 2018, but it's behind the paywall.

Starters

Brad Guzan GK

Timmy Chandler D

Matt Besler D

Omar Gonzalez D

Fabian Johnson D

Michael Bradley MF

Julian Green MF

DeAndre Yedlin MF

Mix Diskerud MF

Aron Johansson F

Jozy Altidore F

RESERVES POS.

Terrence Boyd F

Juan Agudelo F

Luis Gil MF

Gedion Zelalem MF

Graham Zusi MF

Danny Williams MF

Chris Klute D

John Anthony Brooks D

Erik Palmer-Brown D

Geoff Cameron D

Cody Cropper GK

Sean Johnson GK

For fans who don't know who Erik Palmer-Brown is, he is the kid that was in the Sporting KC academy that Juventus tries to buy for a $1M before he ever played one minute as a professional.

With Belser away he has gotten some first team minutes and outside of a bad first game, the reviews on him have been very good.

I believe he is the youngest defender ever in MLS history at 17.

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Apropos nothing, but just saw this on my FB feed:

The Virginia Soccer Training Center. Spotsylvania is near Fredricksburg, between DC, Richmond and Charlottesville. No idea how that gets funded.

I said for the US he has to be a citizen. I was not talking for all countries.

Here is the exact wording

Any Player who ... [assumes] a new nationality and who has not played international football [in a match ... in an official competition of any category or any type of football for one Association] shall be eligible to play for the new representative team only if he fulfills one of the following conditions:

(a) He was born on the territory of the relevant Association;

(b) His biological mother or biological father was born on the territory of the relevant Association;

© His grandmother or grandfather was born on the territory of the relevant Association;

(d) He has lived continuously for at least five years after reaching the age of 18 on the territory of the relevant Association.

Is that a US rule that the person has to be a US citizen? Seems to me like there'd be plenty of kids living in other countries with American grandparents who would be eligible under FIFA rules but would not be US citizens.

I thought it was. Can you think of any player who we have had that fit your description?

I don't have anyone in mind. I know we've been waiting for Darlington Nagbe to get his citizenship, but it would look to me like he'd be eligible for the USMNT right now, no? He's been in the US for more than 5 years after the age of 18. I'm sure there's something I'm missing.

I am like you. I really don't know exactly but I do think the US uses slightly different rules than anyone else. I can't think of a single US player (at least since 1990) who was not a citizen.

Nagbe is an interesting example that might show that we do need citizenship. He is nearing the end of the process but every article I see says he expects it some time in 2015 and no one seems to be thinking he can join the team before then.

There's also some question about what this will do to his non-EU work permit status. I've also seen articles that say he can retain dual citizenship. Work permit rules seem like kind of a nebulous area, especially in my FM universe. It may be hurting some young players' development if they can't complete a European transfer but I can't think of any cases where this has caused major damage.

This board would really go on full tilt if we joined the EU in order to help our national soccer fortunes.

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McIntyre on ESPN has the US' projected XI for 2018, but it's behind the paywall.

Starters

Brad Guzan GK

Timmy Chandler D

Matt Besler D

Omar Gonzalez D

Fabian Johnson D

Michael Bradley MF

Julian Green MF

DeAndre Yedlin MF

Mix Diskerud MF

Aron Johansson F

Jozy Altidore F

RESERVES POS.

Terrence Boyd F

Juan Agudelo F

Luis Gil MF

Gedion Zelalem MF

Graham Zusi MF

Danny Williams MF

Chris Klute D

John Anthony Brooks D

Erik Palmer-Brown D

Geoff Cameron D

Cody Cropper GK

Sean Johnson GK

McIntrye isn't exactly out on a limb here.

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McIntyre on ESPN has the US' projected XI for 2018, but it's behind the paywall.

Starters

Brad Guzan GK

Timmy Chandler D

Matt Besler D

Omar Gonzalez D

Fabian Johnson D

Michael Bradley MF

Julian Green MF

DeAndre Yedlin MF

Mix Diskerud MF

Aron Johansson F

Jozy Altidore F

RESERVES POS.

Terrence Boyd F

Juan Agudelo F

Luis Gil MF

Gedion Zelalem MF

Graham Zusi MF

Danny Williams MF

Chris Klute D

John Anthony Brooks D

Erik Palmer-Brown D

Geoff Cameron D

Cody Cropper GK

Sean Johnson GK

Assuming normal talent progression - that is a pretty good starting squad in 4 years. Much better offensive potential than what we had this year. Mix and Johannsson need to mature physically, but lots to like about that potential

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McIntyre on ESPN has the US' projected XI for 2018, but it's behind the paywall.

Starters

Brad Guzan GK

Timmy Chandler D

Matt Besler D

Omar Gonzalez D

Fabian Johnson D

Michael Bradley MF

Julian Green MF

DeAndre Yedlin MF

Mix Diskerud MF

Aron Johansson F

Jozy Altidore F

RESERVES POS.

Terrence Boyd F

Juan Agudelo F

Luis Gil MF

Gedion Zelalem MF

Graham Zusi MF

Danny Williams MF

Chris Klute D

John Anthony Brooks D

Erik Palmer-Brown D

Geoff Cameron D

Cody Cropper GK

Sean Johnson GK

McIntrye isn't exactly out on a limb here.

he did choose someone not even eligible for the US yet, so there is that :)

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