Wednesday, June 28, 2006


I've noticed that there are US soccer fans who seem to have a mindset (and I know this because I'm one of them) that because we're a developing soccer country, that each successive 'generation' of players will be better than the previous. While I think this is potentially correct overall, it doesn't work when reduced to specific players.

In other words, the thinking goes that the players whose last gasp was WC 98 - Ramos, Harkes, Wynalda, Lalas, Meola weren't as good as those who bowed out in WC 06 - McBride, Keller, Pope, Reyna. I don't want to get into a player v player scenario, other than to say that Ramos, Reyna, Wynalda and Keller were all great in their time. Obviously, as more Americans play in Europe and we're getting a deeper player pool, our overall team will improve, but it doesn't mean that we're definitely creating players with better individual skills.

I honestly believe that we're seeing the closing of the first American 'golden generation' in McBride, Reyna, Keller, Pope and Friedel. These are guys, some of whom used MLS as their springboard, and some who didn't. Nevertheless, they all had great careers both on their club and national teams, and won't be easily replaced.