First up is Steve Quattrociocchi, a friendly sort who has been known to sport a Vialli-era "Autoglass" Chelsea shirt in an ill-fated attempt to prove to everyone that he's not another Chelsea poseur. He was nice enough to be the sacrificial lamb of the group and go first, so here are his words:
As tempting as it is to use this opportunity to rail against the hypocritical mewlings and delusional rants of Arsene Wanker, I thought I’d use this opportunity to discuss U.S. Soccer.
Folks, you need to wake up. U.S. Soccer is leagues away from truly competing on the world stage – either in International or Club competitions. Worse, we’re heading in the wrong direction. Whatever momentary optimism is to be found in inspired efforts against over-confident Portuguese, German and Italian sides in recent Cups, the reality is that the US program is comparable to Korea and Australia . The idea that we are anywhere near ready to compete against even quality African sides on a consistent basis is laughable.
MLS play is poor. Sure, the game is beautiful even in its lower levels. I enjoy watching early round FA Cup fixtures. I pull for, and enjoy, Peterborough in the English fourth division. But the Champion Houston Dynamo would be second, or even third, division in the Spanish, English, Italian, German, and Dutch leagues. And this is where we are developing our young talent? Eddie Johnson is going to become a world-class talent in this environment? You’re surprised he’s backsliding? Really?
Internationally, we rely on the likes of Landon Donovan. Landon’s lazy, self-satisfied refusal to get off the beach and submit himself to the highest competition is borderline treasonous – but that point has been made and really is inarguable. U.S. Soccer’s unerring faith in him is symbolic, however, of what is wrong.
Yes, we have great athletes. Yes, our high-workrate, heart-over-style personality is something to build upon. But neither will overcome squandering talent and lazy, PR-driven hype of the likes of Freddy Adu. Our athletes and our personality are foundations, not football power in themselves.
The entire system needs to be overhauled, from the youth program (where I coach and watch my colleagues systematically destroy our future with their emphasis on unselfish play and basketball-like tactics at the expense of joy and ball skill) on up through the academies to our relationship with Europe. MLS should end the salary cap nonsense and sell its clubs to crazy egomaniacs who will spend what it takes to build quality and dominate the league. As to the Nats, Juergen Klinsmann was the perfect man for destroying and rebuilding U.S. Soccer, but there are others. Anyone Dutch would be nice. Forget Bob Bradley, god save us from Pekerman or Houllier. God Bless Clint Dempsey.