Are Americans Any Good at Football?


our Americans any good at football growing up a British accent might as well have been gospel seems sacrilegious to ever question their superiority and on the flipside you never really had a self-confidence in American soccer or feeling like you had access to the beautiful game but that’s beginning to change now innovative partnerships have emerged to create new pathways for players that just didn’t exist before and the conversation in media is changing where coverage is going both sides now with interest and support extending beyond borders so I came to the UK to see it for myself and how a growing confidence of Americans abroad and the conversation between the two nations is making room for not just football but soccer I think people have underestimated how good the MLS’s from 23 years ago from when you know MLS first launched to where we are this is a sort of teenager growing up in terms of the world game no reason you can’t have many league team there’s no question that MLS has come on leaps and bounds I mean it’s just a different league the one I came into in 2010 I hope that more people young games start to go over and and kind of realize how big the league it can be and it’s like it’s time start taking seriously and even I’m like wow this has changed it proves like boy it’s it like the MLS is here tattooed a billionaire is there yeah let’s tattoos tattoos and probably can’t come to the UK and not visit mile boy teammate Jeff Cameron played together for the Dynamo live just down the hall from each other Stoke just got relegated but for six years a hundred and sixty eight appearances deep one of the only Americans doing it weekend week out in the Premier League you had some guys here for a long time that have been playing in the Premier League American guys Tim Howard of course and Clint what advice did these guys give you when you came over as far as adjusting to the Premier League you can play a World II of a game and then all of a sudden like you know you’ll look in the paper or you look on Twitter or whatever and people slaughter you and they just said you got to have thick skin here don’t let things bother you and have that like kind of edginess have that prove everybody wrong kind of chip on your shoulder and and I think for me Clinton was one of the best Saturday as a player either you were able to adapt and adjust or you’ll crumble people said I was never gonna play professional soccer and and look what 10 11 years in and I’m still playing at the highest level I’m challenging myself every single weekend against some of the best players in the world we’re fortunate here in in the UK with with the Premier League that it’s regarded as one of the best leagues in the world but you know we also have to have that eye on what else in the world is happening and you want to have collaboration you want to have good relationships can all learn from each other and you have to have that humility NYC FC in Man City share the same ownership group allowing them to tap into an extensive global scouting network to find top young talent a huge amount of young players within a global system now we want to develop them in a way that they are capable of playing at a very high level which ultimately will allow us to maybe get greater value for them within the marketplace but you know the primary reason is you know coming at them into mattress infested coming at them into New York’s 15 you get them into Melvin’s first team you know we’re asking young players here in Manchester can you be better than David silver can you be better than Sergio agüero can you be better than Vincent Kompany they’re a big ask for that for our young players I look at the structure here in England and I don’t believe that it’s conducive necessarily to getting young players through the system I think we have a fantastic Academy system here but that 18 the 23 year old pieces is crucial I think in any players career wherever they are in the world I started my night when I was six years old so obviously starting really young is a bit different than in America and I was training five times a week and I don’t match on the weekend as well and that was from like the age of eight onwards a lot of hours in a young age just to try and build those those fundamentals of football and just her getting stuck in stuck in your head really Ronaldo was there and the time it was pretty cool to see him it’s just good for young players to be be around that environment and see you know their idols day in day out and kind of use that as a goal and motivation to get where they are I remember meeting Jack Harrison at the draft actually immediately struck me as a really humble kid but his play on the field it was audacious straight from the jump in MLS came in flying running up players one of the more creative wingers in the league and to see him now getting his chance to come back to the UK where he grew up in the Manchester United Academy and get signed by Man City this time and then loaned to Middlesbrough competing in the championship it’s exciting to see how it’s come full circle for him not because it didn’t work out you did really well the United seek a de mie but you wanted an education what was that decision like for you and your family and why did you take that choice and the Academy is here they’re so narrow-minded that’s all you ever think about is going to the first-team and there’s so many kids that go through there and just have nothing to fall back on and I know so many people that are just doing you know everyday things now and it’s it’s hard to see that because such a young age divided these dreams of being a footballer we have younger kids coming and in training with us and first team and we can tell kids that are like 16 17 18 year olds that are coming in for like you know fill in bodies or whatever if they’ll be successful or not is is his profession not not soccer not football anymore and here they they learn it at a younger age it’s 18 19 if they’re not were the first team they’re not training with the first team their opportunities are limited what a teams look they look for minutes games played what’s their experience and if a kid doesn’t have any experience of playing at a first-team level like who wants to take a risk on you last year I was stunned at every game and that’s very uncommon for a young player in in England or anywhere in Europe really yeah you might be a part of one of the biggest clubs in Europe or something but if you’re not playing in how happy are you really you know and I think it’s important to get that game experience under your belt is such a young age because you can still learn a lot whilst being in the MLS I would definitely recommend it there are lots of young players in England with League One Championship clubs Bradley wright-phillips being a great example don’t Dwyer being another example of players that could come across enjoy the lifestyle love being where they are and succeed as professional footballers we had hustle from yarm just to make chat with me about his experience as British guy who’s come across to Seattle began his career there but now the voice of the Premier League for NBC Sports the older generation in this country tend to sneer it at soccer in America a little bit it’s like they don’t know the college soccer bomb and they don’t know what they’re talking about but the younger they’re the youngsters who know what they’re talking about because they’ve done their research they’re online they’re watching the games they’re seeing the crowds they’re seeing the impact it’s having they’re taking a massive interest so it’s on Sky TV over here and Sunday night when all the soccer done you either watch NFL which a lot of people do or people now particularly younger people are tuning into Major League Soccer McCarthy now questions but they’re doing it for a reason to give the young players like Tyler Evans and Sean Davis do you support a team here yeah what’s in Darlington Woodley and confidence no okay and what what division is that if you’re much in the Premier League East Division one yeah my team playing Division six so in some ways Red Bull might be your best chance at the trophy there is I’m excited for the match that are you ready Henry’s a kid that hit me up a while back on Twitter had seen the movement episode and that I trained in Arsenal back in the day and he’s an Arsenal fan blogger and interested in getting into journalism his family connections to Houston at some point started following the team so kind of kept in touch and now going out to Wales to go finally meet him but let’s plan on meeting up outside the stadium after the match and and we can catch up this was colder than you told me yeah I’m sorry swansea anodyne yeah how does that work why don’t you become a dynamo of it I became a dynamo fan because I had family who moved over to Houston in 2005 and then dynamos inaugural season was 2006 and then they also he won the two MLS championships in their first two seasons and I know they’re playing DC United’s tonight’s so you come from Swansea FA Cup match go home and watch Houston do people here think you’re crazy I just enjoy it simply because it’s relevant to me and what I’m going to be doing and it adds to my life experience of being able to say I know what that brand of football is like what that entire experience is like for that fan culture as well I love the tpho that the Houston fans brought I believe it was in the playoffs last year where they were rising from the floodwaters and into your nightmares I believe it was I thought that was brilliant that’s something I’m really really looking forward to hopefully seeing copa90 is recognizing this growing interest in supporter culture and builds a global media brand around it doing it their own way it’s different here you look around see a beer pong it’s different than sort of traditional media places that you go to I hope so why have you put an emphasis on major league soccer stories and what’s intriguing for the company and also for the viewer there’s a very rare if not not seen anywhere else in the world moment that’s happening in US soccer I got into a nice service it’s feeling of like it was new still before YouTube was message I was going on the MLS website having to download the highlights and like I can eat the Denny Dickie O’s and the Taylor Twellman and I was like really like I just felt like was I could eat this unique league every team seemed to be like so far away and have their own culture and I was always like yeah but I was always like there’s always a very niche I’ve been tracking at least up copa90 for the longest Derby days must watch he’s got been to over 70 countries traversing the world looking at supporter culture so had to sit down with him to see how MLS is fitting into the larger picture on the picture was always like that’s where we were always like you never catch up well look what we’re doing now we’re taking the better South America the heart you know spiritual heart of football this is changed I didn’t think LA FC had a chance there’s sort of the memberships I didn’t think it Lana has had a chance there’s so many other markets going on there and like you never really hear about the Dirty South do you think chicken wings hip hop the Holts the Falcons you don’t think football or soccer I’m telling you watching it every week it’s like this is gonna die down and it gets bigger and just telling when ti and Waka Flocka on 2 Chainz they’re gonna your games you’re part of the cultural scene it proves like your boy it’s it like the MLS is here I see like a different self-confidence that’s happening from us for so long has been like MLS we’ve been a part of building this league you know blood sweat and tears a lot of the rest of the guys and but I’m starting to see a little bit of a shift where there is a new self-confidence and it needs to happen more and I don’t know if this was a part of what you’re saying in the article it felt that way to me was that having you go on or other players go on isn’t something that we should look at is negative for MLS it’s something we should be proud of yeah it should be it you should be throwing a celebration for him you know like here’s one of your own it’s come through the ranks come through the Academy system played for the first team and boom he’s made the jump abroad and he’s playing at a club and he’s doing well I haven’t just learned about football since I’ve been on there and the experiences that I’ve had have have been incredible I would never have had or met the people that I have if I just stayed here in England I think it’s a good thing and I don’t see why they can’t do that and let these young young people go and have all these you know amazing experiences and and still be a part of you know what they have back home would my growth be different if I was born here in Europe would I just be another Academy player that kind of fell through the cracks and you know I would have been in just another number over here in England or you know if I came over at a younger age could I could I’ve you know broken through like Christian you know I know guys have been playing for 1012 years and there are five years six years younger than I am where I went to college I have a degree and then like you go from there you get drafted so that kind of that takes time when you look back though and watch games now and you see what’s happened even since he’s left what’s see all these clubs coming in expansion and then also just the quality and the types of players that are coming in and all me wrong these guys like that do you do you see a big difference and does it make it more yeah peeling yeah 100 cent I mean you know obviously Bobby Boz was one of my best friends and he’s like I wish I was in this system when I first started because you have everything accessible to develop and get better as a player everything for so long in MLS you’ve seen maybe big-name players come over from the UK but maybe at a later stage in their career Jack I think this is probably one of the first players to be called up to the and u21 side do you see a changing tide there as far as young players and the last movie has destination for young players looking to pick on the first I think teams now are looking at young DPS and maybe a different way than how they looked at the DP strategy before more and more players will now look to the US as a earlier destination than perhaps they’ve been in the past how do people say don’t say soccer its football and I hear you say soccer football with this increased partnership in conversation between these two countries do you feel like sometimes we’re being a bit too strict both yeah soccer is a British term it differentiated back in the day from association football it differentiated this sport from rugby football in the same way as America soccer is used to differentiate from football which is the gridiron courage in the NFL version so it’s a completely lose used completely legitimately and to me to get hung up over that these days is ridiculous and if one or two people in England say oh you call it soccer well it’s their lives if they can’t be bothered to find out and they have these preconceived ideas and generalizations of what of what the sport of where the sport is in America players aren’t just following one path from one step to the next it’s starting to traverse and go back and forth in ways that we really haven’t seen before there’s coverage and conversation happening from broadcast to digital media and the support supporters now in MLS I think have a growing self-confidence as well that’s cool that you have a hundred years of history but there’s a great opportunity in being able to create your own from scratch you you

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