Earthquakes

US soccer's issues go way beyond finding the right coach

klinsmann-fired.jpg
USATSI

US soccer's issues go way beyond finding the right coach

Jurgen Klinsmann’s long national nightmare is finally over. The United States Men’s National Soccer Team’s, on the other hand, remains.
 
Nothing, and I mean nothing, feels better to a soccer fan than to have his or her team win a championship, but firing the coach is always a photo-finish second. Since the USMNT has never really won enough to be an arm-waving factor on the international stage, firing the coach is really the optimal outcome any fan can envision.
 
And Klinsmann, the German who was going to revolutionize the development and cultivation of the sport in America (a job that frankly has already been done by all the ready access to the best soccer in the world on a daily basis) won too infrequently to be as dismissive of the established order as he was. So, he served the soccer establishment by becoming the new severed head.
 
Yay decapitation!
 
But here’s where the firing (for which we have no opinion one way or another, since it is like arguing against evolution to an anthropologist, or opposing yeast to a baker) misses the point: The name most often linked to the job is Bruce Arena, a guy who already had it and was fired for the same reason that Klinsmann got whacked – because he couldn’t jump the United States ahead of the line in the established national order of football powers, that’s why.
 
The U.S. isn’t in the place it’s in internationally because the players aren’t sufficiently “coached up,” but because the structural issues with U.S. soccer (as well as U.S. Soccer, the suit-and-snoot component of the sport) are well beyond anyone’s ability to fix comprehensively, and especially not quickly. The game is more profitable than ever, but butts in seats doesn’t mean the same as goals in nets.
 
There is this ongoing and very fanciful notion that the United States should be far higher on the list of global soccer powers, which is fine except for the fact that nobody can ever explain where they should be ranked. First? Fourth? Sixth? Thirteenth? Ahead of Germany? Ahead of France? Ahead of Scotland? Ahead of Narnia?
 
Nobody knows, which is why the answer that is most often expressed by the most passionate U.S. soccer fans when asked “Where should they be?” is “better than they are,” a properly amorphous standard for always firing whoever the coach is at any given time.
 
If there is a problem with the product on the field, it is largely that the available American talent is in a fallow period right now, a phenomenon that happens to all but the most elite soccer-playing countries. The U.S. is not deep with impact players right now (though Christian Pulisic might be the realest deal in recent history), and it has never been deep with inventive ones.
 
But Klinsmann allowed people to think he could fix that while he got up to speed with in-game tactical developments – in layman’s terms, the X’s and O’s. He did neither, in the one case because the U.S. still hasn’t figured out how to identify, harness, grow and inspire its supply of potential players (it is still too heavily dependent on children of affluent parents and a coaching structure that has not found, taught or nurtured genius), and in the other because he has never been a tactical wizard – or even a tactical pixie, as far as that goes.
 
In any event, Klinsmann’s firing changes little of real substance, but as a temporary feel-good measure, it works wonders, as all firings do. Unless the U.S. is suddenly going to hire Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola, Carlo Ancelotti or Diego Simeone at the height of their transformative powers, it is hard to see how Klinsmann’s absence will make the product look any different than his presence did. This is just new coasters on old deck chairs.
 
Now if they want to find a way to clone Pulisic and send the formula down the food chain to find more like him, now that would be worth your enthusiastic response. But we don’t want to ruin your fun, so go with “Jurgen Klinsmann is out, so drink up everyone” if you must.  
 
The hangover will come later, like it always does.

Quakes choose young FIU defender with their first pick in 2018 MLS SuperDraft

Quakes choose young FIU defender with their first pick in 2018 MLS SuperDraft

The San Jose Earthquakes are hoping they've caught lighting in a bottle twice. 

Last season, Nick Lima emerged as one of the game's best young defenders. And on Day 1 of the 2018 MLS SuperDraft, San Jose went to the fullback well with the selection of Paul Marie from Florida International University with the 12th pick in the first round. 

"Paul has the profile we were looking for from the very beginning heading into the combine and the draft," said Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli via press release. "We were looking for a fullback. We see in him an offensive-minded outside back that has technical qualities and the ability to read the game."

Experts pegged Marie, 22, as a late-first, early-second-round selection. But a pair of solid days during the MLS Combine boosted the Frenchman's stock -- especially on San Jose's board. According to Fioranelli, Marie was No. 4 on their draft board -- having him there at No. 12 must have felt like a steal for Fioranelli and staff. 

"We especially liked that he has character and in the interview that we had with him, he convinced us," Fioranelli said. "The entire coaching staff are really excited about having him part of the club."

San Jose not only lucked out that their fourth-best footballer was there at 12, but with American parents, he does not take up an international slot for San Jose -- the team is still three players over their allotment.

In an interview after his selection with Jason Davis of Sirius XM radio, Marie told San Jose fans what they can expect from the defender. 

"They can expect Paul Marie to give it all for San Jose," he said. 

The Quakes were in need of defensive depth going in to Day 1 of the SuperDraft. In Marie, they have a fullback who can stretch the pitch from the right side and be a backup to Lima. 

Did Quakes pull off 'steal' of MLS SuperDraft in Danny Musovski?

Did Quakes pull off 'steal' of MLS SuperDraft in Danny Musovski?

Not too long ago, former UNLV standout Danny Musovski was the darling of the mock draft. 

And rightfully so -- with 47 career goals in 88 appearances with the Runnin' Rebels, Musovski possesses a knack and nose for the goal that no MLS team can have enough of and thus an early selection in the MLS SuperDraft was expected. 

So when you examine the San Jose Earthquakes' first day of the 2018 SuperDraft, their selection of Musovski can be viewed one of two ways: it's either the steal/ best value of Day 1 at No. 30 or you're skeptical of why the 22-year-old who many experts had going in the top 10 fell all the way down the Quakes in the second round. 

Judging by the way those who know Musovski talk about him, it sounds like Earthquakes fans can lean toward the former. 

"Danny is a striker that we actually saw as one of the biggest prospects considering that over four years he had scored around 50 goals," said San Jose general manager Jesse Fioranelli via press release. "He is a player that we already knew because he was inside of our ecosystem. We are excited to have him at the club."

Fioranelli is talking about Musovski's time with San Jose Premier Developement League affiliate, Burlingame Dragons FC, in 2016 where the forward made a huge impact on a squad that made the PDL postseason fresh off his 12-goal year with UNLV. 

"Quakes got a steal by drafting Danny at No. 30," said his former Dragons FC head coach Eric Bucchere -- who spent last season as an assistant with San Jose affiliate Reno 1868 and founded Path2Pro Soccer thereafter. 

"He's an MLS-ready player with pace, a good soccer brain and knack for scoring goals," Bucchere said, adding that yes, perhaps Musovski's work during the combine wasn't steller, but those two days shouldn't overshadow the striker's upside. "Sometimes it's obvious why a player is good at scoring goals and sometimes you have to watch a player during the course of an entire season to really appreciate what makes him so good." 

There are some experts who point to Chris Wondolowski as a comporable skillset and physical build to Musovski -- a player who no-doubt can find the back of the net but won't blow you away with his athleticism. 

"The last point is that Danny showed more enthusiasm than any other player to join the organization, which was a determining factor for him to join us," Fioranelli said. 

Musovski was a four-year starter and two-time All-America selection for UNLV and the first Rebel to be selected in the Super Draft since Bradley Kamdem in 2016. During his senior season in 2017, he scored 15 goals (good for fourth in the nation) and added six assists in 16 appearances, earning Third Team All-America, First Team All-West Region, First Team All-Western Athletic Conference and Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year honors.

Time, and training camp, will tell if Musovski will make an immediate impact with the main club. But he'll definitely have a spot with Reno 1868, the Quakes United Soccer League affiliate known for scoring goals in (record-setting) bunches.