The U.S. soccer establishment really should get past its fascination with all things British
I do not know David Weir, but I’m sure he’s a fine fellow. Talented player, too. Scotland may be a European middleweight, but you cannot be capped 69 times without knowing which end of the soccer ball is “up.”
Do for the record, what I am about to say is not about David Weir.
But when a “story” like this one tumbles out, and when people circulate said story through social media, I shake my head. Because it’s not really a story.
The piece in question says Weir would consider coaching in MLS for the right opportunity. Again, the man is just answering some journalist’s question, so this is not his fault.
If a Scottish publication wants to trumpet an inexperienced manager who just failed in his only coaching assignment (in England’s third tier, no less) and make a big deal about how he is “keen on managing in the US,” fair enough, I suppose. But do we (in the United States, that is) really need to act like Scottish football is doing us a favor here?
More to the point, how is this a headline for a solid site like MLSSoccer.com?
Is it more evidence that American soccer simply cannot divest itself from its historic attachments to British soccer?
Is it because, as some of my Twitter followers suggested, “Too many people get overly giddy when anyone overseas bats their eyes at MLS?” Credit Drew Epperley (@wvhooligan) for that one.
Others suggested that this is somehow attached to self-image, that international figures paying any kind of attention to MLS still provides some degree of league validation – even if plenty of us don’t believe it needs any.
Personally, here’s what I say:
Again, I don’t know Weir. He did play in college here (University of Evansville) but he didn’t play in MLS. Nor has he managed in the States. And coaches without a solid, working knowledge of the quirky vagaries of this league – the less familiar travel burden and the player acquisition methods that can be so vexing to the uninitiated, etc. – have a fairly spotty record.
Meanwhile, there are solid choices out there that are more familiar with the domestic soccer structures, who have better contacts in places that count.
Brian Haynes, for instance, just collected Coach of the Year honors in NASL. He will get a shot in MLS sooner or later. Robin Fraser will get his second bite off the MLS coaching apple at some point. Eric Wynalda will find an MLS owner who doesn’t mind a maverick for a coach.
The list goes on, but the point should be clear. Thanks and all … but just because some guy is Scottish (or German, or Spanish or Argentine or whatever) and knows the game, we shouldn’t flattered that he “might consider us” or whatever.
We’re not chopped liver here.