U.S. Youth Soccer Faces Reality in Dallas Youth Tournaments

Now that the Dallas Cup and Generation Adidas Cup, held in North Texas over the last few weeks, have concluded, Texas-native journalist Charles Boehm weighed in with his observations on these tournaments in a Thursday column on ussoccerplayers.com. In this article he talked at length about the gap that continues to exist (though closing) between North American youth clubs and those from other countries.  A few quotes from MLS Academy coaches in this article highlights these differences.

New York Red Bulls Academy coach Paul O’Donnell

“I think it’s the professional approach to the game from the foreign teams.  Taking very little risks, their ability to compete and tackle – these guys are fighting for jobs down the road. They’re so competitive in every tackle, they’re a little bit soccer-savvy at times when they need to be. As we progressed we got a little bit more soccer-savvy, more competitive, and realized that hey, we can play with these guys, there’s nothing to be scared of.”

San Jose Earthquakes Academy coach Paul Holecker

“You take a look at some of the top teams and you see the level of savvy, the level of control, competitiveness.  It’s derived from their culture: Since they were 8 years old they were competing.  I got to watch some of the U-12s play, and they’re primed to be little professionals at 10 years old. That’s different from our US culture. But the more that we’re exposed to that, the more we’re going to realize that yeah, these are the expectations that we have to have.”

Los Angeles Galaxy Academy coach Brian Kleiban

“The Mexican teams, they travel with their first-team counterparts and play in these type of intense games week in and week out. The Flamengo team plays their local rivals week in and week out. You can just see that they’re more match-ready for these type of games and being in adverse situations and having to defend in 1v1 situations constantly, winning their battles – where we’re not. Any little detail, any little mistake gets exposed.”

Below is the link to this excellent article.


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