Loss to Colombia in Copa America opener latest reminder of talent gap for US Soccer

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The US Men’s National Team loss to Columbia in the Copa America opener is yet another chapter in the book of disappointment we lovers of soccer in this country have had to suffer.

Throughout this hemisphere, all sports media is focused on Copa America and its 100th anniversary. We are actually hosting it and all games will be televised by Fox’s FS1 network. Still, as I awoke this morning, I would never know that such a tournament was going on here if I was not a soccer-phile. The reason why isn’t that the U.S. as a whole still isn’t interested in soccer.

Soccer was once called the fastest growing sport in America and now, especially in schools, it is a major sport. Still, I refer to the movie Patton where George S. Scott playing the iconic general stated, “Americans never have and never will tolerate a loser.”

Well, before even 10 minutes were gone, we were down 1-0 to Columbia. Cristian Zapata scored off a corner kick, notching his very first international goal. Of course, it was netted on us. By the end of the half, we were down 2-0 due to a controversial hand ball call in the penalty box. The corresponding spot kick was buried by Colombian superstar James Rodriguez.

U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann brought the squad out in the second half re-energized but still not productive enough offensively. He made changes in personnel toward the end but it was to no avail. Rodriguez, the dazzling Real Madrid midfielder,vwas out of the game from an injury but we were unable to take advantage.

Many people want Klinsmann fired. Borussia Dortmund 17-year old phenom Christian Pulisic was substituted into the contest with only 20 minutes to go and had a chance to score, but veteran Clint Dempsey got in his way as he was poised to score for his country for a second time on the international stage.
The fact that Pulisic was not starting is yet another criticism that Klinsmann’s judgements are not up to par. Klinsmann gets grief for not playing a consistent lineup when the USMNT plays, but I don’t think that is the real problem. Many countries use the same system of determining lineups.

If you have kept up with my blog, you know that I don’t think that coaching is the problem at all. The two prior USMNT coaches – Bruce Arena and Bob Bradley – are very good and I think it was wrong to fire them as well. Players win games.

US Soccer is being driven to believe that the player developmental system here is working. Well, I disagree. If they fire Klinsmann, the next coach, even if it is noted tactician and champion Pep Guardiola, will have the same problems the former German superstar forward is having. It isn’t that the players we have on the field aren’t developed.

The problem is that our best athletes are still not playing soccer. Blame Title IX, the profiteering of youth soccer or the popularity of the US’s big three sports. Those three reasons are why the best male athletes gravitate away from soccer. My solution to solve these problems? I have stressed publicly for years not just on this blog but on our Monday Night Futbol radio show as well what needs to happen.

But that is not the purpose of this article. The purpose of this article is to report that we lost 2-0 to Columbia yesterday. I fear until the real problems are addressed, I will be writing more articles like this in the future.

God Bless You and Your Family.

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Alan DeRitter

Alan DeRitter

Soccer Analyst/Coach

2013 – present…Head Soccer Coach, De La Salle High School 2007 – 2011…Head Soccer Coach, Archbishop Shaw High School 2004 – Present…Director of Coaching for Soccer Innovations of America 2006…Asst. Head Coach, St. Martin’s Girls Team 2006…ODP Louisiana Staff Coach 1986-2005…Brother Martin High School; Head coach 1986; 1994 -2004 State Champions 2000 2000 District 10 Div. I Coach of the Year 2000 LHSSCA Coach of the Year 2000 Times-Picayune Orleans Parish Coach of the Year 2000 Times-Picayune Metro Coach of the Year 2000 Ranked 4th in Nation [ADIDAS/NSCAA] 2001 State Champions 2000 Louisiana Showcase Tournament Champions 2001 District 10 Division…

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