Making the Nations League matter

uefa-nations-league-graphic The soccer news starts with an obvious point about the Nations League. It's going to take more than UEFA adding it to the schedule to make the games count. Everybody involved has to buy in. That's the challenge for any new competition, something that the Nations League is already struggling with at some levels. For all the upside when two big teams meet in League A, there's leagues B through D to consider. If fans don't treat those leagues as important, this quickly becomes yet another tournament for and about the elite. It's still an open question whether or not some of those elite will treat it with the importance UEFA needs. Concacaf should be watching all of this carefully. They don't have the depth of UEFA, once again relying on the old elite to push their version of the Nations League forward. It's worth asking why Concacaf decided to Continue reading "Making the Nations League matter"

The Soccer Syndicate and North America’s scouting problem

Seattle Sounders training session By Charles Boehm – WASHINGTON, DC (Oct 15, 2018) US Soccer Players - There's one obvious problem North American soccer faces when it comes to identifying and developing players. It's the sheer size and scope of the United States and Canada. These are the second- and third-largest countries on earth, with a combined population of more than 360 million. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 million of them play soccer, maybe more. Enormous swathes of both nations have little to no professional soccer presence nearby. Stories abound of talented young players driving hours every day to pursue their dreams of high-level play. It’s also no secret that the soccer pyramid here is incomplete and inefficient compared to other nations. Players and their families have to navigate a winding, chaotic path towards the top. For all its stability and growth, MLS struggles to scout the domestic landscape completely, often finding diamonds Continue reading "The Soccer Syndicate and North America’s scouting problem"