Dan Roudebush: Overheard in a New York rest room.
(Wednesday, April 1, 1998) -- United States Soccer Federation president Alan Rothenberg and USSF youth soccer development consultant Carlos Quieroz recently had a chance meeting in an unnamed New York hotel. Their discussion was secretly recorded.
AR: So how's the study going?
CQ: Well you have a lot of players in the US.
AR: Well we figure MLS got most of the best ones through the Olympic Development Program.
CQ: No there are many Latinos and others that have been overlooked. There is a wealth of raw talent.
AR: I don't want to quote myself, but I will. We have to bring those good U.S. Latinos into our system.
AR: (whispers) Carlos, have you found anyone I could use at San Jose?
CQ: (politely ignores last question) - But you see the young Latinos are good because they are playing where they are. We should go to them?
AR: You mean actually RECRUIT?
CQ: Well they do it in England. There is much competition in the labor market for good people and the success rate for professional soccer players can be quite low. It's hard to get their youth to commit.
AR: But what about Brazil?
CQ: I hate to tell you things about your own country. You are wealthy. They are poor. Unlike England the young players flock to the clubs, so it's just a matter of choosing. Not recruiting, not even training. Just identify the best.
AR: Well we have used ODP and our 2 scouts to identify the best in the U.S.
CQ: Two scouts? Um. Yes, identification is a problem here. Your country is big like Brazil, No? Besides Latinos I heard of many players that choose not to go to college. Tell me how long has this ODP program been running? You are satisfied with the results?
AR: Well, er . . . it keeps college coaches employed during the summer, and our state organizations have many employed club coaches handling . . . um . . . amateurs. Besides these people got me elected, and kept silent about my $7 million World Cup bonus.
CQ: Good points, but shouldn't the pros be identifying AND training future professionals? I mean after all you now have the clubs assisting Sunil Gulati in identifying foreign players. Club identification has increased the quality of your foreign contingent. Shouldn't clubs be doing that for younger US players?
AR: Ah...mmm, certainly.
CQ: But I haven't seen that.
AR: Surely you have seen our Project 40!
CQ: Yes, some good players there. 21 or 22 I believe.
AR: (nervously washes hands.)
CQ: Do you want to know how many? . . .
AR: I DON"T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT HOW MANY YOUNG MINOR LEAGUE PROFESSSIONAL PLAYERS THERE ARE IN PORTUGAL, BRAZIL, ENGLAND, or whatever!!!! We have enough. Tell me how to get them to play better!
CQ: Well your minor league ones
are . . . er . . . a bit long in the tooth, and there are many graduates of your college system. But Sir, I have already told you how to get better younger players. Identify them, recruit them, and train them as professionals, preferably by the clubs that will eventually play them.
AR: Sounds expensive!
CQ: I believe the MLS clubs are losing approximately $20 million a year?
AR: About right.
CQ : So if you lose another $3 million, whatís that- $250,000 a year per club?
AR: About right. Jeez I sound like a broken record letís get a drink.
Later at hotelís restaurant, overheard by a waiter who plays for a lower east side ethnic team.
AR: So who picks up the $250,000 per club?
CQ: Local sponsors who want to back a local hot-shot . . . But the clubs need to protect their recruits. Please explain how under this single entity system.
AR: You SOB! Single entity is sacrosanct! Your nothing but a National Football League player rep in disguise. Your fired!
AR then wobbles over to another table where Dr. C . . . and, well that's another story.
Source:Hawiian Soccer Research Institute, Dr. I. Am. Kookie.
Practiced in the art of satire. Dan Roudebush also has 25 years experience as a coach and trainer of coaches. He is currently boys coach at Konawaena High School in Hawaii and can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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