Monday, January 22, 2018

So... who's ready to be supremely annoyed?

Actually, I probably under-sold this one; some of you will surely venture from mere annoyance into thunder-pissed territory. And no, this isn't about Bruce Arena's regrettable "bad eggs" 'n' social media explanation for the USMNT's World Cup qualifying disaster - even if I could dive into that mess with a weed-wacker.

Nope, we're going to be jumping back into the federation's scouting/recruitment incompetence. Or you may call it downright shadiness. Perhaps it's most accurate to consider it a nasty cocktail of the two.

We'll start boiling our blood with Kevin McCauley's excellent and deeply irritating piece on how US Soccer has apparently, intentionally shunned homegrown Hispanic talent. Herculez Gomez and Hugo Perez provide much of the face-palming revelations. You'll likely be gritting teeth by the end of it, but just wait... there's an infuriating more to the subject as it relates specifically to losing big d-mid talent Jonathan Gonzalez to Mexico.

Remember a couple weeks back to when that terrible news came out? Multiple well-known, seasoned US Soccer figures insisted to reporters that Gonzalez had not been neglected, that he had been properly courted, even in the comfort of his own family home. Well, Gomez did some proper digging and it turns out that was Grade A bullshit.

Yeah... soak that in for a moment. The overly insular, swollen pockets federation and some of its most tenured hands concocted a brazen (and as it turns out, easily debunked) lie purely to avoid deserved scorn.

UPDATE: Gomez goes deeper into the Gonzalez "recruitment" story in his "Max & Herc" podcast (this show section begins after the 43-minute mark, following the Bob Bradley interview). And yeah, it just gets worse with the details.

This is all spectacularly pathetic dirt. Time to break out the broom.

- Greg Seltzer


Patrick said...

Just think, everytime we play Mexico in the next 10 years and this kid is starting for them, we get to be reminded of this Grade A Bullshit.

ZackL said...
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ZackL said...

Again, to me the larger issue here that USSF and MLS (to an extent) seem to be either ignoring or obfuscating isn't really about one player or even a community of players. It's about a systematic failure to take advantage of available talent.

I mentioned it in my last mini-rant about the Gonzalez situation. We are not a position where we can ignore or short change promising players. And the comment provided by MLS in McCauley's article, which basically amounted to "Look! Latinos!", only serves to highlight the impervious bubble of delusion that has enveloped US soccer's hierarchy. The whole point of the article wasn't that there are no Latinos in US soccer, but that US soccer, collectively, isn't doing enough to develop players who live in communities outside of its ken.

Which would seem to be a relatively obvious statement. And I get that development is a difficult subject with no easy answers. And that the size of the US poses specific problems that will probably require bespoke solutions, yadda yadda yadda. I can even understand some of the knee-jerk defensiveness of people like Gulati who have done good for the sport and the federation over the years. People who, in the wake of all this, who feel as though their work and names are being unfairly maligned.

But clearly something needs to change. And the fact that USFF's general response to the pointed questions asked of them has been to roll their (collective) eyes does not fill me with a lot of confidence.

Unknown said...

Incompetence is one thing. Blatant lying to the public to obscure your incompetence. Lord. Theres no accountability now, so nothing will happen now. God willing the incoming president clears out some of these... what should we call them, 'bad eggs'?

What the hell is richie williams's problem as a human being? As max/herc discussed, what he said to jona's family was downright immoral.

This is all like a bad dream.

Jamie said...

The way I feel about US Soccer mirrors the way I feel about the country as a whole right now: deeply disillusioned and looking for a ray of hope somewhere.

I used to say I was never more patriotic than when I was watching the US national team. I thought the makeup of the national team reflected the melting pot that I believe the United States to be in its essence: an active melding of different cultures and common cause creating something unique and vibrant. But both the US and US Soccer establishment seem to be utterly committed to preserving an atavistic and substandard status quo——to the detriment of the whole——as the rest of the world leaves us in the dust. Hopefully, both will come to their senses sooner than later and realize that we're not entitled to anything and that massive structural changes are required if we're going to keep up with the world.

ZackL said...

Yeah, the lying is unconscionable. And I think that stuff is a top-down problem. Bruce Arena claimed, in the immediate aftermath of failing to make the World Cup, that "nothing has to change" with US Soccer. We didn't make the World Cup out of CONCACAF Bruce, clearly something needs to change. I can only imagine that when people within the organization heard that, they felt free to ignore reality and/or distort facts to their heart's content.

Agreed. I think complacency definitely played a part, that and overconfidence. I will say this, I'm not of the "burn it to the ground and salt the ashes" camp when it comes to USSF, but all of this should be a massive wake-up call to the federation that years of hard work probably lie ahead.