David Falk has followed soccer in the Puget Sound region since 1974. This blog covers Sounders FC, local college soccer, Seattle Wolves FC, Tacoma Tide FC and Kitsap Pumas. Send tips or comments to: goalseattle@gmail.com
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Seattle Soccer Examiner

Seattle Soccer Examiner

Friday, May 2, 2008

Ruud Awakening

La Galaxy coach Ruud Gullit should have done his homework on the state of soccer in the States. He sounds almost surprised as he talks about the challenges of running an MLS side in this Times UK story:

“I can’t play sexy football with this team at the moment because we are not ready for this,” he acknowledges. There exists a chasm in class between Beckham, Donovan, injured Guatemalan striker Carlos Ruiz and even Abel Xavier and the likes of 22-year-old midfield player Brandon McDonald, who has broken into the team in recent weeks in his rookie season. His $12,900 salary is at the lowest level of MLS, but Gullit wants to bring through players such as McDonald and another promising midfielder, Josh Tudela, who earns only $17,700 annually.

“There is a huge difference between the very good players and some of the average players. The reason for this, I have found out, is that young players are not being schooled in the way we do it in Europe,” Gullit declares. “A good young player in Europe will start at youth team level at a professional club and over the years he will build up his knowledge and develop a natural affinity for the game along with a good tactical brain. But here in the United States they play soccer in the schools and then college and they are 20 or 21 years old and they are coming to me, having been coached straight out of a book. None of these coaches has played at any kind of high level. In fact, if you were a World Cup-winner, if you had all of the medals but you didn’t have the universal qualifications to teach, you could not get a coaching job at college level.

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