Sun Mar 26th, 2006 at 03:31:36 PM EST
After watching the utter embarrassment of the American side in Stuttgart last week, the tenth loss in a row to 'Old Europe' powers, it's clear that the American soccer scene is a direct corrolary of the neo-con movement that rules in here in the states. Does nepotism, rewarded incompetence, tactical naivete, the wide employ of mercenaries, marketing stretegy over reality, all financed and run by a meglomaniacal cabal of hopelessly out-of-touch old oil-men, sound familiar? That Henry Kissinger is the godfather of both US Soccer, and the neo-cons, is all you need to know. The fate of the Americans on the World Cup stage this summer will be the same as any neo-con run Iran intrusion; disastrous! My prediction is that the American side, against its preposterously high fifth in the world FIFA rating, will be the first team to crash out and repeat their France '98 result as the worst team in the competition.
RUMSFELD'S MIDGET ARMY -- ARENA'S ARMY OF MIDGETS
Chief amongst the neo-con failures in Iraq has been the size of Rumsfeld's occupying army. The same could be seen with Bruce Arena's army of CONCACAF midgets that he threw out on the pitch against the Ger-Mens. Several field level camera pans showed our ineffectual college boys, who can outpace part-timers from Panama, but who were literally head and shoulders shorter than their Euro counterparts. Desperate, lunging slide tackles doth not a defense make, as was the American's hopelessly naive strategy in the first half, against a side that only looked comfortable out of their dead ball situations. Ballack's general indifference was interpreted wrongly by Arena, who kept his squad intact at halftime, only to allow perhaps the most amateur, incompetent goal I have seen on the world stage, in all of 25 seconds.... No, wait, if you go back to the first twenty minutes of the Poland match in '02, you can see such an incompetent display -- and like Rumsfeld, after his belated blitzkrieg, then botched occupation, he gets to plan for Iran, and Arena prepares for Germany '06.
MEXICO -- our CONCACAF prison-bride
US Soccer shills will say that our quarterfinal result in '02 validates their strategy to dominate CONCACAF, then build off the college and MLS players coming up. But that's like the neo-cons saying Grenada was a good tune-up for Iraq, when the real lesson was right there in Beirut. Eddie Johnson and Kasey Keller, surrounded by a platoon of Kleins and Cherundolos, may beat Mexico in the ice boxes we take them to, like Foxboro in February, but the luck of the Mexican draw last time, was all that kept us from being put out by a Brazil, or a Czech Republic, in the sixteenth final. Without world class speed or size, the Americans are still vulnerable to the tricks of even middling Euro powers, like the Austrians did to us back in Italia '90. The story goes that they brought a semi-competent speedster on their squad, just to expose the flat-footed American defense. He came on as a substitute at half and ran by the Americans to help create the two goals they needed to win.
MEN vs. COLLEGE BOYS -- Speed Kills
To me, the measure of a World Cup squad now is the number of World Class athletes you can field, measured in equivalent contact sports, Could any American players off the last five squads play the skill positions in American football? I counted maybe six. We don't even field someone the quality of Bode Miller. I always fancied myself a good footballer growing up, as the center half, I had good vision, held the ball well, and could win it back if I needed to. Then I really learned how to play and watch the game after living in Prague for four years, during Sparta's heyday. But back in college, my good friend, who happened to be the best baskeball player at our small liberal arts school team, after being on scholarship to a big school, showed up one day to kick it around with some of the boys from the team. When he got his touch back, having not played in ten years, my friend at 6' 3" and 215 lbs, was far and away the best player on the field. His weightlifting regimen gave him the strength, speed, quickness and jumping ability none of us had. The solid sweeper went shoulder to shoulder with him and got himself levelled. The men vs. boys lesson that I learned that day, has never gotten through to the US soccer mavens.
US SOCCER as Neo-con cabal
The cabal that runs US Soccer, with the Hunt brothers money at its core, (they of the semi-legal stunt to corner the silver market,) maybe as dated and ruinous of a union as the Cheney/Rumsfeld marriage. MLS owns all of its teams, like the Texas oil-boys own the judicial and legislative branches of the US government now. With no accountability, the Ganslers, Sampsons, Arenas of coaching, soccer versions of FEMA's Mike Brown, dont get fired, they get passed around as consultants and taken care of. Someone like the outspoken Bora gets shown the door when he shakes things up. But no matter how hard they have tried, the MLS is almost exactly like the NASL, a comfy home for foreign mercenaries to draw a paycheck during the summer. Iraq is right now full of South African and Russian mercenaries who have no real allegiances and are paid three times as much as their American Army counterparts.
MLS, NASL -- same as it ever was/ same as it ever was!
My experience with the NASL's Seattle Sounders when I was growing up was much like all the other people now victimized by outsourcing, that their is no loyalty to the locals, just nepotism. Where I had the talent to be a boot boy, that went to some Englishmen's son, as did the college scholarship, because an English accent and a foreign name got you much farther, and still does. But the game is so much faster and more physical now that we cant just keep sending the white, college boy athletes, though they can be gotten cheaply: The Americans need to go out and get the kids who are hungry and desperate, who play basketball and football now, but they would need to be taught how to play the game. The Hunt Brothers, like Rumsfeld, are cheap old bastards and they want to get something for nothing. Whether it's in Iran, or Germany '06, these neo-con cabals will get nothing but pain and humiliation. I'd prefer to watch the World Cup, instead of World Conflagration '06, but we may get to watch both this summer.