Hey Raving Readers, I was busy being beset by one helluva of a stomach bug this week and am only now getting back to full-go.
As a quick treat, here is an excerpt from an article I enjoyed:
The Premier League has proven to be an inhospitable territory to American field players in the last several years as the overall quality of the top flight in England has declined. The league, which stresses an over-emphasis on pace over technique (hence the recent failures of English clubs in European competition), also has demonstrated to be a poor proving ground for American players.
Jozy Altidore’s failures at Sunderland were in retrospect entirely predictable. Forced to play the game with his back toward goal, not getting quality service from uncreative midfielders and playing the sport at a frenzied pace where every touch was scrutinized and every miss magnified, it did not serve the American number nine well. Nor was Michael Bradley, the US’ best field player who played in Germany, Holland and Italy, aided in his development by a loan spell at Aston Villa.
The decline of Jonathan Spector as a player, once one of the United States’ great hopes as well as that of Tim Ream, a more recent defensive option, show the perils of Americans spending too much time in the British Isles with mid-table Premier League or Championship level sides. Both players would have been better served international career wise (but perhaps not financially) by a move to another European league or back home to MLS. The non-development of many young Americans who have gone to England at the early stages of their careers like Eric Lichaj and Will Packwood also show the limitations and dangers of developing American talent going to Premier League clubs.
While Major League Soccer is not the ideal destination in many cases for players, it provides a competitive environment. Brek Shea’s recent move from Stoke City where he was getting little time to Orlando City SC in MLS has revitalized the player’s international career and taught him the ability to play another position as a left-back.
I am thrilled that Deuce, Bradley, Altidore, et al., are back in MLS (Brek Shea… not so much). And I support any writer who reinforces the narrative the America’s soccer talent should stay here and grow our league, national team, and soccer culture.