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AFB

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Reply with quote  #61 

Maddog,

With regards to minority players one thing I have noticed over the years is the decline in such numbers as you move north.  Teams I am familiar with from the Southwest (Arizona and New Mexico) and my regular bailiwick - Kansas City and St. Louis area, is that there is as high a proportion of minorities in soccer as in football.  Basketball does have more African Americans but soccer has far more Latinos.

 

Culture has an impact, but it is one that draws more minorities, especially Latinos.

 

I think the major difference is not really cultural, but travel and economic. 

 

In the north many minorities are ghettoized in urban cores where there is often a paucity of fields.  The fields that exist are over used and reserved for high school programs.  Where fields do exist is in new communities where land is more plentiful.  This brings us to the suburbs and to the cities and towns that have exploded in size over the last 30 years.  Most of these are in the South and Southwest.

 

Getting to the fields is the problem.  Without fields you cannot have an organized program, which is what we have throughout the 1st World today, be it Europe or North America.  Without mass transportation, many minority families do not have the means or time to travel to the fields in the suburbs.  Where you do have effective mass transport, such as New York City, you have a large number of minority players.

 

We have worked with Leagues and Community Action groups in Kansas City, Kansas and have added three Leagues and over 3,000 players (almost 10% of our State numbers) in the urban core.  Almost all of these players are minorities.  

 

If I had to make a guess Seattle would be a very difficult place for the pockets of minority players to reach the field locations. 

 

This is just my observation.  Take it for what it is worth.


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MikeS

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Reply with quote  #62 

AFB,

Another thing that reinforces traditional sports in urban areas is the political need to distribute government funds in an even handed fashion. If the suburban western areas(eastern in Chronic's hood) get a regional park in Fla, then the urban centers get an equivalent amount for indoor rec centers and the like. Contrary to popular belief we do let minorities drive and own cars down here. They just do what's more convenient for them.


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AFB

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Reply with quote  #63 

Mike,

 

I am sure they let minorities in Florida drive and even own cars. 

 

And, I understand how politics try to balance matters.

 

The problem is the time and cost of transportation.  Many of the low income families we have worked with have only one working car.  They often have difficulty finding the time to drive from work to home to practices for their employment is often less flexible.  And, of course this the issue of affording the gas.

 

We found that when we solved transportation problems we made it possible for many low income families to join our club.  It was not the scholarship; it was transportation.


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Some wisdom from Winston Churchill:

"Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened."

"You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life."

"You can always count on Americans to do the right thing—after they’ve tried everything else."
Bird1812

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Reply with quote  #64 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maddog
Bird I did get the point of your post. I concur that many find the youth soccer player much better conditioned, I have seen that across the US. However soccer doesn't attract the best athletes often begining very young. As I travel and watch youth games the # of minority athletes in the upper levels of youth soccer is dramatic in their absence, the older the age group the less likely to see minority players in youth play. Because we do a poor job of recruiting these players into the game, not to mention, keeping them in the game soccer suffers from the inability to have better athletes on the professional sides. I don't see a quick fix to this problem. Many things have been tried, intercity clubs etc with mixed results. I'm afraid that the culture of the game is what holds back the US.

But Maddog, the fact remains that in Massachusetts, one of the smallest states in area has the second highest number of registered USYSA youth player.  We may be an area where soccer is in fact getting the best athletes early on.  Retaining them through high school may be another story, but it does appear that there are more boys sticking with it.  The next step is seeing that those that stick with it get the training they need to go to the next level.  Hopefully the NE Revolution will address that issue and while I have daughters, I am also hoping that the lessons learned on developing top boys will trickle down to the girls, even if my daughters aren't around to benefit.


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MikeS

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Reply with quote  #65 

AFB,

 

What do you do, pick them up and drive them back? I know one of the         Boca clubs that picked up the kid's at elementary school with a van to participate in an academy program. The parents also saved a ton of money on after school care. The karate and gymnastic/dance schools do the same.

 

Soccer has set itself apart from the mainstream though. It's hard to compete for talent when when your high school coaches have Billy Donovan's or Urban Meyers cell phone on speed dial and you have to tell a kid the plane fare to Raleigh is $250. And then there is : http://flavarsity.rivals.com/

 

BTW Nick Saban is rumored to have wriiten his number on a bunch of bathroom walls before he left town. Nobody in Florida will talk to him

 

 

 


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Bird1812

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Reply with quote  #66 

See, that's where states like Massachusetts come in.  We're not as obsessed with football as those southern states are.  A lot of those kids that might be playing football are probably slapping on skates here; however, there aren't many inner city kids playing hockey either.  But what does it matter?  With winters being what they are of late, few kids even know what ice is any more. 

 

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Maddog

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Reply with quote  #67 

Thanks for the correction John R. sometimes the brain doesn't catch what the fingers do anymore.

 

AFB the biggest problem in this area is simply the cost to play on USYSA teams for the Hispanic player. Many are taught by their fathers, uncles, grandfathers during the early years. Then at 13 or 14 they start playing in the Adult Hispanic leagues with adults. Here Hispanic sponsors pay for the uniforms, often a replica of a Mexican side that the owner originates from, and league fees, so cost to the player is very low, more cultural than anything else. My son for several years played in the adult Hispanic leagues here and has many friends from his playing days. Often retired pros work with the players and the better young players are often encouraged to return to Mexico to play. There is a very good network of former Mex, players and coaches the pave the way for many. Typically they play FIFA rules 3 subs per match so for many non Hispanic players used to random or frequent substitution it is a huge shock.

My son always said if you can handle the game they will let you play, the coaches were very good at recoginzing when player was on empty and an sub was needed, not often but it did happen. Game way more physical than USYSA reminded me of my youth where there were no yellows but it makes you tougher.

 

Bird as well as Mass does at regional or national play I would guess you are still not getting the best athletes.

JohnR

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Reply with quote  #68 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maddog
Game way more physical than USYSA reminded me of my youth where there were no yellows but it makes you tougher.

Sounds like Chicago.

 

One season, mine developed the reputation as being a finesse gringo who was best defended by being whacked. The notion being that after a while, he'd not be so brave. Well, I don't know if being whacked really changed his game, but the players thought so, and they took him down hard game after after game.

 

Finally, he snapped, shoved a kid to the ground with two hands, stood over him and glared.

 

Got a yellow card but after that his teammates believed in him and he got better treatment from the opposition as well.

 

A bit of a different mindset.

scoachd

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Reply with quote  #69 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maddog

Thanks for the correction John R. sometimes the brain doesn't catch what the fingers do anymore.

 

AFB the biggest problem in this area is simply the cost to play on USYSA teams for the Hispanic player. Many are taught by their fathers, uncles, grandfathers during the early years. Then at 13 or 14 they start playing in the Adult Hispanic leagues with adults. Here Hispanic sponsors pay for the uniforms, often a replica of a Mexican side that the owner originates from, and league fees, so cost to the player is very low, more cultural than anything else. My son for several years played in the adult Hispanic leagues here and has many friends from his playing days. Often retired pros work with the players and the better young players are often encouraged to return to Mexico to play. There is a very good network of former Mex, players and coaches the pave the way for many. Typically they play FIFA rules 3 subs per match so for many non Hispanic players used to random or frequent substitution it is a huge shock.

My son always said if you can handle the game they will let you play, the coaches were very good at recoginzing when player was on empty and an sub was needed, not often but it did happen. Game way more physical than USYSA reminded me of my youth where there were no yellows but it makes you tougher.

 

Bird as well as Mass does at regional or national play I would guess you are still not getting the best athletes.

Why don't Hispanic teams just sign up for your top USYS leagues?  That is what happened here.  In a very short time you had the top Hispanic players playing on the top club teams (some of these teams just happen to be completely Hispanic with with fathers or uncles as coaches) and suburban kids trecking Hispanic leagues to play.  My kids played in no less than 5 different Hispanic youth leagues and played friendly games against teams from others.  However, none of these games has ever used FIFA 3 substitution rules and there is little difference in the officiating other than they tend to use only a center.

 

Cal-North seems to be very similar.  AFB wrote the Kansas has added Hispanic players to their leagues and JR has written that Chicago teams are starting to view Hispanic leagues as great recruiting grounds (somewhat like Cal-South used to be 5-10 years ago).  Can't really say much about the rest of the country. 

JohnR

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Reply with quote  #70 

Quote:
Originally Posted by scoachd
JR has written that Chicago teams are starting to view Hispanic leagues as great recruiting grounds (somewhat like Cal-South used to be 5-10 years ago).

I should add that some Hispanic league teams are joining the suburban leagues, a whole team at a time. To my knowledge, none of them are able to crack the top division at the older ages, due to a lack of player depth and inadequate coaching, but they can compete with the best of the suburban teams as ULittles.

 

Also, we are getting some SoCal style integration. The 100% gringo suburban State Cup champs at my son's age picked up two strong Hispanic players this past summer. They didn't need the kids to win (obviously), and the kids didn't come there for a cultural fit (equally obviously) ... it's all about good soccer players finding a way to play together on the same team, forget about that other cultural stuff.

AFB

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Reply with quote  #71 

Maddog,

Your description of how Hispanic Leagues play is largely true from my experience across the country.  You could add they play 11v11 starting at U6, too.

 

There is a culture and a fear on the part of some that they would lose something if they played within a Federation sanctioned environment.  We spent a lot of time meeting and working with the leagues and teams and in conjunction with our State's Adult Association we brought both adults and children into the State Association and subsequently we had a number join clubs teams.

 

The club teams were often more competitive and slowly the cultural barrier fell away.  The cost to play was not an important issue, here.  All of the clubs scholarshiped players.  Clubs that were willing to have coaches who spoke Spanish fared much better. 

 

The great remaining barrier was transportation.  The travel time was often close to 45 minutes or longer and many of the families did not have the second car or both were working and not able to get home and then get the player to practice. 

 

Mike, we addressed this issue in a number of ways.  Car pooling, having parent volunteers who would pick up kids, and in one case we moved practice locations.  We do not generally let the coach pick and drive players to practices and back home due to risk management concerns and insurance.


__________________
Some wisdom from Winston Churchill:

"Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened."

"You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life."

"You can always count on Americans to do the right thing—after they’ve tried everything else."
RealMad1

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Reply with quote  #72 

I don't think there is this mythical group of players that are being missed currently, per se, in the Hispanic community, and I will exclude South Americans. I think most of the Hispanic community they are referring to translates to mean Mexicans. It appears from the youth national teams that there are more Hispanic players in the set-up. I do agree that there are players that are missed, because they never received the coaching they needed at a younger age. This is my experience and I am sure it's different in other areas.


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scoachd

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Reply with quote  #73 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RealMad1

I don't think there is this mythical group of players that are being missed currently, per se, in the Hispanic community, and I will exclude South Americans. I think most of the Hispanic community they are referring to translates to mean Mexicans. It appears from the youth national teams that there are more Hispanic players in the set-up. I do agree that there are players that are missed, because they never received the coaching they needed at a younger age. This is my experience and I am sure it's different in other areas.

With regard to coaching at a younger age I think you have it backwards.  Its the Hispanics (and I have kids from El Salvador, Guatamala, Mexico and possibly others) that get the better coaching at the younger ages and the non-Hispanics that are behind.  This used to change during the teenage years where the best suburban kids got better coaching.  What is happening is that the suburban kids are getting exposed at very young ages to people that know the game and the better Hispanic players are getting exposed to better coaching at the older ages.  As a result the level of play from both groups has shown significant improvement in the last 10 years.

 

A couple of recent articles in the LA Times gives an example of this. The first article was about how Canoga Park (with 70 plus percent of the kids in the school getting free or reduced lunches) being the first LA City section team being invited to one of the Nations top HS tournaments.

The second is about how Canoga Park was a surprise 3-0 winner over Loyola (a fairly exclusive Catholic College Prep school) in the final.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LATIMES
After they took the championship of the fourth annual West Coast Classic, the new kids on the block lined up and took a bow, a victory lap and a picture.

Canoga Park, the first City Section team to participate in the prestigious 32-team boys' soccer tournament, defeated Los Angeles Loyola, 3-0, with a command performance in front of a supportive crowd and a national-television audience Saturday at Cal State Fullerton.

Senior midfielder William Velasquez, who was named player of the match, scored the first goal for the fourth-seeded Hunters (9-0-1), and forward Omar De La Piedra and midfielder Salvador Hernandez, both juniors, each had a goal and an assist.

Velasquez also scored the winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Clovis West in a semifinal earlier Saturday.

While that trio provided the offense, senior goalkeepers Ryan Thomas and Cesar Ventura combined to record the Hunters' sixth shutout.

"I'm on Cloud Nine right now," Hernandez said. "To be honest, when we came into this, we thought we were going to do pretty good, but we didn't really expect to win the whole thing.

"We were like the underdogs here. Nobody really knew who we were. They do now."

Canoga Park, the City runner-up last year, entered the tournament having played only three games, but beat second-seeded Loyola (11-5-2), a Southern Section finalist the past three seasons, the 2004 West Coast Tournament champion and the only team to advance to the semifinals in all four years of the event.

The Hunters also beat Central Section power Bakersfield Centennial, defending tournament champion Clovis West, and 2003 tournament runner-up Anaheim Servite. Canoga Park tied two-time defending Southern Section Division I champion La Verne Damien en route to a 6-0-1 record in their West Coast debut.


The Maddog's in this country would cite this as an example of all the great hidden talent in the Hispanic leagues that US soccer is missing. Of course the reality is far different.  If you do a search of the names in the second article: William Velasquez,  Omar De La Piedra and  Salvador Hernandez. You will find players with the exact same age playing in Coast Soccer highly exclusive Premier League. You will even see one listing Canoga Park as his HS (the other players don't list a High School). This quite typical of what you will see throughout top tier teams in Cal-South.

Bird1812

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Reply with quote  #74 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maddog

Bird as well as Mass does at regional or national play I would guess you are still not getting the best athletes.

I would agree with you if I didn't know that the reasons Mass has done so poorly in the past has less to do with the kids themselves than who was coaching them and the environment they were playing in.  Things have been improving in recent years and one of the contributing factors is certainly as a result of coaches who have come into the area.  One club in particular stands out on the boys side, the Boston Bolts, and there shouldn't be any surprised that their DOC and TDs have had international experience.

 

Current DOC: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Kerr_(soccer)

 

First TD hired by DOC: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Mariner

followed by: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Murray_%28soccer%29

and currently: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Kerr%2C_Sr.

 

Interesting enough, currently their most successful coach is Nigerian having won the U15 National title in 2005, and coaching 2 teams to the Region 1 finals this past summer.  He also just took a girls team to the U18 finals at Disney and he some how also manages to coach the U10 boys at the club too, so you may be hearing more from Massachusetts in the future: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Okaroh


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Bird1812

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Reply with quote  #75 

BTW there is an interesting article by Andrea Canales on the subject of reaching those under represented groups, and in particular the Hispanic population.  http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/story?id=398411&root=us&cc=5901  Hugo Perez apparently does not believe our problems are due to a lack of good athletes:

 

Quote:

"In the United States, we have everything we need. The only thing that is missing for us to win a World Cup is to have players who are more creative, more talented and more technical. We already have good athletes, but if we can combine that athleticism with more creativity and skill, we will advance to another level."


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RealMad1

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Reply with quote  #76 
scoachd,

I should specified what I meant when I said younger age groups. I meant the U11 - U16 age groups. I am sure areas with large Hispanic populations, like CA,  have a different reality than othere parts of the country that do not.

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Maddog

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Reply with quote  #77 

scoachd in So Cal you have a far larger Hispanic base than Wash State so it doesn't suprise me that there is more intergration between cultures. Now for what ever reason in the NW most youth play is lacking in the Hispanic influnces. Why? I don't know the answer,perhaps lack of effort I just don't know. We also have a large Asian population that plays the game and you seldom see a player before HS. Again I don't know the exact reason. I do know that cost and as AFB notes travel is a huge factor

Interesting your comparison of club and HS play, we have many Hispanics and Asians show up for HS but few for club play.

AFB

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Reply with quote  #78 

Real,

 

Interesting that you mention the different cultures, i.e., Mexican and South American.

 

What we noticed here was that the South American and most from Central America integrated well into the existing culture and had their children play on club teams, the parents often taking an active interest in establishing club teams and coaching.  On the other hand the Mexicans formed a separate enclave, with their own Leagues.

 

Initial attempts to reach out to the Mexican community were rejected.  I played in the Mexican League for a number of years many, many years ago and my older daughter does and has for five years.  They would accept outsiders very graciously, but were leery of leaving their own community to play with others.

 

There was some bigotry and interestingly the largest amount of bigotry came not from the native Norto Americanos, but from the immigrant Sud Americanos. 

 

I have learned over time each community is very different.  What scoachd has described to me of Southern California is something we are just beginning to develop here.  The Hispanic Leagues and community in Chicago is different still, based on what John writes of his experiences.  Maybe in part it has to do with where in Mexico the community arose.  Many in our area came originally from Guadalajara (wear a Puma's or Chivas jersey and you are fine, but Club America or Cruz Azul and you better be real good).  I think this in turn created a more insular community.

 

To break the dam took years of effort.  The main thing that helped was second generation members of the community who we brought onto our State Board and working with the Adult Soccer Association to bring the adult leagues into the mix, by getting the adult teams interested in winning State Cup.

 

It was not a rejection of club soccer or a barrier of culture from the club side or even cost, as much as it was a fear of leaving the known and secure environment of their own leagues, which in many ways were a reminder of where they grew up.

 

That was our experience here.  Based on what I have seen and experienced it is probably not unique, but it is also far from standard; in fact, there probably is no standard in these cases.


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Some wisdom from Winston Churchill:

"Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened."

"You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life."

"You can always count on Americans to do the right thing—after they’ve tried everything else."
scoachd

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Reply with quote  #79 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AFB

 The main thing that helped was second generation members of the community who we brought onto our State Board and working with the Adult Soccer Association to bring the adult leagues into the mix, by getting the adult teams interested in winning State Cup.

 

Not growing here but instead taking slightly retrospective look - the thing that appeared to change here was a couple of teams winning the state cup at younger ages.  All of a sudden more teams decided that they could do that as well.  So instead of having a few of the best players get picked up, you got a large influx of players from the Hispanic communities.

JimN

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Reply with quote  #80 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AFB

In the 1960's ABC hosted a sports competition where they invited the best All Stars from a number of sports to compete in various events. Events included long distance running, rowing, sprints, archery, and a host of other sports. The events were telecast over a ten week period. The two times soccer players from the NASL participated they won the overall competition. After that they stopped inviting soccer players.



They had this in Britain, too, when I was young. I think it was simply called "SuperStars" iirc.

Funny, I remember that they had Stan Bowles from QPR as a contestant once. Definitely not the prototype "athlete" that you are all discussing!  It doesn't surprise me, though, that soccer players did well in that competition here.

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