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BRENT LATHAM - Sunday, September 27, 2009
The US put in a half-baked performance in Suez yesterday and a professional German team thoroughly punished them for their effort. The result was predictable and unsurprising - nor is it surprising that fans have jumped all over Rongen and the team.

True, this may not be the greatest US Under-20 team ever, but some of the commentaries I have seen are ridiculous. The failure of this team in one game does not mean that the development of US Soccer, or the game in the US, has failed. This team is not going to be the full national team tomorrow.

Look at the national team now. Players range in age from their mid-thirties all the way down to the teens - let's say 16 years range (eight two-year cycles). With 23 players on a full roster, and each U-20 comprising a two-year cycle, an average of three from each cycle would make the national team at any given time.

Certainly this team might produce that many - there are half a dozen with plenty of potential to do that - and there are plenty in the U-17 cycle to make up any difference. So relax. No matter what happens in Egypt, the future is intact.

The next few games

What you do have to question is the system that puts Rongen in a situation where he has the option to choose players without even much college experience to face off against Bundesliga professionals. Without rubbing it in for the kids, Powers and Ownby looked really outclassed against the Germans. Tellingly, with Opara and Perk, those were the college guys in the starting lineup yesterday.

When Bryan Arguez came on, the difference was night and day. As much as Arguez has been criticized, I was convinced yesterday, if I wasn't before, only very special college players - Opara and Duka for example - can hang with the pros at this level.

Coach Rongen says it's not so, but it seems pretty clear to me that a professional environment yields a superior player to the college one, even when that player doesn't see the field with the first team. For the next cycle, I think I'd just take all the pros I can find, sprinkled with just a few of the best college prospects.
asanji
Monday September 28, 2009 8:15 pm
why do we always say before we play a game against the likes of germany, spain brazil that they are hang so high and a lost will not be bad or it is to be expected. we set ourselves to low for my liking. i don't care who played, but we have to play as if we know why we are playing not because we know we would lose anyways. what the hell.

whenever we are pulled with other countries, we already know which games we might hve a tie, lose or win. that is wrong, we have to expect nuffin but victories even if we are playx the best starting 11. same goes for the senior team. if we can't play at that high level, we should not qualify because we are wasting the chances of other countries who will represent better than what we displayed out there.
Wayne C.
Monday September 28, 2009 3:53 pm
What a horrible showing by the US... we still look like a fourth world national side. I am getting used to that level of play from our National teams. There isn't enough room here to address all of the problems and deficiencies. The thing that really pisses me off were the comments made by more than one of our players reflecting on the importance of this competition in securing a nice contract with a European club.
Tiger
Monday September 28, 2009 2:44 pm
This is the latest example of why the USA needs to model its youth development programs after the best national teams in the world.
mat
Monday September 28, 2009 7:26 am
glad to see the fans are beating up on someone else
mat
Monday September 28, 2009 7:24 am
can we fire every us coach we have on mens side. please fire all. i sound liek a broken record begging soccer federation to do something. people in usa want the program to grow and the sport to grow. with the coaches we have it will not happen
Ed C.
Monday September 28, 2009 7:14 am
Todd - I would guess its for the same reason that Bob Bradley still has a job! Anybody know the answer to that one because I haven't got a clue!
Jose
Monday September 28, 2009 4:14 am
Well,, in your own words,,the system is not working so you mean Gulati is not doing a good job , be realistic ,,german went to the field with the B team,,who are you kidding...we have no good coach ,, the players are there ,,just need to be polished with a real coach
TODD
Monday September 28, 2009 2:56 am
Can anyone explain why Thomas Rongen still has a job?
Desi
Saturday August 15, 2009 4:38 am
I can coach great, really!
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