Comments about ‘Doug Robinson: Imagine Kobe and Vick on the soccer field’

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Published: Wednesday, July 2 2014 11:20 p.m. MDT

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Uncle Rico
Provo, UT

People keep lying to themselves saying the US will be/is close to being the best in the world at soccer. This is not true at all. 4 World Cup games, and only 1 win. Over 200 consecutive minutes without a goal.
US was close in the games because they have a great goalkeeper (he can use his hands). He broke the single game saves record in a World Cup.
US was never close to winning, they cannot score. Look at the shots on goal difference.

People can enjoy MLS, but it is less than the equivalent to the SL Bees. MLS continues play even during the World Cup, why? Because no one in the MLS is good enough to be on their country's World Cup team.

Uncle Rico
Provo, UT

Kids want to play real sports where they can use their hands and involves strategy (not just kicking the ball back and forth to teammates trying to run the clock out so you tie). (Frequent flopping and occasional biting)

Americans love to watch their team win or lose (not tie). They also love to be able to use their hands. Soccer has participation trophies and orange slices, but lacks the intensity and strategy that other sports have.


Uncle Rico must be soccer clueless. There are ten players from the MLS on the US squad and here is the list of those playing on other teams.

Australia: Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls)

Costa Rica: Giancarlo Gonzalez (Columbus Crew), Waylon Francis (Columbus Crew), Roy Miller (New York Red Bulls).

Honduras: Jerry Bengtson (New England Revolution), Victor Bernardez (San Jose Earthquakes), Marvin Chavez (Chivas USA), Oscar Boniek Garcia (Houston Dynamo).

Iran: Steven Beitashour (Vancouver Whitecaps).

Spain: David Villa (New York City FC)

Costa Rica is in the final eight. The United States will just keep getting better.

Since Spain did not even make it into the final sixteen, along with Italy and England that must mean their players come from similar AAA level soccer leagues from around the world.

Let's celebrate the progress of soccer in the United States without tearing down a great accomplishment.

Sore loser
tampa, fl

I hate to say it but the US team had their chance except for a couple of punk MLS mistakes at the end. Wondo had Dempsey with a clear shot to his left in the last minute, but his eyes were way too big and clanked it out from 5 yards. Then there is Matt Bessler who tripped and fell overcommitting on defense in the open field leaving the Belgian wing with an open field to the goal in extra time. Then he ran his self all the way to the goal and actually got in the way of his own defender to give the other Dutch dude a free shot at the goal that he scored to make 1-0. It was like Bessler was actually playing for Belgium. Maybe it was heat exhaustion.
Having said that, America did a great job at competing considering. Until there is more money in the MLS though, the best athletes will stick with the standard sports because after all it is a profession.

Salt Lake City, UT

I don't understand this misconception that getting better athletes will suddenly make the US team on par with the other greats. Look at the current best player in the world, Leonel Messi. He would not be considered an elite athlete by our standards. What he lacks in size and top end speed, he makes up for with elite technique, vision, touch and passing. What the US needs it better player development. It was our athleticism that kept us in the Belgium game, making numerous last ditch efforts to save goals. What we lacked was the movement and passing that would have allowed us to possess the ball for long enough to generate an attack.

soccer coach
Taylorsville, UT

I agree with the article. Lebron James would be an unstoppable beast on the soccer field. The challenge with USA soccer is the feeding system called US Youth Soccer. Why do you think Klinsman went after all of those American kids who have been trained outside of the U.S.A.? If we want US soccer to improve we must clean up US Youth Soccer and their ODP Program. It is way to political and cost way too much money for any but middle to upper class children. Fix the pipeline, then we can win games at the World Cup.

Pleasant Grove, ut

I had a big long post about how silly this idea of all of our superstars being better than their superstars is, but this ESPN article from the last World Cup does it better:

google "Why Lebron wouldn't save US soccer"

Provo, UT

The problem with many of our sports including baseball, soccer, and volleyball as examples, is that becoming accomplished in these sports does require a lot of money. Therefore, we shrink the potential base to actually attract all the best athletes. Basketball is still accessible to the poor and most often the only sport played on the sandlot or playground level. (Have you actually seen anyone playing sandlot baseball lately?) But with AAU and such, it is also becoming more and more expensive. Football is the most accessible as the way it is structured still can attract athletes from across the spectrum. But when we make any sport cost prohibitive, and thus only able to attract athletes generally from the rich, we cut down the probability of finding the LeBron James of soccer.

Sore loser
tampa, fl

Obviously soccer is all about footwork and balance and also tactics and strategies and speed and stamina. Messi is the epitome of all those qualities. A good transition to soccer would be a basketball guard or a football defensive back or wide receiver/running back. But really it's the quality of the competition that trumps athleticism. The Europeans play a higher skilled level of possession passing based play that is faster than the MLS so the MLS needs to boost the fitness level of its players to play at the faster level.

UT Brit
London, England

"lacks the intensity and strategy that other sports have"

Ha, only an American could say this. No strategy? You have no understanding of the game.

soccer coach

"Lebron James would be an unstoppable beast on the soccer field."

No he wouldnt, too tall, too heavy. Compare James to say Messi (considered by many to be the best player in the world at the moment). Messi is short, meaning a low centre of gravity and light. Maradonna (considered by many to be the best player ever) is the same deal. You could argue James might make an average goalie, but thats about it.

Football (soccer) is the great leveller. Countries such as Uruguay (pop. 2 million) can consistently produce good teams. Saying you have some great athletes does not translate into an automatic winning team. Look at the England team, every single one of them play in the best football league in the world and we got knocked out first round.

Murray, UT

First off, uncle rico is way more than just soccer clueless. It is a combo of athletic ability and technical skills that makes the best players. the same things that put jordan ahead of others on the court over other elite athletes. Extreme technique and the ability to combine with 10 others in a common plan and movement can overcome better athletes. Iniesta, xavi , messi are far from the athlete type robinson is listing here. But imagining the two peaks combined is still a fun idea. Everyone assumes that the idea is just throw athletes on the field. Obviously they would need training and skill development from the youth level on up as well.

Brave Sir Robin
San Diego, CA

Ugh...I hate it when people who don't play, coach, or understand soccer write articles about soccer.

For the umpteenth time: You don't need freakish athletes to have a good soccer team/player. American sports writers and fans say stuff like this because they follow "stupid" sports where it does simply come down to who has the most freakish athletes. Football is basically a track meet - find the fastest guys you can and teach them to catch. Basketball is about finding the tallest guys you can who can still move their feet. Soccer is a much more nuanced game and requires a different combination of speed, strength, size, and smarts.

FYI, soccer does have a LeBron. He's tall, strong, and athletic. His name's Peter Crouch, and he's a terrible soccer player.

Messi: Best player in the world, not an elite athlete in any sense of the word.
Ronaldo: Other best player in the world. Has some speed, but Richard Sherman would still toast him.
Ibrahimovic: Some size (6' 5"), but below average compared to NFL quarterbacks.

The U.S.'s problems at the World Cup come down to soccer skill, not athleticism.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

My wife and I have often debated which sport has the most "fit" athletes. In the end we both agree it's soccer.

-Baseball (Not a lot of running. You can play baseball sufficiently with a beer gut)

-Basketball (short sprints and amazing skills, but on a small court with lots of stops in the action. They couldn't keep up the pace in a non-stop game like soccer)

-Football (VERY strong, but they couldn't run that long. Other teams would be running circles around them).

-Tennis (comes in a VERY close second in the endurance aspect)

-Swimmers came in #3. They are very fit, but built to deliver in short bursts (not 90 minutes with only 1 break)

-Track. Very fit, but not a lot of skill required. Putting one foot in front of the other basically, and training your muscles so they can do it real fast. But no turns, stops, defense, working as a team to keep possession, being quick enough to score on a whole team of defenders trying to stop you, etc...

-Golf (no running. You can play that while you drink beer. Is it really a sport?)

Uncle Rico
Sandy, UT

I think US Soccer is beginning to pick up. I've enjoyed watching all of the US games.

Salt Lake City, UT

This is like arguing that LeBron would make a great gymnast because he is so strong and has a great vertical leap. Let's remember this was the guy who cramped in heat. Soccer players played in similar conditions for 90+ minutes during the World Cup. Hot and humid, lots of running.

The glorious thing about soccer is that it does not require you to be 6'9" to succeed, nor does is require the strength of a small rhino. Normal people with good fitness can succeed in soccer. In fact, most of the best players are or normal height and speed.

Durham, NC

"(Frequent flopping and occasional biting)"

Well, in that case!! Yes, the flops are annoying, but anyone watch Basketball recently. Common folks..... don't you remember that John Stockton's nick name outside of Utah was rag doll. Football... how many times have we seen "late game injuries" to get a time out. And baseball.... a good reason to take a nap. There was a study a couple of years ago that rated sports by the actual number of minutes of actual physical exertion. Baseball came in at the bottom, over the 3 plus hours duration of a game, it came in at a grand total of about 10 minutes of total physical activity. I am not saying some of these players are great athletes... its just they don't use it very much.

I'll watch a soccer match on TV 100 times before I watch another baseball snooze fest.... Football or Futball... both are better.

Why, AZ

I am happy I live in the U.S.A since we have options to play other sports besides soccer which most countries only have soccer. If we were like most countries where soccer is the primary sport then we would be a one of the best since we have the money and population to make great players.

UT Brit
London, England

No one likes players diving, the problem is that you can gain such an advantage from doing so.
I have seen a player fall like a sack of potatoes and roll over for floor in apparent agony over a tap, then in the same match break his leg which made him wince a bit and asked to be taken off.
We really need another official to review these dives during the match, people fear it will just lead to more downtime and its something that cannot be implimented in the lower leagues but it would be worth it.

UT Brit
London, England


Errrr we can and do play other sports you know. I grew up playing soccer, rugby, cricket, badminton and lots of others.

Soccer is the most dominant sport by far but its not the only thing we do. Its ease of access is what helps it be the most dominant sport. As a child growing up, you had two sweatshirts at each end for the goal posts and a ball. Thats all you need and although it is crude you are playing kind of close to an actual soccer game. Compare this with what you would need to play an actual American football game.

Orem, UT

Has anyone noticed that the soccer enthusiasts are some of the most condescending fans to those who aren't lovers of the sport? You might want to try and be more inclusive to gain more fans to the sport.
Brave Sir Robin once again shows his lack of knowledge about other sports. Football is far from a track meet. There is so much more to the sport than speed although just like in soccer, it is used as an advantage. Basketball is so much more than height. Your generalizations are laughable.
Anyone with two eyes could watch these games and see that team USA lacked the speed and athleticism as other teams did overall. I listened to soccer commentators afterward say we DO lack speed and athleticism to pressure defenses and score. If our best athletes had grown up playing soccer and learned the skills at a young age that the athletes from other countries do, we would easily compete at the highest level.

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