|| FROM THE EDITOR
CENTER CIRCLE :
The little things
DR . JAY MARTIN // MEMBER SINCE 1977 , SJ EDITOR , OHIO WESLEYAN HEAD COACH
The USMNT made it to the knockout phase of the 2022 World Cup . Reaction has been mixed . A much better showing than in 2018 when the USA did not make the tournament . But after much hype and very high expectations , many are upset that the team did not advance farther . Now all eyes are on the 2026 World Cup in the U . S ., Canada and Mexico . Expectations are growing .
It ’ s time to look at this realistically . Based on where we are as a soccer nation , getting out of the group may be as far as the team can expect to go . Years ago , Alan Wade was a regular at the Convention . At the time , he was the head coach of Northern Ireland and an educator by trade . He was a student of the game . His focus at the convention was player development . I looked forward to his presentations every year .
One of his standard presentations was “ What is good soccer and what is a quality player ?” The first part of that presentation has been shared with you on these pages before . Today we will look at his definition of what is a quality player . We will try to answer this question : Do we have quality players on the USMNT ? We have good players . Are they the same as good European players ? Are they good enough to get the USMNT past the first knockout round ? Or are we destined to crash out after one knockout game ?
Here is the definition of quality players as described by Alan Wade . He uses questions as if he were talking to the players :
WHAT IS A QUALITY PLAYER ? A definition :
» Do you have sensitive touch and tight control ... can you receive the ball under pressure ?
» Can you make space / time for yourself ? For others ? » Are you deceptive ? » Can you get “ out of trouble ”? » Can you combine with another player ? With a third player ?
Do you “ have a game ”?
» Do you play for yourself or for others ? » Can you do both if necessary ? » Do you create problems without the ball ? » Can you free yourself from tight markers ? » Can you free others ? » Do you react to play or are you a move or two ahead of the play ?
» Are you farsighted or nearsighted ? What are the physical attributes ?
» Do you have fluid movement ? » Do you have good agility ? » Do you have a good change of pace ?
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