New Series on the Landscape of Youth Soccer: Brandon Quaranta Reflects on the State of Youth Soccer – Post MNT Failure to Qualify
In the aftermath of the U.S. Soccer Men’s National Team’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup — an uproar happened calling for change and reform. It is time that we look at what is working and what needs to change in our youth soccer world — but, opportunistic sensationalism which can generate clicks on social media is not the same as intelligent change.
We want to delve deep into the rocky road and discover varying perspectives to share with our readers in the hopes of helping bring about a better future for the game of soccer in the USA.
Here is the first of our new series of editorials on soccer and what is right and what is wrong:
Brandon Quaranta, Director of Coaching for Baltimore Celtic SC, shares his experience and insights on the current state of youth soccer in the USA and the journey ahead.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is right and what is wrong in youth soccer?
Brandon Quaranta: Obviously, any time we don’t reach our goals at the top levels of the game it prompts an immediate emotional reaction and condemnation of the current system. While this is fair and warranted, in this instance it cannot stop there.
Many times things quiet quickly and the outrage fades as we settle back into our comfortable patterns.
We hire the same people, who implement the same ideas, and yet we are surprised when we get the same results.
It’s time for new ideas.
This does not necessarily mean a complete overhaul of the system, but rather the understanding that although we have made significant progress in many areas — there is still so far to go.
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I hope this time real, prolonged conversations are had at every level.
For me the lack of open, honest discussion and genuine collaboration at each level of youth soccer is disappointing.
We would rather cannibalize each other than work towards a common goal. That needs to change.
Below: McDonogh Boys School players are back hard at work.
— McDonogh Boys Soccer (@McDBoysSoccer) October 27, 2017
After not qualifying, I believe everyone in soccer is watching very closely and hopeful that those at the top are going to provide the leadership necessary to encourage genuine collaboration.
Diane Scavuzzo: What do we need?
Brandon Quaranta: What does an American player look like at each level and how can we support and nurture that player along the way?
We need an American identity and we need accountability.
What are the physical, mental, and technical traits we desire? For me, those questions still remain largely unanswered.
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Diane Scavuzzo: What do you recommend?
Brandon Quaranta: I have heard suggestions based on age, position, etc. but it hasn’t gone anywhere close to far enough for me.
We are more interested in the flavor of the month.
We become fascinated and change yearly based on who won a World Cup or European championship.
While we must be humble and always learn from those who do it better than us,.
We must also recognize that the information obtained should be tweaked to fit our American culture.
Diane Scavuzzo: Where have we fallen short and how can that be improved?
Brandon Quaranta: Until we determine what our identity is I’m not sure how we can accurately grade our success. We will continue to spin our wheels as a soccer nation.
Related Article: Quaranta: Parents on the Sidelines
For me, our scouting network needs to be significantly increased and improved. Once again there has been progress made but too many kids are missed because of location, lack of resources, personal choice of team/league, etc.
We all know it’s a massive commitment to get qualified eyes on kids across our vast country but completely necessary if we are to properly identify the top talent.
Photo Credit: McDonogh Boys Soccer