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Athleticism vs. Awareness

Football in the USA is on the rise, with increased participation, international success on the pitch and big names playing in MLS. Yet producing world-class talent is what separates the USA from the world’s elite nations. In his regular column, Cruyff Football’s Todd Beane discusses how the USA can cross the final hurdle
of player development in a nation focused on physicality.


Let me be politely blunt.

While the USA is doing wonderfully with respect to growing the game in terms of participation, the country still has not answered the call for player development at the elite level in the men’s game.


In the USA, we develop physically fit players. We love hustle. We call that “athleticism” and we define athleticism as physical prowess. Interestingly enough, if we saw Andres Iniesta walking the streets of New York, we would probably place him on Wall Street before we lined him up on the pitch.

What Iniesta understands (and has been trained to understand) is the inseparable relationship between ball control and position play. Ball control is the ability to...

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