Skip to main content

"MLS isn't Catching Up" Wright-Phillips Critical of American Player Development

Former New York Red Bulls winger Shaun Wright-Phillips, brother of team all-time leading scorer Bradley Wright-Phillips, was critical of Major League Soccer and the American player development issue in a recent interview with FootballFanCast. The comments came after the former Manchester City academy product was asked about whether the gap was closing between teams in Europe and the United States.
"No," answered Wright-Phillips. "If I'm being honest, I don't think it will be for a while because, in Europe, we've got a whole grassroots system. In America they miss like four to five years of coaching and learning what it takes to be a professional footballer."

MLS has long had issues growing their infrastructure in order to bridge the gap between the youth game and the professional level. While reserve teams and even a reserve league existed for some time, it wasn't until 2015 that the United Soccer League restructured in order to house more meaningful games for developing players. The lack of a strong second division for much of MLS's history also didn't do them any favors and left young players struggling for minutes or looking abroad for games.

That has changed and there is now a system of tiers that do allow for more minutes. However, the gap is still quite steep when jumping from the current USL Championship to MLS. There have been success stories such as Tyler Adams and Aaron Long, but too few have broken through at a high level.

"There are no bridges," said Wright-Phillips. "You're jumping a lot of gaps to get to MLS without actually being fine-tuned as a footballer first."

Wright-Phillips does speak highly of the player pool in the United States. Players are lauded for their physical play and ability to stay fit for long stretches. However, the tactical nature of the game has been lost with a lack of coaches across the league that can instill aspects of the game that have created attractive games in other countries.

"Tactically they weren't as sharp as clubs in Europe. It's not because they weren't good enough to change it. They just stayed the way it was in MLS. For example Jesse (Marsch) has gone to Germany now and he's done amazingly well."


Popular posts from this blog

Salzburg Set to Resume Play on May 29th in Austrian Cup Final

(photo from Red Bull Salzburg) Red Bull Salzburg is preparing to return to play on May 29th against Cinderella-team SC Austria Lustenau in the Austrian Cup Final. The team has been inactive since the COVID 19 lockdown and are also prepared to resume league play in early June. Winning the Austrian Cup would be quite the accomplishment for first-year European manager Jesse Marsch. The team has had several big players depart over the last year, including Takumi Minamino and Erling Haaland. The team has been cup winners in five of the last six years and could repeat with a win over the second division club. "It's great that we finally be back," said midfielder Zlatko Junuzovic. "We had to wait a long time for the resumption and we are pleased that we will be able to return to full training soon. We will give our best to observe all the precautions and act accordingly." The league itself has also been a challenge. Currently in the Championship round, LASK has a three

Defender Lukas Klostermann Remains with Leipzig Until 2024

(photo from RB Leipzig) RB Leipzig have more good news on top of returning to the field this weekend with an extension of defender Lukas Klostermann's contract. The 23-year old German international has becoming a target for major teams in England but has decided to stay, at least temporarily, with the team that helped showcase his ability. "I know have clarity about my future," said Klostermann about the deal. "I have been here in Leipzig for years and I have developed a lot here, personally and as a player. I look back on a successful journey so far with the club. There is so much potential for more success in the future and I want to be a part of it." Klostermann has been one of the long-term success stories of Leipzig as he was with the team since their time in 2.Bundesliga. With his help, they gained promotion and have become a dynamic force, disrupting the usual giants such as Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich. This season appears to be their best chance

Salzburg Wins Bundesliga! Locks in Double

Jesse Marsch and Red Bull Salzburg have accomplished quite the feat in winning the Austrian Bundesliga and securing the domestic double. The win is the seventh league title in a row for Salzburg and the first for American manager Jesse Marsch, who battled an ever evolving lineup throughout the campaign. "They are an unbelievable bunch," said Marsch after the win. "We have worked long and hard for it. It is a very special feeling for me." The celebration followed a 3-0 win over TSV Hartsberg where Patson Daka continued his scoring ways. It was yet another example of how dominant Salzburg have been since returning to play following the pandemic and how they were able to rally behind their new manager. "In the end we won as a team," said defender Andre Ramalho. "What we have here in Salzburg is very special. We have team spirit and a real winning mentality." The 2019-20 campaign may have been one of the more difficult for Salzburg as LASK pushed the