US Soccer has a stylistic problem. USA plays like a “big team”, a team of players who think they are big and strong. The coaches on various age groups tend to coach and train this style. The problem with this is that the USA doesn’t actually have big-strong players when compared to other countries. Panama, Honduras, T&T are getting NFL type bodies with the rare fast-twitch strength and speed muscle. European players are are big and tall and strong, up to 6’7″, maybe taller in rare cases. In the USA most of these “NFL caliber” athletes are in the NFL, MLB, and the NBA. Watch Lukaku’s first goal vs the USA in the 2014 World Cup to see how we are not only shorter but also weaker than the real “big boys” of the game. We had one tall player on the field vs T&T. The rest of our players were much smaller and clearly less athletic, and slower, than the Trinidadians. Nobody seems to notice this, let a lone count it as a factor as why the USA is struggling in various levels of international competition currently and in recent years.
How do you fix this? You quit playing a style that relies on having the biggest, strongest, fastest players and switch to a style that plays to your strengths and fits your players physical attributes. Even Germany, who has the heaviest players in the world, on average, in their league, on their team, has switched to a style of ground passing and skill. The Germany’s copied the Spanish system in 2001 after realizing that size and power wasn’t the way to succeed in professional soccer. It wasn’t working for them anymore so the changed and their change led them to winning the World Cup 10 years later.
Why is the USA pretending to be a team of the biggest players, playing a style that has roots in American youth soccer teams that win by having the oldest, biggest, fastest players out-run and out-muscle the opponent.