Thursday, June 29, 2006

Landon not going to Europe

Just yesterday, the MLS took issue with US national coach Bruce Arena's statement that players should get to Europe as soon as possible to improve their game. However, one player that does not feel such a move is needed is Landon Donovan saying, "I wouldn't say never but I'm not going anywhere for a while."

He went on to point out that it was not just US based players that failed at the World Cup. "There are a lot of European players on our national team and on other national teams that have not played well in this World Cup."

Donovan has a good point with this. Just because a player is in Europe does not mean he is going to have a good international career (there is even a train of thought that says it would actually be worse for the national team, but more on that later). However, when you look at the overwhelming majority of the standout players in the Cup, they play in Europe.

So Donovan is staying in America. This could be a very good move for him because I think he needs to decide if he really wants to play this game anymore. Over the last 9 months, the sparkle and flare has gone out of his performance. Is it due to nerves or is it that after beating Mexico and dragging LA to the MLS and US Open Cup titles, he feels he has accomplished enough?

Whatever the reason, Landon, needs to step up his game or else his spot on the national team should be called into question (much less being named captain). A lot of players go through tough spots, but there are also many who look to be great when they are young, only to be washed up by 26. I do hope that Donovan is just at a difficult point and not another Clint Mathis.

By the way, another reason he might be staying in America, I don't think the offers are flowing in after his performance in Germany.

Okay, that's Donovan, what about the European players actually hurting the national team argument. Basically, the thought process is if you have players in Europe and America, then you seldom are able to get the team together for a full squad camp. We saw this in January when MLS players got together for a camp, but the European players could not come. If a team does not play together, it is difficult to get in sync. If more players were from the US league, it would be easier for them to play together.

I don't really agree with that, but that it is the other side of the coin.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Susan said...

I'm skeptical about the national team suffering if its players are scattered in both Europe and the US. Two reasons: Argentina & Brazil. Each has one or maybe two players who plays in the domestic league. Obviously, there's a huge talent difference from the US, but the logistical problems during qualifying haven't held them back.

I don't have a high opinion of Donovan because he wasn't willing to step down from his role as golden boy and take a back seat role when he was in Germany. He bailed out too soon. For him to believe that the competition he gets here is comparable to Germany is laughable.

8:38 AM  
Blogger Mike H said...

Susan,

Good points. I agree, Brazil and Argentina are doing fine, but the other side to the argument is that they are all in Europe (with a lot of Brazil playing on similar teams).

Again, I don't think having players play in Europe hurts a club more then it helps it. Who knows, if we had enough players over there, maybe US Soccer could hold a camp in Europe and play teams like France, Italy, Germany, etc.

As far as Landon staying in the US, I think short term it makes sense, but long term, if he really wants to be the player many of us think he could be, he needs to test himself in Europe.

3:30 PM  

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