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Don't let the headline fool you.
No, I'm not answering questions about Benjamin Linus, The Dharma Initiative or the Black Cloud Monster. These "lost" questions are the remaining questions I didn't get to from the February Q&A. I'm sure some of you gave up on them, but I always try to finish the Q&A's, even if it takes two months to do so.
Before we get to the answers, I wanted to point out the latest installment of The SBI Questions. For those of you who may have missed it, U.S. national team goalkeeper Tim Howard answered questions from SBI readers this week. Here are part one and part two of Howard's answers.
Now, onto the answers, which cover everything from the future of soccer online, to where the USA-Mexico rivalry stands in comparison to other world rivalries, to comparing Charlie Davies and Nery Castillo.
THE NICK- Where do you see the state of soccer online in 10 years from now?
IVES– I’m excited to think of what the state of soccer online will be in 10 years. There are some people doing some great work and as the sport grows I think you will see the very best of the current sites flourish. I’m not sure if mainstream media will ever accept soccer in the United States (and by accept I mean cover it like they cover the country’s established big sports). That being the case, I think the internet will continue to take the lead in covering the sport in this country.
MATT– Good Blog Ives, the salaries in the mls are almost unlivable. When the cba is renegotiated in 2010 and the salaries raise why dont they use this method.
all players are on the senior roster no developmental. And the minimum salary is 75,000
the way they do that is anyone making under 75000 is automaticaly upgraded to 75,000 and the salary cap is 3,300,000 anyone over the cap is grandfathered for that season everyone has a guarenteed contract. do you think this can happen, would you like and would it work
IVES– Matt, I think everybody would like to see higher salaries in MLS, but the question is who pays the increase? I don’t think anybody has a problem coming up with pay scales that are more reasonable, but what people need to consider is what the total cost of such upgrades is and whether MLS owners are ready to spend that much more. It will certainly be something for the MLS union to fight for, but I don’t think we’re going to see as big an increase as some would like to see when the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires.
AARON– How long do you think it will take for there to be an American coach managing either a major club or national team in Europe, and who do you think it will be? Do you think D. Kinnear or Jason Kreis (fairly young guys) have what it takes?
IVES– A major club or national team in Europe? If you’re asking about a type of club that gets to the Champions League quarterfinals, or national teams that reach the World Cup quarterfinals, I can’t say that I see an American coaching a team of that level anytime soon, as in not in the next 25 years. As for the people you mentioned, there’s no way a coach with mostly an MLS playing/coaching background will get a top job in Europe. I just can’t see that happening. So who could go there and break some barriers? Someone like Claudio Reyna, who has recently retired and is working on coaching licenses. He has the European playing pedigree that might make it easier for clubs in Europe to bring him on, but that said, I’m not sure I’ll see an American serving as head coach of a Liverpool or Barcelona in my lifetime. Let’s get a field player or two on teams like that first and then we can start talking about coaches.
DAN– It seems like everyday there's a new fan soccer blog. Some of these are good (the fan blogs you link), but many aren't, and they try to pass off as "real" journalists. What do you think of these bloggers or all fan bloggers in general?
IVES– There are some fantastic websites out there done by fans, and yes, there are some awful ones. What does get a bit worrisome is when people with no journalistic training try to launch their own attempts at sites in the mold of news websites. I’m not saying you need to have a background in journalism to run a good website, but running a legitimate soccer news website is about far more than simply having opinions. Some folks have figured this out and will continue to figure this out.
To be fair though, there are some “news websites” that are run by and filled with people with little or no journalism backgrounds either, so you are seeing a bit of a Wild West theme in the American soccer web landscape. In the end it is the American soccer fan who will determine what works an what doesn’t, what sites they consider worthwhile and which they don’t.
KEVIN– It is obvious to me that Bradley will be coaching until the world cup, but the job could be and probably should be open after the world cup, no matter what happens. At what point do you see our USMNT hiring a foreign coach? With what we are seeing in mexico is that such a great idea? Who would be a good fit for the head US job? Love the site, I check it many many times a day.
IVES– Thanks for the kind words Kevin. I’ve never been one of these people who thinks that the U.S. national team needs a high-profile foreign coach to come in and sprinkle some of his magic dust on the team in order for the United States to reach another level. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t see the value in the United States bringing in someone like Guus Hiddink. If Mexico’s stint with Sven should show us anything, it’s that a big resume and big name don’t automatically mean success for a national team.
Are there American coaches right now who I could see replacing Bob? Sigi Schmid is the obvious pick, but other than that I’m not sure anybody else right now could be considered an obvious upgrade over Bradley. I also don’t know if we should assume that Bradley won’t be around after 2010. Some might look at Bruce Arena’s two-cycle tenure as evidence that giving a coach two cycles doesn’t work, but Bradley and Arena are not the same person or the same coach (as much as some critics insist that is true).
Who would be a good fit for the U.S. job if Bradley left after 2010? I’d be very interested in seeing Steve Nicol take the job. No, he’s not American, but he’s made his bones coaching in MLS and he’s been amazing at it. Sigi Schmid also comes to mind as well. Internationally, I’d say Hiddink is the dream pick, someone I could see making a major impact. Juergen Klinsmann is still someone who I could see making a positive impact.
RANDALL– Do you have any sense of how prominent Jemal Johnson might be on the USMNT radar? From all accounts, he seems to be the type of player who could make an immediate impact on the Nats–fast, skilled, young striker playing for a team poised to move up to the Championship. I would think he is at least as strong a candidate as some of the MLS strikers who have been granted bench slots in recent months.
IVES– It would be tough to imagine that Johnson isn’t on Bob Bradley’s radar. Does that mean he will actually be called up for an event like the Gold Cup? I’m not sure it’s a lock, but Johnson surely has done enough to merit consideration. This summer is probably the best chance for Bradley to look at someone like Johnson since he would be playing in the winter, when the January 2010 training camp rolls around.
GABE79– Great stuff Ives, God bless!! What do you think comes first? US wins the world cup or the Mexican national team wins a sportsmanship award?
IVES– Tough call since I’m not sure I’ll see either in my lifetime. I’d say both happen in 2050.
ADAM– I've often heard about the importance of the MLS preseason, but the coverage of it is scarce. What steps need to be taken so that MLS fans can get insight into what's going on with their favorite teams before the season starts?
IVES– I’m not sure where you’ve heard so much about the importance of MLS pre-season. I wouldn’t say it’ any more or less important than any other pro sports pre-season. It serves its purpose but I wouldn’t say it’s interesting enough to merit thorough media coverage. Hell, some teams don’t even get thorough coverage during the season, let alone pre-season.
Mr. DERP– 2010 and 2014 will be the first time in history that two WC's in a row will be held outside of Europe. What are the odds that 1950 gets repeated and for the 2nd (poss. 3rd) time, there is no European nation in the World Cup final?
IVES– I find it hard to imagine a World Cup final without a European team, but I could see 2014 being that year, what with the tournament being in South America. I could see Argentina and Brazil meeting in a final there. In 2010 I can’t imagine one of Europe’s powers not getting to the final, either Spain, Italy, Germany, England or Portugal.
BROKENBIL– Will you be covering WPS?
IVES– SBI has added WPS beat writer Christa Mann, so yes, we will be covering WPS.
MMIKE– If you ran an MLS team looking for a coach, what coaching traits would you emphasize? Tactics, player development, scouting/talent evaluation, other.
IVES– I think all of those qualities are important in an MLS head coach but I do feel tactical prowess and scouting/talent evaluation are keys, with talent evaluation arguably the most important thing in a league where the salary cap makes every move you make a vital one.
WEATHERMANNX01– 1. I saw recently that the Colorado Rapids have partnered with Real Maryland (USL-2) for player development, among other things. With the demise of the MLS reserve division, do you see more teams making such deals with the USL in the next year or so? Personally, I'm surprised that MLS and USL have remained at arm's length of each other for so long.
2. What's your favorite fast food joint?
IVES– In an ideal world you would have MLS entering partnerships with lower level clubs in USL-2. I just don’t see many USL-1 teams doing the kind of deals that MLS and the A-League had a decade ago that would allow MLS teams to borrow top USL players.
MARK-VA– Great blog, it's a regular on my morning news update! Is Allen Hopkins as short as he appears on tv or is he just standing next to giant players?
IVES– I’d say Allen is about 5-8 or 5-9. Not that short for a soccer player. Now, if he did NBA games it might look strange.
RYAN– The west coast hasn't hosted a final round WCQ since 1997. Doesn't that seem a little bit ridiculous? The closest the west coast gets in Salt Lake City, which is nearly a dozen hours of drive time. The Bay Area did a fantastic job supporting the Nats in friendlies against China and Japan. Shouldn't the Bay Area (Stanford Stadium) be a hex host next cycle? 30% of the country's population hasn't gotten a final round qualifier for three cycles now.
IVES– Ryan, it boils down to travel. When you have European-based players having to come in for qualifiers they are already traveling a great deal. To have them also travel across country and add another six to 12 hours of travel to their overall commutes for these games is tough. You also have to consider the time difference, which can already be between five to six hours for European-based players. Pushing that to eight to nine is also an issue. That severely limit’s the number of chances to host qualifiers for places such as Home Depot Center, Qwest field of Qualcomm in San Diego.
J– what's your take on what's going on with duNord, and does it change the future outlook for the Designated Players 'project?'
IVES– DuNord is back in the saddle again and ready get back to doing the amazing work he’s alwas done.
TIM– Where would you rank the USA Mexico rivalry with other international rivalries?
IVES– That’s tough for me to say because I’ve had a front-row seat to the USA-Mexico rivalry while not having the same experience with others. That said, I think it compares favorably with rivalries such as Brazil-Argentina, Germany-Netherlands, Sweden-Denmark, etc.
ERIC ANDERSON– How do you think Ryan Giggs ranks among the best players of all time? Do you think he'd be rated higher if he played for a more competitive country than Wales?
IVES– Giggs absolutely should be considered one of the best midfielders of all time. Just consider that he’s a finalist for EPL player of the year THIS YEAR. If he had played for England instead of Wales he would be a superstar the world over and there wouldn’t be a debate about his standing in history.
JOHN– How much did Michael Bradley's performance against Mexico raise his profile in Europe? With Borussia Monchengladbach the top contender for relegation in Germany, will he be on the move this summer? If he does move, will he have opportunities with clubs that are playing in the UEFA Cup or Champions League next year?
Thank you for the great work. To paraphrase The Special One: You are blog Champion.
IVES– Thanks for the kind words John. I’m not sure Bradley’s performance against Mexico opened eyes in Europe any more than they were already opened because Bradley already has a reputation in Europe and is well-regarded as a quality midfield prospect. If Bradley moves, I can definitely see it being to a UEFA Cup team. Who knows? Perhaps Everton can come back into the mix for him.
MATT in JAPAN– What is your take on Managers especially in the EPL? Would the likes of Scolari, Adams, Big Sam when at Newcastle, even the firing of Mourinho at Chelsea have been likely to create successful programs given a number of years? Is sticking it out long term with a manager clearly better than quick firings to turn things around?
Been absolutely loving this site for about two years. Sorry if you have already answered this question!
let me know when you are coming to Tokyo!
IVES– Firing managers because of a bad two months isn’t the wisest move, but it’s almost impossible to prevent because of the intense pressure to get results in super-competitive leagues with strong followings. It’s much easier for an MLS team to stick it out with a struggling manager because there isn’t that same intense scrutiny and pressure to perform, which is probably a good thing.
Consider Sigi Schmid in Columbus. If he were a manager in the EPL and the Crew had two bad seasons like they had in Schmid’s first years, he probably would have been fired. That said, MLS has also had its share of situations where a coach got more time than they should have.
All that said, I believe in giving a manager three full seasons in MLS. In Europe, there’s no way you can do that if results get ugly.
No Japan in my future Matt. I went in 2002, but don’t see myself going again unless I win the lottery.
MATT P– I was hoping for your comment on the quote from Greg Lalas from SI.com (Why U.S. Needs Mexico to win). His quote "CONCACAF and the U.S. need Mexico to be good… Otherwise, the entire region becomes the butt of a joke" seems to put us quite at odds to win respect in the world.
So, should we consider a reorganization of the CONCACAF, maybe consider creating a super conference with CONMEBOL? imagine Brazil Vs U.S. for World Cup? Thoughts?
IVES– I agree with that statement and wrote a similar opinion a few years ago for the newspaper I worked for. A strong Mexico forces the United States to keep improving and provides invaluable competition. As for the CONCACAF-CONMEBOL union, that isn’t happening.
MARTHA– Nery Castillo is a quick fast dangerous and key striker for Mexico.He played well before bombing in England.
Charlie Davies is bigger stronger and faster. He has had similar success in his professional career.
So do you think the US should try and use him in a similar role as Mexico uses Nery? Do you think he will be a better player than Nery?
IVES– Okay Martha, I bash on Mexico as much as the next guy, and I realize that plenty of people hate Nery Castillo, but there’s no way you can compare Charlie Davies to Castillo at this point in their careers. Yes, Castillo struggled to adapt to the EPL, but he isn’t the first nor will he be the last quality player to struggle with adapting to England.
Davies may have the physical gifts you mention (though I’m not sure if he’s definitely faster on the ball than Castillo), but Castillo is far superior technically. That said, Davies career is on the rise while I can’t help but wonder if Castillo will ever get back on that upward track he was on two years ago (though it should be noted that Castillo is just 24).
Now, as for whether Davies can play a key role for the national team, I definitely believe he can. I’ve been calling for him to get more looks for a while now, and he could certainly benefit from a move away from Sweden this summer. That said, we shouldn’t forget that he’s still just 22 and has spent all of two years as a professional.
What did you think of these answers? Share your thoughts below.