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Your November Questions Answered (Part 1)

Freddy Adu 3 (ISIphotos.com) 

November came and went three weeks ago, but the questions SBI readers posed during that month haven't gone away just yet.

It took me some time to get around to them, but I will be posting answers to the November Q&A over the course of the week. We will start with the first batch of questions, which covers topics ranging from Freddy Adu to the Philadelphia Union, and even SBI's Top Five albums of the year. 

Now, it's time for some questions to be answered:

JC– Having spent some time with the Philadelphia Union coaching staff, should we be reading anything in to John Hackworth's title of "Coach and Youth Development Coordinator"? Will he be a run of the mill assistant or will the Union be taking youth development to another level?

IVES– The Union is definitely serious about youth development. I talked to Peter Nowak at length about the team and its future and one of his points of emphasis was that the Philadelphia area is loaded with young talent and the Union plan on tapping into that resource and doing its part to help develop young talent in the area. I know plenty of teams have that sort of goal, but listening to Nowak it really sounds like it is a key piece to what they are trying to do.

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MITCH– Do you find the name 'Real' Salt Lake as dumb as I do?

IVES– I wasn’t a fan of it at first, but it’s grown on me, and fielding a championship team that plays attractive soccer can make any name sound decent.

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ELAC– Is Sacha Kjelstan leaving for Europe? Is the Steve Sampson-to-ChivasUSA rumor a joke? If not Sampson or Vasquez, then who?

IVES– I don’t get the impression that Kljestan is leaving, though I would have put money on it a year ago. The fact that he was called into the January camp would lead me to believe he won't be making a move, but then again he did spend time with Celtic after taking part in last year's camp.

As for Sampson to Chivas USA, it was close to happening but the Goats went with Martin Vasquez. Disaster averted.

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DANNYc58– Now that Dilly Duka was signed, what are your odds he's a NYRB come January?

IVES– I’d say Duka is a good bet to be drafted by the Red Bulls, but not with the No. 2 overall pick. The Red Bulls like Duka, but he’s not considered a No. 2 overall talent in this draft and grabbing him at No. 2 would be a reach. I know some folks who base their entire rating of Duka on having seen him in a few U-20 World Cup games might be blown away by the fact that he’s not a lock No. 2, but the fact is there are just other players who are more highly regarded. That’s not to say Duka won’t be a good MLS player, but as we’ve learned in past drafts, the best players don’t always come from the highest draft positions. Duka could slide down to the Red Bulls pick at No. 14, and the team could also trade up from 14 to take him with a second pick. I just don't see him going No. 2.

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ZACK– 1. Other than yours, which is your favorite Soccer blog?

IVES– I must confess that I don’t read other blogs nearly as much as I’d like but my bros at The Original Winger do a great job (as do all the Designated Players). England-based journalist Oliver Kay does a good job with his blog as well.

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WILL SMITH– Who do you think is a worse coach in their respective sport: Juan Carlos Osorio or Eric Mangini? We know that JCO is the better dresser.

IVES– You know Will, some would call your obsession with Osorio borderline scary. As for the question, Mangini is a worse coach. Osorio had a worse year, but has enjoyed some success everywhere he has gone. Mangini has become a pure train wreck in Cleveland after not being that great with the Jets.

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DIEGO– Who is the belichick of the soccer world? Which coach has had the most success developing other coaches?

IVES– A trend of mixing sports this time around. Before he passed away, Bobby Robson was someone who could be called an inspiring force in the coaching ranks, while Sir Alex Ferguson has probably influenced more managers than any other manager I can think of in the world.

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MANNY F– When should we expect to see Freddy Adu states side again on an MLS team? Is it out of the realm to think that one of the future expansion teams in Portland or Vancouver might take him?

IVES– Adu can’t come back to MLS unless he’s ready to take a SERIOUS pay cut, and I’m doubting he would. The reality is that I don’t see any MLS teams being willing to pay him max non-DP salary ($400K). Now, if he were willing to come back and play for a smaller sum, there’s a chance he could have a home here. As it stands, I don’t see him leaving Europe while he can still make big bucks. He’s still young and still has plenty of time to develop. I think his process might appear to be a more painful and drawn-out one because Adu’s Twitter account helps paint a pretty painful picture of a player who’s career isn’t quite going according to plan. Someone should really tell him that using Twitter as a personal diary isn't a good look.

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LUNT– What is your guess as to final four in the World cup? ( I know we don't know the draw but take a shot anyway) minw would be Spain, Germany,Brazil, Netherlands.

IVES– I’ll go England, Brazil, Argentina and Spain.

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OMAR VIZQUEL– This is probably the 576th most important thing we should be thinking about at this point, but don't you think the USMNT coach should wear a button-down shirt and pants made out of some kind of cloth at the World Cup? Surely Bob Bradley will be the only head coach fully outfitted in 100% polyester in South Africa if current sartorial trends continue…

IVES– The last time I checked, the last two World Cup winners (Scolari and Lippi) were both track pants and polo guys, so I’m not sure Bradley needs to change a think.

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GAGE– Any word on where Lee Nguyen is going to end up now that he's leaving Vietnam? Says on his FB page that he wants to be seen by the Nats coaches.

IVES- After recently training (and impressing) with FC Dallas, I would put good money on him landing with Dallas. It’s time for him to come to MLS and show what he can do. I can see him having the type of impact Robbie Rogers eventually made after returning from the Netherlands.

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DURDEN– Any idea what's up with Chris Seitz? It seemed like he had so much promise even as a rookie, that I know a lot of us were hoping he would unseat Rimando that first year and start to get game right away.

Also, what are your top 5 songs and/or albums of 2009?

IVES– As you know by now, he’s been traded to Philadelphia, where he is projected to be the team’s starter. I think he could be a breakout player to watch in 2010.

As for my Top Five albums of 2009? Here are five I thought were pretty good (and yes, I listen to hip hop and dance music, though I don't beat up the beat with a fist pump.)

Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Part Two (Raekwon)

Blueprint 3 (Jay-Z)

The Grand-Mixed (Kaskade)

One Love (David Guetta)

808s and Heartbreaks (Kanye West)

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CHICAGO MIKE- 1) Who do you think will win the world Cup?

2) Who is the best team outside Europe and South America?

IVES- 1. I’d bet on Spain. 2. Best national team outside of Europe and South America? According to the FIFA rankings it’s the USA. Aside from the USMNT, I would probably say Ivory Coast.

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SMITS- Any chance that the Dynamo improve with the possible departures?

After soccer what's your favorite sport and briefly why?

IVES- Losing Holden and Clark is devastating for Houston, but the Dynamo can’t be written off just yet.. If Richard Mulrooney can come back strongly, if Eddie Robinson can return to his pre-2009 form and if Luis Landin can get in shape, the Dynamo can definitely soften the blow of the departure and be right back in the mix.

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RORY- Remember that post you made about how you hoped something good would happen to Ownby after everyone on the comment board trashed the hell out of him, then he scored at the U-20 World Cup and almost had another? What was the funniest turnaround like that you've experienced, where you blogged one thing then a minute later were made to look like either a genius or a fool?

IVES- Folks who read the site regularly are aware of my penchant for jinxes, particularly in my match commentary posts. I can’t of any specific instances that stand out. I would need some help remembering the better (or worse) ones. I thought the Ownby one was great because NOBODY could have expected him to turn around and nearly score two after struggling so badly before that.

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CITRONOMICS– Obligatory Freddy Adu question – what gives he is not seening playing time for his club team in Portugal? Work habits in practice, attitude, coach who only plays tested players…

IVES– Considering how many teams Adu has failed to get consistent minutes for I’m not sure how people can still put blame on the coaches. I think he’s a flawed player who brings some attacking elements to the table, but who still has weaknesses in his game that make it tough for coaches to justify starting him. In short, he's the type of player you pretty much have to build your team around to accomodate his shortcomings, and he's just not at that level where a team is going to do that.

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DC JOSH– 1. How is soccer received at ESPN? Do you frequent the headquarters enough to know? Is Tommy Smith's head as large in person as it is on screen?

2. If you enjoy a bevvy, what is your favorite beer, type of beer? Or are you a wine man?

IVES– I don’t spend much time at ESPN headquarters but it definitely sounds like soccer has become a priority for the company heading toward the World Cup. Whether that emphasis will carry over beyond the World Cup remains to be seen, but right now soccer’s status at ESPN is rapidly rising.

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RENIMENJIVAR– Since we're getting so close to the end of 2009, how has the year treated you (and SBI) [mostly good I hope]? As far as SBI goes, what do you think worked well and what needed improvement? What should we be looking forward to seeing at SBI in 2010?

IVES– Things have gone very well in year two for SBI, both from a reader and business standpoint. We grew at a good rate and I think SBI only strengthened its place in the American soccer landscape as a top soccer news site. As for what worked well and what needed improving, I would leave that for readers to decide. I will say that the incorporation of Travis Clark and Gianfranco Panizo to the staff was a big positive.

What can you expect in 2010? Hopefully more writers, more interactive elements to make SBI even more like a community, and more wide-spread coverage of the different elements of American soccer.

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AUSTIN– Hey Ives, love the site. Stu Holden, USMNT supersub in the running, is officially out of a contract and now available on a free transfer. There's been some talk of a move to the SPL, but I'm thinking it might be too rough/not technical enough. God forbid another one of our players ends up injured or on the bench at Rangers. So my question is…Where would you like to see Stu head off to?

IVES– Holden is currently in talks with Blackburn, and I think that could be a perfect club for him to go to. I agree that the Scottish Premier League isn’t quite the style of league that would suit Holden well. The EPL isn’t exactly a cakewalk either, but the SPL can be a brutal league to play in from a physical standpoint.

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EL TIGRE FEROZ– Ives, why on Earth do Red Bull make such poor decisions? If, as you say, they will be going with Erik Soler as GM and hiring some foreign, big-name (or not) manager–an proven failed model–how on Earth do they justify it? Having spent so many seasons close to the organization, do you have any insight into their psychology? As a supporter, it's my nature to be pessimistic–but is there any reason you can see that I should be hopeful? Thanks.

IVES– I’m reserving judgment on the current front office until a head coach is hired. That said, I would find it a bit crazy if the team hires a head coach with no MLS experience. It wouldn’t be completely shocking because I am sure folks in Salzburg will point to Bruce Arena and Juan Carlos Osorio and think “We tried it with so-called MLS experts and it didn’t work out.” That thinking would also ignore the fact that neither coach was given adequate support or competent from office help.

Why should New York fans be hopefully? The club is about to open the best stadium in the league, a second DP signing is all but guaranteed and it could be a marquee player like Thierry Henry. The Eastern Conference is also not exactly as tough as it was in year’s past so New York could be in a much tougher spot. And who knows? Maybe the team will hire a decent coach.

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Comments

  1. Any info on Fro Adu playing at the next level? I understand he’s a Jr this year. Is he any good? Will he get a shot to play professionally? I don’t follow George Mason soccer. Anyone in the know?

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  2. Title IX has done a lot of good things but is had some serious negative side effects on certain men’s sports like soccer. These disadvantages could be fixed with some reform (change the ratio to 60/40 instead of 50/50) that would still protect women’s sports. I know it’s also hurt a lot of swim team programs too. UCLA used to have a national championship men’s swim team but had to drop it due to Title IX. How can you not have a men’s swim team at a D.1 major California college??? It’s ridiculous.

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  3. because of Title IX. I think its BS, that both NFL and MLB get away with not funding the growth of womens football and baseball. They both have the funds but they dont do it to keep the sport as manly as possible. Just look at the burden title IX has caused on soccer. not only has big schools not have college teams to create rivalries like Texas vs SMU or Miami vs Florida vs South Florida but soccer gets the stereotype that its a girls sport. ANd also NFL dosent fund the growth of womens football because it would mean less scholrships given out to Mens football and depletion of the talent pool because about half of the football scholarships would know have to go to womens football.

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  4. At this point in his career with all of these loans, Freddy is a glorified intern. And he acts like one; “I deserve a chance for being here and I should be running everything!”

    Go tweet all you want instead of working hard Freddy, and you’re looking for a new employer again (and again).

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  5. Ives, will you be asking Edu, Beasley, Jozy, Davies, and the rest of the players with twitter accounts to stop posting tweets. I am calling you out on your double standard, Ives; and that goes for the rest of you Adu haters. This is a kid that shows passion and loyalty for the National team and he gets more criticism that any other player in the US player’s pool. Adu, if you read this, please retire from international soccer and focus on building your career. Like Alexi Lalas said on ESPN, “THE TEAM DO NOT NEED YOU.” Take the pressure off kid.

    (SBI-Lano, way to miss the point. My issue isn’t with Tweeting itself, it’s with the subject and tone of many of Adu’s tweets, which if anything, put even more pressure on Adu to perform and does even more to keep expectations high when he really should just be able to lay low. I’m not saying Adu is a bad person for his Tweets, I’m saying that his Tweets are doing more harm than good for him when it comes to public perception and the continued existence of unrealistic expectations.

    Now, if a player wants to tweet about random things like traveling or getting stuck in snow, or rating the movie they just saw, that’s all well and good and it’s doing well to keep fans interested. Adu has his share of those, which is good, but there are others that would be better served being written into a private diary than a public forum viewed by tons of people. This isn’t just me saying it either. I’ve had people who know Adu very well tell me they agree but nobody has the heart to tell him to tone it down.)

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  6. to where? Dallas? i put my money on him ending up here this year for sure. supposedly, he’s already cut ties with his Vietnamese team and wants to come back home!

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  7. That is because those age-limited teams are the only teams willing to build around Adu. No professional teams would do that because like Ives said, he’s just not at that level.

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  8. England in the final four of the WC? C’mon Ives. This country puts ITSELF on the same shelf with the likes of Brazil, Italy, Argentina and Germany. Is it because of their league, the EPL is so great? I’m sorry but I don’t buy it, I have to disagree. I say England gets sent packing sooner than later next summer.

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  9. Ives, remember when you jinxed Kljestan’s penalty against Red Bulls so that he missed? It was tied 1-1 and he sent it wide. Pissed me off but I had to laugh when I saw your post.

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  10. I just don’t understand why young athletes would want to open themselves to anonymous abuse from, well, people you, mike (no offense!). In the distant old days (2 years ago…), you could get heckled at the stadium or the grocery store parking lot. But that was normal. Now, for every ten “I luv you Freddy LOL” tweets, I bet Adu gets one or two “You suck, go home hahahdjda” tweets. I’ve also seen Jozy and Edu get stuff like “I hope you brake [sic] you leg Yank” messages from lovely British supporters.

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  11. Actually, he’s only succeeded on age-limited teams (youth teams, U-17,U-20,U-23).

    I heard Sean Wheelock on BBC radio say nobody in MLS…coaches, players, GM’s….believes he is the age he has always said he was. Playing with and against 16 year olds when you are actually 18 or 19 will make you look pretty good.

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  12. “Adu’s Twitter account helps paint a pretty painful picture of a player who’s career isn’t quite going according to plan. Someone should really tell him that using Twitter as a personal diary isn’t a good look.”

    that comment made my day! LOL. I’ve been telling him this for 4 months now. I hope he’s not depressed, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was.

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  13. ives. totally agree with your top 4 WC picks. and congrats on SBI really becoming a one-stop shop for soccer news.

    ….but let’s not pretend the US is as good as the Ivory Coast

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  14. I’m assuming the answer will be “Spain” but which country will be the next first-time World Cup winner (i.e. no France, Brazil, England, Argentina, Italy, Germany). After Spain then who?

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  15. Is Ricardo’s move to Livorno confirmed? I have not heard anything about it in a while. Also, what the hell is up with Lee Nguyen? His tweets make him seem as if he is either illiterate or the biggest wanna-be I’ve ever seen.

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  16. I completely agree Ives. He has only succeeded in teams when a team is built around him. I feel that this is a bigger problem than his work ethics(if he does have one) and twitter addiction.

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  17. MONEY! The golden rule – he who has the gold, rules. The reason why we don’t have college soccer.

    Think of how much better the NCAA tourney would be with Texas, OU, LSU, FLA, GEO, ALA, USC, ORE, ect.

    Remember Corben Bone, Johnny Villinueva, Andre Akpan, Lee Nyguen, Dylan Powers, London Woodberry …. Can you imagine all these guys coming from the same youth city/programs staying together from 18-22 competing week to week at Texas? Now that I think about it, it wouldn’t be fair to the rest of the NCAA. Keep it the way it is.

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  18. Ives, say Henry comes to the Red Bulls next year and absolutely lights it up, 25-30 goals. I see this as a possibility given his high level of play at Barca. Would this be good for MLS, for the show, or bad for MLS, in the sense that it might make the quality of the league overall look bad.

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  19. The Okla Univ. sports intern program is not allowed to cover the club soccer team because they are not regulated by the NCAA. Those 18-22 year olds get out there and play for the love of the game. You WON’T hear anything about them.

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  20. That’s not what I said, Rich. If soccer players could use college as an outlet from the streets to become doctors, lawyers, and scientists – more people would play, more people would care, more people would go to games as kids, or players would be better. It would develop the game.

    I have had a ball at my feet since I could walk. I have watched countless games in my life, and I have seen the development of the game in the US grow exponentially. This is the next step. Or do you have a better suggestion?

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  21. The pro system gets better and better every year. If you were to look back 10-15 years ago and say we would have players in MLS that we do today, you would be more than satisfied. At least you should be.

    Education Obligations???? You mean like college football kineseology majors?

    Clint Dempsey played college soccer at a small school. He wasn’t ready to be a pro at 18. He faired pretty well. Charlie Davies at BC….

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  22. That’s why you don’t follow college soccer. Because there hardly is any college soccer. I can imagine schools like Texas and Florida could field some pretty good teams – what if ……

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  23. Ives, as a huge fan of your work and this site, I hope as you say business is treating you well. I know running your own blog can’t be as lucrative as other endeavors, but the amount of coverage you provide gets me over here multiple times a day, and I make it a point to hit up all your banner ads to help a brother out. Keep up the good work, and here is to a prosperous 2010 for you, may you be lucky enough to go to South Africa and cover it in person for those of us saddled with corporate America jobs.

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  24. Touché.

    Tried to say something to this effect after the opener against Germany in the U-20 WC. Didn’t seem to be so well received. Fire Rongen was the theme that day.

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  25. Sorry Clayton Title IX has been around for 30+ years and when was men’s college soccer that good to say that it was destroyed. Why do college football teams need to carry 75-85 man rosters. Yes I know there are some walk-on players but that is probably only a handful for the bigger teams

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  26. my favorite Ives jinx (paraphrased): Match Day Commentary, US v Denmark. One Minute: “Cunningham isn’t going to be able to score against Denmark, they just don’t have the kind of defensive blunders he is able to take advantage of in the MLS”

    Next Minute: “Cunningham scores off a defensive blunder by the Danes”

    If i wasn’t watching and reading the commentary live I would have thought he made this up.

    (SBI-Now THAT is a quality jinx. I love that. Now go find a good one where I predicted the future. It’s only fair. LOL)

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  27. No, the pro system is the problem. Where else in the world do top soccer nations depend on universities to spit out top-tier talent?? Nowhere.

    It’s unfair to expect 18-22 year old kids with educational obligations to be on par with guys who have been doing nothing but practicing and playing since they were 10 or 11. It doesn’t equate.

    (SBI-Pretty much. As I wrote a few weeks back, blaming college for what it isn’t is about as misguided as you can get. American soccer is lucky to have NCAA soccer to serve as a surrogate developmental system.)

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  28. Ives, in regard to the comment about building a team around Freddy. Is that the same way that a team has to be built around Riquelme? Obviously the skills of the players are lightyears away, but I always hear that Riquelme’s downfall is that the team has to be built around him, is it a similar situation or am I way off?

    (SBI-Pretty much, though obviously Riquelme is light years ahead of Adu. Basically in the modern game it’s tough to carry a player who doesn’t contribute much going both ways in central midfield. Now, if you’re a Ronaldinho or Diego then you find a way to deal with it, but we’re talking a young player who just isn’t ready to be a starter in that kind of role. Ideally, he would be at a smaller club where they might be willing to build around him, but I just don’t see it happening any time soon. At this point the best he can hope for is to be a super sub, someone who can make an impact in limited minutes when a team is trailing and needs a spark.)

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  29. One of the big problems, especially with the SEC, is American footballs strong hold on the schools. They are by far the top money earners for those conferences. If you look, there are only a handful of traditional elite basketball schools in those conferences as is, so they can’t rely on those sources of income. In contrast, look at the ACC. By far the most dominant soccer conference in the country and one of the best in basketball (once again traditionally) as well. But what you have seen over the last couple of years is a decrease in the status of ACC football (unfairly in my opinion, but im biased as a Virginia Tech fan). I guess what im saying in the end is no one is willing to take money away from their football program to fund the establishment of two new teams (soccer and whatever women’s sport would need to be added as well).

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  30. How can we get college soccer in the BIG 12, SEC, and Pac 10 schools? Title IX has destroyed the game in America …. time for change. More black kids would play soccer, more competition would be created, and ESPN might actually recognize soccer as a real sport. Sorry, ESPN gives soccer love, just not SportsCenter. They think soccer is a joke. This is the only thing keeping the US from winning World Cups every 4 years.

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