U.S. Men’s National Team defender Geoff Cameron has a lot to say about the state of American soccer.
Cameron took to The Players’ Tribune to express his desire for change in U.S. Soccer on Friday, the eve of a very contentious election for the federation’s next president. In his piece, he calls out their complacency and backwards system as the reasons why the USMNT failed to make the upcoming World Cup in Russia and why this presidential election is so important for the future of the game.
“For too long, we have seen a revolving-door system,” he wrote. “We saw the return of an old-school regime, one that may have worked a decade ago, but not now. Not anymore. One that did not adapt to a changing soccer culture. One that couldn’t lead a team – that despite what some may feel – had plenty of talent and depth. And this was a regime that certainly wasn’t equipped to lead us to the next level and the next phase in U.S. Soccer. After Jürgen Klinsmann was fired, and Bruce Arena took over, we got too comfortable. We lost our ambition and sense of progress. But more than anything, we lost any sense of competitiveness.”
He went on to talk about how Klinsmann pushed his players in a way Arena never could and how MLS used to support players like him moving overseas to further their careers. He mentions how he came up “in the most ‘American’ way possible,” by playing youth soccer, travel soccer, college soccer, professionally in the USL, and, finally, in MLS before jumping across the Atlantic to play for Stoke City, a move that his coach at the time, Dominic Kinnear, supported.
“Give me two good years, and if anything comes in, you have my word that I’ll do whatever I can to make it happen,” Kinnear told him.
A couple years later, Cameron was playing for Stoke City in the English Premier League.
He wishes more players would take the same route he did. He wants young Americans to push themselves as hard as they can to reach the biggest competitions in the world.
Most importantly, he wants MLS to be proud of the players they send to Europe.
“Brazilians don’t think this way when Neymar goes to Barcelona. The Dutch don’t think this way when their Ajax academy kids go to Chelsea or Bayern. Why don’t we go the other way entirely? U.S. Soccer should take out ads with pictures of all the players, past and present, who have made a huge impact on the world stage.”