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  • U.S. soccer interest harms track performances?

    After watching "Bend it like Beckham" a few days ago (and a wonderful movie it was!) I was wondering about all of the recent and continual hue and cry about much of the track talent in the U.S. now just playing soccer. If this is in fact the case, how has the rest of the world, which is quite mad about soccer, managed to produce world class runners all of these years? The commonwealth countries support soccer, rugby, and other kicking the ball variations, and yet have continually produced some fine middle distance and distance talents.
    Africans play soccer well and often, even in the north of that continent, and yet have fairly competitive runners as of late.
    I am sure some of you fellows have comments on this matter!

  • #2
    Re: U.S. soccer interest harms track performances?

    Yes we had a lengthy discussion here already and opinion was, of course, divided. I think we gain more from youth soccer than we lose, but others disagreed.

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    • #3
      Re: U.S. soccer interest harms track performances?

      As to why the rest of the world can play soccer and develop runners: the rest of the world doesn't have remotely the same kind of population we do also playing baseball, football, basketball, hockey, etc., etc.

      To say the same kind of population not doing a bloody thing but play gameboy.

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      • #4
        Re: U.S. soccer interest harms track performances?

        >The
        >commonwealth countries support soccer, rugby, and
        >other kicking the ball variations, and yet have
        >continually produced some fine middle distance
        >and distance talents.

        The UK is obviously the ultimate commonwealth country and play a lot of football. Pretty sure they feel that they are no longer producing fine middle distance and distance talents. As far as gh's point goes, maybe it's the cricket and polo that is distracting all of the youth.

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        • #5
          Re: U.S. soccer interest harms track performances?

          I've been told that football (you know, the real kind) is the most popular sport in Kenya. Too bad it's stealing all their runners!

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          • #6
            Re: U.S. soccer interest harms track performances?

            Not really, its lazy kids eating ding-dongs that hurt track performances. If the trained instead of going shopping at the mall, they (and we) would be better off.

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            • #7
              Re: U.S. soccer interest harms track performances?

              >As far as gh's
              >point goes, maybe it's the cricket and polo...


              Polo?!?! I still can't get over just how many Americans view us Brits as tea-drinking, scone-eating, polo-playing, proper-speaking, ballroom-dancing royallists!! Many Americans I chat to on the net think in a similar way....

              To set the record straight, Polo really isn't that big in the UK. Usually, it's only the top of the upper class that actually play (including some of the Royal family). In the UK, athletics is WAAAAY bigger than Polo will ever be!! Football, Rugby and Cricket are the most popular UK sports.

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              • #8
                Re: U.S. soccer interest harms track performances?

                >Polo?!?! I still can't
                >get over just how many Americans view us Brits as
                >tea-drinking, scone-eating, polo-playing,
                >proper-speaking, ballroom-dancing royallists!!
                >Many Americans I chat to on the net think in a
                >similar way....

                >To set the record straight,
                >Polo really isn't that big in the UK. Usually,
                >it's only the top of the upper class that
                >actually play (including some of the Royal
                >family). In the UK, athletics is WAAAAY bigger
                >than Polo will ever be!! Football, Rugby and
                >Cricket are the most popular UK sports.

                First of all, I'm not a yank and secondly, take a deep breath. I was obviously kidding about the polo.

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                • #9
                  Re: U.S. soccer interest harms track performances?

                  On the surface it seems when America started getting competitive at soccer distance running in this country went into a tailspin. The truth is that the physical attributes of a soccer player don't necessary mean success in distance running. Many run distance because they have not been successful in other sports.

                  Is America now better at soccer than distance running?
                  Remember the US did finish in the top eight in the World Cup. Many consider the US national team stronger than Mexico.

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                  • #10
                    Re: U.S. soccer interest harms track performances?

                    Baseball, Football, Basketball, Soccer and even Hockey generally get attempted prior to track and field. With the specialization of youth sports it creates less room for kids to try other sports.

                    We're not getting the athletes - particulary in the distances where a talent would not stick out like a sprinter would in football for instance.

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                    • #11
                      Re: U.S. soccer interest harms track performances?

                      I'm not the first to postulate this, but I do believe it. Kids today train harder than before, but when they are not 'training' under rigid adult supervision, they are very sedentary compared to 20 years ago. Cable TV, internet, computer games, malls, etc. require little movement. 20 years ago kids 'went outside and played' on a daily basis. Today's bodies are not adapted to exercise as the norm - it's a specialized activity that is scheduled, performed, and then they move on. Africans grow up on the move, so to speak. Civilization is improving our training methods, but making the body less suited for sustained muscular activity.

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                      • #12
                        Re: U.S. soccer interest harms track performances?

                        >After watching "Bend it like Beckham" a few
                        >w days ago (and a wonderful movie it was!) I was
                        >wondering about all of the recent and continual
                        >hue and cry about much of the track talent in the
                        >U.S. now just playing soccer. If this is in fact
                        >the case, how has the rest of the world, which is
                        >quite mad about soccer, managed to produce world
                        >class runners all of these years? The
                        >commonwealth countries support soccer, rugby, and
                        >other kicking the ball variations, and yet have
                        >continually produced some fine middle distance
                        >and distance talents.
                        Africans play soccer well
                        >and often, even in the north of that continent,
                        >and yet have fairly competitive runners as of
                        >late.
                        I am sure some of you fellows have
                        >comments on this matter!

                        I think it depends on who you mean. I often see white kids playing soccer. Yet many of them drop the sport when they reach high school, so I don't know how much of an impact soccer has in draining distance talent (since most of USA's distance runners are white). Others here can speak on this issue, but it does seem that our distance fortunes nosedived once more white youth took up soccer. It doesn't help that many distance runners seemingly don't start until their pre-teens or later, when nowadays many kids are sports specialists by age 8.

                        However, soccer has had virtually zilch impact on our sprint recruitment. For one, USA sprinters typically start out between ages 6-9, so it's still competitive with other sports who seek to specialize the youth. Since most of our sprinters are black...I regularly see black kids playing basketball, Pop Warner football. I've seen a group of black kids playing tennis, golf, & even on ski slopes. Baseball is fading out among blacks, but I see the kiddies play it once in a blue moon. Yet I have NEVER seen a group of kids in a black community in America, kicking around soccer balls. Yes, you will sometimes see a handful of blacks on a soccer team (including the national team) but soccer isn't played en masse in black American communities. So soccer isn't draining our core sprint talent. On this front, I'm FAR more concerned about basketball & football.

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                        • #13
                          Re: U.S. soccer interest harms track performances?

                          Yes and no on your comment. In our area the soccer players were some of our best track guys. We converted many to XC where they also excelled.
                          Soccer requires speed and agility. If you tack on lifting, you've got a very competitive distance runner. Those with talent now excell at D-1 colleges. Our group won the Big Ten XC conference and was high at Nationals. They'll be even better this year!

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                          • #14
                            Re: U.S. soccer interest harms track performances?

                            Where did the US finish at last years world basketball champs?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: U.S. soccer interest harms track performances?

                              Tafnut probably hit the nail more closely noting that U.S. kids can sit on their oversized bottoms playing computer games in the air-conditioning - always ride to school in cooled buses (where needed) or cooled cars study in cooled schools and the idea of heavy training in the hot weather is fading. Of course, in the cooler states, this is less clear, but still, the inner city produces naturally fast kids but few, if any, actual trained jumpers or throwers - or anyone past the 400. The kids do not have the leadership to get out and work!

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