Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Tactician

By Tony Edwards, San Jose, CA,Aug 29, 2011, US Soccer Players Assocaition

In Bayern Munich and Germany captain Philip Lahm’s new book, The Fine Difference, United States National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann is presented as, well, less than a tactical genius during his short-lived time leading Bayern.

"We practiced little more than fitness,“ Lahm writes. “Tactical things were neglected. The players had to get together before (the games) to discuss how we wanted to play. After six or eight weeks, all players knew it wouldn't work with Klinsmann. The rest of the season was damage limitation.”

No one who has been paying even the least amount of attention to Klinsmann’s career would be surprised by these comments. He's simply not that type of coach. That said, does it mean anything going forward on his new role with the National Team? For that matter, is lacking that type of chalkboard understanding of the game even a criticism for a coach working with American players?

In the aftermath of Major League Soccer winning twice in Mexico over consecutive weeks in the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League, hardly anybody brought up the tactics employed by first Dallas and then Seattle. In fairness, a new era for American club soccer playing away writes its own story, one focused on finally winning after 49 attempts.

Sigi Schmidt and Schellas Hyndman are experienced coaches who have been given time and resources to build their teams. Bruce Arena, the third American coach in the CONCACAF Champions League this season, has arguably the greatest resume of any American soccer coach. That these three men are having success in MLS and in the CCL should surprise no one.

To put it plainly, tactical nuance is not a hallmark of American soccer. I give you Juan Carlos Osorio, reputed tactical genius, as Exhibit 1 as to what can happen with coaches known for tactical nous.

Before heading for a coaching manual near you and making the case for American coaching as groundbreaking when it comes to positional play, out-thinking the opposing coach, and turning the game of soccer into chess played on a field, let's at least for a minute not take lack of tactics as a criticism, much less a knock.

Some of the best National Team coaches in the world, not to mention their club counterparts, aren't tactical geniuses. Luiz Felipe Scolari, ‘Big Phil,’ was rightly praised for finding a way to get his best players on the field during the 2002 World Cup, and then taking Portugal to the Finals of Euro 2004. Does anyone outside Brazil or Portugal really look back at those teams with great fondness or as being trendsetters in terms of tactics?

Vicente del Bosque, Spain’s National Team Manager, is widely praised for being a player’s manager and getting the most out of his team. Like Scolari, del Bosque finds a way to get his best players on the field. That he, like Scolari, has mostly enjoyed having his key players healthy should also be lost on no one.

Again, it's personnel and motivation more than putting together a game plan that turns a group of under achievers and overlooked players into winners. This is high level soccer, not Hoosiers, and the best coaches tend to have the best players at their disposal.

Klinsmann, even his most vocal critics in Germany acknowledge, thoroughly overhauled the set-up there. He emphasized team building, home-field advantage, and low expectations, supposedly leaving the tactics to his then-assistant Joachim Low. Whether the tactics part is true or another example of canny marketing on Klinsmann’s part to make sure his assistant got the top job doesn’t really matter.

With the USA, Klinsmann Klinsmann has promised a similar revolution in the American soccer setup. But here, instead of emphasizing fitness, he is wisely highlighting Claudio Reyna’s role as Youth Technical Director and promising a more prominent voice to Tab Ramos. By bringing these two (criminally underrated) players to the fore, Klinsmann is hopefully sending a message that the endless days of the US soccer (and perhaps MLS) focus on athleticism might be waning. This is a positive step that has very little to do with imposing systems or methodologies on established professionals.

Likewise, Dallas and Seattle’s results in Mexico are positive steps. The big takeaway from those games are two coaches that motivated their teams. Check the quotes leading into those two contests, and even an understaffed Seattle was saying the right things. Then again, it’s not like Mexican teams will immediately put 10 players behind the ball next time an MLS team is on the schedule. What we had were two intelligent teams that (mostly) tried to play good soccer, rode a little luck, and got back on the plane with its toughest group stage challenge successfully behind them. That’s really the bottom line.

Yet, this result, combined with Salt Lake’s run to the Final last year, might show that given time, intelligent teams can find ways to overcome MLS’ limitations and reduce the advantage Mexican clubs have in this competition.

“We are the first to beat a good Mexican team in Mexico,” Hyndman told MLSsoccer.com. “I hope that more MLS teams will have the same courage to play good soccer and that we can continue to find success here.”

He said “good soccer,” not tactical innovation. It’s not like Ben Olsen has the luxury of developing tactical nuance while being expected to win enough games to qualify for the playoffs. Even an incoming coach such as Martin Rennie (known for playing a 4-3-3) has to know that that being an expansion (or second year) team is no excuse in the win-now world of MLS.

The most pleasing MLS teams to watch aren’t tactical groundbreakers, but rather they stick to their principles of putting the best players on the field and putting those players in a position to succeed. Not only is that unlikely to change, it doesn't need too. With all respect due to Lahm, the style of coaching he describes is the answer to a specific problem rather than an object statement for what makes a great coach. At this level, the motivator is more important than the tactician.

Tony Edwards is a soccer writer based in the Bay Area.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Immense Beauty, Intense Presence

British Icon John Martyn’s Legacy is Reimagined by Thirty Artists on Johnny Boy Would Love This…a Tribute to John Martyn

http://www.worldmusicwire.com

Among the contributors are David Gray, Paolo Nutini, Beck, Swell Season, and Robert Smith

In the late ’60s, the late British guitarist and songwriter John Martyn broke ground by leaping from acoustic folk into highly successful experiments with tape delay, wild recording scenarios, and jazz-inspired arrangements. He became a cult figure among British musicians. A list of his admirers reads like a who’s-who of rock, pop, and even trip hop: Eric Clapton, The Band’s Levon Helm, Lee “Scratch” Perry, The Cure’s Robert Smith, Beck, Morcheeba.

To honor his life, thirty artists reveal the full breadth of Martyn’s creativity on Johnny Boy Would Love This…A Tribute to John Martyn. The package will include a double CD digi-pak, 40-page booklet, and DVD that will feature interviews with a number of the contributing artists, performance videos, and rare live performances by John himself. Adding to this unique audio experience is the inclusion of John's actual guitar work on two of the tracks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxx8UYah6as

Musicians from several generations take on Martyn’s intense, sometimes joyful and sometimes despairing, but always influential work. They come from the fertile acoustic fringes (Vetiver, Beth Orton) and from the heart of rock and pop (Robert Smith, Phil Collins). They are elders of blues (Clarence Fountain and Sam Butler of the Blind Boys of Alabama) and young up-and-comers (John Smith and Sabrina Dinan).

***

When Bob Marley listened to Martyn (his label mate from Island Records) perform from backstage, he turned to Island founder Chris Blackwell and asked, intrigued, “What band is that?” It was the charismatic Martyn, playing solo. Along with his charmingly rakish persona and intense musicianship, Martyn began using analogue effects on his acoustic guitar in the 1960s. The result was so big and distinctive that it transformed Britain’s rock, roots, and dance music.

“I first heard ‘Small Hours’ on the John Peel Show late in 1977 and fell instantly in love with it... ‘One World' very quickly became my favourite John Martyn album... And these beautiful songs were, are and always will be an inspiration and an enchantment.”—Robert Smith (“Small Hours”)

Martyn’s deep appreciation for jazz musicians like Pharoah Sanders, as well as his unfailing instinct for crafting evocative and musically complex songs, led him to the Echoplex, an early tape delay unit that allowed him to layer sound on sound live. The effect not only wowed Marley, but opened the door for Brian Eno’s ambient music, The Edge’s delay-soaked guitar, and a slew of recent loop-based solo artists.

“He was the very first folktroniker if ever there was one!”—Beth Orton (“Go Down Easy”)

His live innovations were matched with unconventional approaches to studio recording, audible on tracks like “Small Hours.” Recorded beside a lake at 3 a.m., Martyn played on one shore while the engineers sat on the other.

“John Martyn was a true pioneer within the world of acoustic music, and his work has left signs on the road for all of those who would follow. As well as being a deft guitar player and passionate singer, he was always very much alive to the possibilities of the studio, where he was a vivid creator of mood and atmosphere.” –David Gray (“Let the Good Things Come”)

Add excellent songs to that heady mix—gems like “Stormbringer,” “Glorious Fool,” “Bless the Weather,” and “May You Never”—and it’s easy to understand why generations of musicians have respected and loved the innately musical, tumultuous Martyn. He was everywhere in the ’60s and ’70s—and knew and inspired everyone. He struck up close friendships with Nick Drake, Phil Collins, and Eric Clapton, with Steve Winwood and Jimmy Page.

“John Martyn was unique. Completely unique. He had such power, such emotion, in his music that he could overwhelm the listener even when it was just him and an acoustic guitar.”—Phil Collins

Yet unlike many icons, Martyn never settled for pop stardom. He continued to innovate and reach new audiences. His classic album Solid Air was voted one of the best chill-out albums of all time in the 1990s, and Martyn was lionized by a new generation of trip hoppers.

"I can remember when I first heard [the seminal Martyn song] ‘Solid Air.’ I was around 20 years old. It was a bright sunny afternoon. The sound of the double bass and the twinkling of the piano was just delicious. I was totally smitten.”—Skye Edwards (“Solid Air”)

Despite the acclaim and recognition he received in Britain, Martyn remains a musician’s musician in the U.S., where his albums were not widely distributed. Johnny Boy Would Love This aims to bring the immense beauty Martyn sparked to new listeners.

“The album features all these young new artists, as well as some big guns and old friends,” says Jim Tullio, longtime Martyn friend and producer, who also covers Martyn’s “Road to Ruin” for the tribute. “They were elated to be asked, and really show how influential John has been. They’ve done more than just make for a nice standard tribute; they’ve breathed new life into John’s songs.”

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bradley And The American Coaching Conundrum

By Jason Davis, August 10, 2011 - WASHINGTON, DC (Aug 10, 2011) US Soccer Players -- Don't cry for Bob Bradley. Despite losing his job as the head coach of the United States National Team rather unceremoniously just a week and a half ago, Bradley is already in the mix for another position. According to reports and confirmation from his agent, Bradley is the front runner to become the next head coach of Egypt. Whether he gets the job or not, Bradley's candidacy represents a step outside of the traditional bubble for American coaches. If he does take over in Egypt, Bradley will immediately become a trailblazer for coaches from the United States.

American coaches live in a fishbowl, swimming laps in a confined space. Whether they start in college or the pros, the men born in the US and raised on the game here are typically coaches of American soccer in some form for the entirety of their careers. As a matter of course or circumstance, Americans just aren’t plucked for jobs abroad. Rarely are the even mentioned as candidates. Upward mobility in the American coaching ranks means turning a college gig into a pro gig, and if fortune smiles, into a National Team run. Bradley, like his predecessor Bruce Arena, followed that path.

It might be fitting that just as US Soccer has changed course with the hiring of a non-American for the first time in twenty years, the American coach they dismissed is being considered for a landmark appointment.

There’s not much history of American coaches taking their talent to foreign shores. The list of head coaches at the international level begins and ends with Steve Sampson’s tenure with Costa Rica's National Team, a position he held from 2002-2004. Sampson had moderate success with the Ticos before being dismissed during a poor run in qualifying. He promptly returned to MLS to coach the Galaxy. Sampson’s sojourn turned out to be nothing more than a blip, and the status quo took hold again.

There is a smattering, or less, of American head coaches outside of the country in the club game. While their careers prove that it’s possible to be American and get a job somewhere other than in America’s unique patchwork of schools and clubs, none is guilty of having a profile of much note. That’s mostly a function of where they coach, off the radar in lesser soccer countries or in lower divisions that get little attention. It’s a task just to find references to them in the information-easy internet age.

Here's the thing, Bradley’s name popping up as a verified candidate for the Egypt job shouldn’t be all that surprising. His reputation has always been much stronger outside of the United States than within it, and he’s proven himself to be a capable international coach by taking the Americans to heights previously unseen.

It was interesting to watch the reaction from foreign journalists when Bradley’s dismissal hit the wires. Beyond the prevailing “two-cycle” wisdom, many were taken aback by the apparent ease with which Bradley and his record were dismissed. After renewing Bradley’s contract after the 2010 World Cup, the decision to make a change now was eyebrow-raising. That says something about the perception of American talent, but it’s also a commentary on how much respect Bradley has garnered from people with an outsider’s perspective on US Soccer.

Bradley’s candidacy for the Pharaohs position alone is a breakthrough of sorts. With apologies to Steve Sampson and Costa Rica, Egypt is a significant step up as a well-regarded team with several continental championships and a tradition of success. Egypt failed to make the World Cup in South Africa last year, losing to Algeria in a playoff, but they’ve hardly dropped off the map. It can’t hurt Bradley’s chances that one of the signature victories on his resume was against Algeria just last year. Bradley’s serious consideration by a nation of Egypt’s stature - hardly a world beater but a a perennial African power - means someone is looking either looking past his American-ness, or does not see that as an impediment to his doing the job. If it’s the latter, times, they are a-changing.

And if Bradley gets the job? An American coach in charge of a team with serious ambitions outside of the North and Central American environment is something that was previously impossible to imagine. Mostly, this is a credit to Bradley and the job he did while at the helm of the National Team and the impression he made on the greater soccer community.

If there’s a river to be born, a dam first has to burst. Bob Bradley, swimming beyond the American cultural sphere could be the man to cause the first fissure.

We’re quickly running out of firsts when it comes to Americans and soccer. There’s still a league or two to crack, and an American has to play in a Champions League final, but for the most part Americans have broken through the glass ceilings that matter. American players captained their sides in Europe. Americans have led their teams in goals. Young American players are the next frontier for clubs constantly on the hunt for new talent. Americans have sufficiently wormed their way into the fabric of the sport to become less and less of a novelty with each passing year. Americans are just a part of the game.

American players, that is. When it comes to head coaches, the United States has yet to produce one with any notable resume written outside of its borders. Perhaps Bradley will have an opportunity to change that. Even if he doesn't, his candidacy is a sure sign that day is coming.

Highlights: USA 1 - Mexico 1

August 10, 2011

The United States got a quick return after losing the Gold Cup final to Mexico in June, meeting in a friendly on Wednesday night in Philadelphia. In front of 30,138 fans, it looked like the game was going to be all Mexico. The USA finished the first-half with no shots while Mexico went into halftime with a goal. Oribe Peralta scored in the 16th minute. The United States regrouped in the second-half, coming close to scoring just before Klinsmann used his first substitutions in the 60th minute. It would be a sub proving the difference for the US, with Robbie Rogers scoring two minutes after entering the game for Michael Bradley. Fellow sub Brek Shea had the assist on the Rogers goal.

"I think we stopped giving them so much respect and we put them under pressure," US midfielder Landon Donovan told ESPN following the game. "When they're under pressure, they don't do well. They don't like it."

The game was the debut for new National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who saw his squad regroup to get an equalizer.

"What we were lacking in the first-half was putting pressure on them, going into their half in the final third and creating chances," Klinsmann said.... "We kept the pace up and we expected them to struggle a little bit towards the end of the game. I think there are some players that can make a difference here. Landon, obviously, but Robbie Rogers and Brek Shea, they have the qualities to go one-on-one. Those qualities that Mexico have as well, but they are attacking midfielders. That is really fun to see. They’re taking people on and they’re going into the box. That’s what changed with them coming in as subs."

-- GAME REPORT --

Match: USA vs. Mexico
Date: Aug. 10, 2011
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Lincoln Financial Field
Kickoff: 9 p.m. ET
Attendance: 30,138
Weather: Clear and warm, 80 degrees

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
MEX 1 0 1

MEX – Oribe Peralta (Andres Guardado) 17th minute
USA – Robbie Rogers (Brek Shea) 73

Lineups:
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 6-Steve Cherundolo, 5-Michael Orozco Fiscal, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 2-Edgar Castillo; 7-Kyle Beckerman 4-Michael Bradley (16-Robbie Rogers, 72), 8-Jermaine Jones (17-Brek Shea, 60) ,10-Landon Donovan, 11-Jose Torres (15-Ricardo Clark, 84); 9-Edson Buddle (18-Juan Agudelo, 60)
Subs not used: 12-Bill Hamid, 13-Zach Lloyd, 14-Heath Pearce
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

MEX: 1-Guillermo Ochoa, 16-Efrain Juarez (22- Paul Aguilar, 75), 4-Rafael Marquez (2-Francisco Javier Rodriguez, 69), 15-Hector Moreno, 3-Carlos Salcido; 7- Pablo Barrera (21-Christian Bermudez, 72), 6-Gerardo Torrado, 17-Antonio Naelson (10-Giovani dos Santos, 55), 8-Israel Castro, 18-Andres Guardado; 19-Oribe Peralta (9-Omar Arellano, 62)
Subs not used: 11-Javier Aquino, 12- Alfredo Talavera, 13-Jesus Zavala, 20-Jorge Torres Nilo
Head coach: Jose Manuel de la Torre

Stats Summary: USA / MEX
Shots: 6 / 7
Shots on Goal: 3 / 1
Saves: 0 / 2
Corner Kicks: 2 / 4
Fouls: 8 / 16
Offside: 0 / 4

Misconduct Summary:
MEX – Efrain Juarez (caution) 42nd minute
MEX – Rafael Marquez (caution) 67
MEX – Gerardo Torrado (caution) 86

Officials:
Referee: Raymond Bogle (JAM)
Assistant Referee 1: Ricardo Antonio Morgan (JAM)
Assistant Referee 2: Dion Neil (TRI)
Fourth Official: Ricardo Salazar (USA)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

game on baby . . .

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Scouting Report: Mexico

From the US National Team Players Association:

By Clemente Lisi – PHILADELPHIA, PA (Aug 9, 2011) US Soccer Players -- A new era starts Wednesday when Jurgen Klinsmann makes his debut as United States National Team coach against old rivals Mexico at Lincoln Financial Field. The friendly in Philadelphia will be the first game for the USA since losing to Mexico in the Gold Cup final in June. With that Gold Cup final loss still fresh and with players looking to impress a new coach, this August friendly takes on considerable meaning.

Although a USA-Mexico match is always a highly anticipated date on the calendar, this game will be viewed with even greater scrutiny given that it is the first for Klinsmann. If the National Team can play well, and even get a win, it would be a positive omen for Klinsmann as he embarks on a three-year journey that is expected to end with a competitive World Cup appearance in Brazil.

“It’s a very, very good team,” Klinsmann said of Mexico. “They have done a tremendous job over the past few years with a generation of young players and a record of really performing well at the highest level.”

Asked how he felt to play Mexico in his debut game, Klinsmann said, “It's a great start.”

For now, Klinsmann has his plate full assessing players and scouting after being officially introduced on August 1st. Mexico may be an attack-oriented team, but Klinsmann, a former striker, will likely field a US squad that will seek to dominate its opponent in the final third.

The game is the 59th meeting between the sides. The USA has an all-time record of 15-32-11 against Mexico dating back to 1934, but the USA has a 13-8-9 edge at home since 1957. The USA also holds a 13-10-8 advantage since 1990.

The match falls on a FIFA international fixture date, meaning both sides will have their European-based players at their disposals. Mexico is riding high after a string of stellar performances this year. Nine wins and two draws in 2011, with the three group stage losses at the Copa America explained by CONCACAF requiring Mexico to use a second-string squad made up largely of Under-23 players.

For the game, Mexico’s 20-man roster will not include Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, but still boasts an impressive offensive trio – Giovani Dos Santos, Andres Guardado and Pablo Barrera -- who dominated at the recent Gold Cup. All three scored against the US in the Gold Cup final. Hernandez will miss the game after suffering a concussion during training with Manchester United on the eve of last month's MLS All-Star Game.

Chicharito’s absence not withstanding, El Tri will be at full strength and feature the return of goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, who was suspended during the Gold Cup after testing positive for the banned substance clenbuterol. The goalkeeper was later cleared of wrongdoing by the Mexican Federation because he was found to have unintentionally eaten tainted meat. Three others suspended for the same violation – Christian Bermudez, Francisco Rodriguez and Antonio “Sinha” Naelson – also make their return to the roster.

De la Torre like to use a 4-4-2 formation that often transforms into a 4-2-3-1, allowing the Mexicans to use the wings to move the ball into the opposing penalty area while allowing the midfield to push forward. De la Torre may employ striker Omar Arellano as a lone striker, although he is more comfortable playing on the right wing. Arellano, who got the call-up in place of Chicharito, said he is looking forward to playing the USA.

“It is a revenge match. Both sides will come out fighting,” he said.

The 24-year-old Chivas Guadalajara goal poacher is one of the Mexican league’s budding stars. Arellano played on Chivas’s youth team alongside Hernandez and played in the recent World Football Challenge against Barcelona. Chivas beating Barca 4-1 prompted Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola to heap praise on his opponents.

“Mexican football is very dynamic and entertaining,” he said.

Indeed, this current Mexico team has excelled as a result of the Mexican Football Federations' continued investment in youth players. Mexico’s recent Under-17 World Cup title and reaching the knockout stage at the ongoing U-20 World Cup are indications the future looks bright for Mexico.

For now, the US needs to worry about the team Mexico fields on Wednesday night. Klinsmann’s side appears to be a little more “Mexican” than past US teams following the call-ups of Michael Orozco, Edgar Castillo, Jose Torres and DaMarcus Beasley – players who all play for Mexican clubs. Veterans like Tim Howard, Carlos Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo and Landon Donovan, all of whom have plenty of experience playing Mexico, form the core of the lineup.

The Americans can definitely compete with Mexico. For Klinsmann, the game is his first test. More importantly, the match at The Linc is a dry run for what awaits both nations as they embark on the road to Brazil 2014.

Monday, August 08, 2011

La.'s Tunica tribe revives its lost language

By MARY FOSTER Associated Press
Posted: 08/06/2011 08:46:41 AM PDT
Updated: 08/06/2011 08:54:58 AM PDT

NEW ORLEANS—Brenda Lintinger decided to do more than learn a new language—she set out to resurrect the ancient tongue of her own Tunica Indian tribe, words that had not been uttered for more than 60 years.

In spring 2010, the 51-year-old Tunica Tribal Council member had been searching the website of Tulane University in New Orleans when she noticed that the school specialized in lesser-known languages.

"And I thought, they don't get much more unknown than ours," said Lintinger, whose maternal great-great-grandfather was a tribal chief in the 1930s, the last decade the language was spoken.

So she sought the help of Judith M. Maxwell, who heads the Tulane Interdisciplinary Program in Linguistics. It fit the criteria for a dead language, as the tribe has not found anyone who even remembers hearing the Tunica language as a child.

"It was a very exciting prospect," said Maxwell. "Especially since the tribe is so enthusiastic about it."

The Endangered Languages Fund turned down Maxwell's application for a small grant, so she instead put together a group of students who donated their time to the project.

The Tunica tribe aligned with the French and later the Spanish during Louisiana's colonial period in the 1700s and was granted land in what is now Louisiana by the Spanish. But encroachment cut tribal holdings to about 130 acres by the mid-1900s, Lintinger said.

The Tunica, which says it now has 1,174 members concentrated in central Louisiana, combined with the Biloxi tribe, whose roots are in Mississippi, as both groups lost population and the tribe was officially recognized and granted reservation land in 1981. The Tunica opened a casino and hotel in Marksville, La., in 1994, employing almost 2,000 people.

The casino has sparked a renewal for the tribe, allowing it to fund programs and training for members and giving members a chance to move back to the area for casino jobs, Lintinger said.

But their language, which like those of many Native Americans was lost as they assimilated into the European and African-American population around them, seemed unlikely to come back before the Tulane efforts.

There were a few old, wax phonograph cylinders with the language recorded on them, but years of wear and background noise made the chants impossible to decipher, said Kathleen Bell, a graduate student who worked on the project.

"The quality was terrible, and the drums more or less drowned out the chants," she said.

The researchers were able to refer to past work by academics. One published a short grammar of the language in 1921, and a linguistics scholar in 1939 worked with the last tribal member known to be conversant in the Tunica language.

Mary Haas, a linguist who worked with a number of Native American languages, worked with a tribal elder, writing down stories and bits of Tunica history. She used the International Phonetic Alphabet, marking stress and some intonations, but not enough to give Maxwell's group the rhythm, timing and the way the language was phrased, Bell said.

The modern scholars used Haas' material to create glossaries and a "more modern take on grammatical properties of the language," Maxwell said.

The process was gradual, and there is still much work to do, Bell said.

"We would meet in group sessions and hash it out. I would say we still don't have grasp on much of it," she said.

Bringing a language to life depends on the desire to speak it, and attempts to revive languages generally aren't successful, Maxwell wrote in an email while conducting a summer program in South America. But Tunica members have a strong interest beyond simply hearing how their ancestors communicated.

"If people want to speak a language, they will," Maxwell said. "Look at the number of people who now speak Klingon or elvish or Na'vi."

Tunica officials eventually hope to be able to teach the language to members of all ages, Lintinger said. A children's book based on the language was presented during the tribe's annual powwow in May, and many members wanted to learn the language and asked about classes, Lintinger said.

About 650 copies of the book—featuring the Tunica tales "Deer and Turtle" and "Fighting Eagles"—were handed out at the powwow. Two tribe members read the stories aloud in their native tongue.

"When we got up and read them in our language, I wish I could tell you how excited everyone was," Lintinger said. "Everybody was so taken by it, so caught up in listening to the stories."

The group, along with Tulane faculty member Nathalie Dajko, also has put together two Tunica prayers.

Kathleen Ubnoske, who read one of the stories at the powwow, said it took a lot of work to learn the language, but when she stood before the members of her tribe, speaking it came easily.

"My mouth just ran with it, not that it was easy but it felt so right when I started to read," Ubnoske said. "It seemed it was a natural thing for me to do.

"I took it as I was honoring my grandfather and great-grandfather and down the line when they were speaking this."

Thursday, August 04, 2011

8 Reasons Young Americans Don't Fight Back: How the US Crushed Youth Resistance

The ruling elite has created social institutions that have subdued young Americans and broken their spirit of resistance.

AlterNet: By Bruce E. Levine, July 31, 2011 |

Traditionally, young people have energized democratic movements. So it is a major coup for the ruling elite to have created societal institutions that have subdued young Americans and broken their spirit of resistance to domination.

Young Americans—even more so than older Americans—appear to have acquiesced to the idea that the corporatocracy can completely screw them and that they are helpless to do anything about it. A 2010 Gallup poll asked Americans “Do you think the Social Security system will be able to pay you a benefit when you retire?” Among 18- to 34-years-olds, 76 percent of them said no. Yet despite their lack of confidence in the availability of Social Security for them, few have demanded it be shored up by more fairly payroll-taxing the wealthy; most appear resigned to having more money deducted from their paychecks for Social Security, even though they don’t believe it will be around to benefit them.

Read the rest here: http://www.alternet.org/vision/151850/8_reasons_young_americans_don%27t_fight_back%3A_how_the_us_crushed_youth_resistance/?page=1

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Rebel Elders: Terakaft Refines Rough-Hewn Desert Rock on Aratan N Azawad (Children of the Azawad)

http://www.worldmusicwire.com

Old-school rock rebels and musical elders from the desert. Terakaft brings together the raw sounds of minimal indie guitar rock and the swaying pulse of Saharan journeys. They harness the energy of flirtatious midnight songs and the gravitas of respected advisors calling for peace and unity.

Tuareg guitar warriors, Terakaft keeps alive the musical spirit honed by decades of oppression, rebellion, and exile on Aratan N Azawad. Drawing on traditional forms of this Saharan nomadic people, filtered through an utterly fresh take on blues and rock, Terakaft (“Caravan”) moves through Tuareg history and a sea of sand to take the plight of their people to the world—in angular guitar licks and pulsating grooves.

Based in Mali, the core of Terakaft got its start where it all started: with the boot camp blues that became a musical liberation movement. In hopes of liberating their denigrated, divided people scattered over five African countries, some Tuaregs turned to violence, gaining military and ideological training from the Libyans. But their casual, cigarette-fueled blues jams in between training sessions soon inspired a better way to shake up the Tuareg world: trade the machine guns for electric guitars, following in the footsteps of Bob Marley and John Lennon.

The resulting music sparked a revolution all its own, as young Tuaregs embraced the new sound, simply called “guitar” in Tuareg, and began taking ancient call-and-response poetic forms and making them rock. Terakaft leader Liya Ag Ablil (a.k.a. Diara) and the late Inteyeden (who like Diara once formed the core of Tinariwen) themselves began a new direction within that greater movement: They composed historical songs in the new rock style. Terakaft now embraces two generations of musicians and a body of music dedicated to the rich history and poetry of the Tuareg.

“Historically, our people had a huge territory that extended across the Sahara,” explains bassist and singer Abdallah Ag Ahmed. “But now Tuaregs are all living in despair and isolation, each in their own little corner of the world. We want to unite our people,” with rousing calls for progress like “Aghalem.”

Terakaft has perfected the songs that launched this desert rock rebellion, with tracks like “Aratan N Azawad,” which insists that children must study Tuareg language and history, which “is written in the mountains,” for there to be hope. Originally composed by Diara during the Tuareg rebellion two decades ago, Terakaft brings balance and quiet insistence to the song’s catchy melody and pared-down guitar solos.

Terakaft’s vision of national unity and Saharan rock incorporates the rich heritage of Tuareg poetry and dance, blending it with the details of contemporary desert life. The brand image on a pack of Algerian cigarettes inspired “Akoz Imgharen” (“Four Patriarchs”), suggesting a council of wise elders for the four corners of Tuareg territory to Diara’s imagination. The lyrical “Idiya Idohena” is based on iswat, the playful, sensual songs that accompany young Tuaregs’ midnight dancing. The song is traditional, but Terakaft singer and guitarist Sanou Ag Ahmed adapted it for guitar and voices (and a subtle patter of palms).

Though firmly rooted in traditional forms, Terakaft has quietly expanded the musical palette of Tuareg rock. There’s a sparkle and upbeat vibe reminiscent of West African guitar rock running parallel to the modal and bluesy feel that first won Tuareg music international attention. Interlocking bass grooves and drums add a funky complexity to songs like the romantic “Hegh Ténéré.”

“We’ve just begun to work with musicians from other places, like the Indian singer Kiran Alhuwalia or a Celtic clarinetist we performed with not long ago in Angers,” notes Diara. “It was great to play with them. And we now tour with Matthias [Vaguenez],” a percussionist and fixture on the French world music and trip hop scene, whose thoughtful playing weaves throughout the album.

Increasingly familiar with and known to the world at large, Terakaft remains devoted to their desert heritage and to their ongoing hope of a united Tuareg nation. “I have to say,” reflects Diara, “there is nothing better than unity and peace.”

See the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTrKRt8Kjs4

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Transcript Of Klinsmann Press Conference

August 01, 2011

On Monday, the United States Soccer Federation released the following transcript of new National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann and USSF president Sunil Gulati's remarks to the media.

U.S. Soccer President SUNIL GULATI
Opening comments:
“It’s been an exciting summer, which is still going on with some terrific games – Barcelona and Manchester United over the weekend, lots of big crowds and the excitement of the Women’s World Cup. The excitement of the Gold Cup set all sorts of records in attendance and television ratings.

There were some ups and downs obviously for our teams on the field, but overall the health of the sport in this country certainly is quite good and headed in the right direction. That doesn’t mean there won’t be wins and losses along the way, but we’re very pleased, generally, with where the sport is headed. Having said that, I think today is a very important day and perhaps the start of a new era for us. We’re extraordinarily excited about having Jurgen Klinsmann join our team, to lead our team and to help lead our technical program. Jurgen’s experience, both as a player and coach, and as a resident of this country – and I think all three of those are important – we think are huge assets. The latter solves whatever we think about having an international coach, and whether they’ll know America, and know the difference between Duke (University) and the Portland Timbers, and all the things that are specific to the U.S., like the role of education, geography and so on. Jurgen has that. He’s been a resident of the country for 13 years and has studied a lot of things. He’s lived around the world. He’s multi-lingual, and that is in addition to his vast playing experience and the coaching experience with the German national team and Bayern Munich. His record is extraordinary. It speaks for itself. We’ve had discussions, which have been widely reported, for quite some time. We’re going to focus today on going forward, although I’m sure there is some interest in how we got to today, and we’ll address that, but we really want to focus on going forward and the excitement in the sport. It’s also a reflection of the sport that there has been so much interest in this announcement, in the fate of the national team. We think all those things are positive.”

On the issue of control:
“Between [Jurgen and I], there has never been an issue of control. I think that’s a bit of a red herring. Jurgen’s comments previously were about being able to incorporate that onto a piece of paper. The understanding that we’ve had about moving forward and collaborating, quite frankly, has been pretty clear for many years. How to best incorporate that is something that we’ve been able to get through, and it’s been a collaborative effort in all areas.”

On why the change is happening now:
“Quite a bit of it is always results. We take time after every major competition to reflect on that competition and what led up to it. It’s not a single game, or a single result. It’s where the program is, and how comfortable we feel in the direction that it’s going. That’s based partly on results for sure, partly on the last year, and we made a decision that it was time to make a change. The timing was never good for a change. We have a game in nine days, so that’s not an easy situation for Jurgen to walk into. In some cases, players have been contacted and he may or may not choose those same players. After the Gold Cup, which is a benchmark for us, it was a natural time to look at where we were.”

On whether he thinks there is an American approach to the game:
“Prior to us having any discussions about coaching the team after the World Cup in Germany, Jurgen outlined what he had done when he had first gone to Germany on that issue of style and why that German team felt, played and looked different than previous teams. It’s exactly what he just outlined which we were fascinated with. He essentially had a series of conversations in some sense with the country, but with players, with coaches, with media about what they expected, what they wanted German soccer to represent at the international level. Given the diversity of this country, that sort of dialogue here is exciting.”

On national team coaches having two World Cup cycles and whether Klinsmann will be given two cycles:
“The second cycle issue is always an awkward question because most coaches that aren’t very successful, defined at some level for their own circumstances and their own country, don’t get that opportunity, and those that do have generally done well in the first cycle. To improve on a good performance is never easy. On statistical grounds, there’s not many of them and it’s not easy to measure. The commitment we’ve made for now is through the World Cup, so it’s not a seven-year commitment. We’ll look at that along the way. In the case of Europe, there are four and six year commitments quite often around a European Championship. The Gold Cup has become increasingly more important for us when it leads to the Confederations Cup and as a competition in itself, so we’re worrying about the next three years, and the next nine days with a game right off the bat. We’ll see how it goes over that period of time. In the case of Germany, Jurgen was able to get comfortable relatively quickly - not in seven days - to get that team ready, and we’ll look forward to that over the next three years.”

On his meeting with Bob Bradley and the importance of Klinsmann’s World Cup experience:
“After the Gold Cup, we started to review the year and the five years. In the last 10 to fourteen days, we came to some conclusions, and that’s Dan Flynn, our CEO, and I for the most part. I don’t think I’m going to get into details on the meeting with Bob. These are always difficult situations. Bob has done a very good job with the national team and has been a good friend long before he was the national team coach and I was U.S. Soccer President, so those moments are difficult. With regards to Jurgen, it’s a great thing to have someone who’s been there, who’s been on the winner’s stand at the World Cup, and at the European Championship. That’s a unique situation. He’s had a bronze medal as a coach at the World Cup. For us, that’s a fantastic situation that he’s played at the very highest level, coached at the very highest level with Bayern and with Germany, but to have actually tasted the success of winning the World Cup we think is a plus for sure.”

U.S. Men’s National Team head coach JURGEN KLINSMANN
Opening comments:
“Thank you for those kind words, and for having me here today. I’m really excited about this opportunity, this chance to coach the U.S. team having lived here for the last 13 years, and also getting to know the U.S. Soccer environment, having connected with this country in all sorts of environments – the youth level, the college system, MLS. There has always been a feeling around that maybe one day I’ll have the opportunity to coach the U.S. team. Obviously, as most of you know I took over Germany for two years, guiding them to the World Cup in 2006, then had a one-year experience with Bayern Munich. But I have always stayed, for family reasons, deeply connected with the U.S. team. This is a big moment for me personally and for us as a family, and I’m really proud that I get that opportunity to be part of the future of U.S. Soccer. It’s going to be a challenge, absolutely. It’s going to be quite demanding the next couple of weeks to get my hands around this. There is a game coming up next week against Mexico already in Philadelphia, so it’s a lot to do. We’ll be calling up the players now, getting the squad together and knowing that isn’t going to be too easy since a lot of players had their breaks and some haven’t even played a game yet in the new season in Europe. But that’s all just part of the job. I’m really excited about that opportunity on all levels. I’m obviously talking with Sunil and a lot of people here in the U.S. Soccer environment and it’s about the bigger picture. Obviously, the main responsibility is the men’s team and moving that program forward, but it’s about discussing with a lot of people involved in the game about what happens in the youth scene and in all the developmental areas. It is an exciting moment and I want to thank you for coming today and giving me such a wonderful reception. I look forward to answering all sorts of questions, and hopefully see you next week in Philadelphia for the first big one.”

On why he decided to take this job now:
“Sunil and I have obviously talked, and sometimes it was just talks in general, not just about maybe someday being the head coach of the U.S. team, but always about where is the sport in this country, the big issues on the table and the challenges ahead. Throughout those years, there were always different moments and different opinions, which is normal. It was never really the moment before. Now there is a feeling of understanding that it is just a moment of a certain comfort level between the two of us, and the federation and myself. It’s not about power; it’s about topics that float around, challenges. There is so much going on in this country right now. In the past year we’ve seen Academy clubs rising on the youth level, which is a big topic. We see where the youth national teams are going, and obviously we see the development of the men’s and women’s teams and their directions. There are always different moments, different timing, and right now the timing is right. We had a clear understanding of what we want to do, and that’s why I’m really happy that we’ve thought about this and found a comfort level for moving forward.”

On how he intends to fix some of the issues of the team:
“I don’t think there is anything wrong with the team. They lost a Gold Cup final against a very, very good Mexico team that over the last couple of years became one of the top 10 teams in the world and have a lot of talent. When you come into a situation like this, you analyze every individual player, the team itself and the program, which I’ll have the chance to do during the next couple of weeks, to see how I can develop them further. You build on what was built before, and if you look back on the past 20 years in this country, a lot has been built. The U.S. has, since 1990, always qualified for the World Cup. The U.S. has made a lot of noise with MLS being introduced. Now look where MLS is. I know in the beginning there were eight or 10 teams and half of those were supported by Phil Anschutz. Now, you have a league with 18 teams and growing next year again. There are development teams being introduced with the Academy program. It’s come a long way, soccer in the United States. I’m now getting this opportunity to move it further. We can build on what has been built by Bob [Bradley] in the last five years, and before that by Bruce Arena and Steve Sampson and so on. I’m proud to get that opportunity. Having played abroad in different countries, Italy, France and Germany, I have my own ideas for the program. And I will, step by step, introduce the ideas that I have, always double checking if it suits the American game. I’m not coming in here to be the European guy. I’ve lived here for 13 years, so I think I know a lot about certain issues. But I think you can also be proud of what you’ve achieved over the last few years where soccer is now. Look at this press conference. Look at three or four soccer television channels. Who would have thought that 15 years ago? It’s a lot of movement going on, and I want to be part of that movement and help out with it. There is a lot to do.”

On whether he thinks there is an American approach to the game:
“I deeply believe that soccer in a certain way reflects the culture of a country. Having studied the U.S. culture over the last 13 years, it’s quite a challenge. You have such a melting pot in this country with so many different opinions and ideas floating around there. Every coach obviously has his own ideas, and then you have the whole challenge of youth soccer in this country being based on a very different model than anywhere else in the world. Your educational system is completely different than the rest of the world. One of my challenges will be to find a way to define how a U.S. team should represent its country. What should be the style of play? Is it more proactive and aggressive, a forward-thinking style of play? Or is it more reacting style of play? That comes with the players that you have at your disposal, but also the people that you are surrounded with, and the people that have an opinion in this country, like the media, like coaches. There’s such a wealth of knowledge in this country. In Europe or in South America, it’s unheard of. The college coaches have a four-year education as well. Traditionally in Europe, you become a pro at the age of 18, so you never get to go to college. It is important over the next three years, especially in the beginning, that I have a lot of conversations with people engulfed in the game here to find a way to define that style. What suits us best? What would you like to see and identify with? I think a great example is the women’s team, and how they played their World Cup final. This is how America wanted to see their girls play that game, and they did an awesome job. It will be one of our main topics, always sitting down and discussing that. It should reflect your mentality and your culture. If you talk about Brazil, you know how Brazil plays. You know about Argentina, you know about Italy. They sit back and wait for one mistake, and if you do, they’re going to kill you. We defined that with Germany in 2004, which was a very difficult process, but we worked through that process and now it’s settled that style of play. Your opinion is important. College coaches’ opinions are important. Youth coaches’ opinions are important. Everyone is involved in that process, players as well. I’m looking forward to a lot of talks.”

On whether he has spoken to any of the players or staff ahead of the Mexico game:
“I spoke to about five, six players over the weekend. We were extremely busy to get this whole thing organized and get officially ready to work and move forward towards the Mexico game. I spoke to five or six players, and I will call the rest tomorrow. I pretty much have a picture of where they are at right now with their club teams, especially if you look at the overseas players, their personal situations, some without a club right now. It’s not going to be easy to form a highly competitive team, but we will get it off the ground. That being said, about the staff, me, Sunil and Dan had a good talk about that as well. I would like to approach it in the way that I will work from game to game with different people. I won’t confirm a full time staff over the next couple of months, because I want to see what’s out there. There are a lot of good, highly qualified coaches in the U.S. that I might not know. I need to talk to people and understand what’s out there. We’ll talk to a lot of MLS coaches and get their perspective and see who I can invite as guest coaches, guest assistant coaches. I won’t come in and say this is my staff. It was a different situation seven years ago with Germany, because of the media pressure and the speculations. You needed to calm that down right away. Here, because we’re not jumping into qualifying right away, we have that opportunity where we have exhibition games so I can try out different coaches on my side to see how they are doing. I had a great conversation with Claudio Reyna, and I want Claudio very close to me in terms of helping him in his new role as a Technical Director for Youth Development at the Federation. He will always be a part of the staff, and he will sit with us coaches at the table so I can tell him how I look at the game and how I can be of help to him. I spoke to Tab Ramos. I want his perspective, and I want his information about what’s coming through in the Under-20 and U-17 level even if I have seen some of those games already, and I kind of already know most of the players from watching them, but I will take my time. Hopefully by Wednesday, we can announce the roster for the Mexico game so we can give you a clear picture on who is on that roster of 20 players and also announce who will be my assistants on the training field and on the bench. It won’t be a coaching staff that will be confirmed for the next three years. We will take our time. I want to make sure that I get to know a lot of different people, a lot of different approaches, because covering this country here is a different challenge than a small country like Germany.”

On the debate about foreign and domestic coaches for the U.S. team:
“There are pros and cons. I think foreign coaches can bring a lot to the table because of their experience in certain high intense environments. If you coach a national team in South America or Europe, or a club team, you are in the daily grind. This is really something you have to deal daily with - this amount of journalists instead of once in a while. You have a different perspective on the game, and you are used to working in a different environment. It is important to understand the specifics of U.S. Soccer. It is important to understand your culture and how you grow up and where your emotions and priorities are. It took me years to understand how important this whole educational path for people is in this country. I never got it the first couple of years, and I said, ‘Why is the program really not that important to people, and why is it always about where you are going to college? What’s the high school? Where are your kids going to school?’ I always responded, ‘My kids are going to school at the next closest school. What’s the big deal?’ Over the years, I saw that those are the reasons why you think that way and it’s because it’s a completely different setup. It’s important that I know all those things, and it’s important when a foreign coach comes in, he gets the time to understand all those mechanisms. You always have to consider the different people in different roles. One thing is to coach the U.S. team and develop players in this country for their future, and the other thing is you may have to prepare them for a World Cup in Brazil or wherever in Europe. Suddenly, totally other circumstances come in where maybe a U.S. coach, in that moment, is very comfortable in whatever happens in this country, but suddenly he is out of his comfort zone when he is in Brazil and deals with different nations and different styles of play and different issues there. One of the fascinating topics we will have over the next months and years is what people can we work with on a global basis? That doesn’t mean you bring in an assistant coach from Europe just to have an assistant coach from Europe, but maybe you have some people in Europe that help to work with the U.S. Soccer Federation and they live in Europe. You have the case that probably two thirds of your squad of the best 20 players are in Europe so maybe a thought is, ‘Should we have somebody in Europe to oversee those players so I don’t have to fly back and forth every weekend?’ I will build, with Dan and Sunil together, we will build a network with people who help U.S. soccer to move forward and quietly. It doesn’t need to be on the media surface. It’s amazing to talk to foreign coaches about what happened here in the U.S. A good friend of mine is Berti Vogts in Germany, or Cesar Menotti of Argentina, or Carlos Alberto Parreira in Brazil. When I talk to these coaches, they admire what has happened here in the last 20 years. Carlos Alberto was here for a year and experienced MLS himself, which was a huge challenge for him because he didn’t know how things worked. Suddenly there was a draft and he said, ‘What’s a draft?’ We don’t have that in Europe and South America. To learn from those coaches for your own program is also very important, and I have most of those relationships already, and I will build further relationships with coaches abroad and then see what is best for U.S. Soccer.”

On whether he would like to see a uniform style of play for the youth system in the United States, what changes he would like to see in the youth system and if that was a sticking point in the negotiations at any point:
“That was never a sticking point. It’s actually a fascinating point and I think, yes, the youth teams should reflect, again, the mixture of your cultures. It should reflect what’s going on in your country and there’s so much going on and that’s why I think Claudio Reyna’s roll is very, very important to find a path, with us together, how those teams should play and how they should be put together. There’s so much influence coming from the Latin environment over the last 15-20 years. It also has to be reflected in the U.S. National Team, and you have so many kids now with dual citizenship, Mexican or other Central American countries and American, so that will always be a topic to discuss. Obviously, you won’t have a copy in your Under-20 or Under-17 of the Men’s National Team because players are different. Players have all different characteristics, so every coach needs to find his own little path of how to put things together. But overall it should be a broader understanding of how also the youth teams should play, and this will be one of the main topics going forward. What started from U.S. Soccer with the youth academies, it will expand and will get bigger and bigger. All these discussions are important and also important for you, media, to have your say in it. I’ve talked to a lot of youth coaches, my boy is playing youth soccer, my girl as well, and they all wait for information. They are very knowledgeable on the youth level in this country but they also ask those same questions. I think there’s a huge opportunity to discuss things and bring different people in and hopefully define more and more how the style should look like.”

On how he would describe the mentality of the country in regards to how he thinks the U.S. Men’s National Team should reflect the mentality of the U.S.:
“Studying your culture and having an American wife and American kids, mainly right now my understanding is that you don’t like to react to what other people do. I think this is maybe a starting point. I think America never really waits and sees and leaves it up to other people to decide what is next. I think America always likes to decide on its own what is next. This guides maybe towards a more proactive style of play where you would like to impose a little bit the game on your opponent instead of sitting back and waiting for what your opponent is doing and react to it. It always depends, also, on your opponent. If you play Brazil or Argentina, you might play differently than maybe a country in CONCACAF, but it is a starting point if you say we want to start to keep possession, we want to start to dictate the pace of the game, we want to challenge our players to improve technically in order to keep the ball. All those components you have to build into your training sessions and have to build it into the curriculum for the youngsters because the earlier they start with that type of work, the better it is. Barcelona was not born in the last couple of years. It was born, the style of play now, in the early 90’s through Johan Cruyff. It took 20 years for that moment today that we see and all admire, just to take an example. So I’m really curious to hear all the different opinions out there.”

On the expectations of the U.S. Men’s National Team over the course of the next three years:
“Expectations are always based on what was built over the last 10-15 years. When you coach Germany the expectations are to be in the final. Other than the final, the country is not happy. I think expectations here certainly are different because of how the game grew in the last 10-20 years. I think a quarterfinal is already huge. I think going through the group stage is really, really important and then going to the knockout stage where anything is possible. But obviously you want to improve, you want to get better, you want to be better than the last World Cup and the World Cup before, but you can’t promise anything because once you’re in the knockout stage, anything can happen.”

On the challenges he faces:
“I think there are a lot of different challenges ahead of us, especially on the foundation level and the foundation is youth; how they should be trained, how often they should train, how much time they should spend with the ball, how they should develop their talent, and it all feeds into Claudio’s new role here. This is really important to be addressed from the beginning because I think this is what is really missing compared to the leading soccer nations around the world, the first 10-12 nations around the world, is the amount of time kids play the game. If you have a kid that plays in Mexico 20 hours a week, and maybe four hours of organized soccer but 16 hours of unorganized soccer just banging the ball around in the neighborhood, but if he gets up to 20 hours it doesn’t matter how he plays it, with his dad or with his buddies in the street., this will show later on with his technical abilities, with his passing, with his instinct on the field and all those things, and I think that’s certainly an area where a lot of work is ahead of us. If you look at MLS, they took major steps forward. It’s come a long way, but it’s still a hectic style from the college game, which slowly we have to get it more on a technical level, we have to get it on more comfortable level with the ball, and so there are developmental issues. I think there are pros and cons. It’s come a long way, but we have a ways to go still to break into those top 10 in the world. We need to be realistic that we are not belonging there right now, or not yet.”

Monday, August 01, 2011

CONCACAF World Cup Draw

FIFA conducted the World Cup qualification draw in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday. Under the CONCACAF Qualifying system, there will now be a 2nd Round group stage that the United States will not be involved in. The USA enters in Round 3, where they will face fellow seeded team Jamaica along with the winners of Round 2's Groups E and F.

North, Central America and the Caribbean Zone Draw (Round Two)
Group A: El Salvador, Surinam, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic
Group B: Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Barbados, Bermuda
Group C: Panama, Dominica, Nicaragua, Bahamas
Group D: Canada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Puerto Rico, St Lucia
Group E: Grenada, Guatemala, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize
Group F: Haiti, Antigua and Barbuda, Curacao, US Virgin Islands

North, Central America and the Caribbean Zone Draw (Round Three)
Group A: USA, Jamaica, Winner of R2 Grp E, Winner of R2 Grp F
Group B: Mexico, Costa Rica, Winner of R2 Grp A, Winner of R2 Grp B
Group C: Honduras, Cuba, Winner of R2 Grp D, Winner of R2 Grp C