From Shrewsbury to Stateside - 12/06/2003

Although I was in for the Shrewsbury job, I can fully understand why the position was given to Jimmy Quinn. Heís done well at Northwich Victoria and has experience of the Conference. I genuinely wish him and Shrewsbury all the best.

As for me, I Ďm presently in the States, taking a look around the football (or soccer) scene over here. I have a US work VISA that expires shortly, so Iím also taking the opportunity to re-new it. Football is absolutely massive over here, the amount of players who belong to, and pay subscriptions to clubs is absolutely phenomenal. In Cincinnati there are 250,000 registered players, and in St. Louis I beleive the number is 300,000. Itís just a matter of time before the US produces some world class players, and that the game really takes off on a professional level.

Presently the top level of football Ė Major League Soccer (MLS) is supported by the ĎA Leagueí Ė the equivalent of our first division. Due to the sheer size of the country, itís pretty difficult to organise national league structures. The distance between Seattle and Miami is slightly more than say Newcastle to Southampton!! Itís not just a question of flying everywhere, thereís simply not the finance outside of MLS, so often is down to coach trips Ė and playing three away games on the bounce as teams effectively go on a mini-tour.

But, you can take it from me that US soccer is special. The kids playing the game over here are something else. The technical ability is very good Ė as is there natural athleticism. At present it seems their only weakness is perhaps a tactical naivety Ė but thatís coming along strongly! As a say, itís just a matter of time before we see some very special US players. Iím very interested in working out here and weíll see what turns up. I'm back next week and l'll let you know how it's gone.

If youíre interested in learning more about the game out here, check out itís a great site that also takes a look at the US from an English perspective.

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