I've been getting into the World Cup although with ABC shifting all the weekday games to ESPN it's been harder to watch live, thank goodness for Univision! Anyway I came across an intersting comment by Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira on the US soccer scene. He believes that the US youth scene is too organized and official for real development of the game. He may have a point. I live 100 yards from a local soccer park and daily I see youth leagues either in training or in games. However, I never see these kids out on the street or on their own in the park just knocking a soccer ball around.
I was not much of an athlete growing up in England but I do remember that every street, alley, park or playground was an excuse for a game of football. With discarded sweaters as goals, teams of diverse numbers & ages would form merely for the fun of the game. On my travels I've seen similar pick up games all across the World except in the US where the Soccer Mom, Coach & YMCA League seem to be the only outlet. Parreira's point is that without these thousands of hours of unconscious refinements of skill the USA can never hope to compete with the soccer powerhouses. Of course England ain't been looking too great recently either!