The U.S. youth soccer system is often criticized as too Anglo. Too athletic. Too focused on big brawny suburbanites, too resistant to Hispanic players and their magical ball skills.
And so the argument goes that if Lionel Messi had been raised in the USA, he wouldn’t have made it.
To which I say: B&*$%@!
As evidence, allow to present a quick peek at the most hyped U.S. player in history:
If you saw Freddy Adu play over the years, you know he was never a dominant physical specimen. He could be explosive with the ball, but he’s not the fastest guy in the world. And he’s not a big guy.
If anything, Messi is more physically imposing than Adu. Messi can score goals with defenders draped on him. Adu is more likely to be muscled off the ball.
Maybe the Ghanaian pickup games in which Adu learned his trade were better for development than American U8 games. Fine. But it’s a fallacy to think a 10-year-old Messi would be overlooked by U.S. teams.
Then we would ruin his career.