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Every nation develops its own style. The Spanish are known for tiki-taka, the Dutch for Total Football, the Brazilians for Joga Bonito. With the recent success of the Spanish national team after many, many years of underperforming, tiki-taka has become en vogue.
However, not every nation is built for that style, nor should every nation try to adopt that style. The U.S. is no different.
With the recent hiring of Jurgen Klinsmann as national team manager and Claudio Reyna as youth technical director, they are attempting to implement a more free-flowing possession style to the national team and youth levels. While this is to be commended and it is certainly more entertaining to watch beautiful football, it is not the right style for the U.S.
As the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Even with the emergence of players like Mix Diskerud, Jose Torres and others, they are nowhere near the level or Xavi and Iniesta, nor will they ever be. The U.S. is not built for tiki-taka, nor will it be any time soon.
As Klinsmann himself has said repeatedly, a nation’s style of play should reflect its culture. Is there anything more American than a style built on strong defense, organization, hard work and athleticism? The bottom line is winning. While some might see this as a regression, realistically, it is what the U.S. is best at and what it is built for. Jurgen would seem to be the perfect man to do this, combining two German football hallmarks: solid, organized defending and lightning-quick, deadly counters.
Our best players are combative, athletic, fit and competitive. Even our best possession players are not going to out-possess the players from the top 15-20 teams in the world, but as Bob Bradley proved, a strong, organized defense combined with fit, competitive players put into a counterattack system can beat the best teams in the world.
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