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Jimmy Conrad is an American soccer defender, who currently plays for the Kansas City Wizards of Major League Soccer and the United States national team. He is also team captain[…]

It all comes down to how the players learned to play the game.

Question: Which country has the best style of soccer?


Jimmy Conrad: I think there is an argument that continues today about this kind of a kick and run. I think the English premier league is probably the one where they just to give it at the field and dangerous spots as fast as possible, they don’t worry about how pretty it looks or any of that stuff. So there is that argument that is the most effective and that is true and it probably is the most effective and they have four quality teams over there that can play a variety of styles, that included, and they make the game look very-very nice and beautiful. And so that is what a lot of people get to see but the most majority of that league, it is pretty ugly soccer and it is just getting in to the box, kicking the ball up, bypassing the midfield and not really allowing the playmakers to play, they actually don’t really have all that many playmakers outside of the top four teams. So, in that regard you know if we took out those top four teams and just said that straight English style it just mainly we get into the box and get in dangerous spots as fast as we possibly can.

I like... I find pleasure in watching and playing in terms of the build-up and pulling guys out of space, making defenders make decisions, as opposed to make in at a physical battle for every ball, I think the Italians do that very well, the Spanish their leagues are very good, we have had some pre-seasons trips to Argentina the last few years; I have a lot more respect for them because I have gone to some games live. And just to see how they play and move as a unit, makes me excited that those teams even at the club level, play very smart and intelligent way to play. And that is not a knock on the English league, because they have teams and players and they can do that, but on the whole, they are just as fast as possible, lets get in the box. And so... that happens at our youth level as well, there is still a conflict there because some times, lets say a under-10 game, you have and under-10 team that is amazing, they just touch the ball, they make passes and they make the game look really nice, they have got a couple of chances, but then they are trying to get some team that probably doesn’t have very good soccer players, but they are very good athletes and they're just knockin' it up and trying to make happen and that team wins one nothing and then you like well, we have got the result, but who were the better soccer players?

And so it is still, something we could argue in... I mean if you look at the English national team right now, I mean they are, they are not doing very well, they didn’t qualify for some of the important tournaments so, I don’t know, I mean we could, I can talk about this forever... But you know the where I find great deal of pleasure in watching is usually the teams that play a smart style, that pull people out of space trying to connect passes and try to score beautiful goals...

I could have said the Brazilians as well, I don’t know how I forgot them, but yeah I think they bring like a kind of street ball creativity to the world's game I think the U.S. could benefit from having some kids that play like that, I think there is a great game, the great aspect of soccer is that you can be any shape or size and still be successful and I think... and have like three or four different styles on the field and still find success, so I think in terms of just the U.S. ideal will be nice to have a player or two that had some of that flair and I think we have a couple of guys... I think Clint Dempsey is a guy who has find the English premier league now, who takes risks, I think that is mainly it. I think the Brazilians are free from many kind of structure, as they are growing up in learning the game and developing ideas about how to play, and I think some of our kids here are may be too structured and don’t ever feel like they get the freedom to be themselves and create and have some flair without thinking that they are going to get yelled at or feel like it is a bad thing for them to try to take risks and so that's something I am very passionate about and something that I think I will probably do when I have done playing.


Question: Is this a product of how they learned soccer?


 Jimmy Conrad: Yeah I do absolutely, but that been said I think you know lets say Ronaldinho is an example, I mean he is an amazing player, one of the top players in the world and I am sure, I know I have seen clips of him playing organized soccer when he was a kid... they just, they are coaching is just to let the kids be free, I mean there idea of how to raise, you know, good soccer players is through, just creativity and letting the kids develop and then once they get to like 15 or 16 they can start teaching them a little more about tactics and structure and movement and shape and... but lot of those guys have that already, they understand the game, they have that instinct and so you know they are just kind of bringing those guys along and not interfering and I think that's where and I think that is where you know our system still needs to change a little bit and I think we interfere may be too much and get these kids stuck on ideas that they just don’t need to be thinking about just yet. You know I don’t think our 9-year-olds need to be really that invested in a 4-4-2 or 3-5-2 or any kind of formation. I think... you kind of explain it to him but I don’t think that needs to be the number one, I think number one they just need to work on their ball skills and because if you can’t control a ball, then you are not going to be playing at a very high level, ever. So that is kind of one of those things where, there needs to be I think kind of a switch in how we raise our kids become soccer players.


Recorded On: 3/24/08

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