Claudio Reyna blasts soccer in the U.S.: 'We're far too arrogant'
Former United States captain Claudio Reyna has called U.S. soccer "arrogant" and "obnoxious" in the wake of the national team's stunning elimination from World Cup qualifying last week.
The U.S. were beaten 2-1 in Trinidad and Tobago last Tuesday to ensure they'd miss out on their first World Cup finals since 1986 as they finished fifth out of six teams in the CONCACAF hexagonal table.
And Reyna, who was capped 114 times for his country, told Goal.com an inflated ego and lack of respect for ideas from abroad contributed to the U.S.'s downfall this cycle.
"Our approach and our behavior to the sport here -- to coaching, to everything, is just wrong," Reyna said on Tuesday. "We're far too arrogant. We're far too obnoxious. We are egotistical having never won anything or done anything, and that's not the case around the world.
"You travel to Spain, Argentina, Germany and you run into coaches and sporting directors and there's a humility about their work that doesn't exist here, and that's, for me, seeing it, is to me a big concern.
"When you have a disappointment like last week, and we've had past disappointments as well, and we'll have disappointments in the future, but what we need to understand that it's for me behavioral.
"We have coaches who think they're better than they are. Across the board, we just think we do things better than we really do. I mean in every way. Whether it's broadcasting, or media, coaching, we're just not as far along as we tell ourselves we are.
"We need a little honesty, and hopefully this brought it. I think it's far too late. I think we've been asleep at the wheel for a little bit too long."
Reyna, who currently serves as the director of football for New York City FC, also believes the U.S. is doing a poor job taking on best practices abroad.
"We have all these countries around the world we can learn from, and you go over there and you're not going to see different training sessions," Reyna said. "You're going to see good games, and poor games, like in any league across the world.
"But the one thing that we haven't realized, I think, when we have our American soccer people go abroad to learn, I don't think they see the behaviors of the people and how they coach in their day-to-day work. That's the shake-up I hope people realize more than anything.
"You go to a U14 and U15 coach in Spain, and they are 10 times more humble than a U14 or U15 coach in Connecticut, New Jersey or New York, who thinks they're the next Pep Guardiola or Patrick Vieira.
"Until we realize that -- that we're not as good as we think we are at all levels -- then I think we're going to continue being what we are, which is mediocre."
Soccer participation numbers among kids has skyrocketed in recent years, highlighting the game's growing popularity overall in the United States. However, Reyna says that growth hasn't led to much improvement.
"What I think has happened in the past 10 years is we're confusing investment, expansion, growth, [U.S. Development Academy], and all these other things with progress," Reyna said.
"All these things have sort of created a feeling that we're progressing, but I call it expanding, growth and more fans.
"From the general growth side it's happening, but are we really progressing? When I look around at certain levels I don't see progress happening."
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