After the 2000 Olympics - Xtratime Community
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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old November 22nd, 2000, 01:36 Thread Starter
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I found this the other day. While I don't agree entirely with the author, there is some truth to what he wrote about the US National Team.

What do you think?


2000 Olympic review opinion
by Roger Le Grove Rogers

The recent Olympic results show what happens when you replace an experienced national team coaching staff with a group of coaches with negligible international coaching experience and, except for Head Coach Heinrichs, no major accomplishments at even college level.

Both the USA and China looked physically and mentally tired coming into this tournament, and no wonder considering the continuous world wide travelling their Federations had put them through the last twelve months. Conversely Germany, a team destined for more success, lacked the edge of play needed at this level because of the absence of any real international travel and meaningful competition in their preparation. Norway looked the most ready and you could almost see their very competent Head Coach Per-Mathias Høgmo rubbing his hands with glee after watching the drop in the quality of the international match preparation for the USA this year. It gave his new and younger players the belief that this U.S. Team could be beaten.

Brazil still appear to have a problem with fitness in spite of their pre-Olympic claim in the United States that they were much fitter than before. They did not show the cohesiveness in their team play that we all admired in previous tournaments.

Nigeria and Australia are still only on the verge of breaking into the top ten of the world. Nigeria was still very physically threatening but had little organization and no defense. When they meet strict, competent officiating as they did at the 99' World Cup they are no match for the top teams. They were lucky to qualify and with the rapid improvement of teams such as Russia they are unlikely to be seen at the next Olympics. Unfortunately the circumstances and lack of proper support and organization of the women's program in Nigeria bodes ill for improvement.

Australia's improved performance should be more apparent in the next few years. With such a solid program they will have no trouble staying in the top ten.
Compared to the World Cup the overall quality of play was lower and the competition should have been no match for the USA. There appeared to be no clear plan against the teams faced, and while it would be difficult to match the level of pre-game analysis that DiCicco and Gregg excelled at, it seemed that no one had done a competent job of scouting or tape reviewing. If they had there was no evidence of its use during the matches.

The reluctance to substitute more than one player during crucial matches (was there a mention of the English Marines in one of the coaches biography?), the staying with a 4-4-2 (has a command from that other English trained coach crept in here?), leaving one of the best players , Parlow, on the bench and substituting her late in the games (you mean that there is a rumor that UNC is out of favor and west coast is in?).

When she was corralled into taking the job by U.S. Soccer who had got themselves into a corner with their shenanigans, Head Coach April Heinrichs was honest and said that she had not applied for the position because she had not felt that she was ready. She knew that it would be a tough job, and now it will become even more difficult for her unless she can find a better level of coaching support, because we did not see any of the toughness or command we had seen in her as a player. The U.S. now looks vulnerable and perhaps that is good for the game in countries trying to improve their women's programs.

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