Claudio Reyna (right) talking to NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira. (Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)
By Michael Lewis
Perhaps no one understands where U.S. soccer stands in the world than Claudio Reyna.
The former U.S. international midfielder and captain played for years in Germany, Scotland and England.
“I think it’s everybody’s fault,” he said. “It’s not U.S. Soccer. It’s soccer in the U.S.”
Reyna, the New York City FC sporting director, felt the U.S.’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup was a shock to the U.S. soccer system.
The major problem? Arrogance.
“I think it’s everybody’s fault,” he told reporters in Manhattan Tuesday. “It’s not U.S. Soccer. It’s soccer in the U.S.”
Reyna explained why.
“There’s a lack of humility,” he said. “There’s a lack of modesty with how we approach the sport here. You go to Germany, Spain — and I’ve had the privilege of living abroad for 13 years and traveling the world all the time to learn from people on how to be a better sporting director, how to be a better coach, how do academy coaches work — and the one thing you see is that there’s much more humility in the work. You go to speak to a U-14, U-15 coach at FC Barcelona and they want to learn more from you than you from them.”
Reyna was one of several members of the NYCFC organization that attended ceremonies that helped inaugurate 10 new mini-soccer fields in New York City Tuesday. It was part of the New York City Soccer Initiative, a public-private partnership to build and maintain 50 mini-soccer pitches over the next five years in underserved neighborhoods across the five boroughs over the next five years.
Reyna said those Americans involved in soccer think they’re better than they really are and it has caught with them.
“If you go to the local clubs anywhere in the country,” he said, “and the U-14, U-15 coach, youth technical director and they have all the answers, they have everything. They tend to be arrogant, they don’t want to listen, they don’t realize what they’re doing isn’t right.”