The Bundesliga is the training ground for the future of American soccer

Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, John Brooks. They’re young, they’re playing in the Bundesliga, and they are the future of the U.S. Men’s National Team. Soccer Insider looks mostly at McKennie, the newest of the three to be anointed as one of American soccer’s building blocks, but the German league is still functioning as the big leagues for young American stars, and it’s nice to see several players flourishing there.

The UEFA Nations League is a bad idea

The UEFA Nations League is replacing meaningless friendlies, so I suppose I shouldn’t be too hard on it - but when it comes to CONCACAF, it’s going to be the latest in a long string of meaningless tournaments. I’m tired of meaningless tournaments. Less is more.

American soccer needs an overhaul, but copying Germany won't work

In the aftermath of the USA’s abject failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, almost every commentator said some version of the following:

  • American soccer is broken.
  • American soccer needs a better plan.
  • Germany (sometimes Belgium was thrown in too) reinvented itself; we need something like that.

For Soccer Insider this week, I tried to address this; just copying Germany is too simple of an answer. The USA is starting from farther behind, and needs many more changes before it can start making German-style changes.

In some ways, it doesnt get better than the USMNT

If you are a fan of a European soccer team, you’ve just survived Transfer Madness 2017, in which every player on every team could move to another team (Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester City, usually) for an impossible sum of money. It’s exhausting.

National teams don’t have that problem, which is why the USMNT - in some ways - is the best possible team to follow.

What happened to Serie A?

Back when I started watching soccer, Serie A was pretty much THE thing. The idea of another team going to Italy and winning a game seemed ludicrous; Real Madrid might do it, or Bayern Munich, but certainly no one else.

Now, though, Italy - Juventus aside - is a league full of also-rans. The Rome and Milan clubs are all struggling, as is the rest of the league. Which leads directly to the question: What happened to Serie A?

Premier League Preview: Last Manchester Standing

The headline on my 2017-18 Premier League Preview at the Star Tribune was Last Manchester Standing, which I don’t think can be improved upon.

Short version of my predictions, for future reference.

At The Top

  1. Manchester United
  2. Manchester City
  3. Chelsea
  4. Tottenham Hotspur
  5. Arsenal
  6. Liverpool
  7. Everton

Bottom Three

  1. Brighton and Hove Albion
  2. Huddersfield Town
  3. Swansea City

Trying to keep up in the Premier League

Right now the Premier League has three uber-rich teams - Manchester United, Chelsea, and Manchester City - and four merely very rich teams, in Arsenal, Everton, Liverpool, and Tottenham. In some ways, the latter four are all trying to make the same leap that Manchester United made (oil wealth, the basis for Chelsea and Manchester City’s riches, being less replicable). Soccer Insider this week looks at how United got where they are, and how the other four are trying to make it happen for themselves too.

This year's soccer apocalypse seems different

Every year, summer in the soccer world is proof that the world’s gone mad, thanks to ridiculous transfer fees. This has been happening every summer for as long as I can remember; I recognize that writing a column complaining about the soccer market is veering towards hackiness.

BUT. I still can’t believe what’s happening this year, highlighted by what’s going on at AS Monaco. This is a club with a very rich owner, that made the Champions League semifinals and won the Ligue 1 title, that is seeing most of its squad depart this summer for even richer clubs. How can this be good for the game? How can this be sustainable?

Soccer Insider early summer updates

May 13 - FIFA is terrible, but won’t change - not unless it somehow stops making money.

May 20 - Nobody talks about the downsides of the pro/rel system - the punishments are unlimited.

May 27 - Maybe the manager carousel isn’t such a terrible thing after all.

June 3 - A look at the Champions League final.

June 17 - Please don’t expand the World Cup to 48 teams, FIFA - it’ll kill all the fun.

June 24 - Every transfer saga ever, in one post.

July 1 - Why does the Gold Cup even exist any more?

July 8 - The Gold Cup night in 1998 when the USA, for the only time, beat Brazil.