wSoccerNews.com meet with Shek Borkowski the other day to talk about womenÂ´s soccer. The status on the WPS, difference between Europe and US and the US womenÂ´s National team.
Q: USA are always known to have lots and lots of girls playing, especially at the youth levels. But it really hasnâ€™t resulted in a lot of medals in the last few years. Why do you think that is? What do you think is missing?
SB: The problem is twofold. One, youth development needs an overhaul.
Technical and tactical development is not taking place. When I get players from universities, they are very athletic but many of them need remedial technical and tactical work.
Two, the most talented American youth players not playing in adult leagues. Some young players in Germany and Sweden, for example, are playing in professional leagues by the time they are 16. If you look at Umea, theyâ€™re really very young this year and their players are getting valuable experience. In USA even the best 16 and 17 year olds are still playing in youth competitions, against players their age.
Q: USA lost 2:1 to Mexico, what is the reaction in the US like?
SB: I would say of disbelief.
Q: Why in your opinion did USA lose?
SB: The days of beating Mexico or Costa Rica 11:0 are gone for good. The world is catching up and in many cases bypassing USA in womenâ€™s football. Familiarity breeds contempt, and so many Mexican and Costa Rican players play in USA and they are no longer intimidated by USA. I had a total of 7 Mexican players play for me at FC Indiana and they
are very confident in their ability. Also, internationally, technical, tactical, physical and psychological preparation has evolved so it will be more and more difficult for USA to maintain its elite status.
Q: Can USA get by Italy?
SB: Yes, but it will not be easy. Pietro Ghedin is shrewd and knows how to set up his teams. Italians are experienced and USA will need to play at a higher level than they did in the CONCACAF tournament.
Q: There has been some information that WPS is having some troubles.
SB: As any new league, WPS will face challenges. The question is whether WPS owners are investors or speculators, are they looking to develop long term or are they looking for quick profits. I hope that no WPS owner expected to make a fortune in 2 seasons. I think that many of the owners were like a teenager on a first date and now the reality has hit them, it will be hard work.
Q: What will happen to the game if WPS does not continue?
SB: I suppose that US Soccer will have to reestablish residency program but that would not be good. The other possibility will be that some top players will go overseas, some will continue to play in W-League and some will walk away from the game. I expect that if WPS folds there are 6-8 clubs in North America which will continue to offer good level on $200-400K budgets.
Q: You coached in USA and in Europe, what are some big differences.
SB: Better athleticism in USA, stronger players technically in Europe. Also, player approach to training is different.
Q: How did you decide to coach inÂ Russia and what are you thoughts about it?
SB: My agent Anton Maksimov suggested it and the UEFA Champions League
was the main reason I wanted to go there. Russia is a new experience, people with different mentality and habits, but that is the beauty of coaching in different countries. It gives me another perspective on the business of womenâ€™s football.
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