The NYTimes article on Sunil Gulati made me think about the global business model required for US Soccer to succeed.
When asked about the success of Major League Soccer. “It comes down to two things: one is economics and the other is the quality of the league itself, which is obviously related to economics.”
It also depends on Sunil Gulati, the strategy he develops,and of course, execution.
From the article:
Though M.L.S. is not yet attractive enough for the best Italian or English players in their prime, Gulati pointed out, it is a magnet for good players from Latin America on their way to Europe. “I think that’s going to continue to be a pattern,” he added.
The other challenge M.L.S. faces is developing homegrown talent. Again, Gulati insisted that the United States needed a unique approach.
“We’re not going to re-create the beaches of Copacabana and we’re not going to create a ghetto somewhere else where kids are going to learn it in the street,” he said. “American society is different. The role of education is extraordinarily important in the United States.”
Which led me to think of a global talent management system for US Soccer.
Here’s how it works:
The MLS teams with colleges and sponsors (Red Bull) to create a global recruiting system to bring the best talent to the US for training and development. We focus on Latin America and Africa. The system also recruits US-citizens – kids with promise – and brings them into this “global soccer academy.”
That’s step one. Step two is at the club level, where MLS teams bring back “past prime” stars from Europe (like Beckham) to add some glamour to the game combining veterans with the new talent from the global soccer academy.
Step three: MLS makes money by selling quality young stars to Europe (eg. Freddy Adu). Enjoy Chelsea- Freddy!
In the meantime, Bruce Arena and gang need desperately to get past the first round in Germany.