Erik Stover is back to discuss his new role in American soccer that has a European twist to it.
(If you have not listened to my first interview with Erik, or just want to revisit it, you can find it here.)
Eric’s new role with Match-IQ is focused on growing the brands of European clubs here on American soil. Surprisingly, we hardly talked about the details of his new job. Instead, we spent most of the time discussing:
- What ages European clubs are looking to sign players and why
- Why our best American players are (and should continue) leaving for Europe
- How the American market is viewed by the rest of the world
Erik is a fountain of knowledge and doesn’t hold back. Here is a link to his Twitter profile so you can connect with him and follow his work with Match-IQ.
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Terry Ransbury says
I really liked and hated this podcast with Erik Stover. I know he speaks the truth but I almost cried when I heard that no one is interested in the 22/23-year-old player. And if I understand what Erik was saying, in the US, you are not very interesting at 18/19 either. How f’ed up sad is that?
This “conventional wisdom” that defines your soccer fate at 16 drives me crazy unless you are telling me that soccer is a simpleton’s game that can be mastered by playing from age 8 to 16. Didn’t think so and the evidence suggests otherwise.
For lack of any better idea, I dug into the FIFA XI and examined the age of the players voted the absolute best at their positions from 2005 to 2019. Not one 16, 17, or 18 year old. Not news but the data will likely surprise you.
– The average age of all the XI players is 28.3 years old
– Average age GK = 29.5
– Average age Def = 29.0
– Average age Mid = 28.5
– Average age For = 26.7
– No GK younger than 27
– 45% of the defenders 30 and older
– 40% of the midfielders 30 and older
– 22% of the forwards 30 and older
– 50% of all players 29 and older
– 71% of all players 27 and older
– 78% of all defenders 27 and older
– 73% of all midfielders 27 and older
– 49% of all forwards 27 and older
– Out of 165 players, only Messi, Ronaldo, Ramos, Iniesta, Marcello, and Terry debut young (25 or less) and hold positions 5 times or more.
The point is, at least to me, that we should have a place to develop the 17 to 23-year-old players because they are not even close to their peak playing years.
The discussion on lack of incentives holding us back in this episode is deep and good.
Also, I didn’t realize the restriction on players in the MLS to keep MLS franchises from competing with each other. That topic is worth a podcast itself.
That reminded me of all the rules in youth soccer to try to ‘keep matches fair’ but end up sapping real competition and keeps kids from learning.