By Tony Edwards – San Jose, CA (Apr 12, 2012) US Soccer Players — In Thursday's edition, Tony doesn't question the value of Kyle Beckerman and Graham Zusi, asks about goals in this weekend's Houston-Chicago game, and wonders if 'soccer player' needs to be on an executive's resume.
How good was Kyle Beckerman this past weekend?
Very good according to the chalkboard at MLSsoccer.com. One useful aspect of MLS' Opta Chalkboards is it can give a sense of how involved a player was. Beckerman made 56 successful passes last weekend against Colorado, with only 11 off the mark. He was involved in 120 plays, which admittedly includes 'negative' events such as fouls and a yellow card.
Now, contrast that with Graham Zusi's performance for Kansas City this past weekend, where almost as many of his passes were labeled “unsuccessful” (31 successful to 20 unsuccessful). Did Zusi have a less successful weekend than Beckerman? Of course not.
Is this coming weekend's Houston-Chicago game going to end 0-0?
While much has been made of Philadelphia's struggles, both Houston and Chicago also only have scored twice this season (and one of Houston's was a penalty kick). Even with Mac Kandji starting to feel more comfortable in Dominic Kinnear's system, Houston remains very reliant on Brad Davis. Chicago has two goals from Dominic Oduru in three games, but that's it.
Did a leading scientific journal just report that soccer players make better executives?
What PLOS One reported was that soccer players have "superior executive functions, the brain processes responsible for planning and abstract thinking. And the more elite the player, the better these functions. "
In the study, the authors followed elite players, nonprofessionals, and non-players, and tested them on problem-solving, creativity, and rule-making. The highest scores went to the elite players. The obvious next question: is this a result of nature or nurture? The authors think its both. That to become an elite player, you need these executive functions, but that they can be developed with training.
How's it going for former US National Team Player Gregg Berhalter in his first head coaching job?
Started the season with a win. Berhalter's team, Hammarby IF, took their opening game in Sweden's Second Division this past weekend.
According to an article in The Oregonian, how many MLS teams use heart-rate monitors during practice?
Eighteen out of 19. The article makes clear that intelligent coaches, trainers, and sports medicine professionals can use this data for a comprehensive understanding of what they're doing. That means more than just urging players to work harder in practice and allows teams to plan their practices and workouts based on something more than just intuition.