Categorized | Features

Gary Smith defends MLS standards

Posted on 26 February 2010 by pshea

The Colorado Rapids are currently training in Arizona this week, but then they’ll head to England for another week of training.

Gary Smith is about to start his second full season in charge of the Rapids

“It’s early in the preseason,” noted Colorado head coach Gary Smith. “It’s good to change perspective and get away from the home training ground for a few weeks.”

Smith arrived in Arizona with almost 30 players, but he plans to continue to England with a roster of 24. In England, he hopes to have good workouts with “a very different style.” Plus, being at a top-notch facility might, Smith hopes, “give some of the players a bit of a lift.”

During the off-season, three unrelated people from the Colorado soccer community shared similar reasons for not watching Rapids games. One was a seasoned coach, one was a veteran player, and a couple with two young players shared the same view. To them, MLS contests look like exhibition games until the playoffs start.

When he heard this sentiment, coach Smith asked, “When was the last time they saw a game?”

He’s right. Assessing the level of play in any MLS club (or the league as a whole) is like reading graffiti on the side of a moving train. Since 1996, the improvement is irrefutable, although some might argue that the train isn’t moving fast enough. Regardless, the conservative approach has safely kept the entire MLS enterprise from derailing.

“Even in the past two years I’ve been here,” Smith said, “you can see tremendous improvement in our organization and throughout the league. The players are performing at a very high athletic level. I encourage them [aforementioned nay-sayers] to go and watch, and then decide.”

3 Comments For This Post

  1. Blah Says:

    Who in the “Colorado soccer community” aired these statements? Source the statement(s) as this is the first many have heard of this. Where did this come from?

  2. pshea Says:

    Mike, Rachel, Mark, and Chabba… These are normal people involved in the game throughout every week as parents, players, and coaches. They don’t know each other, so hearing three coincidental data points in two months sparked the question. It’s a sentiment. Believe me, I repeated the “ever-improvement” argument and asked them to try watching again.

  3. Patrick Shea Says:

    Mike, Rachel, Mark, and Chabba… They don't know each other. They're just normal people who are involved in the game throughout every week as parents, coaches, and players. The focal point was their unanimous sentiment. Three coincidental data points in two months sparked the question. Believe me, I repeated the “ever-improvement” argument and encouraged them all to simply try watching again and decide.

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