MDDad wrote:Source of the post
On the other hand, the American women's soccer team has been extremely successful on the international stage, probably partly because our best female athletes don't have the same number of big-money alternatives.
... However, I don't agree that most of the Odells and Lebrons of America are being dad-guided in the direction of football or basketball, and away from soccer in particular, just for money. Lebron didn't even have a dad around in Akron, neither did Antonio Brown in Miami. Odell's pops was in and out of his life as a youth, and was recently arrested on gun charges in Texas. Brandin Cooks grew up on the mean streets of Stockton CA without his dad, who died of a heart attack when he was 6.
All of these football/basketball stars are examples of the American version of hardscrabble kids in soccer countries: limited access to resources, finds incredibly popular accessible sport at young age that entire peer-group is playing, realizes immense skill level, ignores "hobby" sports to focus on sport that brings most joy with best chance of success. This doesn't HAVE to involve a Marv Marinovich, Richard Williams, or Lavar Ball. Most times it doesn't (see above). The KEY difference here, and it goes to our earlier points, is that in our country these kids with the talent that could have succeeded in soccer end up in hoops or on the gridiron (again, who can blame them - its often a perfect fit). In Argentina or the Netherlands, they'd be in a pre-professional soccer academy at 8 or 9.
For Lebron, basketball was just something wanted to do with his boys from a very young age. If he EVER played soccer, it was probably in PE class. He was told and thereby realized super young, around 8-9 years old, that he was too good to stop playing hoop and it would take him places. It wasnt until 12-13 that he was pulled into the pro business and media side of basketball, at the time unheard of and probably earlier than any American youth in history before him. In soccer however, kids that age in other countries were routinely pulled into the pro circles at that age. For Lebron though, it wasnt like he had a guided and planned career, staged by some obsessed dad. His mom's issues could be debated, but she certainly didn't have a PLAN for what happened with Lebron (even SHE wasn't there at times if you know his story).