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Super Y growth potential enormous
December 18, 2001

United Soccer Leagues President Francisco Marcos is back from his one year sabbatical. He recently took the time to speak to about the state of the Super Y-League. Here is what he had to say.
United Soccer Leagues President Francisco Marcos is back from his one year sabbatical. He recently took the time to speak to about the state of the Super Y-League. Here is what he had to say. How does a national youth league such as the Super Y-League fit into the overall USL structure, and what are its chances for long-term success?

FM: As much as the A-League is the flagship, I think our ultimate shining star will be the Super Y-League. The D3 Pro League is the first step in professional soccer and the PDL will be good for the development of younger players. But the Super Y will give the best young players a chance to shine on a national stage and be seen by more of the top coaches. Why is it necessary to have a national youth league when there are already so many youth teams around the country?

FM: In order to become a soccer nation, we need to have something that helps us identify the top two percent of our players early. Through the Super Y-League, we are looking to “professionalize” elite youth soccer in this country, and here I make no apologies for using the word professional. There is nothing equal to the professional approach to coaching our best young players, from the technique point of view and the environmental point of view. It is also important that there be a cradle to grave theme within the USL Family. The Super Y-League completes our pyramid with a division that develops our youngest players. How is the Super Y-League different from the USYSA and other national organizations that field their own all-star teams for tournament play?

FM: The conventional youth soccer organizations in the U.S. make it possible for millions of kids to play the game and then hopefully become soccer fans through playing the game. In the Super-Y League, we are trying to pluck the very best players who are ready to go to the next level. We have no ambition to do what USYSA has always done very well.

We want to do what they have not done and that is to professionalize our elite players. There is nothing wrong with that, if it is done right. Will this help professional teams to do a better job of scouting talent in the USA, a process that has been woefully inadequate in recent years?

FM: It provides a formal, organized structure where a coach can go see two top-level teams with professional prospects play on the same weekend. Before the Super Y-League you couldn’t do this unless it was a national tournament. It was always player combines, the NCAA Final Four, ODP and select teams. When you realize that many Spanish-speaking, ethnic and non-registered never make it to these events, it all comes home to roost and you can see how important the Super Y-League is. How far away are we from developing an American player who can be a star at the international level?

FM: We’re not too far away from it, really. I see people like Landon Donovan, and even though he will get better, he probably isn’t the promised one. So that our players get the best chance to develop, we will have to overcome a built-in bias against American players in Europe. The only way for us to do that is to have large numbers of players over there – not just a few, but three or four dozen. How much growth do you see for the Super Y-League in the long term?

FM: By the time it is all said and done – and I certainly hope to be around that long – the Super Y-League could reach between 600 and 700 teams, including boys and girls at all competitive age levels of youth soccer. In soccer, if you want to compete in the world arena, then you have to be able to play the game at the same advanced level as the rest of the world. The Super Y-League, more than anything in the USL system, will hasten the development of our best players and give them the head start they need to begin playing the game at an advanced level, beyond what they get in their local youth programs.