Caligiuri on Man City and soccer in general

The long-awaited friendly between Manchester City and Club America will be played at 5 p.m. Saturday at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

Paul Caligiuri has a what to watch for list for youth soccer players attending Saturday's match between Manchester City and Club America at AT&T Park.

 

It’s not sold out and you have a couple of options to acquire tickets: at the AT&T Park box office or through Tickets.com.

In the meantime, former U.S. men’s soccer team member Paul Caligiuri was in SF a couple of weeks ago helping promote Saturday’s contest.

Here in part is what he had to say:

His thoughts on playing the game at AT&T Park and the teams:

“This is really an exciting location for this game, AT&T Park. Of all the teams in England, Manchester City is making the biggest thrust. Their goal is to compete with one of the top clubs on the planet – Manchester United, a club that outdoes the Yankees in a lot of aspects.

“And Club America, although they had a down year, is one of the top teams – along with Cruz Azul and Chivas – in Mexico. This should be a good match in the difference of styles of play. Club America will be creative and speedy, Manchester City deliberate.”

Today Caligiuri coaches youth soccer in SoCal. What would he tell his youth team to look for if they were going to the game?

“Look at the formations of both teams. Try to identify their tendencies with and without the ball. Although it will be a friendly, check on the substitutions during the game and what they do when they enter the game. And simply identify the best players, which they will do anyway, and watch what they do during the game.”

How has soccer in the U.S. changed since he played for the U.S. National team?

“Back then we couldn’t get a game with Mexico. Now it is one of the top rivalries in the world.”

Why is it so hard to establish one, cohesive soccer entity in this country and move forward?

“Youth soccer in this country is all over the map and that is because every section of the country plays different styles. Even from SoCal to the state of Washington the styles are different.”

What does he think of the current U.S. men’s team?

“I think they are being held back too much. We should be winning and we need to win, The fans know that. And we need to sell the game better.”

Caligiuri is coming off a collegiate coaching stint at Cal Poly Pomona. What does he think of collegiate soccer in the U.S.?

“At the college level … I don’t think we realize what a blessing in disguise those programs — at all levels, D1, D2, NAIA, community colleges — are. That 18-22 year old group of kids is given a chance to play for four years that they never would get.”

What does he think could improve soccer in the U.S.?

“It’s too bad that the public schools don’t initiate soccer as one of the main sports that kids play during physical education in this country. That would change things a lot cause now if you roll a ball out to a kid he will do what? He’ll pick it up with his hands. If we did that maybe then they would start kicking it instead of picking it up.”

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And just in case you have never seen it, here is Caliguiri’s most famous shot: