New breed of player helps U.S. find edge 

June, 20, 2011

WASHINGTON -- A few years ago, during an interview with DaMarcus Beasley for this story about the ups and downs of Yanks in Europe, the former U.S. midfielder spoke glowingly of the camaraderie and friendship on the American squad. But he also said it may have its drawbacks.

On high-level European club teams, teammates aren't afraid to say, "What the hell are you doing?" and chew out a fellow player, Beasley said. "Maybe sometimes we could use some more of that." Last year, at a media roundtable ahead of the World Cup, U.S. coach Bob Bradley hinted at the same thing, talking about how he wanted a culture where at times teammates had to be critical of their friends for the improvement of the group.

Luke Cyphers is a former senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.
Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine. He has covered American and international soccer since 2002.