Head coach of US-17 national team, John Hackworth said that, he has taken on the mantle to lead the boys from his nation to the FIFA U17 World Cup, in India, next year.
In preparation to compete with the All India Football Federation Youth Cup, a year in advance, they have landed upon the sunny state of Goa. USA U16 drew their first match against African side Tanzania 1-1 and face hosts India next.
When Hackworth was asked to share about his thoughts on the Indian football, he said, “My first impressions are very positive. I’m a little surprised as to how well the Indian (U-16 side) players play. They’re technical, strong in terms of their engine. It looks like they can run all day. They try to play good soccer. I watched a couple of the professional games and I was impressed. In some ways, it’s like the United States - you guys are trying to build a football culture among a huge population who think that it isn’t the best sport in the world, even though it really is.”
John once said that, India is trying to be US and is bringing in big names in the ISL, like US is doing in MLS.
Referring to this, when the coach was questioned whether India can be a footballing nation like USA, in the coming days, he said, “I don’t see why it’s not possible. I think it’s the same kind of problem we have in the U.S - a cultural issue. Football needs all things coming together encompassing to build a footballing culture. We need little kids playing football on the streets. When I drive around, I don’t see as many football fields as cricket fields and when that shift happens, the climb will begin.”
By Phani Ch