The new US SOCCER mandate / practices set for 2016/17 have now become common place in youth soccer talk and on the sidelines of many youth soccer teams. Personally I have been trying to wrap my head around it and being in the grass root trench so to speak are questioning the long term effects on the team, the small club and the basic social principle of playing soccer with your school grade friends. Soccer has grown tremendously over the past 2 decades. More so than any other participation sport. With the now generation of millennial parents that grew up with soccer we have to ask the question will their be a time when this growth declines and their kids are pushed to other sports that keep their participation in line with the school grading system. I wonder if that time is upon us when parents placing their kids into soccer may opt to play another sport based upon who the child wants to participate with. What I think US SOCCER needs to be reminded of is how American sport has been defined in the past and engrained within an academic system of playing school grade years that feed into high school and college seamlessly with a small percentage of players being trapped outside. The debate will go on and on and I am very skeptical of the outcome. If this leads to less participation then Soccer will suffer in the long run. We wait and see.
Courtesy of David-Smith Copeland and BEAST MODE SOCCER.
#1 Improve your SAQ. What’s SAQ? Speed, Agility, & Quickness. These three things are important in most sports, especially in soccer. SAQ is needed to compete athletically with other players, but can also be the determining factor in you being successful in beating players. Imagine you are racing to the back post for the cross to score a header, chasing down someone on a breakaway, or maneuvering through defenders to score; speed, agility, and quickness can help you be successful in these actions.
Alex Morgan doing SAQ w/ SKLZ
#2 Be strong and physically fit. The second one is pretty obvious. You have to be able to run for 90 minutes. It’s not just running at one pace either. Start and stop. Sprint, run, jog, and sprint again. Soccer is nonstop and the pace is always changing. Unless you are a goalie, you have to be able to keep up with the running (keepers require a different kind of fitness). As for strength, it is important, to once again, compete athletically with players. You need to be able to hold your own. You need strength going up in the air for a 50/50 ball, or when you are holding off a defender and waiting for the rest of your attack to get involved. You don’t want to be all muscles though. Core strength is key soccer. Instead of bulking up, look to do bodyweight exercises. You still want to be able to be quick and agile; having too much muscle can actually hurt you.
Ali Krieger with SKLZ-> Soccer Strong
#3 Improve your footwork and practice on your own. We don’t do this enough! It’s great to be physically adept at the game, but technique is key. The only way to better your technique is to practice! Find any way you can to get touches on the ball. Take a ball everywhere with you. Or do like Beast Mode Soccer and juggle a tennis ball! You can take that anywhere with you. If you have a wall, use a wall to hit the ball against the wall.
Ally Riley (New Zealand National Team) & Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy) at a Beast Mode Soccer session
Take it from the legend, Dennis Bergkamp:
“There, a worn-out brick wall still stands testament to the innate footballing mind, maturity and drive present even in an 8 year old Dennis. He spent countless hours practicing, kicking the ball against it, experimenting with different ways of how to control it, seeing how it bounced and how many times, how that affected how it came back … things that still don’t occur to most professional footballers. It was here that his technique was refined to such precision that he would aim for a corner of a particular brick, each time with different pace, power and spin to see how the ball’s trajectory changed. That wall is the birthplace of Bergkamp’s obsession with control, the importance he gave to that first touch, the challenges he set himself from a very young age in order to come as near that perfection as possible.”
“It’s not thinking. It’s doing … Most of the time I was by myself, just kicking the ball against the wall, seeing how it bounces, how it comes back, just controlling it. I found that so interesting.”- Dennis Bergkamp
Arsenal’s Dennis Bergkamp
#4 Play Fifa. No seriously, play fifa! How can playing fifa improve your game? In playing fifa you have to make decisions for the players. This helps with your tactical game. You also get of sense of what to do in ALL positions. Playing fifa will help you improve your decision making. Also, you will start to learn about the players and the teams. This will help with #5…
FIFA by EA SPORTS
#5 Watch soccer!!!! This is so important. Watching the game will take your game to new heights. Watch a player in your position and you will really benefit. You can then know what to do offensively as well as defensively. If you were doing #4 and playing Fifa, you will be able to really get into watching as you will know the players and teams. You can even join a fantasy league picking your own team and players. Getting into soccer in any aspect you can is the true way to become the best soccer player you can be. Beast Mode Soccer completely supports all things soccer. Whether you need to better your touch, better your fitness, or better your brain, we are here to help you achieve your goals. A great place to start is The Soccer Vortex (www.thesoccervortex.com). You will find ways you can work on for your game whether it be technical, tactical, physical, mental, and even information on nutrition.
Go out there and starting working on your game so you can become a better soccer player! #ownyourdevelopment
As the last of the ticker tape gets cleaned up thoughts turn to the impact the last world cup has had on its next generation. What we supported this past month was the result of these soccer playing women who with painted faces and loud screams cheered on their heroes 16 years ago. A group of women, some with iconic one name status that now refer to themselves as the 99 ers. What was cool was reading the email thread between this group of players in their support of those girls who once supported them. Read on and lets look forward to the next generation of players inspired from their heroes past glory.
From: Julie Foudy
Hope you all are well. I have an idea. If the U.S. wins on Sunday, I have been charged with writing a piece for ESPN to sum it all up.
I, of course, want to do something on the joy we all have in seeing them do well because I am so tired of the narrative around us not wanting them to win. I'd like to just capture the emotions of you all to the moment if they win. I want it to be raw. As they win, soon after they win.
I just think that may be so cool to see... All I need is one to two sentences. Short and sweet summing up how you feel. If you would be so kind as to email me that reply (just to me so as not to kill all your inboxes) that would be great. I will try and wrap it into a neat piece. THANK YOU and hope everyone is well. Holler if anyone else going to be in Vancouver! We can have a little reunion...
From: Julie Foudy
Hi again everyone. I am actually hoping everyone can just reply all with responses as I think it will be fun to see the conversation unfold post game and for everyone to share in that. Plus, I added Coach DiCicco to the chain. Whoop whoop. Now, here's hoping the US can bring back that 3rd World Cup star dammit... I am feeling it. Get 'er done!
From: Saskia Webber
I have been in tears of joy since the Germany game, can't stop crying ... ok it could be early menopause lol. We haven't started the stream right lol? Go USA love u all.
From: Tony DiCicco
It is this team's time. They earned it and made us all proud and inspired a country. Soccer is alive and well in large part to these women! Three World Cup Championships to go along with 4 Gold Medals. Great Job '15ers!
From: Julie Foudy
Just reading these all and smiling from ear to ear. Love and miss u crazies so much.
From: Sara Hess
And away we go... LET'S DO THIS LADIES!!!
From: Lorrie Fair
Here we go!
From: Mia Hamm
Great idea, Jules. What a performance and statement by this team. You all left no doubt about who is the best in the world. Thank you for taking the game to a new level and inspiring so many of us. World Champions! Enjoy it because you have earned it. Mia
From: Carla Overbeck
HELL F--G YEAH!!!
From: Saskia Webber
Has anyone taken a breath yet? Just realized I haven't.
From: Carla Overbeck
Holy s---t, what a WORLD CLASS PERFORMANCE! They saved their best game for last and peaked at the right time! I am so proud of this team, they are amazing athletes, players, and people! CONGRATULATIONS WORLD CHAMPIONS, you totally deserve it!
From: Briana Scurry
Carli "They call me PRIMETIME" Lloyd!! Enuff said...
From: Tisha Hoch
Ok so I just started watching.... Holy s--t we are on fire!!!! We are so dominating!! No way we lose this game with the team we have! Go USA
From: Joy Fawcett
I love it !! Awesome sitting in a bar full of USA fans so fun to be a part of all the excitement!!! 1 more half, take no prisoners and make sure Japan never forgets the USA!
From: Tisha Hoch
S--t, it's 4-2. Sub me out quick!
From: Sara Hess
OMG, Tish. U are hilarious.
From: Joy Fawcett
Go USA!!! I love the teamwork it took to bring the Cup home! Love this game!!
From: Tisha Hoch
What an amazing game! That was so fun to watch! So proud of our entire U.S. Team and staff. World Champs... Rock Stars! Classy Japanese side too! Miss you freaks!!!
From: Shannon MacMillan
So beyond proud of this group of women! They have inspired a whole new generation of soccer players and no words can explain how excited I am for them! They fought through so much adversity and came together in the end to win big and erase all doubts! Welcome to the World Champion sorority ladies!!!
From: Kate Markgraf
It's hard to be what you can't see. There are young girls and boys who will forever remember your legacy and dream of greatness themselves. Thank you for continuing to grow the game and get ready for the '15ers comments (great number by the way).
From: Cindy Parlow Cone
Wow! What a statement to the world! I am so happy for this team! They deserve to be champions as it was well earned! Well done '15ers and thank you for inspiring the next generation!
From: Joy Fawcett
Go USA!! I love the teamwork it took to bring the cup home! Love this game!!
From: Lorrie Fair
It was a baaaaaaaaaad day to be Japan! Thanks for pulling us together for this little email pow wow. It's funny, I remember bits and pieces of our matches in 99...but more than anything I remember the awesome moments with teammates. And it was so great to feel that connection again through this World Cup. I miss and love you all! Fur
From: Brandi Chastain
As the 175 girls at Region IV ODP camp erupted in joy, chills went up my spine and tears rolled down my cheeks. 16 years since that joyous day in Pasadena and for the first time in the lives of these girls, they were witness to the U.S. Women winning a World Cup Championship. What an emotional roller coaster all ending in a crescendo of gold confetti. Today I am as PROUD to wear the U.S. crest as I was in 1999!
I've started using the new Iphone 6 in training and have found it to be an amazing tool for showing kids within practice, the visual of what they are doing right or wrong and what adjustments need to be made. All done quickly without the need to interrupt the practice for a lengthy time. The capability of the slow-mo cam allows 240 frames per second, enabling great action video that can be analyzed. I believe this visual training is imperative to quick learning and correcting faults. Leading to quicker development.
Take a look at the video shot this week showing the capability of the phone shooting 1st touch,
and striking the ball.
Work with your child. Take video. Break down the technique. I'm sure if like myself getting your son/daughter to listen to your direction may be hard :) . You may have to get your coach involved.
The use of the wall is under rated and continuing from this I've started using benches in training. The use of benches create a moveable wall that can be moved to facilitate the working on specific skills that require the ball to rebounded back into space (away from a wall) or angled to work on a specific 1 touch, passing , finishing activity. The opportunities are endless. Just use your imagination.
Skill Skool Soccer works with small groups of kids in the summer and the themes in training allow myself to be creative and use props to aid in the training environment. Below is a couple of examples of its use in training using small groups of players passing receiving and moving in line.
Obviously the indoor space typically will provide more opportunities but be on the look out for benches beside your training field. You may be able to use them as apart of your training assuming you keep the environment safe.
Don't get benched. Use them.
I know, I know its way too early to speak of Disney and my coaching has me traveling to that other fun mecca Tulsa for the US Youth National Championship Series next week. Its been a journey and I would be the first to say an uncharted territory for me at FC Pride. Expanding myself tactically has been the challenge playing such great teams, but the memories created with this group will last way longer than remembering the wins and losses. Like in any great team you create a dynamic that can only be described as family. Our family is strong. Make sure you follow our family as we take on the best of the best. And just for the record Keane has his bags packed for Disney.
Follow @fcpride01gelite for updated tweets (We Need More Fans)
Live broadcasts of games, daily highlight videos, photos, reports and complete results from the US Youth Soccer National Championships are available on http://championships.usyouthsoccer.org.
I'm a big believer in players working with the ball outside of the training environment. Specific needs are never met in team training so make sure you are attending to those development needs. It may be that you ask your coach to watch a soccer game with your child. At Skill Skool Soccer we aim to provide all that need based skill training in small groups. Contact me for all your individual and small group needs.
The carnage inside ones house when one straps on the bubble soccer kit. Also can be used if you want to keep your child in one room as it will not fit through doors. We've tried.
With Zidane and Bergkamp probably the most influential players of my playing generation. What a talent. What I would give to watch the invincibles play the Barcelona of 5 years ago and the Real Madrid of present. Wow!!!!!! Take a bow Thierry and thank you for the memories.
Well I never. Would you believe it. Great use of creativity by coach. Difficult to transport in your car to and from a session.
What do you have? Ashton has started a trend. #getitdone. Show your creativity hashtag #tekkers to @skillskoolsocr
New buzz word in soccer Automatism. Nice blog from the Author Christopher Cramer Explains.
AUTOMATISM vs TACTICS
It is said that FC Barcelona does not directly teach tactics to young players at La Masia, and instead they focus on automatism. Check out this article for further background on the concept and the context.
Here is a dictionary definition of automatism:
“The performance of actions without conscious thought or intention.”
The take away for many youth soccer “experts” is that FC Barcelona does not teach tactics to young players. Full stop. They use this to justify their belief that technique alone should be the primary focus at the young ages. However, to say that FC Barcelona does not teach tactics does not do the academy, it’s teams, or it’s players justice.
The idea is to design training sessions and exercises that train tactical concepts and patterns so that players are receiving tactical instruction without realizing it.
This is where rondos and positional possession games come into play. They are used to train players what do when they have the ball, what to do when they don’t have the ball, and how to transition between those two moments.
For those that do not know, a positional possession game places players in specific spaces within the playing area to best replicate the responsibilities and situations they will face in a game. One of my favorite positional possession games is this 3v3+3 game:
I decided to use this mentality to develop my own drills to help better initiate the movement and teach the responsibilities to my U11 and 12 teams. Let me know what you think.
WORKING WITH YOUNG OUTSIDE MIDFIELD PLAYERS
SET UP : 11 players in grid 40 by 40 (field and numbers can be adjusted ). 3 v 3 + 5. 4 of the 5 players are positioned on the outside and all 5 players are all time offense. We are using defenders as all time offensive players to simulate movement/switching of the ball and working the ball into outside midfield players feet.
Possessional objective is to move the ball from target to target. This initiates wide players involvement that can receive a free pass into the channel. Opponent can only enter the channel when ball is played in to it. Defensive players should be encouraged to move the ball across the back line and then choose to play to feet or look beyond the defender if the defender is too square or too close to receiving player (in channel).
The drill initiates great lateral movement and allows the play to build without the midfield player being put under immediate pressure. Restrictions and stipulation of passes/touches can be created within exercise.
"Keep moving the ball but what are you moving." This season the theme for my teams is to build on an objective around possession style soccer. We have talked before about the art of keeping a ball, but what we do with it is key. My 11 and 12 year olds have the hardest time tactically transitioning to the bigger fields. In the girls game extra effort has to be made to paint the picture of where/how/why we move it.
I saw this quote today and I think it sums up what we are all trying to achieve. It's not just how you move the ball but how we move the other team.
Indy Eleven finally won their first home game and everyone can't stop talking about it.
Fantastic story and a must watch for any youth soccer coach or player. Especially those that have ever lost 31-0 or a game that may have seemed like a lot to a little. #againstallodds
Stats don't lie but they do sometimes paint a picture that doesn't always reflect the effectiveness of soccer teams. It has been the vogue of late to maximize the possession stat and was very much the way of clubs like Barcelona and Arsenal that would typically have the ball 65%+. But you can argue that unless you have a purpose or can execute in the final third than possession is simply a statistic. Many clubs have now adapted their play to compensate for their lack of possession and concentrate more on the pressure they exert and where on the pitch, complimenting it with quick counter attacking soccer that think less of possession and really more of what you do with it.
Many club teams coaches are guilty of playing possession for the sake of just learning to keep a ball. There is much value in this, as I have sometimes played non directional possession with better teams for the simple task of playing quicker and more controlled in tighter space. But the possession drill can be manipulated 1 million and 1 ways. Their has to be objectives to your possession. Areas of concern that I preach to teams, especially young teams, is support and communication (yes 10 year olds can talk on the field) and utilizing a thrown-in to restart possession which most teams struggle in keeping the ball when having to start from their hands.
Here is two drills that work on both of these objectives.
JOIN THE REST OF THE WORLD IN PLAYING FANTASY SOCCER. WHO WILL BE THE NEXT JOSE. http://fantasy.premierleague.com IS THE CHOICE OF MOST FANS. FEEL FREE TO JOIN THE LEAGUE THAT MANY OF THE LOCAL COACHES PARTICIPATE IN.
league is uindy and the code to get in is : 1209271-266858.
For many they are a key part of the World Cup build up, but it has been claimed pupils have been banned from swapping Panini football stickers in their school playground because 'it's annoying for teachers'.
The collectables, featuring stars such as Christiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Neymar, have reportedly been blamed for a number of playground bustups between young football fans.
It has been claimed that teachers at Battyeford Primary School in Mirfield, West Yorkshire, became so fed up as their pupils' desire for the stickers reached fever pitch that they have banned them from the playground.
Craze: Pupils have been banned from swapping Panini football stickers in their school playground because 'it's annoying for teachers', it is claimed
'Pupils were getting into fights and teachers were getting annoyed,' childminder Lisa Davies-Unger, 47, who looks after children at the school, told The Sun.
'It's a distraction so I suppose that led to the ban.'
However, a spokesman at the school said children had not been banned from bringing the stickers to school, and were even encouraged to swap the stickers as part of a school club.
'There is no ban on children bringing stickers into school,' he said.
'Children are welcome to bring in their stickers and they are doing so with the blessing of staff. We even have a special club where children can get together and swap them in their free time.'
Panini, which has the exclusive rights from FIFA to produce and sell the tournament's official sticker album expects this year's edition to be the most popular yet, with billions sold before and during this year's competition.
Rules: Teachers at Battyeford Primary School in Mirfield, West Yorkshire, deny children have been banned from bringing stickers to school
Collection: Panini, which has the exclusive rights from FIFA to produce and sell World Cup official sticker albums expects this year's edition to be the most popular yet
Already 40million of the packets, which sell for around 50p, have been bought - and no doubt swapped - worldwide.
And last week it was reported that a teacher in the Columbian city of Bucaramanga had been accused of confiscating stickers from pupils, and using them to complete his own Panini album.
According to local media a 13-year-old boy reported seeing the teacher in the staff room filling his album with the stickers taken from children.
Last month Panini had to reassure fans in Brazil that there would not be a shortage of stickers after thieves hijacked a van containing 300,000 of them.