Youth Soccer Development

Discussion in 'Youth & HS Soccer' started by ThePonchat, Jan 31, 2019.

  1. ThePonchat

    ThePonchat Member+

    Columbus Crew SC
    United States
    Jan 10, 2013
    NKY
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Just to generate some discussion on here (hey, that's what the forum is for, right?), I thought I'd pass this post along. It's been something that I've been thinking of for quite some time. So, I finally formulated some thoughts.

    Sorry for the longer post.

    https://ponchat.wordpress.com/2019/01/23/player-development-in-us-soccer/

    Here's a sample of the post:
    • International academies train and play for 10 months a year
    • American soccer players train and play for 2.5 months in the fall (mid-August to beginning of November) then an additional 4 months in the spring if there is a spring club opportunity (rec would probably be much less time)
    • Internationally is 10 months a year compared to possibly 6.5 months for an American player
    • Wonder why the USMNT cannot catch the rest of the world and why the USWNT is getting surpassed?
     
  2. Kysoccer79

    Kysoccer79 New Member

    Jul 15, 2015
    That schedule isn’t accurate for most of the serious club players I know(both within and outside of the DA). A more accurate schedule is 8/1-12/1 fall season. Most clubs train 3-4 days a week and the majority of kids I know do private training in addition bringing it up to 5-6 days a week. Plus games. Many clubs take a few weeks around Christmas off. This is in line with European academies. Winter season running early January- mid March. Spring starting immediately and running until mid June. Many clubs attend multiple tournaments in the summer. For areas of the country with harsher conditions indoor training may not be as frequent but most players supplement with futsal, private training, saq etc. For those places without a real winter the outdoor training continues with no break. This is a normal yearly schedule for the vast majority of serious club players I know. I know some kids do skip winter, but the vast majority of kids I know play as much if not more soccer through the winter(walled, futsal, turf etc).
     
  3. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member

    Feb 27, 2017
    Here's been our schedule so far this year...

    July - August: "Optional" HS training twice per week
    August - October: HS Season
    October - December: Club (two trainings/week, plus games or showcases)
    Two weeks off in January
    Jan - March: Winter training (one training/week)
    Dec - March: ODP trainings culminating in showcase in Memphis and weeklong trip to Germany
    March - June: Club (two trainings/week, plus games/showcases)

    Granted, maybe not as heavy during the week as other clubs, but pretty much a 12 month schedule. And there is no DA team in this state.
     
  4. ThePonchat

    ThePonchat Member+

    Columbus Crew SC
    United States
    Jan 10, 2013
    NKY
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    How is the schedule not accurate? I gave the exact times and even estimated somewhat higher for the US calendar.

    I probably should have clarified that it It was based off numerous HS-aged calendars (14-18 years old). Most HS players only play around 16 game regular seasons, plus whatever their postseason may be (1-game for the majority). I looked at numerous club league standings/schedules and it shows exactly what I've listed out -- anywhere from 6-10 games per season (fall/spring).

    In the post, I did clarify that all tournaments are excluded because international tournaments are somewhat unknown (how many and number of games) for the clubs. They also vary greatly from country-to-country, and club-to-club...just like here in the States.

    Obviously the DA is much different, but it also impacts such a fewer number of kids. No way can we limit our player pool to only the DA. Look at England's NT, 9 of 11 regular starters in the 2018 World Cup were not developed in the PL academies. So, no way should we, or will I ever, rely on the DA to push us to the next level.

    Here is a complete comparison to the games played by the typical soccer player, international and domestic:

    International:
    • U12 — 22-26 matches (50-60 minutes)
    • U13-15 — 30 matches (70 minutes)
    • U16 — 30 matches (90 minutes)
    Domestic:
    • U12 — 12-16 (N/A minutes)
    • U13-15 — 13-16 (N/A minutes)
    • U16 — 16-24 (N/A minutes)
    From U12-U19, players in the States could play 102 fewer games than their international counterparts -- again, excluding tournaments that both sides participate in. But, want to include them in the States, go ahead. It is easily debated that playing 3-5 games in two days is not valuable competition.

    I also found out, was told by a club parent after reading the post, that their kids' teams have regularly had tournament games count as league games. That actually negates how many games are played by youth players. If that is unclear: Team A and Team B play in ABCD League against each other, they find themselves in Chicago playing in EFGH Tournament, where they matched up together, A and B decide to play the Tournament game and count it in League play also. Now, that's one fewer league game that is played throughout the season.
     
  5. CoachP365

    CoachP365 Member

    Business Metrics SC
    Apr 26, 2012
    Training American players for the same amount of time as international academies with your average American coaches and we still aren't going to catch up to the rest of the world.
     
  6. ThePonchat

    ThePonchat Member+

    Columbus Crew SC
    United States
    Jan 10, 2013
    NKY
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    It has little to do with coaching -- on the grand scheme of things. Absolutely, it is important, but it's nowhere near the top of necessities. Every single pro player will say the same thing, they've put much more time into the sport than any coach could ever offer them.

    This goes clear back to Cruyff's comments about it.

    Look at the previous comments here, it's all about their organized activities. No one will truly catch up to the rest of the world on this schedule:

    July - August (9 weeks x twice per week = 18 sessions)
    October - December (13 weeks x twice per week = 26 sessions)
    Jan - March (13 weeks x once per week = 13 sessions)
    March - June (13 weeks x twice per week = 26 sessions)

    Add them all up and that's 83 sessions. If training is two hours per session, that's 166 hours. There are 720 hours in a 30-day month. There's 8760 hours in a whole year. Taking that training calendar is less than 2% of all hours in the year is spent in a training environment.

    Compare that to this possibility of extra training:
    • 15 minutes a day for 365 days = 91.25 extra hours of training
    • 20 minutes a day for 365 days = 121.67 extra hours of training
    • 30 minutes a day for 365 days = 182.5 extra hours of training
    • 60 minutes a day for 365 days = 365 extra hours of training
    If an athlete decided to do 30 minutes a day of extra training, s/he almost surpasses the actual time spent in organized training sessions. There's so much more to becoming better than what coaches and organized training provide.
     
  7. VolklP19

    VolklP19 Member

    Jun 23, 2010
    Illinois
    This...

    Our DA trains 10 months out of the year and many kids outside that are on the ball the same amount of time.

    IMO one of the big things we lack is street soccer or open play which brings a different perspective to the game. It's pure in that players are free to do what they want, play other positions and try new things they see on TV that they otherwise would get jammed by their coach for trying in a game - maybe even their mates.

    We are grinding our kids in meaningless travel sports which are in many cases sucking the passion out of them. They need to have fun in order to attain passion which will drive confidence and progress. In many cases - it's just not fun anymore. Lousy clubs, bad parents and un-organized leagues with a organization on the top which only cares about the DA and does nothing to help fix the problems with leagues and develop a better model for rec play.
     
  8. pu.ma

    pu.ma Member

    Feb 8, 2018
    You can hide the console and devices but it still doesnt mean the next option for a kid is to kick a ball around for fun. The kid has to want to do it.
     
    bigredfutbol repped this.
  9. VolklP19

    VolklP19 Member

    Jun 23, 2010
    Illinois
    If they are not having fun - why would they want to do it? That's my point.

    Open play does another thing - I would argue... It allows a player to see where all that work and dedication has come from. My u13 and 2 of my u12 players are playing on a u16 Boys team - which is rec but still we are talking about bigger kids that play harder and faster in some cases - these are kids who have 2 seasons of high school soccer under them.

    They are scoring more goals and moving the ball around the field better - they are seeing that and saying to themselves - "Wow I am pretty good!". Some of the boys have come up to them and said "What - you're 12???"

    The feeling is good - it shows them what it's all worth - all that time behind the ball at their club where they are just pushing forward daya after day and not necessarily able to look back too see where they have come.
     
  10. pu.ma

    pu.ma Member

    Feb 8, 2018
    @VolklP19, I totally agree with you. Just saying the kid may prefer doing something besides soccer with their free time (with respect to free play and getting in touches outside of training). Something has to draw their interest towards doing something soccer related.
     
  11. VolklP19

    VolklP19 Member

    Jun 23, 2010
    Illinois
    Right on - thanks!
     
  12. CoachP365

    CoachP365 Member

    Business Metrics SC
    Apr 26, 2012
    That seems different from your original post - top US teams train less than international teams.

    It's also true that kids in the US do not play on their own. It's also true that left to their own devices (cough *USSF Play-pRactice-Play* cough) american kids will most likely take the full 100 years or so to replicate "Inverting the Pyramid".

    Just taking a ball to a wall will help a lot with their footskills, but then we wind up with what I see a lot of watching the USYS Regionals/College soccer on youtube - games of 11 1v1 battles vs showing any kind of tactical sense.

    Getting American youth to watch more high level soccer would be key - it would give them the inspiration to try things, just like kids in my area grew up imitating their favorite baseball/football players.

    But more than that having a culture of parents/family/adults that can watch a game with them and explain why a team is playing a certain way, etc, would also be a requirement. Explain why a team is able to build their attack/struggling to get out of their own half, etc.
     
  13. ThePonchat

    ThePonchat Member+

    Columbus Crew SC
    United States
    Jan 10, 2013
    NKY
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    It's deeper than the DA, as I previously said. I have coached in the DA, and I've yet to see the majority of DA kids on a ball the same amount of time outside of the DA.

    If we solely rely on a DA to push our NTs forward, we have neglected millions of players. A player pool of roughly 4,000 kids is not nearly enough (utilized that number as that was what DA said a few years back at the then NSCAA Convention).

    What? Not at all. It's just expanded on it. As it was all laid out in the linked blog post.
     
  14. CornfieldSoccer

    Aug 22, 2013
    This is a bit off topic, but I'd be curious to hear what you think about where your child was at the end of that period of high school-only. My soccer son will start HS this fall with a similar schedule -- a few days of HS practice over the summer, then the season, all with two coaches who, from what I gather, are a mixed bag and have, even after cuts, 45-50 kids of widely varying skill levels to work with over the varsity and JV.

    Any significant changes, for better, worse, or otherwise?
     
  15. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member

    Feb 27, 2017
    Just to give you the baseline going into the HS season... DS was the "star" of his middle school team. His club team won the state cup last year and played in Premier I of (then) MRL. They finished MRL 2-5 I think.

    I don't mention this to brag (ok, maybe a little), but to let you know the competition he was used to seeing. In HS, he made varsity as a freshman. He started all but two games (injury). He went up against KIDS that were bigger, faster, and stronger than him, but I wasn't impressed with the TEAMS he went up against (if that made sense).

    I do think playing HS ball didn't hurt him and maybe even helped him a little. It gave him a chance to see how the team leaders acted (both good and bad). It kept getting him touches on the ball. He got to work on his strategy.

    Granted, club ball is better than HS, but HS is better than nothing. Although he took the season serious, this was his "fun" season (again, if that makes sense). I have no regrets of him playing HS, and I don't get the feeling he does either.
     
    CornfieldSoccer and ThePonchat repped this.
  16. Kysoccer79

    Kysoccer79 New Member

    Jul 15, 2015
    Here is the schedule for my HS age son who plays non DA.

    August-October-HS soccer. 5-6 days per week including games/practices/playing with friends.
    November-Mid March(with two weeks off around Christmas)-2 club trainings per week. 1-2 club games per week. 1-2 open sessions with friends at local gym.
    Mid March-Mid June-3-4 club practices per week. 1 game. 1-2 times a week playing with friends.

    He isn’t ultra serious and doesn’t do private trainings. He does spend a lot of time playing with his friends at the nearby soccer field. His team will participate in 1-2 tournaments over the summer and have 2-3 weeks completely off. He played approximately 40 games last year outside of tournaments. This is a small mid level club in a large urban area.
     
  17. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    #17 bigredfutbol, Feb 4, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
    This is the main reason I support school soccer. My son didn't learn jack-squat technically or tactically playing for his Middle school team, and didn't learn much of anything playing for his HS team for that matter.

    What he DID do was make a lot of friends in & near our own community who liked playing soccer. Those were the guys he ended up playing pickup with, at local parks and indoor facilities. That never happened with the kids he played club with.
     
    ThePonchat and VolklP19 repped this.
  18. Barry Selph

    Barry Selph New Member

    Barcelona
    United States
    Aug 16, 2018
    A huge difference between the US and the International soccer community is the abundance of other sports available in the US, especially in regards to youth sports. In the US, unfortunately, the best athletes choose football, then basketball, then baseball, etc (insert track & field, hockey, lacrosse), finally trickling down to soccer. This is indisputable.
     
  19. ThePonchat

    ThePonchat Member+

    Columbus Crew SC
    United States
    Jan 10, 2013
    NKY
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    It is disputable.

    I have coached and experienced other cultures, which I'm sure many of us can say the same. All of my players and friends from elsewhere have nearly everything available to them too -- and then some. Gaelic, skiing, skating, gymnastics, rugby, golf, tennis, basketball, water polo, field hockey (which is not just a women's sport elsewhere), you name it. These sports are available. The international communities face the same issues that domestic athletes face: relationships, video games, shopping, etc. That doesn't stop them from producing -- even outside of the NT or academy level.

    The "best athletes" comment is so overdone. Would Messi have ever made the "best athlete" discussion in the US? Never. Go through the history of the game and most players would never be considered "best athlete." It doesn't take the "best athlete" to make a soccer team good. What defines an athlete anyway? I've always asked this question and no one can truly answer it. It typically comes back to "bigger, faster, stronger" and that's not necessarily proper. The US has an estimated 24+ million soccer players in the country, to think there aren't qualified athletes in that player pool and we need a few more additional from any other sport, that's a bit far-fetched.
     
    bigredfutbol repped this.
  20. CoachP365

    CoachP365 Member

    Business Metrics SC
    Apr 26, 2012
    I see, I think we're in agreement - just playing in the official time you get with your academy/club/school practice is not enough, players need to own their own development and work on their own/seek out playing opportunities.
     
    ThePonchat repped this.
  21. CoachP365

    CoachP365 Member

    Business Metrics SC
    Apr 26, 2012
     
    ThePonchat and bigredfutbol repped this.
  22. CoachP365

    CoachP365 Member

    Business Metrics SC
    Apr 26, 2012
    Let's pick our best soccer players, and when they get to about u15, start making them into athletes.
     
    diablodelsol and bigredfutbol repped this.
  23. Barry Selph

    Barry Selph New Member

    Barcelona
    United States
    Aug 16, 2018
    Just saw a statistic in regards to high school age boys; soccer participation is only 10% of total; again, ONLY 10% of male, high school age athletes play soccer! Hey, I'm 100% a soccer fan, I have two daughters that currently play, one is playing keeper at a D1 college, the other still in high school. My point was that in regards to males, if an amazing cornerback, receiver, safety had grew up loving soccer like our compatriots all over the world, instead of American football; that particular young man would probably become an amazing soccer player. I guarantee that soccer is the #1 choice among male athletes across the globe, EXCEPT in the USA
     
    bigredfutbol repped this.
  24. SpiceBoy

    SpiceBoy Member

    Barcelona
    United States
    Aug 2, 2017
    As ThePonchat pointed out this argument depends a LOT on how you define 'best athlete". If you include mental aspects like determination, self motivation, desire to play, etc.as part of being a 'best athlete" I would start to agree with Barry that a much higher percentage of boys like this are choosing sports other than soccer in the US as opposed to in other European or South American countries they are choosing Soccer. I do believe this contributes (but is not the main / only reason) to the issues with US Soccer.

    If Messi grew up in Canada would he be a hockey player? If he grew up in India or Pakistan would he be a cricket player?
     
    ThePonchat and bigredfutbol repped this.
  25. Barry Selph

    Barry Selph New Member

    Barcelona
    United States
    Aug 16, 2018
    Exactly; I'm not proposing that the US suffers only because the bigger, faster players aren't playing soccer; only that there is a greater number of athletes in the US choosing other sports. Those sports are pretty much year round which goes back to the original post. In the USA it's much more common for the typical urban youth to get a basketball and play pick up games in their neighborhood on a daily basis; it's cheap and "everyone" knows how to play basketball. It's less typical for the urban athlete to pick up a soccer ball for a round of street ball, not enough fields to play on or enough of their peers that would rather play soccer. Unfortunate, but the truth. Someone posted about 24 million soccer players in the US? Not sure where that stat comes from, but that's probably adding boys & girls from a young age through high school. There's only a fraction of that number still playing soccer by 18.
     

Share This Page