Youth Soccer Development

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

  1. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'm afraid not a few youth coaches in this country have exactly the opposite approach. I've seen (and heard) it myself.
     
  2. CornfieldSoccer

    Aug 22, 2013
    Thanks for that. My son's u14/u15 team ran into a team last fall at a tournament that was strictly u15 and almost all HS kids who, according to their parents, elected to skip HS to stick with what was a very good club team, train with those coaches, ... Not an option where we live, and my son wants to play for his HS, anyway, but I'm leery of what spending every fall for the next four years playing at a level that's below his club team (coaching and opponents) will do. I'm also leery of teams being coached to play overly physical and less-skilled players who fit that mold (I'm basing that mostly on high school soccer's reputation, granted).
     
  3. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member

    Feb 27, 2017
    What are you options though? Is there a club season if your son doesn't play HS? Around here there's not. Most players are playing HS and many of the coaches are HS coaches (DS's club coach is the head coach at a HS). That makes the decision easy IMO.
     
  4. ThePonchat

    ThePonchat Member+

    Columbus Crew SC
    United States
    Jan 10, 2013
    NKY
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    What defines "greater number of athletes"? Yes, there are roughly 1.6 million more in baseball and 1.9 million more in basketball. But, soccer has more than football. Did you know the average soccer player is roughly the same size as the average DB in football? They both are about 5'10" to 5'11" and around 160-170 pounds. Who says faster players aren't playing soccer? Where is your data there? Did you see the earlier post saying how fast the athletes were in soccer?

    In the end, sports develop people so much differently. Just because LeBron makes a great basketball player and a good football player doesn't mean he'd turn out to be a phenomenal soccer player. Insert any other player in that equation. So, they can lift some weights? But, can they run 5-8 miles in a game at the pace/stamina that those players have? It's comparing apples and oranges.

    The 24 million came from FIFA. They put out that study in 2008. I would venture to say that no other sport has that many players through all ages. Only China has more players playing than the US.
     
  5. jvgnj

    jvgnj Member

    Apr 22, 2015
    It seems that this is always framed as an "either/or" on this board when you need some combination of both. Just as a blazing fast kid with no touch or sense of the game has limited use as you move up the chain, the same applies if a kid has amazing foot skills but doesn't have the speed/quickness to get into a position to get the ball and do something with it.
     
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  6. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    A fair point. I'd argue that generally our youth scene skews way too far in one direction, but I fully recognize that you cannot completely ignore athletic ability.
     
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  7. CornfieldSoccer

    Aug 22, 2013
    There aren't other options here -- my son's club is the only one of any size locally and fields no boys teams in the fall, and we're 2 hours-plus from the closest major metro areas. And as I mentioned, he wants to play for his school.

    That's interesting that many of the club coaches coach in the schools where you are. Our club coaches don't (we live in a college town, so a lot of them are grad students and the like), and the local high school coaches don't seem to have any connection with the club to speak of (or vice versa). I think it would actually benefit them if they did have those links since most of their better players play club soccer.
     
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  8. ThePonchat

    ThePonchat Member+

    Columbus Crew SC
    United States
    Jan 10, 2013
    NKY
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    This is a really good point, and one that is often neglected in the HS v. club debate.

    No, not every HS coach has a club background. But, I'd assume a large percentage of them do (across the country). If they don't have a club background, I'd assume the HS coaches have a decent soccer background. We are moving out of the days where the soccer coach is just a football (insert any sport) assistant in the offseason. Sure, it can happen, but I'd also venture to say it happens where other coaches don't step up and coach.

    Likewise, many HS kids also play club. So, why the big debate on why HS is bad? Most kids play club. Most coaches have a somewhat decent coaching/playing background. It gets a bad rep, undeservedly, in my opinion. Some want to push club over HS, but we all can point to any number of "clubs" that are glorified rec organizations that aren't strong. It's a whole mentality that needs to change.
     
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  9. Barry Selph

    Barry Selph New Member

    Barcelona
    United States
    Aug 16, 2018
    Hey, I get it, soccer players are great athletes, I agree! My point was, since you brought up Lebron James (an amazing athlete and skilled basketball player), if he could have grown up playing soccer, instead of basketball, he could have possibly became an amazing, skilled soccer player. We don't know, because in the US most kids growing up in an urban setting don't play pick-up soccer with their buddies; just doesn't happen. We are not a soccer culture like most of the rest of the world is. Yes I know, a great athlete doesn't always make the best soccer player, but we can't argue it both ways; I think I've already seen the post somewhere above arguing that soccer players are great athletes!

    Also, just because a country has a large number of soccer participants, i.e. China and the US; how many world cups have either of those countries won?
     
  10. ThePonchat

    ThePonchat Member+

    Columbus Crew SC
    United States
    Jan 10, 2013
    NKY
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    LeBron could have also ended up as some random nobody soccer player. We have no idea. Ultimately, one would have to figure out how he became an amazing basketball player, right? Does that always transfer over to other sports and make them amazing players? Probably not. There's not one way develop, and every player is different.

    The "soccer culture" is what it comes down to. Compare Messi and LeBron, who's considered a better "athlete" by most? Americans would generally say LeBron. There is more to soccer, like several other sports, than just being an "athlete." The "culture" aspect was what the initial post (by me) was all about. It has nothing to do with athleticism. In all reality, it has little to do with coaching. It's about how much time, effort, and desire the player wants to put into the sport.
     
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  11. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'm not so sure it's true that most kids playing HS soccer play club.
     
  12. ThePonchat

    ThePonchat Member+

    Columbus Crew SC
    United States
    Jan 10, 2013
    NKY
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'm not sure? I guess.

    Maybe not on a consistent basis. But, there's a lot that do. The club kids I coach, their complaints are their HS teammates aren't as good, and it usually comes out that they come from "lesser" clubs. I can't say that any players I've run into complain about their multi-sport teammates more than their club teammates.

    I'm figuring this more at the varsity level, rather than the JV or freshman levels.
     
  13. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I suppose it depends on the place. My son's HS team had a LOT of Hispanic and African kids who didn't play club because the parents couldn't afford it or didn't make it a priority. Of course, quite of a few of those kids played pickup with siblings and family members so they generally had some skills if not a lot of tactical experience.
     
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  14. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member

    Feb 27, 2017
    My son played Varsity last year. 18(?) kids on Varsity and about an equal amount on JV. On varsity, there were at least 5 kids currently playing club and most of the rest had at least played club in their younger days (pre-teen, early teen). I think it was about the same on JV.

    Now, we're an outlying community, about 30 minutes from the "city" closest to us. I think some of the city schools had 10+ club players on their HS team, but that's nothing more than a guesstimate.
     
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  15. smontrose

    smontrose New Member

    Real Madrid
    Italy
    Aug 30, 2017
    Illinois, NS Suburb
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I don't know all the details but everyone so far is talking about how much training per year in too much of a macro view I think. Let's try to get granular... Hours per week, and the sum over a whole year, comparing USA vs. European systems.
    US pay4play vs. Europe( someone else pays?, sorry Im a nube).
    My son plays U15 at a DA club, same schedule as DA. Right now in Winter, Nov to March, its 1 practice at 1.5 hours, Saturday indoor game (40 Min), Sunday futsal(45mi). Once outddors I think it's 3 x 1.5 hour practices and one or two games per week.
    Is this optimal? My opinion no, but the club has to think about how many hours they can work their coaches. I assume they are on salary or stipend, not hourly. Then you have to rent practice facility, field time for practices and games, extra for tourneys.
    My point here is the meter is always running and clubs have to weigh what they can provide vs. being profitable.
    On the other hand, my guess is in Euro clubs, they probably quite often have facilities that are more openly available because of what ever the financial system is so they can provide the hours of training needed for OPTIMAL development, from a relatively young age. If this scenario is accurate, a kid in Europe is getting hundreds of hours per year in a COACHED situation, plus solo workouts, compared to probably not even 100 hours in the USA.
    Sidebar, I haven't really seen real, consistent effort at player development in any club we've been part of.
    Another comparison... I would bet a 12 year old average age group swimmer in the US is getting tons more time in the pool than a U16 DA soccer player. Yes! You can say sure its an endurance sport but at younger ages the focus is on mechanics. The real point here is youngsters can handle a heavy training commitment time wise.

    Tell me why any US soccer player over the age of 11 shouldn't have the ability to be in organized workouts 5 days a week at least 7 or 8 months of the year?
     
  16. Kysoccer79

    Kysoccer79 New Member

    Jul 15, 2015
    I know it varies a lot by club/region so just to give another perspective. My son plays u15 on a DA team in a warm climate. They train 4 days a week for 2 hours a day, and one game a week(if they do not have a DA game they play a friendly or inter club scrimmage) so it is 5 days a week at 2 hrs per day for 10.5 months a year. It is unfortunate that there are parts of the country that that isn’t really feasible due to the cost and availability of indoor facilities.
     
  17. mwulf67

    mwulf67 Member+

    Sep 24, 2014
    Club:
    Chelsea FC
    Barry Selph said: ↑

    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.


    Your boy Cruyff is a great example of that difference…Cruyff was supposedly a great baseball pitcher in his youth at Ajax , but gave it up at age 15 to pursue soccer full time…

    Simple availably of other sports is not really a factor, the popularity of those sports is key…

    Although somewhat speculative, I think it would be very difficult to argue that the popularity of soccer vs baseball in 1950’s Netherlands didn’t influence Curyff’s decision to pursue a sport that offered far more glory, money and opportunity….

    Did baseball lose one its greatest pitchers of all time? I guess we will never know….
     
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  18. mwulf67

    mwulf67 Member+

    Sep 24, 2014
    Club:
    Chelsea FC
    Be careful what you wish for…just down the road, we have a local HS coach heavily involved in our club…nice guy and all, but I am not a fan of the arrangement…I should note my son doesn’t attend his HS….
     
  19. ThePonchat

    ThePonchat Member+

    Columbus Crew SC
    United States
    Jan 10, 2013
    NKY
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I touched on the training in the original posts (especially the blog post). I mean, if we can calculate how many training sessions per year, it's pretty easy to go calculate the hours per week as well. That's part of the reason why I believe that recreational/street playing needs to happen more.

    While Euro clubs may have facilities open, they are utilized by all their clubs in their academies. They average around 4-6 fields per academy. But, there's also many more free-play spaces available as well. So, if they don't play at their academy, they can play at the local school or park. And, we all know how much more accessible these facilities are than facilities in the States.

    I know this full-well. Take gymnasts or swimmers. I'm not sure who spends more time in training. You ask any American soccer player to train like they do, you'd be shunned! Swimmers do two-a-days, regularly. Gymnasts (at least in my experience) spend 4+ hours everyday doing the same types of exercises. My favorite boss was a retired DI swim coach and Hall of Famer. We talked all the time about the swimming side of training/competition.

    Break that down too. Look at how often they'll work on turns, techniques, etc. Then, ask soccer players to continuously work on passing, finishing, etc. and it's "boring" or "let's play games." The culture with the sport isn't taken seriously.
     
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  20. CoachP365

    CoachP365 Member

    Business Metrics SC
    Apr 26, 2012
    Thanking the powers that be that one of the greatest sporting moments ever was not ruined by an umpire throwing up his arms and calling a balk :)
     
  21. jvgnj

    jvgnj Member

    Apr 22, 2015
    I've never heard the story of Cruyff as a pitcher but he does have a passage in his book about how playing catcher had an effect on how he saw the field as a soccer player. I thought it was interesting that Ajax, as a club, would take a break from soccer in the summer for baseball.

    I recently read Bruce Arians' book and the section on Andrew Luck had an interesting tidbit that I hadn't heard before. Luck's dad was the commissioner of the World League and Luck spent a good chunk of his youth in Germany, which led to him playing a lot of soccer. He didn't play football until they returned stateside. Both Arians and Luck credit this experience with how he sees the field and processes information as a QB.

    In keeping with the title of Youth Soccer Development, it seems like soccer clubs taking the long view on player development would actively encourage their players to play other sports in their youth before focusing on soccer later on.
     
  22. ThePonchat

    ThePonchat Member+

    Columbus Crew SC
    United States
    Jan 10, 2013
    NKY
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Oh, here we go with this can o' worms! :D

    I've held this stance: every family and athlete's situation is different. Some players need to specialize. Some players are capable of being multi-sport athletes. Some families probably shouldn't spread themselves too thin. Some families can handle the multi-sport hustle. I don't think there is one way to do it.

    If I were to do it all over again, I'd specialize a lot earlier. I enjoyed playing basketball, baseball, and wished I wrestled longer. But, I was a mediocre athlete in all those compared to my soccer desire. There's numerous players I've coached who would be MUCH better players/athletes if they focused more on one sport instead of others.
     
  23. I donot know how things are now, but at highschool in my days we played in the sporting exercise hours all kind of sports, including volley ball, field hockey, baseball and basketball to name just a few. It's not like we only played soccer like some yanks want to make people believe. But that was in my (and Cruyff's days). Dunno the current state of sporting hours in high schools.
     
  24. jvgnj

    jvgnj Member

    Apr 22, 2015
    I'm sure we in the U.S. probably overestimate how much kids in Europe play soccer in both organized and unorganized settings. They're kids after all, with limited attention spans and varied interests.
     
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  25. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member

    Feb 27, 2017
    Make sure we're talking about the same things. When my kids take gym class (during school hours), they play many sports... volleyball, basketball, dodgeball, soccer, baseball, etc.

    I think when "specializing" comes up is when a family decides the child will only be enrolled (participate in organized activities) for one sport. That doesn't mean kids won't play other sports, just that it might not be on an organized team.
     
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