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
    Kane - Ridgeway Rovers, Arsenal (released after 1 year for being "a bit chubby" and "not very athletic"), cut at Tottenham on trial, back to Ridgeway Rovers, Watford, then finally Tottenham at 16.
    Rashford - Fletcher Moss Rangers, Manchester United at 7
    Dele Alli - MK Dons at 11, debut at 16 in FA Cup, league debut was in League One
    Sterling - Alpha & Omega (four years), Queens Park Rangers (seven years), Liverpool at 16 (debut at 18)
    Henderson - Sunderland at 8 and pro at 18 (10 years, in EPL 60% of the time), Liverpool at 21
    Dier - Sporting CP debut with B at 18, Everton (loan), Tottenham at 20
    Rose - Leeds United (joined at 15), Tottenham at 17 and debut at 20
    Smalling - Walderslade Boys, Lordswood, Millwall at 13, Maidstone United at 17, Fulham at 19, Manchester United at 21
    Cahill - AFC Dronfield until 15, Aston Villa at 15, loaned to Burnley and Sheffield United, Bolton at 23, Chelsea at 27
    Walker - Sheffield United from 7 to 18, Tottenham at 19, loaned to Sheffield United, QPR, and Aston Villa, then Manchester City at 27
    Pickford - Sunderland from 8 to 17 (loaned to Darlington, Alfreton Town, Burton Albion, Carlisle United, Bradford City, and Preston North End), then Everton at 23

    There was a better breakdown of it on Twitter during the World Cup. This is one I concocted though. Rashford, Henderson, Pickford all spent major time at EPL clubs (or clubs that spent most of their time in EPL). That's 3 of 11.

    What sticks out is the non-major academies that are in their playing careers. No one needs to be at pro academies from 10 on. It guarantees nothing. Kids just need to play, and they need tested. Some of these guys spend major time with Sunday League sides playing with/against men from an early age that's so beneficial for development.
     
  2. Cubanlix63

    Cubanlix63 Member

    Feb 19, 2014
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    While I agree with what you are trying to say these are probably not the players they were talking about since from the list only Cahill, Smalling, Rose and maybe Kane would qualify. And Cahill did not start for England at the WC and Smalling did not even make the team. The rest look they were playing in academies from young ages.
     
  3. Cubanlix63

    Cubanlix63 Member

    Feb 19, 2014
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    And on early specialization there has been a ton of research that points to athletes who specialized later having more success. And that even as youth sports get more specialized the athletes that specialize later still outperform the ones who specialize earlier. Here is a little bit of David Epstein talking about it at the Sloan Analytics Athletic Conference.

     
  4. Ryan7852

    Ryan7852 Member

    Barcelona
    United States
    Mar 24, 2019
    Here's my thing about the "specialization" debate in soccer....(my two cents)

    1. The worlds best in the game specialized early...look at all the Balon d'Or winners...this goes several levels down from the Balon d'Or winners as well. Not to say some didn't play tennis, basketball, volleyball in their spare time...but in soccer if you don't specialize, start very young (taught the right way in manipualiting/protecting the ball) forget it*...you won't make it to the elite of the elite (and specialization doesn't necessarily mean you have to be at an academy to specialize...in fact most of the greats didn't...but that model (growing up in streets) is probably dead moving forward. (sadly)

    2*. Given billions play the sport and you make it to a high level European league you're a statistical anomaly. Odds are better to win the Powerball...back to back maybe than make it at that high level. So while I mention point #1 I do it tongue in cheek...it's unbelievably rare to make it to that level, let alone be a success at that level.

    Bottom line is you can be a phenom and not "make it" (however one defines "making it"..D1 college, pros, Champions league level player)...so many things have to go right.

    I truly believe the "development" conversation is overblown. Development to me is we're not playing 70's era English soccer as much as we used to...(i.e. boot it up to the fast kid)...kids in top clubs are getting training at u-littles that I never saw as a college player. We are aligning much more with the Int'l standard even though we're still light years behind it. This is all development and it's good. But bottom line is the kid has it or they don't or they have an unbelievable passion with a work ethic to match and that can take a (still talented) kid far.

    The ones who make it don't because they were developed at the right club. The ones that made it had an awful lot going for them above all probably a parent that didn't ruin them along the way (pushing them too hard, etc) I know of two girls at Eclipse. One in 7th grade being recruited by colleges already and one finishing her career this year who was never recruited despite playing on the top ECNL teams...did Eclipse develop one more than the other? (of course not...it's talent/drive and all sorts of factors that happen *outside* of the club that makes the difference)
     
  5. VolklP19

    VolklP19 Member

    Jun 23, 2010
    Illinois
    #80 VolklP19, May 6, 2019
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
    Could just be a bad coach issue as well. I'll go back to my kid. She started at 4 and moved to a big club at 6. Did all the 3v3 and technification. She did nearly 2 years of keeper training. All futsal training. Never missed games, tourneys or practices. She also plays open play in the summer and winter - something now which that club forbids.

    The last two years she's also played with her school mates in rec. And she was asked to join a u16 boys rec league - which she loves.

    But yet not until this season has she had 3 coaches (3) at her new club, who have sparked her interest again. Helped her to break bad habits and understand why.

    At her former club she played nothing but right back with 1/10th play as right forward - so pretty much a right back. Got 25 minutes per game. Yesterday she was bumped up to center forward and strung 5 solid plays together - distributing the ball to the outside where we scored 2 times - having never played that spot other then in practices. She's gone from mid to bottom last year to top this year - because of good coaching.

    So while I am not jamming any programs here - I will say that coaching is a HUGE part of the equation.

    Essentially passion builds or ends with the coach. A coach can make a bad program look good. But it can to just the opposite as well.
     
  6. pu.ma

    pu.ma Member

    Feb 8, 2018
    Totally agree. As much as a coach can set a player on a path towards good development, can also derail a player's development.
     
  7. Cubanlix63

    Cubanlix63 Member

    Feb 19, 2014
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Soccer is definitely an early exposure sport and you generally need to start early but, that does not make it an early specialization sport. And Johan Cruyff also played n Ajax's youth baseball team until he was 15 and Marco Van Basten's first love was Gymnastics.Also, a lot of great British players played Rugby and Cricket at a high level going into their teens.

    And here is what Nicky Butt the head of Manchester United's Academy is saying about the effect of so many players specializing early.

    http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/w...r-climb-trees-dont-know-how-to-fall-3zqcfzcqk

     
  8. Ryan7852

    Ryan7852 Member

    Barcelona
    United States
    Mar 24, 2019
    Cruyff played soccer on the streets for “hours every day” (he says it’s where he learned the game). That to me is specialization. Bergkamp or van Basten (forget which) had OCD when it came to kicking a ball against a wall. Hours upon hours upon hours every single day.

    Agree sentiment re: Man U coach, but reality is the *vast* majority of elite players “specialize” at earliest ages even if they play another sport. They simply are obsessed.
     
  9. ThePonchat

    ThePonchat Member+

    Columbus Crew SC
    United States
    Jan 10, 2013
    NKY
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    There is nothing wrong with specialization.

    The data points that most US talking heads use is NFL players. Of course they aren't truly specializing in football in HS (or before). Football plays its season the same time every year -- August until it ends in November (or later). There's no spring football. Football players know that they have to do other sports and not just sit around.

    If there were a start of a spring "club" football and it proved to be successful, you'd sure see more "specialization" in the sport.

    Nearly every other sport has a "club" component to it. That's why it's so easy to focus more on that one sport.

    The "specialization" that's often talked about with soccer is those kids who only focus on soccer and rely on the 1-3 days a week of training to make them a better soccer player. They don't do anything else to become better -- no work on their own, no cross training in other sports (even recreationally), and actually are more stagnant in their lives. I see it. I work in it. It's amazing to see and hear of the players who think they are good enough to play any higher level and their inability to truly be ready (overweight, no work ethic, little time spent on the sport, etc.).
     
  10. Ryan7852

    Ryan7852 Member

    Barcelona
    United States
    Mar 24, 2019
    100% and good point re: football.

    And 1,000% re: kids “they don’t do anything else to become better”. And yet it’s the coaches and clubs fault when little Susie doesn’t “develop”.

    To become a very good soccer player:

    1. Genuine love of ball - play with it constantly and everywhere.

    2. Consistent informal pick up games with kids who are older/younger/better and worse.

    3. Competitive Club team that practices 3x week at least
     
    ThePonchat repped this.
  11. Ryan7852

    Ryan7852 Member

    Barcelona
    United States
    Mar 24, 2019
    On another note...My hope is that kids just learn to love the game. Those that want to travel a true elite path I love it and say go for it, but they are rounding errors vis a vis the soccer population as a whole.

    So many kids dropping out of the game. In rec and travel. It’s sad. It’s such a great sport that has a fantastic balance between individual skill and team play that is unique in sports imo. Cognitively it’s great for kids as is the physical aspect. And it’s great fun.
     
    ThePonchat repped this.
  12. Cubanlix63

    Cubanlix63 Member

    Feb 19, 2014
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Well there is Spring Football. And there is things like 7 on 7 tournaments that are a bit like "club" sports for American Football.
     
    sam_gordon repped this.
  13. ThePonchat

    ThePonchat Member+

    Columbus Crew SC
    United States
    Jan 10, 2013
    NKY
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    This is great! Absolutely 100% should be a focus.

    Unfortunately, it seems there's a lot that don't want to focus on just enjoying the sport. The lack of local play is a problem. Accessibility is much more than just financial.

    Spot on.
     
    Ryan7852 repped this.
  14. smontrose

    smontrose Member

    Real Madrid
    Italy
    Aug 30, 2017
    Illinois, NS Suburb
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    This has more to do with kids who are serious about continuing to play plus parents that can afford to send them, not that Sockers has turned out another gem thats getting substantial scholarship...
     
  15. jvgnj

    jvgnj Member

    Apr 22, 2015
    True. But the current structure of clubs wanting so much of a time and financial commitment and players dropping the sport in large numbers are two sides of the same coin.
     
  16. smontrose

    smontrose Member

    Real Madrid
    Italy
    Aug 30, 2017
    Illinois, NS Suburb
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Ryan7852, I f I read correct, you have said that development(improvement) happens outside of the organized training, away from coach.
    I'm interested in what you think a coach then provides to the player. What can I expect from the coach for my high school aged player?
    If you want, just bullet point 3 to 5. If you want to provide more explanation on each point, feel free.
     
  17. Ryan7852

    Ryan7852 Member

    Barcelona
    United States
    Mar 24, 2019
    Largely disagree, but you’re also right (kids who are serious/parents who can afford).

    But the reality is it isn’t easy to achieve what they’ve achieved and as consistently. (Sockers haters plz don’t @ me. )
     
  18. Ryan7852

    Ryan7852 Member

    Barcelona
    United States
    Mar 24, 2019
    Depends on the age I’d say. U-littles the basics of how to play correctly, mind the basics (head up/keep calm on the ball). Later stages motivation and guidance. Small details re:position play. Guidance through college recruiting / going pro. Maintaining a standard (high) level and creating a team culture that embraces that. Ability to listen and empathy for when the inevitable hard times present themselves.

    I watched a high school baseball game last night. Saw an example of horrendous coaching. When his team was at bat if they struck out they had to run to first base anyway. Completely ridiculous and simple public humiliation. For what? What did that teach? How did that improve a kid who was caught looking?
     
  19. Ryan7852

    Ryan7852 Member

    Barcelona
    United States
    Mar 24, 2019
    The lack of local play is so tricky. In the age of play dates it’s just so difficult to make happen. Bums me out. But it’s so critical if we ever want to realize the massive soccer potential of our country. Even Brazil is worried because it’s on the same there relative to where it used to be...
     
  20. ThePonchat

    ThePonchat Member+

    Columbus Crew SC
    United States
    Jan 10, 2013
    NKY
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Maybe? Unfortunately, we will never truly know. The Federation doesn't have a legitimate system in place to track numbers and/or retention.

    So, it's all assumptions that's why players are dropping. Sure, time/financials aren't helping, but until there's hard data, it's pure speculation.

    Local play is only tricky because parents have chosen to take their kids out of local to chase the dreams of pro. It doesn't help that clubs also refuse to do this because they think it's necessary to travel all over the region/nation to play "competition."

    But, why not local play AND club? Well, kids/parents can't be bothered to take control of their own development, they must pay someone else to develop. Well, and the fact that there's less open space to play because it's all rented/reserved anymore.
     
  21. Ryan7852

    Ryan7852 Member

    Barcelona
    United States
    Mar 24, 2019
    I see it a tad differently. There’s tons of parks to play on - almost always empty. Hispanic communities have great pick up culture (big reason why so many Hispanic kids excel) as do some others.

    But man I want to make it happen for my kids and I honestly don’t know how to go about it. Try and set up a weekly game and something just seems odd about it and forced. In Europe/Africa/S America/etc etc etc its a matter of blocks before you run into kids playing somewhere. Here you could drive for hours. Literally.

    I’m with you on local comment. It’s such a bummer that Rec leagues so decimated bc everyone wants to play travel. And the reality is that many teams in travel are glorified rec league teams. If even...
     
  22. soccermom79

    soccermom79 Member

    Mar 6, 2012
    Club:
    FC Barcelona
    We live in a suburb on the south side of Chicago across the street from a large field. It has two soccer fields, one with full sized nets, one with 8x12. I will say that at least 5 days a week(7 in the summer) both fields are constantly in use. Sometimes it’s for organized play, but the vast majority of the time it is pickup games. All ages. It’s great to see.
     
  23. Ryan7852

    Ryan7852 Member

    Barcelona
    United States
    Mar 24, 2019
    Send address please!!!! ;-)
     
  24. VolklP19

    VolklP19 Member

    Jun 23, 2010
    Illinois
    #99 VolklP19, May 8, 2019
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
    More then welcome to join us - seriously.

    We have 56 players registered last summer for open play. Kids span from 7th grade to college - travel and rec and some of the college players are currently playing for Valpo an local comm colleges.

    Even some of us dads jump in!

    Two days a week in the summer. Traditionally it's been free but we may charge $7.50 to cover each player with insurance through IYSA.

    We also run u14/u16/u18 rec games (boys) during the winter. Team is paid for up front and you pay $10 to play per game - only pay if you play. Some girls are allowed to play if they are strong enough.

    We've been doing this for 3 years!

    I've seen players improve tremesously. Keepers hit the field for the first time in years! We have one Sockers keeper quit the keeper position after nabbing 7 goals in a 2 hour game. I suppose he forgot what it was like to play the field.

    Another player attempted a rainbow and flugged it pretty bad. Did players laugh - a bit. But the older players encouraged him to keep trying it and by the end of the game, he nailed one!

    Great atmosphere to try things these kids see on TV but are affraid to try in a game because they do not want to get jammed by a coach or mates. Builds confidence and passion far more then the club experience and it really allows them to see themselves, just how good they are and where all that hard work goes!

    BTW - I tried to get Sockers to do this for the younger aged players who lost a season of soccer because of the age change by USSF. I figured it would be a great way to help them move forward and build confidence - to close the gap between them and the older players which mentally is huge and can be so physically as well.

    The rec discussion should be it's own thread - way too much to discuss on that one. Even I have had to hire a (Sockers) coach to help with technical training to keep up with other programs near by.
     
  25. ThePonchat

    ThePonchat Member+

    Columbus Crew SC
    United States
    Jan 10, 2013
    NKY
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Your community is tons different than the four states I've lived/worked in. Empty fields, if they even exist. Sure, there's loads of club players at their facilities, but that's minimum.
     

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