USMNT AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF ELITE PLAYERS
The Importance of Club Development (Part 3)
Partner, The Game Planners, LLC
About a month ago, I wrote an article about the current roster of the USMNT and its implications to our elite player development. To narrow the gap between the leading MNTs on the planet and to play a semi-final in the World Cup 2026, I suggested the following based on my analysis of the recent USMNT roster.
While the first two points above reflect the current nature of the top and bottom of our soccer development pyramid, for this article, I will concentrate specifically on youth soccer clubs - the bottom tier of our soccer landscape.
Let us have a look at our youth soccer club scene:
It is all about applying some perspective to youth soccer …. and helping today’s youth players reach their full potential.
YSCindex provides data, insights, and expertise to help youth soccer clubs differentiate themselves from the competition. Developed by Dr. Michael Warech, a behavioral scientist and the CEO of Warech Associates, LLC, the YSCindex is an innovative online survey management tool that was created to improve the game.
Based on hundreds of interviews with youth club sports leaders and research in behavioral science, the YSCindex measures six critical dimensions of club success:
What inspired Warech and what is his perspective on youth soccer in America?
U.S. Soccer has recommended to its youth members to eliminate the skill of heading the ball in training sessions and games for children 10 years old and younger. Children 11 to 13 years old may head the ball in games, but are limited in how often the skill can be practiced in a training session. US Youth Soccer will follow that recommendation. The recommendation from U.S. Soccer is a part of a larger player safety campaign, called Recognize to Recover. I urge all coaches to review all of the information available here.
Previously published by the U.S. Soccer Sports Medicine Committee:
“At present, there are many gaps and inconsistencies within the medical literature regarding the safety of heading in soccer. The impact of purposeful heading is linear which is less severe than rotational impact. … Head injuries during soccer are more likely to be from accidental contacts such as head-ground, head-opponent, or the rare head-goalpost. …. At this point in time, it is premature to conclude that purposeful heading of a modern soccer ball is a dangerous activity.”
Fortunately, concussions in soccer are not as common as say, sprained ankles or even the more severe broken bone. Yet they do happen -- usually from head-to-head contact or head-to-ground contact. Head-to-head contact could occur sometimes due to poor technique by one or both players challenging for the ball in the air.
So most head injuries in soccer are from the head impacting something other than the ball. The human skull is surprisingly tough. Head injuries from the ball often occur when the technique is done incorrectly.
What will it take for US Soccer to become a World Soccer Power? How can we continue to grow the game at the youth levels while helping to improve at the highest too? This episode, we sit down with Sam Snow to talk about his role with US Youth Soccer and the plan for getting to the next level.
The legendary Sam Snow (formerly of US Youth Soccer) with American Made Soccer Consultants is on the latest episode of the WVSA Beyond The Pitch Podcast. Sam discusses the first steps a new grassroots coach should take and think about before the upcoming season. Listen to it here: https://lnkd.in/evpqWTq
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I want to let you know about a continuing education opportunity that will supplement your license with U. S. Soccer and/or your diploma with United Soccer Coaches.
As you may know, US Youth Soccer ODP has a presence in Europe for Americans living there. For many years now the Program has pulled in players and coaches from numerous countries across Europe. The centerpiece is in Germany, where the bulk of American soccer players reside. Through our affiliates there, I have put together a trip for coaches to take the UEFA "C" license coaching course. The course will be held from March 1 to 16, 2020 near Frankfurt. The course will be taught in English and we are having all of the materials translated. Please see below the flyer on the trip.
Coaches would fly into Frankfurt International airport (FRA). Travel to and from Germany will be on your own. Our maximum enrollment will be thirty (30) people. Attached is a sample of the potential course guide. Here are the links to the host club where the course will be held and to the host hotel: http://www.hfv-online.de and https://sporthotel-gruenberg.de/
The $3,750.00 per person cost includes room and board, UEFA C-License course, the hospitality of Bundesliga teams and a 24/7 guide. The DFB requires that coaches taking their courses to be affiliated to a German club. US Youth Soccer ODP Europe has that affiliation, hence a portion of the cost of the tour includes membership of the American coaches into US Youth Soccer ODP Europe. Every course candidate will need a first-aid course, background check and must be at least 16 years old. Finally, each coach makes the declaration that he or she complies with the by-laws of the DFB Education Training Regulations (form will be provided). I do recommend that coaches also hold, at a minimum, the U. S. Soccer "D" license.
The schedule will be announced at the beginning of 2020 with details for each day of the tour. In general, during the course, the coaches will have theory lessons from 9:00 A.M. 10:30 A.M. and field sessions from 10:45 A.M. to 12:15 P.M., during which the candidates will participate as players. From 2:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. theory-lessons and from 4:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. a field session with youth players. In the evenings, there will frequently be working groups (very busy). But, we will make sure that we have time to do hospitality with a Youth Bundesliga Team. We will also attend a Bundesliga match – T.B.D. The cost for the match is included in the tour fee.
Occasionally, I am asked questions about the club environment. Most of those questions are about problems such as dealing with belligerent coaches or the blind eye that club administrators turn when a team is winning, but deeper life lessons are not being taught.
Sometimes though the question is about how can our club improve what we are doing? Here’s one such question that came across my desk.
How would you help build and create a culture of excellence? E.g. training, uniforms, standards, expectations?
I think the culture begins with the leaders in the club. That will be the top administrators and coaches. Certainly having the full board of directors on board is a major plus. They most importantly must walk the talk when it comes to the club’s mission statement and philosophy. The next most important group to get on track to create a culture of excellence is the parents. This is no doubt challenging and a never-ending aspect of the culture, but in the end, it is the most important. The parents influence all others in the club; players, coaches, and administrators – in that order.
Working with the parents regarding the sporting experience of children though is an area still largely ignored by clubs. Most still believe the priority for their efforts in player development. That once was the case, but not today. The reality is that the number one priority is the education of the soccer parent. That education is not necessarily about the tactics of the game or the rules for the age group. It certainly isn’t about how to raise children. No, it’s about the environment at matches, either positive or infamous ride home, the understanding of the long-term goals of youth soccer participation and it’s about the management of adult expectations of the return on investment. It is about being a support group for the youth soccer experience. Clearly the majority of parents fall into exactly that category as evidenced by the large numbers of young people playing the game all across our nation. The Parents section of the US Youth Soccer website has quality resources for clubs and parents. I encourage you to take advantage of the free materials and guidance there.
OK after I watched this video the educator in me took over and it strikes me that our decision makers, of every capacity, would benefit from viewing the clip; be those leaders at the national, state or local level. I am sure that in one fashion or another we all will be involved in the development of the American game. So here’s the food for thought…
I want to show you a TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson.
I am enjoying this one – it helps that Sir Robinson is such an engaging speaker. I think it is one that we should share not only with our coaches, but our administrators too. Is not youth soccer in America at a point of needing revolution thus allowing us to evolve?
From what is taught in the National Youth License coaching course he touches on the Flow State Model and on the deleterious effect of drills. In paraphrasing one of his comments I see how player development is an organic process. We cannot fully predict the outcome. You can only create the conditions under which players can flourish.
Contributed by Ruth Nicholson
You have worked hard to build your club – but what are the three simple secrets to making it even better? Learn the three critical elements that make or break an organization’s success on and off the field.
The three secrets to a successful club live within the balance and partnership between
The people who serve in these roles make up the Off-Field Team.