One very healthy, fun, exciting thing going on right now is youth soccer players who are at home nurturing their relationship with the ball. Much of this you can find on video. Many of these are club driven and many are organic. Either way it is all healthy!
Youth and pro clubs are all doing online check in’s and instructional segments, and have had to adjust their way of thinking without contact with their players. At this time it is difficult on youth coaches whose passion is being on the field!
One thing is for sure. In most cases, the youth players that end up being comfortable with a ball are the ones that are doing it, also, when no one is looking.
Remember there was a time when there were no cameras and we still got Pelé, Cruyff, Messi, Ronaldo, Pirlo, Henry, Mancini, Beckenbauer …..you get my drift.
— Jose Memo Rodriguez (@40_jrod) April 11, 2020
The videos are fun and show creativity when it comes to one “creating their own ” training environments and can be the “firestarter” to the love affair with the ball. Now, if your son and daughter are going out on their own and nurturing that fascination with the ball, without being prompted, you are on the right track!
The fact that youth players are being creative at home is a big plus, and the balance between that and instruction from adults always has to be monitored.
As someone who ran a youth club in Houston for many years, the challenge was always finding ways to get players to do more on their “own.”
At the end of the day, my bar of success was how many I could get to remain in the game throughout their lives. My goal was to move them towards “respect” and “love” of the game – not just a vehicle for a college scholarship.
Many of these youth players are now coaches, fathers, with understanding of the game that they are passing on.
This all gets me to reflect on when I was a youth and had the most influential soccer person in my life, Tom MacDonald, my coach. Mr. “Mac,” as we affectionately called him when we were little kids, came from Kearny, New Jersey.
That same Kearny that pridefully produced players like Santiago Formoso, Hugh O’Neill, Tab Ramos, John Harkes, Tony Meola and many others that are still contributing to our game at many levels.
He would come to our town, Chatham, New Jersey, to work with us four days a week, and boy did he put a “value” on the ball and did it with passion!
Our singular youth team would produce many college players and pros and those that went on to wonderful lifetimes filled with the game. If you are reading this blog, you are thinking about a coach that influenced you that you love.
This man made the game so exciting that we wanted to go home and play in our yards, basements (a thing on the east coast), backyards, and driveways.
So here is to the passionate coach, the wide eyed youth soccer player creating their own training environments. Keep the videos coming but remember that every move you make does not have to be documented.
Some of the greatest memories we have are ones that don’t have to be shared.
It all starts with a value, fascination, for the ball.