US Youth Soccer

Discussion in 'Soccer' started by Chuck, Oct 21, 2016.

  1. Chuck

    Chuck

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2011
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    623
    I'm starting this thread since I tend to clog up others with discussion of US youth soccer. I figure a separate conversation could make sense.

    So for the first post.... I know that there has been discussion on whether US youth soccer is training kids properly. I've mentioned that I believe US Soccer and most clubs are training kids based upon international standards of getting lots of touches, small fields and number of players, etc. Here is a quick synopsis that our club trainers sent to coaches about how the trainer-run practices (twice per week) are being run.

    "As discussed earlier this week, a training session is 90 minutes. These 90 minutes are broken down into 4 stages. These stages are broken down into intervals. The reason for these intervals is to give the players time to recover from work done. The players can take a water break and coaches can coach at a stoppage.

    Examples:

    Stage 1 = Technical Warm-Up. Cops and Robbers. 2 players are the cops and the rest are robbers. Play the game for about 1:30 minutes. After this interval, the coach picks two new robbers and asks questions about how to dribble (technique) and where to dribble to (tactics). Give the players the opportunity to answer and show the desired skill. To let them show it you give the players ownership, the next time another player wants to show off and you get to know that the players actually understand what they answer.

    After the next 1:30min. two new robber etc.

    Stage 2 = Small-sided activity. 4 vs. 1 keep away. Play the game for about 2 minutes and then switch defenders. While yu are coaching in the flow during the activity, you can give more specific information between intervals. You can have everybody be in the middle twice which equals 20 minutes!

    Stage 3 = Expanded Small-sided activity. 6 vs. 6 with two counter goals. You are always only coaching the team going to the big goal. The team going to the small goals is the managing team. Switch sides after about 7 minutes of play. During play you should coach in the flow, do no more than 1 to 2 stop-freeze moments and give individual references. In between the 7 minute intervals you give your analysis and tell them what they should do better in the second 7 minutes. You can also tell them what they did well and what you would like to see again.

    Stage 4 = Scrimmage 6 vs. 6 with two large goals. Keep the coaching during pay to a minimum, coach in the flow, but really don't stop-freeze anymore. You can coach more specifically in between the 8 minute intervals."
     
    ZooCougar and Mr. Conehead like this.
  2. upstater

    upstater

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2011
    Messages:
    22,277
    Likes Received:
    12,881
    How old are these kids?
     
  3. ZooCougar

    ZooCougar

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2011
    Messages:
    15,084
    Likes Received:
    9,620
    This pretty much how Riley's coach runs it. They don't scrimmage as much however. Sometimes they scrimmage another premier team or the older girls team.
     
  4. Chuck

    Chuck

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2011
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    623
    The club is mostly U8 to U12. We have U13 and 14 teams but they run a bit more independently.
     
  5. upstater

    upstater

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2011
    Messages:
    22,277
    Likes Received:
    12,881
    Interesting.

    Our U11 girls will usually begin by dividing the team of 14 girls in 3 groups of 4 and 5. Two different color pinnies for 2 groups. One group stays outside, while the other 2 groups are inside trying to pass one ball to each other, while also passing to/with the outside group. When someone steals the ball, the outside group then works with those who stole it and are now in possession.

    A second drill will then have the girls passing up to a girl on the wing, who one touch passes back to the initiator who takes a touch and sends it to a girl in the middle, who then starts a break up field with the girl who took the first pass on the wing. The finisher is the girl who started in the middle. Then the coach starts more complicated variations of this (he sometimes has the finisher come toward the goal, then backtrack to the top of the box to take a diagonal pass further away from goal and deep defenders).

    Third drill will be footwork in tight spaces with a defender on, and then primary/secondary defending.

    Finally, a scrimmage on a small field.

    This club is not affiliated with US Soccer but with a German Bundesliga team. Instructors are mainly from Europe.
     
    Chuck likes this.
  6. John

    John "Come with me if you want to live." - Cameron

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2012
    Messages:
    3,808
    Likes Received:
    4,146
    my kids program (U11) is heavily weighted towards learning individual moves, creativity on the ball, and moving out of pressure. Practices are a lot of that type of drill, but also incorporated into fun games and small-sided scrimmages.
     
  7. djct1999

    djct1999

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2012
    Messages:
    2,665
    Likes Received:
    3,506
    Where is this program based? CT?
     
  8. ZooCougar

    ZooCougar

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2011
    Messages:
    15,084
    Likes Received:
    9,620
    Chuck,

    My beef isn't so much with how practice is run. It's more to do with the access issues. We've built in too many barriers in youth soccer, and money is the gatekeeper. It seems so distorted that we don't organically push our best players into the best youth programs.

    Then the other big issue is with the scouting. American eyes always gravitate towards size and speed at any age. Closing down spaces is a nice ability but the small technical kids seem to be overlooked. A sickly young Lionel Messi would have been completely overlooked by American scouts.

    And just look at American coaches. They all gravitate towards athletic styles of play, Olsen, Vermes, Bradley, Kinnear etc. they all gravitate towards caveman soccer, or at least Bradley used to.
     
    Mr. Conehead likes this.
  9. Chuck

    Chuck

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2011
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    623
    First, djct1999, the club is based in Northern NJ. Small town (pop 10k) with 25 teams (11 girls, 14 boys), mostly in the same league.

    Zoo, I'm a little torn over your assessment. I agree that for years, the US favored long ball and athleticism. I think a big part of that was because it's easier to teach and add players. Because so many kids (like me) primarily played rec with limited practice time, kids didn't get early training on anything different than "kick it and outrun the defense." I was a goalie and didn't get any training until high school. I also agree, that US sports favor size and speed. I'd add that at a young age, aggression is also favored. Some kids just naturally want every ball more than other kids. At a young age that's a huge advantage.

    My disagreement may be due to our different location. Where I live, every town has an adequate travel club that gets at least some quality training and plays in our league with 10 flights per age group. The best of those local teams often play in the same league as the academies. If the kid is too good for his/her team, but not good enough to play at an academy, there are usually at least 3 other clubs within easy driving distance that allow a certain percentage of out of town kids. I think that is a big advantage because the smaller, less aggressive kid has received good training and competition until he/she grows and aggression becomes less important than skill. So the sickly Messi would still get decent training and competition until he got bulky enough to use his IQ and then he would move up the ranks.

    I've been told that it is different where I live compared to others. We're a densely populated area. We're also in a relatively wealthy area. All the clubs have "scholarships" if you can't afford the fees, but I know we only had one kid that was having fees waived, and it's not easy for a parent to ask for help. I'm also looking at things more from a ground-up improvement in US soccer across the board, not just finding a US Messi. Although I think that is what you were saying as well. The Messi's of the world wouldn't make it to the top because only the Superkid is discovered and nurtured while everyone else stagnates. Either way, my kids will probably stay at their current club.
     
  10. ZooCougar

    ZooCougar

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2011
    Messages:
    15,084
    Likes Received:
    9,620
    But you also live in the one place that has been doing it right or the most right in the entire country all along. I think that US Soccer needs to take a look at Pulisic. He was like the perfect storm in many ways, and an MLS Academy never touched him.

    Do you get SiriusXM? If so, check out Eric Wynalda's show. He's all over stuff like this.
     
    meyers7 and Chuck like this.
  11. meyers7

    meyers7 Smarty Pants

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2011
    Messages:
    15,329
    Likes Received:
    12,099
    WhatTF

    :cool:
     
    ZooCougar likes this.
  12. ZooCougar

    ZooCougar

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2011
    Messages:
    15,084
    Likes Received:
    9,620
    Since coming back from Afghanistan, that channel to me has really gone downhill. They have nothing after 8 CST on Mondays and Fridays until the United States of Soccer which comes at an awkward time to listen.

    Janusz and Brian Dunseth on CounterAttack are really boring, I liked Harkes and Meola better. But since Harkes is the manager for Cincy and Meola was the Jacksonville Armada manager they are gone.

    WTF is far and away the best show but I'm usually not in the car when it comes on.
     
    meyers7 likes this.
  13. Chuck

    Chuck

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2011
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    623
    What kind of facility do your kids' teams play at for practice, games, off-season training?

    Here in Northern NJ there is definitely a shortage of field space. My town of 10,000 people has two turf fields at the high school. Our full sided teams can play games there with proper planning. Our club has a big open area where our teams train (4 or 5 teams at a time). We bring portable lights there and if there are 5 blades of grass left at this time of year it's a miracle. Small side games are played on 4 different fields of varying quality (all grass). In the off season, both of my kids are doing futsal training in a church gym with the clubs player development coach. We have one really nice bubble facility that runs leagues and training. A few other converted warehouses have popped over the years, but the size and ceiling height limit play to an indoor soccer feel.

    My son's 9-0 team is playing their last game tonight against the other 9-0 team in his flight. Unfortunately, it is going to be 36 degrees and windy. He's so excited and nervous.
     
  14. ZooCougar

    ZooCougar

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2011
    Messages:
    15,084
    Likes Received:
    9,620
    Indoor field practice field at a local university. There is small usage fee. Most of the kids are playing basketball or ice hockey so practices aren't mandatory.
     
    Chuck likes this.
  15. Mr. Conehead

    Mr. Conehead

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,571
    Likes Received:
    3,295
    We have one multi-sport grass field complex and the high school main field with lights and 2 soccer only single grass fields, one of which we put portable lights on. Agree on the grass issues, its dirt, rock and 2 blades of grass this time of year. I feel bad for a friend's team that was playing in Newark last night for a tournament in this weather. We are lucky that we have 5 decent size indoor complexes within a 30 minute drive.
     
  16. upstater

    upstater

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2011
    Messages:
    22,277
    Likes Received:
    12,881
    We started playing on a full length indoor turf fields in November for my 10 year old. One is purpose built, 3 fields, and has a roller hockey rink for adults.

    Another has one pro sized field, a full length field, 4 smaller ones for youth soccer. It is owned by a Pro Women's Soccer club (the Flash).

    Last year with another club, we spent the winter at a 3rd complex with 2 full fields and 2 half fields.

    This year, a local factory donated a warehouse to our soccer club, and it was converted into a 3/4 length field, but it isn't really wide enough for league-sanctioned games. The other half of the warehouse is for 6 squash courts, and for the life of me, I can't understand why there is so much seating taking up 3/4s of the space outside the squash courts. One of the really nice things the facility did however is provide tables and chairs in enclosed rooms so that players/siblings can do homework and study while they wait for practice to begin/finish. This facility though is for my 8 year olds club, not my 10 year old.

    We had nice weather up here in Buffalo (70 degrees) until this Saturday. Today, we are below 30.
     
  17. Chuck

    Chuck

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2011
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    623
    Sounds like great options, and you probably need them for early and late snow. My sister is in Kenmore and always tells me our weather is as bad as hers. At least we're pushing 40 degrees today!

    Cone, our game tonight is outdoors. The wind is supposed to die down by them. We'll be testing the Under Armour, hand warmers, etc.
     
    upstater likes this.