In an earlier blog, Thought of the day: players are getting dumber, I talked about, well, players getting dumber. Now, I don’t want you to think I’m being primitive, nor do I want you to think I’m generalising, I just want to express my concern as a soccer player for the lack of role models and leaders in the game.
Soccer is a game that allows a wide array of personalities to express themselves through skill, tactic and vision. The beauty of a platform like this is it’s typically very easy to find a mentor or an idle to help you achieve your goals. Well, at least it should be.
I attended an indoor soccer tournament recently and watched as players ranging from 18-30 played very competitive soccer. I couldn’t help but notice that the players from 18-21 or so, stood out…for all the wrong reasons. For the most part, but not all of them, they were very disrespectful, had haircuts that made them look like zebra’s, and wore shoes that belong on a Victoria Secret runway.
As I watched on in disgust, I noticed that I wasn’t the only one. Some of the more experienced and veteran players began teaching these kids a lesson. They would defend them harder, get in their heads, foul them harder and demand their respect. The kids were completely out of their element. But, rather than sober up, the kids would just turn into louder whiners and bigger pests.
I thought to myself, ‘man, I don’t remember very many players, if any, acting this way during my time and the generations before me’. So why the sudden shift? Why the change in dynamic?
Simple: players are picking the wrong mentors. Players are more worried about their shoes, how high their socks are and how good their hair looks, than actually winning. Ironically enough, they all walk around with Cristiano Ronaldo jerseys. You do the math.
In my time, we idolized players like Zidane and the brazilian Ronaldo. These guys were the essence of what it is to be a leader and ultimately an idol for kids across the world.
Parents/coaches, I strongly suggest you ask your kids/teams to rethink what it is that qualifies as player as an idol.