Do this in order to play at the next level…

Over the years, I have worked with all kinds of kids in soccer and the comments that I overhear at times are surprising. Many feel that they are on their way to professional careers in soccer. The «big show» if you will. Nothing is wrong with dreaming. And if you’re going to dream you might as well dream big. Yes some players are good but it goes far beyond that to play at the next level. In terms of planning your soccer future it is so very cliché but one must have other career options in their back pocket and that can start with a solid academic base. And if you don’t have that academic base it’s not the end of the world either. There are always options.  

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Managing expectations in high pressure situations

A famous sports psychologist beautifully illustrated the physiology of what happens when we are under pressure.  Place a 12 foot long 2 X 8 piece of wood on the ground, and ask one of your players to run across it. What happens? That player doesn’t even think twice.  He or she says, “No problem,” and runs across the board with ease and enjoyment.  Now take this same 2 X 8 and raise it 8 feet by stretching it across two ladders and ask that same player to run across.  What happens?

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Winning is everything…or is it?

Winning is everything in soccer…or is it? Of course winning is important in soccer. After all, you want a competitive team that can go as far as possible in all competitions. But when it comes to kids between the ages of 10-14 in particular, I believe that player and team development is far more valuable to the learning experience than simply winning a game.

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Individual talent versus having a soccer IQ

After recently playing with a variety of new teams in a new city, I was surprised of the level of talent floating around Canada. More and more players are learning skills on their own and practicing tricks they’ve seen online. Not that long ago players had to learn tricks other ways but now thanks to youtube and other such social media tools, this footage is more readily available than ever before. However, what has also become more clear is we are developing many individually skilled players that have little to no idea how to play the game as a team.

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A step in the right direction…

The Ontario Soccer Association has taken a step in the right towards putting a greater emphasis on player development at the youth level. Changes will be mandatory at youth level soccer for 2014.

Mandatory implementation for the 2014 season include the following:

*         No promotion and relegation from U12 and below     

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Congratulations to the Canadian women’s soccer team

Congratulations to the Canadian women’s soccer team who captured a bronze medal in the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The women’s team not only captured bronze but captured the attention of the soccer world and have helped raise the level of women’s soccer in Canada. It also happened to be the first team medal that a Canadian team has won in over 70 years.

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Sitting on the Bench

For many, sitting on the bench carries negative implications.  This is especially true for parents who guide their children through the early years of competitive sports.  These parents continuously criticize the coach and pump their children with false perspectives.  The reality is that not everyone can start a game.  The reality is some players are more skilled than others.  The reality is, you don’t deserve to be on the field…yet.

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Green-light for goal-line technology

It’s about time goal-line technology will be implemented in professional soccer!  For years teams have been eliminated from major tournaments because of disallowed goals or because goals were allowed that should not have been. Those results changed the points in the tables and as a result teams/countries ended their pursuit of championship glory. All of that is about to change.

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