Fundamental Youth Soccer

John DeBenedictis

John DeBenedictis has been coaching for over 35 years and has coached at many levels.

Most of his coaching has been at the youth level from the youngest of children right up to U19 league select teams playing in international competitions. He has also coached men’s teams. He ran his own soccer camps with Tony Waiters, former English International goalkeeper and Canadian National Team coach in Ontario. He played goalkeeper for York University helping them win the National Title in 1977. He played semi-professionally in the National Soccer League (a professional league based in southern Ontario, Upper New York State, Quebec and Michigan), with Toronto Ukrania. He also runs his “Secrets to Goal Scoring” course.

DeBenedictis has traveled throughout North America presenting his unique lecture on “The Secrets to Scoring Goals”. He was one of the keynote speakers at the NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America) Coaching Convention in 2004 in Charlotte, North Carolina, and 2005 in Baltimore Maryland, USA. In 2007, DeBenedictis spoke in Santa Clara California for the California Youth Soccer Association’s annual coaching conference and convention. In 2009, he brought his course to the Edmonton Juventus Soccer Club who has since won 2 Alberta titles and a National title at the U14 age group breaking the all time record for goals scored in a U14 National Championship. In 2010, he was a special guest coach at the Pro Soccer Camp in West Virginia.

DeBenedictis holds the unique distinction of having spoken to the largest soccer coaching audience by any Canadian born coach. Over 1,000 coaches attended his sessions at the conference in Baltimore.

DeBenedictis completed his Honors Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Physical and Health Education as well as earning an advanced certificate of coaching from York University. DeBenedictis has always been interested in youth player development and the promotion of the game in North America. He has also written numerous coaching articles for soccer publications and sport psychology web-sites across North America. Some of his articles have been instrumental in introducing change in player development programs with soccer clubs across North America.

DeBenedictis was also the first coach to bring the Wiel Coerver Dribbling and Ball Possession techniques to Canada demonstrating the techniques across Ontario to coaches and players. DeBenedictis also produced a video on Ball Possession and Dribbling techniques geared to North American kids which is being re-issued and re-edited and will be available on You Tube as each part is finished. Many of the players he has coached or instructed went on to play professional soccer in Canada, the USA, and Europe.

DeBenedictis has concentrated on building a course that will help players score more goals. From a goalkeeping perspective, he could never understand why players did not score more goals on him. He feels that the game would take on much more interest in North America if players would score more goals on the chances that they get and turn 0-0 games into 2-2 games thereby silencing the critics of soccer. He has developed a psychology based course to increase goal scoring. He has consulted MLS players who have improved their goal conversion rate after having spent some time with him.

In developing his course, he has extended his studies by doing extensive research into the cognitive processes used for performing tasks as it relates to perceptual motor-muscular learning. He has focused his research to include studying visual motion perception as it relates to different situations that soccer player’s encounter. DeBenedictis then used his experience as a goalkeeper and coach to tie in his research with the game of soccer. He blended everything in with sport psychology which led him to seek out different soccer facts that have helped players understand what it takes to be a great goal scorer. All this information formed the basis for his unique goal scoring course and upcoming book.

DeBenedictis is in the final stages of completing his book on goal scoring having interviewed and studied the careers of some of the world’s best goal scorers. His book will be published in 2011.

DeBenedictis also continues to volunteer his services as Executive Director of The National Soccer Coaches Association of Canada, coach his son’s team, and help promote the great game of soccer.

John DeBenedictis

Articles by John DeBenedictis

    • Shooting and Scoring- Secrets to Scoring Goals
      Coaching your strikers and goalkeepers, especially as they get into the higher leagues and into their teens and onward, becomes just as much as a psychological challenge as it is and technical challenge. Most coaches do not deal with this aspect of coaching enough and many who do, work on it as a team. But consider the state of mind of both the goalkeeper and the striker. Both positions have very negative undertones to them. The best way to truly respect these undertones is to be a parent of a striker or goalkeeper watching a son or daughter play…


    • Player Development Starts at the Socks
      Have you ever watched the best players in the world and wondered: how did they do that? They perform a brilliant pass, finding a player in the open while being under extreme pressure. Or they score a brilliant goal and it seemed as if the player knew where everything and everyone was and then made the right decision under pressure. It may be a quick dribble into a space that didn’t even seem to be there but suddenly appeared. …


    • The Center Field Wall
      The coach of the team defending the kick-off had just developed a completely new strategy, which I had never seen before. He had his seven players form a wall just outside the center circle to defend the kick-off. What a gutsy move. I’ve heard of a wall on a free-kick just outside the box and even a mini-wall at a corner kick but never had I seen this. A wall to defend the kick-off …


    • Kids drive coaches to coach: Parents drive coaches to drink
      When coaches get together at annual convention, they go there to take in coaching sessions to become a better coach but they also get together to compare notes and talk about their experiences. One could also call it a giant group therapeutic psychology session. And quite often, the topic reverts back to the parents of the players. Just when you think you have seen or heard it all, another coach tells you of an experience they had with a parent of a player. …


    • A Special Coaching Experience
      We often define our best soccer memories by winning games and tournaments, exotic traveling and international experiences. By giving back some time right at home we can add to our soccer memories. Contact your local Special Olympics program in your area and I am sure that they will be grateful for your help, even it you can only make one session if that …


    • Are Coaches Being Glorified?
      Coaches! You are glorified because you do make a big difference in a child’s life. Unlike television you are not glorified because the audience wants to see you act immaturely on the sidelines. That’s not your place when you coach kids. Your are not on TV. You are not in the entertainment business of pro sports. If you coach kids, please be the reason kids stay in sports, not the reason they quit sports. …


    • Ronaldo, You’re Making Life Miserable for Us Coaches.
      Yes it all started on that faithful day not so long ago. That’s when my model, my go to guy, my demonstrator, Ronaldo, betrayed me and all us coaches in the biggest stage of all at the World Cup in front of a billion people, give or take a few Buffalo sports casters who happened be on another planet that month. Yes Ronaldo, that’s when your ruined it. You played so well up until that point and then you went ahead and spoiled it all by doing something stupid like: scoring a goal with your TOE. Yes… your TOE. Try explaining that to my player’s hot dog. No wonder they are clowning around trying to tell me how to shoot and score. “Coach, I thought you said not to use your toe”. …


    • Yellow Shoes
      One would assume that the new ball would have increased the number of goals scored at the World Cup. Goalkeepers have complained about the ball and in this World Cup I saw an unusual amount of goalkeeping errors that resulted in goals. Had those errors not occurred there would have been even less goals scored. Having said all that, I want to look at one other factor that may be affecting goals scored and that is the new shoes that the players are wearing today. Yes, the shoes! I think, they add to the equation a little bit. …