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“Co-Coaches of the Year – Taught”

by Alan Maher

This was an interesting season for me as the team was very different from previous teams. The players had good footwork but lacked ability and knowledge of teamwork. So I spent the season developing that area of soccer. It was hard work and needed constant repetitions of what had been learned. It was all new to them.

We finished fifth in the first division of the county and the team won the Sportsmanship award. I was proud of that.

After the season we had a cookout and all the players showed up. My wife went with me. After we ate, the players took turns telling all what I had taught them.
· The center midfielder said that I taught him to use the wide side of the field not the narrow side.
· Players mentioned that I taught them to make a quick pivot to get away from a defender.
· Other players said that I taught them play combinations like the 1-2 and the 1-3 (my favorite.)
· I taught them how to play small sided games with even sides and uneven sides.
· I taught them how to play a game with three teams. (They liked that one so much that they played for half an hour in the pouring rain.)
· The keeper was grateful that I had taught him about his position.

And so it went around the room. My wife was impressed.

The key word to me was “Taught. “ I do not consider myself to be a coach as much as I do a teacher. I teach soccer. I teach players and coaches.
So the season was good for me. The players want me back and I want to go back. At the age of eighty I am having fun with soccer.

Oh, finally, my colleague and I were named co-coaches of the year. I saved the best for last.

Alan Maher

You may recognize Alan Maher from his many articles published by FUNdamental Soccer over the last three decades. What you may not know is that for more than a quarter of a century Alan Maher was the chairman of printed training material for the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. His articles can be read not only in NCAA's own magazine, Soccer Journal, but in every soccer magazine in the country. Alan also published the extremely educational/innovative "Attacking Soccer with the Neutral Player" book as a supplement to FUNdamental SOCCERS' popular '9-Step Practice Routine'.