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Street Soccer Promotes Sportsmanship and Fair Play

In a time when we look to see how we can reduce referee abuse; sideline coaching from well-meaning coaches and parents; to continuing to improve sportsmanship is always welcomed. In this article, I’d like to share what it’s like inside the ‘street soccer scene’ from the top down.

As mentioned before, street soccer has evolved from the casual, open play to some of the most creative and technical ball control moves.  It may surprise you that the skills and mindset are something that does not come from being an experienced soccer player or the world’s best players either.  MLS, Champions League, etc. some of the top in the world do not have these skills. The learning curve to the top is steep and the challenges are endless… making this side of the sport incredibly fun!  Here are two examples for you, the difference in the technical street soccer skills compared to a top soccer player.

Neymar gets panna’d by Sean Garnier – The street scene remembers this all too well.  It’s a great example of how far the advanced skills have come.  Another entertaining opportunity for Sean and Neymar to share their skills is at another Red Bull event. The difference in clean, technical skills can be seen.

So let’s get back to sportsmanship, because some very technical skills are being practiced; there’s a higher level of respect and appreciation in game play.  There’s a challenge as a defender to steal the ball from your opponent without getting panna’d.  Can you get the ball from them, can you time it right, and can you prevent the goal from being scored without exposing your self too much?  At the beginning when you play against a good street player, they will steal the ball from you over and over until you improve your combinations and learn the timing of their attacks.  It’s a fun learning challenge and playing against them is a learning experience.  What you’re not going to do is kick them because you mistimed your attack (that’s embarrassing), or resort to trying to push them off the ball with all physical strength, that shows you don’t have the skills to steal it from them (also embarrassing). So that’s a brief background to the 1v1 play, how about games?

When it comes to gameplay, that same mentality applies.  Your team is trying to outperform the other team and score.  There are likely ‘penalties’ if you get panna’d so you’re going to try and do your best to win the ball without getting it put through your legs.  It’s as chess match as you can get panna’d anywhere; and as the attacking player you can look for opportunities to panna an opponent anywhere on the court/field; scoring a goal is no longer your only objective.  So under these circumstances, the respect players have for the game play and one another referees itself.  You’re not likely going to find parents yelling during these types of games because through this form of ball control training, teams are less focusing on who has the highest number of goals, there are fun opportunities for success everyone on the court.

So get on out there and work on those skills that naturally promote respect amongst players!

Until next time!

Louie and the SISM team

Louie Mata

Coach Louie and his team have been teaching advanced ball control skills for over 10 years. He and his team have performed in stadium across the USA for some of the world’s largest sponsors such as Audi, Coca-Cola, Google and more! They have provided training clinics for clubs and academies up and down California. To learn more check out their website at