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The author (John Magnusson) missed a central point — the over-emphasis on competition (wins and losses) as opposed to player development. In short, every hour spent riding a bus 600 miles to play is lost in physical, technical, and tactical development.

I also challenge the notion that the quality of coaching education and certification is what it needs to be to move forward on a global level. During my son’s 17 years of recreational, club, academy, schoolboy, and college soccer, he encountered 4-5 very good coaches, another 8-10 mediocre coaches, and 2-3 genuinely awful coaches. (I’ll let them sort themselves out.)

Too many of these had achieved some level of licensure and/or certification without being able to run a coherent training session. As to actually evaluating kids’ skill sets, the word “clueless” comes to mind.

We need to take a step back and use that moment to evaluate our national set-up top-to-bottom. Retire (fire) the dinosaurs; create a new paradigm for coaching education; emphasize player development and move away from the pay-to-play model whenever and wherever possible.


What is happening in soccer development in your country?

To be honest, one of the reasons I stopped coming over was the different approach of club boards, coaches, and parents regarding what is vital in this development.

In a few locations we worked, like in Vail with Bob Bandoni in charge, we found the right attitude and approach to improve as a player and team.

Since I can only use simple English words, that may help simplify the anchors on which this approach should be built.


I feel the KEY to this is the “Coaching Courses!” in which, on any level, it must be made clear the different approaches that should be taken to develop the individual player into a “smart” soccer player.

However, as long as win/loss records are the keywords in the heads of players, coaches, parents, and clubs, what can we do????

In the old days, I went to see baseball training and often saw a coach as a pitcher, catcher, or batter. The players just stood around waiting their turn to pitch, catch and bat. Taking turns in those crucial positions and the coach constantly telling what a player should and not do. The minds of the players were not stimulated.

 One of the reasons youth choose soccer is that the coach’s role in the game is minimal, so the players will be in charge and have to decide what to do with a ball, dribble, shoot or pass and where to pass.

The coach’s role is to bring the players into game situations during practice by playing small-sided games and scrimmages. Explain what he likes to see in the small-sided games and scrimmage. Ask questions to see if they understand what he wants to see. And Let Them Play!

During these practice games, he has several ways to make the players aware of what they are working on. Like individual coaching or stopping the games and asking players why he stopped the game. Or discussing with the team after a few minutes how it went again by asking questions.

This way of coaching is also crucial in the coaching courses so that coaches feel comfortable using this method and will see their players’ individual and team development.

Those are my thoughts for the moment, and I hope others will add their thoughts so that WE can help continue to improve soccer in your country!

Ton de Hoop (Netherlands) Owner-Counselor Winning Mood (35 years), Emeritus UEFA “A” – “B” Instructor for KNVB and CIOS.

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