I want to ‘Thank’ the hundreds of people, who responded to my introductory article, “US Soccer Needs to Reboot.” Your positive comments were quite refreshing and thought-provoking. It is evident that you realize, ‘WE Are All In This Together!’
My interview with Ami Jacquet was shared with US Soccer 20 years ago on how the French Federation successfully orchestrated the rebirth of its football [Soccer] program. France’s “Emphasis, Philosophy, and Principles of Training” have not changed since then, and their World Cup results speak for themselves!
Imagine the immediate progress WE could make in OUR soccer communities if WE simply reboot and apply the following…
Emphasis is on Youth Development:
The absolute number one requirement in France is good technique. The players must spend two hours a day, five days a week, on their skills. They must have the skills to play quickly and creatively.
Ball mastery is stressed, this being the ability to “pass and control.” French coaches also look for players with personality, players who think of their teammates, and who have team and fighting spirit. One game a week is played with their club team. Physical play is not stressed as the players are maturing at different rates. They have very specific requirements that each club must adhere to regarding the education of their players:
- Respect for the players
- Respect for the club team
- Respect for the player’s families
- Respect for the player’s education
The federation has a calendar and program for each coach in each region to follow, ensuring continuity throughout the year. Once a year, all the coaches in the country are brought together to look at last year’s program and make recommendations for the following year’s work method.
The regions mentioned above must not be so significant that the players cannot regularly see and spend time with their families, friends, and club teammates. For example, here in the US, having Region 2 players living and training in California would not suffice. When the players are training, nothing is scheduled before 4:00 PM due to school.
Player Development Philosophy:
- Ages 6-7 must play in 4 versus 4 games to develop.
- Ages 8-9 train 3-5 hours a week in the fundamentals
- Ages 10-11 must be playing 7-9 aside games.
- Ages 12-16 must be in a regional training center, perfecting the fundamentals
- Aged 16-19 must be in the professional club’s formation center and working 10-15 hours per week
Principles of Training:
- Training must be FUN
- The players must train with passion
- The players must work with humility
- The focus must be on attacking skills.
- Trainers must include a philosophy of life
- Clubs must maintain a high quality of coaches
- The players must be educated to play the game
- The trainers must be patient with each individual player in their development
… this part of the interview, and look for part two (2), which in my opinion, has more information that can help revitalize/reboot US Soccer.