Category Archives: Player Development


YSE 12: Soccer Coaching Tools, with Chris Gluck, from Posession with Purpose

In the 12th episode of the Youth Soccer Evolution Podcast, we welcome a very special guest, Christopher Gluck from Chris has a unique soccer journey, which we love here at YSE. He was an American who started a club in England. He started the Burnham Bulldogs, which had about 150 kids before he had to step down due to leaving the country (he was in the military). He explained how training and development was different there when he coached his two sons, and how he never traveled more than 10-15 miles at the most for games.

Chris was kind enough to share an hour with YSE and discuss his “Family of Indices that measure the ‘bell curve’ of strategic activities that occur in a game of football (soccer)”. It is soccer coaching tools at its best. He goes into detail on how coaches can use the formula to improve not only as soccer coaches, but help improve the performance and training and development of players.

Chris Gluck,

Chris Gluck,

The formula is so successful that Chris was recently asked to present at theWorld Conference on Science and Soccer. You can see the entire presentation by clicking on the link.

After listening to the Episode 12, if you still are having a hard time understanding the possession with purpose formula, you can read his Revised Introduction here. In the Revised Introducation, he introduces

“The Family of Strategic Indices”

Attacking Possession with Purpose (APWP): How effective a team is in performing these six process steps throughout the course of a game.

Gain possession of the ball
Move the ball
Penetrate the opponents defending final third
Generate a shot taken
That ends up on target and,
Gets past the keeper

Defending Possession with Purpose (DPWP): How effective the opponent is in performing those six process steps, throughout the course of a game, against you.

Composite Possession with Purpose (CPWP): The mathematical difference between the APWP Index and DPWP Index.

After reading the Introduction, you can use the same tools he uses to evaluate your team. You no longer have to measure wins and loses to evaluate your team’s performance. You can use the same tool, which is trademarked, that Chris uses. Here is how you can do it all for FREE!

Listen to the Podcast and then read this blog post Getting Better as Youth Soccer Coach. 

Here are the steps you will need to master, but read the post to learn how to evaluate them. If you decide to put this into practice, I would love to hear about it. Send me an email at  and let me know your thoughts. Chris explained that there not any youth teams doing this right now.

 Split the pitch into thirds and place one parent at the entry point into your own defending final third and one at the entry point into your opponent’s defending final third.
 Next, place two parents at the middle of the pitch.
 Then place one parent at or near the end line on your defending side of the pitch and then one parent at the same position on the opponent’s defending side of the pitch.
 Give each parent a clipboard and pen (waterproof if necessary) and have them begin to count and keep track of certain ‘team’ data points.
 The two parents in the center of the pitch are to count and document (all) passes attempted and passes completed for each team (throw-ins and free kicks included) across the entire pitch. If you have four parents then have two track passes attempted and two track passes completed, one for each team.
 The two parents at the entry to the defending final third are to count and document passes attempted and completed(within and into) the defending final third for each team. This also includes all throw-ins, crosses, corners and free kicks that are not specific shots taken on goal. If you have four parents/guardians then have one each track passes attempted and passes completed separately for each team.
 Finally, the two parents on the end lines are to count and document shots taken, shots on goal, and goals scored for each team.

I want to thank Chris again for coming on the show and demonstrating his soccer coaching tools. He has given us so much to think about and ACTIONABLE steps we can take TODAY with our team and improve the player development process.

If you like what Chris is doing, make sure you support his blog, on twitter @chrisgluckpwp, or with his other work at the Columbian where he writes about the Portland Timbers,

You can also read his work on or at



8 Tips to succeed as a Youth Soccer Coach

bangkok-july-13david-moyes-100183960Have you ever thought about becoming a youth soccer coach? Soccer is the sport that is played the most by kids under 8. At some point the majority of parents in the US will have a son or daughter playing soccer. Many parents hesitate to coach due to a lack of experience with the game of soccer. They think that coaching a young group of kids will be too much for them to handle. It is not as complicated as you may think or as others like to make it appear. Soccer is a simple sport that is made difficult by the defense. You should also know that “the game is the best teacher”.

Here are some tips to help you get started in becoming a youth soccer coach and coach your first young team, U5 – U8.

1. Let them play! At this age the kids are looking to just have fun. They are not interested in your organized tactics. They are there because kicking a soccer ball is fun. So you may want to keep your Barcelona Soccer Drills at home. I am a huge proponent of “Free Play”, in case you haven’t realized that yet through my Podcast. You can easily find a ton of soccer drills, try them all, your kids may like one or two, but don’t focus solely on that.

2. Chaos is part of the game. Don’t expect every activity you try with the kids to be perfect. They are going to run around because they don’t understand the activity half of the time. Do not take this as a sign of incompetence on your part. You must understand that they have a difficult time understanding soccer tactics, no matter how you explain it. Also remember that chaos is part of soccer, don’t expect playing-soccer-10058170everything to be perf. It’s not Football where everyone lines up and gets set before each play. Soccer is a game of transition, back and forth, with teams getting organized and attacking or defending. It is rare that you get set pieces where you can restart play in soccer.

3. Forget Soccer Tactics. As mentioned earlier, the kids are not interested in winning or losing. They may ask if they won or lost, but they are not training to beat the next opponent. They are there to kick the ball around with their friends. Don’t waste your time trying to teach kids tactics at this age. You have to understand that tactics can only be learned after they have mastered the dribbling, passing, receiving, and shooting. You can spend a year explaining tactics to a 5 year old, but when the ball is passed to his feet, if he can’t control, there is nothing he can do and you just wasted a year of development.

4. Focus on Soccer Player development. If you truly care about any players you coach, and you want them to be successful when they get older, then you must assist in developing them. If you take this approach, you are not necessarily “coaching the team” but rather “developing players”. Your wins will be every time a player can dribble with the ball close to them, or pass and receive with the inside part of his/her foot. That’s how good coaches of young players measure success, by the development of players. It does not help if your team is winning every game because there is one player that runs past everyone and scores all the goals. The rest of the kids have to develop as well, but they can’t do it by just watching, they have to get involved.



5. Practice is more important than games. Many parents think that the actual game is what helps develop kids and what will make them good players. You must understand that their development happens during practice and free play. It is during practice that each child can have a ball and play with it, compared to a game with 14 kids and only one ball. Remind parents about the importance of practice if they care about development. It would be better to miss a game instead of practice. Unfortunately, parents will miss practice first before they miss a game.

6. Drills are overrated. Don’t look at soccer drills as a way to optimize player development. Remember that too much structure is bad. One of the funnest games or activities that I have found that kids enjoy is just plain old keep away or 3 v 3. They each get a ball and the big bad coach tries to take it from them. It’s just that simple. Remember that before we decided that we could manufacture players, there were already great players. Where did they learn to play? They learned to play at home and on the streets. Remember that most of the big names you know of today, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Messi, Ronaldo, were all very poor kids growing up. They did not have great coaches, equipment, clubs, teams, or drills. They all had a passion for soccer that was developed through their environment. Through their passion to play, they playtime-10033434developed into great players. They all started playing at very small clubs, and eventually sold to larger clubs.

7. Create the nurturing environment. As stated earlier, all the great players were part of a great soccer environment. They were not trained by Mourhino or Pep Guardiola, they were trained and developed by their environment and their passion. This combination is what creates great players. As a coach, you want to create the best environment for players to develop. You want the young soccer players to keep playing after they leave your team because that’s the only way they will continue to learn and develop into good soccer players. Development is a process and will end when you are done. But you need to either plant that seed or keep nurturing it so that it can blossom. The environment for young soccer players should be positive, all inclusive, and fun.

8. They look up to you. Remember that kids this age look up to all adults. They don’t know weather you’ve played professional soccer or can’t even spell soccer. They won’t discriminate, they just want to have fun. Be confident and show them a good time. Whenever they do something special, they are looking for reinforcement from you, make sure you praise them.

How to Maximize Player Development as a player, parent, coach, and administrator

How to Maximize Player Development as a player, parent, coach, and administrator

Do you need help implementing this program? Email me at [email protected]


How to Improve Soccer Dribbling Now!

soccer-ball-on-green-grass-100152346 Do you want to improve soccer dribbling today? Dribbling in soccer or football is one of the most important characteristics of a good soccer player. The ability to control the ball and then dribble into space, or better yet, take a player one on one to score, is crucial. Many people consider dribbling to be selfish, but just look at the best football players in the world, what do they have in common? They are all great dribblers and can control the ball with their eyes closed if needed.

During the past 15 years, I’ve worked with thousands of kids on dribbling. I have also implemented all of these steps to my own routine and saw major improvements. Today I will share with you what I learned from my peers, coaches, and kids I’ve trained.

How to Maximize Player Development as a player, parent, coach, and administrator

How to Maximize Player Development as a player, parent, coach, and administrator

One of the misconceptions about dribbling is that it’s only used to take a player on. Dribbling is also part of possession and defense. Dribbling is essential for even the keeper because every player must be able to receive a pass, dribble into space or away from pressure and make another pass, or shoot, while holding their head up to see the soccer field.

Another misconception about dribbling in soccer is that it has to be flashy or really creative. Just watch a player like Leo Messi. Messi is a player that keeps the football very close to his body, using only feints and small short quick touches on the ball, with quick sprints. He is the best in tight spaces. But if you watch Messi closer you see that he only uses, the inside and outside of his feet to dribble the soccer ball. He does nothing special with heels or scissors or all these other “moves” that are popular among travel soccer coaches. All he does is makes a defender unbalanced by using his body, but his touches on the football are just inside and outside, for the most part. You can dribble just like Messi at the age of 7 or 8, but the key is to increase the speed.

If you understand this, then you can teach a 7 year old Messi’s moves, and they can do them! The difference is that Messi was doing these moves by the time he was 5 years old. So by the time he was about 12, he had already practiced them about 10,000 hours. When most kids were still learning how to dribble, he was working on repetition and increasing the speed. Today he is just too quick with the ball. I tell you this because you don’t need to get fancy with soccer moves; you just need to improve your ability to perform the simple ones at a faster speed. There is no single soccer drill that is going to give you a head start or help you get ahead; you have to practice each touch (inside, outside, sole, etc.). But don’t fall for the trap that there is a single drill out there that can fix everything.

Lucky for you, soccer dribbling is the easiest to practice and you need no special equipment, so there is no excuse. These are the tips I recommend to help you increase your dribbling speed.

You can grab a ball and walk around dribbling it inside your home. This is one of the ways I improved my dribbling. Remember, nothing fancy, you don’t want to break anything in your home, just dribble the ball, inside, outside, soles, laces, etc. You should already be in tight spaces with furniture, walls, and people in the home, make them defenders and don’t let the ball touch any of them, keep it under your control.
You can do chores and dribble at the same time. When I was home, I would go wash my hands while dribbling to the sink, then go back to my room, dribbling, in the middle of doing my homework. Then get a snack while dribbling the ball. You can get about 1,000 touches in one evening doing this without having to go outside, travel anywhere, or even put your shoes on.

Switch back and forth from foot to foot, inside/outside, and change directions. Change things up, always staying light on your feet.

If you have access to a yard or while on the soccer field, try different moves that you find on YouTube if you have the space. Just search for “soccer moves” or “soccer dribbling”. Pick the ones you like and master them! I know I stated earlier that you should not get too fancy, but you have to keep it fun! So go ahead and find a move that you enjoy doing it and then you can practice it against your friends when you’ve mastered it. But don’t spend the majority of your time learning 200 different fancy moves, you need to learn the basic ones, and then master them (inside, outside, laces, soles).

If you are sitting down watching TV, have a ball at your feet. Even just pendulums while sitting down will help. Do these while focusing on the television and they will become automatic. If you are talking on the phone, reading, texting, or on twitter, dribble the ball. You don’t need special equipment or a practice field, just dribble around, wherever you are. If you are at your aunt’s birthday party and bored, grab a ball, dribble.

If you live in a place with good weather, go dribble outside. The surface should not matter. You can do this on grass, concrete, tennis courts, gravel, hill, inside the garage, in the shade, under the sun, on the driveway, front or the backyard. Just start dribbling, you don’t even need your shoes on. The point is to get touches on the ball with the inside and outside part of your feet, and practice your moves. All you need is a small space, go find it.

Additional tips about dribbling, these are crucial!

1. Keep the ball close to you and your feet. You will not be able to just kick and run once you start playing against good players. You need to be in control of the ball, if you let it get away, you are no longer in control and it becomes easier for defenders to take it away. This is huge and one of the reasons that many kids stop playing, because they are no longer successful at Kick and Run. I used to be a really fast kid and could outrun everyone, but found it hard to score. Once I learned to dribble with the ball closer to me, I saw a huge difference in scoring opportunities.

2. Once you’ve mastered a football move or touch, try doing it with your head up without looking at the ball. This will give you the ability to received and dribble the soccer ball against pressure. It also gives you the ability to see the field so you can make quicker and better decisions. Once you can do it with your head up and not looking at the ball, increase the speed or add a defender.

3. Change of direction is another critical factor in great dribbling. Remember that once you’ve reached higher levels of club soccer, or pro, there will be very few chances to take off in sprints. The majority of the time is spent under immense pressure in tight spaces. Anytime you are practicing your dribbling, you need to also practice changing directions so that you are prepared to play against high pressing defenses. Changing direction also allows you to turn and attack at the appropriate time, make a perfect pass to a run, or shoot when you have a lane. I will discuss turning in a different post as well, it’s that important. But in order to master turning, you first need control of the ball, and that is done through dribbling (yes I know there are many one touch turns, we’ll cover those later as well).

4. Make sure you use ALL parts of your foot when practicing dribbling skills. That includes the sole, inside, outside, and laces. Go sideways, forwards, and backwards. Change directions as mentioned earlier, go one way then turn, then explode into a quick sprint, and then turn again. You must be under control at all times and you can use any part of your foot to do this.

Implement this program into your kids’ youth soccer player development routine. It’s easy and everyone should be doing it. YOU MUST understand that practicing twice or even three times a week with your travel soccer team is not enough. I don’t care if you are at the highest level or with the greatest coach, YOU MUST practice outside of formal training hours! Even adults who want to get better at soccer can do this and will see results. There is not one single drill or coach out there that will “immediately improve” your soccer dribbling in one day. It takes time and practice. Sorry I have to be honest with you because I want you to get better. You have to put the time in, there is no other way around it. Messi and Ronaldo did not find a secret drill or great coach around them; they just played every day of their lives since they were 2 years old. I’ve interviewed many professionals for the Youth Soccer Evolution Podcast and they all agree that it takes dedication to reach those levels. They also state that they played many hours outside of formal soccer training sessions.

Would you like a demonstration on how you can implement this program into your child’s routine? Email me for instructions as I am working on a step by step video. [email protected]


5 Reasons Youth Soccer Tournaments are killing development

Youth Travel Soccer Tournaments are a big business in the United States and across the globe. The idea behind soccer tournaments was brilliant, get the best players and teams together to see who is the best in a weekend or week. It still is a brilliant idea today. However what has happened, like much of soccer, is that someone has decided to make the youth soccer players, play like adults. Everything adults do, the youth must do. This has also occurred with training and development aspect of soccer. Kids as young as 5 are being placed in training programs for adults.

Today the Youth Travel Soccer Club scene is over saturated with tournaments ranging from local 1 v 1 games to full fledged trips to Europe or the US. Parents are paying up $5000.00 for a single tournament. The cost of these tournaments is not only money, but the kids are physically paying the price as well as their player development. Today we analyze the impact of Youth Soccer Tournaments on the youth soccer player development model.

danny-welbeck-manchester-united down-1001844261. Too many games in one weekend is physically demanding and stressful on their young bodies. This overplaying and training increases the number of injuries on the kids. When going into a tournament, the coach and team should have plenty of substitutes for the long weekend. The part to understand is that we are asking kids to play 3-5 games in a 2-3 day span. This is physically demanding on their young and developing bodies. If the games were just for fun, the kids would not be going at full speed for very long and would take themselves out when they got tired. However the problem is that the kids are under pressure to win and stay in the game for as long as possible. They over work their muscles to the point of injury. It is a fact that the body requires a resting period in order to rejuvenate, but if you keep playing just as hard the following day, you don’t give your body enough time to recover.

To avoid problems, take as many substitutes as possible to every soccer tournament. Don’t put pressure on the kids that they have to win. Limit the amount of tournaments you attend. One or two tournaments in one season is plenty, especially for younger teams in the U11 and lower divisions.

2. Too much emphasis on winning today. If you have joined a travel soccer team to develop or improve your soccer skills, the clubs will make you believe that tournaments are necessary. There is no single tournament in the world that can help develop players. The tournaments are mainly used for competition play, where teams can measure themselves up against other soccer teams in a different part of the nation or world. When traveling to a tournament, the teams want to win, and who can blame them. Every team has paid their fee, paid their traveling expenses, worked hard on the training grounds, and now are ready to see how much they have improved. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be the best or the desire to want to beat the best soccer teams. The problem is that many clubs and teams will go to 3-4 soccer tournaments in a 2 month span. They are looking for wins. When a coach is looking to win, development takes a backseat and the players suffer.300by300pixels_logo

Player development is one of the main reasons that kids get involved with travel or club soccer, so why do they travel to so many tournaments. At the tournament, only 22 kids can play at a time with one soccer ball. That leaves about 20 other kids on the bench watching. The 22 kids that are playing only have 1 ball, so the amount of player development that happens during soccer tournaments is almost zero.

I would rather have the kids attend a 4 team scrimmage where kids can relax a little, but also get a few minutes of full speed training. The coach is not under any pressure to win or put the best kids in the game because ultimately, the results don’t matter.


3. Travel Soccer Tournaments bring unnecessary anxiety and pressure to kids, parents, and their environment. Have you ever been to a travel soccer tournament? The amount of tension is remarkable. Every player, every parent, every coach, and every team wants to win every game. This puts an enormous amount of unnecessary pressure on the kids and creates an environment filled with anxiety. I was once at a tournament and a group of 8 year olds were running around kicking the ball (it was obvious they liked playing soccer). The coach came around and started yelling at them to go sit down and rest……. He said that they had another game that day and needed to be ready. The whole point of being involved with soccer is to play. That is all these kids wanted to do was play soccer. However their coach had other goals for that weekend. He wanted to win every game and take home the trophy. This is completely backwards and it’s one of the main reasons why players quit or fail to develop, because we put winning first.

4. Youth Soccer Tournaments are expensive. On average the cost of a one weekend tournament, for 3 games guaranteed, will cost about $750.00. So when you do the math, a youth soccer team could pay up to $250 for one game! Think about this, a team of 18 players will travel at their own expense for 3-4 hours, to play a soccer game for 80 minutes. Can you see how all of our money for player development is being utilized improperly? Can you see why so many lower income kids will never have the opportunity to play? We have the money, we have the resources, the fields, the coaching, but the infrastructure and environment is not even close.

The tournaments make too much money for too many people and for that reason, they will remain part of the youth soccer travel culture. It is true that many clubs get much needed funds from hosting tournaments, but the price we are paying is ruining the development of the players. There are other ways that clubs can develop players, but it should not be at the expense of player development.

5. Can’t beat teams in your own area. When I first started coaching travel soccer, I thought I was going crazy because I didn’t see the need to travel out of state to play a U9 game. But parents, coaches, and club administrators at the time looked at me like I was crazy. Why wouldn’t you want to go to the tournament? I don’t know, because I didn’t care how my 8 year old stacked up against other 8 year olds who probably wouldn’t even be playing in 2 years. And even if my 8 year old was the best one, that didn’t mean anything because if we didn’t continue learning, the other kids would catch up in two years. I discussed it with another parent who happened to be very smart, he is a heart surgeon. He agreed with me and said “if they can’t even beat all the teams in this area, why do they have to go to Chicago to find more teams?”. I thought that was perfect. Why do so many teams go outside their area to find more teams, if they can’t even beat the ones in their league. Why not worry about developing players so that they can perform at a high level, then when they are ready to be challenged, take them to a different state or city to be challenged.

How to Maximize Player Development as a player, parent, coach, and administrator

How to Maximize Player Development as a player, parent, coach, and administrator

Youth Soccer Tournaments have their pros and cons (click here to read the 8 Reasons Travel Soccer Teams play in Tournaments). You don’t have to follow the norm and just continue this trend. Pick and choose the tournaments to play in carefully. There is no need to attend out of state tournaments at U11 or below. Kids should stay local and play as much as possible for fun. Once they reach the U14 and above age group, then you can start thinking about traveling out of state to play tournaments if they are beating everyone around them.

If you would like to learn more about training and development and how to maximize your child’s soccer development, contact us today! [email protected]


Case Study on Youth Soccer player development, coaching U11 Girls


In the fall of 2009 I was asked to coach a U11 Girls team. I had just joined the club and was eager to get started with a young team. This would be a newly formed group. My daughter, who had played recreational soccer for the past 4 years, would also be trying out for the team. I knew this was an opportunity to develop young soccer players who were not thought of as “elite”, since most of the bigger clubs had already taken those players at the U8-U10 years. Youth soccer player development was something I was really getting interested in. I had a few years of coaching under my belt and I wanted to see how and/or if I could develop a group of players using my system.

Tryouts: The tryouts were simple. There were only 9 girls that showed up to tryout. This was a small club so we were not expecting many kids. The part that I enjoyed was that I would not have to cut anyone and all the kids that came out would get the opportunity to play soccer. The team played an 8 v 8 format in the league. So I knew we had to pick up a few extra players from somewhere. Luckily the U12 team in the same club was a very strong team in the area and also had 2 other players that were playing up a division, but were true U11 players. After speaking to the president of the club, it was decided that those two players would be asked to play and “dual-roster” with the U11 team to fill the roster. Out of 11 girls on the team, only 5 kids had experience playing travel soccer, so I knew I had my hands full, but was up for the challenge.

At the 3 v 3 tournament

At the 3 v 3 tournament

Practice Begins: Youth soccer player development was a challenge. I had two kids who had been playing at a high level with the older U12 team and they would get frustrated when the rest of the team couldn’t keep up. I realized that the kids lacked technique and I was trying to teach them tactics. Through no fault of their own, the kids had never had specific technical training, and it was obvious. This is an important lesson, you cannot teach tactics until they have good ball control. I modified my training sessions to include 1 to 1 player to ball ratio 60-70% of the time. The rest of the time was split into 1 v 1 moves and 4 v 4 small sided games. The kids were getting tons of touches on the ball every single practice, twice a week. But the reality is that kids don’t practice during the summer months because, according to parents, it’s their “time off” from soccer. The other reality is that the majority of kids don’t play soccer unless it’s structured. So we had about 6 practices before our first game, for a total of about 9 hours of training.

Season Opener: The season opener started with a major defeat, 10-0. The second game, 14-1. I could tell the parents and kids were getting discouraged. The two “dual-roster” players didn’t want to be part of the team anymore. They were used to winning games. I sent out an email to the parents explaining my plan and begging for a chance to work with the kids. I explained to the parents that I was focusing on technique and if they stuck around, the girls would make big improvements, but they had to be patient with me. I also requested that the kids get to the field one hour before the game, to give the kids an extra hour of practice. Parents questioned, “what if the girls are tired by the time the game starts?”. I explained to them that the result of the game didn’t matter, the girls needed one on one time with the ball as much as possible. Surprisingly the parents agreed and followed my lead. They were putting their trust in me to develop their soccer player.

We played the same two teams (that beat us with a combined score of 24-1) towards the end of the season again and lost 5-0 and 4-0, respectively even without the help of the two dual roster players because by that time they were not coming to the games to get beaten. I could tell that the kids had improved from the start to the end of the season. I was overjoyed and sold it to the parents! They bought it, as they should have since it was a major improvement. I was very proud of the kids for working so hard for those 3 months. There had been some significant improvement. We ended the season with a 0-8 record, 48 goals scored against and only 2 goals forced all year long. I was able to keep the team together thanks to very understanding parents.

Here are the results posted on the league website:

Winter 2009-2010: Fortunately for our club we had our own private indoor facility in Michigan. While the rest of the clubs sat at home and played only on the weekends, our team did two training sessions every week and played in an indoor soccer league on the weekend. The team was doing about 15 hours of extra training each month. The training sessions were still mostly technical training, but it was obvious that the players were starting to gain confidence. I taught the girls some street soccer skills, introduced them to futsal, and even brought my computer to show some Messi and Ronaldo videos to the girls for inspiration. I had to make them fall in love with soccer, I knew it was critical that they get inspired by someone or something. They needed to find a passion so that they could start practicing on their own.

The 2010 Spring Season brought the first win to the team, however this was in the B Division. The team finished in the middle of the pack out of 14 teams, in 5th place with a 4-2-2 record. 30 goals forced, 14 goals allowed. We were moving forward and the parents and players were seeing some results.

2010 Fall Season: All of the players came back to tryouts, except for one that was injured. We picked up another 2 recreational players as well. We moved back up to the A Division. This time we finished with a 2-4-2 record, playing the same exact teams that had just wiped the floor with us 12 months ago. Major improvement from the previous year. The girls were getting very confident on the ball and we were starting to work on some tactics. Now they wanted to go to tournaments. I wanted to keep working on development. They saw every other team traveling all over the country for tournaments and camps, I just asked them to keep playing, on their own, with a sibling, or with friends.

Winter 2010-11: Now winter indoor trainings were divided into technical and tactical. The majority of the time we worked on dribbling, possession, and just plain ball control. I also added shooting and some 1 v 1 moves. Defense and Offensive tactics were also taught depending on the day. We also attended a small 3 v 3 tournament where the girls made the Final, but lost to a talented, hand picked, team from Chicago. There was nothing fancy or secretive about it, they just played and played. During indoor games, I prohibited the girls from playing the ball off the wall, while every other team would wait for the ball to bounce back to them. This was not about winning or looking good like the other clubs, I wanted them to develop.

U12 playing vs TKO

U12 playing vs TKO

Spring 2011 Season: By now the girls were starting to learn tactics and implementing them in the game. In the A Division, the girls finished 3-4-1. This was another step in the right direction. The parents continued to believe in what we were doing and were on board to continue the project. We also attended a tournament at the end of the season where we made the semi-final. Their confidence just kept growing along with their development. The most impressive part was that the team had never recruited a single player and the two best players that had started out with the team had left because they saw no hope for this team. We also kept getting beat by a certain team with very athletic players. I kept reminding the girls that once they learned to have complete control of the ball, they would be able to beat this team. The reason was that these athletic teams with no skill would not be able to keep up and would end up chasing the ball. This team kept winning the league (by U14 they couldn’t win any games).

Tryouts Summer 2011: The transition from U12 to U13 is always very hectic for clubs, teams, players, and parents. The problem is that in U12, each team only needs about 11-13 players, since only 8 play at a time. Once they move to U13, they now play 11 vs 11 and you need about 4-5 substitutes. So every team that existed at U12 must now get an additional 5-6 players. The reality is that some teams will cease to exist after this transition. I knew our team had made an impact around the league because I had parents from different clubs calling me asking if they could get on our team. Unfortunately there were some geographical problems since our club is outside a major metropolitan area. I think the fact that parents were requesting to get on our team was a sign that they respected and recognized the work that had been done by the team, coach, and parents. We came out of tryouts with our core group of 12 players, and added two more, for a total of 14. This was enough to get us through the season.

Fall 2011 Season: By this time, the team had been training for two years together. They were starting to really communicate and play together. They had developed into smart technical players that could play in any system. Additionally, 4 players had been invited to play on Premier level teams. The team finished with combined record of 6-2 and finished tied for 2nd place in Division A. The team scored 17 goals and allowed only 4.

Winter 2011-12: As soon as the season was over at the end of October, we quickly transitioned to indoor training in our private facility. This was a great opportunity to continue with the Youth soccer training and development. The team also played indoor soccer at the local indoor soccer arena. During that session, the team picked up two additional players that wanted to join our team. On two separate occasions, the parents had asked what I was doing to help the team play so well. I explained to the parents that I wasn’t doing anything different and invited them to train with our team so they could see what we do. I didn’t try to sell them on anything or recruit them, I just offered to help. As a matter of fact, I invited their entire team to join us. I had nothing to hide and didn’t really think I was doing anything special. Since we trained indoors anyway, I invited them to train with us anytime they wanted. Both players attended our trainings and decided that they liked what they saw. They soon got along with the rest of the team and they were asked to join us and dual roster. We never asked either one to leave their team, but if they had the time and desire, they could help us.

Additionally that winter I decided to take the next step in the development process and challenge the team by applying to play at the Elite level. I had a parent meeting and explained the reason I felt the kids were ready to play at that level. There were some concerns regarding the costs, travel, and competition. I was able to convince the parents and the team was accepted into the Elite Division. The cost to play was the same, but the travel was a little longer.

Spring 2012 Elite Division: That season the team not only proved that they belonged at the Elite level, but they were also one of the best teams. They ended the season in 3rd place! We also attended a tournament and received 1st place. All this was accomplished with the same core group of 8 girls that went 0-8, just 3 years prior. By this time several of the players were getting frequent requests from bigger clubs, including my daughter. The next Fall 2012, the team won the Elite Division. I stepped down as the coach due to other commitments with my business and coaching.

We started with 8 core players that stayed the entire coarse. They lost every game with 2 “dual rostered” players that were very good.
4 years later, that same core group had already been promoted to Elite league and won the league. The next season, all 8 players were offered spots on Premier teams, 1 went to MRL team.

I tell this story because it’s remarkable. I didn’t do anything special. youth soccer player development is not that difficult, but there are many out there that make it appear as if it was.
This is what I did to improve the youth soccer player development of each player.
1. Created an environment where they could make mistakes without judgement.
2. Taught them that soccer is supposed to be fun and if you are not having fun, you are in the wrong sport
3. Gave them players and teams to look up to (I would tell my fullback, wow that looked like Dani Alves, and she would ask who’s Dani Alves. The next session i would bring a video of Alves). I would show them a move and say, this is how Ronaldo does the scissors, then show them the video.
4. Had year round training sessions, NOT GAMES, just practice where they could make as many mistakes as possible. The practices were so loose and unstructured, that a parent once complained to me about the lack of structure. I told them YES, they are very unstructured and that’s how i plan them. FREE PLAY!
5. I did not allow them to use walls for support during indoor games or training sessions. I introduced them to futsal, even though a few parents didn’t like it, but it helped.
6. I had to rewire their brain and show them that when we are in possession of the ball, EVERYONE is on offense, including the goalkeeper. This was new to them because they were used to getting yelled at when they “left their position”. Now they all interchange positions without even thinking, which in turn improved their communication. It’s great to watch.
7. Worked on technique, but understood that they sometimes master their own technique. some kids pass really well with their outside. Not everyone shoots the same, ask Ronaldo.
8. I encouraged them to be creative and applauded anytime they tried it, whether it worker or not, winning or losing, didn’t matter, creativity was part of the development process. I would use the word “ole” when we did a good move, so much that the girls started using it as well.
9. I communicated with the parents always respecting their opinion on travel, costs, and tournaments, afterall, these were their kids, not mine.

This wasn’t just my doing, the kids also put in tons of hard work. I think they believed in the process a youth soccer player development and bought into it. They did their part by working hard. That’s the trick, is that they have to make it to practice, work on their own, and then it will pay off. It doesn’t matter if you have the greatest soccer coach, if the player is not motivated, forget it.


David Beckham’s early life and soccer development

David Beckham is one of the most recognized football players of all time. Although some will disagree about his talent on the field, there is no doubt that he could bend it like very few in the history of football. I decided to read the new book that recently came out, The Life and Career of David Beckham, by Tracey Savell Reavis, on his life. I was hoping to learn more about his soccer development growing up. From reading the book, I did get a good sense of why he became the David Beckham. Today I share what I learned from this book about Becks. I did reach out to the author to see if we could get just a little more information about the events of his childhood, but were unable to get her on the show, we are currently working on a time and date. The next best thing is to analyze what I learned from the book and discuss it for your entertainment and education. beckham

How it all started, the Environment and Parental Support
During the podcast we always discuss the environment and analyze how it impacted the development of players. David Beckham was no different. The book starts out discussing David’s background and where his ancestors came from. It was pretty interesting to learn about his ancestors, but that’s not the reason you are reading this article. The book then describes how young David started playing soccer. David’s father, Tim, played professionally in the lower divisions in England. He would go to training during the week and the young David Beckham would follow. At just 7 years old David would accompany his father to training, sometimes joining the team (yes the pro team for fun), and sometimes stayed after with dad to continue playing. His mother and father were both huge Manchester United fans. David’s grandfather was a Tottenham Hotspur fan. David also visited Wembley stadium and watched many professional games during his childhood. This created a great environment for David to develop and be nurtured. Like any other child, he imitated his parents and wanted to be like his father. “On many different occasions he has remarked on spending time in his family’s back garden, kicking a soccer ball with his father” The Life and Career of David Bekcham; Reavis, Tracey (2014), pg 6. “By the time he was seven years old, David Beckham already had years of football under his belt” (Reavis 2014, pg 5). However very few of those hours were from actual structured training, most of the hours spent were with his father and friends.


David recalls playing soccer with the neighbors and his father. He gives most of the credit of developing his free kick to his father. “When I wanted someone to kick a ball around with back in those days of dreaming, Dad was there, sometimes until it was so dark that we could hardly see each other. Mum would be worried because it would be 11 o’clock at night and we still weren’t home. But it was only because I still hadn’t practised my corners enough and I was begging him to stay on and be in goal for a few more. When I needed to be somewhere for a trial, a match or anything else connected with the game, Dad was there to make certain I made it in time. When I wanted advice he was there, although in the end he said it was up to me. With that kind of support behind me from the outset I have learnt to stand on my own two feet and not be afraid to make the right choices. Dad implanted so many of the best practices into me – keep improving, keep practising, keep your love of the game. And sign for Manchester United”. The Free Library, (…-a060650935) As you can see, David had an exceptional environment around him. Although we can’t all be professional players and take our son or daughter with us to training, we can offer many of these things that David’s father offered. We can choose to stay after practice, or go in the backyard and practice our kicking. We can be there for our kids when they need to be at practice or at a game.


So how much does parental support matter with young kids. And when I say parental support, I don’t mean just going to games and yelling, but actually encouraging and taking part in the development. Playing with them, coaching them, learning with them, and supporting them. The author goes on to state “But it was David’s father who had the most influence in his early football development. The elder Beckham nurtured this talent by working with David and honing his skills hour after hour, night after night at Chase Lane Park” (Reavis, 2014, pg 7). The father later explained “I can’t say how much is down to me. I’am just part of a big cog that’s helped him to get where he is today. I was probably the big cog at the begining but there’s been other cogs since. We’d go over to the park all the time for a kick-around. I’d get one side of the goal and David the other and we’d try to chip the ball and hit the crossbar. Chipping in the park with his father helped him learn the technique. “He’s admirable, I mean he was willing to put in the time needed to develop what would be the most effective method. He practiced it, day after day, session after session, year after year. And he perfected it” (Reavis, 2014, pg 8).

Organized Soccer
David soon started playing organized soccer at about 8 years old. Joining a very small club in his community that was started by his father and a few other parents. They simply put an ad up in the newspaper and made a team, Ridgeway Rovers. His father and Coach Underwood started coaching the team. Coach Underwood is quoted in Reavis, 2014, stating that “David looked a professional from day one. Even at eight he could hit the ball from every corner of the pitch. his timing was incredible. He could strike the ball like a rocket – from any distance”. (Reavis, 2014, pg 10). What that tells me is that David was already good when he joined his first team, so it will be difficult for anyone to take credit for what he became, except his father. It was his father that introduced, maintained, and nurtured David’s love for the game. The book later discusses that the team, Ridgeway Rovers, won several cups and tournaments etc. which tells me that they had very good players to begin with since they started winning at a young age. The author later mentions that there were 4 other kids who went on to play professionally on David’s team.becks

David Beckham is known for his free kicks and good looks. On the field he was above average because of his passing accuracy. But when there was a free kick, there are very few that can do it better, ever. If free kicks were eliminated from soccer, David would still have been a very good player. He was not very good at 1 v 1, but he was an excellent passer. All those nights he spent with his father, chipping the ball and trying to hit the crossbar were hours and hours of practice. However it was just a game to young David. He didn’t realize that he was preparing himself to be a magnificent goal scorer from set pieces. This is the intrinsic learning that Ted Kroeten talks about in Episode one of the YSE Podcast. When you are having fun, you learn without thinking about it. David Beckham wanted to spend time and play with his dad, but he wound up becoming a legend.


This is a lesson for all parents, just go have fun with your child. In the end, you will win no matter the outcome. If they go on to be great football players, great, …. if not, then you still spent quality time with your son or daughter and that will have its own benefits.

If you would like to purchase the book The Life and Career of David Beckham: Football Legend, Cultural Icon , by
Tracey Savell Reavis, click on the link and it will take you to


Soccer Player Development vs Soccer Coaching

What is the difference between Player Development and Coaching Soccer? There is a huge difference and every soccer parent needs to know.

A good soccer coach is not necessarily a good soccer player developer. A good soccer coach may have a lot of knowledge about tactics and how to improve team performance. The coach may also have experience in playing different formations and positions. All of this knowledge has to be transferred over to the players soccer-ball-on-the-field-100184840so they can function as individuals on a team and perform well. The soccer coach is more concerned with team performance and outcomes. The coach may win a lot of games under that system and the players may perform really well. That is the sign of a good coach. He/she gets the most out of the players. In order to be able to successfully coach players, they need to be developed.

Player Development is similar to coaching and it’s the reason why the two are used synonymously. When working on Player Development, the goal is to get players prepared to play in a system or prepared to be coached. Although the Player Development phase starts out at a young age, it continues throughout their childhood and into their early adult life. The process is very long and it’s key to understanding player development. A coach can also improve player development during coaching, both tactically and individually.

The problem we face as parents is when we get coaches who want to coach at such young ages. Some coaches will attempt to teach tactics to very young kids that are not prepared to be “coached”. I have seen coaches on numerous occasions trying to teach a diagnol run to a 6 year old. The young child has never been interested in any of those tactics. At that young age, kids just want to kick the ball.child-soccer-player-100226365

Everyone can be a great player developer, it’s easy. We have to let nature take its course, and allow kids to be kids. Don’t teach young soccer players tactics when they are not prepared, instead invest your time and energy on player development. The young soccer player must first develop as a player before they can learn, execute, and/or understand tactics. I still see 12 – 14 year old kids who have been playing soccer for 6-8 years and they still can’t learn tactics because they have yet to develop their fundamentals. What this tells me is that their development process was broken. They started learning tactics at a very young age and they skipped the development phase.

To avoid this problem, make sure you know what you want to accomplish whenever you put your child into a class, team, or academy. The first thing you should be concerned with is to develop the player. This means you have to ignore goals and game scores. It doesn’t help if your son/daughter’s team wins every game and all you are working on is tactics. At some point the rest of the kids that are developing appropriately will catch up because they will understand and execute tactics better.

You will need a “good coach” when the child gets older and ready to learn about tactics. The most important thing during the development phase is to have a trainer/coach who understands development and is only concerned with individual progress, not wins or losses. The coach/trainer should have a healthy nurturing soccer environment. He/she should always be positive with the kids, always encouraging and challenging the kids to improve as individuals. The “team” concept won’t matter to kids until they get older, so don’t hammer this into them. It’s part of nature, kids are born selfish, and they only think about themselves until they get older.

If you are interested in learning more about soccer player development, you can listen to our Free Youth Soccer Evolution Podcast where we interview professional players about their development, or purchase my friend Mark Burke’s ebook, A Different Kind of Soccer Book. In this book, Mark (who played professionally for Aston Villa in the English Premier) goes into detail about training and development for young kids.

How to Maximize Player Development as a player, parent, coach, and administrator

How to Maximize Player Development as a player, parent, coach, and administrator


Why Futsal is here to stay



Ok, so you’ve heard about futsal. It sounds like this foreign game played by foreigners. Well remember that was Football (soccer) before the immigrants brought it here. Now we are in love with that game, Soccer. Many people think of Futbol (which is Football in Spanish) when they hear Futsal. I’ve seen many people spell it FUTSOL. Others think that the ball is real heavy, while others have never even heard of it.

Well let’s look at the reason it’s called Futsal. Futsal comes from two Spanish words that were combined. Futbol (football) and Sala or Salon (indoor) were combined to make the word Futsal. In other countries they may call it Futbol de Salon.

Futsal was invented in Uruguay, but it was Brazil that adopted it and made it what it is today. Brazil started winning all the world cups and developing player after player, non stop. Everyone knew that if you wanted a good player, you had to go to Brazil. The one constant that was found was that Brazilians played a lot of Futsal and street soccer, which are similar. Futsal and street soccer were perfect for Brazil for several reasons that you can read about here. But just to name a few, there was a lack of funds for grass pitches, the fabelas were overpopulated, and the goals were smaller. So in the crowded cities, small concrete courts were used as their soccer fields. When the game went indoors, not much changed. The floor was smoother, the temperature was controlled, and the rules were modernized.

When other countries started focusing on player development, they did what we all do today, go find what is working and copy it and/or make it better. Don’t reinvent the wheel, just do what is already working. Pretty soon Spain adopted Futsal as a form of player development and it was their success as well that increased the popularity of Futsal throughout Europe.

Today, Futsal is the fastest growing sport in the US. Futsal is here to stay in the United States, even though many people may still have their doubts. The US Youth Futsal Association now has leagues across the United States and is growing at a very rapid pace. Futsal is not only being played in the winter, but also during the summer months, as well as in southern states where winters are very mild. The US Soccer Federation has finally started their US National Team and US Youth National teams. Today Futsal is rapidly expanding across the US and this is great news for everyone involved with soccer because Futsal only helps you be a better soccer player. Keith Tozer, US Futsal coach, is at the helm and leading the charge. He is also the US Youth Futsal technical director.

How to Maximize Player Development as a player, parent, coach, and administrator

Want to Maximize Player Development as a player, parent, coach, and administrator, get the Ebook!

The people that will benefit the most from this revolution is you and me. Parents and their kids who play soccer. Why? because Futsal will be played by our kids at one time or another due to its popularity. Playing Futsal will make a huge impact on their development. Futsal forces players to use their feet, control the ball, improve coordination, and play in tight spaces. These are all factors that contribute to increased player development. The ball is constantly played on the ground, it’s rare that the ball leaves the floor. This forces the players to use their feet and with that comes foot skills improvement.

Everyone that starts playing Futsal immediately falls in love with the fast pace of the game. The only players that don’t like Futsal are the ones that can’t control the ball.

If you have any questions about Futsal, send me an email . I currently own a Futsal league and train all of my players using Futsal.


5 tips to train a toddler in soccer

How to Maximize Player Development as a player, parent, coach, and administrator

How to Maximize Player Development as a player, parent, coach, and administrator

Coaching a toddler in soccer is very simple, but yet so many people get it wrong. Remember that kids at that age barely have any coordination and are just starting to learn to maneuver their bodies.
Tip #1 Understand the natural process of development
The object of the game is to make them fall in love with soccer and make them want to play. What I teach parents is to understand two things here. Reinforcement and Pairing. In Behavior Analysis, Positive Reinforcement is described as “The presentation of a stimulus that increases the future likelihood that a behavior will occur. It is important to note that “positive” does not necessarily mean “good” or “desirable”. Examples of positive reinforcement: 1) Giving a child a high five after they kick or dribble the ball increases the odds that they will want to kick or dribble the ball again next time”. ( We do this all the time with kids, it’s the reason that they model us so much, they get praised. The second factor is “Pairing”, that is described as “The process of creating (or re-creating) an enjoyable, reinforcing, and pleasurable relationship between parent and child, where the child comes to view the parent as not just the giver of reinforcement, but as actual reinforcement”.
Behavior Analysis is my field of study, so it may be a little confusing. What these two definitions tell us about behavior is that in order for a child to “learn” to love the game, they must first receive some type of reinforcement from the activity (they must feel good when they kick the ball). Parents can provide positive reinforcement by giving a high five, cheering for them, and/or telling them how great they did (remember we are talking about toddlers, so everything they do must be the greatest of all time!). The child will then begin to PAIR the two, playing Soccer with dad is Fun.
Tip #2 Don’t force the Toddler to play soccer!
Never force your toddler to play. This can go very bad as the child could learn to distinguish Soccer with punishment. Wait for the right time. Remember that punishment will reduce behavior. The last thing we want is to reduce the toddler’s behavior of playing soccer or have a bad experience. During my consulting with parents and with my own kids, I have witnessed times when kids just don’t want to play, regardless of how much the game may mean to the parent or teammates.
Tip #3 Soccer Environment
To combat a child that doesn’t want to play, you need to set up an environment that can nurture soccer players. For example, buy a few soccer balls and leave them throughout the home. You can kick a ball around or just dribble and act like it’s a lot of fun. The child at some point will want to join and see what all the fuss is about. Why is the parent having so much fun? And they will want to feel that same Reinforcement. You can also watch soccer on TV or friends or relatives that play. The point is to demonstrate to the child that soccer can be fun, so that the toddler can try playing soccer. Once the toddler starts or wants to try soccer, that is your opportunity to use all of your reinforcement energy and provide the toddler with lots of praise, high fives, and cheering whenever he/she does anything remotely close to what could be considered soccer. You must make this enjoyable for the toddler so that he can start pairing soccer with Fun!
Tip #4
You can buy something inexpensive that the child may like. For example, my youngest daughter wanted a pair of indoor shoes like her older sister when she was 4. She said she wanted them to play indoor soccer just like her older sister. Of course we bought them because it was a minimal investment for another opportunity to create some positive reinforcement (Buy the shoes, she wants to play). But parents can use anything to create this positive reinforcement. One time it was a little soccer bouncy ball that cost a quarter. Again, what you are trying to do is create that environment and reinforcement that involvement with soccer is good and you approve of it. In general, kids search for the approval of their parents, so if you approve them being around and involved with soccer, the kids will appreciate that.
Tip #5
There is no need for structure at this age. Let them play wherever, whenever they want. And sometimes in the middle of playing soccer, they may want to play volleyball or basketball and start dribbling. As long as they continue to be engaged with the ball is all that matters. Eventually they return to kicking it, because it’s the easiest thing to do. You can model by dribbling the ball yourself or kicking it, just don’t make the child upset. We want them to enjoy playing with the ball. So dribbling with the hands is better than nothing at this age. Remember we are trying to increase their creativity, coordination, and love for the ball. Please do not get obsessed with technique at this time, they will have plenty of time to work on that when they gain some type of coordination. But you definitely want to reinforce when they do use proper technique. For example “hey that was a great job using the inside part of your foot” or “nice, with the laces”. It’s all about Fun!


How to coach U5 Soccer Players and Team

How to Maximize Player Development as a player, parent, coach, and administrator

How to Maximize Player Development as a player, parent, coach, and administrator

There are many soccer organizations throughout the United States that want to contribute to the soccer player development of young players. The issue that comes up is when trying to identify coaches for these teams. 99.9% of the time, a parent volunteer is thrown into this role because they want to help. The organizations are non-profit the majority of the time and have very few resources to pay a professional or trained coach. This is not a very big problem when dealing with U5 or U6 teams. Our problem in the US is that parents think that a 45 minute training is sufficient for kids to improve.
The other issue is that parents think that if a U5 player doesn’t have a professional coach, they are not going to make it.
The quicker a parent accepts and understands that soccer player development is a process that takes over 10,000 hours, the better off that child will be. At early ages, from 2, 3, 4, or 5 years old, the children need to “play” with the ball. Not necessarily play soccer, but just play with the ball. It’s ok if a 2 year old picks up the ball with their hand, they are trying to get a feel for it. The plan is to help each child fall in love with the ball and WANT to play with it. If they ask to kick the ball with them, go do it. You don’t need to hire a personal trainer or coach for this, just go out and kick the ball with them. If they want you to play Goalie, be the best, weirdest, coolest, goalie of all time. Just make the child connect kicking a ball with fun. This is called “PAIRING” in behavior analysis and it basically means that the child has paired fun with the environment you create. You can read more about Pairing HERE.

kidwithball Once the child has paired kicking the ball around with having fun with you (or friends), you have established Pairing. This now means that the child will be reinforced (or enjoy) by playing soccer. This achievement will bring about many other reinforcers to the development of the child. But for now the most important thing is that your child now loves soccer and WANTS to play. If your child is under 5, there is no need for long hours of structured play, just plain backyard kicking the ball around is perfectly fine. Once they do join a structured team or league, there is no need to obsess over the structure. For example there is no need to complain that the coach “doesn’t know what he’s doing” because he doesn’t have any good drills. The best thing you can do is to keep the child engaged in playing in a game that is somewhat related to soccer. So if they are kicking, punting, dribbling, or juggling the ball, that is good enough for that age, as long as they are having fun.
I recommend that you have a few drills with one ball per child. You can make it up as you go or just search for dribbling soccer games. You can have all the kids dribble to the moon and back, dribble between cones, under or around parents, with cones on their heads, through the goals, or just to the line and back. The most technical aspect to focus on here is the ball and the player. Each player should make an attempt to keep the ball as close to them as possible. That’s all you have to worry about! But too many parents and coaches will spend HOURS talking to a 5 year old about forwards and midfielders and making runs and clearing the ball, etc. That is completely unnecessary since the child still has to learn how to dribble before any of that even makes sense.
So don’t waste your time with downloading passing and shooting drills for U5 or U6 players. None of that matter until a child can learn how to dribble. This will take time, so be ready to spend the next 3-4 years. Remember this is a process and there is no single drill or coach that can teach a 4-5 year old how to dribble in one day.
• The keys to remember about coaching U5 or U6 players is that they are all selfish, so they want the ball, ALL the time! That’s why you are not going to teach them to pass right now, they don’t want to do it and they don’t want to learn.
• Parents and coaches should focus on Pairing. Make sure the kids are associating soccer with fun. To do this you must pair soccer with fun. Anytime they are at the soccer field or playing with a ball, it should be fun. So if the child doesn’t want to play, don’t make them because that’s not fun. You need to go back to square one. The child should be asking you to play, not you asking the child to go play.
• You don’t have to teach them everything today. In the next 3-4 years, they will learn to dribble, pass, receive, shoot, and LOVE the game.
• The kids should be playing at home and outside of FORMAL training. So don’t expect players to reach their max potential if they are not playing outside of formal training hours. The child must love soccer so much that they ask you to play, they ask their friends to play, and they enjoy playing with anyone.
• Remember that as a coach, even if you have no clue about coaching, as long as they kids continue to love soccer after the season and want more, you have done your job. Because it means that they will continue getting better in the next 15 Years!!! That’s how important those first years are. They must establish Soccer/Football as a game that they love to play.

“Pairing” – The process of creating (or re-creating) an enjoyable, reinforcing, and pleasurable relationship between therapist and child, where the child comes to view the therapist as not just the giver of reinforcement, but as actual reinforcement. (