Tag Archives: soccer player development


How Young Athletes Can Dominate Soccer And Other Areas of Their Life

In episode 26 We interview Niyi Sobo, former pro athlete turned coach and motivational speaker. You have to listen to the show to learn how to improve and dominate all areas of your life, including your favorite sport. Maybe you want to dominate soccer… Niyi goes over some strategies that you can do TODAY! to improve your performance. I absolutely loved it and couldn’t believe he was giving all of this for free. I am very grateful that Niyi took some time to help out our listeners. If you would like to thank him, go Check out his website at www.imnotyou.com.
Because if you want to DOMINATE, Niyi can show you how.

niyiIMNOTYOU.COM is a brand reserved for highly competitive athletes, who desire to take their game to new and dominant levels, and refuse to “fit in” and settle for average.

It’s the mindset you MUST have if you want to dominate your sport and reach your goals.
As an athlete, there are 3 areas that you have got to master if you want to succeed and break through and Niyi breaks these down for us during the podcast.

You must have unshakeable believe in yourself and your abilities. Your beliefs, your visions, and your language and attitude have got to reflect the goals you have.

You MUST make sure you are doing all the things necessary, every day, to develop the consistency and skill. If you don’t, you can never expect to dominate, or even play well, on a consistent basis.

Systems & Strategies
You can’t afford to be “random”. If you take random actions, expect random results. All of your moves must be calculated, and part of a bigger picture.

If you want the results you say you do, you are going to have to take on an entirely different attitude, a different mindset. You will have to adopt the belief that will set you apart, and make sure that you stay strong when others are weak.

You’ll have to adopt the same belief I had during 3 hour 2 a day practices in blistering New orleans heat, when I was the lowest man on the totem pole trying to earn my spot. That belief is..

“I’m Not You.”

They give up. You re-up.

They compete. You Dominate.
If you’re up for that challenge, then listen to the podcast, visit www.IMNOTYOU.com/yse and get the Free report to start dominating.


Solidarity Mechanism’s Impact on Soccer Player Development with Liviu Bird from Sports Illustrated


courtesy https://www.facebook.com/liviubird Playing the Seattle Sounders

Sport’s Illustrated’s Liviu Bird stops by to discuss a controversial topic regarding soccer player development that many people don’t know about. Known to many as the “solidarity mechanism”, this FIFA policy allows clubs to be compensated for developing players. The controversy is over whether or not US clubs will be compensated. At this no US clubs are compensated for developing players. Please read this article first Crossfire VS MLS. You will then want to follow up and read the second article here. The stakeholders involved in this controversy are very prominent, the Crossfire Youth Soccer Club, DeAndre Yedlin (by no fault of his own), USSF, MLS, and FIFA.


Training compensation – designed to reimburse clubs for money spent to develop pro players. Crossfire is NOT looking for any compensation through this rule.

Solidarity Mechanism – to incentivize player development – promote grassroots and reward youth clubs for doing a great job.

But before we discuss his article, we get into Liviu’s own soccer player development experience. Liviu will discuss how his parents were always involved with his playing and development. They pushed him but always supported him.

He discusses how he grew up playing on the streets of Romania. How kids improvised and made goals on the street.

liviu birdLiviu discusses how he just started playing goalie during Recreational soccer. At 16 yrs old he started to specialize in goalie. He feels that it was important that he played on the field before that as 60-70% of a goalie’s involvement is with their feet.

Liviu also discuss the importance of goalies being able to read the game and how it can impact the outcome of matches.

Free Play days, are those still too organized? or do we still have too much control? Why it’s so important to play with friends, siblings, and family.


Learn More about Liviu Bird: http://www.si.com/author/liviu-bird



First article on Solidarity: http://www.si.com/planet-futbol/2015/06/29/us-soccer-youth-club-compensation-crossfire-deandre-yedlin-mls-fifa

Follow up article, response by FIFA: http://www.si.com/planet-futbol/2015/07/21/fifa-crossfire-us-soccer-mls-youth-training-compensation-solidarity

If you like the show, please consider giving us a review on iTunes


Colorado Rapids Director of Soccer Development, Brian Crookham


Colorado Rapids Senior Director of Player Development, Brian Crookham Photo Courtesy of Garrett Ellwood.

The Interview with Brian Crookham

What an amazing interview that offered not only player development insight, but also some behind the scenes of MLS and the Colorado Rapids’ preparation as they begin their 2015 season. Brian Crookham was first referred by a listener of the Podcast. I appreciate all of you tuning in and listening and I especially appreciate those of you who write and engage with me to make YSE even better. This is truly turning into what I had hoped for, an educated soccer community that is larger than any one single entity.

Brian Crookham also takes us on his player development journey and discusses how things have changed since his playing days. A young man from Jenks, Oklahoma, Brian Crookham went the soccer route. He recalls being exposed to small sided games in the late 80s and early 90s and how it changed his view on Player Development.

Brian then takes us behind the scenes of the Colorado Rapids Player Development system and discusses how resources are allocated in order to ensure that the curriculum is being implemented correctly, which is no easy task. The Colorado Rapids Player Development Pyramid which is used to enhance the visual of what the Rapids are doing with all of their programs. It’s very inclusive with pathways for each player regardless of their potential. At this time the Colorado Rapids Player Development system serves over 12,000 kids.

Learn the role Brian Crookham plays in coordinating all the programs within the Rapids Soccer Development Program.
Adidas Alliance partners – Group of clubs that have a Commitment to creating an environment where players can reach their potential.

Brian Crookham gave some great advice for parents and coaches: you must be Committed to the process and not necessarily the outcome. Do not be short term outcome based.
Winning is not bad, but you should win through the process. Buy into the process!!

Then he leaves us with this statement, which I LOVED!
“There is not one coach that can walk in and make a player a pro, but every one has the ability to limit a player”. And that includes coaches and parents! We cannot guarantee that they will be a professional player, but we can help them be prepared in case they reach that level.

For the future, Brian’s vision is that we must have clear pathways for players, a process, information for players, parents, and coaches. The more programs that buy into the holistic approach, the better off we will be. We need to limit the costs associated with player development.

Finally, how would Brian Crookham go about developing a 5 yr old?
The child would need an environment where he would enjoy soccer, “me and the ball”, then check where I am. Start with motor skills.
Later focus on soccer skills, then worry about understanding the game, making decisions. Then learn to compete and learn to function in a competitive environment. After that, enjoyment comes from practice.

Thank you so much for your time Brian!

http://www.coloradorapids.com/youth/staff Learn more about Brian Crookham

http://www.coloradorapids.com/youth Learn more about the Colorado Rapids Program

Follow Brian Crookham on Twitter

myteamrealReceive a 60 FREE TRIAL with MyTeamSpot for our listeners only, when you use promo code YSE60. Improve your communication with players and parents, share videos and photos, update schedules, and focus on player development!!!!


Thank you so much for supporting our podcast, if there is anything I can do to help, please let me know. Thank you.



YSE 20: How to improve your soccer game for free, with author Stan Baker, Part 1


Stan Baker, author of “Our Competition is the World” and winner of the 2011 US Youth National Coach of The Year joined us to celebrate our 20th episode. Stan is not only a good friend, but he’s also a great coach to players, mentor students and players, and just an ALL-Around outstanding person. He is well traveled throughout the world, studying and learning through coaching certifications from such soccer hotbeds as Brazil, Argentina, and Spain. Oh yeah, and he holds his USSF A License. Although licenses and certificates are not what make Stan a great coach, it does demonstrate his desire to continue learning, something we can all appreciate. Stan will be the first to tell you that he is still hungry to learn more and that’s just one of many reasons he is so intelligent.

Do you want to improve your soccer game for free? We discussed numerous topics around player development and received his input on how to improve at a very very low cost, even for free. There are no more excuses for not developing our players.

  • Stan discusses the importance of finding a wall and how he used one to develop his own game and why he teaches kids to do the same today. Just like Mark Burke discusses in his book “A Different Kind of Soccer”
  • What happened at the young age of 13 that improved Stan’s development?
  • Problems with coaches who want to be in control, but players are artists, they should be allowed to be free and creative
  • Why you need to improve comfort level in small spaces with the ball
  • Problems that arise when we see the game in terms of other sports like basketball and baseball. Those sports have timeouts and set up plays, but soccer is an open game, constantly changing. Players need to learn what to do on their own, and the game can teach them.
  • Learn more about Funino here and visit their website here
  • From Brazil – they warm up the spirit by playing a game before training, may show why Brazil plays so creative and loose (yes I know they lost the semifinal in the WC, but how many teams wouldn’t kill to be in that position).
  • Argentina – they take it a little more serious, educate kids early on 11 v 11. This was interesting to learn.


Stan is involved in the in Comcast SportsNet’s inaugural All-Star Coach Program. It is aimed at recognizing the region’s top K-12 public school coaches, and the finalists are in and Stan Baker is one of them. Let’s vote for him!! I can assure you that he definitely deserves it.

From numerous nominations, finalists were selected by a panel of community leaders based on exemplary commitment to the school, student-athletes, parents, and the community; excellence in coaching style and interaction with student-athletes; distinction from other coaches; and, quality of coaching, including respect and inspiration. If you liked the podcast, please thank Stan by voting for him!

CLICK HERE TO VOTE:  http://www.csnnw.com/page/all-star-coach


Do You Want To Learn More About Stan? http://www.csnnw.com/article/all-star-coach-finalist-stan-baker-woodburn-hs

Visit Stan’s website http://www.soccer-artistry.com/

Stan’s Book “Our Competition is the World” Stan discussed in the podcast why he decided to write the book after being inspired by Claudio Reyna speech about player development.  

The book mentioned by Stan during the Podcast, “The Boys From Little Mexico” about the kids in his school.


Horst Wein Books


myteamrealReceive a 60 FREE TRIAL with MyTeamSpot for our listeners only, when you use promo code YSE60. Improve your communication with players and parents, share videos and photos, update schedules, and focus on player development!!!!


LINKS Discussed During Podcast
Thank you so much for supporting our podcast, if there is anything I can do to help, please let me know. Thank you.


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