SoCal Youth Soccer Parent: "Our Kids Need Better Coaching"
There will come a time when the players will drive to games, get their own lunches and will have nobody to blame but themselves when they turn up at matchtime with only one cleat in their bag.
But Youth Soccer for the younger kids largely revolves around the parents. The clubs often do a terrific job and the coaches take care of the training but it's the parents who make sure the players get there on time, arrange the car pools and schedules, cheerlead from the touchlines...and pay the fees.
It's a voice that's not heard loudly enough in Youth Soccer. Parents see right up close what is right and wrong with their kids' soccer experience but they don't often have the forum to express those views. If they criticize the coaches there is always a fear that their child will face the consequences, perhaps by being benched or, at the very least, by having to deal with an awkward atmosphere.
So here in the Youth Soccer pages of Football.com, we are giving parents the platform they need to get off their chests any issues they may have with the way the game is run for their children. Please let me know your feelings. If you don't want your name used that's absolutely fine, we can post your comments anonymlously.
To start us off, here is a controversial article forwarded to us by the father of a teenager playing in Orange County, CA:
"I believe America is raising a new generation of footballers with the potential to take this country into the big leagues of world soccer but I fear they may be playing under the delusion that the American way is good enough.
It is, after all, one of the things that makes this country so great. We believe that if we work hard enough and put our whole hearts into something we can reach as high and higher than any other nation on Earth. We are natural born winners.
So it probably stands to reason that kids like my son and many of his friends who play in the US Soccer Academy system want to play for the US in the US system. They believe they can compete sooner rather than later even if they stay here. They have grown up with the game and may play three, four, five days a week. They don’t think they need to go to England or Germany or Spain for coaching or the hope of playing for a team abroad. They want to stay home.
But in my view - and I play the game and have been with my son numerous times for trials and training sessions or tournaments in Spain and the UK - staying home isn’t enough. The knowledge base in this country simply isn’t strong enough yet.
The problem is not the players; the talent is there. It’s not the system; European clubs envy our youth clubs and leagues and visit to pick up tips from us.
No, the problem is with the coaching.
Having an English accent used to be enough to guarantee a coaching job with a youth team irrespective of his or her background in the sport. A fuzzy resume and talk of a long ago apprenticeship with Blackburn Rovers and you’d be in. But we’re beyond that.
It is the knowledge base of execution we are lacking now. My son builds this with every trip to Europe. He doesn't necessarily need to live the life over there just pick up quickly on the ideas and thoughts of all the coaches. (American's are quick to pick up and learn things. They cut through the BS and take the good parts. It’s what we do).
Back in the States, we have no quality world class retired players kicking young players’ butts. We simply haven’t been playing the game seriously long enough to have that kind of pedigree. We’re getting there, but we’re not there yet.
I see a young player like Jordan Morris turning down a contract to play with Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga to play in America and I can’t help feeling it’s a foolhardy move. He is 21 and has already done well for the national team. He needs to spend a couple of years playing, (well really its only training as they don’t let the US kids play much) at the very top level in Europe and THEN bring all that experience back to the MLS. That way, steady but surely, we build up our knowledge base among US players and future coaches. If he wants to be a big fish in a comparatively small pool by all means he should go to Seattle, but my feeling is that he would have been fighting to make his mark in Germany and then come home and bring all that wisdom with him.
I totally get it when my son says he wants to play here. This is his country; why should he have to leave it to reach the level his talent requires? The answer is that US soccer is still in its relative infancy and we need to learn from the very best, not just aging superstars looking for a final payday.
Perhaps there is one other path we could take to fulfill US soccer’s potential. Perhaps rather than line the already bulging bank accounts of Gerrard, Drogba, Lampard and co, we should use that money to bring over the best coaches money can buy.
We could start with Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho and take it from there…."