How The USMNT Will Win The World Cup
It begins with every single coach in America. It begins with the recognition and acceptance that development is king. It requires a paradigm shift based on what it is to live in this country, what it is like to grow up in this country, and how we want to be perceived by others.
For many years we have been struggling to find a way to balance our Pay-to-Play system with what is right for the players and what Coaching Directors and parents want, and what the US Youth Soccer ranking system demands. We now must collectively realize that this conflict is wasting year after year of talent. Generations of players lost in the fog of tournament after tournament, club hopping, and kick ball. It has to stop.
Parents, you are not paying for a winning team. You are paying for professional coaching to develop the technical, tactical, physical, and psychological attributes of your children. If you truly want to help this process then all you need to do is to offer encouragement. It really is that simple. Just give us your kids, take a break, and let us do our work.
Coaches, stop being douchebags. If you are a coach that yells at 9 year olds for misplacing a pass, or if you slide on your knees when your U12 boys team scores their 14th goal of the game, or if you line up all your players and make them endlessly jog round the field, then I am talking directly to you. Simply, stop. Stop coaching. Go away.
We must allow our players to play. To express themselves, to be creative. Soccer is an art, a game of decision making coupled with technical ability. If all you coach is to lump the ball forward to your best athlete then you are damaging the development of your players. If all you want for your children is for them to be able to kick the ball a long way then, by all means, keep shouting ‘SEND HER’ and ‘GREAT KICK’.
I will fully admit that I often see well coached teams with well trained technical players get hammered by the kick ball teams at the younger age groups. However, this short term strategy is dreadful for player development, will do nothing to grow the game, and will be obsolete by U15. You must ask yourself, how important is it to win a game at U9?
If you coach this game then you had better love this game. Let the game do the work, let the players create from their own minds a game that is representative of this country, let the game belong to them, and support them with everything you have.