Soccer Words of Wisdom
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Written by: Roger Brick
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
This space will have quotes from various soccer coaches, players and administrators concerning soccer and how we play it here in America. I will be adding quotes a couple of times a week until the end of the season. Check back often to see what is added.
'Artistry and Potential'
"At a youth soccer game you'll probably hear parents and coaches on the sidelines yelling, 'Pass the ball! Pass the ball!' ... When we continually tell our young players to pass the ball, we're not allowing them to develop their full potential, especially those who have the ability to take their opponents on and beat them one-on-one. As a result, we run the risk of diminishing a player's artistry and potential."
-- Tony DiCicco, who coached the U.S. women's national team to the 1996 Olympic Gold Medal and the 1999 Women's World Cup title. (from "Catch Them Being Good: Everything You Need to Know to Successfully Coach Girls.")
WORDS OF WISDOM: Mia Hamm
''Too often in this country, youth coaches sacrifice learning skills for winning games. Often coaches won't let players take chances by passing the ball around a lot. The quicker you get the ball forward, the less likely it is that it will be stolen and lead to a quick counterattack. While valid, this shortsighted philosophy can be counterproductive to developing athletes who can play the game with the same grace, skill, and power that has come to typify the U.S. women's national team.''
-- Mia Hamm ("Go For the Goal: A Champion's Guide To Winning In Soccer And Life")
Words of Wisdom: Freddy Adu
"In America, coaches take the fun out of the game for kids. They do. They coach them to play one touch, two touch. It takes the fun out of it and the kids aren't creative. It's no fun when you're not creative and when you're not expressing yourself out on the field. I think coaches should do a better job. [Players] need to express themselves and enjoy the game. That's what happened to me. I enjoyed myself. As time goes on, as you get older, you start to learn to play with your team and working within a team, knowing when to dribble and when not to dribble. This stuff is eventually going to come, as long as you just let kids enjoy themselves."
-- Freddy Adu
Words of Wisdom: John Hackworth
''The emphasis on winning is a detriment to young players because it prevents us from developing technically proficient players. And we're not giving them the ability to make decisions. You can't find a youth soccer game where the coaches aren't screaming the whole time, telling kids what they should do and how they should do it.''
-- U.S. U-17 national team coach John Hackworth.
Words of Wisdom: Landon Donovan
''It's amazing to me that people put so much emphasis on trying to be tactical and worry about winning when it doesn't matter when you're 12 years old. It's sad. That's something that's going to have to change if we want soccer in this country to develop.''
-- Landon Donovan
"Why are exceptional dribblers a rare commodity at the higher levels? Probably because players are so often discouraged from dribbling in their early years, which is like telling toddlers to shut up when they're learning to speak."
-- Mike Woitalla, Editor of Soccer America magazine
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