I have long felt that we need to stop comparing our selves to Europe and how they play, develop and organize soccer. We are not Europe!
Earlier I found this article which captures the same wrong argument made over and over again. (For those of you too lazy to follow the link, the is article below.) But, things don't get good until the comments (it's always better in the comments, right?!) These comments show the same circular arguments we always go through. The last guy hits the nail on the head.
10 years ago, I began coaching soccer. It all began when I felt the urge to be involved in competitive soccer again, but my playing days were over so I was going to have to be a coach. I was hungry to prove myself, I wanted to do a good job and be successful.
My first job was a girls JV coach at McKeel Academy. I devoted dozens of hours to being the best that I could. Every day we had practice and I poured my heart and sole into it. We finished 11-3 and I fell in love with coaching, cried my eyes out at the banquet and was totally, completely hooked. But, I noticed JV soccer was not as respected as the varsity team.
There is so much to say about this that I am not sure I can fit this into one post... so I am calling this part 1. Also, I am admitting to being totally biased here, I am going to come right out and say that I do not support development academy's. I fundamentally disagree with their premise, something I plan to explain in detail over the course of these blog posts.
I have always been in impressed with coaches and teams that give of themselves. It doesn't matter if it is though a service project, mentoring kids or helping in the community. I have always believed it is a good thing. This year McKeel Academy Girls Soccer is giving to Africa. (Just in case the link doesn't work...)
"Girls share love of soccer around the world
The varsity and junior varsity girls' soccer teams of the McKeel Academy have set a goal to score as many goals as they can this season, and with every goal scored they will donate one soccer ball to children in Cameroon, West Africa. Last year the girls set a season goal of 100 goals. They surpassed that goal and plan to do the same this year, which means they will need to raise a minimum of $800 to purchase the soccer balls. Bread for Life Ministries has established "soccer for development" for the children of Cameroon.
These are by far the toughest decisions I make as coach; who starts, who plays, for how long and where.
In high school soccer, I coach the highest and most competitive level 90% of American kids will play. As such playing time is not going to be divided up evenly, nor does it have to be according to Dr. Nicole Lavoi, Associate Director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sports However...
Every week, every game the starting 11 is up for grabs. If you want to start, get lots of playing time and play the position you want, you better meet three criteria to even be considered. First, physically show up to practice. If you don't come to practice, even for a good reasons, you miss the lessons on how I want you to play as a team, therefore you may not play. Second, when you show up, be there mentally also, with the right attitude. If you are physically there but mentally somewhere else, it shows in how you practice. It is painful to watch a group of players "practice" who aren't really practicing. Third, be a skillful player. Even if you attend everything and are mentally fully engaged you must be more skillful than the other players who have met the same criteria.