United FC has sent news from their successful Fall 2013 season. Please click on link below to view.
Thanks for Denise for the news.
United FC has sent news from their successful Fall 2013 season. Please click on link below to view.
Thanks for Denise for the news.
Klinsmann's Advice: 'It's driven by you, coaches are just helpers
By Mike Woitalla
Last Sunday, U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann showed up at a breakfast for the 46 finalists of the 7Up Sueno Alianza National Finals presented by Verizon in Southern California.
The surprised boys, ages 14 through 19, dropped their forks to listen to the man who had won a World Cup as a player and 10 days earlier celebrated the USA’s qualification for the 2014 World Cup.
Here are excerpts from Klinsmann’s advice to aspiring young soccer players:
DECIDE YOUR PATH. "It’s always difficult at this age, when you’re 17 or 18 or you’re 14 or 15, to imagine, where’s my road leading? Where’s my next level?
“It’s all down to you guys what you’re going to do with your opportunities. Whenever someone opens a door for you and gives you a chance to show and prove how good you are, take that chance. Hopefully coaches will show you that level. But you’re going to have to decide your own path. You are your own driving force. …”
PRACTICE DAILY. “… What does that mean in reality? How often do you train a week? Everyday? How do you think you can get better if you don’t train everyday?
“How can you do that if you’re not with your team? In the park. Kick the ball against the wall. Meet your buddies somewhere in the neighborhood. Make an opportunity.
“Every time you kick the ball in some way, you’re going to make yourself better.”
GOOD MOVES. “How does a Kobe Bryant become a Kobe Bryant? He’s not learning all those moves because a coach tells him to make those move. He learned them himself, by fooling around with the ball."
COACHES ARE JUST HELPERS. “Take your path in your own hands. Ask questions all the time when you can to coaches and to other people.
“But you are the driving force. We can tell you certain things, but you have to do it. … Maybe you’re tired after 70 minutes and if you lose the ball we expect you to chase the ball back. But I can’t do that run for you.
“It’s you who makes the decision. That’s the beauty of soccer. That it’s all driven by you, not by us coaches. We’re just helpers.”
DON’T LOOK FOR EXCUSES. “From professionals, and not only American professionals, professionals everywhere — because I played in four different leagues in Europe — I often heard, 'The coach doesn’t play me … This is wrong … The media doesn’t like me …'
“They’re really good at finding excuses. But every coach wants to win. At the end of the day, every coach will play the best team he can. If you belong to those best, you’re going to play.
“If for whatever reason he doesn’t play you, then go up and ask him, and he will tell you. Maybe you don’t show the right spirit. Maybe right now you’re more a taker than a giver.
“‘Taking’ meaning you think about yourself too much. Maybe you’re not thinking about the team at that moment.”
AVOID DISTRACTIONS. “Maybe some players are too busy with their haircut, and how they look. Or how many followers they have on Twitter and Facebook.
“We coaches, we see that. We tell them, ‘You know it would be nice if you start to focus more on soccer than on your cell phone.’”
COPING WITH SETBACKS: “When you get an opportunity, give it all you have, and things will develop. Even it doesn’t work out right away, it doesn’t matter.
“Even if the reward doesn’t come right away, keep going. Keep going and it will be the next time, at the next opportunity. There are many opportunities coming up but you’re the one who drives it.
“Drive yourself. Your dream is yours.”
When the floor opened for questions, one boy asked Klinsmann about his pro playing career, to which the man who played for VfB Stuttgart, Inter Milan, Monaco, Tottenham Hotspur, Bayern Munich and Sampdoria said:
“Most importantly I learned a lot off the field. I learned a couple languages. I understood I have to take the people the way they are. People are different in different countries.
“When I went from Germany to Italy … The Italians are different. We Germans we’re very precise. We’re always on time.
“In Italy I had my own apartment and I was all kind of hyper. … So my washing machine broke. I called and I said I need someone to come and fix it. They said, no problem. We’re there tomorrow at 10 o’clock.
“Nobody showed up. Another day, nobody showed up. Three days later someone showed up and fixed my washing machine. And I was furious. I was a German. So I told the story to my teammates.
“My teammates at the time included Walter Zenga, Giuseppe Bergomi, Giuseppe Baresi. World Cup winners. They told me, ‘Jurgen, if you don’t learn the way we live the life. If you don’t adjust to it, you’re in big trouble.’
“You better adjust yourself to the way people are, or you go crazy. So I made that decision, wherever I go, and I went from Italy to France, to England, now here — I learned to take people the way they are and respect who they are.
“Wherever you go, you will find different people. You will find different coaches. But it’s down to you to adjust to them. Don’t expect them to adjust to you.”
Klinsmann ended his talk with: “I wish you lots of luck. Enjoy it. And have a smile on your face whenever you kick the ball around.”
For Kids Only …
(With fall soccer starting around the country, the Youth Soccer Insider republishes this article, which first appeared in September 2009.)
This column is for the kids. Adults can stop reading now.
By Mike Woitalla
Dear Soccer-Playing Children of America,
The fall season is underway and I'm hoping you're having a great time. I'm hoping that you're playing soccer more than you have to stand in line and do drills.
I hope you're falling in love with the soccer ball and keep it with you as much as you can. Juggling it. Kicking it against a wall. Dribbling it around in your backyard.
And I especially hope that your parents aren't screaming at you during your soccer games.
I worry that you probably do get yelled at, because that's what I see at almost all the youth soccer games I go to. Hopefully you just ignore it. But I don't blame you if it bothers you.
No one enjoys getting screamed at. Sure, if you start crossing the street on a red light or throw a toy at your little sister or brother, your parents are justified in raising their voices. But they shouldn't scream at you while you're playing a game.
If they do, it doesn't mean they're bad people. But, unfortunately, sports does something to adults that makes them behave in ways they usually wouldn't.
You may have noticed this if you've watched sports on TV. A coach, for example, dresses up in a fancy suit and throws tantrums like a 3-year-old.
Get adults around sports and all of a sudden they forget the same manners they try to teach you. In a way, sports are like driving. A grown-up gets behind the wheel and all of a sudden forgets you're not supposed to pick your nose in public.
And when grown-ups go watch their children play soccer, they, for some reason, think it's OK to scream like maniacs. Perhaps they don't realize what they're doing. Like the nose-pickers on the freeway who think they've suddenly gone invisible.
I hope you're able to block out all the sideline noise. But maybe you do hear their shouts. Telling you when to shoot the ball, when to pass it. Ignore all that!
You need to dribble the ball. Try to dribble past players. If you're dribbling too much, your teammates will let you know. And they'll help you make the decision of when to pass and when to dribble.
You decide when to shoot. When you're dribbling toward the goal and the goalkeeper is 20 yards away, and the adults are screaming at you to shoot, don't pay attention. Because if you get closer to the goal, it will be harder for the goalkeeper to stop your shot.
One of the really cool things about my job is that I get to interview the best coaches in America. And you know what the national team coaches tell me? They say young players are far more likely to become great players if they're allowed to make their own decisions when they play soccer.
They say that coaches should coach at practice, and when it's game time, it's time for the children to figure things out on their own. It's like at school. The teachers help you learn. Your parents may help you with homework. But when you get a test, you're on your own.
That's just an analogy. I'm not saying soccer is school! Soccer is your playtime.
I hope you have lots of playtime, on the soccer field and elsewhere. But I bet that you don't have as much time playing without adults around as we did when we were children.
When we were kids we had summer days when we would leave the house in the morning, be only with other children all day, then see our parents when we got back in the late afternoon.
Things have changed. The reasons adults are much more involved in your activities than they were when they were children are complicated, and a result of your parents' good intentions.
But sometimes we adults forget how important it is for you to play without us interfering. We love watching you play, especially on the soccer field, because it is such a wonderful sport. But we need to be reminded that it's your playtime.
You should decide. Ignore the shouts if you can. But don't be afraid to say, "I'm trying my best. Please, don't scream at me."
On the Way to Play — Kids Take Cues from Parents
By John O'Sullivan
Many a big game has been lost, and many a performance has been ruined, before a single player even steps on the field. It's called the car ride to the game!
As a coach I waged many a battle against the “statistics dad.” He was the guy who told the vanload of kids on the way to the game how their upcoming opponent scored 62 goals and only gave up 3, had not lost in two years, and how their smallest player was bigger than him and had already committed to Stanford at age 12.
Stats Dad soon realized that the kids in the van were no longer smiling but scared to death, so he closed with “Oh, but you guys will be fine, you can win.” And then he handed them off to me with a quick “Go get ’em, coach, these girls are ready!” Ready to what, puke?
Your kids take cues from you, plain and simple, and when you make it clear that this moment is so huge, so important, and so impossible a task, how do you think a 12-year-old is going to react?
Do you work well if you are told that if you mess up you are fired? Could you complete a task at work if you knew that your coworkers and boss were going to yell at you constantly and micromanage your work? If you have to talk before or during the game, then fill kids’ tanks with belief, with confidence, and talk them through ways they can be successful. Better yet, just leave them alone and let them figure it out. They might just surprise you.
Your kids hear what you say, but they are more likely to believe what they see. While being a fan and being a coach are quite different in many regards, one aspect where they are the same is in how players perceive your reactions to certain events during competition.
Next time you are at a youth sporting event, take a look at what players do after a big mistake, a strikeout, or a missed scoring opportunity. They often put their head down, then look at their coach, and then look for their parents. They are looking to see how mom and dad reacted to their error.
If mom and dad are sitting there, holding their heads in shame, faces buried in their hands, they are visually telling their child that what he has done is not good. They are reinforcing all the negative thoughts that are going through his own head in that moment. They are telling him that it is OK to dwell on his mistake because that is exactly what they are doing.
Ultimately, and most damaging, they are telling him that his value is tied to athletic performance. It is sad to hear many young athletes talk about “that look on my mom’s face when I didn’t do well.”
What if your daughter turned to you during the game and saw you clapping and mouthing “great effort” to her as she jogged by. What if she saw you smile, or wink, or give a thumbs-up, telling her it’s OK, to get on with it, to play the next play and forget about the last one. What if she saw you laughing and giggling before the big game instead of looking like you were shipping her off to war?
This simple little switch in your actions and reactions can play a huge role in your child’s love of the game and an even bigger role in her ability to perform in competition.
Coaches know there is no way to know if a player can make the gamewinning shot, or perform in the close game, unless they give her that chance. As a parent, I am often amazed at what my kids can accomplish if I just give them the opportunity to figure it out. It is crucially important that we convey this to our kids through our actions and reactions.
In my coaching I have always adhered to the famous Henry Ford quote: “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” Let’s make sure that when our kids look at us, they know that we believe in them, and that we think they can succeed!
MLS SPOTLIGHT] The contract Clint Dempsey signed with MLS to play for the Seattle Sounders makes him the highest-paid player in the league and just one of nine players making more than $1,000,000 a year in guaranteed compensation, according to the salary information released by MLS Players' Union. His guaranteed salary of $5,038,567 is more than double the salary of the next highest-paid American, Landon Donovan.
Dempsey and Donovan are the only Americans making more than $1 million in guaranteed compensation and only two of three Americans who are Designated Players along with Chris Wondolowski.
Graham Zusi (Sporting KC) is now the fourth highest-paid American after having his contract rewritten thanks to the use of MLS's new retention funds.
Winning's not everything: How to convince parents
By Mike Woitalla
Coaching young players to increase their chances of excelling at the higher levels can often mean losing games. So how can coaches convince parents not to confuse scorelines with player development progress?
Here are a couple of methods that can help coaches show parents how to look for improvement without focusing on wins and losses:
A “Parent Pregame” is how U.S. Soccer Director of Coaching Education Dave Chesler addressed the issue during his long career of youth coaching.
“When I was directing clubs, I expected all the coaches to do it, and it was awkward for them at first,” says Chesler. “When the referee is checking equipment and checking in the players, I would gather our parents around and I would give them the Parent Pregame. Very simple things. …
“I’d review the major topics we’ve covered … ‘This week we worked on trying to pass shorter, play it out from the goalkeeper, and build the game from back — because ultimately that’s good for their development as they get older. And it includes everyone in the game. They’re all participating — the people defending, from the people in midfield, etc.'"
The parents now understood why the team might give up goals — because they’re trying to learn to play in a manner that’s the most successful at the highest levels.
“It’s not always warm and fuzzy,” Chesler says. “There’s always the parent who thinks they know more. At least, you’ve taken away the guesswork and provided them with something they can grasp onto and really focus their emotion and energy toward.
“I’d provide them with tools to encourage the kids. ‘When the goalkeeper has the ball, and you see the goalkeeper try and pass or play to one of those defenders, it would be great if you would encourage them because that’s exactly what we worked on.’”
With older teams — 13s, 14s — Chesler made a habit of handing out a target sheet to the players at the end of the last training before a match. He’d give parents a copy so they knew exactly what the targets were for the game. It’d be a very concise summary of what the team had worked on in training.
“There was information provided for the parents every game,” he says. “Not for them to discuss or debate from a technical standpoint, but just to support their kids.
“If you don’t do that, you leave it completely open-ended and now the atmosphere is such that a parent can make assumptions and really be critical of things that aren’t even relevant to what you’re trying to do.”
With younger players, the targets would be mostly technical.
“When I coached a 9-year-old team, it would be, for example, work on how to prepare the ball,” he says. “We’re going to try and prepare it so we keep it moving, so we don’t just stop it or kill it. I felt it was important to distinguish between trapping and redirecting — a higher level skill, more challenging.”
When a young player starts acquiring the skills of a good first touch that sets up her next move, it’s a major sign of progress. When parents see their children succeeding more frequently at that during a game, they realize the coach has helped the players improve even when the scores favor the opponent.
With older players, the targets could be more tactical, like group defending.
For Chesler, the Parent Pregame is part of a triad that keeps a youth team on track: “I call it PCP — Parent-Coach-Player all being connected.”
Drink Up: Hydration Tips for Summer Soccer
By Dev K. Mishra, M.D.
July and August are popular months for sports camps and soccer tournaments, many of which will be taking place in hot and humid climates.
Hydration is a key element in proper sports safety, and a good hydration strategy will also improve performance. Start hydrating well before your planned activity as outlined below. After activity recovery is important too, and I’ve been a big fan of low fat chocolate milk as an outstanding recovery drink for many years.
Start your summer sports activity by being properly hydrated …
One of the most important points is that the young athlete should start an exercise activity while well hydrated.
The amount of fluid an athlete needs depends on the intensity and duration of the activity as well as weather conditions and the types of clothing and equipment worn. In general, high school athletes require 10 to 12 cups of fluid (water, fruit juice, milk, etc.) per day consumed at meals and snacks so they start exercise properly hydrated. During exercise, athletes generally require 4 to 8 ounces of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes.
Here’s an easy way to tell if you’re hydrated: check the color of your urine. If it’s less than 2 hours before training for competition and you notice that your urine is dark in color, you are not properly hydrated and you should drink more fluids.
Tips to Prevent Dehydration and Heat Illness:
* Sports drinks are an excellent choice for hydration. Athletes can usually find a flavor they like, and the electrolytes (like sodium chloride) will stimulate thirst, help the body hold onto fluid, reduce the chance of cramping, and possibly improve performance.
* Water is fine too, for events lasting up to about two hours.
* Avoid any drinks with caffeine or high fructose corn syrup, and no carbonated sodas. “Energy drinks” such as Red Bull contain caffeine and should be avoided.
* I like low-fat chocolate milk as another after-game alternative
* The athlete should have 12-16 ounces of fluid up until about 30 minutes before the game or practice (remember that most sports drinks come in 20 ounce bottles).
* Keep sipping sports drinks or water during the practice or match, about 4 ounces at a time at the end of periods or halftime.
* Start re-hydrating within 20 minutes of the conclusion of the match. Research shows that the first 20 minutes are the most efficient time to start refueling. Try to take in 20 ounces; no need to guzzle this down, but once you start drinking try to finish the bottle over the next several minutes.