Not to get all John Lennon on you but can you imagine if the US soccer scene, neh, the Michigan soccer community collectively decided that instead of profits or victories or any of the temporary and meaningless goals were cast aside and there was a simple and pure conviction to teach kids to love the game of soccer and work purely on development? What would that look like? I believe in that soccer utopia it would be much more of a collaborative effort and clubs would be more just based on location rather than people traveling halfway across the state to play on the top clubs. Clubs would work together to come up with foundational training methods and coaches would mentor one another. Players would receive equal billing and attention from a coach and the focus would shift from just pandering to the top talent to working out how to get as many players as possible to that elite level. Imagine the level of play then? With resources like that pooled the talent pouring out of Michigan would be over whelming. Reality check, that’s not going to happen. However, what if on a micro level a club and coaches commit to that same devotion to the best interests of their players? I believe in the long run that club and those coaches will be recognized and all the success other clubs attain through their misplaced and self-driven interests and they will even be surpassed. Let’s start as parents, coaches, and clubs to have the right focus. Develop the players love for the game, help develop them as people, and develop their abilities and let the wins/losses work itself out.
The season is about to be upon us, not Xmas but oddly enough that will be all over the stores in a month lol. Soccer season and youth sports in general. It’s a time of cheering and scoring and high fives, trophies and participation medals and juice boxes. The important thing to remember however is it’s the time for the kids to have fun and develop relationships and a love for athletics. This love is what will ultimately determine the level your young athlete will get to and there is no faster way to squelch that affection for their sport than an over bearing parent. I had my own experience this past week with a father so frustrated by his sons’ lack of play time at the high school level that he confronted me and attempted to physically intimidate me. The issue was, I had nothing at all to do with the high school team. Despite him knowing that, his frustration was so rabid he could no longer reasonably distinguish one issue from another so he displaced his anger towards another target – me. He later half-heartedly apologized but instead of simple forgiveness I worked to offer him perspective, that in his obsession with experiencing success through his son he missed the whole point of youth sports. His son was miserable and felt like a failure to his father and I suggested that he focus on his son and family and who they are and not who he wants them to be, making up for whatever wrongs he felt he experienced in his youth. Sports are a great opportunity to bond and open doors of communication when parents let it just happen. Long car rides to and from games and discussions about the game often lead to discussions about their lives and dreams. So as the season starts remember that the sport is simply a vehicle for them to be active, develop friendships and explore their passions and not for us parents to drive them to succeed on our terms. Just let them play!
Yes it’s on! So excited to be starting the season and training. Despite being overcast and rainy I had a fine turnout last night and the best part was that despite a reputation they were attentive, respectful, and a hardworking group. I asked them in the beginning to respect me and each other, that during the discussions and training if they focused they would improve and they delivered along with lots of laughter.
I am sure soon enough they will be bored of my repetitive comments calling for simplicity and movement however I am confident also that they will begin to think that without my prodding and that is the goal. I hope all of you players, parents, coaches, and clubs have a fantastic fall season!
Set the tone early and model respect to the kids and they will likely give it right back.
As a sport soccer is pretty simple and so are the ideas behind developing talent. There seem to be different factions out there all with their own interest from clubs, to parents, to coaches, MSYSA, to high schools, colleges etc…We are hoping this site will provide a Rosetta Stone or Tower of Babel so that we can all speak and understand one another better. Wouldn’t it be great to get the coaches perspective on what they are looking for, or for clubs to hear from parents what matters most? I feel education to all parties involved could really evolve the soccer scene within Michigan. Not due to secret training methodologies or affiliations but through a common understanding. We think the most important component however is the kids and that they are the main focus of all our youth soccer efforts. In the end if they are put as the priority in all of this we will parent better, coach better, run our organizations better all for their benefit resulting in their absolute love for the game. And those who have real success with the sport are those who have that undying passion for the game, not because their parents want them to get scholarships, or because they are the fastest kid at U8. Let’s work together and not create scholarship robotic soccer monsters, lets create a postive community for them to thrive and develop as great people and great players.
Focused primarily on the Michigan Soccer Scene discussing topics from rec, club, high school, and college levels our plan is for this to be a great place to inquire, discover, share and learn about and from the Michigan Soccer Scene. The landscape in youth soccer continues to change and evolve as more and more folks with ability, talent, and knowledge contribute to the sport making it a very exciting time and this will be a great place to share these things.
When I was a kid playing premiere level soccer didn’t warrent a coach with an accent, we had a coach who was more familiar with touch downs than touch lines. Nowadays (man there is nothing that ages you like starting a sentence with that phrase) U5 and U6 rec kids might have a licensed club coach providing them with fantastic training, or maybe just Timmy’s dad lol
Welcome to stepuptotheball.com! A place to share and discuss youth soccer from the good, bad, and ugly.
The name of the site is based on a phrase my favorite coach hollered constantly with his 5’3 stature and his thick Cameroonian accent the man truly made a mark in the one year he coached me. So please come in and “Step up to de ball!” with us to discuss the best youth sport in the world.