“I know a lot of younger players don’t love the game now, but it is not a game you love anymore. When I was young we played in the street, had fun, identified with great players, thought & talked nothing but football, lived for a Saturday game on telly. Now there’s too many games on TV & you see the kids now in their teams at 9 years old, & its do this, do that with their parents on the touchlines screaming at them…” Gordon Strachen
“The young player should not be at all bothered with tactics, defending or positional elements. The focus should be on learning basic techniques. It should be ball, ball and more ball.” Zico
As youth soccer coaches, we think we know why our children want to play football (soccer).
We all try hard to make our training sessions and matches a fun experience for everyone concerned while the more enlightened coaches make sure that they offer all children the opportunity to play football, regardless of their ability.
At it’s best youth soccer really is the ‘beautiful game’: inclusive, democratic and inspiring.
But it’s not always like that. All too often the ‘beautiful game’ is tarnished by parents shouting at their kids from the touchline, clubs preoccupied with winning leagues and cups, ‘average’ players sitting out most of the season on the bench and young players being forced to play in fixed positions.
And so, sadly, many children give up playing soccer because ‘it’s no fun anymore’.
So what’s the answer?
Maybe we should play a different game altogether……futsal