Tag Archives: Lionel Messi

Cultivating Love of the Game

27 Mar

It’s amazing the speed at which enjoyment of the sport can turn into a love of the game.

Evan started playing team soccer about nineteen months ago.  At that point, I didn’t know if he would enjoy it.  He enjoyed playing it in U5 and became successful quickly.

But in the past seven months he’s gone from enjoying playing the sport to having a passion for everything about soccer – the culture, the gear, playing the game on Wii and watching the matches on Television.  This morning when the television came on during breakfast he watched several minutes of Fox Soccer’s highlight show.

His favorite player: FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.  I think that comes from his shared uniform number (10), Messi’s domination on the FIFA 12 game, and probably an allegiance to a similarly sized player to him.

It’s fascinating to watch the games with him, but I would love to see it through his eyes.  I’m hoping in the next few days he can express what he sees and what it’s like for him to play and experience soccer.

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My U6 Quandary

11 Mar

Coaches in our club received a lecture at the start of the year about running up the score.

In U6.

Where we don’t keep score.

And there isn’t a referee.

In the year I coached U5 and through last fall, I never tried to restrain what our U6 players did on the field.  As long as they were not placing anyone in physical danger and were playing within the confines of the limited rules, I let them play.

So in the first five minutes after Evan had rung up half a dozen or so goals, I asked him to slow it down a little bit.  I suggested he try to set up his teammates or use a “trick move” before taking a shot.  This lasted for at least a few minutes.

When he was subbed out, the other team started moving the “score” the other direction.  And I heard their coaches trying to tell their players to pass the ball.

I feel some guilt in this situation.

I think we worry too much in our society about “hurt feelings” where there won’t be any.  The truth is that U6 games ebb and flow based on who’s playing and how interested they are.

And to some degree I have visions of this in my head, and what these kids can become if they have the space to and freedom to develop (watch #10 in red):

Who developed into this fine player who still wears number 10, but now in Red and Blue stripes.

I’ve challenged him – try to improve his ball skills and put them into use in the match, but I want to give him the freedom to use them in the game when he needs to.

Is this what’s stopping America from developing top talent in soccer? Over-sensitivity and over-thinking the rules?