How I see the game today
How I see the game today, through the eyes of the T.D. in these unprecedented times.
When as a young lad I played and learned the game in a much different era. Line drills were prominent, not touching the ball was normal for up to 15 minutes at a time and coaches were doctoral in nature.
Now at SUSC, my philosophy has changed about the game over the years. The old way is not an appropriate way to develop our grass-root players any more or for coaches to behave. The way forward has to be game based learning, more small sided games, more touches, more goals and far more enjoyment. Of course, rondos can bring out some technical aspects in the warm up phase, organized and run by our new wave of upcoming Certified coaches and this philosophy will eventually lead to more technically skilled players being able to come up with solutions from the problem that we as coaches create for them.
Fundamentally grassroots soccer, I believe, is not about always winning games. It’s about development with players playing equal time. They all train. They ALL want to be part of a team. As coaches, it will also help us as architects of design in our sessions to guide them in a positive way with good positive feedback. At this young developmental stage, we must design for the enjoyment and learning for all players, not just the ones who can afford it! It must be inclusive to all boys and girls in our community here at the Saskatoon United Soccer Club. Yes, we have challenges, but if we work together those challenges can be overcome.
Balanced teams will be structured at this young age. As I was told by a world-renowned coach once at a conference; at the early age, “best playing with best is not always best!”
Players that play in a balanced environment learn other vital tools that they learn to adapt later in their ball skills. They will be even more successful in decision making than those that are never challenged. It is a philosophy that I see perfectly.
Remember, this for many is their first landing. It allows myself and my technical staff to see the players and what potential they have so that we best can prepare them for their journey ahead, and who possibly will be the next star to win a “European Cup “ and hold it up proudly and high for everyone that helped forge that young players pathway to the ultimate success.
In closing, I believe totally that as a club if we offer a quality program as such at an affordable price for all, our base will expand allowing greater opportunities at the top. Yes, the game has changed in Saskatoon at all the clubs. We seem to struggle at the U15/17 age groups to retain them. I feel partially that is because of the many choices available to players and parents today.
At SUSC, I have always said I would never try to stop a player leaving for what they believe are greener pastures but I do ask the parents to make sure there is a clear pathway laid by the entity for the player. Obviously because of the investment one spends, you would want that clarified.
At our club it’s to develop the player to highest of their ability and then as I recognize the player’s talents, to YES, move them into a more appropriate program for their development. We will be focusing on giving them college and university opportunities and never taking away that dream of being another Sinclair or Davies. Dreams are what we live for and we need to create a non-threatening environment for all to play and dream in.
Yours in you and your child’s best interest in Soccer.
Saskatoon United Soccer Club