Sandlot Soccer

March 18, 2008 at 5:25 pm Leave a comment

I’ve been saying this since I started coaching almost 5 years ago.

The main difference between our players and players in other countries is that we have too much organized soccer and not enough street soccer (pick up games, etc.). I try to encourage all my players to play whenever possible and to even just goof off with a ball on their own time. But I think other sports are so culturally ingrained into our kids that when they think about playing with their friends they automatically assume “not soccer”. Why? Because, as Americans, we are too organized in this sport. Our kids don’t spend enough time on their own in The Game. They think that playing soccer is training, team practice, and games with referees.

Now, I’m not knocking organized soccer by any means. But I do think we need to do more as coaches and parents to encourage our kids that the unorganized soccer matches at school and in the park (the ones where you use someone’s jacket and backpack for goal markers) are just as important as the soccer practices, training, and games that we seem to be so focused on.

If we are ever to have success in this great sport as Americans, we need to encourage the pick-up games, the juggling, and small-sided games in the backyard as much as we encourage the training, practices, summer camps, games, and tournaments that we love to participate in.

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