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How to Change Soccer in the U.S.

Serenity Liessmann

Posted on January 21, 2019 14:29

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The U.S. sometimes makes ridiculous efforts to be the leading country in almost anything. We are a world leader when it comes to political and economic interests; we even are a leader when it comes to some sports. But how is it that we fall so far behind in the most popular sport in the world?

As someone who played for nearly a decade and currently is a coach, I have been around the culture of soccer for long enough to realize some of our faults when it comes to being successful in soccer. Talking with some other people who have knowledge in this field I’ve come to the conclusion that there are three key points that we should take to change soccer in America.

Firstly, funding. The price for soccer is sometimes ridiculous to join a team, whether that be a travel team or not, this is excluding costs of supplies such as cleats and shin guards. The problem with this is that it prohibits talented kids without money from playing.

We need to change it to where the funding comes down from the clubs, a well-known club that does this is Barcelona. By having the funding come down from the top it allows talented kids a chance to pursue a path that may otherwise not be available. Barcelona did this with Messi by having him go through their program and even pay for his growth deficiency treatment since he was extremely talented from a young age but was poor.

Secondly, we need to focus on nurturing the skills of children rather than focusing on winning. Coaches want to be known for their accomplishments and the only way to do that is to win. Although winning motivates people, I think we could do our kids better by focusing on teaching them fundamental skills that are also reiterated. The main focus would be physical skills, but we also need to focus on mental skill. Being able to read the game by seeing space or opportunity is just as great.

Lastly, we need to change coaching mentality. The biggest problem is coaches finding a system that works well the first or maybe even the second time and try to mold each of their teams to do that. Coaches will get stuck on the success of the last time, instead of adapting to fit the skills and needs of their teams. Players will come and go with different talents and the coaches need to be able to change their strategy to how their current team works best.

I do this with each of the soccer classes that I coach. The kids may be the same age as the class prior to them, but I adapt to the skills that are presented with each class because every group of kids is different.

Overall, changing the infrastructure of soccer through funding, skills focus, and adaptable coach mentality will help change how successful we are in soccer. Although the sport isn’t a big part of our culture, I think with this growth it will be added to our culture just like the rest of the world.

Serenity Liessmann

Posted on January 21, 2019 14:29

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