MLS…MIA…Missing Leader Star!!!

It is a little disappointing that Cristiano Ronaldo was MIA after settling his important tax issues in Spain, but fortunate for the MLS.   Dax McCarty and Dom Dwyer came through late to salvage a respectable result vs. one of the most prolific and talented sides in the world.  I do still feel this was an opportunity not ‘seized.’

Losing on a penalty shootout is not a real loss. The real loss though, was the opportunity to put a little more edge in their play to signify the desire to gain a bit more respect for Major League Soccer and the individual players who are not considered at La Liga level.  Well, by and large, they are not and many of them confirmed that.  It was though, a night where one might have considered the rare opportunity to display their personal skills against some the most skillful and tactically astute players in the world.  And a few players did just that!

Some notable players:

 

Michael Bradley–  Drifted around presenting options for teammates, kept good possession, played nice triangle combinations in the low and mid thirds of the field, and sprayed the ball around well enough, but rarely if ever drove the ball forward attempting to penetrate the mid and final third.  I comment fully aware of the fact that this was not a showcase for Michael Bradley as he has and will have bigger games to up his intensity-  His performance is understandable for sure.

Sebastian Giovinco-  He is a player that should have “seized the day”, because although he has lit up the MLS with his speed of play, clever maneuvers, and great finishes,  he has never really obtained the respect from clubs considered at ‘another level”.  He gets credit for his industry on the field and showed great bursts which indicated his determination.  Respect for that!  Only, too often those dribbling runs ended in sloppy exchanges and finishing attempts.  Aside from the 30 yard screamer that just dipped wide of the left post.

Sebastian Schweinsteiger-  Among one of my personal favorites over the past several years.  He treated this like a walk in the park.  Once again, like Bradley this understandable.  He gets a pass.

David Villa-  Put forth the effort and had that one great opportunity form 8 yards out that was blocked, but most of his urgent maneuvers amounted to very little.

Tim Howard-  Once again demonstrated his tremendous skills and desire to prove his worth and he did.  He made some very solid saves on the heels of the MLS field players giving too much respect and space for the RM players to operate.  He was calm and in control even when the attackers got ‘cheeky’ with their attempts.  He came out on top in all 1 v. 1 situations.

Kelly Acosta-  One could argue that this young player was the best player on the field.  He used great speed to shake off opponents and found space for himself.  Had a consistent  urgency about his play that stood out and was quick and intense when defending.  He is a great young U.S.  player to watch.

 

Miguel Almiron-  like Acosta, the Paraguayan showed no signs of awe and frequently displayed the speed and guile to take space and solve problems in tight spaces.  Too me, he stood out as one that played with a purpose both for MLS and for himself.  Much respect!

Ignacio Piatti-  Another player who deserves kudos for his efforts to generate action on the field.  Although the Argentine did not have dramatic success, he played with the verve that claimed his right to be there.  He seemed like he had a mission, almost to say, ‘why am I coming off the bench?  That is a commendable attitude that deserves recognition.

Ultimately, it was not a bad night or a terrible result for the MLS Crew, but still a bit of an opportunity lost in some respects.  Those that played with Ambition and Focus showed themselves well.  MLS should keep climbing!

 

FOTMOB!!! Soccer APP!

FOTMOB!!!  THE BEST SOCCER APP!!!

As I mentioned in a prior blog, I love the free soccer app FotMob.  It supplies you with running scores for local, domestic, and leagues worldwide.  Some of the great features include team/player statistics, favourites, and news about transfers. Among the most significant features on this App are the statistics recorded on ball possession (a trend impacting the youth development process) and duels won in matches.  

Within the statistics categories you can satisfy your curiosity about which teams a player has been with throughout his career, the players age, height, and some of their personal performance statistics.

How can this App serve as a coaches education tool?

Well, among the team statistics category one can direct their attention to the Ball Possession and the Team Duels Won stat.  It is the Team Duels that I find to be most revealing.  Displaying both of these stats can assist in illustrating the importance of keeping the ball and challenging to win those 50/50s.  When reviewing both anecdotally they prove out how getting a significant edge in either or both will translate into better performance and positive results for the team.

There are many Soccer Apps out there, but this one is simple and provides great features!  Try it out and thanks for stopping by this site!!!

Soccer Trainers and Coaches Resources-The Best!

Over the years that I have been Training/Coaching soccer teams for various clubs and schools I, like most, have drawn ideas from an assortment of periodicals, coaching journals, and of course mentors.    We can all identify with different philosophies, styles of play, and concepts for developing players technical abilities and tactical awareness.  And as you might agree, our objective is to authentically and purposefully cover the spectrum of skills for this sport in the most complete and enjoyable way possible.

In my endeavors I have always sought out resources that assist me with conveying specific aspects of the game that I would like a team or a player to experience and gain insight into.   Many of you out there are quite familiar with and are utilizing the NSCAA Journal- great for a full range of information.  UEFA.com and the USSF also provide valuable tips and games to help  a trainer focus on specific features of play.  Of course, the Wiel Coerver methods have revolutionized the specificity with regard to technical training and ball mastery (foundational critical to all training sessions).  Those mentors and philosophies, whether they be Dutch, German, or of other origins can be discussed in another feature.

Most imporant, I would like to share my favorite journal, the Success in Soccer  publication that has now been discontinued, unfortunately.  Since then, I have counted on World Class Coaching, mentioned to me by a training colleague some years ago.  Success in Soccer (backed by the German Football Federation-DFB) provided a very clear structure along with a comprehensive range of variations/levels that always provided me with fantastic direction, certainty, and most of all, inspiration.  I continue to refer to my catalogue of journals when planning training sessions to this day!

However, since Success in Soccer is no longer producing their materials to my knowledge,  I have been relying on a very similar publication that brings the Trainer great content on line at various price points- Some for free and others escalating depending on your level of engagement.  World Class Coaching- is a Trainer’s Guide to exercises, tips,  and tactics that I unreservedly recommend.  If you would like to explore what they offer just click on the link and see what they offer.   www.worldclasscoaching.com/

Succeeding Jurgen Klinsmann as U.S. Soccer Coach?…

As U.S. Soccer looks ahead to the next phase of development the question that emerges is who is the best fit to carry on the job as U.S. National Coach when Jurgen steps aside?

Bruce Arena-  Bruce created a sense of stability and belief during his reign as coach and has since continued to hold a considerably powerful and successful position directing the L A Galaxy.  MLS Cup (2) with DC: 1996, 1997, MLS Cup (3) LA: 2011, 2012, 2014.  A lot of hardware not to mention Open Cup victories, Gold Cup Victories (2).

Dominic Kinnear–  Kinnear has a load of experience playing in Scotland, Mexico and the U.S. as a professional and has coached almost 400 games in the MLS with Houston and San Jose.  He has been a capped player during his career.  He is well respected as a coach but perhaps not the best fit?

Peter Vermes-  Has amassed approximately 120 wins with Sporting KC, played internationally, is a fiery coach and knows the American player very well.  My choice!

Ben Olsen-  Olsen is the youngest of the candidates here and might lack some of the experience the others have, but he can likely make the best connection with the youth and aid the U.S. players to play with belief in the their abilities as athletes and competitors.  As an international Olsen ranked second in games played, minutes played for the U.S. team.  He might need a few more successes in the MLS before he gets the job.

If you have any thought please comment in the comment section. Thanks for stopping by!!!

FotMob- Best Free Soccer APP!

I love the free soccer app FotMob.  It supplies you with running scores for local, domestic, and leagues worldwide.  Some of the great features include favorites, news, team/player stats, and news about transfers and the like.  There are many out there, but this one is simple and provides great features!  Try it out and thanks for stopping by this site!!!

How to cultivate Talent in your Child?

There have been many people, scholars, and researchers alike who have examined the factors that contribute to the success of an individual in business, in education, in the athletic domain, and insert your area of choice here….
Regardless of the domain where one seeks to find the most certain path, it inevitably comes down to endeavoring in the content area of your choice tirelessly and with  deep focus. In soccer it is no different!
As Daniel Coyle mentions in his extraordinary book, The Talent Code, it is that ” confluenceof many variables, that produces exceptional talent. Malcolm Gladwell in his best seller, OUTLIERS, brought forth the idea of the 10,000 hour ‘law’ or rule that emphasizes the value of consistent effort over many years, finally accumulating 10,000 hours, which will produce masters of skill and technique. Coyle mentions the wiring that takes place between the brain and the body to produce that ever growing MYELIN which hardwires and refines the CNS to move an individual toward flawless technique. He also alludes to the significance of those individuals “purposely operating on the edge of their abilities”, being stretched outside of their comfort zone, and facing challenges that sometimes create failure.  And it is through these repeated failures that people grow and improve.  Be it an athlete or musician, they solve the problems through practice and the development of  MYELIN-that hardwired memory.
Additionally, please heed the advice of others who have studied these key criteria that lead to success.  In Ashley Merryman’s book, NUTURESHOCK, she underscoreres what motivates a child.  It is authentic ‘praise for effort” not the shallow boosting of self esteem.  Allow them their little learning failures and only provide authentic praise or feedback.  Merryman cites the most detrimental phrase in learning and achievement is  ‘good job’. This is non-specific and often inauthentic.  She also makes it clear that the studies show that praising a child for being smart can have adverse effects because the child may cling to that identity and choose only safe options in an attempt to maintain that label, thus inhibiting their growth.  She indicates some research by Carol Dweck ( Quote- “Becoming is better than being”) that indicates that those praised for effort trend toward striving for achievement and seek challenges. In essence,  maintaining that growth mindset as Dweck promotes.

Furthermore, one might like to refer to the importance of children developing grit.  GRIT: The Power of Passion and Perserverance, is the title of author Angela Duckworth’s book that describes ‘a blend of passion and perseverance’ as characteristics she sees as some the most important to success.

So, if you combine the ingredients of endeavoring with purposeful technical training on a daily basis, varying  the conditions (adjusting time, space, speed, distance, etc.), include little challenges that stretch kids out of their comfort zone; which helps produce GRIT, and finally, add authentic praise/feedback for effort, not self esteem building comments, you will have a very potent formula for creating that climate to cultivate talent and success!
If you find that you would like to ‘purposefully endeavor’ and explore some these Resources, I will list them here:
-Daniel Coyle- The Talent Code (His summary of theory and practice can be found in a Youtube video)

-Malcolm Gladwell- Outliers: (10,000 hour rule and mastery.)  Also his companion book- Tipping Point

-Ashley Merryman- Nutureshock (on Parenting) also on youtube-Poptech.org
-Angela Duckworth- Grit: The Power of Passion and Perserverance -Carol Dweck- Growth mindset

Good luck! And thanks for stopping by my site…