Totally Soccer http://www.totallysoccer.com Easier, Cheaper, Faster Wed, 23 Apr 2014 18:12:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 Liverpool vs. Chelsea Could Very Well Decide the EPL Title http://www.totallysoccer.com/soccer-blog/liverpool-vs-chelsea-could-very-well-decide-the-epl-title/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=liverpool-vs-chelsea-could-very-well-decide-the-epl-title http://www.totallysoccer.com/soccer-blog/liverpool-vs-chelsea-could-very-well-decide-the-epl-title/#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 18:12:19 +0000 http://www.totallysoccer.com/?p=3073 This Sunday will bring about another enthralling encounter in the English Premier League between two title candidates, Liverpool and Chelsea.  Liverpool has come from out of nowhere to become the favorites to win the EPL Championship after a run of 10 straight wins.  Meanwhile, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho saw his […]

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Anfield, the home of Liverpool FC – (Photo: Commons.wikimedia.org)

This Sunday will bring about another enthralling encounter in the English Premier League between two title candidates, Liverpool and Chelsea.  Liverpool has come from out of nowhere to become the favorites to win the EPL Championship after a run of 10 straight wins.  Meanwhile, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho saw his own prestigious streak of 77 straight unbeaten home Premiership games at Stamford Bridge come to an end last weekend when his side shockingly fell to Sunderland.  Sunday’s match between the pair could be the final showdown to decide the title!

To be played at Anfield, Chelsea will certainly have a tough time going for the win.  Liverpool recently beat fellow contenders Manchester City 3-2 here and has also thrashed the likes of Everton, Arsenal, and Tottenham at their prestigious home grounds.  Luis Suarez is arguably the world’s best player at the moment and Steven Gerrard looks poised to finally earn himself a Premier League title to cap off his startling career!

Now 25 years removed from one of soccer’s greatest tragedies, Liverpool could earn a title that would be immensely special for their fans!  Back in 1989, 96 Liverpool supporters were crushed to death in the Hillsborough incident where too many fans were let into a standing-room only pen behind the team’s goal.  One of the most gruesome and miserable of all sporting tragedies, Hillsborough has long been remembered by Liverpool and its supporters.  With the anniversary occurring just over a week ago, the team looks passionate and ready to claim their first title since 1990!

But Chelsea will certainly be eyeing a victory here as well.  Their slim title hopes are fading fast and Mourinho’s side will desperately need to win in order to have any chance at winning the race.  While they boast a world-class squad featuring Frank Lampard, Eden Hazard, Oscar, and David Luiz, they have certainly struggled away from home.  At Anfield, Chelsea’s resolve will definitely be tested.  Another challenge for the visiting club will be that they absolutely must play to attack.  In visits to other top sides this season the team has adopted a “park the bus” mentality to secure draws against Manchester United and Arsenal, but they unfortunately do not have this luxury being 5 points off the chase!

What it all means is that we should expect an enthralling match where both sides will be looking to attack and score.  Remember, Man City is lurking close behind in the title race and have a game in hand.  3 points are vital at this point of the season for both teams.  I expect the winner of this match to go on to lift the trophy, and my money will be on Liverpool.

This team has battled all the odds and has suffered for 5 years of relative struggle.  Their form in 2014 has been tremendous, and I think under the leadership of Gerrard and with the sheer talent of Suarez, Liverpool is poised to assert their strengths and claim the Premiership title.  Who would have thought, after all the big money transfers by their rivals, and all the early season struggles, that right now in late April, Liverpool are favorites for the ultimate glory in British football?

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How to Make Your Soccer Team a Group of Impact Players http://www.totallysoccer.com/soccer-blog/how-to-make-your-soccer-team-a-group-of-impact-players/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-to-make-your-soccer-team-a-group-of-impact-players http://www.totallysoccer.com/soccer-blog/how-to-make-your-soccer-team-a-group-of-impact-players/#comments Mon, 21 Apr 2014 17:15:58 +0000 http://www.totallysoccer.com/?p=3070 One of the most important qualities of a soccer player is their ability to make an impact.  Sure passing backwards can help you keep possession, but you want players that know how to drive the ball forward successfully and create goal-scoring chances.  These are the soccer players that grow up […]

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A future crop of impact soccer players! – (Photo: Mott.org)

One of the most important qualities of a soccer player is their ability to make an impact.  Sure passing backwards can help you keep possession, but you want players that know how to drive the ball forward successfully and create goal-scoring chances.  These are the soccer players that grow up to earn college scholarships and become professionals, and they are by far the most influential players in the game.  So how can you teach your crop of youth soccer players to go out and make an impact every time they get the ball at their feet?

The first thing you need to profess to your players is to build up stamina.  Impact players often do their best work when everyone else is tired and sluggish.  Energized and ready to attack, the playmaker bursts onto the ball and blazes 60 yards down the field before setting up their striker with a perfect pass to score.  Your players need to have the energy to make those powerful runs, and good stamina and speed is key.  Perhaps you don’t want to fill your soccer practices with conditioning exercises, but do encourage jogging and overall fitness improvements to your team for this very reason.

Another thing to profess to the kids is to always look up and have an eye for the incisive pass or run.  Youngsters tend to struggle with passing because they keep their eyes trained to the ground and on the ball.  Learning to look up requires great confidence in your foot skills and can be a great challenge at the youth soccer level.  Nevertheless, soccer is a team game and you need to keep an eye out for teammates if you are to find any success in the sport.  Therefore, make sure to encourage the players to look up when on the ball.

Off the ball, your players need to be finding space and getting open.  Natural impact players seem to develop a 6th sense for finding space but you had better believe that this skill doesn’t grow by chance.  The best playmakers work hard to get open for their teammates and are well rewarded with passes to them.  Naturally this constant running can be exhausting but remember all that talk about building stamina?  You need the consistent energy to make lots of plays!

Lastly, for your youth soccer team to become a crop of impact players, you need to keep a positive mindset flowing throughout the team.  Positivity is the key recipe for success in soccer and can often be the vital difference maker in a breakaway sprint down the field.  Players that are afraid or unsure of themselves will stem the momentum and pass backwards when they could have easily continued their burst forward.  Meanwhile the true playmaker will attack with relentless energy and create that goal.  Help your players find that “killer instinct” needed to create goal-scoring chances and watch them find success.

Soccer is certainly not an easy sport to master because there is so much intricacy within the seemingly simple game of kicking around the ball.  But the best impact players are the ones who understand the subtle nuances and can truly master the ball.  With endless energy, a forward thinking mentality, and the awareness to look up for good passes, such players are a coach’s dream.  But now that you know what your players need, start teaching the essentials and get your impact players scoring goals in the games ahead!

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EPL Relegation Battle Going to Be a Thrill, Like Always http://www.totallysoccer.com/soccer-blog/epl-relegation-battle-going-to-be-a-thrill-like-always/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=epl-relegation-battle-going-to-be-a-thrill-like-always http://www.totallysoccer.com/soccer-blog/epl-relegation-battle-going-to-be-a-thrill-like-always/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:16:15 +0000 http://www.totallysoccer.com/?p=3067 For life at the bottom of the English Premier League, the final few weeks can be a thrilling period of nervy matches, exciting victories, hard-fought draws, emotional bursts of relief, or the ultimate sinking of despair.  Welcome to the annual relegation battle.  What makes European soccer leagues so enthralling is […]

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Sunderland fans have probably accepted the inevitable drop by now – (Photo: Thecurrent.org)

For life at the bottom of the English Premier League, the final few weeks can be a thrilling period of nervy matches, exciting victories, hard-fought draws, emotional bursts of relief, or the ultimate sinking of despair.  Welcome to the annual relegation battle.  What makes European soccer leagues so enthralling is the prospect of the bottom three clubs getting sent down to the lower leagues.  Instead of tanking the season in order to gain a top draft pick, these teams are scraping for survival.  The financial ramifications of relegation can be brutal while survival can ensure the opportunity to buy top quality transfer targets and maintain team pride.

This year is no different than any other.  While Sunderland remain well off the pace with just 25 points and are a near certainty to drop, the other two clubs currently in the drop zone, Cardiff City and Fulham, could very well fight their way out.  Aston Villa, Norwich City, Swansea City, and West Bromwich are just a handful of points ahead and a few big wins or big losses by the right teams could change the entire landscape of the EPL’s bottom three!

So who of these teams looks most likely to stay afloat?  This is probably the most inexact science in all of pro sports.  Each of these teams have been largely struggling this year (there’s a reason why they are at the bottom!) and will be against the odds in most of their matches coming up.

We can look at recent form to get a gauge of what may happen.  Fulham has won 2 games in a row while West Brom hasn’t lost in 3 games.  Meanwhile clubs like Aston Villa, Norwich, and Swansea City are slumping with recent runs of losses.  While such poor form suggests they may be in serious trouble, we all know how a single game can change anything.  A fluke red card, penalty, or miraculous stoppage time goal can completely turn the relegation race on its heels.

Another important thing to look at is the schedules for these teams.  West Brom may be in big trouble with upcoming matches against Arsenal and Manchester City (both away).  Those two teams are involved in the Championship race and the fight for fourth so they will surely be pressing hard for victories.  While still technically safe, West Brom will surely need the points against Sunderland and Stoke City.

Aston Villa could be in trouble as well.  Having now lost 4 straight games they are right in the thick of the relegation battle.  With a trip to fellow battlers Swansea ahead, Villa will have to finish the season away to both Man City and Tottenham.  Things could get awfully sticky if they need a result come May.

But the most enjoyable matches are the ones between the sides struggling to stay up top.  Fixtures like Swansea vs. Aston Villa, Swansea vs. Sunderland, and Cardiff City vs. Sunderland will take on an extremely tense feel.  But as the dust settles on the 2013-2014 EPL season, there will surely be a group of thrilled teams that have won just enough to ensure survival as well as scores of heartbroken fans bemoaning what could have been if just a few close games had gone their way.  Expect a wonderful relegation battle to close out the season, just like every other year!

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How to Select a Soccer Team Through Tryouts http://www.totallysoccer.com/soccer-blog/how-to-select-a-soccer-team-through-tryouts/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-to-select-a-soccer-team-through-tryouts http://www.totallysoccer.com/soccer-blog/how-to-select-a-soccer-team-through-tryouts/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 21:40:52 +0000 http://www.totallysoccer.com/?p=3064 For young soccer players, one of the toughest things to experience is the tryout.  Yes, you want to just relax and play to the best of your abilities, but the pressures surrounding getting chosen or not can make these tryouts a very stressful event.  For soccer coaches the process can […]

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Tryouts can be hard for everyone! – (Photo: Transylvaniasoccer.com)

For young soccer players, one of the toughest things to experience is the tryout.  Yes, you want to just relax and play to the best of your abilities, but the pressures surrounding getting chosen or not can make these tryouts a very stressful event.  For soccer coaches the process can be just as hard.  You want to pick the best team, but you know that anyone not chosen will be heartbroken and disappointed.  You also have to deal with issues regarding players who made it last year or knowing the parents or kids of your team.  Many school teachers/coaches have to deal with rejecting a student from their class for the soccer team!  How can you make the best decision for the team?

First off you need to cast aside any potential “politics” and simply focus on the players and what they can do with a soccer ball at their feet.  Someone’s dad may be your friend.  Someone may be your favorite student, and someone else might be the funnest, nicest guy in the world.  But you need to focus on their skills and whether they can help your team.

Another thing to consider is to focus on selecting the most talented group of players that you want for the team.  Don’t get caught up in forming a starting lineup or thinking about which player may fit the bill best as a defender versus the third best striker.  Simply go with the best players that come to play on the tryout day.  Once you have a strong group of players, you can move them about positions to find where they fit the best.  Also, with injuries, player development, and the simple fact that a tryout just captures a fraction of a player’s overall talent level, you won’t necessarily know how your team will best click until several weeks down the road. Don’t have pre-planned ideas set in stone.

Another thing you may have to consider is the players that have already been on the team from the previous year.  While you know these players best from already training with them for a full season, you must also assess how they perform at a tryout.  Some players improve, some get worse.  You need to be able to step away from your feelings and simply pick the top players.  Whether or not someone was a fun player on the team before shouldn’t give them a free ride to the team each and every year.  Remember that even top professional soccer clubs experience some player turnover every year.

Lastly, be firm in your assessments of the players.  There will always be a case of someone feeling disappointed because they got too nervous or didn’t put on their best display at the tryout.  That is their problem, not yours.  Remember, a tryout captures how a player performs under intense scrutiny and pressure.  Players who fold during a tryout probably won’t hold their nerve in a penalty shootout either!

At the end of the day, you just need to select the players you feel most comfortable with that will give the squad every opportunity to win.  For every player cut, there is another excited person ready to give it all this season!  Get through this process and get started coaching your new team!

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5 Ways to Make Youth Soccer Fun http://www.totallysoccer.com/soccer-blog/5-ways-to-make-youth-soccer-fun/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=5-ways-to-make-youth-soccer-fun http://www.totallysoccer.com/soccer-blog/5-ways-to-make-youth-soccer-fun/#comments Wed, 09 Apr 2014 18:50:07 +0000 http://www.totallysoccer.com/?p=3061 When it comes to coaching youth soccer, there really needs to be just one major concern taken care of:  the game must be fun for the players!  It doesn’t matter whether they win or lose.  Sure, you still want to teach the team in the best manner possible and help […]

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Make soccer fun! – (Photo: Activerain.com)

When it comes to coaching youth soccer, there really needs to be just one major concern taken care of:  the game must be fun for the players!  It doesn’t matter whether they win or lose.  Sure, you still want to teach the team in the best manner possible and help them develop into potential key players at the higher level, but you really need to ensure that everyone is having a good time in the game, or else they’ll walk away and never again play the sport!  So with that in mind, here are 5 ways in which you can make the sport of soccer fun for your team:

1.  Keep a positive energy – This is the single most important thing.  Don’t get down on the players when the mess up, because as inevitably happens throughout any youth soccer match, mistakes will be made!  If you start yelling at players or making a fuss over a missed pass or shot, the game has lost all its elements of fun.  Players will be afraid, nervous, and will fail to live up to your ridiculous expectations.  Relax, put a smile on your face, and simply heap praise upon the kids when they do things correctly!

2.  Make practice an enjoyable experience – soccer practice doesn’t have to be about endless conditioning and boring drills.  Make it a cool and fun experience!  Small-sided games are a great way to give players a competitive feel of the game and simply enjoy playing soccer.  Having games with a goal in mind and having players work together will make practice fun.  Also, don’t shy away from shooting drills and other entertaining drills that get players in front of goal!

3.  Have a fun off-the-field experience – Maybe take the kids out for ice cream, or set up a barbeque or party day to get the players off the field and socializing.  When it’s all work and no play, no one has fun, and the team will suffer.  Another great idea is to get the players over to a high school or college game so they can watch people play at the higher levels.  Helping the players learn and see what soccer is all about will bring the team together, inspire the players, and simply make a fun memory!

4.  Get in the action – One thing about fun is that you, the coach, need to be enjoying the game as well!  Instead of standing morosely on the sidelines, remembering the glory days of your former soccer career, get on the field and play with the kids.  Obviously you will need to hold back and refrain from playing too dominant on a group of little kids, but you’ll certainly enjoy the experience of playing, and this will spread out to the team, making everyone a happy, fun group.

5.  Treat everyone equally and fairly – Frustration often mounts within a soccer team when certain players get preferential treatment over others.  Make sure that everyone on your team is an equal, even your son or daughter.   This can be especially problematic when it comes to issues of playing time.  Give everyone a fair shot, make them feel like part of a real “team”, and all the players will start having a lot more fun!

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Clint Dempsey Starting to Show Signs of Life, Former Self http://www.totallysoccer.com/soccer-blog/clint-dempsey-starting-to-show-signs-of-life-former-self/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=clint-dempsey-starting-to-show-signs-of-life-former-self http://www.totallysoccer.com/soccer-blog/clint-dempsey-starting-to-show-signs-of-life-former-self/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 00:03:47 +0000 http://www.totallysoccer.com/?p=3058 Ever since Clint Dempsey’s famous move back to the MLS last summer, fans have been largely disappointed by his overall drop in form.  Long gone seemed his days of glory, when he could be counted on to score a tremendous goal or make an impact play.  Even a loan move […]

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It’s about time, Clint! – (Photo: Sportspressnw.com)

Ever since Clint Dempsey’s famous move back to the MLS last summer, fans have been largely disappointed by his overall drop in form.  Long gone seemed his days of glory, when he could be counted on to score a tremendous goal or make an impact play.  Even a loan move back to Fulham earlier this year proved incapable of reawakening the tremendous talent that has been in hibernation.  But in last weekend’s 4-4 draw between Seattle Sounders and the Portland Timbers, the Dempsey of old was back in action, netting a hat trick and reminding America that he is surely still our top player.

Each of his goals displayed some of the top qualities that make Dempsey so dangerous.  On his first he found good space in front of the goal and placed a smart and calm effort into the net.  But it was late in the game with his Sounders trailing 4-2 where Dempsey really shined on Saturday.  For the player’s second goal, Clint received a heavily weighted ball in the opponent’s penalty area.  With a defender and goalie closing in and with his balance shifting, Dempsey was able to bring the ball down and power it in past the keeper.  It wasn’t anything beautiful, but this remarkable piece of skill showed off the fighter that lies within the game of Clint Dempsey!

For the dramatic equalizer, Clint Dempsey showed off his cool and calmly converted a penalty, displaying that vital element of leadership.  This will likely be his most valuable asset in the summer for the American National team in their exploits in Brazil at the 2014 World Cup.

The hat trick put Dempsey on top of the MLS goals scored list, a position where many expect him to be at the season’s end.  Such an output of production is hopefully what will catapult the player into hitting a hot streak of form in time for the World Cup.  If America is going to qualify out of their group featuring Ghana, Portugal, and Germany, such play will be absolutely required from some of our veteran leaders.  With fight, strength, and calmness in front of goal, Clint Dempsey resembles his old self again and will hopefully be a top player in Brazil!

But for the long term, this reawakened player should surely be the hero that the Sounders expected when they spent so much money in order to lure him back to the United States last summer.  If this match is any hint of what is to come, I am expecting big things for the rest of 2014.

Rivalry matches can often bring about the best in players and push a team forward to success in a high intensity sort of match.  That is exactly what just happened for Dempsey and his Sounders.  Able to dig deep and overcome a 2-goal deficit in the last 10 minutes of their match against the rival Portland Timbers should surely help inspire a first step in revitalizing the season for both the club and player!  Let’s see if Clint Dempsey can now get on a hot run of form!

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PSG Earn First Major UEFA Champions League Victory against a Contender http://www.totallysoccer.com/soccer-blog/psg-earn-first-major-uefa-champions-league-victory-against-a-contender/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=psg-earn-first-major-uefa-champions-league-victory-against-a-contender http://www.totallysoccer.com/soccer-blog/psg-earn-first-major-uefa-champions-league-victory-against-a-contender/#comments Wed, 02 Apr 2014 21:43:11 +0000 http://www.totallysoccer.com/?p=3055 The new fad in European soccer is for billionaire investors to inject their personal funds into constructing a top team.  The most recent of these “projects” has taken place in Paris, where PSG came under the ownership of the Qatar Investment Authority in 2011.  Since then, the French team has […]

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PSG earned their first major victory in their rich new era! – (Photo: O-posts.net)

The new fad in European soccer is for billionaire investors to inject their personal funds into constructing a top team.  The most recent of these “projects” has taken place in Paris, where PSG came under the ownership of the Qatar Investment Authority in 2011.  Since then, the French team has amassed much of the top players from around the world, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani, Javier Pastore, Thiago Motta, Thiago Silva, and Ezequiel Lavezzi.  Even David Beckham stopped by for several months before retiring last season!  But while such investment has resulted in an incredibly talented soccer squad, it wasn’t until tonight that PSG earned their first marquee victory over a Champions League contender!

No matter how special the players on a team are, their ability to perform in and win the biggest matches in European soccer is what typically defines their success!  When a fresh team has to qualify for the Champion League one year, and then begin actually playing in it a second, it can take a while for the players to become well acquainted with the intensity and passion in the matches.  Fellow super club Manchester City is still learning how to stand on their own two feet in this competition!

Last season, PSG had an easy stroll to the quarterfinals after dispatching with Valencia.  But then came their first major test:  Barcelona.  Although the French side handled the Spaniards with a strong set of matches, the score remained tied and Barcelona progressed on the away goals rule.  It was heartbreak for PSG and revealed that they had still yet to earn a big victory in Europe.

Fast forward to this year and PSG are now on the brink of the Champions League semifinals after tearing apart British powerhouse Chelsea, 3-1.  It is actually a very fitting rise to prominence for the French moneybags.  In fact, Chelsea was the beneficiary of a large investment by owner Roman Abromovich back in 2003.  With that money, the club rose to power and has since earned countless trophies over the last decade, including a famous Champions League trophy in 2012.  For one new cash-happy squad to defeat another is most fitting in this era of big time investors into the realm of pro soccer!

But PSG’s work is just halfway completed.  Beating Chelsea away from their home of Stamford Bridge isn’t that big of a deal.  Even Crystal Palace and Aston Villa have managed the feat in the last month!  But playing in the Blues’ stadium is a massive challenge for anyone.  The last team to come away from Stamford Bridge with a win was FC Basel, who earned a 2-1 victory in September.  Since then, no one has taken control of this ground; not Arsenal, not Manchester United, not Manchester City, not Liverpool.  No one!

Fortunately, PSG must only escape from Stamford Bridge with a slim margin of defeat in order to progress.  Javier Pastore’s wonder goal in stoppage time during the first leg has given France’s prized club a 2-goal advantage heading to London.  For me, I think this is enough for the side to progress, especially given their top quality players and veteran leadership.  PSG is ready to introduce themselves to the Champions League with a famous victory, and it will mark a new shift of soccer  dominance towards the French capital!

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Balancing Fun with Getting Down to Business as a Soccer Coach http://www.totallysoccer.com/soccer-blog/balancing-fun-with-getting-down-to-business-as-a-soccer-coach/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=balancing-fun-with-getting-down-to-business-as-a-soccer-coach http://www.totallysoccer.com/soccer-blog/balancing-fun-with-getting-down-to-business-as-a-soccer-coach/#comments Mon, 31 Mar 2014 18:35:40 +0000 http://www.totallysoccer.com/?p=3052 Coaching at the youth level can be a very rewarding experience.  Organizing a team of young soccer players can help you learn a ton about the game, and a ton about young children as well.  Most of all, it can be a lot of fun!  But any leadership role comes […]

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What kind of coach will you be? – (Photo: Louisvillefamilyfun.net)

Coaching at the youth level can be a very rewarding experience.  Organizing a team of young soccer players can help you learn a ton about the game, and a ton about young children as well.  Most of all, it can be a lot of fun!  But any leadership role comes with the delicate balancing act of maintaining a fun, positive vibe within the team, as well as getting work done and actually helping these kids develop as soccer players.  This second aspect to coaching happens to often be a lot less fun.  It’s more about running, conditioning, yelling for them to try harder, and trying to contain your anger and frustration when someone makes a blunder of a play.  Anyone who watches professional soccer can see the emotions boiling over a coach during any match when a call doesn’t go their way or their team isn’t performing.  So how can you keep the soccer team fun during all of this?

Well, at the youth soccer level, you don’t really have to worry about winning so much.  Remember, professional coaches may have their jobs on the line.  The same can be said of coaches in high school or premier club teams that are looking to produce results.  But for a U-8 recreational team, winning should actually be the last thing on your mind.

Youth soccer is about bringing a child warmly into the all the wonderful things that is this game!  On the fun vs. business barometer, you definitely need to be more focused on the fun side of things.  You can gauge the interest level of kids pretty easily if they aren’t entertained.  While you certainly will want to have good drills at practice, if kids are getting bored and ancy it will be tough going for the duration of practices.  Sometimes just letting a team scrimmage unfold can be the most fun training for young kids because they feel like they are actually playing the game.  Small-sided games can also be very beneficial to a kid’s development and can get them tons of touches.  Perhaps even divide the entire team into groups of 3 or 4 and have a mini intra-squad tournament (Just remember to separate the best players to make it as even as possible!).

But what really is most important about this balancing act is your attitude.  If you can make a routine soccer drill fun and exciting with all your energy, your players may just find themselves enjoying it to the max!  If you feel a certain thing is boring, the kids will look up to you and respond in the same way.  Therefore, keep up the positive energy with whatever drills you create for your training sessions.  Also, keep this happy vibe with the team throughout the games.  Whether or not the team is winning or losing, your confident and positive demeanor will become the foundation for the kids to fight hard and win some games!  Make being a part of your soccer team both fun and rewarding in the skills department!  You can certainly achieve both with a positive attitude!

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Blues Successfully Complete Takeover of Manchester http://www.totallysoccer.com/soccer-blog/blues-successfully-complete-takeover-of-manchester/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=blues-successfully-complete-takeover-of-manchester http://www.totallysoccer.com/soccer-blog/blues-successfully-complete-takeover-of-manchester/#comments Wed, 26 Mar 2014 18:09:22 +0000 http://www.totallysoccer.com/?p=3049 From the moment the first whistle blew at Old Trafford yesterday, the siege was on.  The Blues of Manchester City have suffered for 30-odd years as the lesser club in Manchester, while the Red Devils of Manchester United have piled on trophy after trophy and dominated the town from a […]

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mancitypride

The Blues: The pride of Manchester! – (Photo: Destructoid.com)

From the moment the first whistle blew at Old Trafford yesterday, the siege was on.  The Blues of Manchester City have suffered for 30-odd years as the lesser club in Manchester, while the Red Devils of Manchester United have piled on trophy after trophy and dominated the town from a footballing perspective.  And while hope was inspired by a big-money takeover of Man City roughly 5 years ago, it wasn’t until yesterday that the takeover of Manchester was complete.

Yes, Manchester City has beaten United several times in the last few years (in fact, they have now won 5 of the last 6 Manchester Derbies!), but they way they did it most recently was the most convincing, and the current state of United’s team and hopes leaves them floundering like a fish out of water.  For the first time in over a decade, United faces the real possibility of a season without Champions League soccer next year, and that will be the final nail in the coffin.

Meanwhile, Manchester City looks to be in serious contention for the Premier League title.  They play with a ruthlessness and a firm stability that can take on any squad.  While they suffered a slump several weeks ago that cost them shots at the Champions League and the FA Cup, with their sights set on the title, they should be considered the frontrunners.

What I find most incredible about the failures of Manchester United is that it cannot really fall upon the players or the club’s ability to recruit top talent.  The frontline of Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney should be the world’s best.  The recent acquisitions of Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata saw world class midfielders arrive to the club.  And yet, they stutter time and time again and have lost far too many games (6) at their fabled home of Old Trafford this season!  At this point, the blame can only be thrown upon their new manager David Moyes.  With many of the same players, former club legend Sir Alex Ferguson was able to hoist the Premier League crown one last time in 2013, but now that he is gone, fans and the team itself seem lost.

At the same time, crosstown rivals City have amassed one of the world’s strongest clubs, and they play inspired and passionate soccer.  Their manager, Manuel Pellegrini, has seen it all, and has coached other major clubs like Real Madrid.  Perhaps Moyes is just a tad inexperienced when it comes to managing a major club.

But now that City has won the Manchester Derby 3 times in a row, I think it’s quite simple to say that the Blues have taken control of the town.  United needs to dig in deep and start focusing on next year, though their efforts in the transfer market could be hampered by a lack of Champions League play!  Unless they pull off a miraculous glory in that competition this year (which is looking extremely unlikely), United could soon delve into the depths of despair that Liverpool found themselves in for roughly 5 years…Who could have ever thought?

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How to Handle a Soccer Referee in a Youth Match http://www.totallysoccer.com/soccer-blog/how-to-handle-a-soccer-referee-in-a-youth-match/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-to-handle-a-soccer-referee-in-a-youth-match http://www.totallysoccer.com/soccer-blog/how-to-handle-a-soccer-referee-in-a-youth-match/#comments Mon, 24 Mar 2014 17:28:40 +0000 http://www.totallysoccer.com/?p=3046 Oh, those pesky referees!  You never know what kind of nonsense they might pull next.  One sliding tackle is met with a strict yellow card and another is completely let go without even a whistle!  Linesmen often get important offside decisions wrong, and they may even punish a player through […]

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meanref

The referee! Villain of many a lost soccer game – (Photo: En.wikipedia.org)

Oh, those pesky referees!  You never know what kind of nonsense they might pull next.  One sliding tackle is met with a strict yellow card and another is completely let go without even a whistle!  Linesmen often get important offside decisions wrong, and they may even punish a player through mistaken identity.  Such was the case in a professional English Premier League match this weekend, where Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs was wrongly sent off for a handball committed by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain!  It is as though the sport thrives off of controversial moments like these and the madness that often occurs in the heat of an intense game!  As a soccer player, you need to know how to correctly deal with a referee.

First off, don’t beg for unnecessary fouls.  A soccer ref tries to come into any match as an impartial judge.  He or she wants to simply make the right calls and help the game go as smoothly as possible.  When a player immediately starts the game off by disagreeing with their judgment, they are looking for trouble.  While we like to believe that referees are as impartial and honest as any top-of-the-line computer, they are not!  They are living, breathing, and conniving people just like you or me.  So when you start pestering them about some stupid foul that wasn’t called, they will get annoyed, and there’s a good bet that they may start ignoring you in the future…

Think of it like “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”.  You’ll be waving your arms in disarray for the 5th time about a non-call, and then when that golden moment comes where you actually are fouled in the box with a minute to go and desperately seeking a game-tying goal, and the ref ignores you once again, and then you go running up to them screaming like a banshee, and then they throw a yellow card in your face, and then the captain of the other team comes up and shoves you, and then all your teammates get in a huff with their team, and then little do you know how much precious time has ticked away, and the ref blows his whistle, and you lose.  Remember, you cannot beat a ref.  Sure, they may make a mistake that can be retroactively corrected after the game, but that won’t change the score line.

Instead, treat the referee like a human being and respect them.  You may disagree with their calls and you may want to scream at them, but it won’t help you any.  If you’re being hacked repeatedly by an opposing player, inform the referee in a mature and calm manner.  That is how you sway a referee, not by screaming and flailing arms.

Being a referee is actually a very difficult job and requires a certain steel resolve.  Even the best of them can make erroneous decisions in the heat of a major match, but one thing often remains clear.  The players that are constantly yelling at the refs and getting into a big huff are usually the ones losing.  Stop worrying about the ref and start working towards performing your best!

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