Totally Soccer http://www.totallysoccer.com Easier, Cheaper, Faster Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:16:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 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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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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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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How to Be a Team Leader in Soccer http://www.totallysoccer.com/soccer-blog/how-to-be-a-team-leader-in-soccer/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-to-be-a-team-leader-in-soccer http://www.totallysoccer.com/soccer-blog/how-to-be-a-team-leader-in-soccer/#comments Thu, 20 Mar 2014 00:21:22 +0000 http://www.totallysoccer.com/?p=3043 Every team needs a leader, and having such a person on your team can often make the difference late in a game.  Remember when Landon Donovan helped the United States Men’s National team qualify from their 2010 World Cup group with a late game-winning goal against Algeria?  That was the […]

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Landon Donovan – a true leader! – (Photo: Wallstcheatsheet.com)

Every team needs a leader, and having such a person on your team can often make the difference late in a game.  Remember when Landon Donovan helped the United States Men’s National team qualify from their 2010 World Cup group with a late game-winning goal against Algeria?  That was the mark of a leader!  Never giving up, driving the team forward, and ultimately doing the necessary work to become the hero on the day is what separates the average squad player and the heroic leader of the team.  So how can you elevate your game into one of these inspired performers?

It begins with leading by example.  Never boast or talk the big game about what you can do.  Instead, show it on the field with your performances.  Make that defining run late in the game that leads to the big goal.  Be the person that lifts your teammates by encouraging them to keep their heads up and keep fighting.  The leader never shows disappointment or gives up.  Always be willing to take the team to the next level.

The more passion and intensity that you bring to every match will soon be noticed by your teammates who will start looking for you for direction, especially late in close matches.  This is the time when leaders are born and make an impact.  Obviously something that you should work on is your overall fitness and stamina.  While everyone else grows fatigued and tired, you need to be the person still going strong and ready to battle.  If you are simply worn out after a grueling match, you will certainly not be able to lead the squad in this time.

Another thing to keep in mind is to always maintain a positive outlook.  Your team may be losing 2 or 3 nil, but the leader certainly won’t be giving up.  In fact, you will need to step up and lead the great comeback!  Certainly the leader will be irked when a teammate makes a mistake, and confronting them about it is OK, but be careful not to overdo it.  Let your fellow player know what they did wrong and then drop the subject entirely.  If you let one error bother you for an entire match and cannot let it go, that error will probably cost you the game.  Remember, you want to help your teammates perform at their best level.  In fact, you should be there patting that teammate on the back and reassuring them if a mistake is made!

Lastly, to be a true team leader, you must be one of the most skilled and hard working players on the team.  While you may not have the best shot or run the fastest, you will certainly need to be the person that works the hardest in practice and spends the most time training.  It’s not about being the best player on the team or even in the world.  It’s about being the best soccer player that you can possibly be!  So if you really want to be a leader for your soccer team, make sure to practice hard, get fit, start making impact plays, and bring and endless positive energy to your team!  People will start following you once you make these strides forward!

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Who Will Star at the World Cup and Earn the Golden Ball? http://www.totallysoccer.com/soccer-blog/who-will-star-at-the-world-cup-and-earn-the-golden-boot/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=who-will-star-at-the-world-cup-and-earn-the-golden-boot http://www.totallysoccer.com/soccer-blog/who-will-star-at-the-world-cup-and-earn-the-golden-boot/#comments Tue, 18 Mar 2014 01:19:17 +0000 http://www.totallysoccer.com/?p=3039 At every World Cup of soccer there is always that one incredible player who hits a hot streak of form and steals the show.  At South Africa 2010 it was Diego Forlan, whose long range blasts and overall command of the game was simply astounding.  4 years earlier at Germany […]

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Suarez looks hungry...for success!

At every World Cup of soccer there is always that one incredible player who hits a hot streak of form and steals the show.  At South Africa 2010 it was Diego Forlan, whose long range blasts and overall command of the game was simply astounding.  4 years earlier at Germany 2006 it was Zinedine Zidane who used maturity and great vision to help lead France all the way to the Final!  With so many great stars present at this upcoming Brazil 2014 World Cup, who looks most likely to become the hero for their country?

Predicting who will shine at a World Cup is all about seeing who hits top form as the domestic clubs seasons wind down in the coming months.  Two competitions to pay especially close attention to are the Europa League and the UEFA Champions League.  By April and May these competitions are in their latter stages and the matches bring about a high intensity similar to that of the World Cup.

In 2010, Forlan scored several crucial goals for Atletico Madrid against Liverpool and Fulham to win the Europa League cup for his club.  It was a marvelous display of individual talent!  One month later he was making magic at the World Cup!  So who should we expect to shine in Brazil?

Well there are several contenders, namely Lionel Messi, Neymar, Luis Suarez, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Diego Costa.  Each player has that sensational world-class quality and has had remarkable seasons.  Goals galore have come about when these guys take on weaker sides, and the all-important moment of brilliance have often helped their teams win the biggest of games.  Ronaldo, Messi, Costa, and Neymar are all involved in the latter stages of the Champions League while Suarez has helped to fire Liverpool right back into the title race of the English Premier League.  Therefore, each of these players has big moments in which to shine coming up.

Suarez makes for an incredible story considering he leads the EPL with goals scored with 25 despite a 6-week ban to start the season.  In my mind he looks the most likely candidate to take over this World Cup and earn the Golden Ball (best player) or the Golden Boot (for most goals scored).  Uruguay has a powerful striker force led by Suarez, Edinson Cavani, and Forlan.  But he is the best of the lot and always looks “hungry”…for goals of course… Additionally, their team will be one of the South American “home” teams that are expected to do quite well at the tournament.

Such a home advantage should also work wonders for Messi and Neymar, whose strong seasons have largely flown under the radar due to Barcelona’s La Liga struggles in Spain.

Of course Ronaldo and Costa will have an opportunity to do well, but I suspect that their European international teams may not succeed across the Atlantic Ocean.  However, since Portuguese is Brazil’s national language, I could be mistaken in Ronaldo’s case…

All in all, I think this will be the World Cup for Suarez to personally shine.  He looks deadly every time he touches the ball, and he has the speed, strength, and instincts of a pure goal-scorer!  But one thing to take note of in recent World Cup history, the last 4 Golden Ball winners have failed to hoist the cup!  While Suarez does his mightiest, something tells me that the hosts, Brazil, should seal the deal!

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