By Mike Woitalla
Johan Cruyff, speaking with Rob Draper of the UK’s Daily Mail, recounted seeing Pep Guardiola for the first time -- shortly after Cruyff had been named Barcelona coach and Guardiola was a "scrawny teenager" in Barcelona's youth team
The Barca youth coaches told Cruyff that Guardiola was “one of the best."
But over the next year, the Dutchman said he looked for Guardiola in the reserves and didn’t see him:
“So then I looked at the first youth team, and he didn't play in that team. And eventually I found him in the third youth team.
“So I said to the coaches, ‘You said he was the best one!’ And they said, ‘Yeah, but physically …’ I said, ‘Put him there (in the reserves). He will grow. Don't worry, everybody grows.’ And they said, ‘Yeah, but we will lose.’ I said, ‘If we lose, we lose. We need to create players.’ And he did very well.”
With Guardiola as playmaker, Barcelona won six La Liga titles and the European Cup.
“The people who control the ball very well, they're the most important players,” Cruyff said. “And weak, smaller players, to survive they had to have a better technique than the others. Normally everyone grows -- some a little later, some at different times, but everybody grows. A lot of things will change but the base of soccer is always technique, always should be technique.”
Now in his fourth year as Barcelona's coach, Guardiola's titles include two European Cups, three La Liga titles, a World Club Cup and the Spanish Cup -- with a team famous for 5-foot-7 stars Leo Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi.
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COACHES’ SONS. Among the 36 players called into to the U.S. under-15 boys national team camp at The Home Depot Center is Jonathan Klinsmann, son of U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Jonathan, a goalie, plays for the Irvine (Calif.) Strikers. The camp is being held under the direction of U.S. Soccer director of scouting Tony Lepore.
The sons of Jurgen Klinsmann’s two predecessors were also part of the youth national team program.
Bob Bradley’s son Michael, a starter at the 2010 World Cup who has made 62 U.S. appearances and scored 9 goals, was in the U.S. U-17 Residency Camp in 2002-04. He was a starter on the 2007 U-20 World Cup team, scoring in a round-of-16 win over Uruguay. The 24-year-old midfielder currently plays for Italian Serie A club Chievo, his fifth pro club in five countries following stints in England (Aston Villa), Germany (Borussia M’Gladbach), the Netherlands (Heerenveen) and MLS (MetroStars).
Bruce Arena’s son Kenny, a defender, played for the USA at the 2001 U-20 World Cup, where he scored in a 1-1 tie with Ukraine. He played two seasons in MLS in 2003-04 (20 games) with the MetroStars under Bob Bradley. Kenny Arena is currently assistant coach at UCLA and head coach of the Los Angeles Galaxy’s U-16 team, which he guided to the 2010-11 U.S. Soccer Development Academy title. His father is the Galaxy’s first-team head coach. ...
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The U.S. SOCCER FOUNDATION, which was borne out of profits from the USA-hosted 1994 World Cup and has made over $55 million available to groups in all 50 states to support the growth of soccer, has opened its 2012 Annual Grant Cycle. Go HERE for more information. …
… Earlier this month, the Boys & Girls Club of East Los Angeles unveiled a new FieldTurf soccer field at its main facility. The field was a gift from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Embassy in Washington, D.C., as part of its partnership Manchester City. "We are incredibly fortunate and grateful for this gift," said Anna Araujo, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of East Los Angeles. "This field will serve this community and all our kids well for many years. It will be an integral part of our community-based programming to enhance extracurricular activities for kids in this area." ...
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U.S. YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM ROSTERS:
U.S. U-18 girls (Coach April Heinrichs)
U.S. U-17 girls (Coach Albertin Montoya)
U.S. U-17 boys Spain Trip (Coach Wilmer Cabrera)
U.S. U-17 boys Bradenton Residency 2011 Fall Semester
U.S. U-15 boys (directed by Tony Lepore)