Commentary

Mickey Kydes: Be patient, set high expectations, and trust your players

Interview by Cody Bryant-Zygowski

Mickey Kydes is the founder and president of Beachside of Connecticut Soccer Club, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. Beachside SC, whose boys teams compete in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, is also a New York City FC affiliate.

SOCCER AMERICA: When and why did you start coaching?

MICKEY KYDES: As a professional soccer player in the 1980s and 90s we had to do a lot of personal appearances to promote the sport of soccer. I did many youth soccer appearances and really enjoyed working with the children.

SA: What do you enjoy most about coaching?

MICKEY KYDES: I love seeing all the young people grow from a personal perspective through the sport of soccer.

SA: What do you enjoy least about coaching?

MICKEY KYDES: Players who are not actually committed to soccer.

SA: What’s the most amusing thing you’ve witnessed while coaching?

MICKEY KYDES: I was on the sideline observing one of my coaches and he wasn't very happy because his team was being dominated. I realized that they only had 10 players on the field and that was the big difference.

I went over and asked him if everything was OK? Long story short, he added a player and our team played much better.

SA: Who was your most influential coach?

MICKEY KYDES: My college coach at Long Island University, Arnold Ramirez. He allowed me to just play and didn't micromanage, he trusted me and my teammates.


Mickey Kydes
Club: Beachside SC
Hometown: Norwalk, Conn.
College: Long Island University (1982-1985)
Senior Career: Dallas Sidekicks (1986-87) Aris, Kallithea, Eordaikos (1988-90), Greek American AA (1991-92), Connecticut Wolves (1993), New York Pancyprian Freedoms (1994), New York Fever (1995), NY/NJ MetroStars (1996) Long Island Rough Riders (1997).
International Career: 1987 Pan American Games
Honors: Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame and the Long Island University Hall of Fame.

SA: Do you have an example of something one of your coaches did that you have adopted as a coach?

MICKEY KYDES: Priming your team for training, and letting them know what to expect from a training session.

SA: Anything your former coaches did that you avoid?

MICKEY KYDES: I avoid long training sessions. Practice sessions should not drag on as the longer they go the more ineffective they become.

SA: What's the biggest mistake youth coaches make?

MICKEY KYDES: I think the biggest mistake is not focusing on and promoting skill development at all ages.

SA: What was the highlight of your playing career?

MICKEY KYDES: Playing as a pro [for the MetroStars] at Giants Stadium. I grew up going to New York Cosmos games at Giants Stadium with my Dad watching players like Pele and Franz Beckenbauer, dreaming of playing there one day.


Then Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola and Mickey Kydes.

SA: What were your favorite teams growing up and which teams do you enjoy watching now? Why?

MICKEY KYDES: Growing up my favorite teams were the Cosmos and Napoli (with Diego Maradona). Now though, and for the past eight years I have really enjoyed FC Barcelona as they have completely changed changed soccer in the world. My coaching philosophy revolves around a lot of what FC Barcelona does in its youth academy. I don’t understand why more people don't adopt their philosophy and concepts.

SA: What’s your advice for coaches at the youngest ages?

MICKEY KYDES: Coaches should create an environment where the players love the ball. They need to be patient, set high expectations for their players, and trust them.

SA: If you had a magic wand, how would you use it to improve American youth soccer?

MICKEY KYDES: There is a lot, but for starters we need to promote and trust players who are different from a technical and tactical standpoint. We need to allow these players to express themselves. As a country, we will never develop a world class player if we continue to over-coach and think that is the difference. We can't have coaches be scared and feel threatened by technically and tactically sound players. These ideas need to start in Zone 1 [ages 6-12].

5 comments about "Mickey Kydes: Be patient, set high expectations, and trust your players".
  1. cony konstin, June 16, 2015 at 3:13 p.m.

    Mickey you are right over coaching is killing the players development. It must be natural. It must come from playing the game. We need radical change. We need a soccer revolution in the USA. We need 600,000 futsal courts so kids can play 7 days a week, 365 days a year, 3 to 5 hours a day, for free and especially with no adult interference. When we have set that environment up for the kids then eventually we will have magical, devilish, and genius players that will blow everyones mind. Meanwhile we are creating robots. REVOLUTION = FUTSAL

  2. Raymond Weigand, June 16, 2015 at 4:39 p.m.

    hahaha...Futsal, again? We have them ... kids rather play at the park. Especially if the park has trees / shade / a playground / a bathroom / and someone selling ice cream.

  3. # 12, June 16, 2015 at 6:15 p.m.

    I agree totally with Mickey that we will never develop a world class player with the youth system as it is currently constructed. I just pulled my technically gifted 11 yr. old son out of pay for play club soccer because of the micro management and constant over coaching from the sidelines. Game day should be like a test just like in school. Shut up and sit down coach and let the kids play ball! The coach is an asst. D1 coach and yells out to my son after he tried to dribble into the box towards goal - "we don't dribble around here!" If the US ever had a potential Messi or CR7 American youth soccer would ruin them. The youth club system is very good at instilling fear into the kids and not allowing them to express themselves as well as stifling any creativity. What we get instead is direct kick and run soccer(robots), see US national team. My son's coach is constantly yelling to the kids to get rid of the ball and then he wonders why the kids are treating the ball like a hot potato. Gee maybe because you have put the fear of god into them and god forbid if they try to take a touch to space or dribble out of trouble. By the way this coach is not a fan of futsal - big surprise. I agree with Cony more futsal, street ball, pick up at the park, backyard with family, etc. is the only way to develop these kids into maybe some day truly becoming world class players. I have always told my son - you decide on the field to either shoot, dribble, or pass. It's easy for me to say what to do on the sidelines but I don't have 3 guys breathing down my neck. Soccer is an autonomous sport were the player decides what to do and not the coach from the sidelines. If you truly want to develop American football geniuses then please just sit down, drink your coffee and be quite. Less is more.

  4. feliks fuksman, June 16, 2015 at 8:10 p.m.

    Agree w/ Mickey, Cony, Raymond, and Rich; nevertheless, there're plenty of basketball courts all over the city already, any patches of grass or dirt in parks, and play grounds that kids who like soccer should use; moreover, definitely w/o adults interference. I'm beginning to see a little of pick up games here and there, but hardly enough. There's definitely too much youth coaching here and really in many other parts of the world; I believe that's why there are so few excellent creative players. Trust, encouraging players to try different things, giving players confidence, I think are all important points in successful youth development.

  5. Junhua Wu, June 17, 2015 at 10:20 a.m.

    yes. We need more pick up games in addition to the club soccer. Kids need to play more, just imagine if the kids play 2 hours everyday, they will be a lot better in every aspect.

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