Commentary

Why we over-coach, why we shouldn't, and how not to

While returning the player cards to a coach of the 9-year-olds I’d been reffing, I told him I noticed he had coached throughout the entire game, that he had not gone one minute without yelling something from the sidelines.

This was a friendly guy who didn’t get defensive about what he could have taken as criticism. So we talked for a while.

I explained that as ref, being in the middle of the field, I could hear all of his yelling, as well as the instructions that were screamed from the parents’ sideline.

He said he didn’t realize his sideline coaching had been non-stop and he hadn’t been aware of how much “coaching” was coming from the parents.

I think that’s one reason why there is so much over-coaching — they know not what they do. We have such an innate desire to see our children succeed that we don’t realize when we’re interfering with the learning process (not to mention disrupting their playtime).

We have an irresistible urge to help our children, whether they’re 6 or 16 or 26. That’s a good thing, but there are times when we need to refrain — such as when they’re playing soccer. That’s not just my opinion.

Here’s Landon Donovan in an interview with SI’s Grant Wahl commenting on high-level U.S. players:

“Some of our players, you can tell they’ve been told their whole life exactly what to do in what situation, versus understanding the circumstances of the game and how to make certain decisions. … Something that all the best countries in the world focus on: Allowing their youth players to be decision-makers, and they’re able to do it without coaches and parents yelling constantly at them on the sidelines. I think that’s a massive cultural shift that has to happen, and I’m fully aware that’s extremely difficult to change. But I’m passionate about it and dedicated to helping.”

In September I interviewed the English FA’s Head of Development Team Coaching Matt Crocker, because the English have shown remarkable improvement in youth national team play. (England won the U-20 and U-17 World Cup this year.) Here’s what he said when I asked him what the biggest mistake coaches make at the youngest levels:

“Over-coaching. To act like that Premier League coach on the sidelines trying to solve all the tactical issues in games.”

Crocker added: “Give them opportunities to learn through the environment you create rather than correcting all the time.”

For sure, coaches should coach and give advice. 2016 United Soccer Coaches National Coach of the Year Ronnie Woodard, whose Tennessee SC’s U-18 girls were the first national champs from the state, says:

“I think that we’ve all been really guilty of getting caught up in the emotion of the game, but it’s really important that we ground ourselves and force ourselves away and have the ability to sort through the happenings of what’s going on on the field at that time, what your team needs to do better, and then how you can fix that at halftime and address the situation moving forward. Start teaching and stop yelling.”

Miriam Hickey is Director of the U.S. Soccer Girls Development Academy. Asked on how she judges youth coaches, she said: “I’m looking for coaches who inspire their players. Who let their players make decisions. Coaches who are giving information instead of, ‘Hey that was a good job’ or just telling them what they did wrong. I believe in short information and letting the game flow.”

Dave van den Bergh, whose pro career started at Ajax Amsterdam before playing in Spain and MLS, is the coach of the U.S U-15 boys national team. On what he hopes coaching is like for players at the youngest ages:

“I just hope that the coaches let these players be themselves. I hope that they’re not trying to over-coach them. I think especially at the youngest ages it’s imperative that these boys have fun and get touches on the ball and not be so caught up on having to win the game. They need to be allowed to discover what they’re good at. These boys need to have liberty. … I’m hoping the coaches let the kids fail nine times, because the 10th time they will succeed and that will boost their confidence so much they’ll keep on doing it. We have plenty of time at the older ages to instill some tactics.”

Jitka Klimkova, coach of the U.S U-20 women’s team, says: “It doesn’t work to scream at the players. Sometimes when I see that from coaches I’m embarrassed. Embarrassed for the coach and for how the parents can deal with this kind of coaching. That style is not so effective. That’s my opinion. … My big belief is to encourage them to do the right things and not just focusing on something they struggle with.”

Sideline-coaching may be especially prevalent in the American youth soccer because of the coach-centric nature of the USA’s historically popular sports.

“Looking at all the different sports in the USA, a lot of them are coach-driven,” said Nico Romeijn, U.S. Soccer Director of Coaching Education. “This has to do with the character of the sport. Teaching players patterns in these sports helps them to be successful.

“Soccer is a sport that can be characterized by unpredictable situations, because of the direct contact with the opponent and the fact that the ball is hard to control. The ball is played by the feet instead of the hands, the consequence is that there will be a lot of turnovers. This is the reason that the coach must prepare the players for these unpredictable situations by creating the learning environment to experience and make autonomous decisions.”

So how to refrain from the urge to interfere when the kids are playing?

For parents:

• Would you walk into your children’s classroom and start telling them how to solve math problems? Would you yell at your kids at the playground or while they’re learning piano or trying to draw within the lines of a coloring book?

But the urge to yell at a sporting event seems almost natural. The popular method of alerting us to whether we’re cheering or instructing is a good one — if there’s a verb in it you’re over-stepping.

For coaches:

• Sit down during the game. You can buy a foldout chair for $15. I think most of us coaches have an urge to stand because of nervous energy. Or because that’s what we see pro coaches do on TV. But when sitting, you’re less likely to yell than when you’re prowling the sidelines. When you’re sitting, there’s no chance of players picking up on negative body language. (Players notice when their coach is nervous and that doesn’t help their confidence.)

Also, if you’re sitting most of the game, and there comes a time when the players really need to hear from you, you’ll have a much better chance of connecting when you do stand up.

• Instead of yelling when you see a mistake, take a note of it. Or mention it to your assistant coach. Address it not by yelling at a child who’s most likely already aware or even embarrassed by the blunder. But if you think you can help, there’s halftime or a future practice to convey advice.

42 comments about "Why we over-coach, why we shouldn't, and how not to".
  1. Ray Lindenberg , November 18, 2017 at 10:10 a.m.

    There's a lot to unpack here. The sentiment of over-coaching is a fair one, if what is being referred to is continual, hyper-interaction handed down from coach to player. That ain't good.

    But sufficient, satisfactory 'right-touch' coaching starts with a philosophical underpinning that has served many coaches in many sports well ... here it is: 'The prime responsibility of a coach is to empower players to properly coach themselves.' That was a common thread with grand masters in other sports such as Tom Landry, John Wooden, and even Vince Lombardi. If that approach suits you, then the following nuances will make sense ...

    The presumption for many is that coaching predominantly involves demonstrative verbal and physical measures form coaches to players. But that is not necessarily the case. Much coaching, just like much qulity work supervision, schooling and parentng, involves subtle, non-verbal actions and communictions. A leader des not always need to scream from the high heavens to make sure a point sinks in. In fact, the quiet, subtle, soothing nod and approving grin, or a look of concern goes a long way to get the right steering message across (many moms and dads are darn good experts at that rick of the trade too -- mine sure were).

    So if we're talking about a cacophony of instructions and screaming during an entire game or training session as over-coaching ... yup ... that's not good. But if we're talking of a balance of non-verbal, and verbal (and sometimes a loud, resounding urging to correct a blatant or repetitive miscue) during the game or practice, then let's not handcuff the coach with a reluctance to apply an occasional constructive, genuine, full-throated call for improvement for fear of being labeled an over-coacher.

    The issue is not over-coaching or under-coaching. It's the performance of effective 'coaching' ... and a good professional coach or all ages needs to purely coach with all the tools at his/her disposal, and add the right touches at the rght moment, as he or she sees fit. Heretical outbursts and a flood of nagging aren't good during coaching, employee managing, teaching or parenting. To the best of their ongoing, continual imorovement abilities: Leaders need to lead... Teachers need to teach ... And coaches need to coach.

    Yes, players need to have their private, organically developed, skill development time, like they do in basketball playgrounds, and sandlots in the favelas for jogo bonito-ing. But when there's a good coach around ... or the situation calls for the right touch of coaching ... let the coaches coach, learn experientially to be better coaches, and to teach the players how to self-coach themselves for the entirety of their careers.




  2. stewart hayes, November 18, 2017 at 1:08 p.m.

    We would like to think that are words so important.  But are they?  We played an away game with 13 players on a 95 degree day.  On a horrible field.  Three players were at an ODP tryout.  At the end of the first half we were down 0-4.  I know exactly what I told the team.  'The second half is our opportunity.  All they're going to be thinking about is who is going to score next.  If they can score 4 so can we.  Just concentrate on the scoring one at a time.  Pretty soon they'll start to panic."   Well that's exactly what happened.  We scored 5 goals they got one and we tied.  I asked our player who scored 4 of those goals if he remembered what I said.  No he had not.  I guess I said the right thing!  

  3. frank schoon replied, November 18, 2017 at 3:29 p.m.

    STEWART, perfect!!!!

  4. feliks fuksman replied, November 19, 2017 at 12:18 p.m.

  5. Fanfor soccer replied, November 20, 2017 at 11:07 a.m.

    Great, simple advice.

  6. I w Nowozeniuk, November 18, 2017 at 1:42 p.m.

    Watched several U-8 small sided games under a bubble in western PA. Only one team caught my interest with their simplicity and efficacy of play. The ball was moved around quickly side to side, front to back, etc. Possession and purpose of play was indicative of the coaching, no yelling, just encouragement from time to time. Absent was the typical structure on the pitch and at that level the learning curve is all about technique, purpose, and efficacy. Every player appeared to have very good fundamentals, and the couple of them that had that "feel" for the game were easy to spot.

  7. frank schoon, November 18, 2017 at 1:51 p.m.

    OVERCOACHING, happens when you have coaches with little or no playing experience get involved in youth soccer and worse when getting a coaching license the element of 'CONTROl' sets in resulting in "overcoaching'. The coaching license gives them a sense of "this is how it done", when in fact "this is NOT how it is done". Johan Cruyff stated that licensed coaches are a bane to youth development, for coaching licenses allow coaches with little or no experience into the system  developing the youth. Cruyff stated that in his days there were no licensed coaches but good soccer players,either retired or playing who were involved with training and "GUIDING' (NOT COACHING) the youth. Guiding the youth for example is to allow the youth no restrictions when playing. For example, a ball hog, like myself at Ajax youth, was allowed to dribble as much as he wants to ,unlike today's licensed NITWITS who tell players " pass the ball, he's open over there, you dribble too much, one-touch it, be a team player"...it is all about CONTROL and RESTRICTIONS with these coaches, resulting in today having viewer good one on one players,and less exciting individualists with a ball.  A "Guide" looks at developing a youth in a different way. He sees ,for example a "ballhog" is not afraid of taking on opponents , and he is confident with the ball, the only thing he lacks is game insight (which none of them have at an early age) to be able to know when to pass to an open man. The only thing a 'guide' would say is "good game', "but there were a couple times you could looked to see an open man" and leave at that. I remember at Ajax in my first game , I dribbled and beat 7 man and lost the ball, I didn't have a clue about looking for open man. My guide never said anything to me and I only heard from my father who talked  to him, Jany Van der Veen who was Cruyff's youth coach as well that I dribbled a lot. When dealing with youth it is all about "DEVELOPING" , NOT COACHING and that is how we dealt with youth development in our days. Coaching really becomes more of factor  around the age of 14; for as Cruyff so aptly puts it before that age it only goes into one ear and out the other. next post

  8. frank schoon, November 18, 2017 at 2:13 p.m.

     Players like Dave van de Bergh, and Landon Donovan ,people who have really played would allow the kids to be themselves. THe more you have played the more you allow the youth to have FREEDOM of play:The less playing experience the more "CONTROL FREAKS" you get as coaches. This is why it is so important to create a subculture of "PICKUP',STREET SOCCER , games. Pickup games allows kids playing in MIXED AGES, to "EXPERIMENT', HAVE FUN, TRY NEW MOVES and most importantly they are LEARNING and playing against OLDER PLAYERS. Playing against older PLAYERS teaches them STRUCTURE, NEW IDEAS, HOW TO HANDLE VARIOUS GAME SITUATIONS, all of which is done without some coach/ CONTROL freaks...Cruyff stated as a youth he would beat all the opponents, but the "guide' never said anything. THey moved him up a year on to B team and he found out he could only beat 7 players, they moved him up the next level and realize he could only beat 3 players and so he learned that he had to pass the ball after the 3rd player. Through all this no 'guide" ever told him to pass the ball, for they knew they had a rough cut diamond and sooner or later will learn to pass the ball at the right time. Now you can only imagine today if Cruyff was young what a barrage of critique, yelling "get rid of the ball" and what not he would receive form these licensed Idiots....

  9. Wooden Ships replied, November 18, 2017 at 2:28 p.m.

    Frank, Frank, Frank, there you go again articulating what many don't want to hear. It is so simple, yet it can't be. But it is. Thanks for providing my perspective. I remember playing an all deaf team in St. Louis, not sure if I was 13 or so, mid-late 60's and not only was there no coaching from touch, there was no talking at all. That team wore us out with skill and movement. 

  10. frank schoon replied, November 18, 2017 at 2:34 p.m.

    SHIPS, LOLOLOLOL, great anecdote....

  11. Ray Lindenberg , November 18, 2017 at 8:56 p.m.

    Thank goodness for the democracy that is sports ... plus the punditry of it. There is no 'one size fits all' magic approach for successful youth coaching, or the philosophy that should stand tallest as the standard that coaches should follow. If ball-hogging ultimately was a 'good', and directing players to create space and pass the ball one-touch to open players is 'bad' -- and it worked to develop more talented players, and greater team success -- then Mazel Tov.


    I can tell you that in fluid, forward-flowing team sports such as hockey, lacrosse, soccer, and to a degree, basketball -- coaches encouraging, teaching and yes, insisting on the movement and delivery of the ball or puck productively to the open-man, and increasing the one-touching, is Shangri la for many, both in terms of game success, and artistic/visual satisfaction.


    Give me a choice between watching a game where I might see a few dazzling individual moves by Cristiano Ronaldo -- or watching a well-coached team of youths that execute a high degree of fluid, weaving, one-touch passing, space-creating, teamwork-intensive soccer, and it ain't even close. The kids’ show of total, fluid, soccer is a much greater source of satisfaction.


    I can tell you that dribbling, ball-hogging and holding onto the ball when a teammate has sacrificed and risks his/her more defensively-safer position, to create a productive opening to give the ball-handler the freedom to pass the ball in a way that augments the attack, is classic anti-soccer and leaves a residual effect that more commonly leads to bad team play.


    Over-dribbling and hogging the ball causes the players stand around, not create productive passing options, and leads to frustration, resentment and anger among teammates. Worst of all, it's contagious -- and others take uncorrected/uncoached ball-hogging as a green light to hog the ball themselves which fuels the downward spiral of anti-soccer. Fortunately, the reverse is true too. High-control passing, especially the one-touch variety that begs for space movement and creation, is also contagious.


    Dribbling, in many instances (not all), is a reactive, default and spontaneous survival activity/technical skill that should be coached too. But the North Star of true, team soccer, in my democratic opinion, is the improvised weave of productive, faith-based passing and movement that coaches should strive for and emphasize -- more than tolerating and encouraging over-dribbling and ball-hogging during coached scrimmages that place an individual’s ball control skills development above team ball control ... just like the grand Maestro Rinus Michels taught us with his Dutch Masters of gorgeous Total Football of yesteryear. 

  12. Bob Ashpole replied, November 18, 2017 at 9:38 p.m.

    Ray, I could not disagree with you more. For instance early in development, you want every player to be a "ball hog." 

    Are you old enough to remember before the Laws were changed to allow coaching from the sidelines?

    The "secret" to coaching young kids in matches is to teach fundamentals in training sessions and then let them play the matches, not tell them what to do. With young kids, coaching should be all about fundamentals and the love for playing. Specific tactics, game plans, formations, and winning don't matter. Only player development and having fun matter. When it comes to coaching during matches, less is more.

  13. frank schoon replied, November 18, 2017 at 11:03 p.m.

    Bob, you are so right. It is all about development in the younger stages. There is nothing worse than for a coach to say to a ball hog "pass the ball" or after he loses it to get yelled at and hear " you should have passed the ball". What happens the kid begins to doubt himself worrying about being yelled  at and worry about losing the ball while dribbling. As are result the "worrying" creates lack of confidence with the ball and as a result you having  "broken" a talented player who was  real good with the ball on his feet. You have to be oh so careful criticizing a ballhog for you can actually throw out the baby with bath water. In order for a ballhog not to lose confidence is for him to learn on his own and through force or yelling at him. A ball hog wil through maturity, competitiveness learn not to over dribble and that there more effective ways to play. Realize that a ball hog is in fact ahead in his development over his pears  as far as beating players one on one and  psychologically he is also ahead of the game because he is so confident with the ball, he just needs to learn when and when not to dribble. It is this type player later on in his development that will become the Brian Laudrup types, who create havoc in the opponent's defensive that creates space for once he beats his man as a result 2v1 situations. Cruyff's philosophy is to have a player on the front line who can beat a defender creating havoc, 2v1 , forcing unwanted shifts in defensive alignment. Individual development comes first , team development comes second but at a later stage. What is happening is the latter is stressed over the former ,today for we have Coaches rather than Guiders who are more concerned with teams concepts .

    Join

  14. frank schoon replied, November 18, 2017 at 11:07 p.m.

    Bob ,meant to say a ballhog should be allowed to learn on his own instead of through force or yelling at him. 

  15. frank schoon replied, November 18, 2017 at 11:22 p.m.

    Ray, Rinus Michels and,Total Soccer would never have come about without the individualists that learned to develop the way we did at Ajax as how I explained. All the players learned their game in the streets and were developed in their youth at Ajax  as I have explained it. All these players were great ball dribblers in their youth but were formed by 'Guiders' not coaches as I've explained. Gerrit Muhren who was the best dribbler ,better than Johan even,  was allowed only to play at about 40 % of his capability , his assignment was too never lose the ball and Arie Haan who himself was a great dribbler was not allowed to dribble but only head or shoot on goal all in order for Johan to play 100%. All these players were ball hogs in their youth days .

  16. Fanfor soccer replied, November 20, 2017 at 12:06 p.m.

    Over dribbling as you call it is one thing.  Being technically adept is another.  We have very few playes that have top techincal ability and that is at all levels.  A technically accomplished player can cause havoc on the field.  There is a right time for everything except doing nothing.

  17. frank schoon replied, November 20, 2017 at 2:12 p.m.

    Fan, your right, technically adept players are hard to find. Just look in today's soccer because we either lack real wingers or no wingers or have some back attempting a cross.  Seeing a nice cross, well placed, head high ,waste high or to the feet ,with the right speed, on target is a rarity. So many crosses end up behind the goal or way too high or end up near the far corner post. When is the last time you've seen a left-footed lefthalf employing the outside of his left foot rocket a shot that me at left of center of the field originating from a diagonal pass. Just for starters....

  18. Ray Lindenberg , November 18, 2017 at 11:42 p.m.

    I couldn't agree with you more, Bob, that "tactics, game plans, formations, and winning don't matter" with the young ones, although that’s not where I was going with this (nor do I condone yelling at a player -- ever -- even if it’s Bobby Knight or Woody Hayes coaching). But properly delivering and trapping a ball with the right technique, does matter … big-time, and even at an early age. Also learning the critical lesson from the get-go that soccer is a team game that requires players to be aware of the teammates around them; and that delivering the ball to them properly makes teammates happier and is better for the team, and ultimately for them — is better than allowing them to constantly put their heads down and plow ahead. Great, subtle, life lessons in there, too.


    Coaches are essentially teachers. Teachers nurture and don't allow students to repeat math and grammar mistakes. Likewise coaches shouldn’t allow players to repeatedly reinforce on-field and teamwork play that detracts from their development, and that of their teammates and the team. Kids need to develop a good sense of ‘team’, and to believe in and respect the instruction of a teacher/coach that’s there to help them improve quicker, as part of their early foundation in every sport. And no one is insinuating a heavy-handed approach.


    Kids should enjoy themselves, above all else, for sure. It's a game. But that doesn't mean that a young player can't experience ultimate thrill of a coach celebrating an unselfish, well-made pass, or an acknowledgement that they did something wonderful in a team context.


    That is not to say that kids should not be left alone in the playground to experience and develop their skills in whatever way they want organically, including perhaps hogging the ball, and also perhaps, getting dressed down by their teammates when a coach is not around for being ball-hogs. That's all part of the valuable, natural developmental process and lessoning that all kids go through in the early going in all sports.


    Coaches need to have the parental support and freedom to teach and coach, if they know how to -- which includes encouraging, correcting, inspiring and even occasional firm instruction. If my 5-year-old in an organized team just toes the ball wildly all the time, and is oblivious to the fact that she has other teammates that she has to share the ball with, you’re darned right that if there's a knowledgeable coach around, I want him/her to constructively point out the better way to perform. Again, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to successful youth development. Cordially debating the differing takes is quite valuable, though.

  19. Bob Ashpole replied, November 19, 2017 at 1:47 a.m.

    Ray, think about this. Teachers don't teach penmanship, the multiplication tables, spelling and grammar the same way they teach writing prose or poetry. Likewise you don't teach technique the same way you teach attacking tactics and the principles of play.

    Yes when we teach technique we don't want to practice bad technique. Errors detract from the learning. When we teach a subject like tactics, however, mistakes are an important part of the learning process. 

  20. Ray Lindenberg , November 19, 2017 at 12:37 a.m.

    To be fair, Frank: when young players in most Football-Is-King nations head out to play, they do so within the context of having great stars that they saw and grew up with virtually all around them, inspiring them to imitate great football play to auto-improve their game knowledge and techniques. Heck, they are practically nursed with a soccer ball in their cribs. 

    That is a far, far cry from what youths experience in the US, outside of some isolated pockets, to a degree; and where they do, they don't have the competition and peer pressure to keep them leapfrogging their way forward with their skills development; they generally don't have parents and neighbors that are capable of being overly impressed', and helpful so as to sustain their developmental momentum (like hockey kids have as an advantage in Canada); they often have no, or poor coaching that holds them back; and often the best they could hope for is a motley mix of a hand-me-down roster of MLS-ers that they could emulate. Not ideal for self-developing.

    When I got here from early travels to Brazil, I didn't think I needed a coach either. Watching the graceful, imaginative play of Robero Rivelino was all the 'coaching' and inspiration that I felt I needed to self-develop, I smugly thought. 

    Young players can self-develop properly when they have a full array of substitute elements prop them up. But as Dettmar Creamer showed us in the early 70's -- total, economic football training of youths, delivered from developed, committed coaches, is critical for nations starting from such a deficit, such as the US. And that still holds tru 47 years later. I'll stick with a bit of subtle developmental nurturing of technical skills from experienced, qualified coaches interspersed during the toddlers' kickballing sessions, rather than totally laissez-fairing it.



  21. Bob Ashpole replied, November 19, 2017 at 11:34 a.m.

    Ray, nobody appreciates the value of good coaching more than I do, because I was completely self-taught. There was no youth soccer or organized soccer of any kind for me. But coaching is an opportunity that players need to use in order to develop. I can coach a couch potato, but I cannot make him a better player. He has to do that. 

  22. James Madison, November 19, 2017 at 1:19 a.m.

    How many coaches realize that their shouting at players during a game is to relieve their anxiety about outcomes they cannot control.  Shouting instructions doesn't help players enjoy the game, and enjoying the game is crucial to playing better.

    Players have a variety of ways to demonstrate their displeasure at such conduct.   I know of one college women's team that purchased a rocking chair for their coach, who was a chronic shouter, and presented it to him with the declaration: if you want us to continue playing for you, sit in this during games.  In another instance, when I whistled a DFK in favor of a team, the captain quietly asked me before taking the kick, "Can you red card our coach." 

  23. Bob Ashpole replied, November 19, 2017 at 11:38 a.m.

    Great stories. Thanks for sharing.

  24. Ray Lindenberg , November 19, 2017 at 10:56 a.m.

    There's a lot more agreement in this thread than disagreement. Nobody can argue that, as the discussion premise infers -- over-coaching isn't good. While we're at it, over-eating, over-dressing and over-sleeping aren't good either. But eating, dressing and sleeping are good ... and so is coaching (again, without over-doing it, and when done so by a qualified coach).


    Where we begin to bump our noses is over the notion that no coaching, and just letting kids kick the ball, dribble to their hearts content, and hog the ball (sounds like over-dribbling and over-hogging is OK?) is the most valuable thing we can ask of a coach to do during a scrimmage so that the kids develop their skills and instincts better organically ... and that's where I part ways.


    I know of no sport where their young aren't coached in some corners by giving them some technical guidance during practices. We're not talking pushing tactics, or any overdone fits of coaching hysteria. A bit of gentle, positive reinforcement and cues on the right and better way to do things like pass, trap and control-dribble the ball can be good coaching during practice -- and not automatically an act of misguided training or over-coaching.


    A player during a game, at all levels, touches the ball from 5 to 25 times (stars of the team sometimes get more touches). With toddlers (3-5 y/o) I make it a point that they do 500 touches of a ball (duck waddle taps and other ball control drills; and various proper passing technique wall-volleys), in the first 30 minutes, before I set them free to do their valuable, unfettered, enthusiastic, kickball run-arounds for the next 30 minutes.


    Dettmar Creamer emphasized, besides letting them play, that we need to immerse the kids of second and third-world footballing countries (like the US) in continual, multi-touching rituals and drills during training so that they catch-up and make-up for the immense skills gap that kids in Football-Is-King nations enjoy over them. We need to have kids improve their foot-to-ball relationship and dexterity to melt away the inevitable awkwardness that they feel while trying to control the ball, in relative terms when compared to young players in other countries that intrinsically absorb skills in football-crazed societies.


    Laissez faire kickballing? Sure. Letting the kids enjoy themselves on their own, and build up their love for the game, sense of 'team', plus their instincts and skills in an unstructured, natural and organic manner is critical. But let's not across-the-board diminish the value of quality youth and toddler coaching from trained and qualified coaches offering technical skills drills during practice, and other ‘coachable moment’ opportunities.

  25. frank schoon replied, November 19, 2017 at 12:02 p.m.

    Ray, "Laissez Faire" approach, really? I give you more credit than that to think that this is Laissez Faire. So I will explain the more subtle youth developments that appears to you like Laissez Faire since I got nothing better to do this sunday, morning ,LOL. You mentioned about kids like me having learned the game in a country where soccer is king...True. But I learned the game at a time when there was no TV, and even no telephone for a long time. I grew up in an era where there was no soccer bombarding the airwaves like today, there was no best goals of the week, move of the week, replays, soccer talk shows ,watching your stars play...NO there was NOTHING like that. The only time I watched soccer was when my dad took me to the Ajax game when Rinus Michels was playing for Ajax or once in a while if the Holland played and it is was shown on TV in a cafe. So, no, the kids ,like myself, grew learning the game without TV watching and copying the stars as kids today can. But what we had was pick up games, played with kids of various ages mixed together. Playing with various ages, kids learned form better and older players who likewise in turn played with older and better players, that perhaps were to old for my age to play with. But what is important to note is the soccer strategies, the info, the skills ,the knowledge which flowed from top to bottom as represented from older players down to the younger players. So the older players who play club ball for Ajax or other clubs picked up what they learned from playing club ball brought  that knowledge to the street games. There was a constant flow of information from the older to the younger kids, given and learned a playing format.  As you are aware today the beginning kids run in swarms after a ball. In my days that was unheard of for the beginning kids in the streets were introduced right away to a better brand of soccer for they are playing with older kids. Without coaching the kids were learning the game and its subtleties in a natural manner. There is structure, there is soccer information and knowledge to be learned through playing together. I remember after a pickup game of about 4hours long we stopped and sat together along the canal in Amsterdam, right by the "Skinny Bridge' and discuss soccer, about a new move someone saw, talk about a dutch great and what he did in a game. In other words  "SHOP TALK" to improve your game. Yes, there plenty of structure , there was plenty knowledge learned and dispensed all without having a coach...next post

  26. frank schoon replied, November 19, 2017 at 12:02 p.m.

    Ray, "Laissez Faire" approach, really? I give you more credit than that to think that this is Laissez Faire. So I will explain the more subtle youth developments that appears to you like Laissez Faire since I got nothing better to do this sunday, morning ,LOL. You mentioned about kids like me having learned the game in a country where soccer is king...True. But I learned the game at a time when there was no TV, and even no telephone for a long time. I grew up in an era where there was no soccer bombarding the airwaves like today, there was no best goals of the week, move of the week, replays, soccer talk shows ,watching your stars play...NO there was NOTHING like that. The only time I watched soccer was when my dad took me to the Ajax game when Rinus Michels was playing for Ajax or once in a while if the Holland played and it is was shown on TV in a cafe. So, no, the kids ,like myself, grew learning the game without TV watching and copying the stars as kids today can. But what we had was pick up games, played with kids of various ages mixed together. Playing with various ages, kids learned form better and older players who likewise in turn played with older and better players, that perhaps were to old for my age to play with. But what is important to note is the soccer strategies, the info, the skills ,the knowledge which flowed from top to bottom as represented from older players down to the younger players. So the older players who play club ball for Ajax or other clubs picked up what they learned from playing club ball brought  that knowledge to the street games. There was a constant flow of information from the older to the younger kids, given and learned a playing format.  As you are aware today the beginning kids run in swarms after a ball. In my days that was unheard of for the beginning kids in the streets were introduced right away to a better brand of soccer for they are playing with older kids. Without coaching the kids were learning the game and its subtleties in a natural manner. There is structure, there is soccer information and knowledge to be learned through playing together. I remember after a pickup game of about 4hours long we stopped and sat together along the canal in Amsterdam, right by the "Skinny Bridge' and discuss soccer, about a new move someone saw, talk about a dutch great and what he did in a game. In other words  "SHOP TALK" to improve your game. Yes, there plenty of structure , there was plenty knowledge learned and dispensed all without having a coach...next post

  27. frank schoon replied, November 19, 2017 at 12:02 p.m.

    Ray, "Laissez Faire" approach, really? I give you more credit than that to think that this is Laissez Faire. So I will explain the more subtle youth developments that appears to you like Laissez Faire since I got nothing better to do this sunday, morning ,LOL. You mentioned about kids like me having learned the game in a country where soccer is king...True. But I learned the game at a time when there was no TV, and even no telephone for a long time. I grew up in an era where there was no soccer bombarding the airwaves like today, there was no best goals of the week, move of the week, replays, soccer talk shows ,watching your stars play...NO there was NOTHING like that. The only time I watched soccer was when my dad took me to the Ajax game when Rinus Michels was playing for Ajax or once in a while if the Holland played and it is was shown on TV in a cafe. So, no, the kids ,like myself, grew learning the game without TV watching and copying the stars as kids today can. But what we had was pick up games, played with kids of various ages mixed together. Playing with various ages, kids learned form better and older players who likewise in turn played with older and better players, that perhaps were to old for my age to play with. But what is important to note is the soccer strategies, the info, the skills ,the knowledge which flowed from top to bottom as represented from older players down to the younger players. So the older players who play club ball for Ajax or other clubs picked up what they learned from playing club ball brought  that knowledge to the street games. There was a constant flow of information from the older to the younger kids, given and learned a playing format.  As you are aware today the beginning kids run in swarms after a ball. In my days that was unheard of for the beginning kids in the streets were introduced right away to a better brand of soccer for they are playing with older kids. Without coaching the kids were learning the game and its subtleties in a natural manner. There is structure, there is soccer information and knowledge to be learned through playing together. I remember after a pickup game of about 4hours long we stopped and sat together along the canal in Amsterdam, right by the "Skinny Bridge' and discuss soccer, about a new move someone saw, talk about a dutch great and what he did in a game. In other words  "SHOP TALK" to improve your game. Yes, there plenty of structure , there was plenty knowledge learned and dispensed all without having a coach...next post

  28. Bob Ashpole replied, November 19, 2017 at 12:10 p.m.

    Ray when you talk about what you do specifically with the kids, I am in some agreement. But teaching 3 year olds the technique for wall passes--you have to be joking. Most haven't developed physically sufficiently to learn instep drive technique yet, much less have hips developed enough to learn to strike with the inside of the foot. If you are not joking, you should talk to a pediatrician. (I only understand what is age appropriate, not the science behind it.)

    As an educational experience for me, I recently watched some very experienced (all ages and levels including college) coaches run an academy session for 5 year olds. There was no drills and no Coerver style repetitive exercises. Just games with lots of balls and specific coaching objectives, while the coaches gave simple, smiling, gentle feedback to remind players of the technique. Ending with 3v3 games to goals. Basically the coaching objective was to get them to love playing with a ball at their feet. (In other words create ball hogs.) They covered running with the ball under close control, dribbling to maintain possession, first touch, and striking (with the "laces").   

  29. frank schoon replied, November 19, 2017 at 1:33 p.m.

    Bob, wall passes with 3 years old, LOL. Like I say ,too organized ,too overcoached.........

  30. frank schoon, November 19, 2017 at 12:44 p.m.

    Ray, sorry about the duplication.. Let's look further at what you call Laissez Faire. You read what I said about Cruyff and how they tackled his ballhog prowess at Ajax. By allowing him to dribble and not stop his ball hog expertise is Laissez Faire, as you describe it?. You totally missed the point in how they handled it for they handled in a manner of sophistication that it would not effect his CONFIDENCE and at the same time allow him to use his gift of beating opponents. THey moved him up a couple of levels and let him play against older players thus allowing him to learn on his OWN , in a NATURAL manner of when to get rid of the ball and to pass. It was surgically done unlike today where a kid is butchered by his Nitwit coach either through yelling at him, or benching him or some other Neanderthal practice, in order to stop his ball hog prowess. At Ajax you "begeleid' ( dutch for 'guide') not coach  youth players for they are in the developmental stage. As kids are developing they need an overseer not a coach, who directs them. For example if you have a few ball hogs on the team than create a game whereby the team that makes the most passes wins. It is that simple. You guide them without telling them "you dribble too much or pass the ball". You create an environment where they need to pass the ball instead of creating a NEGATIVE environment which can hurt them psychologically by yelling "you dribble too much, one-touch it,etc...get rid of it. Ajax uses the youth games to see how a youth is developing only. You 'begeleid' until they are about 14 then you "opleid" or educate or in your terms begin to coach the kid, for then as Cruyff states the information learned no longer goes into one ear and out the other. Don't think 'guides' don't do anything and keep a Laissez Faire approach ,on the contrary they seek to direct the player but empoy subtle methods  give tips to players to improve. As Cruyff states when the kids become pros then it it time to bring in restrictions to make you play more functional and effective but before that it is all about creativity ,improving the skill and adding skills...

  31. Ray Lindenberg , November 20, 2017 at 2:13 a.m.

    First of all, what an ideal opportunity we have and exercise we are engaging in -- debating the pros and cons of coaching young kids, plus all the other peripheral issues that have popped up during this thread. We got our heads handed to us in the weak-regional CONCACAF tourney, and that didn't come about just by an improbable loss to an overmatched and under-resourced T&T squad -- but as a result of a lackluster qualifying tournament-long spell of disappointing courtesy of the smug ... and more precisely, from decades-in-the-making, slipshod, junk football that chugged along on these shores.


    Something's been 'Rotten In Denmark' on the US national soccer scene for a while, and this is the wake-up call we've been begging for. At least The Netherlands, Chile and Italy fell short on their journey of ‘Russian Roulette’ in qualifying groups of predominantly Football-rich nations. The US debacle was a massive stumble. We can lick our wounds and limp along for the next 4 years, fantasizing about opportunities lost -- or we can grit our teeth, and like a sand irritation in an oyster begets a beautiful pearl, we can come out of this with a shiny, beautiful, jewel of a solution on the international soccer scene.


    I'm betting on the latter -- that we'll dig deep and come up with a fresh, new brand and approach to our soccer that'll serve us well for decades to come. It's the American way. It's the right response to getting a boot in the bum -- by getting up off the canvass and forging ahead with a whole new mindset and sense of urgent determination. And at the center of this resurrection and reclamation project is pure, unadulterated, healthy, thoughtful, constructive, passionate, debate -- like the one this discussion thread is triggering with regard to youth coaching. I wish more readers would jump in here and let sparks fly -- but just like there's such a thing as over-coaching, over-eating and over-sleeping ... there's also the bane of over-writing and over-expressing. Guilty as charged!


    Now back to the salve at hand of a robust debate for a nation in a tailspin over its soccer misfortunes, with my next attempts at riposting …

  32. Ray Lindenberg , November 20, 2017 at 2:18 a.m.

    Frank: I’m envious of your rich, youth football experience that included witnessing great players, live and in person (even without TV); plus the play and energy of older, more experienced and talented players seeping down to the younger ones, like you, and thus alleviating the need for coaching. That positive experience and immersion in a mature environment in any sport is invaluable … and it goes a long way towards providing a fruitful, aspirational context to churn out talented players.


    Such an environment, to a degree, relieves the need for organized youth coaching. Kids in such countries have a model and a de facto training system that allows them to make substantial strides in a Laissez Faire system (to clarify: Laissez Faire is the approach of leaving the situation unfettered and to its own devices – in this context, the Laissez Faire approach refers to not interrupting kids with coaching; and letting them learn their skills, plus game and team instincts, organically and naturally, like they do in all football-rich countries; which is what I sense is at the crux of your argument … an argument , by the way, that I mostly agree with, since I believe most of a youth’s training session should be devoted to letting the kids kickball themselves uncoached and to their heart’s content, like many of us did in our formative years.


    That stage of development is indispensable, and to be clear, my argument is not an either-or proposition. I’m not campaigning for invasive coaching of youths at the expense of eliminating the critical steps of Laissez Fairing it and letting the kids learn the game innately, experientially and on their own terms. What I am campaigning for, though, is to not denigrate and disparage the value and opportunity to have kids receive qualified coaching where available, in addition to (not in place of) invaluable, freestyle kickballing and street pickup games, just like in every sport.  


    Immersed in a nation with a Football-mad culture is not chopped liver when it comes to the valuable Laissez Fairing it and coachless soccer. But that is NOT the case in the US … hence the need and value for qualified youth coaching from the ground up to complement the Laissez Fairing.


    There’s a reason why the Bayerns, Barcelonas, ManU and River Plates of the world have youth soccer academies, and in them, they absolutely don’t just put them on a pitch 100% of the time and let the kids have a go of it. They provide strategic coaching too. Perhaps the most famous youth academy is Ajax’s sensational De Toekomst – the one that produced and refined Wesley Sneijder, and so many other world-class talents. They provide meticulous youth coaching beyond an intensive just-play regimen. Big-team academies can’t all be mistaken in doing so.

  33. frank schoon replied, November 20, 2017 at 9:18 a.m.

    Ray, (You realize you do have a dutch last name,LOL and you and Bob Ashpole are both nightowls by the looks of the time you posted, LOL). I realize that the days that I grew up learning soccer is no longer and clubs tend take more charge in a youth's development. In my days, the youth joining soccer clubs had already good ball skills because they spend so much time playing street soccer, as compared today. Guys like me, Bob,Wooden Ships, R2 Dad, and others question the methods of how the youth are developed. I believe that although we can't go back to my days in how youth were developed in the streets, but we can take elements of street soccer and apply it to the youth. Has anyone representing the USSF coaching academy ever told any of the coaches to read books not about soccer but about great players and how they learned as a kid and incorporate  that into their training methods. There is one central theme with all the great ones is pickgames/street soccer environment. Street soccer, obviously, comes to the top of the list. Because I  learned to play most of my game on concrete and know the benefits of it,I as a coach always make sure half my practice is on concrete(basketball court, parking lot) the other half on grass....Concrete forces kids to play with technique and thinking to beat an opponent and not running....Now tell where do one read in any of these youth soccer journals about incorporating taking Elements of street soccer. Am I being out of bounds here to suggest something so simple which is not applied or do you know another coach who does that....
    You mention the Ajax , Barcelona ,etc, youth academies as an example of coaching the youth. Take Barcelona, they recruit from all over the world the best, like kids at the age of 8 who are already showing their talents on Youtube. That is so unreal, for when you watch these kids play on Youtube, you really need to take a step back and realize this is not your average youth academy. And therefore don't rationalize to your self watching these kids and say this is what you get with good coaching. I would not use LaMasia as an example for youth development. There was an interesting interview(I have every interview of Cruyff ever given and others going back to the 70's)  back in the 90's with the head of LaMasia , Alexanco ,a former player of Barcelona's "Dream Team" when Cruyff coached it. He stated that the word 'winning" is never used but only "good soccer". The Ajax youth system has been a failure since the early 90's when Van Gaal took over the youth academy and that is obviously shown by the dearth of stars coming out of Ajax of which the last one was Sneyder. Cruyff was so upset about all this that he seeked a new training revolution, which was really the old way of how they produced "greats" as going back to the 50's and 60's.
    SEE NEXT POST.

  34. frank schoon replied, November 20, 2017 at 10:23 a.m.

    RAY, let us look at why the Ajax youth Academy became such a failure. Van Gaal's backround is one of being an education teacher . Teachers come from a "structured" "pendantic", "programmed" "controlled" environment. Van Gaal is a good coach but not a good youth developer. Like Cruyff states that there is world of difference between coaching and developing. With that mindset  Van Gaal created a youth program that stifled INDIVIDUALITY, without realizing it. This is why it is so important to "SEPERATE" Coaching from Developing when dealing with youth who are in the developmental stage. But that 'SEPERATION" is not recognized  at the USSF Coaching Academy for all of it is covered with a broad brush. You mention Sneyder or like  Van der Vaart who were talented Ajax players, but they were talented regardless of the Ajax youth Academy. Sneyder could pass and shoot with both feet of which he was the only Ajax player that could do this. That should tell you it wasn't Ajax that made him . This is why Cruyff stated that we are more concerned about others less talented improving their abilities.
     Van Gaal is a good coach when it comes to teams, young professional players, who need structure, control, functionality, efficiency of movement, aspects which run counter to young, creative developing players who are in need to express their ability and nurture their creative juices. The problem is in our youth we have coaches not developers  who tend to look at teams structure, organization, elements that run counter to youth individualism that first needs to be develop .
    There is a time for structure and there is a time for development, a problem not recognized in our youth soccer.
    Ray enjoy this video which was made in '82. Vanenburg, he was 18 and played for Ajax and the Dutch National Team. I edited out the talking which is dutch but showed all the action to kids at camp. It is a great video, watch the whole thing first. Funny , I gave a CD to John Kerr (remember him, his son coaches Duke U). He took it to Brazil and never got it back for it was so popular. 
    van straat tot stadion ...it is on Youtube ...if you have any question about it let me know. This video inspired so many kids over the years..

  35. Ray Lindenberg , November 20, 2017 at 2:20 a.m.

    As for the value, or lack thereof, of having toddlers practice wall passing and other ball control and touch-repetitiveness drills for the acceleration of skills and foot-to-ball relationship and dexterity … this one is perhaps counter-intuitive -- and it shouldn’t be criticized or diminished unless attempted. I can tell you that my 5-6 y/o players in my clinics that were trained as toddlers under the ‘500-touches of various drills per session’ approach prior to their Laissez faire kickballing portion of training, are far more advanced in terms of correct passing technique, ball control, team awareness and in many other skills and ways, than those that I inherited that just toed their way in kickball swarms as pre-schoolers.


    And before anyone chimes in with: ‘the various passing technique drills involving a wall are fruitless, inane and boring’ … let me try and head that one off at the pass. Nope – not the case. In fact, that’s the challenge of a coach: to find ways to make developmental drills interesting, relevant, dynamic, productive, and most of all, fun – very much the way that better teachers find ways to make mundane math instruction, exciting.


    One last thing, Bob: In reading your most recent post, it is brimming with what sounds like productive and successful youth coaching examples – so I’m unclear if you support youth coaching interventions … or profess totally Laissez Fairing it?


    The moral of the story from this endless, uber-thread is that: A) over-coaching sure is bad; B) incompetent youth coaching is worse; C) coaching of youths to complement vital, Laissez Fairing, uninterrupted kickballing is good; D) Youth Academies of all major international clubs don’t just Laissez Faire it … they provide professionally coached guidance too; E) toddlers can absolutely learn technical skills and gain formidable advantages over those that don’t, even if they are subjected to presumed non-motivational, correct-form passing and other drills near walls for a portion of training – and it must be designed right and be fun; F) In football-rich and soccer-immersed countries, youths have the ability to go far without coaching – but that’s not the case in the US, where we shouldn’t downplay youth coaching, but instead continue to find ways upgrade youth coaching standards; and G) constructively debating approaches and philosophies in a soccer-playing country in dire need of soul-searching, brainstorming, disrupting, entertaining new paradigms, and rebooting its soccer fortunes, is an extremely valuable and necessary pursuit, if we’re serious about getting out of this rut and getting to the head of the class on the world soccer stage.


    May the controversies and deliberation over these stances flourish!

  36. Jay Wall, November 20, 2017 at 10:25 a.m.

    "Teaching players during practices, was what coaching was all about to me" pretty much says it all and is a quote by John Wooden who only won 10 NCAA D1 Championships in 12 years.

    It's impossible for a parent or coach to accomplish a difficult task when a child prevents them from focusing on what they need to do to get the task done well and correctly. It's also impossible for a child to focus, learn and make decisions when a parent or coach is interrupting them by yelling.

    "Working memory" is limited in capacity. A player's short term working memory is limited and should be processing data captured by the senses and instantly comparing it to what the player knows in their long term memory. Instant match = instant decision. No match = no decision or a bad decision. In Europe youth players see thousands of game images in games they play, games they watch and in vision training. In recall test of images players have been shown and images they have never seen, with exposures for as little as 1/8th of a second, players are able to correctly recall images they have previously seen with a 96% accuracy.

  37. Jay Wall, November 20, 2017 at 10:28 a.m.

    And systems of play dramatically affect learning. In open play in street soccer learning is through the roof. In static systems of play where players must only play a specific set limited position, learning is restricted, players are only exposed to visual learning when the ball is close by. (In an after session meal, a visiting coach from Brazil remarked we don't teach young players to play a position, just to play in an arc the distance the opponent with the ball can kick it.)

    In dynamic systems of play, especially in small sided games like Futsal, the number of visual images that teach decision making are through the roof as all players freely exchange positions in the run of play. Instead of 4 players play a static system, the 4 players freely exchange positions and attack opponents in up to 24 different dynamic attacking formations that are always changing. Dynamic systems of play with constantly changing positions and rolls mirror the learning found in street soccer. Players see a constant flow of changing game images and learn what happens with each view, creating an extensive library on reading patterns, body language and the moments of the game.

    There is an old saying "It takes 50% longer to make a good decision when you're interrupted" and yet we coaches and/or parents constantly yell and keep players from being focused and learning.

  38. Bob Ashpole, November 20, 2017 at 11:55 a.m.

    Jay, great explanations.

    Ray, I am close to your position, but your phrase "coaching intervention" is a problem.

    My experience is with older children, 8 to 11. I found that age to be extremely easy to coach. What surprised me was that girls were much more socially advanced than boys at that age, particularly in dealing with groups. For most, social interation expectations were as important to them as playing soccer to their enjoyment of practice sessions and matches. At one time I called coaching younger ages was babysitting, not coaching. Then, however, I recognized some people were having success. So I made it a point to read up on the area. 

    What I concluded was that coaching has to be age appropriate not only as to the topic, but also as to the coaching methods. It is conventional to say that the more advanced the athlete the more individualized the training plan should be. Because children develop at different rates, I think to a certain state training of very young children has to be also individualized to accomodate the present development progress of the children. The concern is not just physical development, but cognitive and emotional development and social skills aspects as well.

    What that boils down to, is that we cannot just take one idealized coaching routine and apply it to players of all ages. The younger the age the more training should seem like play during recess at school. Schoolyard play doesn't stop for coaching interventions.  

  39. Bob Ashpole, November 20, 2017 at 1:14 p.m.

    Mike, another great article, but then you didn't need me to tell you that.

    The solution to the problem of "over coaching" is education. Off the top of my head I know and have had contact with 3 different non-profit organizations aimed at improving youth coaching through education. I am sure that there are more. Youth Soccer Insider is not alone. Keep up the good work.

  40. Ray Lindenberg , November 20, 2017 at 6:40 p.m.

    Mike -- if you keep on picking thoughtful subjects that (as always) inspire people like Frank, Bob and Jay to share their invaluable treasure-trove of perspectives, I'll have no one to blame but you for my finger cramps!

    While some of the refernces may need some polishing for clearer understanding (such as "Laissez Faire" as a buzz term for 'just letting the kids play' ... or "intervention" as a way to refer to Bob's insightful observation:

    "... , while the coaches gave simple, smiling, gentle feedback to remind players of the technique ...They covered running with the ball under close control, dribbling to maintain possession, first touch, and striking (with the "laces") -- as an example of the type of  what I referred to as "intervening" which I think is another way of referring to what Frank eloquently put as "guidance".

    What we mostly seem to agree on is the basic premise of this discussion -- that over-coaching isn't good ... and that just enough guidance to not overwhelm and detract from the important objective of having kids learn much of their skills and instincts through hands-on (more like feets-on?) playing, and less time for coaches intervening, especially by those who overdo it, are not qualified to do it, and especially those hyper ones that pace the sidelines with non-stop roaring of instructions during games that is more ineffective, confusing and demotivating to kids than valuable.

    To me, a practice should be 100% playing, except if a coach has something more valuable to impart that could help advance the ability and soccer-related understanding of the player(s). In that regard, I think coaches should strive to, and come equipped to add some of that 'John Wooden' quality preparation and knowledge that Jay refers to -- so yes, qualified 'coaching' and patient teaching intervals do have a place during team practices.

    In other words, add some non over-coaching touches during short segments of practice time, only if and when there's some clear and well-conceived instruction to impart, and that'll lead to and inspire greater performance ... and let's try to find ways to raise the bar on more talented and capable coaches that can share such guidance ... otherwise just let them play. Good stuff ... 



  41. frank schoon replied, November 20, 2017 at 6:46 p.m.

    RAY, I think we finally got it all solved....LOL. I have emailed Mike and ask if he would try interviewing Tonnie Bruins Slot, Johan Cruyff's assistent at Ajax and Barcelona for many years. He has a wealth of information on all aspects of soccer....

  42. Ray Lindenberg , November 20, 2017 at 7:55 p.m.

    PRACHTIG! Y'all enjoy the turkey ...

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