Anson Dorrance on the USA's U-17 Women's World Cup failure, the missing piece, youth turf wars, and futsal

In the wake of the USA failing again to reach the knockout stage of the U-17 Women's World Cup, we checked in with Anson Dorrance, the nation's most successful women's college coach, who led the University of North Carolina past UCLA on Saturday to qualify the Tar Heels for the Women's College Cup for the 28th time in 37 seasons. Dorrance, who is seeking his 22nd NCAA Division I title with UNC, coached the USA to its first Women's World Cup title in 1991 and more than 60 of his Tar Heel players have played for the U.S. national team.

SOCCER AMERICA: Last week, the USA exited the U-17 Women's World Cup at the group stage with losses to Germany (4-0) and North Korea (3-0) after opening with a 3-0 win over Cameroon. What's your view on that disappointing performance?

ANSON DORRANCE: Obviously, all of us sit there with bated breath, knowing that this is the future of our game. But here's the way I've always looked at it:

We've got a massive player pool in this country, and the age group at which we sort of catch up with rest of the world -- and obviously this is self-serving -- is at the collegiate level. We've got this huge distance at the U-17 level, then we start to close in at U-20, then we completely dominate at the full national team level.

So for me, I'm looking at the future and I can see that we're athletic, and in a lot of cases extremely talented, but without a lot of game intelligence. And all this stuff makes great sense to me, because one of the biggest issues I have with the culture of women's soccer in our country, is that our girls just don't watch the game.

It's certainly incredibly disappointing to be eliminated in group play. But if you look at it, with the exception of the finishing, the U.S. was rather dominant in the match against Germany. Wouldn't you agree with that?

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SA: After giving up a fourth-minute goal, the USA did come close to scoring five times before Germany scored the second goal and the USA did out-shoot the Germans, 25-13 ...

ANSON DORRANCE: It's the piece they don't have right now. Is it an important piece? Yes, it's the most important piece. But one of the hardest things to do is train someone to become an elite goalscorer. And what that requires, in my opinion, isn't just time with the ball, it is basically watching and knowing the game. And our girls just don't watch it.

One thing I would add immediately to player development, I would insist that every girl who comes into my culture is a fan of some team of some elite league on the men's side. Maybe we even have a quiz for them, to see if they're watching the game. And if they're aren't watching, we don't bring them back in. So all of a sudden the word gets out -- you've got to watch the game.

Because I promise you, if we start to watch the game, it's going to transform us.

Every time one of my elite players playing in the NWSL asks me, Should I go to Sweden, should I got to England, should I go to France, whatever. I always say, Yes. And it's not so much because I think those leagues are better or the coaching is better, it's because I want my girls to be marinated in the culture of the game.

And when they go over there, they absolutely get marinated. I remember when Crystal Dunn came to me and said, "Anson, I've been approached by Chelsea, should I go?" And I said, Absolutely. Because I know the culture over there and I know when she gets dipped in there she's going to be a lot more sophisticated, and sure enough, the next time I saw her, she was.

We need to be marinated in the game. I think that's the piece that's missing. Because, holy cow did those Germans finish, and boy, did we not.

SA: So besides the ineffective finishing, you thought the U.S. performance was good?

ANSON DORRANCE: I was kind of pleased. I was pleased with our domination against Germany. I was pleased with what we'll always have, which is a wonderfully gifted collection of athletes. Our population will always serve us the athletes. What we have to do is continue to marinate ourselves in watching the men's game at the highest level.

I've been trained in this now because I've got these two wonderful Brits who play for me. Lotte Wubben-Moy, my center back, and Alessia Russo -- who tragically is getting over a broken leg from our last regular-season game -- they have a polish that's unique. It's not like these two kids are complete players. They're not. They're still kids like ours who are missing this piece and that piece. But, boy, do they have a sophistication from being marinated in the game. One played for Arsenal and one played for Chelsea. And these environments that these girls came from make them wonderfully polished.

When you watch those kids play, they've just got an additional understanding of the game that we lack. And it's not like our girls don't have access to this. Sitting in my living room in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, I have better access to the EPL than someone living in London.

All we have to do is develop a fandom. My issue with the U-17s is that final piece. But I wasn't disappointed with some of the other stuff they did.

Anson Dorrance celebrated his 1,000th collegiate win this season. (Photo by Jeffrey A. Camarati/courtesy UNC SID)

SA: Because you believe as they mature they'll acquire the missing pieces?

ANSON DORRANCE: We've got a kid from that team coming in and I'm very excited about coaching her. And I know that after being in my competitive caldrons for four years, when she gets spat out from the University of North Carolina, she's going to be an ass-kicker at the highest level. So I'm not the least bit worried about how she's going to do at a professional level.

We all love to see results and there are a lot of little things we can do that will make an enormous difference.

SA: Is the USA getting poor results at a U-17 World Cup -- the USA hasn't reached the knockout stage since the inaugural tournament in 2008 -- something that should set off alarm bells about American player development?

ANSON DORRANCE: Here's what I think is an alarm bell. All of a sudden seeing Spain decide to get into the women's game and then watching the incredible jump in their performance in the last five to six years. That's sort of an alarm bell for us.

That, for me, is a little scary. Because what I love about the Spanish girls is they've got this wonderful arrogance that the Spanish men have. And they're just not afraid of anything that we would ever do. I'm still convinced that our population is going to continue to spit out these wonderful athletes, and I still think the finishing school for the American player is the collegiate game.

SA: So should the youth national team programs be judged mainly on how many of its players advance to the higher level -- not the results?

ANSON DORRANCE: I'm one of these guys who feels we've got to measure ourselves on both. We still have to have a balance between results and how many elite players come out of all these different age groups. What we do in our office on a regular basis, we look at what teams are spitting out what number of elite players. There are some bursts in certain age groups and others not so much. But generally, there's a pretty consistent clip of elite players being produced on a regular basis in our player development system, which obviously excites me to no end.

But I think there are more things we can do. And one of the things that scares me a bit is this movement that someone in a national office comes up with an idea that all of us have to implement. And I've never been a fan of having a dictated national policy of everything we have to do. Because I just don't believe in it.

Too often I think we look to the European men's side as our North Star and we try to replicate everything they do, and throw it into the women's game, and I don't believe that's always the best idea.

I think there are a lot of good ideas percolating all over the place.

SA: Any positive developments you see at the girls grassroots level?

ANSON DORRANCE: In fact, I'm starting to see some kids I really like who demonstrate an opportunity: producing elite players as they go through classic American club systems while adding futsal to it.

There's an opportunity for us in the United States, because there are gymnasiums across the country in elementary schools, middle schools and high schools across the country. And we're trying to do this in North Carolina now, if we can get these kids playing futsal on a regular basis, through the winter months, and maybe even on a year-round basis -- I think it will have an impact. Because I'm seeing some very special players emerge right now who are bubbling up from these wonderful environments combining the 11v11 game with futsal.

So I think there are a lot of things we can continue to do that I think can make us special.

Honestly, right now, I'm not worried. Because what I did see enough in that U-17 team was the wonderful athletic platform, which is always going to continue to serve the United States, and I still think there are going to be enough Tobin Heaths in there and Megan Rapinoes who have the technical platform that will separate them.

I'm still optimistic and I'm still very excited.

Now, does this mean that we've solved everything? No, I don't think we have. But I'm not willing push the panic button yet.

SA: The big issue in American girls soccer right now is the turf war between the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, launched in 2017, and the ECNL. When we spoke earlier this year, you advocated for merger of the DA and the ECNL ...

ANSON DORRANCE: At first, I was really really disappointed and I was actually rather angry with our national leadership that we couldn't blend these two organizations together. But now, the more I think about it, maybe what we do is we allow them to compete with each other. Because let's face it, one of the many things that has made this country extraordinary is this sort of capitalistic idea about competition and about the ones who bubble to the top are the ones who compete the best. So maybe having two organizations with somewhat similar but in some respect different philosophies, and we'll get to an idea of best practices.

The only thing I don't want to see happen, which I am seeing happen, is this effort of the DA to become a monopoly for all the best players. I would love all the best players to be scattered around the different ideas of player development.

What I really like is the stock portfolio idea. Whenever I speak to my broker, if I want continue to sustain myself into my dotage, he wants me to have a balanced portfolio, because he can't guarantee that large caps can continue to thrive, so he wants a balance of small caps in there, maybe some bonds, etc. And I like that idea for player development. There are a lot of good ideas in this country from a lot of very good coaches. What we still need is national leadership to sit on top of it, and not try to railroad everyone into the DA, and give the impression that the only way you're going to make these national youth teams and the full team is to wear a DA badge.

We need someone with the leadership capability to say, We're going to evaluate all you guys and see how you're doing, and let's come together and find the best players. We have the capacity to review all these different ideas, see where we are, and accelerate to a level I don't think the rest of the world would ever be able to keep up with.

SA: What do you think of ECNL's accusations that youth national team coaches neglect ECNL players in favor of DA players (which U.S. Soccer denies, stating it scouts all competitions)? Do you believe that a player might be rejected simply because she's not a DA player?

ANSON DORRANCE: No, I think if you're a quality coach whose job is on the line depending on results, and I think most of our youth national team coaches are, I don't think they're going to deliberately not pick an ECNL kid if that kid can help them win. I think all these coaches would pick an important player even if it is an ECNL player.

I don't think that's where the damage is done. I think the damage is done when this DA club emerges in your community and all of a sudden the DA coach is telling all of the ECNL players, that if you don't come with us you're not going to have as good a chance to be picked.

SA: What would you say to parents or players who are deciding between an ECNL club and a DA club, and may be under the impression that only by playing DA ball will they be scouted by U.S. Soccer coaches?

ANSON DORRANCE: I'm asked this question all the time. Anson, What should I do? I've been approached by ECNL club and my local DA club. Who should we go with?

What I say is, Always pick the best coach. If that coach in your community is a DA coach, go with them. If the best coach in your community is an ECNL coach, go with that coach. That coach is going to develop you the fastest.

SA: I see your point that competing organizations could be a positive, but splitting the nation's elite players into different leagues also creates problems. For instance, a DA coach told me his club is near strong ECNL clubs, which his club isn't allowed to play against. Instead, traveling five hours to play a DA game that's not as challenging competition as the neighboring ECNL clubs ...

ANSON DORRANCE: That's inane, to drive all over place to play. You and I both know that spending all this time in a car driving all over isn't developing that player, whether it's for games or to play in a particular academy. The hour it takes to drive to an academy center -- the player is better off spending that hour kicking against the wall. That's a hell of a lot better sitting in the car forever.

I believe in neighborhood clubs and playing the people around you, not traveling all over the place. If a DA has great ECNL teams nearby, yes, play them.

23 comments about "Anson Dorrance on the USA's U-17 Women's World Cup failure, the missing piece, youth turf wars, and futsal".
  1. Bob Ashpole, November 26, 2018 at 1:56 p.m.

    Good interview. Anson brings a lot of sanity to an emotional topic. 

    Club administrators need to remember that development means player development, not training teams to win matches. Advanced players are taught to win matches, but the focus should be on player improvement, not on the team. On performance, not results.

  2. Brett Jacobs, November 26, 2018 at 2:15 p.m.

    Finally! A voice of reason from the top. Legend this man! He’s right about the Spanish as well. We need more “Chispa!”ANSON DORRANCE: That's inane, to drive all over place to play. You and I both know that spending all this time in a car driving all over isn't developing that player, whether it's for games or to play in a particular academy. The hour it takes to drive to an academy center -- the player is better off spending that hour kicking against the wall. That's a hell of a lot better sitting in the car forever.

    I believe in neighborhood clubs and playing the people around you, not traveling all over the place. If a DA has great ECNL teams nearby, yes, play them.

  3. beautiful game, November 26, 2018 at 4:59 p.m.

    The good coach helps a youth player hone their skille to the next level; from technical training to the competitive pitch. 

  4. R2 Dad, November 26, 2018 at 9:36 p.m.

    AD always has a good take on the state of the game for women. At least he's honest about his prejudices--college is 3 years too late up the learning curve to pick up these skills and marinade, while Spanish players are now getting it at 15. He points out that we're always going to be athletic, but the two nations who are NOT known for athleticism have to rely on smarts and skill instead: Japan and Spain, and they're now ahead of us in development. Coinkidink?

  5. Bob Ashpole replied, November 26, 2018 at 10:10 p.m.

    He didn't say we were behind in skills. Althletic skills are not the problem. He said we were behind in soccer IQ because the girls don't watch good soccer. It is never too late to get smarter. 

  6. Bob Ashpole replied, November 26, 2018 at 10:10 p.m.

    He didn't say we were behind in skills. Althletic skills are not the problem. He said we were behind in soccer IQ because the girls don't watch good soccer. It is never too late to get smarter. 

  7. frank schoon replied, November 27, 2018 at 7:14 a.m.

    R2, Well stated!

  8. John DiFiore, November 26, 2018 at 10:14 p.m.

    Are you only in the College Cup if you make it to the semifinals?? "UNC beat UCLA to qualify for the College Cup"...???

  9. Bob Ashpole replied, November 27, 2018 at 10:43 p.m.

    That is correct. 4 teams compete in the College Cup.

  10. Mike Lynch, November 26, 2018 at 10:31 p.m.

    Great questions Mike. Great responses Anson. I agree, watching high level soccer and immersing in soccer cultures are where even just the good become instinctive, which usually means great. Think about our American pasttimes, football, basketball, and baseball. Without even thinking much (at least when I was a kid awhile back), we all know third and long will likely be a draw play, call timeout in back court before being called for 10 seconds, selfless sacrifice bunt to move a baserunner out of forceout and/or into scoring position, etc. etc. Foreign players have the same feel for the many standard tactical cues of a soccer game, when to press, counter, slow game down, play more direct, etc, etc. based on watching so many games and being around the game every week. It is a BIG missing piece, especially in the women's game. 

    I also agree 1000% (yes, 10x100%) on playing more locally. Travelling more than playing is not optimal on so many levels. Competing leagues and organizations need to find a third way - do both, play in their association but also seek out all the local quality teams possible to complete a decent portion of schedule (with the goal to limit travelling while still playing quality opponents). Of course, the solution rarely chosen to find competition is to move players or whole teams up an age group or two. Do that and one's state is likely as far as they would need to go. No longer will they be faster, stronger than their opponents and will need to rely on clever to be successful. Do that for several games and then go back and play in your own age bracket and see what happens, ... wow, when did I become fast and clever (ie, elite player!)  

  11. Kent James, November 26, 2018 at 11:44 p.m.

    Anson certainly nailed what I see as our biggest problem; a lack of soccer culture (for the players to "marinate" in).  Watching high level games allows players to see things that are very difficult to create in practice, and talking about the games with their friends helps spread the knowledge.  Soccer culture also creates heroes for players to emulate, and can give them the internal drive they need to succeed.  The tough part developing soccer culture in the US is that in most countries it is built around the club teams, and in the US, the MLS does not have the same cachet as the EPL, La Liga, etc., and there are a lot of options to watch the latter, so the focus gets a bit diluted (so many options, it's hard for players to find common ground in fandome).  While it is great to watch the highest leagues, we need to develop local attachments for our players, and for that reason, we need to make sure the MLS continues to improve (I am encouraged by the fan support for many of the MLS teams).  We're making progress, but we have a ways to go and the path is not always obvious.

    Futsal is also a great recommendation for development; it helps players become comfortable on the ball, and to develop the nuances and subtle skills all great players have.  

  12. frank schoon, November 27, 2018 at 8:53 a.m.

    Let me first say, I agree what AD states about the women's games for we been relying on athleticism for our success and not on intelligent of play, and that basically sums up the success of our women's soccer program over the years; and also include the cultural factor advantage of which our women have had over other cultures.
    I also agree on that women/girls need to watch soccer....I would include the boys as well. But here is the fallacy of thinking IQ is gained by watching soccer. You will not gain or improve your IQ watching soccer UNLESS there is someone with you who really knows the game and can the explain the insights, for example, of why this pass was made, how it was made,  why to that particular area of the field, if not ,why not to another area, why not take the opponent on 1v1....These are are just some the many, many variables that come into play. This is how my wife of so many years being around me watching the game has learned some of the insights of the game. 
    What I"m saying is that kids can watch as much soccer as they want but they are not really paying attention to the 'whys' of the game. Kids are not into the mental part (IQ) of the game, this is why Cruyff states is that tactics(mental/thinking part) becomes more important when they are about 16, for before that time it goes into one ear and out the other. What they will learn  watching is the technical part, a new move or something that even my cat would look up to the screen with puzzled look of "what was that" They come to watch Messi, Ronaldo, and Zlatan, PERFORM, for that is where they are at in their stage of development.
    Fans with a real IQ would watch a Messi and see how he is positioned to receive the ball, who is the player that usually passes it to him and what kind of player is that and who moves off the ball to open a space for Messi to run into with a ball in a manner so that the opponent once beaten by Messi, is forced to turn around to tackle with his wrong leg which can cause a foul or penalty perhaps. That's IQ of the game and to think the youth watching are actually aware of all these types ofvarialbles instead of just reacting to a great move or goal or tricky pass, then you don't know the game and how kids think. NEXT POST

  13. frank schoon, November 27, 2018 at 9:41 a.m.

    We tend to throw around the word IQ as if we can just take a coaching course or get a book on "Soccer IQ for Dummies". REAL soccer IQ is gained through playing the game, lots of PICKUP soccer. That is why my generation who grew up playing street ball knew the game so much better, than todays kids or pros rather. So much today is done and is planned, programmed by the coach, on all levels. My generation by having played so much PICKUP soccer, learned from the repeated situations, without pressure, WITH pressure, in small or large spaces, with different balls, tennis, rubber, plastic, never real soccer balls, with street shoes , playing older, younger, better or less players. We gained the knowledge (IQ) of how to handle called upon in the various situations of the game which gave us the IQ of what to do.
    These situations can't be taught by some licensed coach, this has to be learned through doing. So today we have kids who learn from a licensed coach, employing  programmed exercises which really lack the overal connections, holisitically, that you experience playing pickup ball. And that is why the kids today lack  "street smarts' ,the 'savviness', technically and tactically because they have not experienced the many, many, situations and all its variables constantly repeated over and over that we learned by playin PICKUP soccer. So when we joined a club ,in my case Ajax youth, playing on the field we were well versed as to what to do because we could recognize ahead of time of what is going to happen next due to having so much PICKUP soccer playing experience.
    This is where problem lies with soccer IQ for our kids. Watching soccer games without someone who knows the game doesnt' do you any good and besides what you learn is sparse.

  14. frank schoon, November 27, 2018 at 9:42 a.m.

    I come to realize that soccer IQ should be called 'SEEING the game' which Cruyff finally learned or gained when he was 31. He stated up to that time he played soccer using mostly his 'instinct, and his playing experience. He was known already as smart player, but he stated around the age of 31 his eyes opened up, perhaps in a Bhuddist manner his "third eye",LOL, and saw the game. He was able to see why something went wrong, which perhaps began two movements prior, how to pinpoint it , how to solve it,and he was able to see a few moves ahead as well, and he was to exactly how to substitute a player to solve the problem. He was able to read all 11 players at once , how they should positioned and where, all interconnectedness.  Tonny Bruinslot, Cruyff's assistent of many years, once described Cruyf's knowledge and compares it to as a beginning point of where another coach's knowledge ends after 20years. Guardiola once stated that he learned so much from Cruyff for every practice was like a seminar of learning to him.
    So lets not get to involved in soccer IQ discussions for we're light years from what I just mentioned. Lets just be happy if we can handle a ball under pressure anywhere without having to blast into the stadium parking lot.That would be a revelation. As I stated before , the going term is PICKUP SOCCER, for without it we're not going anywhere......

  15. Bob Ashpole replied, November 27, 2018 at 3:44 p.m.

    I can go along with you on saying "seeing the game" instead of saying "soccer IQ" as long as "seeing the game" involves seeing the solution to the tactical problem. For me the concept has to involve not just situational awareness but also decision making. Other people I talk with equate "seeing the game" with situational awareness, not decision making.

    For me there was no separation of seeing the circumstances, recongnizing the possiblities, deciding what to do, and execution. I wouldn't call it instinct like Cruyff did, athough it does seem instinctual. It is just very fast (and constant) pattern recognition, analysis and execution. I believe the modern phrase for this type of thinking is "clumping" of information. You don't see the individual players and the ball--advanced players recognize the entire situation as a whole.

    Clumping is something the brain does after many, many repeated experiences. It is why novices are mentally slower than more experienced players.

  16. frank schoon replied, November 27, 2018 at 4:56 p.m.

    Bob, let me explain 'seeing the game'. If you ,me and Cruyff were watching a game , although we watched the same game he would 'see" so much more of the game, the 'inner part', the elements, the details that we weren't even aware of, although it's right in front of our nose. And you'll ask yourself, 'why didn't I see this, which I often said to myself after listening to Cruyff. That is "seeing the game" and the more you're able to 'see' the better you can read the game. Arie Haan, an Ajax teammate of Cruyff once stated 'it's not coaching but it is about 'seeing the game'. When Cruyff was coaching he made a statement at the time that he considered only about 4 other people in the world who really understood the game of soccer that could actually 'see' the game, or know the game , one them was the late Ernst Happel. 
    The ability to see the game has nothing to do with amount of coaching license one can obtain, or acquire or read all the soccer books, that doesn't make you see the game. Cruyff when he played would often direct his teammates where to go for he would see things the others didn't ; and realize his teammates were well seasoned pros who have quite a soccer experience themselves.
     Seeing the game is an ability that comes in degrees.  I realized back in the 80's that one needs to learn or acquire that ability, in order to understand the game better.  The way I did was to go to the horses' mouth, Cruyff, and read all of his interviews ever given, books , quotes,  reread them,  follow up on them, for example, I would tape all of his comments about a certain game that I also watched, just to see how much I missed , for it was a lot. I wanted to get fully into his mind and how he thought. I also read a lot of interviews , of other great players, about certain games, experiences they had and what they did about it. Next Post

  17. frank schoon, November 27, 2018 at 4:57 p.m.

     I also learned that soccer journalist from England , Belgium, Germany,, and of course USA. for example weren not detailed in their discussions and never covered the details of  the game, but remained very superficial , therefore learning very little from them. Forunately ,Journalist from Holland did, and therefore discussions about soccer can be quite interesting and educational. Sorry to say , but today I've found only one sofar in Holland, other than the great van Hanegem, Ruud Gullit, and other dutch greats who write a column.
    It is through situational awareness as a player that causes you to make a decision of what you're going to do. If you have not played much, a la PICKUP soccer, than your decisions making process will be much slower for you lack the situational awareness,that you perhaps might never have experienced or perhaps once ,which is not enough to make an imprint on your mind. It is the situational awareness which is the short cut to soccer IQ which has proven to be effective.
    Your last sentence is stated perfecty. But don't forget taking all the  experienced players together on the field, some are smarter or more intelligent than others, so that is another aspect  to take into account.

  18. Bob Ashpole replied, November 27, 2018 at 7:51 p.m.

    Frank re: "some players are smarter". I saw that coaching U10 and adults. I saw some 8 and 9 year olds that stood out tactically from their peers and I saw some adult rec players who, although having played for decades, were (I will be kind) "uninspired".

    I am pretty sure that some people just cannot learn to see the game at even a low level for an amateur player no matter how long they play, while most people can learn. 

    Over the years I played with 3 fighter pilots, who all had very superior 360 degree situational awareness and able to pick out the best teammate to pass to. I came to believe that situational awareness in soccer can be learned by most people, and the mental skill is like fighter pilots use (except they think in 3 dimensions, so a soccer match is simpler).

    I understand the drive to understand Cruyff's views. I did some of that myself, but not speaking Dutch limited me. I don't, however, think coaches need Cruyff's genius to teach fundamentals including the principles of play.

    Having said that, however, I will admit that I am frustrated by the current conventional thinking in the USA about team tactics and teaching them to the youngest players, disregarding what I consider the priciples of good soccer and good player development practices.

    I guess I could say that "stiff" players make "stiff" coaches. That sounds too harsh and too simple, but the phrase communicates the idea. If coaches would stick to fundamentals during the fundamental stage, everything would be fine until the teen years, but that is not happening. Everyone wants to jump start development by teaching their view of "good" team tactics.  

  19. frank schoon replied, November 27, 2018 at 9:02 p.m.

    Bob, I got a feeling that I’m not making myself clear to you in how I represent “seeing the game”, by the 
    statement “ I don’t think you need Cruyff’s genius to teach fundamentals, including principles of play”. Of course not , not by a long shot. 
    Another example is the  3 pilots and their 360 degree viewing capabilities. You tend to interpret situational awareness too much in a literal sense as related to physical viewing ability. That is not what I meant by “seeing the  game, or viewing ability. What I meant by seeing is identying the flow of the game, the technical qualifications that is needed , and the understanding of tactical capabilities that are apt and possibly put in play, all  of which requires a certain familiarity , a routine and able a reading of the flow of the game at hand at that moment. Through much pickup soccer you begin to identify those flows automatically along with possible other variations that are calculated and made easier by having gone through many of these situations....Even having 720 degree field of view Has no application  or connection to having the feel or familiarity and able to identify the situation at hand which learned through much repetition. The seeing of the game has to do more with identifying many ,many variables in play instead seeing the field. 

  20. John DiFiore replied, November 27, 2018 at 10:30 p.m.

    Why is Mike calling it College Cup now that it's the semis.  Wasn't it College Cup in the first round of the bracket?

  21. stewart hayes replied, December 5, 2018 at 7:55 p.m.

    An interesting exercise that can be done by any coach u12 and up is to play handball soccer.  There is an immediate rise in enthusiasm.  Players running and shouting to be passed the ball.  Players with the ball looking all around for the best person to pass the ball.  This is 'seeing the game' and the reason they can see is that the majority  can catch and throw virtually without thinking.  95% of their focus is on their teammates and making a pass.  So the limitation is the ball which acts as a ball an chain.  Coaches are mostly to blame for this for they spend far too much time doing individual ball exercises and Coerver moves with a ball for every player, pattern passing drills etc.....  Perhaps we should go back to 1 ball per team and play without vests for a while.  Perhaps we will see more 'vision and IQ" development.   

  22. Mike Lynch, November 27, 2018 at 11 p.m.

    College Cup refers to soccer's final 4, but can't use Final 4 any longer since it is trademarked to bball.

  23. John DiFiore replied, November 28, 2018 at 12:42 a.m.

    Ahhh ok. Thank you! Any idea why the whole thing isn't called the College Cup?  i.e., World Cup, Confed Cup, etc.

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