JT's Blog will be a weekly addition to the US Youth Soccer Blog. John Thomas "JT" is the Assistant Director of Coaching Education for US Youth Soccer.
Why can’t we do more of these events? On August 24-26, I flew to San Jose, Calif., to present four different small-sided games clinics for Youth Soccer Month (Sept). The theme of the day was “For the Love of the Game”. The event was held in Union City, Calif. There were a lot of kids and parents out to just have some fun but they really weren’t sure what to expect. There wasn’t going to be any coaching of the players or parents telling players what and when to do anything, so for the parents and the coaches, what was there to do? How about simply enjoy the kids playing. There were a lot of smiles and running and kids making decisions about what to do in a free flowing game that seemed to be fun.
This event was organized by Evert Glenn, an US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program (US Youth Soccer ODP) coach and staff instructor for the California Youth Soccer Association-North. This event was a trial outing of a proposed event series to be run in conjunction with the California Youth Soccer Association-North Recreation Committee called “For the Love of the Game”. It’s a day of soccer dedicated to bringing local college coaches and players together with recreational youth coaches and players in a relaxed free-flowing, non-competitive environment.
The small-sided games are played 3v3 though 6v6 on appropriate field sizes. Pick-up games occurred from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The games were short with no scores being kept. Coaches and any upper-level players were mixed in with recreational players of all ages except the U8 age group, for safety reasons.
The secondary theme of this event was small-sided games, which I trained four different groups of players and coaches ages Under-6, Under-8, Under-10 and Under-12. I saw joy and fun being had by all. However please note, CYSA-N was one of the first states to use small sided games as a training tool but coaching education is always to the benefit of the players being coached. There were recreational coaches and competitive coaches in attendance of each training session of my small-sided games demonstrations.
The fields were located at Cesar Chavez Middle School in Union City, Calif. The complex had three full grass fields and ample side areas for other activities. There were more than adequate comfort facilities and volunteers from the local soccer community who offer concessions items and music for the youth and parents listening pleasure.