Friday, September 7, 2007

JT's Blog - For the love of the game - Sept. 7

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.


Cindy said...

Can you help me answer a coach regarding a U10 soccer question for Iowa?

There seems to be some confusion among coaches and refs regarding a few soccer rules. Our team is not 100% sure either and have gotten different answers from different refs. So, here is our question--do the players on a team that are playing defense need to stay on that half of the field they are defending and do the 2 offensive players then need to stay on their half of the field? Is the only player that can be all over the entire field the middle person (striker)??
Could you also then explain the off-side rule?

Anonymous said...

Cindy, I'm not in Iowa, but I haven't seen a set of modified laws anywhere that require what you are describing. It is a limitation that makes no sense to try and enforce via rules. ALL players play defense and ALL players attack, it is just a matter of who has the ball. I can't imagine a certified ref anywhere giving the answer that only a midfielder is allowed to be on both ends of the field. Typically, the forwards are going to stay high, i.e. closer to or in the attacking half of the field, and typically, the backs will stay deeper, i.e. in or closer to the defending half of the field. It all depends on where the ball is. The closer your team is to the goal you are attacking, the more the backs will be pushed up and even across the midline. They don't want to go so far across that they open themselves up to getting beat by a ball that is played long and an opposition forward that is playing near the midline. Watch a pro game and you will see the backfield push quite a ways across at time. Some of those backs even go far enough across that they take shots and score goals from the outside once in a while. Having such a rule would also prevent a back from making a run out of the backfield and getting open so the midfielder can play it forward to them in a quick attack.

What would the penalty be in a back crosses the midline when the other team is making a goal kick, our your own team has the ball all the way in the box? Wouldn't make sense.

Offsides. Very complicated rule, but the 2 second version is, when you are in the attacking half of the field, there must be two defensive players between you and the goal when the ball is played to you. In other words, when your teammate passes to you, there has to be a defender and the goalie or two defenders closer to the goal line than you at the time the pass is made, not at the time you get the ball.

Hope that helps!

Anonymous said...

That sounds like a great event, but I can't imagine it was promoted very well. We live in the area,visit all the local soccer websites, and did not hear about this event. So many things in youth soccer are not communicated very well.