In reality, there are a lot more things I hate about soccer than love about the sport I’ve devoted twenty eight years of my life to as a player and coach. To begin with, the politics of soccer. Where a coach can give up on a player because they know that they can just replace them next year. Usually that ends really badly, with a coach belittling a player in front of an entire team in hopes that the player would quit so that they don’t have to cut them. It’s happened, I’ve seen it.
How about the countless of late developers who aren’t as big as everyone, gets pushed aside and given up on because in the United States, we care more about size and strength than skill and talent. Sadly, the United States Soccer Federation just announced BioBanding. Where a players growth is measured to find out just how far they are in their bodies makeup. Kids that are seventy five percent full grown will be placed on teams with kids along the same pathway and will be known as the early developers. Same goes for the late developers. Shouldn’t we be good enough as talent identifiers to know when a kid is good or not regardless of size?
How about clubs? When a kid thats been on the second team for the past four years and is thinking about jumping to another club is begged to stay. That “next year she will be on the A team,” six months later, she’s on the B team, again! The bottom dollar mentality of the business is killing me.
Every week I train players that want to quit the game I love. The game has gotten away from being a game at all. The game has become a chore to a lot of players. We’ve lost sight of what soccer is at its purest form, and why we got players into it in the first place. To have fun and meet some friends. What we’ve been rewarded with is zero fun and playing with players you hate and are competing with for attention, playing time, and recognition.
I always joke with my players and soccer parents about someday I will write a book, and the title of that book would be ‘I hate soccer: A life devoted to coaching youth soccer in the United States.’ It always gets a laugh, but I’m dead serious. I’ve named my blog on my website the ‘I hate soccer blog.’ The reason why I am still passionate about coaching soccer is because I still believe that I can get players to be articulate on the ball and play the beautiful game how its meant to be played, without all of the garbage.