This space is devoted to YOU on our United 94 site. The information here is from research on developing youth players, from items passed on to us through friends in education and coaching, and from reading articles and books on parenting. As a parent of three uniquely created children, I believe a one-size-fits-all approach has shortcomings as parents of youth athletes. I do however believe in certain principles (that have been shaped through personal experiences as a player, through interacting with players who have ‘made it’ to top levels in soccer, through interacting with individuals who just love sport, and through success AND failure as a parent/ and coach). Two questions my parents asked me regularly with my participation in youth sports: Are you having FUN? Are you giving your BEST? Our goal is for ALL of our players to be able to answer "Yes!" to this question.
We are creating a local experience in Worthington (we have players outside Worthington as well) that allows ‘kids to be kids’, that provides purposeful FUN repetitions on the ball to allow players to have more JOY in playing, that emphasizes team play and commitment to teammates (not constantly leaving for the next best team), that encourages players to play outside organized practice and game time, that limits the cost and time of travelling throughout OH and beyond at a young age, and that helps players reach their goals in the sport of soccer. In other parts of the world local community clubs celebrate their players being signed to youth academies and clubs – we are thrilled to pass players on to the Academy Program (free for those selected) with Columbus Crew SC, and to their HS and college teams!
The information here will be updated on an ongoing basis. If you have resources to share with me, don’t hesitate to pass them on:
-Rob Smith, Director of Player Development
PART 1: Questions I hear often from parents:
- When should my child specialize in a sport?
- What if I don’t get them involved in the ‘best, highest commitment (with cost, travel, etc) club’ when they are young (We hear this when children are as young as 5 and 6; Alex Morgan’s decision to take soccer more seriously by joining a club at 12 or 13 is ancient!)?
- What if they are not in the ‘best league’ (that travels the most to play games)? Shouldn’t we be travelling more to play the top talent in the Midwest and even in all of the United States?
- For answers to some of these questions click here: http://s3.amazonaws.com/files.leagueathletics.com/Text/Documents/14807/42296.pdf
Please read below of players who have made the top level in this country. Their stories may be different from what you hear, read, think…
Two stories of two US Soccer Players that are at the top of their game in the world:
Compiled from Soccer America’s Youth Insider (one of my favorite sites): http://www.socceramerica.com/publications/youth-soccer-insider/edition/ sign-up for their free weekly email blast of topics.
US Women’s National Team, Alex Morgan (“transitioned to the club scene when she was 12 or 13 years old”): http://www.socceramerica.com/article/44474/becoming-alex-morgan-rising-star-reflects-on-yout.html
US Men’s National Team and AS Roma, Michael Bradley (late bloomer athletically and physically): http://www.socceramerica.com/article/50934/michael-bradley-from-runt-of-the-litter-to-us.html
MLS Stars: When they were Children: http://www.socceramerica.com/article/51332/mls-stars-when-they-were-children.html
And some international players:
World Player of the Year, Lionel Messi (VERY interesting when his Dad thought he thought he had potential for a professional career-really cool insight): http://www.socceramerica.com/article/46516/messis-dad-lionel-always-played-for-fun.html
(A Different Perspective than we may have in Central OH), Nani and David Silva: http://www.socceramerica.com/article/47175/nani-david-silva-when-they-were-children.html