Earlier this year, the US Youth Soccer Association published their Vision for Youth Soccer in America. It generated a smattering of debate, but not much. It certainly should, because this vision sums up much of what the USYSA is thinking and advocating for youth soccer in America:
Too often in America a professional sport model is used in measuring youth sports success. Youth soccer is not immune to this misapplied standard. For soccer the situation is made worse by a desire of many adults to use measuring tools from other sports. In fact it is maddening to many adults that soccer is not as black and white as with some sports in judging successful play. Many team sports played in our nation are statistically driven and coach centered. Soccer is neither of those! Indeed just like the Laws of the Game our sport has many shades of grey within it. As a player centered sport some coaches become disillusioned as they learn that they are the ‘guide on the side’ and not the ‘sage on the stage’. Too many soccer coaches bring a “Pattonesque” attitude to the youth sport environment. This coach-centered perspective has been handed down to us from other sports and coaching styles of past generations.
So consider this your OTP Holiday reading assignment and post some thoughts in the comment section below. I’m hoping to take some themes from this document and write articles this winter where we can discuss the merits of what the USYSA is trying to do.