‘Coach told us today that all we’re going to play against XXXXXX is defense’.

Why would you ever tell your players that? It just means you’re trying to lose by less, which gains you… what? I’ve never understood soccer coaches who drop 5-6-7 kids back on defense or directly shadow strikers to try to stem the bleeding. That just gets the attackers closer to your goal. You want to beat a team you believe to be more skilled than you? Put a few of your fastest players and strongest ball handlers in back to beat back the assaults/possess the ball up field and encourage your team to take risks, make runs, build attacks from the back, do the unexpected.

Better you lose 0-10 learning how to attack with flair and intensity against a strong team than relentlessly kick the ball out-of-bounds or upfield (in both cases back to the other team) so they can attack you over and over. It’s like hiding in a castle and routinely collecting all the projectiles, arrows, etc. that missed and bringing them back to your attackers to use again. Drives me crazy as a coach to see my players and my own kids struggle with what they’ve been taught in club against this insane school soccer mindset. You see it over and over. And yet you wonder why more kids are considering playing sports outside of school year round…

So much is written about how NCAA soccer cripples us as a soccer nation because it’s not conducive to the development of elite players. Please. It’s the 4-6 years of playing for teachers who don’t know the game, because the school won’t allow non-teachers to coach or even *help*. Yet the football teams have 15+ assistant coaches. Yes, there are fantastic school coaches out there and horrible club coaches. But on average school soccer is stifling our kid’s creativity and development on the soccer field during some of their most formative years.