ussflogoClaudio Reyna has been making waves ever since he was selected as Youth Technical Director for US Soccer. The release of the Youth Soccer Coaching Curriculum showed how serious US Soccer was taking the reform of player development. Then US Youth Soccer revamped their coaching guides and released them in PDF form this week. With all this focus at the national level, it’s refreshing to hear Reyna talk about how we develop top level players and what is at stake:

Reyna considers himself only “a small part” of the larger effort to improve the quality of players and teams across the country. Yet he also hopes to exert influence on the crème of the youth crops via careful evaluation of the US Soccer Development Academy’s member clubs over the long term.

“With what’s mentioned in the curriculum, we want to be able to give sort of boundaries, and let the teams evolve in their own way. They might grab what we do but they might just tweak it a different way,” he said. “We feel that good players will develop in an environment where soccer is trying to be played the right way.”

In addition, yes, Reyna wants even the best DA teams to put form before function, because he believes it produces better prospects for the national teams.

“If I’m going to a youth game, I want to be entertained. I don’t want to see a 1-0 boring draw where a U-15 team is packed in, stealing a goal, [winning] 1-0,” he said. “I know that makes the U-15 team very happy, but we almost want sort of this free game in the youth game where they’re going back and forth and teams are winning 5-3, versus hanging on for 1-0.”

The whole article is absolutely worth a read…