I enjoyed reading this Twitter thread between Alexi Lalas and soccer fans regarding the role of parents and USSF. This is one of the gems from that thread.
I agree with Alexi. Parents should take more ownership.
But, I also think the USSF is missing out on easy ways to help.
Many parents who spend so much time finding ‘the right’ club and coach to help their child ‘reach their max potential’, miss the lowest hanging fruit — what their child does at home.
As Josh Sargent’s Dad points out about his success, “It was Josh.” I’m sure Josh’s club helped. But, it doesn’t develop all players into a Josh. As his Dad points out, Josh was always working with the soccer ball on his own. Same with Pulisic.
So, if your kid is doing that, then by all means, spend more time finding the best club and coach.
If not, start there. Also, read Tom Byer’s book, Soccer Starts at Home (I didn’t realize there’s Kindle edition!).
What can the USSF do?
This, by no means, lets USSF off the hook.
When I was a know-nothing soccer parent/coach, I visited the US Soccer site in search of answers to basic questions…
What can I do as a parent, at home, with my child to help develop basic soccer skills?
What should I be teaching a group of 6 and 7-year-old’s at practice? (Then later, 8-9 year-old’s, and so on).
I didn’t find the development handbook adequately answered these questions.
Two years into coaching, I joined my independent team to a club.
On day one, the club’s director pulled me aside for 10 minutes and showed me how to teach proper technique on a few soccer basics: inside-of-foot receiving and passing, outside-of-foot dribbling and basic changes of direction.
He said, “We teach them how to keep the ball, then we teach them to shoot. It takes time, but you have to work on this stuff every training. The first step to success is proper technique.”
Direct and simple!
It worked, too. We didn’t win state cups, but the players finally began their journey toward playing real soccer and their improvement was noticeable. Now, several years later, they keep getting better.
I remember thinking, Wow, why didn’t I find that on the Internet? Why isn’t that on the USSF website?
It should be.