In a couple of recent 3Four3 podcasts, Pranjic and guests talked about the inability of American soccer kids to self-organize a pickup game.
- Episode 206: 2-Minutes Uninterrupted with Tristan Tillette
- Episode 190: Ted Kroeten Offers a Different Approach to Free Play
I’ve experienced that myself.
They wrote it off as something to do with kids these days.
I don’t think so.
Why? Because, I’ve seen the same kids who couldn’t organize a soccer pickup, organize pickup baseball, football and basketball games.
Why could they organize pickup for these sports, but not for soccer?
I think one reason is because they have more experience playing these sports in informal settings with mixed ages and ability levels and have picked up on the subtle solves for getting the game going and keeping it going.
Most of their experience in soccer has been coach-led.
I think the other reason is that the kids haven’t yet developed the skills to make soccer more fun in anything other than an organized game of kicking the ball into space and running to it.
That game doesn’t translate to smaller areas and smaller numbers, like a 1v1, for example. I wrote more about that here.
Short answer: culture.