One problem with the participation culture of soccer in the US is that too many parents and players hand the keys of development over to clubs and coaches.
Clubs and coaches don’t do much to dissuade that idea, because it’s a selling point.
Contrast that with clubs in soccer countries, where the player owns their own development and they see the club as a place to showcase their ability, compete to get better and maybe get some helpful guidance from coaches along the way.
How differently do players in these two environments behave? Exactly how Kephern Fuller described on a 3Four3 podcast that I wrote about here.
Fuller has experience in American and European soccer clubs and here’s how I summarized the astute observations he shared in that podcast:
He said a key difference is the players knowing where they’re going. American kids don’t have a good sense of this. They are content to say they’re the best on the team and their team has had some success, but they don’t have a sense beyond that of what good soccer looks like or what kind of player they are working to become.
He said, European kids have a much clearer picture of what they want to become. This shows up in the effort they put in on and off the field and how seriously they take and compete within a drills during training.
That’s because European kids own their development, while American kids let development be something that happens to them.