I’ve watched too many games over the past couple years of high school aged kids where the following passage from Tom Byer’s book, Soccer Starts at Home, comes to mind:
“Soccer is a passing and shooting game, but passing and shooting has to come after learning how to control the ball. And passing and shooting comes so much easier if you do that.
I watch kids’ teams play soccer and despair sometimes. ‘How can they be so bad?’ I ask myself. Most kids can’t even move the ball from one foot to the other.
What’s the problem?
The problem is people don’t know what the problem is.”
The problem is that there are basics of the game and these kids don’t have them and as Tom points out, nobody seems to notice.
They can’t receive, pass or dribble.
Most of their first touches turn the ball over and often put the opponent in a better spot.
Passing completion is less than 20%, which is mostly luck when it does happen, and too many passes are right to the opponent.
Balls are often dribbled directly into the defender’s feet and lost, without any visible attempt go around the defender.
Goalkeepers repeatedly distribute the ball directly to the other team.
The few scoring chances come at the tail end of strings of lucky events, rather than purposeful action.
It’s mostly 50/50 ball as neither team ever has possession of the ball for more than a few touches. In fact, it’s a 50/50 ball even if the ball is at the feet of a player.
The players have no idea how to communicate with each other beyond blaming others for their own mishaps.