Changing Our Culture

When asked by Mike Woitalla, of Soccer America’s Youth Soccer Insider, “What would you like to see happen in American youth soccer?”
ANSON DORRANCE: World Cup and Winner of 21 NCAA Division I titles had this to say…
If we truly want to change our culture, all this talk about the Development Academy is missing the boat. We have to pour more of our resources into Zone 1 [age 6-11].  If we want to compete with the Japanese or the North Koreans, by the time we get to a U-17 and U-20 level, honestly it’s too late.
We’ve got to focus on honoring the technical coach who transforms the kids with an exciting personality and a thorough understanding of the joy for the game, and technical growth — and make that person our youth coach hero.
Right now, the biggest prestige for a youth coach is to win a championship at a more advanced level, U-14, U-16, U-18 … So that’s where most of our top coaches are going. And it’s a poor investment of resources.  We have to figure out how to get our top coaches to coach U-12. To focus on what to do at our U-6 level, to make sure that by the time the players get to the U-14 level, they’re the best in the world because of what they’ve done at U-6 and U-12.  Make coaching the youngest players a prestigious position — the coaches who inspire children to love the ball, to love the game, and to play every single day.