The Magical World of Youth Soccer

Why do the best players come out of playing “STREET SOCCER?”  Generations of great players have been self-educated to learn the game through their enthusiasm, desire, and intelligence. Yet too many so-called coaches somehow think they are more important than players & many well-meaning parents. Trying to manufacture players never works as drills on drills breed boring players who, in their teenage years, work out and head to their skateboard and the open road.

There is magic in creating environments that frees up youngsters to test their talents in various settings, be it playing in the street, playground, local park, or parking lot. Generally, playing on a hard surface promotes a more skillful game as you cannot cheat the ball or its surface. The same is true with a ball. Again it might be a tennis ball, a small rubber ball, but rarely a real soccer ball as most players can’t afford one, so do what youngsters do brilliantly, and that improvises their own ball. The classic ones are children in Africa using banana skins & gluing the skins into a ball. Or, youngsters in Montevideo finding old soccer balls and stuffing them with rags to create not only a new type of ball but a game that’s now played all over the world – FUTSAL. Children are exceptionally more creative and far more than adults.

Youngsters are not stuck with rules and regulations which adults tend to want. Youngsters are smart enough to invent and adapt to prevailing conditions. Out of this creativity come brilliant ideas that only children can attain. A great example is Johann Cruyff, the great Dutch player who unveiled his magical move, “CRUYFF TURN,” which he learned and honed on Amsterdam’s streets as a child.

Soccer mad youngsters are not stuck in formulas or numbers. They play in teams of 20 a side or more or 1v1. Whatever works, children somehow find ways to adapt. Jack Charlton as a youngster, played on teams of 20-a-side, and they floated to more and then less as the day progressed as children were wanted back home. Somehow they made it work, and many players came out of this chaos, including his world- class brother, Bobby Charlton.

There’s a magic adults will never know as it belongs to the magical world of children which adults will be well advised to leave alone to that magical world of boys and girls & moves unknown!!

Graham Ramsay.