Requirements needed for the Development of more creative Soccer Player by Horst Wein
Since we were born, we've been given the potential of being creative. We only differ in how well we exhibit this creativity and in the areas in which each person is able to become creative.
Most of us have been more creative as an infant than as an adolescent or adult, because there are more opportunities and possibilities to play at the pre-school stage than later on in school.
Therefore, in general, the development of the capacity to be creative and to become even more creative is not obstructed in kids up to 6 years old. This is considered as being normal.
Nevertheless, when the child starts school, the evolutionary process can cease. This is due, in many cases, to the negative effect of the teaching methods with intentional orientation and very strict norms. Suddenly, the available time to play is reduced and school frequently suffocates this development which was occurring naturally.
When playing football children face the same problems in developing their creativity because of traditional coaching practices. Many of the methods that for decades have been essential components of the learning-teaching process in the football world, are now-a-days obstacles that inhibit the expression of the creative potential within each child.
To overcome these important deficiencies, the following conditions have to be created to again see the growth and maturity of more creative players in our football fields.
DECLARE THE WAR AGAINST THE 11 VS. 11 GAME
The "11:11" game has for many years choked, like a cancer tumor, the vigorous development of young football players. It should be replaced by another type of competition, which should be tailor-made for children less than 13 years old.
Games like Mini football (3 vs.3 on 4 goals) for 8-9 years old, 7-a-side football (10-11 years old) and 8-a-side football (12-13 years old between both regular penalty areas), offer the adequate frame (space and amount of players, ball size and weight) for the children to express their creativity and inspiration in a more healthy environment that does not contain the stress of the 11-a-side game with their adult- orientated rules (see the articles referring to the advantages of Mini football,7-a-side and 8-a-side football in comparison to the traditional football game 11:11).
Frequently, the game 11 vs.11 is still used now-a- days as the preferred practice method for preparing the weekend match. It should be replaced by more attractive and from the learning point of view, more efficient simplified games which use fewer players. In the "big game" on a regular field, the young player is generally condemned to become passive, participating very seldom in plays where he can exhibit his creative skills.
MORE GAMES AND LESS ANALYTICAL EXERCISES.
PRACTICING SHOULD HAPPEN IN A GAME CONTEXT.
Statements like:" You only learn to play football by playing it" must be re-discovered and have to be considered in the planning of all training sessions in which drills are still dominant and excessive.
Children should be exposed to more game plays (global method) and less practice with the analytical method. The practice should happen in the game.
LET THE KIDS PLAY, WITHOUT CORRECTING THEM CONSTANTLY.
When playing it is not necessary for the young football player to know exactly the specific learning purposes. Knowing the learning aims is always important for the coach but not for the player.
The player should frequently have the possibility to "play", or "play just for fun, without necessarily having any specific learning as a main objective". We should not forget that one essential part of the game is its unpredictability. This explains why the game is so fascinating for kids. As Buytendik said: "Each game starts with a movement, which consequence is not completely predictable and which therefore has an element of surprise".
We should give children the opportunity to explore and to discover through "playing", to infect them with the creativity shown by their teammates and opponents and without having the coach interceding frequently. By correcting from the start we expose the young player to an intensive pressure. Being stressed is a contradiction to the development of creativity.
Friedrich Schiller states perfectly, with the following words, the vital meaning of playing games for the human being: "The human feels and behaves like a human when he plays" "The talent develops in a repetitive confrontation of many players in a small limited field, whilst the regular football field creates fatigue and limits the fantasy, creativity and burst of speed of the young players" - Dante Panzieri
HAVE THE POSSIBILITY OF PLAYING IN ALL POSITIONS AND IN REDUCED SPACES.
Young football players up to 13 years "should have the opportunity to play in different positions in order to discover the roles and functions which these positions characterize".
To experiment by playing in different positions stimulates the creativity. For example, the 8-9 years old players would perform the many variations of the Mini football game (3 vs. 3 on 4 goals) instead of playing 7-a-side football or 11:1. If those 10-11 years olds participate in the 7-a-side game instead of competing in the 11- a -side match and if the players of 12-13 years would play tournaments of 8-a-side football instead of championships in 11vs.11,then the problem would be solved since a competition with less players in a reduced space stimulates the creativity. On the other hand, the full game in a regular football field only tires the young player physically and intellectually, limiting his creative play.
ONLY THOSE WHO ENJOY THE GAME CAN BE CREATIVE INDIVIDUALS.
Each training session should include a great variety of games (and not only football-specific ones"). When the children play, they should have fun and be keen on the game. If the young player does not identify himself with the proposed game that the coach has designed, the creative capability will remain asleep.
The more the players are enjoying the game and the ball, the more it stimulates the development of a creative way of interpreting the football game by the young football player.
Bohm and Peat (1988) maintain in "Science, Order and Creativity", page 255-256, that "the establishment of objectives and patterns of behaviour as well as the obsession of efficiency produce a rigid knowledge which blocks the free flow of thinking and movements, both necessary to lead to a creative behaviour of the player"
"Creativity is to meet your self, to experiment and explore new things, to transform, to remodel, to have fun, to travel into a world of dreams and to do new things with joy and pleasure, using your fantasy and imagination"
GIVE THE PLAYERS THE POSSIBILITY TO CREATE THEIR OWN GAMES AND RULES.
The coach should not only make sure that the objectives of a simplified game are mastered by most of his players, in accordance to his plan, but should frequently encourage the children to create different games through modifying the rules proposed by the teacher. Frequent rule changes, introduced by surprise during the practise of the game, force the players who want to win to adapt to the rule changes, using their creativity.
Several variations of Mini football with 4 goals, played in a reduced space, are particularly effective in stimulating creativity in young players.
Also during the training session, from time to time, the coach should give his players (perhaps for 10 minutes) a space to play freely, to do what suits them best. This could be done in any part of the training session. Once the young players are familiar with the "generosity" of the coach, not only their imagination and fantasy will grow, but also their sense of responsibility, personal initiative and their daring to improvise and to be creative. This may also increase the possibility of creating a leader within the group of players.
DARE TO TAKE RISKS AND TO IMPROVISE, WITHOUT FEARING THE POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES
The young players must grow "with the ball". That means in the same way they are progressing physically and mentally in each stage of their development, also the size and the weight of the ball has to "grow" ( using balls nº 3 and 4 as well as balls of different materials and different characteristics in their bounce and flight behavior).
The young players, especially those of 7 to 12 years, should not be pressured by their coach to quickly pass the ball in order to allow a better team-play and winning. They should frequently have the opportunity to "be in love with the ball", to dare to improvise their play and take risks, without fearing the possible consequences of having committed a mistake or to have lost the possession of the ball. Unfortunately this no longer exists, because winning has become too important, even at the lowest levels!
Young players who " treat the ball as their best friend" and often do their own thing are frequently more creative than those who are coach-orientated and accept what the coach demands. To progress in their development of being more and more creative in the football game, children should exhibit a certain degree of independence from their coaches!
This is why young players should practise and play as often as possible without the presence of their coach (i.e. in the street, in the park, in the court yard etc.) because his absence allows them to feel more comfortable to explore their innate potential without the fear of getting criticized when making mistakes. "Only those who attempt what they cannot do, will grow" - Ralph Emerson
GIVE MORE IMPORTANCE TO TRAIN THE RIGHT HEMISPHERE OF THE BRAIN
Once young children enter school the left hemisphere of their brain, where logical thinking, calculation with numbers and the verbal expression are located, is mainly getting stimulated. Pupils are expected to solve the tasks (generally "closed", perfectly defined tasks) along the lines indicated by the teacher without being allowed to contribute something of their own to the solution of the task or to be creative.
Nevertheless the development of the creative potential needs a systematic stimulation of the right hemisphere of the brain. That is why in school, like in football training, more than ever "open" tasks are needed. These "open tasks" require young people to be creative to find the best solution to the given problem.
As long as the left hemisphere of the brain prevails in the scholastic classroom as well as in football training, less creative players will arise in the world of football.
Learning in football, must be extended, more frequently offering the possibility to think and to learn incidentally and in divergent ways. The coach does not have to impose everything! It is not a doctor-patient relationship with set prescriptions.
Instead of the coach being the main character in the teaching and learning process, he should often transfer responsibility to his young pupils and ask them, through systematic questioning, to solve most of the situations that he presents. A true master in teaching never gives the answers to the problems, but helps his pupils to find and discover them on their own, guiding them to correct results. The game of football itself must become the teacher and not the coach". Johann Wolfgang von Goethe says it with other words: "Our youth prefers to get stimulated rather than instructed".
The excessive instructions given by the coach as well as the acquisition of automated and coach-directed football moves is not helping to develop the creativity of young football players.
MORE CREATIVE COACHES = MORE CREATIVE PLAYERS
In order to see more creative players ( with the capacity to be innovative and to do things in a completely different way from the norm) in the future on our football fields, our coaches will have to rethink, among other things, about:
- While practicing or competing, coaches should not always punish the mistakes of their players, as this will inhibit the players from taking risks and thereby stop their creativity, fantasy and imagination from flowing
- In the training sessions more space or time should be offered to allow players to experiment new moves that occur to them spontaneously. A more informal environment - as seen when football is played on the street, the beach or in a park- helps to develop more creative players.
- Any flash of creative behaviour in a player should be recognized by the coach who should do everything to encourage his players to be different and to look out for original solutions to the problems inherent in the football game.
- The coach should look for ways that allow for the accumulation of new experiences in young football players so that these are not gained exclusively with the use of the analytical method, but whenever possible he should find a way to do it in a more attractive way through the application of the ' global' method.
- The questions that normally a coach raises to help his players to find the solution, should from time to time be raised by the players themselves.
THE ENVIRONMENT OF THE YOUNG football PLAYER IS AN ENEMY OF HIS CREATIVITY
Nowadays most of our young talent grows in an atmosphere which is noticeably hostile towards creativity. Their familiar and scholastic surroundings, especially between the ages of 7 and 14 years, are characterized generally by a "intentional direction" of learning (with strict norms), which is limiting personal initiative, independence, originality and the value of trying to do things in different ways.
In most football fields, the young players are dominated by instructors, who allow relatively little freedom of movement and decision-making to the young players whose opinions are practically not taken into account. For the coach it is important to always have everything under his control. When a player departs from his norms, he is often chastised and told to respect the coach's directions. "The creativity of his players is the source from which a coach should drink daily."
Often instructions are given to the players about what to do and how to solve the problem or where he has to position himself best on the field. If during a competition, the coach does not direct his players, many parents may think that the coach is not motivated nor is qualified for his work.
In football training as well in school too much instruction from outside does not favor the personal initiative of the players. Many coaches think for their players, instead of stimulating them to think for themselves.
Compliance has to have high-priority! If a player begins to show signals of autonomy and self awareness, he will receive a call from the coach to get in line. This way, over the years, the young football player gets used to following the coaches' instructions and plays according to the information received but without putting in his own thoughts and his personal flair.
When these young players arrive at the age of 14-15 years, it is obvious that they are going to face serious problems if they are requested to make their own decisions, because for many years they have been trained to execute only what the adults have told them **
It is logical that suddenly it is very difficult for them to become more of a composer and creator instead of a simple executor, who for years have not been allowed to play in a creative way. Such players are not capable of enriching the football game and their teams' performance with their creativity, fantasy and imagination
Huge shout out to Johnny Fenwick in the "States "who is our longest serving member of Soccer20skills. He's continuing in his footballing career from Academy,Scholarship,Professional,to his second year of an amazing scholarship at the prestigious High Point University in North Carolina (USA). Johnny is a regular member of the side and is absolutely living the dream out in America.
This is a guide on how you can become a top striker. As a striker, you will arguably have the most responsibility on your team. Here you can learn how to ease the pressure off you and find out how to score as many goals as possible in this short guide.
As a striker, you have got to be capable of many different techniques to reach the very top level. Here are my best tips to how you can become the top striker you want to be.
Even the best players in the world work on their touch day in day out. This is essential if you want to pursue the job of a striker. To have a ‘good touch’ you must be able to control the ball quickly.
To improve this simple but effective skill you could find a wall and practise kicking the ball off the wall with one foot and controlling it with the other. It is important that you use both feet because in a competitive game you will have to be comfortable using both of your feet to control the ball. To start off, kick the ball softly off the wall. As you get better increase the power of your pass to test your ability. I assure you, if you practise this everyday your touch will improve massively.
Shooting is absolute key for a striker. As a striker, this is the number one skill you will have to have if you want to be a successful striker. If you don’t shoot you don’t score.
When shooting, you must have your body over the ball. If you lean back, the ball will fly over the bar into the sky. It’s all good hitting screamers into the top corners of the ball but we are honest you are more likely to beat the keeper from a low, powerful shot.
To practice this essential skill, you should find a goal. Stand about 20 yards away from the goal and practice striking the ball with power aiming for the bottom corners. As you get better dribble with the ball and follow up with a good low, powerful strike. Also, ask one of your friends to go in goal and use him as a goalkeeper. This will make it more like a real game.
Comfortable on the ball (hold up play)
As a striker, being comfortable on the ball will determine of you can play at the very top. If you are comfortable on the ball this means you will rarely lose possession for your team and you can also ease the pressure off the rest of the team if you can keep the ball comfortably.
Hold up play means you will come short for the ball dragging the defenders out of positon. This will hopefully create space in behind. This will most likely trigger your team mates to explore the space and run into it. This will hopefully create a goal scoring opportunity. A team that enforces this is Chelsea. If you watch their team, Diego Costa (Striker) will come short and receive the ball to his feet. This always creates space behind the defence for players like Eden Hazard (Wide Midfielder) to exploit. As you hold the ball up top, you must have good support upfront with you to perfect this sort of move.
A good tip is to always be in front of the defender so he doesn’t nip the ball off you. You also have got to be aware of your surroundings, make sure you know who is around you weather it’s a defender or a team mate.
Heading is also important skill of you want to be a good striker. All of the best strikers can score with their head. You are likely to get a couple of good crosses from your wide midfielders in a competitive game and if you cannot head there are some golden opportunities wasted.
You can practise this by getting three friends together. You should find a goal and set up this drill. One person should occupy the job of the goalkeeper and the other as the ‘thrower’. The thrower will stand next to the goal and they will throw you the ball head height and you will have to head the ball past the goalkeeper. Once you have got good at this, the thrower will turn into the crosser. They will cross a ball into your head for you to head it into the goal. If you practice this often your heading ability will increase quickly.
You have got to have good movement as a striker. The best example of this is Sergio Agüero. He has fantastic movement. He runs the opposing defender’s crazy with his movement, he always seems to get in behind.
If you make, positive runs forward this could result into a goal if your midfielder can find the correct pass. Be intelligent with your runs. Make sure you stay onside. A tip is to run along the defensive line until the pass is played. You could also make intelligent runs into the attacking midfield positon to disrupt opponents defence and formation. Take players away from their positon will create space in behind the defenders.
Finishing is a little different to shooting. Finishing requires more technique and composure. Too many striker try to ‘smash’ the ball into the net instead of the simple option of slotting the ball past the goalkeeper.
There are not many ways to practise this. Game time is essential for this important skill. However, a good, solid touch is important. Another thing which is important is decision making. The decision of chipping the keeper, slotting and placing the ball into the goal or smashing the ball past the keeper is important.
This is a bonus as you can still be a successful striker without being skilful. If you are as skilful player this can get you out of the sticky situations you could find yourself in. For example, if you find yourself surrounded by defenders you could solve the situation by a simple ‘Cruyff turn’.
To perfect your skills, you should be doing the soccer 20 skills every day.
In a game, you could find yourself alone with a striker with lots of space in front of you. You should be looking to beat the player. Dribble the ball to penetrate the defence to create a goal scoring opportunity.
Having the ability to dribble past opponents is certainly attractive and a person who is a perfect example is of course Lionel Messi. He glides past players easily and this is mainly because of his class dribbling ability. The best forwards when dribbling use small touches, slowly nudging it forward. This allows you to keep the ball in close control, reducing the risk of getting tackled. As the ball is under close control it gives you the ability to cut or turn if necessary.
When practising move the ball around in all directions keeping the ball close to your foot. Start of slowly and increase the speed once you feel comfortable. You could set out some cones and dribble around them changing direction often.
For the advanced player............add these to your game
Excellent receiving skills
Ability to turn and run with the ball
Effective in 1v1
Ability to protect the ball
Ability to link play and bring players into the game
Can play one or two touch
Key areas- Tactical
Awareness to exploit spaces and timing of runs
Creating space for self or team mates
Movement into goal scoring positions
Defends from the front to compact defenders in defending third
TEAM PLAY Move the ball quickly and with purpose.
Be brave, trust yourself and each other.
Look to switch the play often (QUICKLY).
Quality of the final ball in the attacking third.
Increase strikes at goal – do not refuse crosses or shots.
Attacking set plays – do your jobs.
REMEMBER – “A good hockey player plays where the puck is…. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” Wayne Gretsky
Out of Possession
TEAM PLAY Defend as a team front to back.
Recover the ball quickly.
Narrow and compact team shape.
Deny them space to play through us.
FINAL THIRD Stand up, Track runners, NO crosses, NO shots, NO goals
Tom and his friends had a great time, all really enthusiastic about the party! The kids all talked about the things they had learned whilst they were eating and enjoyed the mix of learning skills and actual football matches.
From me, this was very easy to organise but above all the little touches you added in were what made the difference, which were:
Making it enjoyable
Catering for all abilities and the differing ages
The trophy and awarding man of the match to the birthday boy
But above all, as in your weekly sessions, the thing that stands out for me is the way you teach sportsmanship and respect which in sport is a really important aspect of the game which is often forgotten!
Thanks again for making this such a great birthday memory and experience for Tom and his friends
For more information regards our Soccer20skills Party click here-
A pitch inspection was carried out this afternoon (Friday 13th January 2017). The trials are set to go ahead as planned. Any update due to a change in the weather will be posted by 9.30am 14th January. Please refer to this website.
Run your own coaching business from £495 in your area.
Full and part time football coaching positions are available region-wide to deliver football coaching to a variety of age groups between 5-12 years.
You should be keen, sports minded and motivated to bring Soccer20skill.com’s innovative Online Player Development Tool into your day to day coaching to help your players develop further than ever before.
FA level 2 or above coaching qualifications are essential. Passion for football and professionalism in your approach are the perfect start in this exciting and rewarding career which can work alongside your existing job or responsibilities.
Flexible working hours - evenings and weekend work will be required.
Soccer20skills.com- Gateshead £10 an hour- 6 hours per week available
· Football coaching experience Experience of communicating with members of the general public and young children.
· Physical fitness and stamina
· A personal commitment to sustaining professional working practices in the workplace at all times including excellent timekeeping and punctuality skills.
· The right aptitude for coaching young children aged 5 to 12 years old
· Ability to work as part of a team.
· Proactive pre-session planning of each Soccer20skills.com activity session attended.
· Punctual, accurate and safe delivery of the football activity coaching content in the Soccer20skills Academy programme during the session.
· FA level 2 or above coaching qualifications are essential.
· Monitoring and maintenance of a safe environment at all times during the session.
· Reporting to and coordination with your employer to ensure the maintenance of high quality Soccer20skills Academy sessions at all times.
· Please email your CV which must include demonstrated coaching to Anthony at firstname.lastname@example.org References and a valid enhanced Criminal Records Bureau disclosure will be required. Please note this post is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 under the (Exceptions) Order 1975.
Soccer20skills are delighted to have been offered the opportunity to visit Newcastle United 1st team training ground.
All Soccer20skills members aged 4, 5 & 6 years are invited, the invitation is FREE.
Address Details: Newcastle United 1st Team Training Centre, Darsley Park, Whitley Road,NE7 9SF (indoor venue)
Date: Sunday,November 6th 2016
Timings: Meeting time- 4pm Finishing time- 6pm
All players must come ready to train, with appropriate clothing and footwear
This is a great chance for your child to perform on Newcastle United 1st Team training ground.
If you have any questions please come back to us.
Important information please note:
Please park down at the bottom, just outside the indoor venue. The Mini Magpies will still be training when we arrive, so there will be a crossover of children/parents finishing their session and Soccer 20 arriving ready to start their session.
As always we are reminded to respect the venue and at no time look to encroach onto pitches outside the indoor venue.
NUFC Staff and Coaching Staff will be in attendance on the day and will be working with the S20 Team and members during the afternoon.
S20 hope's everyone has an enjoyable afternoon and looking forward to seeing you there.
Soccer20skills Academy is back, starting September 5th. All the latest news regards session times are below.
Good afternoon, Soccer20skills Gateshead (Cardinal Hume) restarts on Monday 5th September 2016. We look forward to existing and new members joining us. Below you find the session times and days. If you are unsure regards your child’s timings, please come back to us at info@soccer20skills before your first session. Please ensure that you always check our website for all the latest information and timings at http://soccer20skills.com/latest-news/. For existing members all accounts and standing orders must be up to date before your child attends their first session. Monday Sessions
Nicole joined in Spring 2015 with no experience other than a love of playing football with friends. Within a few weeks of starting s20 she started to flourish. She loved practicing the skills she was being taught . The great thing about s20 is that it caters for all abilities but encourages the kids to challenge themselves .
Nicole joined her first football team and naturally without thinking used what she was being taught at s20 in matches. After a successful season Nicole decided push herself even more!
That's why for now her journey with s20 has come to an end . In June 2016
after a trial she joined Sunderland Academy as a member of the under 10 team . I have no doubt that the skills, coaching and encouragement from everyone at s20 played an important part in Nicole's achievement . Thank you .
I started playing football at the age of eight for a local team, Whickham Fellside Yellows. I was a late starter in football compared to all of my friends who had already been playing for much longer than me, but I was still extremely keen to start playing! In my first season of football I hardly got any game time and I wasn’t very good at all. At times it was so difficult when the coach would only give me 5 minutes in a game and sometimes I didn’t get on at all.
At the age of 9 I found Soccer 20 and I was one of the first kids to join, I wanted to try and develop myself into a better player. As soon as I joined, Anth Cole and the coaching team made me feel welcome and comfortable from the first training session. They gave me confidence in my ability and engaged me into learning a wide range of new skills and techniques. We would practice these skills every time I went on a Thursday night by joining a number up to the skill. For example, number one was to drop the shoulder and go the other way with the ball. With every new skill I learned I would go out on to the street and practice them for hours on end, and then try and take them on the football pitch with me!
Soccer 20 was the opportunity for kids like me to play football and express themselves without fear. I was encouraged to be positive and not to worry about losing the ball. The sessions were fun and at the end of the night no one wanted the session to end.
Being taught these skills (especially at such a young age) had a major impact on me as a player. It opened a whole host of opportunities for me as a young kid. I joined Middlesbrough development centre at the age of 10, and by the age of eleven I was playing for their academy! If it wasn’t for Soccer 20 I would have never been in the position that I was.
Unfortunately, I was later released by Middlesbrough, and it was fair to say I was gutted. I thought it was the end of everything and I lost a lot of confidence in myself. However, with the confidence-boosting support of Anth, Kevin Bolam, Hodga, Sam Charlton and the rest of the coaching staff, I was soon back on two feet at Soccer 20 trying Cruyff turns, step-overs, you name it! I was enjoying my football once again.
By the age of 13 I had developed into a better player than I ever had been before. I had improved a massive amount physically and had went through a massive growth spurt, making me go from one of the smallest kids on my team (I always was used to being called ‘little Jack’) to actually being accepted as at least, average size. I was playing at Newcastle City Juniors in the season of u14’s, prior to being signed up by Newcastle United’s academy. This was one of the proudest moments in my life, signing for the team I loved and supported from a very young age.
However, with many good things come bad things. I was injured for the whole of u15’s season with continuous growing pains in my knees, commonly known as Osgood Schlatters. It was a big blow for me and I felt down and upset a lot of the time. I would try go out and train on it, but it didn’t help at all, so that’s when I had to start resting it. Then, my knees would feel alright so I would train for at the most two weeks and then they would start aggravating me again. It was a horrible feeling seeing all the lads outside having fun on the pitch while I was stuck in the physio room.
With every cloud comes a silver lining, and I started an upper body program to help improve me physically to prepare me for when I would be back playing. As soon as I got back fit I felt a massive difference in my strength, and this was an aspect of my game that needed improvement. I suppose this was the only positive thing I could have gotten out of being injured for so long.
A player who plays like I do needs confidence. I like driving at my opponents with the ball, beating players by the dribble and using skill and most of all scoring goals as well as assisting them. I was sharp back up to pace again in u16’s, and I felt quicker and stronger than I ever had before! I had a few injuries here and there which knocked me back but I never lost the determination and belief to keep going, even when things were not going great for me.
Just recently I have signed a 2 year scholarship with Newcastle, which I was absolutely buzzing about! Words could not describe the feeling when I was told, and I’m still over the moon today!
The hard work continues and what I do know is that whatever happens I have loved the journey. I wouldn't change a thing and I am going to give this my best shot.
Finally, to any young kids reading this, I have to say I cannot recommend soccer 20 highly enough. I am absolutely certain that if It hadn't of been for the coaching and influence of Soccer20, I certainly wouldn't be where I am today. Many thanks Anth, I really appreciate it!
Latest Pinpoint Junior Football League Representative Squad Games
Forthcoming Sunderland Game
We are delighted to advise that Sunderland Football Club have confirmed a game with the Representative Squads.
15th April 2016 (Friday)
Two x 7v7 matches in the Indoor Barn
SAFC U7 versus Pinpoint U8s
SAFC U8 versus Pinpoint U9s
22nd April 2016 (Friday)
Two x 8v8 matches – one in the Indoor Barn / one on the outdoor astro.
SAFC U9 versus Pinpoint U10s
SAFC U10 versus Pinpoint U11s
*All matches on artificial grass
Please report to the main car park at the Academy of Light, Sunderland Road, Cleadon, SR6 7UN for 6pm (no earlier if possible).
Changing rooms will be available for the teams.
All players to wear footwear suitable for artificial grass (no studs).
Parents will be able to access the parents lounge and watch the matches from a designated area. Please note that both Soccer 20 and Sunderland FC will expect a no communication policy during games and respect to all players, coaching staff, officials and parents at all times during the visit.
Games to kick off at 6.30pm (see above formats).
Also save the date for your diary:
Middlesbrough Football Club, Rockliffe Park, Hurworth Place, Darlington, County Durham DL2 2DU.
This will take place on:
Friday 13th May for U8s and U9s, meet for 5pm latest for a 6.00pm start. Please bring footwear for both indoor/outdoor.
Wednesday 18th May for U10s and U11s, meet for 5pm latest for a 6.00pm start. Please bring footwear for both indoor/outdoor.
Due to the recent franchise launch we are proud to announce Soccer20skills has moved into Kelso region in the Scottish Borders in Scotland. This is the 3rd addition which includes Middlesbrough & New Zealand. If you or a friend are interested in discussing running a S20 franchise please get in touch here-
For all the latest news and session updates click here
Pinpoint Recruitment Junior Football League Representative Squads 2016
Training will be once a month at the Soccer20 venue in Gateshead (Cardinal Hume School). Cardinal Hume School, Old Durham Road, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear NE9 6RZ (outdoor - Astroturf).
U8s and U9s Training Dates (February - June inclusive) U8s & U9s will take place on 1st February, 7th March, 18th April, 9th May, 6th June. 6.30pm to 8pm. Please meet 15 minutes prior to your session starting at the sports hall reception, where a member of the S20 Team will meet you. Your U8 coach will be Sam Charlton. Your U9 coach will be Joel Errington.
U10s and U11s Training Dates (February - June inclusive)
U10s will take place on 8th February, 14th March, 11th April, 16th May, 13th June. 6.30pm to 8pm at Cardinal Hume School. Please meet 15 minutes prior to your session starting at the sports hall reception, where a member of the S20 Team will meet you. Your U10 coach will be Alan Evans. Your U11 coach will be Chris Hodgson.
Forthcoming Sunderland Game
We are delighted to advise that Sunderland Football Club have confirmed a game with the Representative Squads.
This will take place on:
Friday 15th April for U8s and U9s
Friday 22nd April for U10s and U11s
Venue is the Academy of Light. Please save this date and more details will follow shortly. Timings are likely to similar to previous game.
Ryan Bolam played in the Northern League for South Shields last season, making his debut and scoring as a 16yr old against Stokesly. He played around 12 times for them as well as playing for the 18s. He has since moved to Seaham Red Star who are in the first division and helps out where possible when the 18s at Shields have not got a game. Whilst at Shields he made a little history as he was the youngest goalscorer in recent history ! He passed his level one a couple of weeks ago
The Pin Point Recruitment Junior Football League’s under 8’s representative side took to the pitch for their first game on Friday against a very good Newcastle United side. The squad has only trained once since being selected in January, but looking at their performance you would think they had been playing together for a long time. They played a different format to their normal club football but they adapted extremely well to the 7 v 7 game and looked very comfortable playing together. From the very first whistle the team were excellent, very confident on the ball whilst in possession and working very hard for each other when out of possession. Many players played in unfamiliar positions at certain points in the games, but they all excelled in the positions they were asked to play. Every player, from front to back was a real credit to their boys club and to the league, their play was excellent, they played the games in the right way, smiling and enjoying the experience throughout the evening. There was some moments of individual brilliance and some outstanding goals scored, both from a team play point of view and also individual. Speaking to the team after the game, they all said they loved the experience and the freedom to play in different positions as well as being confident to try new things. The squad is looking forward to their next training session and preparing for the next set of games.
Thanks to everyone who attended and a big thanks to all the parents\guardians who supported the team on the evening, it is very much appreciated!! I hope you all enjoyed the games as much as I did…
Hello from all the team at Soccer20skills Gateshead.
Training recommences this week in Gateshead following the February holidays. We hope you've all had a nice break. Spring is here and the lighter evenings so its a great time to get back into your footie. Thanks for the continued support of all of our members, parents and team who have kept going throughout the bad weather, some of the kids have sheer grit and determination.
Soccer20 is continuing to be a huge success in our newest areas of Middlesbrough, New Zealand and Kelso in the Scottish Borders. We recently visited our Kelso Team, with over 40 players on the day. More on this to following in our news updates.
This month's topic is 'passing'. Last month's was 'receiving', where player's were taught to receive the ball in an 'opposed' and 'unopposed' situation; with game related sessions incorporating this.
We will be continuing with the Skills Challenge over the spring/summer months. This has been very successful throughout the Academy as has 'the best of the best', with some outstanding results and achievements. Most of all the kids enjoy.
It's Competition Time We are running a competition to win a signed Newcastle United Football Shirt. To be in with a chance of winning the shirt, please do one of the following*:
Email a review/testimonial of why you or your child loves soccer20skills.com.
Emails to email@example.com. Please let us have your name, contact email and your player's name.
Write a review on google using the soccer20skills.com search and look to the right hand side of the search listings to write your review.
Deadline for entries is Midnight Saturday 5th March. The winner will be drawn at Soccer20 Gateshead on Monday 7th March by one of our s20 players.
(*T&Cs apply. Soccer20skills have the right to withdraw the promotion at any time. Limit of 2 entries per player).
Luke has been playing football since the age of 5 where he used to attend the soccer tots at Wrekenton Nou Camp and he developed the basic skills of the game. When Luke was 7 and old enough to play for a team he joined S20 for further development and enjoyment. It was at this point that Luke’s love of the game became apparent as he started to show great levels of skill, determination and creativity. In his first season he managed to score 46 goals for Wrekenton for what turned out to be a very enjoyable first season in the Apollo Doors League. Luke carried on attending Wrekenton and S20 regularly and it wasn’t too long till he had his first taste of success, captaining his Wrekenton team to the Russell Foster U9 division 1 league title, where he played a key role in winning the league.
When Luke reached the U10’s he decided he wanted to pit himself against the best teams around and therefore joined Bowburn Youth FC. who at the time were playing in the Premier division of the Russell Foster league. Luke enjoyed a very fruitful first season which saw him develop his game further by playing at this level week in week out. It was at this time that S20 really started to push Luke, setting him harder challenges and moving him into the higher groups on both Monday and Thursday nights. Luke quickly became a key member of the Bowburn squad and in his first tournament away in Blackpool helped his team to a winner’s trophy. The success didn’t end there as still with Bowburn he went to Wembley in the Indesit U10 finals where they competed against teams from all around the country prevailing as champions. This success was later documented in the 2013 Christmas edition of Fourfourtwo magazine.
Bowburn went on to win several other tournaments in the summer of 2014 where he and another teammate were asked to attend a six week trial at Hartlepool United after impressing scouts whilst playing against them. Luke took this challenge in his stride and was offered a contract not long after, from which he accepted the offer. Luke has spent almost a season at Hartlepool UTD but still attends S20 regular where he still manages to demonstrate improvement through hard work, determination and knowledge from the S20 team. Luke tracks his progress online, making sure he knows what areas to work on and what skills he needs to practice. He runs through the skills he has learnt with S20 before every training session at Hartlepool as soon as he gets on the pitch, he goes through the numbers and practices them at every opportunity. Luke works hard at his skills and often demonstrates them well during matches which, makes for some entertaining football.
I believe S20 have played a major part in the development of Luke not only as a player but as a person. The model and ethos of the coaching delivered is of the highest level I have seen. Every session shows progression and meaning; promoting key attributes needed to play at good levels such as confidence, skill, creativity and hard work.
Luke recently started one to one sessions with Anth Cole. Anth asked Luke what he felt he would like additional training on, then tailored the sessions to match Luke's preferences. Luke has really enjoyed these sessions and has taken everything he has learnt in the last few sessions straight into his game. This has resulted in Luke using his left foot more consistently, raising his awareness on the pitch and most importantly being able to relax whilst being positive and creating chances. This additional confidence was further demonstrated when Luke lobbed the goalkeeper from 35 yards, a chance before his one to one sessions he probably wouldn’t have tried.
Since last seeing Johnny at Soccer20 we have some superb news about him.
Soccer20's Johnny Fenwick has overcome fierce competition to secure a place at the very prestigious High Point University in North Carolina. Johnny is in his first season of playing for the High Point Panthers Soccer and also a Freshman in his academics. The university facilities are absolutely amazing (please take the time to have a look at it http://www.highpoint.edu/campusmap/ ). Johnny is enjoying a great season in his soccer career and settling in well to his life out in America with some already fantastic experiences.
There's no doubt he has worked and continuing to work extremely hard in both his football and academics to secure the place and enjoying every minute. We will keep an eye on his progress in the coming months.
But for now we wish him the very best of luck with his studies and continued football journey.
We've raised with the help of all of our friends, family and soccer20skills.com community an AMAZING £1017.00 for the Teeange Cancer Trust (Run for Dan). Thank you so much to each and every one of you for your support and sponsorship. They've been a fantastic charity to support and do superb work with kids like Dan and their families during a very tough time. Can't thank you all enough.
Due to popular demand saw the return of the Games Night this week at soccer20skills.com As requested see below as we've kicked off our results tables. This will be updated following games nights. Well done everyone brilliant sessions.
Monday 1st session 6pm
Man Utd 7
Man City 11
Monday 2nd session 7pm
Man Utd 14
Man City 13
Monday 3rd session 8pm
Man Utd 10
Man City 10
Thursday 1st session 6pm
Man Utd 8
Man City 9
Thursday 2nd session 7pm
Man Utd 14
Man City 9
Thursday 3rd session 8pm
Man Utd 14
Man City 8
William Wells from our Thursday night sessions took part in his first cross country event with teammates from Kells Lane Primary School years 3/4.
The event was organised by Gateshead School Sports Partnership, with schools from all over Gateshead competing on a one mile course in Whickham.
William tried really hard and probably surprised himself and his team mates by winning his race! He is really pleased with himself and with good reason. The Kells Lane team ran well and finished overall an impressive second. They all really enjoyed their time there.
Recently taking part in the Junior North Run he ran 2.5 miles in an amazing 17 min 46 secs!
A massive well done to William and also to his teammates from Kells Lane Primary School. It's great to see you doing things you enjoy.
Soccer20skills offer a very warm welcome to the newest member of our Team. Steve Thompson will be joining us in an advisory role. Steve has valuable experience of finance, business and a great love of sport. He has advised and worked with Soccer20skills.com for a number of years. You will often see him about at our Cardinal Hume Venue. Steve is pictured first from the left at one of our Allstars sessions. Great to have you on board.
Alex from our Monday Sessions joined thousands of other youngsters from across the country to take part in the Mini Great North Run on Saturday September 12th 2015. The weather wasn't playing ball, but that didn't put young Alex off, he was raring to go whatever.
He successfully completed the run which takes the competitors from one side of the quayside passing its major landmarks and finishes at the Newcastle quayside by crossing the Millennium Bridge. Alex will have earned himself a fab medal and T shirt.
Well done mate from all your friends at Soccer20. It is such a big achievement and you should be very proud of yourself.
We love the action shot taken of you out on the course .
If members would like their photographs from the GNR weekend added on to the website please send to firstname.lastname@example.org
S20 very recently caught up with Adam Byron who was one of our earliest members of Soccer20skills.com. Now, at just 17 years old Adam is representing his country at the highest level in Futsal. We've asked Adam a few questions during his busy training schedule about him, Futsal, Soccer20 and what playing for England has meant to him.
How old are you now and what are you up to?
I’m 17 and play for Boro Futsal 3 times a week and play/train with 11 aside twice a week.
Tell us why you went into Futsal?
The main reason I went into Futsal was because I personally felt like it suited me better and was more my game, quick touches on the ball and a lot of sharp movements makes it more exciting. Chris (Hodga) was the main reason I got introduced to Futsal when he asked me to sign for Boro and since then I've loved every minute of it.
What did it feel like been selected for England?
Being asked to trial for England was the biggest surprise for me as it was only my first season in Futsal and not knowing all of the ‘ins and outs’ of the game I had to show I was willing to try my best. My hard work paid off when I got asked to play for them, and being able to play a match wearing the England strip was an unforgettable experience, and I felt as though I had achieved something great.
By attending Soccer20skills, what did you learn and like about it?
Soccer 20 was a great experience for me also as the training was always enjoyable and I was encouraged to express myself which I think made me a better player. I would also take a few tricks from soccer 20 and put them into my matches/games which was very helpful when coming up against another player. The coaches at soccer 20 are by far the best I have had as they always know what they were talking about and they were always there if I ever needed support or to ask any questions.
Any secret tips for our younger members?
I think my tips for any young player would just be to push themselves to the limit, have a target and try to achieve it. Notice when to take the right advice from people and encourage others and most importantly to enjoy it!
"We would like to thank Adam for his Blog and congratulate him on his achievements so far. Keep working hard mate, enjoy your footballing journey and keep in touch. Everyone at Soccer20skills.com wishes you every success for the future".
And what a weekend its been for many of our members and families with the Great North Run weekend in the North East. Anth and Claire completed the GNR with times of 2:17 and 2:07. We met some fantastic people along the way and celebrated at the end with friends and the Teenage Cancer Trust. We would like to express our sincere thanks to everyone who has supported us along the way both. We have raised over £500.00 and this is still being counted and sorted, via our sponsorship sheet, 'Just giving page', donations from Soccer20 members and teas/coffees. We will let you know the total in the next couple of weeks. We would also like to give a special mention to the Teenage Cancer Trust who have been a wonderful charity, their support to us as mere runners has been first class, even down to the massage and genuine hospitality at the end of the race. More to follow on our Junior Great North Runners........
One of our younger members will be leaving us to continue his footballing journey. Spencer Ashcroft from our Monday class has been invited to train with not 1 but all 3 of the clubs connected to S20. A fantastic opportunity for him to be asked by Sunderland Academy, Middlesbrough Academy, Newcastle United. Good luck Spencer from all your friends at S20 and hopefully you will come back to see us in your free time.
10 ways to improve your forward runs behind the opposition
WBA's new record signing, Salomon Rondon is the type of player to exploit any space in behind opposition defences. He will give WBA a real counter attack threat, because he shows the desire, pace and intelligence to make these key forward runs behind defenders.
Exploiting space and getting behind the opposition defence are one sure fire way of creating goal scoring opportunities. But, players and coaches need to work on both recognising when the opportunities present themselves in a game and how to create and exploit these situations.
10 coaching tips to improve forward runs behind the oppositions defence
Game recognition of 3 key factors 1. Space to pass and run into 2. A forward who has the desire to make a run into space 3. A pass into the space.
The forward runners need to recognise where the space is to run into. Where the ball is and if the player on the ball has their head up and looking to pass forward. How much space there is and where the defenders are.
The forward runner also needs the desire to make the run. To think about the timing of the run - player being aware of offside and the angle of the run - do they run straight or curve their run to stay onside?
Another important factor for the forward runner to think about is the cleverness of their run. For example, can they pull away from the ball and get on the blind side of a defender for a diagonal pass? Can their initial movement be short - to drag the defender to the ball and then spin in behind to exploit the space created? Do they make an angled run behind a ball watching defender?
The passer needs to also recognise where the space is. Sometimes an early ball into space pays dividends - hit the space early, turn the opposition round and let the forwards chase it down.
Other times the passer will need to get their head up and look to make a forward pass.
The connection and communication between the runner and the passer then becomes vital. A timed run and a timed pass can really exploit space behind defences.
The passer also needs to consider, not only the timing of the pass, but also the accuracy, weight and technique of the pass. For example, a fast pass along the floor or a lofted diagonal pass over defenders
Decisions on the pass, control and pass? Run with the ball to commit defenders and time a pass for the runner? Hit an early first time pass to try and catch the defence flat and square.
Game recognition - For example, if the opposition have attacked and lost the ball, they will have pushed up and left space in behind them. This transition creates great opportunities to hit them with an early timed pass and run. Counter attacks where the opposition are briefly outnumbered. Give and goes: Third man runs and gambles on running behind from flick ons, or defenders mistakes are all very important elements for players to consider.
Joe Holman does it again and eases past his FA Level 1 Coaching Badge. Great stuff mate, hard work and commitment pays off. Working as part of a strong coaching team within Soccer20 will only build on the development and progress of both the members and the staff.
Looking forward to working with you this season again Joe.
Soccer20 members Dominic Minchella and Thomas Cole have both signed new 2 year contracts with Newcastle United Football Club Academy. Moving next season to U15s the boys have both had a great season at U14 level.
Working extremely hard, under a great set up and being part of the day release scheme they have between them had some memorable highlights such as national tournaments, one being at the FA headquarters St. Georges Park, international tournaments, Neuville Tournament in France, playing at Manchester City Football Club's new impressive Ethiad Campus, beating Manchester City at Newcastle's home pitch and playing against very talented sides such as West Bromich Albion, Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Leeds.
S20 wish you both all the very best for the coming season, continue to work hard and enjoy your footballing journey.
Sessions recommence at Cardinal Hume in September.
We hope everyone has had a fantastic Summer break. We are looking forward to seeing you all very soon. The team have been working hard over the Summer to develop Soocer20skills.com and are excited about the new season and things coming up for soccer20skills.com.
Dates for your diary:
Thursday 3rd September - Thursday night restarts
Monday 7th September - Monday night restarts
PLEASE REMEMBER TO VIEW THE WEBSITE EVERY WEEK AND BEFORE YOUR SESSION. THIS IS WHERE ALL OF OUR UPDATES WILL BE POSTED (INCLUDING CANCELLATION OF SESSIONS DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER).
Just wanted to give you all an update on Dan's progress.
We've just finished phase 4 of his treatment. It's been a really tough phase and it's taken a lot out of him over the last couple of months. He's also suffered from side effects a bit more in this phase. A reaction between steroids and his anti-sickness drugs gave him a really nasty rash, then he suffered from really bad pains in his arms and legs as a reaction to a chemo called Vincristine. This particular treatment can irritate nerve endings and this reaction is quite common, but Dan had managed to avoid it so far.
Thankfully they have both gone now and Dan is slowly recovering and getting his energy back.
He's due to start the maintenance phase of treatment shortly. This is the last phase of treatment but also the longest. Dan will be in this phase for the next two and a half years. On the positive side, it's also the most gentle phase and everyone tells us it should be much easier than what he's had so far. This should mean he'll be able to get some normality back in terms of getting back to school and hopefully back to training.
He had a nice boost this week as he was invited to the NUFC v West Brom game. We watched the game from the press box and he met all the players, including Jonas Gutierrez who was keen to meet Dan having been through his own battle with cancer recently. Dan also had a long chat with Darren Fletcher who asked about his recovery and his football and gave him some great motivation and advice for the future (see photos).
Thanks very much for your continued support and we'll see you soon at Soccer20.