Friday, January 3, 2014

Why LTPD was successfully implemented in Ontario for U4-U12.

As a soccer community, we just completed our second year with the implementation of Long Term Player Development (LTPD).  Field and team sizes have shrunk and league/tournament structures have changed.  The Canadian Soccer Association made the brave move of walking the soccer world down that path.

My experiences on several fronts give me the impression that most people are generally supportive of what's happening with the younger age groups (U4-U12).

During 2013, all of Ontario was playing 7v7 for U9/U10 and 9v9 for U11 at the travel level.  Many

Monday, December 16, 2013

The parent coach is very important to soccer

As people get more serious about soccer they shouldn't distance themselves from the grassroots level.

Let's give you the punch line right now, as I see it, of course.  The mom and pop coaches are THE most important component in soccer's sustainability as an organized sport in Canada.

You may hear the sentiment that parents should not be coaching their own children.  Maybe so, but that's not a realistic scenario. so why go there?

When it comes to elite programs involving talent identification, tryouts, selections, uneven playing time, etc, parent coaches may not be suitable.  If it's avoidable, I agree 100%. (Unless you're Walter Gretzky, you will probably not have 100% comfort as a parent coaching a travel sport)

Before that age arrives, there is an army of soccer players out there looking to play.

Kudos to the Ontario Soccer Association and other provincial federations for investing in and stressing grassroots soccer.

In June 2013, I was fortunate enough to be invited to participate in a 4-day FIFA Grassroots Workshop

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Niagara College Men's Soccer - 2013 Season Reflection

Season two for the Niagara College Men's Soccer team with this new coaching staff is now in the history books.
This year we kicked off our program with a different mindset than last season.  Being my second year as head coach, with assistant coaches and players returning, we were able to hit the ground running.

One major difference from last year to this year ... I now coach both the men and women.

There is one thing I really enjoy about this league.  We are in the toughest division in Canada and you cannot afford to ease up at any time, in any game.  That kind of pressure is exciting and keeps everybody on their toes.

We knew what we were looking for in our group of trialists.  We wanted to adapt a style-of-play that

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Niagara College Women's Soccer - 2013 season reflection

From the first day of fitness training in March 2013, I was glad I returned to coach the Niagara College Knights Varsity Women's Soccer Team.

The in-season phase of our program ended with a last minute 2-1 loss to Lambton College on October 6 at our home field.

I was coach of the women's program from 2008-2010 then left.  I returned to the college in 2012 to coach the men, then took on both teams this past season.

We had a job to do. The team had 4 points and 3 goals combined over the previous 2 seasons.  Their combined goal differential was -64.  They had credible coaches during that time that I respect,  so I cannot speculate as to what happened.  But I did watch most of their games last season.

My first call was to Kristin Campbell, one of the assistants with us when I coached last time.  Kristin was our indoor team MVP in 2009 and has a good understanding of the game.  She is a very active 12-month player on the women's soccer scene.  She is just as passionate as a coach as she was as a player.

Gary Condon has been the assistant coach for this program for the last two coaches.  Gary has a long soccer resume, a lot of coaching experience on the women's side and a former student-athlete himself while at University. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The importance of the Quick, Early and Accurate pass

I've watched a lot of sports at various levels and I like to think I know which players are better than others.

My main experiences have been with soccer, hockey and basketball.  But over the last 3 years I've been introduced to and am enjoying field lacrosse.  This past fall, my son was a member of the University of Guelph Lacrosse team and I watched them play at least ten games plus their tournament on the way to winning a National Championship.  I used my old experiences to help me identify who the strong players were.

I always observe a player's athleticism, speed, "smarts", durability and body language.  But one thing I do appreciate about sports at a high level is how quickly the ball (or puck) moves. 

During my licensing courses with the CSA, our instructors used a term that has always stuck with me - "Quick/Early/Accurate" passing.  It's short enough to insert into your coaching and easy for players to