Westfield Soccer Association

The importance of street soccer

Weekly email 6/10/15

Coaches,

We are all well aware that free play or street soccer can have a huge impact on the development of players. You can ask many of the best players in the world to find out what really helped them develop into the players they have become and they will tell you that playing in the streets with their friends had a huge impact on their development. No stress, unsupervised and just with their friends. This is an ideal environment for young players to try new things and experiment on the ball in game like situations.

While watching the French playing the English in the women’s world cup the announcers quoted Louisa Necib, probably the best player on a very strong French team. She was asked what helped her develop the foot skills that help her maintain possession in very tight situations under pressure of defenders. Her answer was very short “I played on the streets with my friends and family members, you are always challenged and will need to develop your foot skills to stay on top”.

BTW, Louisa Necib is referred to as the female version of Zinedine Zidane, a star on the French men’s national team that won the World Cup in 1998.

In my home country the national federation realized a few years ago that the youth in the Netherlands spends less time playing outside with their friends and more time inside on the computer or in front of the television. Johan Cruyff, who I hope everybody knows, started an initiative through his foundation and has helped built many Cruyff courts across the Netherlands. These courts are supposed to encourage players to go outside and play the game of soccer in an environment that helped Johan Cruyff himself develop to become the player he was in the late 60’s, during the 70’s and beginning of the 80’s.

These type of games are not only important for the development of the technical skills, but will also help players to take ownership of the experience. In an organized setting players are too often told what and when to do it, without ever having to think for themselves. Soccer players need to be able to find solutions to the problems they encounter by themselves, but many youngsters struggle to do so nowadays. The training provided by our trainers can help players get started, but players need to go out and play with their friends and family members as often as possible. The game is the best teacher! Let them deal with the problems they encounter when out on the field. It will help players improve the ability to make decisions on their own and increase their speed of thought in game like situations.

For that reason please encourage your players to attend the hot summer nights as often as possible, organized by our association. Although organized by the club, with the help of a few very committed volunteers, the goal is to have these players regulate the games themselves. This to best mimic the street soccer environment that helped many very good players become the players they are today.

The hot summer nights take place on Tue and Thu using the field by Roosevelt intermediate school. The program starts Tuesday June 23rd and will continue all the way through August 6th. Games start at 7PM and will continue till it is too dark outside to play. Note that there are no costs involved to play and everybody is welcome to participate!

The season might be over, but our members can continue to play throughout the summer!

Thank you

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Ruben Vloedgraven

Director of Coaching - Westfield Soccer Association

DOC@westfieldnjsoccer.com

1-908-842-4382