Thursday, April 30, 2009
The rotating lineup doesn't seem to have hampered Chivas USA's success, as the team currently sits in first place in MLS.
"Using different lineups can be hard," said striker Justin Braun. "As you play with each other more and more, you start learning people's tendencies and every time the lineup changes, you have to adapt pretty quickly.
"But I think we've done a good job with it. We're getting the results, so something's going right."
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
The fixture has historically delivered its fair share of memorable moments, many of those coming in the 13 years since Wenger took up the reins in north London.
And although there are now signs of an entente cordialle between the pair, we recall some of the pair's memorable quotations.
The Scot (Ferguson) probably has the easier of the two tasks as it would seem that Arsenal only know how to play one way, however he too will be analysing the small details. Will Fabregas be deployed just off Adebayor or will Wenger revert to a 4-5-1 formation as he often does in away games in Europe?
Did Wenger show his opposite number any of his hand in the win over 'Boro that Sir Alex witnessed personally? Is Silvestre really injured? Will Clichy be fit enough to replace the promising but inexperienced Gibbs to face up to Ronaldo? There's plenty there to occupy the mind of 'The Laird' of Old Trafford.
Turn the tables and there is an equal amount of food for thought for the Frenchman (Wenger). The biggest question he is probably asking himself is just what sort of form are United in right now? Results of late have been good but their performances are nowhere near as solid as earlier in the season.
Chelsea emerged from the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final with a creditable 0-0 draw after nullifying the attacking threat posed by Barcelona.
They will now head to Stamford Bridge for the return meeting next week believing they are capable of reaching a second consecutive final. The combination of a great team spirit and stingy defensive tactics helped the Blues gain a valuable draw on the road.
Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink praised midfield maestro Frank Lampard for the manner in which he accepted his second half substitution, understanding that a tactical switch was required for the good of the collective cause.
"We have a very good attitude in the team when it is necessary. Even a big player like Frank has to go off for tactical reasons," added the Chelsea coach.
"It is accepted and it is great to have the players with the right attitude. If it is necessary for the result we do that."Lampard has a good handle on the relationship between hard work, discipline and success.
"You have to be very disciplined in the roles and work very hard. You have to do a lot of selfless running, not particularly flashy running, but just to try and cover ground and cover people, and I think across the team we've done that tonight and got our reward."
Hiddink came out with a tight and compact team that included both defensive midfielders Michael Essien and Jon Obi Mikel in the side, and right back Jose Bosingwa deployed at left back. Bosingwa is also set to receive thoroughly-deserved plaudits for the manner in which he dealt with Argentine superstar Lionel Messi, but Hiddink believes the Blues may not be so fortunate when it comes to the second leg.
"Messi was rather well neutralised tactically tonight," he said.
"Bosingwa did a good job and had some help from (Florent) Malouda on the left side and good support from the centre as well when Messi cut inside."
"It can happen one night that you stop him, but I don't think it will happen twice."
Manager Guus Hiddink believes Chelsea showed enough at Camp Nou to suggest that is possible to advance, but accepts there is still much to be done against one of the world's most talented teams.
"Barcelona play beautiful football and possession is crucial to their game," said the Dutchman.
"The only thing they couldn't do was find a goal and I think Petr Cech did a good job defensively."
"They couldn't create the big chances and we were a little bit unlucky with Didier (Drogba) in the first half, but we have to accept that they posed more of a threat. We fought very bravely."
"We know this is the only team in the world that can immediately take advantage when you lose your discipline and punish you. The guys did very well."
"The only thing we would like to have done is to have more possession and pose more of a threat, but this is one of the best teams in the world."
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
New Ipswich manager Roy Keane is one of a number of managers who were playing under Sir Alex Ferguson in 1994. Steve Bruce, Mark Hughes and Paul Ince have all transferred the skills they learned under Fergie but, in typical fashion, Keane insisted that none of them could yet be classed as ‘good’ managers. In Keane's mind, winning titles and trophies determine a manager's success.
"Who are the good managers you are talking about? Sparky (Mark Hughes) and Brucey (Steve Bruce) have not won a trophy have they? They have potential, but you have the potential to be top journalists,” continued Keane.“Steve Bruce has had a good season, but Steve Bruce has been manager how many years. Sparky has done a brilliant job at Blackburn, but is facing different challenges at Manchester City. We are all facing different challenges. Until an ex-teammate of mine from 1994 goes on and really achieves something, then I would not agree with what you are saying about being a successful manager. You need a bit more than some of those managers have achieved yet."
Keane was regarded a taskmaster as the captain of Manchester United, and holds his own players to high standards now as a manager.
"I'll ask of them what I always ask of them as a manager: that they'll be on time for training and that they give 100 per cent. If they do that, they'll enjoy working for me. If they don't, it'll be a very brief relationship."http://www.givemefootball.com/championship/crash-bang-wallop-welcome-back-roy-keane
"In my head, I have never lost a game in preparation. But you have to focus a lot on the difficulty and the complexity of the job Bosingwa has to do."
"When you play Liverpool or United or they play us, the pace of the game can go up any second. Boom."
"But Barca are very smart. They can turn the pace of the game up or down. You think you are in control and then all of a sudden they strike."
"They are skilful and have very good possession and can frustrate a team by having possession."
"We must not get frustrated. If they score then we must have the confidence that we can score at any moment."
Monday, April 27, 2009
The top PFA accolade was the one prize that had eluded him since making his United debut in March 1991.
This should have been priority for the club from Day 1. MLSEL may have thought it had its guy in Johnston upon the club's inception, but it's unclear whether Johnston saw himself as the long-term coaching solution or saw the position as a necessary stepping-stone to becoming director of soccer.
The two newest MLS teams -- San Jose and Seattle -- made it their priority to go out and get proven MLS coaching commodities with winning track records and high levels of understanding of the North American game.
Attractive coaching candidates are out there.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
The 37-year-old returns to management after resigning from his job as manager of Premier League Sunderland in December.
Keane had argueably been the most successful leader on the field during the modern era as Manchester United's captain, and proved his successful transition into management after gaining promotion with Sunderland from the Championship into the English Premier League.
Keane worked wonders at the Stadium of Light after arriving at the club at the start of the 2006/07 season, transforming them from relegation fodder to Championship champions in just a matter of months.
Club owner Marcus Evans said: "I am delighted that Roy has agreed to join us and we are completely aligned in our ambitions for Ipswich Town.
"He has extensive contacts in the game and is a proven winner who encourages his team to play the attractive football that Ipswich Town fans have come to expect.
"I believe he is the right man to take this club where we want to be - the Premier League.''
Clegg, the former chief executive of the British Olympic Association, added: "The appointment of Roy Keane further demonstrates our commitment to help Ipswich Town Football Club achieve our aim of returning to the Premier League at the earliest possible opportunity.
"Roy has experienced promotion as Championship winners as a manager and, importantly, then kept his side in English football's top flight, and I am looking forward to working with him.''
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
If the 34-year-old does feature today, only Ryan Giggs, Bobby Charlton and Bill Foulkes will have played more games for the Red Devils - pretty impressive company.
Scholes was once described by former World Footballer of the Year Zinedine Zidane described as "the greatest midfielder of his generation", but has always gone about his business in a mild-mannered and unassuming approach that makes him endearing to his teammates.
Boasting an array of passing that threatens to outdo his menacing shooting technique and also bagging his fair share of headed goals Scholes is a master at all aspects of the game.
Current team-mate Rio Ferdinand gives an insight into Scholes the person and highlights his pinpoint passing accuracy.
Along with the Champions League success the veteran has amassed eight Premier League titles, three FA Cups, one League Cup, an Intercontinental Cup and a FIFA World Club Cup.
Former team-mate of 11-years Roy Keane says, "(he is) an amazingly gifted player who remained an unaffected human being."
But almost certainly the greatest tribute, and there are many, comes from United legend Bobby Charlton: "Many great players have worn this shirt of Manchester United. Players I worshipped, then lost with my youth in Munich. Players like Dennis Law and George Best who I enjoyed so much as team-mates and now, finally, players I have watched closely in the Alex Ferguson era. And in so many ways Scholes is my favourite."
Fernando Torres levelled with a powerful header from Dirk Kuyt's cross early in the second half and a brave Benayoun put Liverpool 2-1 in front moments later after poor defending from the Gunners.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
As Soccer America reports, MLS rookies fresh out of college soccer are paving the way to success in Major League Soccer in 2009.
Playing time for MLS rookies
Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009 7:00 AM ET
[MAKING A LIST] After five weeks, 12 rookies have played more than 200 minutes. Three rookies -- Chris Pontius (D.C. United), Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles) and Darrius Barnes (New England) -- have played ever minute for their respective teams.
MIN. PLAYER (CLUB)
450 Chris Pontius (D.C. United) - UC Santa Barbara
442 Rodney Wallace (D.C. United) - Maryland
405 Sam Cronin (Toronto FC) - Wake Forest
360 Darrius Barnes (New England) - Duke
360 Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles) - Maryland
315 Stefan Frei (Toronto FC) - California
274 Jeremy Hall (New York) - Maryland
273 Matt Besler (Kansas City) - Notre Dame
270 George John (FC Dallas) - Washington
229 A.J. DeLaGarza (Los Angeles) - Maryland
216 Steve Zakuani (Seattle) - Akron
208 Gerson Mayen (Chivas USA)
179 Kevin Alston (New England) - Indiana
119 Graham Zusi (Kansas City) - Maryland
83 Quincy Amarikwa (San Jose) - UC Davis
82 Alec Dufty (New York) - Evansville
72 Kyle Patterson (Los Angeles) - St Louis
71 Michael Lahoud (Chivas USA) - Wake Forest
38 Raphael Cox (Real Salt Lake) - Washington
37 Chukwudi Chijindu (Chivas USA) - Connecticut
11 Danny Cruz (Houston) - UNLV
7 Jean Alexandre (Real Salt Lake) - Lynn
4 Brandon Barklage (D.C. United) - St. Louis
Monday, April 20, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 2009
From the Evansville Courier Press
April 19, 2009
When asked about helping select a coach for a youth soccer team, it was suggested to look at hiring a local college player. When I asked why they would want a player, the parent responded ‘well he’s a good player, so he’d probably be a good coach’.
It is not uncommon to associate that a playing pedigree would immediately translate into coaching success, but in most cases, being a successful player has very little to do with finding success as a coach.
What should be the criteria in hiring a coach or manager, whether it be in youth soccer, other sports, or even in business - Should the candidate have experience? Should the candidate have proper training? Should he be recruited from the same industry (former player)?
It would be challenging to think that you could be a successful coach if you didn’t have experience playing the game at a comparable level that you are being asked to coach at. Saying that, a comparable playing level would be relative to your own understanding of the game. It is more important having actually played the game (understanding how the game is played, the tactics, the rules) and dealing with players at that level (man-management) than it does to have had a certain level of success as a player.
It used to be a common argument in hiring coaches who hadn’t been standout players that the players would not have sufficient respect for a coach who was asking them to do things that they have never attempted themselves. Coaches gain more and more credibility by practical coaching experience – players will follow a leader who knows how to get their team success, and has shown that they have done it prior.
By seeing the success of a number of top coaches in different sports, it leads to the conclusion that there is absolutely no link between an individual’s ability to play well and his ability to manage well. Arrigo Sacchi, the former AC Milan and Italian National team manager who did not have much of a career as a player, was famously quoted as saying ‘You don’t have to have been a horse to become a good jockey’.
In most cases, the former players who have success in coaching were probably those who were tacticians as players – either because of a specific role they played on the field or court, or because of their lack of athletic ability or technical skill, needed to be more cunning to survive.
Former Glasgow Celtic and Scotland coach Jock Stein was described by Tom Campbell and David Potter in his biography:
“Every club he (Stein) played for appointed him captain and allowed him to discuss tactics with the manager. He was also known as a thoughtful player, and to be frank, with his limited skill, he had to rely on cunning and knowledge of the game in order to survive. This meant that he understood more about the basics of the game than many of his more famous contemporary players who tended to play instinctively.”
My guess is that the same way that Stein is described might also be the way that these great American professional sports coaches or managers are described:
• Baseball’s Mike Scioscia: world series champion with the LA Angels of Anaheim – defensive specialist as a player, who’s career batting average is around .250
• Basketball’s Phil Jackson: NBA champion with the LA Lakers and Chicago Bulls – defensive specialist and key reserve as a player
• Football’s Bill Belichick: Super Bowl Champion with the New England Patriots – played football, lacrosse and squash as a collegian at Wesleyan University
For as many great athletes who made the smooth transition to coaching, there are probably twice as many who couldn’t make the grade. Losing patience with players who weren’t as athletically gifted as they were becomes a major frustration, and ‘do like I do’ isn’t as easy as it sounds.
In fact, too much ability as a player can surely sometimes be a disadvantage when that person becomes a coach. If something comes naturally to a person, it can be difficult to convey that to someone who does not possess that same innate skill.
I once witnessed a former player who embarked into coaching observing one of their own players who was unable to perform a particular technique. His response was to step in, perfectly demonstrate, and then demanded ‘that’s what I want…now do it.’ He simply could not understand or empathize with the plight of the less talented individuals.
When looking at sending your child to play for a coach, regardless as to whether it be youth soccer or in a different sport, make sure that your coach has the proper coaching pedigree.
Friday, April 17, 2009
"It's selfish from my standpoint, but I love this event because it's an opportunity for me to see some old friends and to keep Doug's legacy alive," said Stephen Hamilton, Doug's brother and the vice president of soccer operations for Chivas USA. "He meant so much to me and to so many others to whom he was a friend, a teammate, a coach, a mentor or a boss in a number of different places. He was a special guy and it's great that a lot of people recognize that."
Thursday, April 16, 2009
At his introductory news conference at FIU on Wednesday, Thomas said his salary the first year from the Golden Panthers will be donated back to the school's athletic department.
Thomas was fired by the New York Knicks last year. The team still owes him around $12 million for the final two years of his deal there.
FIU athletic director Pete Garcia said that when Thomas learned about layoffs and budget cuts, he told the university president that the school should keep his salary.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
"He was not happy with his performance against Bolton although there was always a sequence of errors before he came into action. But he is very critical of his own performance even when he has had an almost perfect game."
"There were some things tonight [Tuesday] where you could see he was not full of confidence. I think a goalkeeper once in a while has a right not to have a big performance."
"But he will stay a very good goalkeeper, every person sometimes has this small period of not being on top form. If a player is playing a lesser game now and then, it is not always the reason to make a substitution."
"You have to show your confidence in training and in games."
"If you go to speak to the manager, you can say whatever you want, but he needs to see your answers on the pitch, not in his office. In any case, I am sure we won't defend as badly again on Saturday."
"It is the first time in my Chelsea career that I have conceded so many goals in two consecutive games, and the first time I have made mistakes in both of them."
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
"We were on top of them from the beginning, so credit to all of the players and especially Lucas in the middle, the position of (Steven)Gerrard, he worked very hard. Thanks to them we were pushing and we came very close."
"When you play against a team like Chelsea, though, you are made to pay for your mistakes and even though we were pushing and attacking, there were one or two mistakes and they scored."
"Clearly when you lose you are disappointed, but to lose in this way you have to be really proud, hold your head up and think about the Premier League."
"We are positive because we have shown that we can score four goals here at Stamford Bridge and we can do the same at any stadium. We can win many games with this mentality."
Having had the chance to coach in the ACC at Duke University, and now in the Missouri Valley Conference at the University of Evansville, it is clear to see that college soccer is a fertile entity to draw players from. I had the chance to recruit and coach Barnes, Videira and Grella (referenced below) - and to see their success as professionals, you have to think that any MLS club that has a successful blueprint for success has their finger pointed toward the college game to find their top prospects.
Getting it right with college products
Why is it that so often slew of pundits and experts decry the shallow pool
of talent available in the MLS SuperDraft and express astonishment during the
season at how well those players selected have performed?
There are myriad reasons, but foremost among them is that a coach looks for
untapped potential as much as poise and polish, for what a player can be,
whereas fans and reporters and others tend to look at what's on display
Claims from MLS coaches that the available pool of players for 2009 would
offer teams plenty of options to improve their rosters fell on many deaf ears,
so ignorance surely plays a role. And, of course, after the SuperDraft just
about coach claims he hit the lottery, so those post-draft proclamations have to
be discounted as well.
Scanning the lineups this season one runs across quite a few domestic
newcomers popping up. Whether the class of 2009 turns out to be a bumper crop
remains to be seen, but early indications are extremely positive. The prospect
of playing pro soccer, be it in MLS or abroad, and a reduction of roster spots
from 28 to 24 -- along with stricter economic conditions -- seems to be driving
a higher level of competence at both ends. More teams are finding better
Plucking players from the top college programs, such as Wake Forest,
Indiana and Maryland, hardly takes the acumen of an 'A' coaching license. But
more than a few pro coaches have told me they also look for players on
less-successful teams in competitive conferences. Many of them are required to
perform multiple tasks for their college teams, whereas in demanding yet
simplified roles with a pro club their strengths can be maximized.
Still, of course, they must sharpen their touches and skills and instincts,
and adjust to faster, rougher, more physical play. But a good college player can
also be a good pro, while not every college superstar will excel or even make
the grade. And it can take much longer for a talented trickster like Mehdi
Ballouchy to find his feet in MLS, whereas a solid defender like Darrius Barnes
(Duke/New England) or heady midfielder like Sam Cronin (Wake Forest/Toronto FC)
can step right in and get the job done.
Barnes and Cronin squared off a few times in the ACC. Wake is among the top
teams in the country, yet Duke has sent Barnes and Michael Videira (via
Scotland) to the Revs, and Mike Grella to Europe in the past two years. Coaches
look for players who can tough it out and produce against the best teams.
With or without No. 1 pick Steve Zakuani, the University of Akron isn't
likely to reach the final four. Yet the rookie has drawn upon his English
upbringing and college success to play a role in Seattle's impressive
It wouldn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that an attack-heavy lineup
of Dwayne De Rosario, Amado Guevera and Rohan Ricketts would take an extra dose
of stabilizing in addition to that provided by TFC veteran Carl Robinson. Yet
Cronin has done enough playing wide as well as in the middle to further
complicate the selection decisions for Coach John Carver.
And in the nets, where rookies rarely excel, Stefan Frei - a product of a
good but hardly famous program at UC Berkeley -- is in a neck-and-neck battle
with Canadian international Greg Sutton for the starting job. Frei's development
has been accelerated by his time with U.S. national youth teams, yet attacker
Chris Pontius (UC Santa Barbara) has gone straight into the starting lineup at
D.C. United without any such experience.
The final piece of the domestic development puzzle is how many creative
slots are filled not by international players but by homegrown products like
Pontius and Ballouchy, who is now with Colorado. As the league expands, teams
will have greater incentive to offer players like Grella more competitive
contracts, and find hidden gems such as Pontius, guys who can, as the coaches
like to say, "change the game."
Critics of the college game lament its overall quality and how it stifles a
player's development, and no doubt a short season and rudimentary level of play
aren't ideal training grounds for potential pros. Yet just as vital is how
efficiently MLS teams scout and evaluate and draft to get what they need, and if
the class of 2009 turns out not to be an exception but instead what teams and
coaches and fans -- and even pundits -- can expect every year, the league will
have taken another critical step in its development.
Monday, April 13, 2009
"The intensity, the concentration, the quality is always first class."
"We did a good job in Turin and it was a very positive result, so that is what is most important. I don't play for myself, I play for the team."
"I'd describe myself as a box-to-box midfielder, but I'll always respect the manager's decision, wherever I'm picked to play."
"Against Juventus it was a tactical move to put me on the right to try to stop the runs of Pavel Nedved."
"I always listen to the manager and I just go onto the field for every game and do what he asks me to do. So I don't really mind where I play as long as I'm out there doing a job for the team and the manager."
Sunday, April 12, 2009
"He never got more excited than when he saw a great player nobody knew about," Hal Pastner recalled.
He was a self-made high school player, and worked himself into a roster spot at Arizona, where he was a freshman classmate of Mike Bibby. He often worked out together at 5 a.m.
"We'd sneak into the gym, sometimes we'd set the alarm off," said Courtney Pastner, Texas' high school player of the year in 1999. "He was just my role model, someone I idolized. He always told me, 'Friday nights, when your competition is out having fun, that's when you get ahead.'"
"Josh is a carbon copy of his father," said Jim Rosborough, a former assistant at Arizona. "Three cell phones on the interstate, driving with his knee? That's father and son. We've all kidded Josh about being obsessive, a little compulsive. But he learned everything from his dad."
Josh Pastner has long referred to his father as his "best friend," and his advice resonated that first week of school. Buoyed by some tough love, he befriended fellow freshman Mike Bibby, a McDonald's All-American, and they started shooting baskets at 7 a.m. Pastner then recruited Michael Dickerson, the team's high-scoring guard, to work with him at 11 p.m. He assured both that the extra time would pay off.
"A lot of the guys were like, 'Who does this kid think he is?'" said Justin Wessel, a backup forward. "Here's this 5-10 walk-on getting Mike Bibby out of bed. But everything he did was so perfect, so he wanted everyone else to be perfect. The fact that the two stars bought into it so fast changed everything."
So now, after all that striving and planning, he has his own program, his own team, and he will continue to choke the minutes out of every day, burdened not by Calipari's legacy but by his own expectations, the life he always wanted.
Sky Sports correspondent Andy Gray has pretty definite views about how to attack a team that defends zonally on corner kicks.
Much has been made of Liverpool's defensive strategy and let me say now I'm not a fan of zonal marking and never have been.
As a striker I liked playing against a side that zone marked across the edge of the six-yard box. Any good corner-taker will aim to drop it anywhere along that line and allow one of his players to get a run on it.
I guarantee that a running jump will beat a standing jump at any level of football at any time. I'm not saying it's a shocking system, but it is flawed and that makes it very difficult to blame people who are marking space.
It's not as if Liverpool don't have enough people to cope with Chelsea; yes Chelsea are big, but Liverpool have got two big centre-backs, while Torres, Gerrard and Dirk Kuyt are all good in the air. They could easily go man-to-man if Rafael Benitez wanted but he chooses to go zonal.
The majority of the time it works for them but I've covered a lot of games where they have conceded goals purely because they zone mark and that was the case on Wednesday night when they were very sloppy.
As Sky Sports reports, Hiddink would be the players' choice to manage the team on a permanent basis.
"He's done brilliantly. He's on at us every day in training, and he doesn't let anyone get away with anything."
The demands and expectations that Hiddink placed on each of his players has Chelsea back on course in the English Premiership and European Champions League.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Mexican national team standout Cuauhtemoc Blanco has been a key to the Fire's success since arriving in Major League Soccer in 2007, and has been a major draw at the gates as well. Entering the 2009 season with a knee problem that hampered him during the preseason, he has been open in the media about discussing whether he is fit to play now, questioning his head coach's decisions in the process.
"The coach said I'm not well enough yet, and I respect his decision," said Blanco. "But I'm fine. Those are the coach's decisions, and if I'm on the bench, well, then I'm on the bench. Everyone is trying to get to the final.
"From my point of view, I think we need midfielders, but those are the coach's decisions. And we have eight defenders which, honestly, is a lot to me."
How Hamlett manages this outburst from his irascible, irrepressible star is an early pop quiz in advanced pro coaching. Blanco didn't play last weekend in a 1-0 victory against New York, but played all 90 minutes in a midweek friendly against a college team. If the knee was a problem it doesn't appear to be one now.
Hamlett may simply have wanted to see how Blanco, who will be 36 this season, and the knee reacted to playing a full game as he ponders his personnel decisions. Or he may have been trying to make a point.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
(Michael) Essien held the key to the tactical approach devised by Hiddink to underpin his stated intention to attack Liverpool at Anfield - a ploy threatened by many but actually employed by few, usually only the supremely confident or the foolishly misguided.
Hiddink dissected the system with a surgeon's precision as he explained: "Liverpool have zonal defence and they have no marking. We have players who are tall, time everything well and who are brave. We talked about that and how we could get some benefits."
Makes it sound easy doesn't he? The secret is in the simplicity. As former Chelsea star Pat Nevin told me last week: "Hiddink gets good players doing what they are good at."
All Chelsea's players took up the right positions, Liverpool were tested by triangles of passing. It was almost as if Chelsea have been reborn under Hiddink - even the most hardened Liverpool fan would accept they were a revelation.
And this is why we saw Drogba back to his rampaging best, albeit producing some wayward finishing before he scored Chelsea's third, Ballack striding through midfield after an uncertain start and even the under-achiever Florent Malouda actually demonstrating why Liverpool boss Benitez was furious to miss out on him.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
There are few coaches who have had the success at the youth level as US Under-18 national team coach Mike Matkovich. Soccer America's Mike Woitalla has a good interview with Matko, who references the similarities with giving feedback to professional players and to youth players - Mike works both with US Soccer, as well as an assistant coach for the Chicago Fire.
"Guys who want to please you compared to guys who want to make a living" is how Mike Matkovich describes the general difference between youth and pro players.
"Not that older guys are that much different," says Matkovich, who coached indoor pro soccer in 1990-94 after his playing career ended because of a knee injury. "All good players, whether they're young guys hoping to reach the next level or seasoned pros, want honest feedback. You just have to be smart about picking the right moments to talk, when to make suggestions or constructive criticism. If you're an honest coach, you'll connect with your players, regardless of the level."
"I don't want to say he's a plain old shoe, but that might be the best description of him," said former Michigan State coach Jud Heathcote, Izzo's mentor who turned over the program to him in 1995.
That's fitting since Izzo spent a chunk of his adolescence working in his family's shoe repair shop.
After the first round of this tournament, Izzo said he made a deal with his players.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Being able to see everyone and everything that is going on means a coach can feedback more effectively, correcting errors or encouraging good work.
Here is a quick guide to better positioning in training.
1. Position yourself far enough back to be able to see all the players working.
2. Try to keep to the outer perimeter of practice areas so there are no players behind you at any time.
3. Make sure you move to various positions around the practice area to give yourself different perspectives of the action.
4. If you need to deliver one-to-one coaching bring the player to you, so you can help them while keeping an eye on the rest of the players.
5. When demonstrating or talking to the players, create a half circle so they can all see.
6. Always demonstrate with the weather (sun or rain) in your face rather than the faces of the players.
7. Ensure there is nothing interesting happening behind you when talking or demonstrating to the players.