Friday, March 25, 2011

Tommy Howe on player development

Tom Howe is at the forefront of player development of youth soccer players in the United States, and Mike Woitalla of Soccer America caught up with him recently to discuss his thoughts on developing players.

SOCCER AMERICA: If you had a magic wand, how would you use it to improve youth soccer in America?

I wish everybody would try and play like Barcelona. If all the clubs across the country did that you’d have some pretty smart players when they hit the ages of 18, 19, 20.

And there’d be more people wanting to watch soccer in this country. Barcelona’s the best team I’ve ever seen. They’re just fun to watch.

Another thing about Barcelona -- they don’t have a lot of these gigantic athletes who everybody wants to get these days.

SA: What’s the key to playing like Barcelona?

The ability to play in tight spaces. You spend tons of time in playing in small, tight areas, and then when you get on the big field it’s not a big deal.

I think more teams need work on the possession game. All the best teams in the world over the years have been great technical teams – like Spain, Barcelona. Teams like that play the best soccer.

At the youth level, too many people play more to win. My point is, if you teach your kids to play like Barcelona you’re eventually going to win.

SA: But while you’re learning to play like that you might not win …

That’s exactly right. Learning to play like that takes a long time, but once you get it, you’re going to be good. The problem is a lot of people don’t have the patience.

You tell your young players don’t boot it no matter how much pressure you’re under. We want you to get good at this. And at a certain age, you know what, they learn how to deal with it.

Look at how many players we have in this country. At this stage we should be a lot better than we are.

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