The first touch is perhaps one of the most regularly repeated sayings used by soccer coaches, especially at levels above recreational play, although even at that level it should be drilled into soccer thinking. Basically, it gets back to the speed at which you control the receiving ball. Fumble with it and your chance has gone. A player needs to receive and control the ball in one movement irrespective of the speed, height and direction of the ball. The ball must become under total control and part of your body reaction. In fact, it should become an extension of your body and body movement. Clever stuff, but it needs practice, practice and more practice. It sounds boring, but it is essential. I, and many others, perfected this control by simply kicking the ball against a hard surface and controlling the return.
The reason I say this is that many in America are asking what do we do next to progress to winning this World Cup. The answer may be found in an article byJuergen Klinsmann, a star striker for Germany, the first player to score at least three goals in the World Cup matches of 1990, ‘94 and ‘98. Klinsmann, now Germany’s coach, has spent time in the U.S. He is highly respected throughout the soccer world.
The following is brief summary of the key points made by Juergen: “After the US dramatic win over Algeria, the USA failed to properly manage and recover, both mentally and physically, for the game against Ghana. Suddenly Bill Clinton is coming by; Mike Jagger is in the stands, and all that takes you away from the World Cup. It’s about now and tomorrow, not what happened an hour ago. Oh yes, not forgetting the emotional moments, the team, the players have to be brought back down to ground level, forget the last game, and focus on the Ghana battle.”
I have to say this, the U.S. should have been in the Quarter Final against Uruguay. They lost by a clear and incorrect disallowed goal.
Juergen: “The US soccer development system is basically that parents pay for their kids to progress through soccer with the goal to get a scholarship in college. This is the complete opposite to the rest of the world. We all (came) from moderate families and fought our way through…….so we need to keep this hunger throughout our lives. I compare it with basketball here because I look at these guys and they are coming from inner cities. The kids need to be really hungry. Get kids on a technical level to perform and that’s what I mean by the first touch.”
The US team gave a far better performance than many of the so-called favorites to win. Observing progress and being involved with soccer over the years, I see there is every indication that the quality of players has improved dramatically. I feel the surge will continue and by the next World Cup the US will be a team to reckon with. We’re at the next stage where kids need to move forward and continue to the next level, be involved with competitive games, and dream. This progresswill continue if they have soccer stars to look up to like Landon Donavan. In addition, US players are moving to premier clubs in the UK and Europe and getting experience with a faster game. Many quality and experienced players are moving from the soccer nations into the American game which all adds to the progress. A number of UK premier clubs are owned by Americans or have American investors. I could go on – see next issue!
The above prompted the Marco Island Soccer Academy to progress to higher levels and give the kids who have dreams the opportunity to develop advanced skills. We hope to recognize talent from all the soccer groups on the Island, including Optimists, Marco Surge Soccer Club (Joe Bartos 3 v 3), and the Marco Island Charter School, and soccer events and tournaments. We encourage the forming of competitive teams, together with the support license and thirty years’ experience of Bonita Storm Soccer club. To succeed Marco Soccer groups need to be in harmony and work as a totalteam in the same direction. Parks and Recreation Director Brian Milk has recognized the demand and opportunities for the kids of Marco, and we are all looking forward to seeing a Marco Island competitive team representing our community. Perhaps we will even develop our own Marco Island star.
Marco Island Surge Soccer Club
Surge soccer players collected donations outside Publix to raise support for the club’s National Championship team’s competing in Orlando on July the 24. Best of luck to Joe and the teams. Don’t forget to let me have photos and results. Visit www.MarcoIslandSoccer.org.
A meeting was held on Friday, July 23, with the Parks and Recreation Director Bryan Milk, Alex R. Galiana, recently appointed Recreation Supervisor, and Coach Patterson. Guess the subject – Soccer! The meeting focused on how Parks and Recreation will manage and schedule the use of the Parks facilities to meet this rapidly growing sport .
Coastal Breeze has converted many readers to soccer fans, Gil Mueller is one of them, read his story in Salute to Veterans – Soccer was the last thing he had on his mind then.