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Lifelong player and student of the beautiful game in Germany, England, and USA. Volunteer futsal coach and USSF referee. View all posts by James
2 thoughts on “Excellent documentary on the German soccer youth development approach”
Excellent video, shows where europe is headed. I thought the important idea was that “unless amateur soccer was transformed, professional soccer would not change”. That is a total 180 from what we have in the US, where we are forcing youth academies to mimic our poor professional model. But i guess we have to start somewhere, even if it is copying the appearance of european academies. I suspect youth soccer done a different way from what we have could end up wagging the dog. But compare the DFB to US Soccer. Is the Bundesliga dictating what the DFB should do? No, it’s the other way around, though in more of a collaborative process. Thanks for posting this, James.
Long video…but i managed to get thru it all, despite it basically being about German efficiency! 🙂
Salient points for me where:
1. Wow – we’re in trouble. The amount of resources that Germany and Spain and now the UK too apparently, are throwing at youth soccer is just incredible. The youth facilities alone put most of our pro digs to shame.
2. “Soccer boarding school” – interesting idea, and shows the level of commitment of both the players and the parents to sign up for that. One of the two main kids in the video went when he was 12. Here people freak out when their kid goes to science camp for 5 days!
3. I loved the idea of the roving trainers all over Germany, going to youth leagues in their little painted vans and running training sessions and teaching the coaches there thru “showing” vs just written materials or presentations.
4. Very interesting analysis by the university guy on whether or not these youth systems work. “most of the top class pros never got early coaching”, “more than 99% of 10-12 year olds will not make the top grade”, “more than 80% of those in the national team or in the Bundesliga got no special attention at 10-12 years old”, “there is no such thing as the “off the rack pro””, “the system is more for rejection and selection that it is for developing talent”.
5. The last item in #4 above was most interesting – basically what the stats show is that a large number of kids are brought into the system at 10 years old. But then they are weeded down to the best, and new players take their place. And then they in turn are weeded down to the best and new players take their place. In other words, when measured against success, the whole system is not about the training but about the finding and identifying of talent. And given that 80% aren’t found at this age, it doesn’t even do that very well.
6. So, given the 80% of players that didn’t come thru this system, can we say its a “success” Thats where the argument seems to lie – and i guess i would say if you can find 20% more top-tier players, and train them in a methodology, that will have a significant impact on the National team. Thats 2-3 players on the team that are rock stars, that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.
7. As has been mentioned in other overviews of these sorts of systems, its a dog-eat-dog world. Those kids cant look to support and help from other kids – cause thats their competition for who gets cut next! I don’t know if it was the presence of the cameras, or just normal, but that locker room with the 12 year olds in it was deathly quiet, no smiles, a total lack of joy. For a sport that demands creativity, thats not good…
Great video all in all – some things to learn. But the biggest question for the US is how do we compete with 1/100th of the $s. I think the answer is somewhere in the typical American model of having fun, thinking outside the box, being creative, etc. Thats what seems to be missing with the German model, and it seems to have an adverse effect, given the paltry 20% noted above.