Am I to believe that somehow genetically European soccer players have some sort of genetic gift that inexplicably has a root in them being born in one part of the world over another that allows them to play soccer better than here in the United Sates? How would that be possible since we are talking about a micro second in the history of the world to make this dramatic genetic change.

 

No one is entitled to playing time based on what they have done in the past. When a player is not playing well, other players should be given a chance to play, and if they play well, they should have earned more playing time in the eyes of the coach, regardless of their stats on the team.

 

Over and over again, I see in youth and high school sports, one or two players getting preferential treatment on a team based on their reputation, not their present day performance. What I see, and others may not, is the detrimental effect this philosophy has on the player being given that treatment, and the other players suffering because of it.

 

There is a mentality in sports, driven by the amount of money, which certain players, once they have achieved a certain status, are entitled to play their way through any problems they have. Even if there is a conflict with the coach, or a certain “air” about the player, they should be allowed to play more than the other layers because they are perceived to be more talented. NO

 

I have said on many occasions in talks I have given and the workshops I do, that I would bench my mother in the last five minutes of a game if she was playing poorly and it wouldn’t faze me. And I want to go on the record as saying I am a HUGE momma’s boy, and proud of it. I love that woman with my entire heart and soul. I could never thank her enough for what she did for me growing up and I think about her every day. I am so appreciative to what she and my father taught me.

 

If we truly want to find out who the best is, there has to be repeated chances for those who may not be at the top talent level to get to play. Their play and enthusiasm are an essential part of any teams make up and for any business to embrace. Too many times I see someone, based on reputation, being given special preferential treatment, or demanding it, while others, who may not be as talented, but bring other benefits to the table, sit around and “wait their turn” like that is not just another form of entitlement, or the rules apply to everyone but me.

 

Pre puberty let them all play equally, and learn to play together with the freedom to experiment with different sports and activities. Let them enjoy playing and learning how to get along with others. Let them know that making mistakes is okay, and that at the end of the day everyone involved should be having fun and enjoying themselves, not worrying about status and the mythical D I scholarship.


That is the base needed to develop future champions and leaders. Even for those who just want to play and have fun, let’s give them repeated chances to do so. We need to encourage with positive reinforcement, a child’s innate ability and desire to try new things, cope with failure, and adjust and grow at their pace not ours. It takes all kinds to make this world go, and that involves inclusion, not exclusion all the way up to age 13.