What Changes Are Still Needed in American Youth Soccer?
The youth soccer landscape is plagued with fractions often competing against each other but is this what is in the best interest of growing the game in America? If we want soccer to become the preeminent sport in America, we need to take a bold look at what is right and what is wrong.
We want to delve deep into the rocky road and discover varying perspectives to share with our readers in the hopes of helping bring about a better future for the game of soccer in the USA.
SoccerToday Diane Scavuzzo interviews Brandon Quaranta, Director of Coaching for Baltimore Celtic SC, on his insights on the state of youth soccer in the USA.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is right and what is wrong in youth soccer?
Brandon Quaranta: Obviously, any time we don’t reach our goals at the top levels of the game it prompts an immediate emotional reaction and condemnation of the current system. While this is fair and warranted, in this instance it cannot stop there.
Many times things quite quickly and the outrage fades as we settle back into our comfortable patterns.
We hire the same people, who implement the same ideas, and yet we are surprised when we get the same results.
It’s time for new ideas.
This does not necessarily mean a complete overhaul of the system, but rather the understanding that although we have made significant progress in many areas — there is still so far to go.
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I hope this time real, prolonged conversations are had at every level.
For me the lack of open, honest discussion and genuine collaboration at each level of youth soccer is disappointing.
We would rather cannibalize each other than work towards a common goal. That needs to change.
Below: McDonogh Boys School players are back hard at work.
— McDonogh Boys Soccer (@McDBoysSoccer) October 27, 2017
After not qualifying, I believe everyone in soccer is watching very closely and hopeful that those at the top are going to provide the leadership necessary to encourage genuine collaboration.
Diane Scavuzzo: What do we need?
Brandon Quaranta: What does an American player look like at each level and how can we support and nurture that player along the way?
We need an American identity and we need accountability.
What are the physical, mental, and technical traits we desire? For me, those questions still remain largely unanswered.
Diane Scavuzzo: What do you recommend?
Brandon Quaranta: I have heard suggestions based on age, position, etc. but it hasn’t gone anywhere close to far enough for me.
We are more interested in the flavor of the month.
We become fascinated and change yearly based on who won a World Cup or European championship.
While we must be humble and always learn from those who do it better than us,.
We must also recognize that the information obtained should be tweaked to fit our American culture.
Diane Scavuzzo: Where have we fallen short and how can that be improved?
Brandon Quaranta: Until we determine what our identity is I’m not sure how we can accurately grade our success. We will continue to spin our wheels as a soccer nation.
For me, our scouting network needs to be significantly increased and improved. Once again there has been progress made, but too many kids are missed because of location, lack of resources, personal choice of team/league, etc.
We all know it’s a massive commitment to get qualified eyes on kids across our vast country but completely necessary if we are to properly identify the top talent.
Photo Credit: McDonogh Boys Soccer