Should Youth Soccer be Dominated by the Disturbing Desire to PUT WINNING BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE?
By Tim Bradbury, Director of Coaching, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
Last year in 2021, I spend a great deal of time pondering over which topic in youth soccer to write about, often I ask colleagues and fellow coach educators if they have any thoughts on what I should discuss.
This one was easier than most and due to the season and the associated idea of giving, what better time is there to discuss all the great things that youth sports can offer?
As you read the thoughts below, it is worth every parent, coach and club leader considering how far we have gotten away from all the truly great gifts sports can offer.
What should be obvious and apparent that in 99% of youth sports environments, adults are failing to provide children with the enormous opportunity that youth sports can provide.
The reasons are apparent and so obvious that all are aware of them as youth sports are dominated at all ages by a disturbing desire to PUT WINNING BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE, to PUT personal success before the SUCCESS OF THE TEAM.
Unfortunately, in the vacuum left behind, the social media frenzy and the electronic world seem unable to offer the same potential that a good sports environment can provide.
The message is a simple one. Let’s get back to helping youth soccer provide all the truly wonderful gifts that it can provide.
So, to highlight the obvious positives:
- Opportunity to exercise and explore the physical arena — fitness, flexibility, range of movement … including running and jumping. Plus …
- Opportunity to fall in love with sport, movement and stay fit for life.
- Opportunity to learn skills, tactics and fall in love with a sport or two.
- Opportunity to be part of a team and become fully aware that serving and helping others will bring more joy and reward than constantly seeking one’s own desires.
- Opportunity to be part of a team and forge a network of lifelong friends, people that will have you back long after the final whistle in the final game has ended.
- Opportunity to learn vital life skills: resilience, determination, discipline, bravery, grit, reliability, communication and, of course, teamwork.
- Opportunity to develop leadership traits.
Few gifts can bring the riches sports does.
With approximately 100,000 youth soccer players––both boys and girls––and more than 25,000 volunteers, the non-profit Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) stretches from Montauk Point, Long Island to the Canadian border. Members are affiliated with nine leagues throughout the association, which covers the entire state of New York east of Route 81. ENYYSA exists to promote and enhance the game of soccer for children and teenagers between the ages of 5 and 19 years old, and to encourage the healthy development of youth players, coaches, referees and administrators.
All levels of soccer are offered––from intramural, travel team and premier players as well as Children With Special Needs. No child who wants to play soccer is turned away. ENYYSA is a proud member of the United States Soccer Federation and United States Youth Soccer. For more information, please log on to http://www.enysoccer.com/