The business of "playing out of the back"

When US Soccer introduced their new Player Development Initiatives last year it was with the clear intent of improving the quality of play across youth soccer.  They clearly stated their objectives which I am listing again below:

  • to develop improved skills on the ball
  • to improve comfort and confidence
  • to develop intelligence with and without the ball
  • to promote faster decisions and better awareness
  • to develop partnerships within the team (connecting with players in other positions)

In the same announcement US Soccer talked about the need to change the mindset of youth sports, about "the long-term development of players being the top priority", how "there is too much emphasis on the result of the game" and that there are "no shortcuts" and the need to "have patience" to allow players to improve their skills.

I think it is safe to say that all rational parents of a youth soccer player would wholeheartedly agree with everything mentioned above as they read this blog in isolation.  However, it can be quite a different story on a Saturday afternoon when their child's team is losing and it feels like they give up a goal or a goalscoring opportunity every time the team's goalie starts play with a short pass out to a central defender.  The other team rushes in, the ball is coughed up, and bang!, another goal against.  Why oh why do we insist on this "building out of the back" business?  Why not just kick the ball down the pitch and away from our goal, so that, even if possession is lost, it is at least away from danger?

The simple answer is that if we are to stay true to following the objectives listed above then we MUST build through the thirds of the pitch (defensive, middle, and attacking).  Simply "booting" the ball forward in the direction of the opponent's goal does not fit in with trying to develop the young player.  The "kick ball" method that seems so effective at the younger age age groups is rendered completely inadequate by teams and players who are trained with the above objectives as a core part of their team's philosophy and curriculum.  But to reach that point, there will be harsh lessons and lots of mistakes to be made.  That is where (for me) the key phrase of the whole US Soccer document on their new Player Development Initiatives comes into play, that "players must be put into the best possible environment to succeed".  Not "to win", but to succeed in improving their skills, comfort, and confidence on the ball, their game intelligence and awareness, and their ability to connect with their teammates.

When we watch young children play we need to remember that we are watching them learn.  Many experiences are completely new to them.  Mistakes are commonplace; even the most dominant teams at the younger ages make a ton of them, (they are often just better at capitalising on the other team's mistakes).  And that is okay.  It can be frustrating, but it is okay.  Coaches tend to know that, and parents need to try to better understand that.  Coaches are looking for signs of improvement, signs that the above objectives are starting to take root.  Recognizing these signs is infinitely more important than any single result or league standing.  The environment we create is the single most important thing.  If players are afraid to fail then no learning can take place.  We all want to win, and no one I know likes to lose.  But sport is sport.  The game itself must provide the competition and the pressure, not the coach or the parents.

Thank you for reading,

Seamus.

2017 Make Your Own Ball Day

MAKE YOUR OWN BALL DAY
 
Youth Soccer Month is working with Make Your Own Ball Day to create the National MYOBD on September 21, 2017. "The mission of Make Your Own Ball Day is to use a ball to help kids create, connect, give, appreciate, and play. MYOBD promotes and supports the passions of kids for sport and uses soccer as a platform for change. We envision a world where every kid—regardless of living conditions—has the tools and power to play." - MYOBD.
 
The steps are simple!

1. Make a ball
2. Donate a ball
3. Find friends
4. Play soccer

Learn More Here!

What is Make Your Own Ball Day? [PDF]

Learn more about how you can participate [PDF]

How do I let parents and players know about the event? [PDF]

Follow Youth Soccer Month: Official WebsiteFacebookInstagramTwitter | #YSM2017 #YSMMYOBD

Week 3 of Youth Soccer Month

 
THIS WEEK IS ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS
It is week 3 of Youth Soccer Month, and we are celebrating the relationships developed through our involvement in soccer.
 
In honor of this month's theme, Penn Legacy players are encouraged to share a photo of the friendships they've made through playing the sport we all love.  It can be a photo before/after practice, at a game, a fun memory, etc. Tag @PennLegacySoccer on Facebook & Instagram and we will make sure to re-post. 
 
Follow Youth Soccer Month: Official WebsiteFacebookInstagramTwitter | #YSM2017

Sponsor Z-Motor Gift Card Giveaway

Penn Legacy Sponsor, Z Motor Company, is offering a FREE $50 Gift Card to The Pressroom Restaurant in Lancaster, PA.

Enter to win in the following 3 ways:
1. Entry for a LIKE on the Z-Motor Facebook Page.
2. Entry for a SHARE of the contest post (On Facebook Page).
3. Entry for a COMMENT on the contest post sharing YOUR favorite restaurant.

Three ways to enter.....Promo ends Tuesday, September 19th at Midnight!

Z Motor Company is a proud sponsor of Penn Legacy FC. Located in East Petersburg, PA, Z Motor Company offers quality used cars for sale. “Quality you expect and the deals you deserve!“

2017 Youth Soccer Month

It is Youth Soccer Month and U.S. Youth Soccer has officially kicked off it's 15th year celebrating soccer in America! As stated on usyouthsoccer.org, "The purpose of Youth Soccer Month 2017 is to raise awareness of the game’s many advantages and encourage others to continue enjoying soccer, bringing kids and families together for a national celebration. Youth Soccer Month includes working with local leadership to organize grassroots public affairs campaigns, numerous local events and media relations initiatives."

Follow Youth Soccer Month: Official WebsiteFacebookInstagramTwitter | #YSM2017

THE FOUR MESSAGES

During each week, Youth Soccer Month will focus on a different theme celebrating soccer. The four messages of Youth Soccer month are:

  • Fun: (Week of Sept. 3)
    • Whether recreational or competitive in nature, involvement in soccer is easy, affordable and rewarding.
  • Family: (Week of Sept. 10)
    • Playing soccer ties families together as schedules, vacations and family time are coordinated.
  • Friendship: (Week of Sept. 17)
    • The relationships generated through playing soccer extend beyond the field.
  • Fitness: (Week of Sept. 24)
    • The health and fitness (physical, psychological and social) benefits of playing soccer.

Stay connected on www.YouthSoccerMonth.org and social media to see how US Youth Soccer shares the messages of these four themes.

SenseBalls Received by PL Players

New this Fall, Penn Legacy FC has provided SenseBalls to PTP and Travel U9-12 players. The plan going forward is to get as many of our players using this training tool as soon, and as much, as possible. The hope is that it will really accelerate their individual technical development and thus allow coaches to focus on more game-related training activities during practice. The SenseBall is a key component for all youth players as it allows them to practice their technique, coordination, balance, timing, on their own.  

Upon receiving their SenseBall, each player was given a login to a training website that teaches them how best to use the SenseBall and also 50 progressively hard exercises that they can work on perfecting. 

WATCH THIS SENSEBALL DEMO >

 

Fall Classic Featured in Touchline Magazine

Check us out on page 21 in the most recent Touchline Magazine, featuring the Hempfield Adidas Fall Classic, hosted by Penn Legacy. View Article: http://www.mazdigital.com/webreader/51710?page=23

HEMPFIELD ADIDAS FALL CLASSIC - REGISTER NOW!

Touchline, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer's quarterly magazine, is the leading youth soccer publication in Pennsylvania, going to more than 60,000 homes and businesses. Each issue features a unique spin on the soccer scene in Eastern Pennsylvania and beyond and includes interviews, profiles, session plans and highlights of our youth players.

2017-18 ODP TRYOUTS

Tryout dates, locations & times have been announced for the 2017-18 Eastern Pennsylvania Olympic Development Program (ODP). ODP gives club players a chance to train with the best coaches and competitors from around the state and Region I. There will be two tryouts and two callback dates. All locations, information & registration is available below, at EPYSA.org, and on the age group team pages.
 
All potential ODP players who would like to participate in the 2017 - 2018 ODP season MUST register online prior to tryouts. We will not be accepting walk-up registration at tryouts. With everyone pre-registering, this will ensure all player registration information is correct and also that the registration process at tryouts will be much faster.

Visit your team page for more information about tryouts and schedules. Scroll down for tryout locations and times.

2017/18 Age Groups - ODP age is by calendar year.

•U-12 PLAYERS BORN IN 2006/2007

•U-13 PLAYERS BORN IN 2005

•U-14 PLAYERS BORN IN 2004

•U-15 PLAYERS BORN IN 2003

•U-16 PLAYERS BORN IN 2002

•U-17 PLAYERS BORN IN 2001

click here to register for odp tryouts-429x179
 

U-12 (Players born in 2006/2007) will have seven "district" teams in various locations across Eastern Pennsylvania. The seven locations are:

  • Lancaster
     
  • Harrisburg
     
  • Delaware County/Chester County
     
  • Montgomery County/Bucks County
     
  • Allentown/Reading
     
  • Philadelphia
     
  • Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
     

U-13 (Players born in 2005) will have four "district" teams in various locations across Eastern Pennsylvania. The four locations are:

  • Lehigh Valley
     
  • Lancaster/Harrisburg
     
  • Philadelphia Area (Delaware County/Chester County/Bucks County)
     
  • Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
     

tryouts schedule-700x150

U12 Age Group (Players born in 2006/2007)
 

Philadelphia (Boys & Girls)

September 10th, 2017 @ Edgely Field, 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

September 17th, 2017 @ Edgely Field, 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Delaware County/Chester County

U12 Girls Delco/Chesco

September 10th, 2017 @ United Sports Training Center, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

September 16th, 2017 @ United Sports Training Center, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

U12 Boys Delco/Chesco

September 9th, 2017 @ United Sports Training Center, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

September 17th, 2017 @ United Sports Training Center, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Lancaster (Boys & Girls)

September 10th, 2017 @ Penn Legacy-East Petersburg Campus, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

September 17th, 2017 @ Penn Legacy-East Petersburg Campus, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Harrisburg (Boys & Girls)

September 10th, 2017 @ Cumberland Valley HS, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

September 17th, 2017 @ Cumberland Valley HS, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Allentown/Reading (Boys & Girls)

September 10th, 2017 @ Lehigh County Sports Fields, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

September 17th, 2017 @ Lehigh County Sports Fields, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Wilkes/Scranton

September 10th, 2017 @ Marywood University

Boys: 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM; Girls: 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

September 17th, 2017 @ Marywood University

Boys: 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM; Girls: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Montgomery County/Bucks County

September 10th, 2017 @ Kohler Fields

Boys: 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM; Girls: 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM

September 17th, 2017 @ Kohler Fields

Boys: 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM; Girls: 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
 

U13 Age Group (Players born in 2005)
 

Philadelphia Area

U13 Girls Philadelphia Area

September 10th, 2017 @ United Sports Training Center, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

September 16th, 2017 @ United Sports Training Center, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

U13 Boys Philadelphia Area

September 9th, 2017 @ United Sports Training Center, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

September 17th, 2017 @ United Sports Training Center, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Lancaster/Harrisburg (Boys & Girls)

September 10th, 2017 @ Penn Legacy-East Petersburg Campus, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

September 17th, 2017 @ Penn Legacy-East Petersburg Campus, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Allentown/Reading (Boys & Girls)

September 10th, 2017 @ Lehigh County Sports Fields, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

September 17th, 2017 @ Lehigh County Sports Fields, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Wilkes/Scranton

September 10th, 2017 @ Marywood University

Boys: 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM; Girls: 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

September 17th, 2017 @ Marywood University

Boys: 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM; Girls: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

U14, U15, U16, and U17 Age Groups
 

September 9th and September 17th, 2017 @ United Sports Training Center

U14 Boys (2004) – 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

U15 Boys (2003) – 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

U16 Boys (2002) – 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

U17 Boys (2001) – 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

September 10th and September 16th, 2017 @ United Sports Training Center
U14 Girls (2004) – 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

U15 Girls (2003) – 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

U16 Girls (2002) – 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

U17 Girls (2001) – 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

What are the evaluators looking for when they observe players during Olympic Development try-outs?

2017 Penn Legacy GK Training

Training with Coach Nick Jacobson, Director of Goalkeeping  

Nick is a former collegiate goalkeeper who is licensed with the NSCAA and has already shown an exceptional drive and enthusiasm for coaching young players and a clear passion for the goalkeeping position. Nick will be ably assisted by both Kenny Archer and Wendell Hannaford, longtime members of our coaching staff and licensed GK coaches also, and Emily Faust, a former Penn Legacy player and current goalkeeper for York College.

For this fall, we are going to start with a slightly modified schedule as below (this will change very soon depending on how many keepers attend, the reopening of The Quad, daylight savings, and the return to the club of the school age keepers) Nick also plans to introduce a second optional night of training in the near future:

Where - Penn Legacy East Petersburg Campus
(in the area by the tree close to Field 4 (see this map)
When - Beginning August 24 - on Thursdays. 6-7pm for u9-u11, and 7-8pm for u12-u15

2017 Lyon Select Program: Days 5-8

Thirty-two players from top adidas youth clubs nationwide were selected to train and compete in Lyon, France this past week as part of the generation adidas international Olympique Lyonnais Select Program. Penn Legacy's very own Nicte Aco was one of the players selected to be part of this exclusive training opportunity. Follow along to see what experiences occurred in Days 5 through 8 of the trip.

DAY 5 - Thursday, August 17, 2017

Today the team again arrived at the Olympique Lyonnais Training Center with their spirits high, beginning their day by attending the Olympique Lyonnais Women’s first team training session. The girls had the opportunity to meet the current Champions League title holders and to snap a few pictures with the team. After the session finished, the Select group gathered to eat lunch and to rest up for their first competitive matches against the Olympique Lyonnais Academy teams. Both Select teams fared very well. The Select A Team was held to a nil-nil tie, playing against the U19 Olympique Lyonnais Academy team, while the Select B team dominated in a 1-4 victory over the U16 Olympique Lyonnais Academy team.

As the Olympique Lyonnais first team finish training, the big moment finally arrives! Time for the Lyon #adidasSelect17 to meet these wonderful top level soccer players.

Excited much! The Olympique Lyonnais first team were charming, humble, generous and inspiring! The Lyon #adidasSelect17 walked away from the time they shared buzzing with excitement.

The Lyon #adidasSelect17 observe how the professionals train as the the Olympique Lyonnais first team work through a session. #HereToCreate

Soccer sistas! The present and the future of the beautiful World game. The Lyon #adidasSelect17 and the Olympique Lyonnais first team.

The Lyon #adidasSelect17 A, looking positive prior to kicking off against Olympique Lyonnais.

The Lyon #adidasSelect17 A played out a thrilling 0-0 draw against the Olympique Lyonnais U19s (a great part of the team is 16-17 though). A fine result against a superb team. Nice one Select!

The Lyon #adidasSelect17 B, ready to rock ´n roll against Olympique Lyonnais.

The Lyon #adidasSelect17 B were delighted to win 1-4 against the Olympique Lyonnais U16s playing some exciting attacking soccer.

DAY 6 - Friday, August 18, 2017

Today the team kicked off the day with their last training session of the week with the Olympique Lyonnais Academy coaches. After a great final session, the players said their thank yous and goodbyes to their coaches. The players’ first short visit to the city on Wednesday left the girls anxious to get back out and see more. This afternoon they did just that, but this time took a trip to nearby Switzerland! The team headed out to the Swiss city of Geneva, just two hours outside of Lyon. They enjoyed the beautiful Lake Geneva and some of the city’s famous monuments, like St. Peter’s Cathedral and the Place du Bourg-de-Four in the Old Town. Before heading back to the hotel to rest up for their match day tomorrow, the girls were sure to stock up on Swiss chocolates.

DAY 7 - Saturday, August 19 , 2017

The last full day of the program ended on a high note as both teams finished the week with a win. The Select A team took on the U18 Football Club Caluire team this afternoon and came out on top with a decisive 10 - 0 victory. The Select B team also finished victoriously, edging Croix de Savoire 2 - 1. After the matches the girls, still buzzing from their respective wins, headed over to attend the Ligue 1 match Olympique Lyonnais vs. Bordeaux. The girls finished off their evening with a farewell dinner at their preferred local restaurant, enjoying the company of their teammates and staff one last time in Lyon.

The Lyon #adidasSelect17 A prior to kick off against Caluire.

The Caluire U18 girls were great sports and really keen to bond with the The Lyon #adidasSelect17as you can see here. Sunny smiles all round.

The Lyon #adidasSelect17 B take their final team picture of the program prior to their 1 - 2 win over Croix de Savoie.

The Lyon #adidasSelect17 B defeated Croix de Savoie U18s 1 - 2 in a thrilling match which was celebrated with a great post game photo.

The Lyon #adidasSelect17 watched a fantastic game of Ligue 1 soccer as Olympique Lyon & Bordeaux played out a 3-3 draw. The Lyon Select felt the passion for their team cheering them on throughout.

The Lyon #adidasSelect17 supporting their team at the Olympique Lyon & Bordeaux game. Nous sommes l'olympique Lyonnais! (second from left is PL's Nicte Aco)

DAY 8 - Sunday, August 20, 2017

After an eventful trip filled with memories and learning experiences, both on the field and off, the team packed up and began their journeys home. They started their day of travel by departing to Amsterdam, and then continued to New York before catching flights to their respective hometowns. The girls return familiar with the training methodologies of the best women’s club in Europe, and will look to use this experience as a stepping stone towards their goals of becoming professional players.

After such an incredible week the The Lyon #adidasSelect17 are going to be missing each other over the coming days. Over the course of the Program they bonded on and off the field. The beautiful game creating beautiful friendships.