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post #1 of 67 (permalink) Old November 13th, 2005, 19:55 Thread Starter
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Playing is Priceless

The best form of practice is to play, and play alot, It sounds obvious but the amount of coaches/parents/kids that take this for granted is incredible.

You can have a well off 9 year old kid from well off family, with all the equipment he needs, new boots, new balls, kits, transport, a local team, healthy foods, money etc etc apart from the most important thing... kids to play with freely and time to play, he has unlimited equipment but limited playing time and limited competition, most kids he knows don't have time to play or have a free place to play, everything has to be paid for or its all 1 or 2 hour coaching lessons being told what to do and then not playing much football outside team training.

The irony is its the kids without much from a material point of view, from a run down area or a working class background that usually have alot of kids to play with in their area, they have alot of time to play since they have nothing else to do, and a free place to play whether its a small 5 a side pitch or a grass pitch in the park, they play alot more and this is the most important thing no matter the nationality.

I have no idea what secrets a coach can teach a 8 year old Zidane, what can a coach tell him that will make him a genius? Its best to just let the kids play and make sure they play as much as possible, then they can work things out for themselves, it helps them build character and have their own individual spirit with the ball, they know the basics and know what skill is from a young age, things like tactics and fitness come later on when they reach 14/15/16 but the importance of playing is the same for a kid from Brazil, the U.S or Sweden, black or white, rich or poor, the thing that counts is playing time.

If alot more coaches realised this, less talents would go to waste and alot more would be made, people here bitch and moan about why can the English youngsters can't be like the South Amercians, well if they stopped making everything so complicated and expensive, if the great sports centres were free and not packed full of grown men without footballing potential who can afford it unlike children who are instead indoors playing their playstation then things could change, coaches and training sessions are not so important for children, getting them to play freely and in numbers is the important thing.
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post #2 of 67 (permalink) Old November 13th, 2005, 20:08 Thread Starter
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http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...2820745287204&

Look at this video of Zidane playing, do you think he got this skill from some loud coach that shouted out drills or just from playing a heck of alot as a kid against a good level of competition that also played alot? the answer is obvious.

He wasn't born with it thats for sure but you can't teach that really, its the playing scene he is in that makes the most difference not what he is told but what he does. Theres no chance he would have the same skill had he been driven by his mum to practice for 1 or 2 hours every 2/3 days with the best boots best shinpads etc, the difference was his passion for playing and the football freedom he had despite his background.
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post #3 of 67 (permalink) Old November 14th, 2005, 00:41
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post #4 of 67 (permalink) Old November 14th, 2005, 21:53 Thread Starter
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post #5 of 67 (permalink) Old November 14th, 2005, 22:44
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post #6 of 67 (permalink) Old November 14th, 2005, 23:36 Thread Starter
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Now my great knowledge can change grassroots football around the world

Seriously though I think a thread like this is better and will make more difference than a ''how can I kick the ball hard'' thread or ''how can I run thread??!

what the hell is going on there? kids that master the internet but need help to learn how the head or kick hard, just get off the playstation and play!!! Simple but effective.
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post #7 of 67 (permalink) Old November 15th, 2005, 01:28 Thread Starter
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Grassroots football in England needs to become more like Basketball and not Rugby.

From the age a child can start going out alone to the local park with friends til the ages of say 15/16/17 a child needs to play football like the americans play street basketball, you can have a coach but the important thing is to play and more suitably play on a small sized pitch because they are smaller people not men, this makes you think quicker and builds your touch. You see the way basketball courts in New York Philadelphia Los Angeles and all over the U.S have kids trying moves and expressing themselves and gaining respect from winning and winning in style, you don't see all the basketball courts in america full of coaches telling the poor black kids to ''play it simple!'' like they do in England, they'd get laughed at, In the past it has been South Amercians and Latins kids that play football like the black americans play basketball, the difference is apart from a rare genius like Allen Iverson it is limited to tall guys since their goal/hoop is so high, this is not the case in football, you can be any size and the goal is on the floor, a Maradona a Zidane a Ronaldo a Pele etc etc, if you have the technical ability and the intelligence you will make it.

This is what England needs to understand, you go around some places in England and you'll find kids in one part of London playing football like its Rugby on a big muddy grass pitch and they all have the nicest £150 Adidas or Nike boots, whilst round the corner you'll see a group of lads playing on a 5 a side pitch in trainers showing great technique, creativity and character, when they get older then things should get complicated but children in England should start playing football like the latins kids play football or the young black americans play basketball, with freedom, expression and as many hours as possible because at the end of the day it is a game that should be played as one, regardless of where you come from.
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post #8 of 67 (permalink) Old November 15th, 2005, 15:38 Thread Starter
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Another thing that needs to be done is the goals need to be made narrow and shorter on the smaller basketball/5 a side type pitches, this means that even if there aren't alot of kids around all the time, 2 kids can play against each other in a 1 v 1 game, first to 10 or 20, then later on in the day they can have their 5 a side tournaments with the other kids that come along at a set time, seriously I don't see the need for professional football type regimes for children, its a game for gods sake, when they get to 15 or 16 then you can worry about 11 a side but before then the technical mental and fitness sides to the game for children can all be done playing street type football whether its indoor or outdoor, this is guranteed to produce more allround technically gifted footballers than this rugby type professional nonsense people are poisoning children with.

Some people call 18 or 19 year olds youngsters so a 10 or 11 year old should certainly be treated without too much professionalism, if any professionalism at all, its a game to them so the coaches are the ones who should ''keep it simple!'' and not children.
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post #9 of 67 (permalink) Old November 15th, 2005, 15:40 Thread Starter
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People here complain and make up excuses like ''oh its because its not the weather in Portugal or Brazil''

Nonsense, weather only effects grass, in North America, you will see the same creative technical ability in Detriot as you would see in California, the indoor or outcourts do not change, children still play with the same creativity and character expressing themselves on the court.

When your 8, why do you need to go to a massive pitch, when its the summer I can understand a small game once in a while or a team tournament on the pitches but most of the work should be done with the street basketball mentality.

In america there are some areas, mostly middle class white areas where the coaches are obsessed with drills and disciplined game, where tall lads only know how to shoot, can't really dunk unless they are tall, don't really show too much skill or creativity or character, you know there are players like this is in football, can only work hard, can't beat a man, and know how to take long shot but without too much variation to them.


Seriously from say 4 til 14 years old kids this would be a better place for children to play the game, on 5 a side astroturfs or small indoor courts amongst themselves, all day without caring for anything but improving their technical ability,accuracy and winning in this game.
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post #10 of 67 (permalink) Old November 15th, 2005, 15:47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faisal
I have no idea what secrets a coach can teach a 8 year old Zidane, what can a coach tell him that will make him a genius? Its best to just let the kids play and make sure they play as much as possible, then they can work things out for themselves, it helps them build character and have their own individual spirit with the ball, they know the basics and know what skill is from a young age, things like tactics and fitness come later on when they reach 14/15/16
You make some good points, but I think you underestimate the importance of the coach and overestimate the importance of playing.

I think that playing is important but so is technique and technique at an early ae doesn't come as much from playin as it comes from being able to touch the ball. in a ame of 8 and 9 years old, there will be a lot less touches than in small drills and individual practices. 8, 9 and 10 years old, should be workin on touching the ball, learning the proper technique of passin, controllin and shooting as well as defending and attacking. Tactics as you mentioned, can be introduced later.

You want the kid playing, but you also want him/her to have as many touches on the ball as possible.

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post #11 of 67 (permalink) Old November 15th, 2005, 16:04 Thread Starter
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Unless the kid is from another planet, they can usually work out things quick, kids talk alot, kids in big numbers learn so quick is scary, they know what is wonderful and what is weak. And don't get me wrong my friend I don't mean playing as in playing a game all the time, I mean playing with the ball as well, you see Allen Iverson skills and shot comes from a million dribbles and a million shots over and over, he has the intelligence from playing, so its a mixture, all of it is playing and you need a balance of both, just doing drills and kickups won't make you a good decision making in using these skills and at the same time playing games all day won't make you have the best touch even if you might make good decisions.

The coach is important, but there can not be too much overcoaching, the real thing that kids can never get enough of is playing, a good youth coach, in that I mean for kids14 and younger knows how to get the balance, things are different later on and more complicated later on ofcourse but children play to win, they defend hard so they won't get embaressed, the attack with style trying things without fear, in the start it has to be a game, the professional side to it all doesn't help as much as a good coach giving them a ball and telling them to play, work on everything and to try things on the pitch.

Like Joe Cole for example in London, he practiced and played all day, against the wall, kickups, shooting etc etc then he went to play matches against friends all day, dribbled the ball all the to the game and all the way back home, even if went to the shops or to school he had the ball at his feet.

You know what I mean, how basketball players in the streets, the really good ones also practice shooting and dribbling when they are not playing a 3 on 3 games or something, this is all part of playing, using as much time as you can to improve, things are becoming too professional, there is less playing, more instructions, I know coaches are important but they mustn't think they are too important, its a balance, not too wild but not too tame. a Allen Iverson is rowdy and wild in his game and creativity but also has great discipline when you look at the hours spent refining technique and accuracy like you say that is what its all about, I should of made it clear, playing in general is priceless.
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post #12 of 67 (permalink) Old November 15th, 2005, 17:15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faisal
And don't get me wrong my friend I don't mean playing as in playing a game all the time, I mean playing with the ball as well
Then we are saying pretty much the same thing.

Kids need as much time touching the ball as possible, even if it is hitting against the living room wall.

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post #13 of 67 (permalink) Old November 16th, 2005, 20:56 Thread Starter
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post #14 of 67 (permalink) Old November 26th, 2005, 19:17
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There's a 17 yr old kid who plays in our weekly friendlies with adults aged 25 and above (I'm 24)

He's short, thin and scrawny. But by God, one cannot take the ball off him! He's too good!! I mean, every move he makes is just so unpredictable. I'm not talking about Brazilian style fancy tricks. He's a regular Iranian school kid here....and is gifted with a brain that has the ability to read every single play on the field. He plays simple football, and the only way to nick the ball off him is to literally just push him!

Seriously though, if the kid keeps it up, I think he should definitely go pro.

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post #15 of 67 (permalink) Old November 26th, 2005, 19:55 Thread Starter
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Forget the nationality, Brazil has Denilsons but also Ronaldinho, if he is small, skinny, and short, he has to have a heck alot of ability and skill to shine, especially if he also doesn't have much pace, he has to be a master on the ball, a genius, to get very far, but atleast with football you have a chance with talent alone, unlike basketball, you will never make it to the top with those physical traits unless you are a one in a century type genius.

He is Iranian and it shows its not even about nationality or money but the playing culture, CRonaldo and Rui Costa, they are both Portuguese and have skill but different types, you'd want to be a Rui Costa in that Iranian kids shoes considering your description of his size etc.
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post #16 of 67 (permalink) Old December 28th, 2005, 22:37
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All been said before, but you've combined it all and said it beautifully.

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post #17 of 67 (permalink) Old January 19th, 2006, 13:48 Thread Starter
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Great article I found and I think it puts it better than I ever could, its long but worth it

"My position is this: street soccer is the most natural educational system that can be found." 6
Rinus Michels

By analyzing street soccer yourself, you will conclude that its strength is that it is played daily in a competitive form, with a preference for the match on all sorts of 'street playing fields', usually in small groups. Rarely in street soccer do you see youths busy practicing isolated technical and tactical drills. No, it is always the competitive form, where youth players learn from their mistakes, unconscious of the technical, tactical, mental and physical qualities they are developing through the scrimmages being played.

Playing soccer every day ensures this development. It is a process where it is not necessary for adults to be present. You also learn the team tactical principles without effort through playing the game. Your teammate, higher in the street soccer hierarchy, forces you to comply...

In African and South American countries, where the conditions for street soccer are favorable, you can immediately notice that youth players have a head start. They go through a more varied technical and tactical development within their own experiences. Therefore, the "feeling" for the game is also better. They find their motivation on the street to play the games over and over again, no matter how simple they are. Even if there is only a wall at their disposal... 6

There is an argument that street soccer today is no longer possible. "Automobiles now drive where games were once played. The playgrounds are used as hangouts for older youth with other interests. Open grass fields are now dog parks. The conditions for street soccer in many countries are less than ideal." 6 Add bicycle unfriendly suburbs, the need for permits to use public fields, the managed schedules that most children have today and spontaneous play of any kind, let alone street soccer is hard to imagine.

In spite of all of these obstacles, which are solvable, there's another reason why street soccer doesn't enjoy the same popularity as pick up basketball. In his book, How Soccer Explains The World, Franklin Foer observes:

But for all the talk of freedom, the sixties parenting style had a far less laissez-faire side too. Like the 1960's consumer movement which brought American car seatbelts and airbags, the soccer movement felt like it could create a set of rules and regulations that would protect both the child's body and mind from damage. Leagues like the one I played in handed out "participation" trophies to every player, no matter how few games his (or her) team won... Where most of the world accepts the practice of heading a ball as an essential element of the game, American soccer parents have fretted over the potential for injury to the brain. An entire industry sprouted to manufacture protective headgear... Even though very little medical evidence supports this fear, some youth leagues have prohibited headers altogether.

This reveals a more fundamental difference between American youth soccer and the game as practiced in the rest of the world. In every other part of the world, soccer's sociology varies little: it is the province of the working class... Here, aside from the Latino immigrants, the professional classes follow the game most avidly and the working class couldn't give a toss about it. Surveys, done by sporting goods manufacturers, consistently show that children of middle class and affluent families play the game disproportionately... That is, they come from the solid middle class and above.

Observing youth soccer in America it is very difficult to argue with Foer's assessment that it is solidly a middle class sport. And the middle class brings it's values into the picture. Middle class values don't see street soccer as a legitimate educational method. It is recess as opposed to physical education. Children need to be taught and teaching should be done by experts. Few would argue that over the last 30 years children are being "taught" almost everything at increasingly younger ages. Soccer instruction now begins with four year olds, so that the children will have an advantage as six year olds. This need to get ahead brings with it the fear of falling behind and the need for accountability that only expert instruction can prevent and provide. This type of instruction leaves no room for the trial and error system of street soccer. Middle class values are in conflict with the basic ideas behind a street soccer culture. The following are a few ideas that demonstrate the conflict between the two.

One of those basic ideas in the street soccer culture is that you are assigned a role by a better player and are expected to play it for the good of the team, see Michels above. Such an assignment runs counter to the idea that every child needs to learn every position. This democratization of the team, where everyone is a jack of all trades and a master of none, is best achieved by an adult outside of the game itself. A responsible individual, (the coach) that can ensure that each individual child's needs are being met at every moment. In street soccer you fill the position that you are best suited for at the moment in the context of the team. While this position can change from game to game and team to team the purpose is always the same, to get the best out of each individual possible at the moment.

This brings up another difference. In street soccer children have to learn patience, to wait for their turn, that they are not entitled to lead, make decisions or even be listened to simply because they show up. Leadership is earned through competition within the pecking order inside of the team. Younger players in street soccer would wait their turn when they would finally be able to lead the group, and there are no guarantees. In the democratization of the soccer children don't have to learn patience, they are guaranteed their turn their time in the spot light. Whether it's a turn to be captain, to play center forward or to take a shot at goal middle class children learn that hard work and patience aren't really necessary.

Not only does everyone get a chance, but no one fails. The mantra, "Everyone's a winner, no ones a loser" is a benchmark in recreational soccer. The idea is to help build every individuals positive self esteem. No one can leave the game or practice feeling bad. In street soccer every game resulted in a winner and a loser and every one knew who was who. Failure was a common experience, as it is in life, and children learned early on how to handle the disappointments. A difference here is that in street soccer no standings are kept. You can lose this morning and win in the afternoon. Disappointment is only temporary and is forgotten within minutes of the end of the match. But in today's soccer society standings can be kept and the failures are cumulative carried along all season. An eight year old will be reminded in November about a game they lost in September and how important that is.

This emphasis on self esteem brings up another difference between the cultures. If there really are no losers then why try at all? Since giving less then your best receives the same reward as giving your best why go to any extra effort? The implication for children is that mediocrity is acceptable and makes developing soccer skills a moot point. (Coaches often complain that getting children motivated is one of their biggest problems.) The bar of acceptance is set to the lowest common denominator and the children in the top percentage will be affected the most. In street soccer it's peers that will decide what is acceptable and what isn't and it will be based on each players contribution to the game. Nothing politically correct here but an honest assessment from those that it matters most to. (Children can be cruel and lack good judgment about how to express themselves. This can be especially true when there is too big a gap in the levels of talent. But with proper guidance they can learn some basic lessons about relationships, such as working together with limited resources, a positive, instead of simply placing blame a negative.)

But if the children set the bar of acceptable behavior how will they be held accountable? Can children really be trusted to guide the educational process? This brings back the need for educational experts yet also sets up the conflict between a coaches problems and the players problems. It also highlights the conflict between real and pretend leadership. Leadership involves a lot more then calling heads or tails or leading a set of stretches. Some ten year olds feel comfortable leading eight year olds, after all, they've been there, done that and the chance to show off their expertise is irresistible. But many parents can't trust that their children will be given the correct instruction by another child or see fail to see the benefits that their child will have when given the opportunity to do so themselves. Yet these are often the best coaches and examples for younger children to have. Someone with real empathy for the problems. Finally, the bottom line comes down to realizing that children need to learn how to play before they can play soccer. Physical activity, free spontaneous play, is rapidly disappearing as an activity of preference for youths much less meeting the demands of soccer. To think that adults are the best resource to teach play to children is questionable at best.

Many of today's parents live with a fear that their child will be left behind, that they will lose control. Learning in street soccer is subtle, control is exercised by peers. There is no adult to report that "today Jimmy learned how to dribble with the outside of the foot. He's getting better. Thursday we'll work on shooting." This type of reassurance is comforting to any involved and concerned parent. But, in a pure street soccer culture, most parents have no idea of what is going on. This part of childhood belongs to the child. Reports to parents were brief and to the point, "I was with the guys, we played some, good, yea and so on." Not the type of things that involved parents want or expect to hear. These parents want accountability and guarantees which is difficult to demonstrate in street soccer

One way to bridge this cultural gap is through the use of soccer festivals or tournaments with an individual winner. These play days give the game back to the children yet allow adult supervision from a distance. Ages can be mixed so that one week the ten year olds are at the bottom and the next they're at the top. Leadership can be learned from the position of the leader and the follower. Children can learn new tricks and ideas from a wide variety of sources. New faces bring fresh challenges and problems.

Without question, the vast majority of American youths playing soccer today have never experienced street soccer. Yet, this concept is not foreign in American culture. Millions of adults today remember "the good old days" of sand lot baseball, pick up basketball and neighborhood football games. Games, and childhood's, built exactly as Michels outlines above. Older players organizing the teams, coaching the younger ones and having the opportunities to lead. Children had a responsibility to the game and each other. Play brought everyone together, and it took everyone together to play. Sadly, today's soccer children are denied this. What was good enough for the parents is not good enough for the children. Instead, they are getting something that is supposedly better, after all, we wouldn't knowingly create something worse. In the world of adult supervised soccer control and accountability have been gained for the adults. But what has been lost is the sense of accomplishment and the entrepreneurial spirit for the most important people involved, the children.
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post #18 of 67 (permalink) Old January 20th, 2006, 21:22
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.....coaches do way more then you think.... Maybe if you had a coach you would know. Sure playing at the park with friends is good, but playing for a team will improve your skills, dedicate you to a position, and improve the way you work with a team since soccer is not a individual sport.

I find this thread pretty useless... Most professional players if not all start out with teams at a young age. To be a professional you gotta work your way up over time.

There are "street soccer professionals" out there that cant do any good in a professional soccer game and on a real soccer pitch. So what do they do? Probably do tricks all day in their backyard or on the street and never make it anywhere in life regarding being a professional soccer player.

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post #19 of 67 (permalink) Old January 20th, 2006, 23:07
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RealMadrilismo , I disagree of course coaching is a part of making a succesful player, But nothing beats experience, Most great footballers dont come up and be great because they let a coach tell them what to do it's beacuse they make the game there own and I dont know if you ever had this experience but some coaches either force you out of your natural position or doesnt allow you to play how you want . That happend to me and I dont play competitave football anymore (which i got scouted to play for some good clubs for) I t turned me off the whole thing. I would go play steet football and then you have this jerk off coach telling you not to do what has worked for you just 2 3 hours before the game on the street. Any way great thread faisal.

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post #20 of 67 (permalink) Old January 20th, 2006, 23:10 Thread Starter
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If you find this thread useless who cares, I find you useless, commenting on something before you even know what your talking about, thats useless.

Who the fvck said Street football was about individuals and nothing else, infact you learn more about the functions of a team by playing street football than you would going to some expensive soccer clinic in the suburbs.

Im a qualifed youth coach myself so why would I put down the role of a coach? I think you need to realise there is a difference between adults and children, discipline is needed in life but less discipline and instructions are needed when you are dealing with children, they need discipline in playing the game and your there to help guide them when needed but not in the Jose Mourinho Capello type of way, if they get scouted by clubs its because they have shown talent, not because the club gave them the talent, if this was the case we would have Gremio's producing only Ronaldinhos and not Emersons aswell.


Ofcourse is such thing as too much street football the same way there can be too much overcoaching, you need to find the balance between the two and give a player the guidance needed at the right ages, letting them get into the playing culture at young ages, making sure they quickly adjust fitnesswise and tactically to full size pitch games when they reach 14 15 16 and over but before this its clear in most cases street football or atleast the street football mentality is the best footballing education a child can get, Johan Cruyff, Maradona, Pele, Garrincha, Zidane etc all the greats with the ball at their feet played the game as if it was a game when they were children, a good coach can only help guide you in the right way but he cannot teach a child something that has to come to you with patience and dedication to the game.


Don't confuse a coach of men to a coach of children, its a competely different thing, a child should be a child not a professional.
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