I Fell in Love, Again!
FC Barcelona flowed with power and grace, thoughtful in everything that they did. I could see the players taking form from their youth not naïve to what they could become. The team had a bunch of personalities coming together to form one solid demeanor. The love for the team poured out in every conversation and my passion to follow the team grew. I never fell out of love but I renewed my vigor to grow a deeper relationship with soccer. Gracias Barcelona, Gracias!
I cannot begin to explain the romance of this game. The true passion I have for it and what it does to me when I watch it in all its glory. While in Barcelona and Sitges, Spain last week I got to watch the transformation of the beautiful game from start to finish. I was amazed to see how in its infancy at U8 it begins all the way to the full team. I was educated on the how’s and whys. I watched it’s growth from U9, U11, U13 to the full team and saw how they sewed together the parts of the game that make it so amazing. I communicated with lifelong fans as they used words of grace to explain what it meant to them. It was a week I will never forget, and I wish to grow the true romance of the game within our club and beyond!
Soccer in the US is growing at a rapid pace. We, however, in most cases are playing for results and not performance. This, in turn, hurts the development of our players and causes them to fall out of love with the game at a young age.
There are two parts to every soccer game - the result and the performance. They do not always go together, and you can have one without the other. If we think about the youngest age groups, one team may have a lot of the ball and move it up and down the field as a unit and create a bunch of chances, however, score 0 goals. The second team may have very little of the ball and have the stronger faster player up front who scores a few goals and this team will win. As an outsider, you may say that the better team won, but I would challenge you as to which team performed better.
Within a development model, we need to coach through performance. This is the best way to develop players. If we truly want to grow into a country that can play with the best in the world we need to change what we think of as positive results from just wins and losses to performance. We need to educate our families the differences and build upon performances. I believe if we continue to focus on the performance as it improves the results will also improve and then the true beauty of the game with show through.
Johan Cruyff said that the Camp Nou was a theater and his players were putting on a performance for the fans. It was not good enough for him that they just win, they needed to put on a show! When I watch Barcelona U9 at 10:30, then the U13 team at 12:00 noon and finally the big boys for the night cap it was just that. I saw them from small to big working within the same frameworks. They used the same patterns and the same focus and intention and it was amazing. The ‘play’ they were putting on was soccer and I didn’t want intermission or full time to come. I wanted to watch all day and all night. It was beauty that I want to bring to our club!
I have always loved soccer, It has been a part of my life since the day I could walk. This past week in Barcelona and Sitges, on the course with TOVO Academy I reaffirmed my love for the game and my passion grew deeper. I dream of sharing that passion with as many players as possible.
Thank you, Barcelona, Thank you TOVO Academy!