It is essential for all parents of youth soccer players to understand the philosophy behind the development of youth players. As one learns throughout our numerous coaching education programs, we must all be aware of not only the physical stages of growth, but also the cognitive stages of growth our children go through. As John O'Sullivan, founder of Changing the Game Project, stated
With our endless obsession for winning and younger and younger ages, and the accompanying cuts that go into forming select and all-star teams at ages as young as 7, we have created a system that goes against all the science and best practices of player development. That science says that children develop at different rates, and the best way to let the cream rise to the top is keep as many of them around as long as possible. Yet we do the exact opposite in our quest to win today. We select talent instead of identifying it. We focus on today instead of tomorrow.
The following pages discuss numerous issues relating to the development of youth soccer players.