So this edition of the SOCCERSKILLZ blog is just to show you how life comes in full circle. As an 18 year old high school student I was presented with an opportunity to follow my dreams. Architecture and soccer. I was approached by a number of colleges to play for their soccer team with an athletic scholarship. In the early 80"s, oops now you know how old I am... LOL, getting recruited for a college athletic scholarship was much different than nowadays. If you are interested in how to get recruited for an athletic scholarship please fill form below the video to get invited to one of the webinars that we discuss this. Yes yours truly, Niko Alexopoulos, got the opportunity to be announced and walk on a soccer field as a collegiate soccer player. At that point that was the highlight of my soccer career. What an amazing feeling to represent one's college and knowing that one was selected from many other players to represent that University. All the hard work put forth during pre season had finally paid off when I walked on that field. Well, after many years later, in fact over 30 years filled with many soccer experiences both as a player and a coach, last night September 1st 2017 I was introduced and walked on the field of the Widener University's Stadium as a collegiate coach. Somehow this moment was just as special as me playing in Europe as a professional. In fact more special because I had never embarked on a journey of a coaching career. My life changed when I became a coach after a successful mortgage banker career. Maybe because I had a hand in training and getting ready players that experienced for the first time that feeling that I had experienced long time ago when I became a collegiate player. Maybe because this team, mostly made up from freshmen, had worked so hard to prepare for the season home opener, maybe because young players are looking to the coaching staff for new ways and knowledge to widen their soccer experience as well as pick up new life lessons. Either way I am excited and humbled to be a collegiate coach.
As we have mentioned before an off season program helps players maintain and build their fitness as well as touches on the ball. In the past pre season was always intended to get athletes in shape for the season. Players would come into camp out of shape, making it harder for coaches to get them game ready for season opener and some players would take till the mid season to be fit. The game has changed and so has its training techniques. Now players are going through an off season maintenance program so that they come into pre camp fit. Another big component of being prepared is time management and learning what the coaches expect and want from a student athlete. Below you can view more details.
This is the first webinar in the 2017 fall season series of webinars to help our youth soccer community grow. In a community full of misconceptions where parents are shelling out money to get their player the best possible options, maybe it's time to GET REAL and just let them play. Let them choose their path, they just may surprise you. After all its their game, it's a player's game.
If your browser does not play the video below you can watch the webinar by clicking HERE:
PRESEASON is not for every player and every age group.
For the older more serious and committed players there should be an OFFSEASON program to get the player ready for PRESEASON.
Most folks DO NOT realize that there are different ways to train throughout the year.
Off Season (Maintenance training, some light running, touches on the ball, creative fun activities like swimming, biking, basketball.)
Pre Season ( Structured training focusing on conditioning, touches on the ball, technical and tactical training)
In Season (Weekly training focusing on game to game and team needs)
Transition ( Period between seasons, where a team can train on various elements.)
Recovery ( Off training where players do anything but soccer – VACATION)
SOCCERSKILLZ offers many club neutral training programs for players of all ages and levels that can use during their off season.
Half time - Man U up 1-0 vs Madrid in the International Champions Cup! - Half time interview with Ronaldo from China - When he first burst into the pro ranks I was not a fan of his...too cocky, too self-absorbed too flamboyant, not a true team player. He would get the ball and only look to dribble and in my opinion, show off. Teams learned how to defend him and would shut him down. He then slowly transformed himself and became a better teammate, got better at realizing that he needed to make himself available to his teammates for scoring opportunities. He had to contribute more in the buildup of the creation of the goal, not just try to showboat his dribbling skills. And he did, he started to drop back more and receive the ball deeper in the midfield and then distribute the ball and make runs. He even got better at assisting his teammates to goals. Aside from him becoming a more team player, in my opinion, the more I started to learn about him, the more I liked him. I found out about his work ethic, always staying after training to work on his attacking style and finishing. I learned his off the field charity work and many other things he contributes to his community and country of Portugal. The more I learn the more I like…
SOCCERSKILLZ and Just4Keepers will be awarding on a need basis 3 soccer scholarships to athletes that may have a financial hardship that makes it hard for them to attend otherwise. A total of 6 scholarships will be given out, 3 for SOCCERSKILLZ and 3 for Just4Keepers. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org a detailed description as to why you qualify for a scholarship. Please make sure you can attend if selected. To sign up for regular summer training and camps please click here.
Quote of the weekend by a soccer parent: "The worst Thing That Can Happen to A Youth Soccer Player Is Win Early". Following is a video on a conversation I recently had with a youth soccer player's parent at the Central Jersey Futsal League in reference to youth soccer and the meaning of winning and development. Some say we want our team to be challenged, we want them to play better or older teams...we don't care about winning or losing we just want to be challenged...what they really mean is we want them to be challenged as long as they win...The road to development is slow, hard paced with many lessons, and most are not ready for it.
As we have mentioned before many times, we at SOCCERSKILLZ believe strongly in the benefits of futsal and it is part of our core development philosophy. Because of those values SOCCERSKILLZ has become a sponsor of the Central Jersey Futsal League which is an affiliate league of the US Youth Futsal League. Central Jersey Futsal started its inaugural league play this past Sunday, January 8th at the state of the art Peddie School which is one of the top Premier high school facilities in the USA. Teams of all ages have come together from NJ & PA to compete in a ten-week league play schedule. Following are highlights of some of the futsal games from the first day of competition.
When most think of indoor soccer they think of turf fields, maybe hockey rinks converted into indoor soccer playing ares. Most do not think of Futsal. But in the last 5 years or so the revolution has started and Futsal is the fastest growing indoor sport in the USA. Futsal Training and futsal leagues are becoming more popular and the standard when it comes to indoor soccer training. US Soccer has recognized Futsal as the official indoor soccer training to follow FIFA's standards. So most may define Futsal benefits as great for development of foot skills, or passing, receiving or controlling the ball, but here are some additional benefits that you may not have thought about. In futsal players perform more short high intensity runs than outdoor soccer. The fact that those runs are made on hard surface floors and not turf also provide a fitness benefit as accelerating and stopping are more intensity bound. With only 5 players in a futsal game players have more opportunities to defend and attack. All players must defend and attack at all times as well as learn to change positions constantly forcing all players to be able to act as a defender and an attacker. Goalkeepers are called to make saves more often than the outdoor game because of the futsal field size and the futsal game speed. Goalkeepers are also called to use their feet and become part of the attack. Following are some other key benefits as illustrated in the NSCAA Coaches Futsal Level 1 Diploma.
Once again parent and coach education is essential as a lot of indoor facilities advertise futsal training or league play but few actually teach futsal by certified futsal trainers and most facilities run futsal leagues on turf spaces with non certified futsal referees or rules.