As a professional soccer coach who conducts soccer training in New Jersey, I face the same concern every single day that I come in contact with youth soccer players' parents or parent coaches. It is their lack of understanding that there is a difference between kids (ages 4-12 or 14), and adult soccer. It is the fact that they do not realize that they view the game with grown up eyes and capabilities than the kids they are trying to coach. There is a BIG difference in the kids' capabilities and that of an adult. I remember when I first got involved with coaching trying to figure out why my 7 year old daughter could not pass the ball straight back to me and why she could not copy the mechanics of proper passing I was trying to teach her. Keep in mind that I was an ex pro and my ego could not stand the fact that I could not teach my own daughter how to properly strike and pass a ball. It didn't dawn on me why she could not do it until I was taught in coaching courses that there is a difference between kids and grown ups, boys and girls, age groups, player to player. So for this particular instance, 7 year olds still have tight tendons which do not allow them to properly turn their feet so that they can properly strike a ball. With age they will gradually be able to do it.
I was glad to learn from my coaching courses as well as asking other coaches who had been coaching for quite a while what should the kids at that age be doing since their physical age limitations gets in the way of proper technique development. They made me aware that 7, 8 9 year olds want to just play, play with freedom, taking risks, dribbling and shouting. The technique will follow as they get older. In fact if you just watch kids style soccer it is full of running, chasing the ball, dribbling and shooting without much tactical components. However we, as adults try to make it tactical with passing and maintaining positions and all kinds of other stuff that adult soccer has in its game, which is way too much to understand by the kids mental capacity. It also stifles in a way their ability to be free and creative and take risks. Something that contributes to players waking up one morning at 16 or 17 years old and being so ROBOTIC with their play. All the years of coaches telling them what to do, how to do it, when to do it has now build a nation of ROBOTIC players who do not express themselves or think for themselves unless the coach is shouting directions from the sidelines. They are afraid to make mistakes and take chances out of fear that the coach will go ballistic and bench them.
One thing that makes this whole thing even more frustrating is that while I conduct soccer training in the Jackson New Jersey area I explain all these things to parents and they refuse to listen and be open to trying a different way. They DO NOT like to see players just playing soccer. They like to see players just doing SOCCER DRILLS, not exercises but SOCCER DRILLS. Coach Niko did not do enough SOCCER DRILLS, he let them play way too much. I do not understand why coach Niko has them scrimmaging every week when other teams are constantly training and doing SOCCER DRILLS. I can not get over the fact that coach Niko has them playing 4v4 & 5v5 in festivals with small fields, where they keep no scores or standings when everyone else is playing 8v8 and 9v9. How is that soccer? How can 3v3 or 4v4 or even 5v5 help my kids understand the game? It is not real soccer unless they are playing 11v11.
That is one of the BIGGEST misconceptions of youth soccer, when in actuality it is pretty simple to understand. The kids DO NOT have the capability, (mental and physical), to play in a 11v11 size field or understand all the rules of a 11v11 game which is also an ADULT game. This is why they play small sided games with simplified rules, smaller spaces where they can touch the ball a lot more times than they would in a 11v11 adult game.
We invite you to attend a soccerskillz soccer training session and or call and speak with coach Niko to better understand that the traditional way of American Soccer Training is killing the sport of soccer in America.