Youth Soccer Development

US Youth Soccer Developments

The US Soccer Federation took a major step forward this past week in appointing Claudio Reyna as their Youth Technical Director. Reyna will be at the head of the newly created US Soccer Development Academy. He will oversee the design and implementation of strategies to improve the development of young players and coaches throughout the youth ranks. He will be paying close attention to improving the coaching of 6-12 year old players in the US. In addition he will focus on educating coaches across the nation to provide them with goals and directions for working with young players.

Reyna is an excellent choice for this position for a number of reasons. He holds an ‘A’ coaching license, which is the highest level of coaching in the United States. The license is a FIFA rating, which takes at least five years of training and testing to receive.

Furthermore Reyna speaks both English and Spanish, so he will be able to connect with Hispanic communities, coaches, and youth players. Beyond that, Reyna, who was chosen for the US World Cup squads from 1994 through 2006, has shown excellent soccer skill throughout a long and distinguished career. (His performance in the 2006 World Cup should not be taken as an indicator of his talent he was at the tail end of his career.)

Professionally Reyna played for Glasgow Rangers, Sunderland, Manchester City, VFL Wolfsburg, and Bayer Leverkusen. He was a captain for the US National team and Sunderland. He was named to a World Cup All-Tournament Team in 2002.

Before playing as a professional he played in high school in Newark, New Jersey at St. Benedict’s Prep. He also played at the College Level at the University of Virginia. This means that he has a clear understanding of how American players have been developed in the past.

Furthermore, he has experience with many European teams – Glasgow Rangers, Sunderland, Manchester City, VFL Wolfsburg, and Bayer Leverkusen – which have their own method of developing players. This, combined with his experience with American methods, should give Reyna the knowledge to know what techniques work well and which don’t. Lastly, he has four children and probably has a good amount of experience in dealing with children.

It will be interesting to see what ideas Reyna comes up with. I am not sure how much power he will actually have outside of the US Soccer Development Academy system. Of course as the system grows, Reyna’s influence will grow. Good luck on your new job Mr. Reyna. What do you think of this development?

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