Daily news roundups

News roundup: Let them play out of the back

Photo: Earl Gardner

Author’s note: The focus of Thursday news roundups going forward will be youth soccer and development. If you want to send anything to me on that topic, whether it’s announcing a soccer tournament or something else, send me an email at mrjtrott (at) gmail dot com.

Philadelphia Union

Jim Curtin gave his weekly press conference. The Union are winning the possession battle with 50.3% of it on the season.

Kevin Kinkead covers Union practice and news. Some of the practice lineups indicate possible shakeups for Saturday.  Richie Marquez and Haris Medjunanin speak on the state of Union.

Local and youth

Want to spend some time reading US Soccer’s Player Development Initiatives? One highlight is that in order to foster the skill and mindset of playing out of the back, in 7v7 matches which happen for 8-10 year old children, there is a fall back line which the opposing team must retreat to when the goalkeeper gets possession. Another, a recurring theme in American youth soccer, is that there is too much emphasis on winning and not enough on how the game is played.

A number of local soccer clubs are holding tryouts. NEO has tryouts this weekend. Ukranian Nationals has tryouts now for a number of teams.

Register for a tournament sponsored by the Harrisburg City Islanders. Here are the rules.

Support the young ones by playing footgolf this Sunday. Beer is included.

Reading United is building their squad.


Seattle Sounders use data to build their squad.

Monaco put the final nails in the coffin winning 3-1 to beat Dortmund 6-3 on aggregate, while Juventus held Barcelona 0-0 for a solid aggregate win of 3-0.

Highlight of the day

This solid header from Monaco’s Radamel Falcao:


  1. How have I not heard of footgolf before now?

  2. el Pachyderm says:

    They say Futsal and voila as if merely saying futsal -and then playing it once a week- creates skilled ‘illusionistas’
    ….and so it goes (Vonnegut reference noted) now with the play out line and the ‘idea’ of playing from the back as if simply, the idea creates the intellect. As if simply writing it into a curriculum creates the second and third level thinking needed to play out of the back. Sure we have a play out line where the first pass is free- great- THEN WHAT? I see it all the time. Johnny turns and boots the ball up the field. The worst part, the keeper isn’t even allowed to use his feet to build play in some cases. The referee blows a whistle and makes play reset.
    My 7 year old kid has an outstanding coach and has taught, TAUGHT, through method and in small pieces over the course of an entire year with extremely detailed objectives and sessions and rehearsed patterns of movement for every player the HOW of playing out of the back. The coach has a philosophy of possession NOT the club… the club simply writes it as a tag line as means to get uninformed parents to spend money: hook line and sinker. Then expects the game to teach. It is utter bullshit.
    The great fallacy of US Soccer is this idea of simply building a line into the field. Ain’t no line at Leverkusen. Ain’t no line at Feyenoord.
    Do not be duped. There is a great chasm in understanding. How How How How How How How…. what is the METHODOLOGY. The how of possession.

    • The intention is to teach a certain way of playing that values passing and ball skills: Rome was not built in a day.
      This kind of resource wasn’t available to my youth coaches.
      The biggest issue that creates long ball is the desire to look at results over the way of playing. You want results, you get the ball near the opposing goal and put your best athlete up there. (long ball).

      • el Pachyderm says:

        For sure Josh. And I by no means intend to disparage. Rome was not built in a day.
        Thing is..the idea of the game teaching and then trying to play possession soccer does not work. The game only teaches if a kid is playing constantly and/or playing with a diverse group of aged kids where the older players bring order.
        Possession soccer comes about as a result of method. What is the method. There is none…yet. I’ve seen innumerable times the long ball still comes with a build out line… its just the second ball now- not the first.
        …the US licensing courses do not teach a possession method.

    • The Realist Brian says:

      Absolutely brilliant post.
      I agree totally. Possession soccer HAS to be taught. A fake play out line is a short term solution that doesn’t promote possession to your point. One pass, maybe two. What happens when a team presses? (The answer that is seen on every USMNT game against a high press team: aimless kicking/booting up field). That is why it is critical to teach not just possession out of the back, but possession through the defensive lines as you move it into the final third or attacking half-space.
      The biggest problem that I see is the pervasive mentality that the game teaches (let them play) that local clubs subscribe to or the Union youth even up to a point. Kids need to be taught. From footskills to even being on your toes (ready position), to skillful moves like la cucaracha or fast Futsal moves to proper receiving/trapping techniques. Learning rarely happens in a vacuum. We would still be living in caves if knowledge wasn’t passed down.
      My biggest issue is that 6, 7, 8 and even 9yr olds shouldn’t be playing 7v7. They should be playing 4v4. I watch local clubs playing 7v7, and it is a shit show. The lack of meaningful touches and learning the game because of 7v7 because kids can hide on the field.

      • The Realist Brian says:

        One final thing: a mentor of mine that has won multiple USYSA National championships and has put many kids into MLS believes that kids haven’t progressed from when we played 25 years ago (I think overall player skill level generally has improved, but top line skill hasn’t (Pulisic excluded)).
        He also feels that the Development Academy proodcues robots, and a latent fear by academy coaches to admit new players because they missed on some with their initial selections on younger teams.
        His final point is that winning has to be taught. All this “results don’t matter” makes softer players with this “participation trophy culture” is what is holding soccer back in this country. Kids don’t know how to win, or they have a “who gives a shit” attitude or worse, an entitled attitude that they don’t have to work extremely hard to get to the next level, then the next. If you are thinking that results in long ball tactics, then you are wrong. That is where the coaching and club metality comes into play. If a club plays possession and annihilates teams 15-0 (hint: Barca, Ajax PSV, PSG youth teams run up scores all the time) that flies on the face of “results will drive long ball tactics.”

      • Nah, possession does not have to be taught. It is natural and automatic even in 11 vs. 11 as long as there are no goalies and no referees. Possession is the default mode in small sided games that most good players from Pulisic to Maradona practiced that every day .Hey, what is this overcoaching on your toes stuff? Are we playing baseball? Play the way you think will make you perform best, toes or heels, inside or outside or bottom of the foot, why not? Knowledge is absorbed by trial and error, not by some idiot coach teaching some demeaningly characterized move like cucaracha? (Anything by that name must be useless) The talented ones will come to the fore by themselves in their youth., The others can enjoy and love the game at their own level, whatever it is.

      • That last post was pathetic. There are some excellent youth players here who have immigrant parents who will not let their kids play on teams where pathetic coaches believe winning must be taught.Yeah, you must work hard otherwise you will not get picked by the master. Therefore do not take any silly back heel risks because that kind of stuff does not win games and the coach is taking notes!. God forbid any kid I know playing on a team with that pathetic kind of winning “mentality”.

      • The Realist Brian says:

        Oh, not surprisingly you miss the point. I believe in developing kids. I cringe when I see “dad” coaches that play their own sons 75% of the game versus giving equal playing time in house league. Just because the kid is pestering you to “win”. See, kids know the score. That’s why kids cry when they lose games. I am talking about higher level kids in the Academy that winning isn’t being taught. But keep making it personal.

      • We eat our own.

      • The Realist Brian says:

        The level of disdain in your post is very telling. Stick to being a doctor. Meanwhile your kid can’t kick a ball to save his life. What’s with the toe balls? Enjoy ya nimrod.

      • Who is talking about dad coaches? not I. Who is talking about kids crying? not I. What nonsense. Who is talking about winning, Not I. Where did that come from? Maybe you cant teach winning but only how to win, which is what we dont need I think. Who knows. Certainly not the Academy Coaches . My kid does what he wants, not what I want and yes, I was good enough to train with the best in the world, and the spitz was my specialty. We sure had fun. I will bet you never knew that Pele’s second most favorite position was goalkeeper. He used to play goalie at practice all the time. I guess that makes me ignorant about the game.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        As true as magnetic north whenever I read commentary like this…. two things occur to me–Dear God may I never have medical care from a thinking similar to this and…
        …light travels faster than sound, this is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
        I am commanded to compassion and empathy in the face of ignorance.

      • Are you harboring a grudge about something from long ago? I may be a fool, but about soccer I am not ignorant, having lived long enough to see many permutations since being one of the earliest A licensed coaches. Not all of these changes have been good, especially on the Academy level.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        No grudge.. and its definitely the arrogance of the ignorance “knob-jockey”… as Murdoc Niccals said a bit earlier today. My guess is the insight just isn’t there for you to put it all together.
        Let me guess. City Doctor. Physician, Heal Thyself.

      • My god, are you a wounded Brit?

      • el Pachyderm says:

        No Doc. Nevermind.

    • Scott of Nazareth says:

      From a rec/community league standpoint the “build out line” for the young age groups works. I know some parents and coaches hate it, view it as a contrived way to slow things down and say it’s not part of the game. Usually the complaint comes from those who have above average and/or aggressive players.

      Yes its a bit of a crutch, but think both sides are served at that age. The less developed players are given a brief moment to think/decide to play/pass out of the defensive third. The “advanced” players are given more of a challenge than simply winning a 50/50 ball off a goal kick, dribble twice and hammer home a goal.

  3. Didn’t I say couple months ago that Mbappe is the real deal?!!!

  4. Keegan was just revelatory last season, and we excused several games of bad form because he was supposedly keeping cover for Onyewu, but he’s just been sub-par this year and there’s no getting around it. I would be happy to see Ray Gaddis out on the pitch against Montreal. My only question, honestly, is whether he would be best served replacing Keegan or replacing Fabi!

    Also, I don’t know that having Pontius and Ilsinho switch sides is going to accomplish much, unless the goal is to get Ilsinho and Fabinho on the same side to see if they can get some Brazilian action going on. It is definitely good to hear about Picault and Epps getting (maybe) some first team time in practice. We could use something different with respect to wing play.

    I still think Alberg will be an anchor on the squad if he starts, but I’ll but mighty pleased if he proves me wrong.

    • On switching Pontius and Ilsinho:
      It does switch style of winger which gives the opposing fullback a new look. Pontius looks to get forward into the box and get on the end of things while Ilsinho drops off to get balls to feet and cuts in centrally more. So at the very least it gives the defender something new to deal with.
      As a side note, that was one of the tactical things Curtin tried NYCFC – when Herbers came on for Pontius he stayed on the right and pushed Ilsinho to the left. Since Herbers’ game is closer to Pontius then Ilsinho, the switch gave both fullbacks something new to defend.

    • Ilsinho’s tendency to cut to his left makes me wonder if he won’t end up 8 rows into the stands on that side.

  5. Youth soccer related:


    Video of FC Dallas U12 vs Athletico Madrid U12. My daughters coach sent it out as Athletico plays to same formation as my daughters team.

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