Elite kids - not so easy


Elite kids - not so easy

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Zoltan
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As a bit of background - My son is a talented little soccer player. He plays for a Victorian NPL under 11 kangas team, scored 30 goals this year from midfield, played up in under 12's for the last part of the year, does 500 juggles, tricks, almost made the state school boys team as a year younger etc etc etc...but I can tell you as a parent of a good young athlete, trying to navigate things hasn't been easy.

I would almost say that that one almost needs to be an outlier (and avoid the system) in order to help your kid reach any sort of potential. I'm not sure how much you know about soccer at junior levels in VIC but the best outcomes are not coming from NPL clubs or the FFV systems but through outlying 'academies' - like Glen eira soccer club, Heart wings world and some clubs in geelong - who are not only producing more technical kids but kids who look happier and kids who are ultimately making the state teams and getting picked for Melbourne Victory and melbourne City academies.

Ned Zelic said in a recent podcast that the problem is that we don't look after our good young players. The system is geared towards 'fun' and perceived fairness when in fact its a little unfair to treat all kids the same when some work harder and sacrifice more than others...So these academies tend to be more meritocracies whilst the NPL clubs have identity issues - are they community clubs or are they cradles for young elite athletes.

Many believe 'enjoyment' being the key to retention I reckon this has two aspects. 1. why is retention the be all and end all ? As I said if a child doesn't have the competency, the drive etc isn't dropping out and trying other things normal? Secondly from an elite perspective i wonder if elite kids drop out because they don't get recognition and reward for signs of early competence?

So a typical example is one child at an early age is taught that effort = rewards and that the more you practice they better you will be. In my opinion kids are never too young to learn about personal responsibility and that actions have consequences. So the child, with a little prompting by the parent slowly learns really good habits which translate to excellent onfield performance over the next 4 years.

But we know what happens in real life - the coach and the other parents emphasise 'the team' before the individual, the advanced kid rotates in the same positions as the less advanced kid, the team captain is rewarded as an encouragement award, and on the sidelines the parent applaud the one thing a less advanced kid does in a game and ignore the 30 things the better kid does week in and week out...This then plays out again and again and again in differnet ways as the kids advance - and then the child with the good habit says at some point - whats the point! Unless someone in a position of authority or power also recognises the childs performance.

As a parent its difficult because I reckon most parents with talented kids kind of give up and let their kids drop back into the pack rather than fight to find the best place to help their kids reach their potential. Ive had 3 NPL technical directors tell me things like - This club has never produced a kid who played in the seniors, the only kids who will ever be any good need a parent who played professional sport, and now I hear that the new youth technical director of an a-league club reckons none of the kids in the talent identification squad for under 13's would make a top academy in Europe...Whats the point then? Where is the excellence? I disagree with all of them but i can tell you its not easy bringing up a well rounded kid, with a talent - and trying to help him reach his potential. Many times the well meaning administrators and the clubs themselves are at fault

Moral - Look after and respect the good players - they probably deserve it!


Edited
10 Months Ago by Zoltan
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Zoltan - 15 Oct 2017 11:38 AM
As a bit of background - My son is a talented little soccer player. He plays for a Victorian NPL under 11 kangas team, scored 30 goals this year from midfield, played up in under 12's for the last part of the year, does 500 juggles, tricks, almost made the state school boys team as a year younger etc etc etc...but I can tell you as a parent of a good young athlete, trying to navigate things hasn't been easy.

I would almost say that that one almost needs to be an outlier (and avoid the system) in order to help your kid reach any sort of potential. I'm not sure how much you know about soccer at junior levels in VIC but the best outcomes are not coming from NPL clubs or the FFV systems but through outlying 'academies' - like Glen eira soccer club, Heart wings world and some clubs in geelong - who are not only producing more technical kids but kids who look happier and kids who are ultimately making the state teams and getting picked for Melbourne Victory and melbourne City academies.

Ned Zelic said in a recent podcast that the problem is that we don't look after our good young players. The system is geared towards 'fun' and perceived fairness when in fact its a little unfair to treat all kids the same when some work harder and sacrifice more than others...So these academies tend to be more meritocracies whilst the NPL clubs have identity issues - are they community clubs or are they cradles for young elite athletes.

Many believe 'enjoyment' being the key to retention I reckon this has two aspects. 1. why is retention the be all and end all ? As I said if a child doesn't have the competency, the drive etc isn't dropping out and trying other things normal? Secondly from an elite perspective i wonder if elite kids drop out because they don't get recognition and reward for signs of early competence?

So a typical example is one child at an early age is taught that effort = rewards and that the more you practice they better you will be. In my opinion kids are never too young to learn about personal responsibility and that actions have consequences. So the child, with a little prompting by the parent slowly learns really good habits which translate to excellent onfield performance over the next 4 years.

But we know what happens in real life - the coach and the other parents emphasise 'the team' before the individual, the advanced kid rotates in the same positions as the less advanced kid, the team captain is rewarded as an encouragement award, and on the sidelines the parent applaud the one thing a less advanced kid does in a game and ignore the 30 things the better kid does week in and week out...This then plays out again and again and again in differnet ways as the kids advance - and then the child with the good habit says at some point - whats the point! Unless someone in a position of authority or power also recognises the childs performance.

As a parent its difficult because I reckon most parents with talented kids kind of give up and let their kids drop back into the pack rather than fight to find the best place to help their kids reach their potential. Ive had 3 NPL technical directors tell me things like - This club has never produced a kid who played in the seniors, the only kids who will ever be any good need a parent who played professional sport, and now I hear that the new youth technical director of an a-league club reckons none of the kids in the talent identification squad for under 13's would make a top academy in Europe...Whats the point then? Where is the excellence? I disagree with all of them but i can tell you its not easy bringing up a well rounded kid, with a talent - and trying to help him reach his potential. Many times the well meaning administrators and the clubs themselves are at fault

Moral - Look after and respect the good players - they probably deserve it!


Zoltan, very interesting as was having a similar conversation with some NPL senior and Junior coaches on the weekend.
The consensus was that if they had young kids coming through the 10 to 14 age bracket they wouldn't have them in the npl and would do as you suggest put them in the academy environment.

They spoke of insider dealing with kids being sent to the TDC programs and a junior npl coach being paid $15k for the season by a parent on the proviso the coach with his connections got him a trial with one of the A league academies.

There is a lot of corruption going on behind the scenes and from what I hear none of it is for the benefit of the kids. 
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Hi Stamap. Thanks for that and just confirms my thoughts. Heartbreaking that soccer doesn't have any clear meritorious pathways for kids who just wanna be world class. If we were in Germany or Spain there would be many elite academies and pathways and corruption would be less of a problem.

I reckon if we trace back all the current Australian team members we would find stories of disenchantment with the local scene and driven overseas early. Mooy and Cahill and pasquale come to mind.

It's actually less risky to travel and test your kids ability in their early teams then hang around trying to suck up to the right people .

Cheers
Zoltan
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Firstly it’s a game if it’s not fun then we have already lost, those of us who love the game know that to be a fact.
Secondly we started a system ( the National curriculum) designed to insurer that players everywhere got the best training and the correct training in a formation designed to encourage possession play. Systems being what they are people got involved so most elite academy’s the coaches son played in the academy, the directors son plays in the academy the TD’s son plays in the academy, the state selectors children are in the academy. There is no way that will assist the most talented players advancing through the ranks.
I my opinion most players at any age group in any NPL academy are actually preventing the talented players getting in.
If you take any age group in academy’s 4 maybe 5 players aren’t in it that should be and at least 7 should not be in it because they are not good enough, daddy has connections or they are just making up the numbers.

But most of all it is a game and must be fun for all players and spectators and a positive experience for as many children as possible making them a life long supporters.
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The problem is that parents pay for their children to pay. They feel that their child is entitled to game time which I understand. Then there are children who don't have a bone of talent so their parents pay even more to get their child into the team. It means that what is supposed to be an elite environment is no longer one and the talented players in those teams are not being challenged to improve at training. 

I was at a club in the eastern suburbs last year where I had two very good players, some decent players and at least 4-5 that I wouldn't have looked at twice for that level. This created many issues. I was let go because I was honest with people. The club didn't take my advice last year and this year they finished last out of 26 teams. It was obvious that the parents of these children had a massive say in the club. 

My point is that this happens a lot in youth football in NSW which means that the talented footballers aren't in a challenging environment during crucial development ages between 13-18. 

As a parent, you have to do your research on the club and coach. You have to understand the environment that you are getting your child into and decide whether or not that is the environment you want for your child. 
Edited
10 Months Ago by theFOOTBALLlover
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Hey thefootballlover
Do you think we spend too much of our time, money, effort on the elite few or too little on the masses?
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Thanks replies. We need to cater for both masses and elite. But if we are not honest and really look after the best young players we will get bad outcomes at international and national levels like we currently are.

If this was tennis or running or swimming life would be easy because you can easily measure performance by who wins. Soccer is more about opinion but getting good, elite honest opinions and decisions based on fairness is almost impossible because of the way local soccer is set up (old school administrators) and because the pathways are so small that corruption and bias is inevitable.

The football lover is spot on but his last paragraph is sad. It's almost impossible for any regular parent to understand what clubs and politics is like. The average talented 8 year old at a well meaning community club doesn't even know about npl let alone academies where state coaches send their own kids. By 11 it's too late because the top 20 kids in the state are way ahead. At least the academies are producing quality because top 20 npl kids is pretty bad.

Too hard as a parent....

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krones3 - 16 Oct 2017 9:53 PM
Hey thefootballlover Do you think we spend too much of our time, money, effort on the elite few or too little on the masses?

I'm not sure how to answer that question to be honest.

In terms of NSW, I think the youth leagues should go back to NPL 1, 2 and 3 to line up with the senior leagues and then introduce pro/rel based on youth results to weed out the political clubs (clubs that only sign children for money or who they know) as much as possible. However, the most important part is that players are selected on their ability and not how much money their parent(s) is willing to pay. Based on my experience, its all about having a challenging environment which doesn't happen when you have too many political players in a football team of 16 players. 
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My confused thoughts at the moment are if you have an academy with an NPL club, is the academy take time and resources from the first team or is it a cash cow for the first team. Either way it’s not fair on the academy players or parents and I don’t know of any other football country that insists on this structure.
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Npl clubs aren't academies
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Apparently all NPL clubs in Queensland must have an academy with both male and female players in every age group from U12 up
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Hi Krones. What we are saying is the npl system is supposed to be elite but in truth it is compromised because every team usually only has a few good players. The best players are leaving the npl system and joining private academies.
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Yes up here until yesterday there was no choice but there is now.
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Whats the point?

Peddling a dream that just isn’t there.

Hypotheses – Australia’s soccer Industry of which can claim an incredibly impressive 1.1 million participants, has no pathway to professional success.

By professional success – I mean not just playing pro soccer but having a successful career where you earn say more that 250k per year for 7-10 years.

Any child wanting to be a successful professional soccer player in Australia (make a decent living and have a good career) might as well give up and go surfing because the chances are about the same as winning the lottery. Your child has more chance to be prime minister, 5,000 times more chance to be a doctor and a 50 times more chance to be an Olympian in another sport.

Lets see why.

The pathway to professional play in Australia is currently via the A-league clubs. We have 10 A-league clubs with squads of 26.

That’s 260 professional players in Australia. Compare this to AFL who have 18 teams x 38 platers = 684 professional players. Almost 3 x s many.

Every year maybe 2 youth players break through to be regulars in an A-league team. Then the likelihood is only one of them will go onto make a great career.

So the reality is if your kid makes an a-league academy as a 13-17 year old (an amazing achievement) their chances of making it as a successful professional is still about 100-1. Don’t sell the house just yet!!

The A-league clubs are made up of Internationals, stalwart ex socceroos and Australian Journeyman players lucky to be earning 100-150k per year. The Journeyman spend 2-3 years on a A-League roster (something to tell the grandkids) and go back to NPL teams earning 20k per year and working out what to do with the rest of their lives.

To eck out a decent living in the A-league you would need to have at have at some stage player for a Socceroo squad at some level and even then there is no guarantee.

So the only real option is to try your chances overseas as a youngster. This takes incredible will power and belief and a large portion of reckless stupidity to take this risk with your family. But you know what – its more risky to hang around and try and play the NPL political game, then navigate what must be a nightmare of politics and intrigue to get on an a-league list only to be still a marathon away from real success…


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krones3 - 17 Oct 2017 10:48 AM
My confused thoughts at the moment are if you have an academy with an NPL club, is the academy take time and resources from the first team or is it a cash cow for the first team. Either way it’s not fair on the academy players or parents and I don’t know of any other football country that insists on this structure.

I've heard that Sydney FC charge their academy players about $6000 while other NPL clubs (outside the A-league academies) are capped at $2500.

In my experience, the rego money that youth players pay is to pay the first grade players. I've had to beg for equipment (including footballs!) in the past. 
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krones3 - 17 Oct 2017 3:09 PM
Yes up here until yesterday there was no choice but there is now.

What do you mean?
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John Doe - 17 Oct 2017 3:19 PM
Whats the point?

Peddling a dream that just isn’t there.

Hypotheses – Australia’s soccer Industry of which can claim an incredibly impressive 1.1 million participants, has no pathway to professional success.

By professional success – I mean not just playing pro soccer but having a successful career where you earn say more that 250k per year for 7-10 years.

Any child wanting to be a successful professional soccer player in Australia (make a decent living and have a good career) might as well give up and go surfing because the chances are about the same as winning the lottery. Your child has more chance to be prime minister, 5,000 times more chance to be a doctor and a 50 times more chance to be an Olympian in another sport.

Lets see why.

The pathway to professional play in Australia is currently via the A-league clubs. We have 10 A-league clubs with squads of 26.

That’s 260 professional players in Australia. Compare this to AFL who have 18 teams x 38 platers = 684 professional players. Almost 3 x s many.

Every year maybe 2 youth players break through to be regulars in an A-league team. Then the likelihood is only one of them will go onto make a great career.

So the reality is if your kid makes an a-league academy as a 13-17 year old (an amazing achievement) their chances of making it as a successful professional is still about 100-1. Don’t sell the house just yet!!

The A-league clubs are made up of Internationals, stalwart ex socceroos and Australian Journeyman players lucky to be earning 100-150k per year. The Journeyman spend 2-3 years on a A-League roster (something to tell the grandkids) and go back to NPL teams earning 20k per year and working out what to do with the rest of their lives.

To eck out a decent living in the A-league you would need to have at have at some stage player for a Socceroo squad at some level and even then there is no guarantee.

So the only real option is to try your chances overseas as a youngster. This takes incredible will power and belief and a large portion of reckless stupidity to take this risk with your family. But you know what – its more risky to hang around and try and play the NPL political game, then navigate what must be a nightmare of politics and intrigue to get on an a-league list only to be still a marathon away from real success…


This guy gets it!
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Gareth edds GESA has a partnership with roar so now players and parents have 2 choices
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Stamap and Zoltan.  Great posts.  




Member since 2008.


Edited
10 Months Ago by Munrubenmuz
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All the best with your son Zoltan. Sounds like a talented boy Thanks to Mum and Dad's devoted support but also his drive and passion.
I hear you and I'm sure sososo many would agree - very hard being a parent especially when you know the system isn't "honest".
Even though overall things have improved from way way back especially coaching, I say that lightly for their are good coach's and then there are many who's ego's and lack of player management astounds me how did they get the job in the first place !.
Politics/back room dealings haven't stopped since my Father had to just give up in my teens and now I'm not in that exact position with my now 17yr old who could have should but for lame coaching last few years and attending trials that are just pressure cookers purely to see high numbers and selectors knowing what positions needing to fill don't give other kids much of their time so why not just say so in the first place so everyone knows if its worth the time and effort - I'm not speaking for myself on that last one but on the countless discussions I've had with many parents through our YL years.
Clubs not being honest what their looking for, how many have been retained, the bolters from the outside getting in and you have to deal with your boy so dejected on outcomes that just didn't make sense.
You confront people (nicely might I add) and they just are too gutless to be honest.
Overall its so dog eat dog and you just think how many great young promising prospects just go away back to club football because parents have had enough of the crap.
Hey footballlover, as you know come trials time things are kept pretty close whats going on amongst clubs and who's assigned to this position that position.
Sometimes you don't know who actually is the Coach of xyz squad till just on the season due to changes by Admin etcetc...
So many clubs purposely set trial dates on the same day and times as you know might I add.
You can research so much but it doesn't help at times, you hear one thing then you hear another then its something completely different.

Academies/ or pathways ? I just don't know about them tbh.
Cash cows ? in todays world I guess so for so many people are into "look at me" so I find these places not in the true path of developing a kid to camaraderie and playing weekly games enjoying the wins and licking the wounds and lessons from loss's .
Mine was asked a number of times to join one due to a coach I know well, so we went for a couple of runs to feel it out.
I'm sure my boy would have got really fit, technical skill probably improved But my observation :
Huge numbers in every age group, so many Mums/Dads thinking their sons are the next beckham ronaldo messi but.......
No weekly competition games.
Games against other academies IF the boy is selected to play or your paying good bucks but to play in Div1 club football, like wtf (sure its the coaching for the privilege) .
I suppose its horse's for course's.

Says it all on one part John Doe.


Edited
10 Months Ago by LFC.
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LFC. - 18 Oct 2017 11:28 PM
All the best with your son Zoltan. Sounds like a talented boy Thanks to Mum and Dad's devoted support but also his drive and passion.
I hear you and I'm sure sososo many would agree - very hard being a parent especially when you know the system isn't "honest".
Even though overall things have improved from way way back especially coaching, I say that lightly for their are good coach's and then there are many who's ego's and lack of player management astounds me how did they get the job in the first place !.
Politics/back room dealings haven't stopped since my Father had to just give up in my teens and now I'm not in that exact position with my now 17yr old who could have should but for lame coaching last few years and attending trials that are just pressure cookers purely to see high numbers and selectors knowing what positions needing to fill don't give other kids much of their time so why not just say so in the first place so everyone knows if its worth the time and effort - I'm not speaking for myself on that last one but on the countless discussions I've had with many parents through our YL years.
Clubs not being honest what their looking for, how many have been retained, the bolters from the outside getting in and you have to deal with your boy so dejected on outcomes that just didn't make sense.
You confront people (nicely might I add) and they just are too gutless to be honest.
Overall its so dog eat dog and you just think how many great young promising prospects just go away back to club football because parents have had enough of the crap.
Hey footballlover, as you know come trials time things are kept pretty close whats going on amongst clubs and who's assigned to this position that position.
Sometimes you don't know who actually is the Coach of xyz squad till just on the season due to changes by Admin etcetc...
So many clubs purposely set trial dates on the same day and times as you know might I add.
You can research so much but it doesn't help at times, you hear one thing then you hear another then its something completely different.


Academies/ or pathways ? I just don't know about them tbh.
Cash cows ? in todays world I guess so for so many people are into "look at me" so I find these places not in the true path of developing a kid to camaraderie and playing weekly games enjoying the wins and licking the wounds and lessons from loss's .
Mine was asked a number of times to join one due to a coach I know well, so we went for a couple of runs to feel it out.
I'm sure my boy would have got really fit, technical skill probably improved But my observation :
Huge numbers in every age group, so many Mums/Dads thinking their sons are the next beckham ronaldo messi but.......
No weekly competition games.
Games against other academies IF the boy is selected to play or your paying good bucks but to play in Div1 club football, like wtf (sure its the coaching for the privilege) .
I suppose its horse's for course's.

Says it all on one part John Doe.


I completely understand and agree. Obviously there are clubs that are organised properly but my experience (I've only been at two clubs) is that there's a lack of pathway. Every time there's a new coach at the club, he basically restarts the whole team because the club doesn't recommend any retentions based on how a player performs over the course of the season. Players are forced to trial. It has meant that after a week or two of trialling with their own club, players leave. Happens a lot between 16 and 18's now because the youth and seniors are basically run like two separate clubs. I've always been in favour of promoting players from within so I always watch the younger age group so it is a very frustrating situation when it quality players are allowed to leave in other age groups. 
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Agree mate.
Problem is clubs know countless players turn up for trials.
They don't wish to retain too many in the hope better turns up.
Double edged sword but it shows no loyalty to sound and probable improving players but everyone wants it now type of thing of today.
Promotion within is always the better way.
The separation now even more so of seniors and YL is not club bonding as well.
I know its semi pro when talking PL1 and it has its hurdles/issues but 2/3 need to lift their management game.

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Hi LFC

Thanks reply - yep i can see what you have described playing out at my clubs NPL trials. In higher aged groups there are kids good enough but for whatever reason they are not getting in. The tragedy here is that kids and parents think that trials is a meritocracy and they invest time, money and emotional energy convincing themsleves to follow their passion and give soccer a red hot go - only to be smashed in the face by the system (NPL club administrators). Like you said more honesty and reflection is needed.

The footballlover - this is where your post is complicated for me. There is a huge part of me that is very happy when I hear that a new coach messes up the system and says all gloves are off. Trial and lets pick the best 16 not just kids who have been with the clubs for 10 years who for whatever reason aren't progressing. As i said I believe that talent is developed from working harder than others - therefore the better kids always (in the most part) deserve to get picked before the other kids. 

Before everyone screams i would put a proviso on this. Picking the best kids all the time should only be the case in elite circumstances. So the best of the best kids - which is supposed to be the NPL charter. NPL clubs are not community clubs. NPL clubs were put in place to be the regional (rep) clubs where all the best local kids come together to learn and push eachother so we can be worlds best....(Although I believe the charter has been watered down recently)

The issue is our NPL clubs have rich, long, and mostly ethnic histories - which make meritocracy impossible. So we have a watered down, less than elite system producing bad results. 

By way of example lets look at a typical say under 12's situation. 

Community Kangas under 12 team - say Clifton Hill should lose to an NPL under 12's team 6-0 (pretty standard).
But The NPL teams are losing to Academy teams (like Glen Eira) 6-0.....

Not good enough for an NPL system that is supposed to be elite. There is a huge gap in expectation and ability. I get annoyed that my NPL club is getting crapped on by an academy side which is now the benchmark. This is how far behind the NPL system is. 

Don't our best kids all deserve the level of competition the academy side offer?

If you look at Melbourne Victory and City under 18's - most players are 14-17 years old. And as discussed by John Doe only 1 out of 100 of them will forge a successful professional career. If a young guy at 17 is struggling to make an NPL under 19's their pathway to professional soccer is going to be even harder. Maybe playing for fun at a lower division is a much better (and less stressful) outcome. Energies doing a trade or concentrating on VCE a much better option - instead of selling a dream that just isn't there.


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Zoltan - 19 Oct 2017 3:16 PM
Hi LFC

Thanks reply - yep i can see what you have described playing out at my clubs NPL trials. In higher aged groups there are kids good enough but for whatever reason they are not getting in. The tragedy here is that kids and parents think that trials is a meritocracy and they invest time, money and emotional energy convincing themsleves to follow their passion and give soccer a red hot go - only to be smashed in the face by the system (NPL club administrators). Like you said more honesty and reflection is needed.

The footballlover - this is where your post is complicated for me. There is a huge part of me that is very happy when I hear that a new coach messes up the system and says all gloves are off. Trial and lets pick the best 16 not just kids who have been with the clubs for 10 years who for whatever reason aren't progressing. As i said I believe that talent is developed from working harder than others - therefore the better kids always (in the most part) deserve to get picked before the other kids. 

Before everyone screams i would put a proviso on this. Picking the best kids all the time should only be the case in elite circumstances. So the best of the best kids - which is supposed to be the NPL charter. NPL clubs are not community clubs. NPL clubs were put in place to be the regional (rep) clubs where all the best local kids come together to learn and push eachother so we can be worlds best....(Although I believe the charter has been watered down recently)

The issue is our NPL clubs have rich, long, and mostly ethnic histories - which make meritocracy impossible. So we have a watered down, less than elite system producing bad results. 

By way of example lets look at a typical say under 12's situation. 

Community Kangas under 12 team - say Clifton Hill should lose to an NPL under 12's team 6-0 (pretty standard).
But The NPL teams are losing to Academy teams (like Glen Eira) 6-0.....

Not good enough for an NPL system that is supposed to be elite. There is a huge gap in expectation and ability. I get annoyed that my NPL club is getting crapped on by an academy side which is now the benchmark. This is how far behind the NPL system is. 

Don't our best kids all deserve the level of competition the academy side offer?

If you look at Melbourne Victory and City under 18's - most players are 14-17 years old. And as discussed by John Doe only 1 out of 100 of them will forge a successful professional career. If a young guy at 17 is struggling to make an NPL under 19's their pathway to professional soccer is going to be even harder. Maybe playing for fun at a lower division is a much better (and less stressful) outcome. Energies doing a trade or concentrating on VCE a much better option - instead of selling a dream that just isn't there.


Hold on.. I never said retain players just because they've been at the club. I retain players that have earnt it. What's the point of having youth teams if we aren't going to develop the players and give opportunities to those that have earnt it? 

Each club needs a good TD that ensures good players are kept regardless of who the coach is. 
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Agree. Have you heard of clubs dropping long term players who deserve it? Hopefully if the trial was bad the td would step in otherwise that would be a terrible situation
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Zoltan - 19 Oct 2017 3:16 PM


By way of example lets look at a typical say under 12's situation. 

Community Kangas under 12 team - say Clifton Hill should lose to an NPL under 12's team 6-0 (pretty standard).
But The NPL teams are losing to Academy teams (like Glen Eira) 6-0.....

Not good enough for an NPL system that is supposed to be elite. There is a huge gap in expectation and ability. I get annoyed that my NPL club is getting crapped on by an academy side which is now the benchmark. This is how far behind the NPL system is. 

Don't our best kids all deserve the level of competition the academy side offer?


Your comments regarding academy teams don't match my experience, a local U12 NPL team played a U13 "Academy" team (who's fees were much higher than the NPL club by the way) and beat them comfortably 3:1, despite U12 NPL kids playing half pitch most the year. I also know of a number of kids leaving academies for NPL & community as fees are too high and parents arent happy with level of competition in the state leagues they often compete in, even though many play up a year to try & improve competition. 

There simply arent enough "elite" kids to fill all the NPL team spots so there is a big gap between the best and worst in the NPL league. FFV is rumoured to be introducing a tiered junior NPL: soon which will fix some of the competition issues. 



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Thanks for that. Guess not all academy teams are equal. Bare in mind many academy teams are made up of kids 1-2 years younger because of the less competition in the ffv leagues. And yeah the costs for some academies are too high hence we avoided one of them. Last year my son then 10 was offered a position in an under 13 academy team but the cost was 5 k so we said no. But their training was 100 pct better than my npl experience. Very skill based.

These guys are filling a market. Any parent with a daughter who does ballet knows that 4 k is not unusual.
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IMO I wouldn't focus to much on the politics. They will always be there.
Keep them grounded and as humble as possible. Don't live your dreams through your son and put the pressure on them at any stage. Instil the hard work and ethics that we all know we need to succeed at anything that we do. Make no mistake if your son is good enough and has the right attitude which leads to hard work, there is no coach or TD or club that will stop him from becoming what he wants.
The words Talented, elite should never be used. If you do, in the end they will start with..... WAS.  
I would just try and find a coach that shares the same morals and values regardless of the club or comp.


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10 Months Ago by JDB03
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Very good points JDB03....that saying the cream rise's to the top has its merit but let me expand a little on your last sentence which is so important and a very good one.
Important that a coach likes/suits the style/morals/values of the young up and comer - mine has just gone through 2 wasted seasons with a coach who's style of play doesn't suit his game therefore that precious time is lost never to be gained back. (we should have changed after the 1st season but its not as easy as said, your thinking give it one more go or not ??, trails are here there and everywhere and similar times as mentioned, such a melting pot).
Were past it (YL) being mine is about to start his 2nd season in 18's but I'm saying this for Zoltan being his boy is younger - time pass's too fast, if things are not looking in the right direction get onto it, question, make move sooner rather than later for you can't afford losing a season on development.

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JDB03 - 24 Oct 2017 10:50 AM


I would just try and find a coach that shares the same morals and values regardless of the club or comp.


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