November 3, 2012
By Charles Cuttone
TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENT IS KEY
Sermanni on youth soccer in the U.S.
Part of what U.S. Soccer was looking for in its new coach of the Women's National Team was someone who would get involved in and have input into youth soccer development, In hiring Tom Sermanni, the federation may have found that.
The affable Scotsman, who has several years experience working in the U.S. market in the Women's United Soccer League, already has some ideas on how player development in the U.S. needs to go.
"I think technical development is key," Sermanni said. "I think technical development in a youth player has to take priority over physical development. That doesn’t mean physical development gets completely ignored."
Though the U.S. has been the winningest team in the world over the past two decades, the knock on the squad of late has been that much of the world has caught up in terms of soccer ability, and that the U.S. need to improve the technical aspects of their game.
"When I speak to younger players and coaches, coaches usually say to younger players, ‘you have to train harder’," Sermanni explained. "What I believe for younger players what they need to do is practice better and practice as well as they can and practice on improving how they play soccer. How well they can dribble, how well they can pass, how well their touch is and how well their understanding of the game is, so rather than look at their training practices from a physical aspect, I think in youth development, looking at your training practices from a technical aspect and improving how you can actually play the game is most critical and it will continue to go that way.
"In the next generation of players, I think physical differences between teams is going to be null and void and therefore the technical differences and the ability to actually play and understand the game is going to become much more of critical focus."
Sermanni will take over the U.S. team officially on January 1, and he will work closely with Women's Technical Director April Heinrichs and with Women's Director of Development Jill Ellis.