Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


Why was this goal given offside?

Here’s one for all you budding referees and assistant referees.

In a match between the USA National Women’s Team and Brazil, the US team score a goal that is given offside.

The US team take a corner kick which was played into Brazil’s penalty area. A Brazilian player heads the ball out but it was returned by Lori Chalupny toward her teammate, Cat Whitehill.

Whitehill chips the ball above an opponent to herself, retakes control of the ball past the second to last Brazilian opponent, with only the goalkeeper to beat. When the ball was chipped up, a teammate (Heather O’Reilly) was in an offside position – she runs next to the player but doesn’t touch the ball.

Should the goal have been given?



David Beckham should be the new Dr Who

dcI can’t help but like David Beckham – even when Team Beckham rolled into Milan for the Italian press conference with Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice to you and I) in the front row all dressed in black, I can’t help but admire what he has become.

He probably has one of the best CVs in soccer – Manchester United, Real Madrid and now AC Milan.

The reason I think he should be the new Dr Who is this – during his press conference he said he had dreamed of playing for AC Milan since he was a boy. When a local reporter pointed out that he had made no mention of that in his autobiography, Beckham used his effortless charm to say: “Hmm… I thought I had… Maybe I will write another one and put some pictures of me in an AC Milan shirt in there. Sorry.”

Very Dr Who-esque. He gets my vote.

Here’s the press conference:



Here come the girls

The technique of the players in women’s soccer has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years, culminating in some great games this year.

I watched England v USA last month in the Under 20s World Cup quarter final and both teams played fantastic soccer. The USA won this one but it was closer than the 3-0 scoreline suggested.

The techniques used in the game were exceptional – I think there’s a lot more to come from some of these young ladies.

Here’s a clip of the USA’s Carli Lloyd voted the best player of 2008 by US Soccer.

In the 2008 Summer Olympics women’s football gold medal game against Brazil, Lloyd scored the winning goal in the first period of extra time. She’s had a good season.



Ever had one of those days?

There are times as a coach you think  “should I give up?”.

I went along to watch one of our under 12 teams last week. I saw how well they warmed up, how eager they were for the match to begin.

Running, passing, stretching, joking with their teammates. I was impressed. They lined up and straight from kick off they let a goal in. I don’t think any of them actually moved.

They were all looking around at each other shrugging their shoulders. “What’s going on!” “We weren’t ready!” The coach was struck dumb. It’s hard when you’ve done all the mechanical work but when the whistle blows the car doesn’t start.

They never recovered and lost the game. I spoke to the coach afterwards. He had prepared the team well, worked hard at training on a cold, rainy evening and felt very flat over what had happened on the pitch.

But the next week the team won. They didn’t let a goal in for the whole of the first half. And the difference a week made was huge in the smiles and cheers.

So even if you have had one of those days things can change… quickly.



Never stop your players trying outrageous shots
December 11, 2008, 9:55 pm
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Skills | Tags: , , , , , ,

I love seeing an outrageous bit of skill ending in a goal. It always makes me realise that you should allow your players to try things during a match without telling them it was the wrong thing to do.

This is especially so in the opposition penalty area where something like a backheel or a swivel with the ball can create chaos in the defence and result in your team scoring a goal.

 Or a backheel that puts the ball into the net. It gives your team a huge boost of confidence when it works, but there should be no side effects if the backheel or volley or overhead kick doesn’t work. You should be pleased you have given your player the confidence to try it.

Check out this from Roberto Mancini in the Roma v Lazio derby. Here the outrageous attempt goes in… and it’s worth watching over and over again.



A disallowed goal from a freekick – can you see why?

dcHere’s one for all you budding coaches out there. Watch this clip and tell me why the referee disallows the goal.

There is an outrageous backpass to the goalkeeper who has to handle the ball, giving away a freekick. The opposition take it quickly and score. The referee, much to the annoyance of the manager, disallows it.

Can you tell me why?



It wouldn’t be much fun without a referee

dc1Last season my under 11 team were complaining not about the behaviour of the other players but about the parents of the other team. Snarling, sneering parents leaping around at goals scored, raising fists at goals against, berating the referee at every turn. Not pretty.  So to me the FA’s RESPECT campaign is a start in the war against punchy parents.

Figures point to around 5,000 referees between the ages of 15 and 18 in the UK. Not many stick with it until the age of 21. I don’t think the FA has got it completely right when it says they are all driven out by aggressive parents on the side of the pitch – many go off to college, get a girlfriend or a job or need to study. However despite a good hourly rate many do give up because as one of them recently said to me: “It’s just not worth it.”

There are just not enough referees to go around. The rise of women’s football has exacerbated the problem, to such an extent that around 10,000 games are refereed by the likes of you and I. Qualified coaches playing referee.

Watch the FA’s video clip below -  amusing, yes, but quite true. On a Saturday morning its as much a relief to see the ref turn up as it is to see my leading goalscorer.

So why do we all hate referees? That’s me on a Saturday morning blowing the whistle for the start of an under 9s match and the big guy with the bald head is already giving me the glaring eye. “Don’t you dare give a decision against my team”. I’ve actually seen referees approached at half time by managers unhappy with their performance. Hey we’ve seen it on the telly why not in the local park?

Why do they do it – well to get into their mind is easy, they are watching their flesh and blood out there. And he’s only, maybe five at most and some referee aged anywhere between 16 and 50 is telling him off for a crime he didn’t commit! “Don’t push me, ref, don’t push me!”.  Poor little Johnny would never do anything wrong.

But, and it’s a big but, young soccer players have to be taught to respect referees by parents and the way to do that is for parents to zip up their lips and show respect themselves. As a coach you have to teach your players not to react to bad decisions. We all get them. The players look up to you, and to their parents. All it takes is a bit of self control.




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