Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


England U19 women’s team show perfect defending

DavidClarkeWhat a tournament for the England U19s women’s team. Four wins and a draw in five matches and a goals column of 12 for, 0 against, it sounds like perfect defending to me. England swept all before them in the UEFA U-19 Women’s European Championship in Belarus and saw off Sweden in the final with two goals in the space of four minutes midway through the first half from Toni Duggan and Jordan Nobbs.

It was England’s first ever title for a women’s youth team.

With that kind of defending perhaps Manchester City were barking up the wrong tree when they tried to get John Terry. Maybe they should have looked elsewhere!

But seriously you have to have a pretty good defensive set up to have a tournament like that.
Mo Marley is the Head Coach of England U19s and also Everton Ladies.

She became only the second woman in England – behind Hope Powell – to gain the UEFA Pro Licence when she qualified in 2008.

She is an inspiration to all coaches out there who are starting out in a career in coaching.

Here’s a clip of the England U19 youth team winning the cup.



Six Soccer Sins

dc11.Stopping the ball standing still

Players that trap balls standing still are easy to target by the opposition.

2.Goalkeeper staying on the line

Goalkeepers must advance towards the ball as attackers close in.

3. Standing waiting for the pass

Players must move to the ball, not wait for it

4. Arguing with the referee

Those days are gone show that as a club you respect officials.

5. Lifting your feet at throw ins

It’s a technique all players should be able to get right.

6. Arguing with the crowd like David Beckham

Just ignore it we don’t want children seeing any silly antics on the pitch – come on Becks your paid well enough not to do that.



Academy teams show how technique wins games

DavidClarkeTechnique is vital in youth soccer. I watched the highlights of a few matches in the US Soccer Development Academy Finals and one of the games that stood out was PDA v Cal Odyssey U15s.

In the match highlights the team that wins – Cal – shows two great bits of skill at either end of the pitch where technique comes through for the winners. The Cal goalkeeper saves a penalty and the Cal striker controls then swivels on a pass and scores in the corner.

Technique for both goalkeeper and striker is the winning difference.

Great to watch and great for the team.

Here it is:

 Soccer Skills and Drills



Strikers are only as good as their coach

Sitting on the bench is not the way to give a striker confidence. So what will happen at Manchester City who have now got – at the last count – nine strikers? Carlos Tevez is one of them and he moaned about being on the bench at Manchester United. A striker needs confidence and needs to feel part of a team. At Arsenal, Emanuel Adebayor had the confidence of one of the best managers in the game, Arsene Wenger.

It was Wenger who made Adebeyor into the striker he is today – even a troubled season like the last one saw him create and score some great goals. He seems to be quite a handful for any manager. Make no mistake, under the wrong manager, the young aggressive Adebeyor would have developed into a much different striker, one more suited to Wigan than Arsenal.

dcAs a coach and manager of young players we must all look at managers like Arsene Wenger and how he nurtures his players, makes them play soccer with a passing and receiving game and makes their ball holding technique so much better.

Now he has gone to Manchester City he will be under a much different coach, and maybe he will look back and wonder how great he could have been had he stayed under the watchful eye of Arsene Wenger.

Here’s Adebayor in his last season at Arsenal…

 Soccer Skills and Drills



The glamour has gone
July 26, 2009, 7:31 pm
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching | Tags: , , , ,

DavidClarkeWatching the glamour that surrounds the motor racing fraternity this weekend I wonder if the world of soccer is missing out. Since the demise of Becks and Posh we have little in the way of glamour.

When Lewis Hamilton was on his way to the first win of the season we saw the lead singer of the pussycat dolls, Nicole Sherzinger leaping around in the McLaren area.

And then I watched Valentino Rossi at the MotoGP 2009 championships and the girls that surround him.

So in soccer we have the salaries but no longer the glamour.

Watch this:



Sweepers can think for your defenders

dc1I was shown this clip of a young player who plays the role of sweeper for his team. It is an excellent example of the art of the sweeper.

I think the sweeper position is one of the best ways young players can learn the art of defending. You can go man for man marking because the sweeper covers the spaces that zonal defending takes care of.

They also provide great cover for your defence.

I think coaches of young squads should bring back the classic libero into their teams – learning to be a sweeper makes 10, 11, 12-year olds more intelligent players.

Watch the clip, it helps you realise how much cover a sweeper can provide for your team.

 Soccer Skills and Drills



Owen, Adebayor, Eto’o, Ibrahimovic

DavidClarkeStrikers are big news. There is no doubt it is the glamour position of the team – no wonder every young player wants that position. Micheal Owen, Emmanuel Adebayor, Samuel Eto’o and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are all making news in Europe. Scoring goals has never been so expensive.

The importance of scoring in grass roots soccer was summed up by Sepp Blatter the Fifa President. Het said even if a side loses 10 -1 they have achieved one of the objectives of the game namely scoring goals.

But when you find a good striker it doesn’t end there. However good they are at scoring goals you need to coach them in the art of receiving and controlling and playing the right ball once they have done this – whether it’s a shot or a cross they have to know what they are doing.

Strikers need to be able to beat players, to create their own space and finish off the moves the rest of the team create.

You need to treat your striker like you do your goalkeeper and get them doing specific exercises that make them better at what they do. Watch these three clips of Ibrahimovic teasing defenders and creating space that he can exploit for his team – it shows you just how hard an attacker has to work to open up the space they need to create goal scoring opportunities.

 Soccer Skills and Drills



Seeing is believing when it comes to skills

dc1Showing your players how to do techniques is a lot easier for them to understand than if you tell them how to do it. Often coaches will tell players what to do then get hot and bothered when the players are not doing it right.

When it comes to shielding the ball it is far easier for you to show the position of a player’s feet and body rather than spending a lot of time explaining what the players must do.

By way of example, watch this clip of Roy Keane showing young players how to shield the ball. Obviously it helps if you’ve played the game, but you can always get out into the garden after work and try it yourself before you do it in front of the players.

 Soccer Skills and Drills



A test for all coaches – try a session with no equipment and just one ball

I am contacted by coaches from all over the world, telling me about how hard it is to coach because they have not got much equipment. Sometimes it is easy to take for granted things like cones, bibs, shinpads and boots.

I’ve moaned about the state of the our training pitch, and even that the astro turf training ground meant my players couldn’t get the right weight of pass on muddy pitches.

In reality you don’t need lots of equipment but it helps. And even though soccer is a simple game it’s hard to coach a group of players with just one ball. . So next time you’re on the training ground leave all the training equipment at home and see if you can run a session without them and just take one ball. It’s hard not to end up just playing one big match!

Check out this clip I have found of coach Johnny Mayaka coaching his team in Mombasa. Some players have no footwear which means he has to be especially careful checking the rough ground for glass or sharp objects.



Sir Alex can prove the power of the coach

DavidClarkeEngland’s chances of winning the World Cup in South Africa got a massive boost when Sir Alex Ferguson decided to take a huge gamble and sign Michael Owen.

Manchester Utd have not played with a goal poacher since Ruud van Nistelrooy was sold to Real Madrid and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hung up his boots.

But it will take all the coach’s finest attributes to change the fortune of a striker who has not scored since January and was unable to score goals to prevent Newcastle being relegated.

England could do with a fired up Owen if he finds his goal scoring touch again. There are few goal poachers in the England set up, indeed there are few in the English Premier League with the exception of Jermaine Defoe.

England manager Fabio Capello will be watching with interest. So will I. A coach can do such a lot for players and if Owen fits in at Manchester Utd expect to see a different player when he runs out on the pitch. At Newcastle his head was often down and that was evident in his play.

A coach can restore confidence and give a player their touch back. Remember when he was scoring goals for fun for England, Liverpool and Real Madrid? Here’s a reminder:




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