Excuses, if you master them you will succeed at nothing else!
The title of this post is a quote a former youth coach would tell us twenty years ago. We don’t have an issue with talent in this country at all. We make excuses for everything in soccer. We blame everyone before we look at the main issue, ourselves. Why am I bringing this up? Far too often I hear “I didn’t make the team because…”. I can count on my hand how many times I have heard “How do I get better?”. Then we ask ourselves why does our US Soccer system fail. US Soccer is not failing in fact it is providing Boys, Girls, Women & Men with ample opportunities. We as coaches, parents, players & fans are failing by making excuses normal.
Now you may say twenty years ago we didn’t have an amazing United States Men’s Team. We did have a great team and the Women’s Team won the World Cup as well. We also didn’t create as many excuses. We do not need more DA/ECNL leagues in the United States. We need more children playing pickup soccer in the parks for FREE. The United States Women’s national team is the best women’s team in the world. Let that sink in. The same individuals that complain or make excuses also consistently say the Women’s team got beat by a youth team in Texas. That isn’t relevant, in fact it is very similar to a excuse.
Children are going to make excuses regardless, it is normal. It is our job to let them know there is another way to approach these moments. If you want to be better, you have to work harder. Simple. If you are not having fun, pinpoint the problem instead of blaming another player or coach.
You might say, “I am not a parent, coach or player, the MLS is awful”. You are correct that it is not as good as other leagues. You are still a fan of soccer and perhaps you could help the league grow by changing your attitude. How do we expect to create a first class league when we are giving children participation trophies, calling “C” teams “Premier” & blaming everybody except ourselves when we don’t live up to being the greatest at soccer.
Now that we agree there is too many excuses in US soccer, how do we change that? It starts from the ground up. If your child gets cut from a travel or high school team, don’t reward them. Instead of encouraging them to try harder, help them get better when you have free time. It is the same concept as taking a Math test. If you don’t study you will do worse on the test. In rare cases, a few children don’t have to study. If you don’t practice, you will not play as much in the game. Some players may naturally be great and that is life. Will you ever outscore that genius on the Math test? Maybe, it will take a lot of work.
How do we as a club intend to fix this? We are going to teach our coaches, players, parents & fans that it is OKAY to fail. It is more important how we react to failure. You can make excuses or you can attempt to fix the issue at hand. If you do master excuses, you may not enjoy soccer & many other fun aspects of life.