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Youth Development


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quote:Originally posted by G-Man

Brazil has no real system of development, except poverty. They have the numbers and the cream will always rise.

While I agree that poverty has a motivating effect, it is not entirely true that all Brazilian players come out of poverty.

Take the example of Ricardo Kaka. His father is a civil engineer and his mother a university professor. He played his youth soccer at the Sao Paulo Futebol Club. I point out that Sao Paulo FC is a membership driven sports organization that has a house league system too so it is different than being signed into an academy at some European professional clubs. I think that Tostao of the great 1970 Brazilian team had a similar background but I could be wrong.

On the other side of course, there are the stories of Pele and Romario among others who came out of poverty.

My point is that poverty can be a motivating factor but not a necessary factor in developing players. In my opinion, a soccer culture and role models in the sport are the key ingredients. We have that in hockey but not yet in soccer.

More useful models to look at would be the smaller and reasonably successful countries of Europe. Examples would be Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands. These countries have become successful through the development of a small base of young players. Again, my experience says that Canadian players under 16 are comparable to players in these European countries at that age. Our development system seems to break down after that.

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Yeah, the obvious biggest difference is that i nmost countries, young players are scouted and taken into a professional club at a very young age (most between 10 and 14) and groomed by the club -and here's the MAIN factor we don't see this in any form in Canada- FREE OF CHARGE. This means the best players are taken to train with the best surroundings, no matter what their socioeconomic background.

Compare the situation with Canada, where SYL clubs and regional/provincial/national selects charge fees going from a few hundred to a few thousand and you're excluding an ENORMOUS amount of talented players who therefore drop out of highly competitive soccer around the end of high school. How many times has someone who played in the youth leagues aknowledged that the provincial/national players are good, but were missing some of the best players. You think a poor family will put down 1,000$ for their kid to play soccer? Asking the question is answering it.

A simple example: I played youth soccer and the graduates from my age group were diTullio and Wyn Belotte. While Wyn dominated, diTullio was nothing more than a role player. Not taking anything away from what he's become, but he clearly wasn't anywhere near the most talented or best player in the league. Smart man-managing and access to the necessary funds brought him where he is today. My brother played highest-level youth soccer for years and the only player from his age to graduate to the nationals is Carlo Schiavoni, which he confirms was ways away from being the best player in the league. My bro played a couple of seasons with some absolutely amazing players from poorer backgrounds (most of them North African) who didn't go on to any select teams because of a lack of funds.

The Impact should start considering this and set up an LSEQ youth club to keep the best young players in the game for free, with an eventual access to professional ball for the absolute best. The remaining ones would be interesting prospects for NCAA schools and LSEQ senior teams (who have a professional timeline goal of 2008). They could recoup their investment in part through transfer fees and it would fit-in with the government-subsidized non-profit mandate.

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Just to clarify, I would suspect that Kaka's family paid significant membership fees because the club is like a private social club with an athletic program as well as cultural activities and social events.

To dispell some of the myths about Brazilian soccer development, I found this great article on Robinho. It talks about the usual development process in Brazil as well as tells a great story about his emergence.


Again, I feel the issue in Canada really has to do with developing role models and soccer culture.

For example, here we have people like Duncan Wilde running soccer camps and the kids only know him as some English guy. In Sao Paulo, kids can go to Rivelino's soccer academy if their family has the money to pay and Rivelino in Brazil would be to Brazilian kids what Bobby Orr would be to hockey in Canada.

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Agree to what Canuck Oranje had to say. The best players

come from having been immersed in an elite soccer culture,

whether in Europe or South America, AND having that culture

fostered with high-level competition.

I'm sure there are a lot of skilled and talented kids from

Third-World countries, just as there are loads of talented

players from G8/EU countries with excellent football cultures.

We need to develop our players based on their talents and need

to foster them with elite programs domestically and/or outside.

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