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Voyageurs: Time To Walk The Talk


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Alright, so Tuesday has shocked us all from our rosy slumber and delirium with a harsh smack of reality. As discussed, things need to happen now to secure a more successful soccer future for the MNT (and WNT for that matter). There are programs in place, and actions that can be taken in order to do this, and seeing as how we're all supposed to be the hardest core of the hard core Canadian soccer supporters, should we not create our own set of resources in order to allow ourselves to become more involved in fostering the health of the elite level throughout the country?

Not to pull out one of Stephen's favourite words so soon after his resignation, but let's get some ideas on the table here that are realistic for people and are things that will directly affect the state of elite soccer development in the country, from the smallest manner to the largest manner (i.e. things that will only affect a few kids in your area to things that will affect kids across the country).

I'll start. And please, constructive criticism and comments only. No "LTPD is a load of horse **** and you're a ****ing idiot for posting **** like that so shut up you know nothing" garbage posts.

Take your province's LTPD course, and get into coaching mini soccer, the youngest kids, and get them on the right start. I'm emailing Sask Soccer's technical department right now to get the three LTPD documents Dave Nutt has created. I'll post them here if possible, but take a look at what is available to you, and get involved in coaching the little kids and educating their parents about the game.

Other ideas for things we can do?

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I'm not sure if it's been mentioned yet or not but up until approximately age 13, young athletes should be participating in numerous sports. Early specialization before age 17 can lead to over-use injuries and burnout. Sport specialization should not occur until at least age 13 (players should be playing multiple positions up until this point), and investment into certain positions shortly after this age. At the provincial and municipal level, all coaches should have to take a mandatory standardized coaching course (Be it through the NCCP or through a newly developed national course).

Emphasis on skill development and character building has to become a priority. Too often kids are dropping out because their coach has a "win at all costs" attitude. The development of a domestic league would help too, it will be interesting to see what the report from Montagliani shows us.

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I'm not sure if it's been mentioned yet or not but up until approximately age 13, young athletes should be participating in numerous sports. Early specialization before age 17 can lead to over-use injuries and burnout. Sport specialization should not occur until at least age 13 (players should be playing multiple positions up until this point), and investment into certain positions shortly after this age. At the provincial and municipal level, all coaches should have to take a mandatory standardized coaching course (Be it through the NCCP or through a newly developed national course).

Emphasis on skill development and character building has to become a priority. Too often kids are dropping out because their coach has a "win at all costs" attitude. The development of a domestic league would help too, it will be interesting to see what the report from Montagliani shows us.

I disagree. To be elite at anything you have to specialize. In "Outliers" they talk about the 10,000 hour rule in that you need 10,000 hours of focused practice. The primary reason why we're so good at hockey and develop the best hockey players is that we have a framework to get our best talent 10,000 hours of practice before they turn 18. That doesn't exist for Soccer in Canada. In other countries there are kids who get that kind of development. Here our top kids MAY start to no longer lose training hours starting when they're 13 years old but by then they're already 3,000 hours behind in development and they can never bridge that gap.

To get 10,000 hours top hockey players in a development program get 10-15 hours of training, ice time and coaching per week from the time they're about 8 or 9, 52 weeks a year. That's what it takes. Then it steps up at about 14 to 20 hours per week and again at 16 to 30 hours per week. I don't think that there's any development program in Canada that has that kind of intensity for soccer outside potentially the 3 MLS academies.

That kind of system is how we can get the type of soccer virtuoso that other countries are putting out.

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I think doing the courses is a great idea but just a start.

My take is that we should collectively do everything in our power to professionalize and upgrade the voyageurs. Whether that`s the website, retail, cross-promoting CSA products, scheduling coaching seminars across the country or having a board of executives for the V`s that guide it`s purpose. The bottom line is the Voyageurs should be focusing on two things they do well - supporting and recruiting support for Canadian soccer and generating income for the CSA. More support and money will help change the game more than anything.

Who and how the charge is led is anyone`s guess.

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I disagree. To be elite at anything you have to specialize. In "Outliers" they talk about the 10,000 hour rule in that you need 10,000 hours of focused practice. The primary reason why we're so good at hockey and develop the best hockey players is that we have a framework to get our best talent 10,000 hours of practice before they turn 18. That doesn't exist for Soccer in Canada. In other countries there are kids who get that kind of development. Here our top kids MAY start to no longer lose training hours starting when they're 13 years old but by then they're already 3,000 hours behind in development and they can never bridge that gap.

Outliers actually argues against early overspecialization because it points out that there are as many - or more -opportunities lost to build your talent pool. People will specialize on their own, given their interests - but if you take the pro/rel and win-at-all-costs attitude with kids leagues, you preselect 1/3 of the available talent based on their age (almost exclusively).

The point isn't to force specialization; it's to allow for it on its own for all who might choose it.

If you force specialization on the so-called early talented kids, you cut off the other two thirds of the population who won't bloom until they already have their own base of experience - and they won't get it because they weren't provided resources early on, in favour of the early kids... meanwhile you have the inevitable dropout rate and no one to fill in the gaps left.

Are you telling me that hockey is successful at exploiting the full range of available talent using the current rep system? Why is it that the OHL rosters are still almost entirely January through March born kids?

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I think doing the courses is a great idea but just a start.

My take is that we should collectively do everything in our power to professionalize and upgrade the voyageurs. Whether that`s the website, retail, cross-promoting CSA products, scheduling coaching seminars across the country or having a board of executives for the V`s that guide it`s purpose. The bottom line is the Voyageurs should be focusing on two things they do well - supporting and recruiting support for Canadian soccer and generating income for the CSA. More support and money will help change the game more than anything.

Who and how the charge is led is anyone`s guess.

That is coming over the next year in preparation of the U20, Panam, WWC ect...

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I disagree. To be elite at anything you have to specialize. In "Outliers" they talk about the 10,000 hour rule in that you need 10,000 hours of focused practice. The primary reason why we're so good at hockey and develop the best hockey players is that we have a framework to get our best talent 10,000 hours of practice before they turn 18. That doesn't exist for Soccer in Canada. In other countries there are kids who get that kind of development. Here our top kids MAY start to no longer lose training hours starting when they're 13 years old but by then they're already 3,000 hours behind in development and they can never bridge that gap.

To get 10,000 hours top hockey players in a development program get 10-15 hours of training, ice time and coaching per week from the time they're about 8 or 9, 52 weeks a year. That's what it takes. Then it steps up at about 14 to 20 hours per week and again at 16 to 30 hours per week. I don't think that there's any development program in Canada that has that kind of intensity for soccer outside potentially the 3 MLS academies.

That kind of system is how we can get the type of soccer virtuoso that other countries are putting out.

This "10,000 hour rule" is grossly misused. The original rule is from a motor learning perspective, so deliberate repetitive practice counts towards these hours. (IE working on crosses, certain plays repeatedly). The mini-soccer for 4 and 5 year olds where they're in a cluster kicking each others shins would hardly count towards this. Putting an 8 or 9 year old through 10-15 hours of training 52 weeks a year is a sure way to see them drop out and hate soccer. I'm looking at research by Dr. Jean Côté right now and as it shows in the literature, early specialization leads to burn out....and eventually drop out. Most hockey players don't really switch to a really competitive league such as a AAA team until they're around 13 anyways.

Where we're lacking the deliberate practice hours is when the kids turn 14-17 in Canada. There is largely nowhere for these kids to progress after age 18 so they likely either A) Quit B) Continue Recreational play or (in the case of many of our MNT players I'm guessing) find the little avenue they have to progress.

A top tier just under MLS would help us tremendously, as I said before it would be interesting to see what this report says about the sustainability of such a league.

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That is coming over the next year in preparation of the U20, Panam, WWC ect...

Great news Jamie! Let us know how we can help. I`m sure people would be willing to help fund it.

I suggest everyone watch this video in its entirety. One of the greatest things Ive seen in a while. But after the 8th minute is the most important part. Montagliani has asked the National Team Alumni Association to be certified in order to have a say and have a voice in Canadian soccer. I would suggest that the Voyageurs and the Alumni association be brought closer together so that we ensure the alumni will have a say regardless of the CSA.

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I would suggest that the Voyageurs and the Alumni association be brought closer together so that we ensure the alumni will have a say regardless of the CSA.

I think this is a great idea. It would really help to build up both organizations if they are working together and stuff like this will help entrench Canada's soccer culture a little bit more.

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I think this is a great idea. It would really help to build up both organizations if they are working together and stuff like this will help entrench Canada's soccer culture a little bit more.

This does sounds like a promising and positive move.

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Alright, so Tuesday has shocked us all from our rosy slumber and delirium with a harsh smack of reality. As discussed, things need to happen now to secure a more successful soccer future for the MNT (and WNT for that matter). There are programs in place, and actions that can be taken in order to do this, and seeing as how we're all supposed to be the hardest core of the hard core Canadian soccer supporters, should we not create our own set of resources in order to allow ourselves to become more involved in fostering the health of the elite level throughout the country?

Not to pull out one of Stephen's favourite words so soon after his resignation, but let's get some ideas on the table here that are realistic for people and are things that will directly affect the state of elite soccer development in the country, from the smallest manner to the largest manner (i.e. things that will only affect a few kids in your area to things that will affect kids across the country).

I'll start. And please, constructive criticism and comments only. No "LTPD is a load of horse **** and you're a ****ing idiot for posting **** like that so shut up you know nothing" garbage posts.

Take your province's LTPD course, and get into coaching mini soccer, the youngest kids, and get them on the right start. I'm emailing Sask Soccer's technical department right now to get the three LTPD documents Dave Nutt has created. I'll post them here if possible, but take a look at what is available to you, and get involved in coaching the little kids and educating their parents about the game.

Other ideas for things we can do?

Just called the OSA. Told them that I'm interested in the LTPD and asked them how much it would cost to take the Soccer For Life (Community Coaching) course and approximately how much the total cost would be to get the National A license. They put me through to the person "in charge" of that area. This is the answers I got from the person in charge: what is that? is that on our web site? isn't the price on the web site? I have no idea about the cost of the SFL program, no idea about the total cost of the National A license program. Just started working here 2 days ago! I'll ask my manager to look into and put the prices on the web site. You should check back in a few months!

No information on the CSA site about costs either. It tells you to contact the provincial asccoiation, which is what I did. And this is the level of dedication of our soccer association(s) to coach training and LTPD. Don't take my word for it, give it a try. At the very least it will establish in your mind how solid or broken this system is, if you're still on the fence.

Edited by The Beh
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Unsurprising, though. It's an uphill battle in soccer, hockey, etc to get the old guard to embrace the principles of LTAD... in hockey thus far it's been window dressing to make it look like LTAD is how it's been done all along.

LTAD is still young, but it's recognized as a best-practices framework globally. But it's worth continuing to pursue - we've only just begun.

edited to add, I noticed that you focused on the lack of pricing. It's not like you couldn't find courses to take, you were just looking for costs... There are plenty of courses there, listed on the OSA website. It's just that it is assumed that you register and your home club is going to pick up the tab. That's pretty standard in amateur sport.

I guess the assumption is that you have a place to coach already, before you start looking for courses...

Edited by paul-collins
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Two ideas

1) Create a website or a youtube stream that shows drills players and coaches can use to improve their game. I think something like that is obviously lacking in Canada today. There are some knowledgeable people on this site who can run the drills and others who are good with the technology and marketing aspects.

2) Slightly more ambitious…. But in an area where we have a lot of members (Toronto, Vancouver, or Montreal) we could try to get enough people working for one club to positively influence player development directly. Probably not realistic, but if it could somehow be pulled off it would have a positive influence. I’m not going to claim we’re all Jose Mourinho, but let’s face it, the average person on this board knows more about the game than the average volunteer who is coaching kids out there. We should get off our assess and do something.

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Just called the OSA. Told them that I'm interested in the LTPD and asked them how much it would cost to take the Soccer For Life (Community Coaching) course and approximately how much the total cost would be to get the National A license. They put me through to the person "in charge" of that area. This is the answers I got from the person in charge: what is that? is that on our web site? isn't the price on the web site? I have no idea about the cost of the SFL program, no idea about the total cost of the National A license program. Just started working here 2 days ago! I'll ask my manager to look into and put the prices on the web site. You should check back in a few months!

No information on the CSA site about costs either. It tells you to contact the provincial asccoiation, which is what I did. And this is the level of dedication of our soccer association(s) to coach training and LTPD. Don't take my word for it, give it a try. At the very least it will establish in your mind how solid or broken this system is, if you're still on the fence.

See this is the type of thing that needs to get out there more often. And if this is the way they handle registering for these programs, imagine how much thought goes into designing them in the first place. We've heard funny things about the coaching courses offered by the CSA before, little wonder there is no demand...

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I think you're right Paul. I finally got some answers from the people who are hosting the next coaching session and they asked me to register online to their club (which I think is free) - but they didn't offer to pay for fee! ;) Anyway, it's $220 taxes in for the Soccer For Life course, but apparently there's no set cost. The nice gentleman also told me that I need to do complete the Making Ethical Decisions and Respect for Soccer courses to be certified to coach and told me those courses are available online through the OSA web site. Went back to the OSA web site and looked for a link or any information on how to register for those two courses, but to no avail. After half an hour I just gave up.

Overall, I spent around 2 hours trying to find the information which should have been readily available through the OSA and I didn't get very far. In comparisson, in less than 15 minutes, I figured out all the steps, costs, and locations for all the FA coaching levels and courses all the way to the new UEFA Pro License, just by Googling.

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Jamie, is it possible to include cross selling the CSA coaching clinics on this site? It hits the target market on the head and it put money in the coffers. If we can figure it out here, it may sort it out for a lot of interested parties.

So if you want to take a coaching course ... why do you want to ?

It assumes you want to coach, then that means you need to volunteer at a local club, get your CPIC clearance to make sure your safe to be in contact with children, then take your basic coaching course, the club involved will pay for the OSA instructor and provide the venue.

The OSA will only run a coaching course for member organisations, the course is attendance only and you pass.

Basic level courses up to the Pre-B level do not discuss tactics or team psychology, they are all about things like how to kick a ball, etc.

Any individual who wants to be competent coach will have to take the courses, then get themselves out to watch successfull coaches running training sessions with real teams, so find the local university squad and watch them practice over a season, copy down the drills, understand the formation played. Then spend the winter reading coaching books, go to Amazon.ca there are lots, get sense for which ones talk about what you need to learn, read the previews, then buy them, read them make notes etc.

Next step.. your club will probably give you a team to coach, if your young under 25, do not take on head coach task, it is too soon for you to function well as a coach, be an assistant focus on teaching skills to players and basic tactics, give them lots of written material, extracts of what you have read and learned, explain the game to them intellectually, why you play a flat back four, the elements of playing it ... etc.

Support the head coach, if its a good one learn, especially the managing of egos and personality traits of players, learn to identify negative players who hurt your team by there personal actions as much as there actions on the field. Learn to keep your mouth shut when thinking of or dealing with referees, getting tossed from a game should only happen .... when it is of competitive advantage for you to do so, never just on a emotional whim.

If your a quick study, and have solid playing background and understand how to break the technical elements of the game down to be taught, i.e. kicking a ball, heading, chesting all the basic Coever moves etc. you can move on to coaching an older level team on your own, but a huge caveat, make sure you enjoy coaching and understand the reason you do coach.

In my opinion you want to coach at the community level to have players come back to you in latter years and say you taught me a lot, hey I am 32 now with kids of my own, will you be there coach ...thats when you will understand you have succeeded.

If you do not come from Great Britain or have played professional soccer, you will not likely qualify for the B level licence process no matter how good a coach you become, nor will you be considered for an A licence in Canada, it is a closed shop, if you want to go higher you will need to;

1. Get licences outside Canada, from the states or the FA or somewhere else.

2. Coach outside Canada, just as Dos Santos is doing.

3. Get a paid job as university or college coach in USA ( you need BA or more likely a MA to be considered ).

Understand the old boys network is still deeply in power in coaching ranks in Canada, hence the ongoing hiring of coaches with experience as youth coach in Britain, who arrive here to be no better and often worse as teach coaches because they have never coached teams, just trained players in Academy programs in Britain where the salary they got came from the FA and local pro club hired them on because they were buddy of so and so.

Now before anyone jumps on me saying I am negative, stop and ask yourself why we lost 8 to 1 in Honduras when a sigificant number of those players were developed in Ontario by the OSA under the leadership of Jimmy one-foot Canovan as technical director in Ontario for over 15 years.

Coincidence ?

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Great minds think alike. Just to contrast some of the experiences read in this thread...

I currently live in California. I went to the USSF website, found the requirements for taking the "E" license (the lowest level on the USSF coaching ladder), then went to my state association to figure out how to get involved.

From there I made contact with someone who runs one of the leagues in the city I live in and they mentioned they'd need me to take a state-mandated "F" license to help coach kids in the local leagues, but that they would be having a course soon and would be happy to have me join it. From there I can work with the local leagues and wait until the next E-level course comes up. Given the constraints of my career and the requirements of getting some of the higher level licenses, I doubt I'll ever climb the ladder too high, but the first few levels essentially teach you how to do proper training sessions for kids from 9-12 and basically understand their development needs. Just to learn those things, I think could go a long way...why not take advantage while I'm living down here?

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Montagliani has asked the National Team Alumni Association to be certified in order to have a say and have a voice in Canadian soccer. I would suggest that the Voyageurs and the Alumni association be brought closer together so that we ensure the alumni will have a say regardless of the CSA.

Not to rain on the parade, but what position are we in to start dictating change? Why would the alumni voluntarily relinquish some of their control to a loosely-organized fan group with people who have never played or coached at any level? I know there's a lot of positive energy on these boards towards improving the game, but you don't have to look further than this thread to see that it's hard to get any kind of agreement on a definite strategy (outside of vague generalizations). It's been a cathartic few days with everyone getting stuff off their chests, and I've seen a lot of good points and ideas, but simply creating thread after thread demanding definitive action isn't going to do much.

It sucks because the whole system needs to be revamped from bottom-up, but at the moment I don't see any cohesive plan to do so.

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Guest ClaytonA
Two ideas

1) Create a website or a youtube stream that shows drills players and coaches can use to improve their game. I think something like that is obviously lacking in Canada today. There are some knowledgeable people on this site who can run the drills and others who are good with the technology and marketing aspects.

2) Slightly more ambitious…. But in an area where we have a lot of members (Toronto, Vancouver, or Montreal) we could try to get enough people working for one club to positively influence player development directly. Probably not realistic, but if it could somehow be pulled off it would have a positive influence. I’m not going to claim we’re all Jose Mourinho, but let’s face it, the average person on this board knows more about the game than the average volunteer who is coaching kids out there. We should get off our assess and do something.

While 1) is re-inventing the wheel (at least some clubs have access to or already use software to create drills and have access to online resources at least in BC, 2) seems realistic. Note in BC people seem to have more of a connection to the CNWT than the CNMT because they actually live and play here. ie this might be much easier to do with girls teams than boys teams here.

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Making Ethical Decisions and Respect for Soccer courses to be certified to coach and told me those courses are available online through the OSA web site. Went back to the OSA web site and looked for a link or any information on how to register for those two courses, but to no avail. After half an hour I just gave up.

I had to take MED for Ringette. It's here:

http://www.coach.ca/elearning-s13846

Respect for Soccer is the same idea as Speak Out in hockey. (They're migrating to the name Respect in Sport)

Rather than use the website menus, I always use google -> http://www.ontariosoccer.net/organization/respectinsoccer/respectinsoccer.aspx

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(There are a couple of threads talking about LTPD – I’ve posted this in both).

For those in Ontario who want to learn more about Long Term Player Development, The Ontario Soccer Association has recently announced a series of consultation sessions to update everyone on their plans to implement LTPD. Here’s an opportunity to get involved.

Tue. Oct 23rd., Bowmanville **

Wed. Oct. 24th., Kingston

Tue, Oct. 30th., Hamilton

Mon. Nov. 5th., Windsor

Tue. Nov. 6th., Fort Frances

Wed. Nov 7th., Thunder Bay

Fri. Nov 9th., Ottawa

Mon. Nov. 12th., Barrie

Tue. Nov 13th., Vaughan (The Soccer Centre)

Wed. Nov. 14th., London

For full details, check here:

http://ontariosoccer.net/LTPD/LTPDNews/tabid/22532/entryid/535/OSA-Announces-Fall-Consultation-Schedule-To-Update-LTPD-Implementation.aspx

And note that you have register or RSVP 3 days ahead of the session you wish to attend.

** For those planning to attend the Bowmanville session, I’ve seen conflicting information as to the location so make sure you check on this when registering.

Edited by Bill Spiers
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No, there's plenty of demand - it's just that the home club pays for the coach, so the coach is in theory indifferent to the cost of the coaching clinics required to coach up to rep in their region or province.

Maybe "demand" was the wrong word to use. What I'm trying to get at is there are more than a handful or reports out there of CSA /Provinces are running awful coaching clinics and there are disgruntled participants. I believe people want to be educated, but their interactions with the educators act as a barrier. Nobody has ever given me a positive review of going after a CSA coaching license.

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