San Francisco, CA (January 12, 2013) – This month, through a partnership with Tony DiCicco’s SoccerPlus Goalkeeper School, iSoccer rolled out iSoccer Goalkeeping, the newest addition to their skill-training platform. The San Francisco-based technology company had previously focused on field players, with this being the first goalkeeper-training program of its kind.
“Working with iSoccer to create a goalkeeper assessment and development tool has been a real pleasure and SoccerPlus Goalkeeper School is proud to launch the iSoccer/SoccerPlus Goalkeeper skill challenge. I encourage keepers of ALL ages to test their skills,” says Tony DiCicco, President and Technical Director of SoccerPlus Goalkeeper School
“We were thrilled to partner with Tony and the rest of his team at SoccerPlus to create goalkeeping assessment,” said Scott Leber, founder and CEO of iSoccer. “We combined their expertise in goalkeeping with our technical know-how to produce a set of Goalkeeping Skills that should make keeper training more fun and effective for players of all levels. This is a fantastic first step for us in helping goalkeepers around the country and around the world.”
iSoccer applies gaming psychology to soccer training by adding a scoring system to core soccer exercises, which they call iSoccer Skills. Coaches and players score their team and themselves on the iSoccer Skills, and log those scores via the web or mobile device to earn Skill Levels. Now, goalkeepers can get in on the action.
Working together, Tony and iSoccer created 31 core Goalkeeping Skills organized by specific topics. The goal is collect 10,000 scores on these Skills in order to establish the Goalkeeping Skill Level matrix, just like what iSoccer has done for field players. Players, parents, and coaches can go to http://www.iSoccer.org/GoalKeepers/ to watch the Goalkeeping Skills video guides, and enter scores as often as they like.
Tony DiCicco is the Founder and Technical Director of SoccerPlus Goalkeeper School and Field Player Academy. SoccerPlus was founded in 1982 and runs camps nationwide. For information on SoccerPlus programs go to http://www.soccerplus.org .
Founded in 2008 by Scott Leber, iSoccer impacts over 500,000 players across the US and around the world. iSoccer is a soccer technology company that uses motivational psychology and gaming mechanics to create healthy competition around skill training, which makes technical development more fun and effective for players and teams of all levels. Visit http://www.iSoccer.org.
Go to www.iSoccer.org to begin Raising Your Level!
In the second year of the players taking the iSoccer Assessment at the Region IV Girls Camp, over 1,100 girls were assessed in just under three weeks this summer in Moscow, Idaho.
Here is the new US Men’s National Team Coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, speaking on ESPN a year ago during the World Cup in South Africa. He focuses on two main points that he thinks would help US Soccer improve on the world stage: 1. involving players of all socio-economic backgrounds and 2. being better technically.
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves Coach Klinsmann! It comes as no surprise that we at iSoccer are in complete agreement with both of these statements as 1) the iSoccer assessment is freely available to
all youth players, and 2) Our mission is to Raise the Level emphasizes technical development…. Time will ultimately tell, but at iSoccer, we believe that this is right (and necessary) direction for US Men’s Soccer.
And here is Coach Wilmer Cabrera of the U17 Men’s US Team after the U17 World Cup in Mexico.
“Unless we have an unbelievable team where we have six, seven very skillful players who can make the difference on the field. But we don’t have those types of players. I haven’t seen those players yet.”
“We have to grow, little by little. And I’m not blaming anybody. It’s the system. It’s cultural. I’m part of this culture. I can’t change what I cannot change. I want to try to help where I can. “
Sense a consistent theme here? We have to Raise the Level!
PS. We also felt that it was important to note, that as the U20 World Cup kicks off today in Colombia the US will not be present. We did not qualify….
Two words from iSoccer: Love It!
You know the iSoccer assessment… But what happens when you limit the rest and do each iSoccer assessment back to back to back to back as a workout – You Get iSoccer Gone Bad! This 11 workout can be done by players of any age at any level…. But beware, it will be TOUGH! Technical execution is a very simple concept: How quickly, accurately and consistently can you perform the most basic skills. Now see if you execute technically as your body get more and more tired!
TEAM: Anthem Middle School Girls Soccer
- Primarily 4th-7th graders (one 8th grader)
- Other teams had five to seven 8th graders
- Half the team had never played competitively
- Some teams ‘laughed’ at first sight of Anthem’s size (score ended up 8-1)
What did they do in training? How did they motivate players of different skill level? What did they do to win?
HEAD COACH: Doug Pillsbury
Game Day: We Won by Passing and Dribbling Around Bigger, Faster Players
Every team we played was bigger, stronger and faster than our girls. Our central midfielder (a 4th grader) is only 4’6″ – One game she played against a girl that was 6’1″! We had to rely on our individual and team skill to 1) Be able to dribble and get out of tight spaces, and 2) Be able to effectively pass around the bigger players. iSoccer gave us that technical base that really showed up in the games. By the end of the season, my girls were doing give-and-gos and passing the ball around the field. It was great to see how the training came to life in the games! [Check Out iSoccer's Article on Passing and Receiving]
First Four Weeks: One Hour of iSoccer Everyday
iSoccer was the skill development program that we implemented at the beginning of the season. We would train for 1.5 hours a day: One hour of iSoccer and 30 minutes of small or full sided scrimmage. Over the course of the season, we did three formal assessments, while the other nights, we just used the iSoccer Space and 20 second work intervals. The difference in my players’ skill level was ‘night’ and ‘day’ by the end of the four weeks. Our better players were sharper with the ball while our more recreational players went from having basically zero control, to being able to control, dribble and pass effectively. It was incredible! [Check Out iSoccer's Article on How to Use iSoccer in Training to Motivate Your Players]
My Players were More Focused with iSoccer
The 20 seconds and simplicity of the 16 assessed skills helped focus my players. For those 20 seconds, each player gave it their all – Maximum effort with maximum attention. As the weeks went by and I was able to correct the technique of each player, every one of my players kept getting better and better. And the number of touches each player was getting on the ball was amazing. 20 second work rate + high number of touches = My player’s skills were becoming faster, more accurate and more consistent. [Check Out iSoccer's Article on 20 Seconds, Skill Isolation and Deliberate Practice]
My Girls were Fired Up about Raising Their Level
A couple of weeks into the season, I began to offer optional Saturday training that focused specifically on the iSoccer assessment. I was extremely happy when I got a little less than half the girls to come out on Saturday morning to do technical training. They wanted to ‘Raise Their Level’ and were willing to wake up on Saturday for optional technical training! To further motivate players, I gave out an iSoccer Outstanding Skills Award to one player who had the highest score and raised her level over the course of the season. [Check Out iSoccer's Article on The 10 iSoccer Levels and The Psychology of Motivation]
Practices were More Structured and Effective with iSoccer
The first day of training I had 21 girls: Some played competitive club soccer while others had never played at all. I asked myself, how am I ever going to create an effective practice with players of very different abilities? I found the answer in iSoccer. By separating the girls in groups of three, working in the iSoccer Space and putting girls of similar skill level together, I was able to effectively teach and motivate each player. By working in the confined grid, the girls were more focused on beating their own scores, than worrying about what the other girls were doing. This was especially helpful in motivating the girls who were playing soccer for the first time. They could develop at their own pace without the pressure of others watching or seeing how far behind they were technically. [Check Out iSoccer's Article on The iSoccer Space]
Brought iSoccer Reports to Regular Training Sessions
I would print out various iSoccer reports and bring them to practice. One of the reports shows the top scores for each girl on the team. If I heard a score that was higher than their highest score, I would publicly recognize them. This added a healthy, yet competitive element to the session because other girls wanted to be recognized. Being able to quickly reference scores and use them to motivate was very helpful!
Coach Dean Koski of Lehigh University and Scott Leber at Lehigh University
“Having a strong familiarity with iSoccer as a training and evaluation instrument, we began using the platform for my college team during training sessions as part of our technical warm-up. The iSoccer model is easy to organize and execute, as well as dynamic enough to keep our players motivated and focused. While no test can fully assess a players’ readiness to compete at this level, the more information we have as coaches about our players and even potential prospects can only serve to help us make more informed decisions.”
Scott Leber, iSoccer Founder
“The College Standards Project is a very exciting initiative for many reason – But two of the top reasons are: One, being able to measure and then publish a ‘technical level’ of college teams is going to motivate thousands of youth players across the country. By giving our youth players a target to attack, I am confident there is going to be a lot more time spent with the ball trying to obtain the various levels. Secondly, the College game is known for speed and power, but not necessarily skill. The iSoccer Assessment empowers college coaches across the country to be able to measure, track and compare their players while empowering college players to sharpen their own technical ability. Over the long run, the technical level of the college game will hopefully begin to match the physical level.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Starting this month, the Los Angeles Premier FC will begin rolling out iSoccer in order to motivate its players to spend more time individually with the ball working on developing technical skills.
LA Premier FC’s Director of Coaching, Barry Ritson, has this to say about working with iSoccer: “LA Premier FC is a nationally-recognized leader in youth soccer development, and has produced many top level soccer players throughout the years. One key component to our success is having our coaches encourage their players to touch the ball everyday at home to foster their passion of the sport and to be creative in a non-training session environment. The tools that iSoccer have created allows us to give our players ideas and skills to try on a individual basis with development the only focus”.
Barry goes on to say, “We want players to understand where they are in each step of their development, iSoccer’s National Standards Project is an exciting concept that the club will be using to access the technical skill level of our players in order to highlight areas of needed improvement. We are excited at our partnership and look forward to seeing the level of soccer improve not only in our club but across the country due to [iSoccer’s] focus on technical training and standardized testing.”
It will be exciting to see how much LA Premier FC and their players can improve technically in the next six months to a year by supplementing the club’s already progressive development programming with iSoccer.
Together, We Can Raise the Level
iSoccer is receiving feedback from across the country that players of all ages and levels are having more fun, working harder, and improving at a faster rate. Why is the combination of time constraints (20 seconds), skill isolation and score-keeping accelerating youth soccer development across the country?
20 Seconds is the Right Balance
20 Seconds is just long enough to tire most players, but not exhaust them. So when you require a player to focus and put forth maximum effort for 20 seconds, you are asking them to maintain their concentration while slowly becoming more fatigued. They are forced to be consistent and focused for the entire time, and that is when skill development goes into over-drive. Executing at top speed, top concentration – all while becoming increasingly fatigued is a fantastic environment for development.
Skill Isolation Is Refreshingly Honest
Soccer is a complex game and it can be very difficult to know when you are improving or if you truly can perform a skill. By isolating a specific skill, there is no guessing, and that can be (surprisingly) refreshing for the player. This ambiguity is now something tangible and players know they can either perform the skill or not. We believe that all skills, no matter how complex they may appear, are built upon very basic fundamentals. When you can execute each of them in isolation – game situations that require combining different skills will be that much easier!
Achieving a New Score is Awesome
Fist pumps and high fives are fun but when, if ever do you see these in technical development? By removing all outside factors, we are able to isolate individual skills, score them and allow for such fun. When you keep score, players are able to measure themselves and actually see their improvement. Players now have better awareness, understanding and ownership when they achieve a higher iSoccer level! And we have said it before, Success breeds Success. A player who knows what it feels like to Raise His Level is excited, motivated, and wants to improve. And that is Awesome!
San Diego Surf Soccer Club launch their partnership with iSoccer today for the enhancement of youth player development.
By: Diane Scavuzzo
San Diego Surf Soccer Club Selects iSoccer’s Motivational Program to Help Surf Players Practice Away From The Field.
Colin Chesters, Director Of Coaching, Surf Soccer Club says, “By adding iSoccer to our program, we feel we are keeping true to the progressive nature of our club. Surf Soccer Club is always seeking ways to improve our players and we feel by adding this program we are doing exactly that.”
“The San Diego Surf is one the premier clubs across the country and we are proud to have them join with us in our mission to raise the level of the game. The Surf is committed to impacting the lives of all of their players and through our relationship; we look forward to building on their existing culture of development. We are very excited to launch with the Surf but even more excited about the development in the months and years to come!” says Scott Leber, CEO of iSoccer.
“The Surf Soccer Club’s coaching staff and I have had several meetings to incorporate this program into our training. Our staff is excited. iSoccer will help motivate our players to train on their own, with a friend or with family members. We have always felt the best players are self-motivated and this program reinforces and encourages player to be so. The more time our kids spend with a ball away from their main training environment, the better the individuals, the teams and our club will become,” says Chesters.
“Colin Chesters and the San Diego Surf Soccer Club have continued to be on the cutting edge of player development on both the girls and boys side of the game. The Surf Club as a whole has acted as a leader in the development of youth soccer and we are excited to be working side by side with them to raise the level of the game,” says Rob Becerra, iSoccer’s National Director.
“I was at State Cup earlier this month watching some of our younger teams, and on many occasions, I saw them presented with a challenge that they were unable to solve. I instantly thought of an exercise in the iSoccer program that, if practiced thousands of times, would have given this player the skill set to:
1. Solve the problem
2. Be a more valued member of their team
3. Play more in meaningful moments of the game
4. Make their team more successful and,
5. Further enhance our clubs reputation of developing players for the next level.
I want to share some advice for kids and parents: Spend a minimum of 4 hours outside of training, practicing and breaking your current records. I have always been a big believer in homework assignments for younger players and this program provides this to our players in a way that is motivating and rewarding. Good luck to all the players, remember commit time to your own development. It will pay off in huge ways for you down the road,” encourages Chesters.
San Diego Surf Soccer Club launched the iSoccer program last week with player assessments. Players were eager to perform the skills for the evaluation and excited to start practicing more off the field.