Go to www.iSoccer.org to begin Raising Your Level!
In the last twelve months, the De Anza Force have logged 1,245 iSoccer scores and Raised Their Overall iSoccer Level +18.85%. Every single player has raised their technical level and feel more comfortable with the ball during games. The Force are an iSoccer Featured Team because of there incredible commitment to maximizing the potential of not only team but also every individual on the team. Congratulations to the De Anza Force on being an iSoccer Featured Team and motivating and inspiring teams near and far!
In the last 12 months, each player got thousands of focused touches on the ball. Because every player knew their iSoccer level, they were able to push themselves to raise their individual level. Thus, when they were practicing, they were motivated to be faster, more accurate and more consistent so they could beat their highest score. And that is what iSoccer calls deliberate, focused and more efficient training!
In the words of their Coach Andres Deza; “Last year the skill level gap between all the players was wider. The team was a little more unbalanced. The level began to drop off a bit when we began making adjustments. This year it was great to see a much more balanced team. Most players were able to execute technically. They were comfortable with the ball playing out of the back under pressure and keeping possession until the right moment came to make an attacking play.”
In fact, their technical level improved so much, at the young age of 12, they even surpassed the College Women’s 50th percentile in Toe Taps, Foundations, Juggling PF, and Juggling NPF. Please note that our continually growing Women’s College Standards includes the top 3 teams from 2010: Notre Dame (1), Stanford(2) and UNC(3)! Not bad for 12 year olds!
Here is what the girls had to say about technical ability:
“It helps us perform. Passing out of the back is really dangerous so we have to be able to pass and receive quickly.”
“When you do a drill repetitively. Your muscles remember the skill and it becomes second nature.”
“I used to juggle 3 or 4. Now I can juggle over 40 with my preferred foot and over 30 with my non-preferred foot.”
“In games, it helps us control the ball more.”
To close, these technical improvements are worthy of high praise – but there’s more. They just won the Nor Cal State Cup. They just won Surf Cup. And they are currently ranked the #1 U13 girls team in the country by Got Soccer! Of course, iSoccer does not take full credit for the team’s on field success. But we are proud to be a piece of the De Anza Force training program by making their players sharper and sharper on the ball.
Congratulations De Anza Force! Keep Raising the Level!
“Some youth academies worry about winning, we worry about education. You see a kid who lifts his head up, who plays the pass first time, pum, and you think, ‘Yep, he’ll do.’ Bring him in, coach him. Our model was imposed by [Johan] Cruyff; it’s an Ajax model. It’s all about rondos [piggy in the middle]. Rondo, rondo, rondo. Every. Single. Day. It’s the best exercise there is. You learn responsibility and not to lose the ball. If you lose the ball, you go in the middle. Pum-pum-pum-pum, always one touch. If you go in the middle, it’s humiliating, the rest applaud and laugh at you.
It’s a pity. Talent has to be the priority. Technical ability. Always, always. Sure, you can win without it but it’s talent that makes the difference. Look at the teams: Juventus, who makes the difference? Krasic. Del Piero. Liverpool? Gerrard, or Torres before. Talento. Talento. When you look at players and ask yourself who’s the best: talento. Cesc, Nasri, Ryan Giggs – that guy is a joy, incredible. Looking back, I loved John Barnes and Chris Waddle was buenísimo. [Open-mouthed, eyes gleaming] Le Tissier! Although their style was different I liked Roy Keane and Paul Ince together, too. That United team was great – my English team. If I’d gone anywhere, it would have been there.
Think quickly, look for spaces. That’s what I do: look for spaces. All day. I’m always looking. All day, all day. [Xavi starts gesturing as if he is looking around, swinging his head]. Here? No. There? No. People who haven’t played don’t always realise how hard that is. Space, space, space. It’s like being on the PlayStation. If the defender’s here, play it there. I see the space and pass. That’s what I do.
It’s good that the reference point for world football right now is Barcelona, that it’s Spain. Not because it’s ours but because of what it is. Because it’s an attacking football, it’s not speculative, we don’t wait. You pressure, you want possession, you want to attack. Some teams can’t or don’t pass the ball. What are you playing for? What’s the point? That’s not football. Combine, pass, play. That’s football – for me, at least. For coaches, like, I don’t know, [Javier] Clemente or [Fabio] Capello, there’s another type of football. But it’s good that Barcelona’s style is now a model, not that.”
Joined Barcelona’s youth system at the age of 11 and made a scoring first-team debut aged 18 in the 1998 Spanish Super Cup final. He has made 557 appearances for the club, scoring 56 goals.
3 Champions Leagues 2006, 2009, 2011
1 Club World Cup 2009
5 La Liga titles 1999, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010
1 Spanish Cup 2009
4 Spanish Super Cup 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010
1 Uefa Super Cup 2009
Represented every Spain youth team from Under-17 to Under-23 level, making his senior debut in 2000 at age 20. He has scored eight goals in 99 appearances. He has also scored twice in eight matches for Catalonia
1 World Cup 2010
1 European Championship 2008
1 Under-20 World Cup 1999
Olympic silver medal 2000
The world’s best playmaker, he completed 104 passes more than the next most prolific passer at last year’s World Cup which Spain won. He has made more assists than any other player in the past two La Liga and Champions League seasons
European Championship player of the tournament 2008
Champions League final man of the match 2009
Fifa World Cup All-Star Team 2010
Fifa Team of the Year 2008, 2009, 2010
Uefa Team of the Year 2008, 2009, 2010
Third place in Ballon d’Or 2009, 2010
La Liga Player of the Year 2005
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!
After her first iSoccer assessment, Luca has worked relentlessly to raise her level! Watch the video to check out Luca performing the iSoccer assessment and hear her training routine in her own words!
11 Years Old
Rays 98 Red
San Mateo, CA
Toe Taps: 73
Juggling PF: 60
Juggling NPF: 44
COP PF: 17
COP PF: 17
Two Touch PF: 14
Two Touch NPF: 13
One Touch PF: 18
One Touch NPF: 16
Aerial Control: 13
Ball Striking: 7
Level: 7.9 BROWN
Luca’s Own Words:
“You have to train everyday and touch the ball everyday.”
“Sometimes there are times I really don’t feel like like training, but now iSoccer has made me want to play soccer everyday and keep improving.”
“It tells me I really need to work on my left foot more because there is a gap between my right foot and left foot and I want it to be equal.”
How do you become an iSoccer Featured Player
Becoming an iSoccer featured player is more than just high scores. It is about improvement, dedication, commitment, setting goals and most of all, raising your level! Whether you are level white or black, you can be an iSoccer Featured Player! Send us an email explaining why you think you should be an iSoccer Featured Player along with any video content you might have of you performing the iSoccer Assessment and introducing yourself.
Send your email to: featured@iSoccer.org
iSoccer is proud to announce a new relationship with Youth Soccer Insight. Youth Soccer Insight is a great new way for players, parents and coaches to see and hear what leaders in youth soccer are saying and doing. There are videos from professional players to high level coaches to nutritionist to recruiting experts – All in one place! What a great resource for players and parents of all ages!
Here is a Blurb from Youth Soccer Insight:
“Discover the secrets to improve your game with an exclusive look into the world of soccer experts. YSI offers an all-access pass to the experts, so you can gain valuable insight on every aspect of the game.”
Use the Promo Code “isoccer” to get over 3 months of free access!
If you’ve been following this blog you’ve probably seen and heard a lot of the feedback we’ve received from coaches about their iSoccer experiences. Fortunately, sometimes those coaches also pass along responses from their players and parents. Tom Turner, the Director of Coaching for the Ohio Youth Soccer Association North, shared this email he received from one of his ’97 Girls ODP players:
I recently looked at the iSoccer program that you sent to me and everyone on the team. I reviewed the program and saw that it was a great way for players to train outside of soccer practice. I thought iSoccer was so cool, I spent the rest of my morning after getting ready for school (before my bus came) looking at the website and messing with my profile. I love that videos also come on the site, because when someone tells you to do a move, you might not understand and not get the move. This way players can practice, develop skills, and train even on the off season. I like the site and felt the need to tell you. Thank You!
- (Ohio North ODP, Girls ’97 player)
Thanks for sharing this feedback Tom, it’s great to hear that your players are excited about using it to improve at home!
Have you used iSoccer as a player, parent, or coach? Have you had a positive experience? We’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment below, post on our facebook fan page, or email us at support@iSoccer.org; we look forward to hearing from you.
San Francisco, CA and Richfield, OH February 25, 2010 – Ohio Youth Soccer Association North (OYSAN) and iSoccer LLC are excited to announce a partnership to help raise the technical level of youth soccer players throughout Ohio.
Starting in March, OYSAN will begin using iSoccer’s award winning technical assessment and online video training platform to improve and track the technical development of players in the state’s Olympic Development Program. Starting with members of the boys and girls ’97 and ’98 age groups, players will complete the assessment at home, or with their clubs, and report their results online.
OYSAN coaches will use the assessment results to build targeted technical sessions to supplement team training. This additional resource will provide players and parents guided video training instruction, carefully designed by State Director of Coaching Tom Turner, which can be downloaded to an iPod and performed at home.
According to Turner, “A soccer schedule consisting of limited practice time and multiple games does not provide enough ball contacts to develop elite or even above average players. Players who aspire to higher levels need to train on their own and iSoccer provides our ODP players with a great individual program that is accessible wherever and whenever the kids can find time to kick a ball.”
iSoccer will be included free of charge for the roughly 1000 ODP participants. Assessment results will be used as benchmarks for setting goals and encouraging individual technical improvement, not for player selection. Players and their parents will receive emails notifying them of how to download their training sessions.
“iSoccer found a way to turn our players’ iPods into a personalized extension of our coaching staff, so it’s a great tool for improving the scope of our program,” added Turner.
Players will also be able to create their own customized training sessions from over 500 training exercises, build a four week individual training program, set improvement goals, and view their own assessment analysis online. iSoccer is an innovative, hi-tech supplement to coaching that OYSAN will utilize to help motivated players maximize their potential.
“We are thrilled to be working with OYSAN. Tom Turner and the rest of the OYSAN staff are leaders in youth soccer and we look forward to working with them to raise the level of soccer in Ohio North” said iSoccer Founder and CEO Scott Leber.
Over the past couple of months we have spoken with hundreds of coaches across the country and around the world. Many of them have been advanced level professional coaches who are extremely knowledgeable about the game and have been teaching it for years. We have also spoken with coaches who are new to soccer and are, in many cases, learning it along with their children. Hear what this parent/coach in Tucson Arizona has to say about how iSoccer has helped him learn and teach the game to his budding soccer players.
To learn more about iSoccer visit www.iSoccer.org
This article and accompanying video were contributed by coach and parent Rebecca Thatcher Murcia and her two sons. Thanks for sharing Thatcher Murcia family!
A few days after seeing iSocccer.org win a prize at the Topdrawersoccer.com, I pulled out the flyer I had picked up at the National Soccer Coaches Association of America conference and showed it to my 12-year-old son, Mario.
“We could do most of these tests in our basement,” I said. “Do you want to try it and see if it would be good for the team?”
He was interested but right away I hit an obstacle. I looked in my meager tool drawer and there was no sting or rope to measure out 2.5 meters. I wasn’t going to let this stop me. I’ve always thought the most important thing we can do with young players is help them develop good technique, especially the ability to use both feet. A fun and easy way to measure this seemed like a Godsend. I kept looking and finally settled on a piece of electric cord. With Mario’s help, I measure out 2.5 meters and marked a blue spot on the electric cord.
We started going through the tests for the first time and we found the directions well written and fairly easy to follow, except for the scissor test. The writing and the diagram are clear but since the routine is so unfamiliar, I had to read it several times before it made sense.
Mario has never been very two-footed. Like most kids, he prefers his right foot in soccer and his forehand in tennis. I’ve worked hard to become more two-footed, especially after a nagging right hip injury in 2001 forced me to use my left foot to kick the ball until a doctor finally made me rest it completely. Slight digression: I was trying to explain the importance of being two-footed to kids in Colombia, where I lived in 2007 and 2008. But I got confused between the Spanish word for left and pig, which sound a lot alike. “I’ve scored many goals with my pig!” I told the poor baffled children.
Mario was taken aback by how poorly he did at first when he tried the left-footed first touch test. He kept finding that his left footed touch wasn’t good enough to get off a quick pass. After struggling with it for a little while, he managed to do 9 passes in the 20 allotted seconds.
He was also mortified by the trouble he had juggling with just his non-dominant foot. It’s funny, because I’ve been saying that it’s important to be two-footed for years, but nothing hit home like having to put a 3 down in a little box on the computer screen.
We printed out the results and Mario was purple. But the second column of numbers, the scores he needed to get to move up a level, where what he found interesting. “I’m going to work on my left-footed juggling,” he said. “I know I can do better.”
He was inspired and quickly improved his left-footed juggling to 12. Within about a week he had moved up to green. The one test that was not easy to improve was the change of direction test. One day I stood with him in the basement for close to an hour as he went back and forth, trying to figure out if Cruyffing the ball on the right-footed turn is faster than just pulling it back with the bottom of the right foot. He went faster and faster but he could not break the 20. It would seem as if he was about to do it, then a little mistake would keep his score at 20 or even give him only an 18 or 19.
Finally we stopped. I wondered if he was discouraged, he didn’t seem disheartened. “I know I have to go all out to get to 20,” he said.
“I really want to get up to blue.”
By Rebecca Thatcher Murcia
To learn more about iSoccer visit www.iSoccer.org
iSoccer was just featured on Football Partnerships, the leading B2B networking group for football (soccer) industry professionals. During the 25 minute interview, Football Partnerships founder Alex Kotler asks Scott about the ins and outs of iSoccer, what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, how we’re doing it, etc… If you’re interested in hearing what Scott has to say we encourage you to check out their conversation.
You can also listen to the interview in a few other ways.
We recommend subscribing to the Football Partnerships podcast series. They feature some great interviews with soccer industry leaders.
Thanks to Alex and Football Partnerships for having us on the show!
Learn more about iSoccer at www.iSoccer.org