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Myth #4 The players won’t learn positions, so when they get to high school, they will be at a disadvantage.

Reality: Organized youth sports are not good for skill development and creativity. In natural environments, children learn passion, skills and tactical insight in small groups games first, and then they learn positional responsibilities and how to compete to win as a team later. In Brazil, they play unorganized soccer games through age twelve. Brazil is the world’s leading developer of creative soccer talent and they have won more World Cup’s (4) than any other country.

As a child, I started 11v11 soccer at seven years of age. We did not learn about teamwork or positioning – we learned to kick the ball as far as possible and hope that our fastest player could get to the ball and score. We never learned how to play the ball out of the back, how to interchange positions and more. We never had a left fullback sprinting the wing for a cross into the middle. We never played with the quick, short, one-touch passes popularized by F.C. Barcelona.


“You can learn the tactical side of the game later. It’s amazing to me that people put so much emphasis on trying to be tactical and worry about winning when it doesn’t matter when you’re 12 years old. We’re going to have big, strong, fast players. We’re Americans, we’re athletes. But if we never learn at an early age to be good on the ball, then it’s just useless.”   

Landon Donovan