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What is missing in this country is to play soccer in the rain and, consequently, in the mud!

The beauty of soccer, it’s that you can play in any weather conditions and on any surface. So, besides the fact that you can play on dirt, sand, asphalt, concrete or grass, if it’s raining or snowing, that only makes it more fun!

Without considering the fun, there are only two things that make the legs of youth soccer players become like iron.

Sand and mud!

In South America it’s the sand and in Europe it’s the mud!

So, to play on the sand kids can go only in 2 places: beaches or deserts. To play in the mud, we need to stop closing the fields just because LAST WEEK IT RAINED FOR A COUPLE OF HOURS. If we keep doing this, the youth generation will never understand what it means to ‘SUFFER’ a little to achieve a great result by having fun.

I grew up in Milano, Italy, and began to play soccer, to be more precise, to be trained to play soccer, when I was 6 years old.

If you’d like to codify, what it is to play soccer in the cold, you can say that it is to play when the temperature is BELOW ZERO!!!

So, we played soccer in the morning, at 8:30, in the winter, when the temperature was 5 below zero!!!! The equivalent of your 23 degrees!

This means 2 things:

-The ball was a kind of a frozen rock that hit you like a big thrown stone!

-The field was like an ice surface with sharp points of frozen mud, that cut like a blade!!

When, after an hour, the sun was a little more bright, the field became a swamp in which only to walk was a great effort. The mud stuck to your feet and after a few minutes, your feet were two balls of mud that made the shoes not visible anymore so, to run in this condition made the legs iron and able to continue playing, plus developed control of the ball in really tough conditions.

With the passing of the months, when the weather got back to normal, the soccer skills achieved and the strain made us fly on the field.

This is soccer for real and if we continue to close the fields when it rains, so as not to ruin the surface, like the fields are made to do something else other than play soccer, our youth players NEVER become stronger, NEVER will learn to suffer to achieve a goal and NEVER will become real soccer players like in the rest of the world!

As simple as that!

Suffer, get better, fight to win the ball back for real, stop saying “OUCH” every time a very soft ball hits their heads and not the opposite, stop finding them a good excuse not to go to practices or to the games. Don’t let them believe that they are already really good just because they’re able to pass and trap the ball decently and, in particular, lets find places where they can play in the sand, in the rain and in the mud!

The ability to suffer to achieve a goal, will help them a lot in their future lives as women and men ready to succeed in life as professionals, like engineers, architects, lawyers, doctors, surgeons or whatever they’d like to become. Plus they will become good citizens who put the need of others, before their need, like every good teammate!

Sand, rain and mud! We have all of them so, lets give them the chance to get better in having fun, because one thing is really true. There is nothing more fun than playing on the sand, in the rain and, in particular, in the mud!!!

So let our boys and girls have fun. If in doing this, they become great soccer players, too, even better!

Coach Gianni

Posted on 24 Oct 2006 by coachgianni
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