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Five Steps from Girls Soccer to High School Women’s Soccer. By Coach Jim Broshar.

As a Varsity High School coach, I see many girls try out for our team who have played class III or IV soccer with their clubs. While some are immediately competitive, many others lack some of the basic skills and capabilities that are essential to play at a High School Varsity level. I believe that if club coaches could add an emphasis on just a few concepts with their U13 and U14 girls, they would increase their odds of “making the team.”

Here are five of the most common gaps I see in young players who come to tryouts:

1. Fitness: We do a Cooper Run – 12 minutes, 6.5 laps. This equals a 7:20 mile pace. A player must pass this to be considered for varsity. What pace can your players run? Can they hit an 8 minute mile? Consider measuring their fitness in a format that tells them where they stand.

2. First Ball: your U14 player is going to try out for HS varsity where she will compete against women who are 17 or 18 years old. A varsity-level GK can punt or take a goal kick and send the ball to midfield or further, meaning 35 yards or more. Many incoming freshmen act as if they have never seen such a ball played, which is normal for many U14 leagues. Can your player compete for this ball? Can she head it?

It seems that many young girls are coached in a scheme where the ball is advanced primarily through passing over 10 yards or shorter. In High School two other methods become important:

3. Beating a player 1 v 1. Inter-passing can advance the ball through the middle third, but as you reach the final third, defenses are compact and space for passing can disappear. A player must be willing and able to take an opponent on 1v1 at these times. If you spend some time teaching your players to beat an opponent with no outside assistance, they will immediately stand out. Here is a list of some “moves” that will help a player 1v1:

o1 Pullback
o2 Cuts

o3 Cruyff
o4 Bikes

o5 Ballerina
o6 Lunge

o7 Scissors / stepovers
o8 Scoop

You may call them by other names, but how many can your players do? How much time in practice is devoted to 1v1 play? How often in a game do your players “burn” an opponent successfully or even attempt it?

4. Serving the first ball: We do a warm-up called “Short-short-long” where players hit long passes across the field. A lofted pass covering 35 yards is common, fifty is achievable. Can your players hit a ball rolled to them this far, accurately? Varsity players can.

5. Defense: Do your players compete hard in a 1v1 situation? Before answering “yes,” consider how many fouls your players commit while trying to defend 1v1. I am seeing players go for an entire game, 80 minutes and not commit a single foul – or win a tackle. Good high school players can go shoulder-to-shoulder, block tackle with all their body weight, slide tackle, get their weight low to fight for position, and get their foot on a ball with enough force that their opponent will trip and fall.

Coach Gianni, please feel free to pass this along. If I see a freshman who is fit, who can dribble, and win a ball, she has a great chance at making my varsity team. If club coaches can teach these concepts their players will have more success at High School tryouts – and in their club season as well.


Jim Broshar
Coach, St. Mary's College HS Girls Varsity Soccer
USSF "C" License

Posted on 04 Feb 2007 by coachgianni
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