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2008 good soccer resolutions for players (youths and adults), parents, coaches, referees and league officials.

All of us, in the world of soccer, have to try to do our best to make the next soccer year, better than 2007!

As players, improve your basic soccer skills.
As parents, behave better at the fields and know the “soccer laws” better.
As coaches, set a precise target in developing the players individually and as a team.
As referees, get more fit, to be able to put yourself more into the heart of the action.
As league officials, put the emphasis on playing less games and practicing more, as you have this power.

At the end of every year, as human beings, we do this. We try to make good New Year’s resolutions. And sometimes we are able to respect these New Year’s resolutions for………………………… a few days!
So for 2008: Let’s not ‘shoot too high’! Let’s set our New Year’s Resolutions to be something that we might reasonably be able to achieve.


By practicing one or two (???) times a week, for a little more than 1 hour, dreaming of getting better, is just that. A dream!!! If we don’t decide to dedicate some time during the week, as a hobby, a little every day, to do simple exercises with the ball to develop our ability to handle it, we will always stay at the same level. And because the others probably will get better, our level will actually go down.
So please, a little time running, a little time juggling, and do some simple feet work that your coaches can give you as home work. This will generate a tangible improvement. The secret is not to set a long daily program that, sooner or later, will be abandoned; but instead, make it a 15-20 minute daily routine that will be like having breakfast or playing a videogame or listening to music.
This could reasonably be done at every age. So, in 2008, get better a little everyday.


Let’s be sincere. Many parents, moms and dads, have never played soccer! This, besides the fact of not really understanding what’s happening on the field plus not having a great knowledge of the soccer laws, sometimes creates situations of ‘tension’ at the border line or in the stands.
Without talking about pathological ways to sustain the team (I often hear moms that yell incitements, which don’t make any sense, for the whole game) let’s try to learn the most simple and fundamental soccer laws.
And before this, let’s force ourselves to remember that the referees, besides the fact that they are human like us, can make mistakes, they don’t run with the whistle in their mouths so, when we see a foul, they see it too, but it takes a minimum of half a second to put the whistle in their mouth so, the sound can’t be INSTANTANEOUS!

So, let’s not yell ‘c’mon ref!!!’ in the exact moment in which the infraction occurred or ‘thanks ref!!!’, supposing that now they blow the whistle just because we yelled!

Aside from this, please try to understand these 3 points:

A soccer law that forbids touching the ball with arms or hands DOESN‘T EXIST. When the ball accidentally hits the arm or the hand, that part of the body is exactly that: A PART OF THE BODY and it’s not a foul. When we intercept the ball on purpose with the arm or the hand, only in this case is it a foul. When the arm goes to the ball and not the opposite. So please, look for this principle and STOP YELLING “HAND BALL” EVERY TIME THAT ACCIDENTALLY THE BALL HITS THE ARM OF AN OPPOSING PLAYER!!!!!! I said the arm of an opposing player because, as everyone knows, being that our kids arms are invisible, the ball can never be seen touching them!

A soccer player is considered in off-side position if, at the moment when a teammate kicks the ball to pass it to him or her, he or she are behind the last defender AND NOT WHEN HE OR SHE RECEIVES IT!!!! So please, let’s stop yelling “offside ref!!!!”, without knowing this simple concept and having checked the moment in which the ball was kicked! (supposing that it could be right to yell at him in the first place!)

In soccer, it is legal to charge an opponent with the shoulder. So, let’s stop yelling when our son or daughter is regularly charged SHOULDER AGAINST SHOULDER!!! If you don’t want him or her to fall on the ground after a regular charge, because they are not strong enough, please keep them at home and play chess! There is nothing to be ashamed of, in not being born to play soccer and they can even become World Champion by playing chess!


We have a great responsibility. Our job is to teach the kids the fundamentals of soccer but practice time is so short. So, for 2008 and every year after that, let’s set a simple target that we can reach at the end of the season. The goals shall not be the same for every player. You know exactly what the strengths and weaknesses are of all of your players ’individually’. So set a goal for each of them, like cross, shoot, trap, pass or whatever. Divide them in groups and just develop that unique soccer skill, with different exercises, for the whole season. Of course, besides that, you must develop the whole team to do a few fixed plays. A counter attack or move all together, or work on corner kicks in defense and in attack, or play possession. Set one simple topic and always work on that. Year after year you’ll have a competitive team that you have built “brick by brick” on top of something solid, which was put there correctly and can hold the rest of the construction.
Finally, give them home work for foot work... 10 minutes a day of 10 simple exercises, 1 minute each.


You guys are my heroes. I really thank you for all your sacrifices in studying the laws of the beautiful game with the only result, if you are lucky, of being insulted for the whole game, if not worse!

You, besides the other ‘actors’ like players and coaches, are the main protagonists, that have to pretend not even to be there, that permits soccer to exist and be passed to the next generations.

Having said this and having thanked you one more time for your passion and dedication that permits all of us to enjoy our passion, if you have a chance, please try to improve your fitness a little to be closer to the action, for better judging of what happens. I know that sometimes you referee many games during the week and you have to distribute your energy considering the next games but, just a little more back and fourth, would be greatly appreciated. In particular, in doing the correct diagonal so you constantly face your line-man, supposing that you are so lucky to have one, and don’t have to judge even the off-side from an impossible angle so, you bring home your extra portion of insults.

I’m a professional coach, so I’m getting paid (not enough!!!!) for coaching but I’ll NEVER, EVER do what you do even if I would get paid double!

League Officials

I really would like to be in your position. To be elected President of something that has the power to change for good. I would simply change


But it’s easy to judge from the outside so, keep up the great job, and I say this without any irony. Please believe me!

The only thing that I’m taking the liberty of suggesting is I would like to see you do something that would allow less games and more time for practice. So, I don’t know if this would even be possible, but to have teams play less and practice more, the following suggestion could be a way of not getting to the absurdity of playing more than 100 games a year!

All the teams have the player’s cards held together by a little chain or ring, that is given to the referee at every game. We can add to that ‘block’ a TEAM CARD that has, for example, 50 squares printed on it. At the end of the game, the referee, before giving them back to the manager, with a simple tool, makes a hole in one of the little squares in the card.
This way, besides the regular season, the management of the team can choose a reasonable number of tournaments to go to, according to how many games his team can still play in that year, and distribute them during the rest of the year.

When the team has used the whole TEAM CARD, that team can’t play any more games for that year and can dedicate time to improving soccer skills at practice!

I said 50, because if some players play at school too, adding 10 - 15 games, would be reasonable, compared to the reality. As I already said many times:

120 games a year is Child Abuse!

I’m done. So, about my resolutions, besides the ones I already said as a coach, I’ll do my best in trying not to get too sad when I receive the usual ratio of insults, after sending out an article like this.

Happy 2008 to all of you soccer lovers.

Coach Gianni


O.K. I even promise to be a little less sarcastic during practices!

Posted on 29 Jan 2008 by coachgianni
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