Quotations and Soccer Tips

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In soccer, as in life, anything is possible if you wish hard enough.

A couple of years ago, I decided to be more involved in youth soccer so, I answered a post of the Viking Soccer League for a coaching position. When I went to the office of the League to be interviewed, like always I arrived very early. Some people are genetically always late. I’m the opposite and, obviously, I was there one hour early. So, I waited outside not wanting to disturb the coaches that would be interviewed before me.

In waiting, I noticed across the street from the office, a gym with youth athletes who performing exercises visible through the big window. I got curious and went closer. With great surprise I saw very young athletes, probably between 6 and 8 years old, performing really difficult exercises on the balance bar, with unbelievable grace and skill, that kept me there, glued to the big window!

Seeing these miniature women, totally concentrated and focused before beginning their exercises, reminded me of Nadia Comaneci, the greatest gymnast ever, when she shocked the world at the Olympic Games, with her futuristic choreographies that allowed her to win the gold medals in different disciplines.

It was unbelievable to noticed the effort that those youth athletes put into performing and the concentration with which they listened to their coaches and the intensity with which they followed the performance of the other athletes.

If I compare this situation with the soccer practices that I lead during the last few years, with boys or girls, much older that these ‘little’ women, I can only do one thing: LAUGH! Laugh, just because it’s better than crying, that in any case, for sure would be more appropriated!

What an ABYSS , aside from a few exceptions, there is between these 8 year old girls and the 15 year old girls and boys that I coached in these years on teams and in my soccer classes.

In youth soccer, in this country (that I consider my country) the concept of ‘suffering’ a little, to try to repeat correctly a few basic drills and to force oneself to get better by doing some exercises during the week, is something almost UNKNOWN!

Players, just by hitting the ball with the head, thrown gently from 2 yards away, say: OUCH!!!!!! I see these 8 year old athletes, fall on the ground from the bar, that is very high from the floor, with bare feet and hit the hard mattress with their back side, jump up from the floor, go back to the top of the bar and finish their exercise, holding back the tears, like they have done this all their lives with the maturity of a trained adult.

What makes them so special? The fact that in this country, in gymnastics, we make a selection, the equivalent of what in soccer we call try-outs. The difference is that in gymnastics, they chose 1 out of every 100 and in soccer we choose 20 in 20!

That is the difference!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When will we create REAL soccer teams, in which the try-outs will be among 300 players, and only 20 will be chosen? That day, we will have the same kind of commitment, from players who will hit a ball with their head, kicked by the keeper from 50 yards away. And in doing that, they will smile, because they where able to do it, instead of saying OUCH, after having hit the ball from only 2 yards away, thrown gently with the hands!

Anything is possible if you wish hard enough.

Ho, I forgot to say who the person was who created this quotation.

He was……………………………….....................Peter Pan!

Where does he live and practice? Second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning.

So, if you wish hard enough, and try hard, maybe one day you will be able to manage the ball like the players in this footage, that my soccer student Bruce, always finds for us navigating the Net.


By the way, Bruce is 55 and has almost never missed a Thursday soccer class in the last 9 months. Could it be that he wished hard enough to get better?

Coach Gianni