Inside the Brain of a Teenage Soccer Genius

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Sneak Peek Into The Nehemiah FC Curriculum

For those of you who don't know, I started a football club in Kenya called Nehemiah FC. We recently sent a group there to bring the first wave of supplies and check in on progress. I was thrilled with the results! Along with sending down shirts and cleats, I send down a thirteen page curriculum for our general manager. I swear by the Brazilian philosophy but I also included descriptions of other styles of soccer so that the team could choose a style that suited them, or pick the best features from all of them to create their own Kenyan style! In August of 2013, we are hoping to travel to Kenya to structure our youth academy and perfect the team that has been established by our hardworking GM, Shebby. Little bits of the curriculum will be published leading up to the trip and I want your advice! Soccer specialists, coaches, players, fans... anyone! Feel free to let me know what you think! This is a community effort, this club is the people's club. Our style will be dictated by what everyone can bring to the table. Happy reading!

I began playing futsal when I was 16 years old after I had been playing small-sided games like indoor and pick-up soccer for about a year. Like many people who play, the fast pace of the game, the mental and physical effort that it requires and the incredible improvement in speed of thought and overall skill that comes from practicing futsal appealed to me immediately. We were only able to play once a week, but I looked forward to that Monday night futsal session.
Upon seeing the rapid progress that I made on the soccer pitch thanks to the skills that I learned in futsal, I decided to try to incorporate it into the training methods for Nehemiah FC, combined with the "Brazilian Method" of quick passes, dribbling and smart play.
Futsal being played on a hard court, the "official"
surface that the game is played on

Incorporating Futsal Into Training:
At the younger age levels, we want to encourage playing. Kids are not mentally ready to handle structured drills at the ages of about 5-10 years old. They learn by playing and they learn in games. Using the heavier and smaller futsal ball for younger ages encourages dribbling and controlled passes on the ground, which the Brazilian method states are easier to settle than passes that you collect out of the air. The small-sided game of futsal is also good because the younger players won't get caught standing around. Futsal encourages movement off of the ball and requires transitions in play. Even if it is not being played by the official rules, no one can get caught cherry picking up front or hanging around in the back. It's a team effort and everyone gets to touch the ball!
With older kids, ages 10-17, futsal balls can be used in game situations to teach touch. My Brazilian mentor had us scrimmage on a full field with a futsal ball and a rubber ball. Depending on which ball you were touching, you had to adjust your touch to keep it from flying out of bounds or to complete a pass. The actual game of futsal is brilliant for developing this age group. As the young players mental ability grows, it can be nourished by the benefits of the small and quick game. Futsal requires total involvement and works better in a drill setting than the full-on Brazilian method.

How We Plan To Use This:
Futsal can be played by anyone at any age of any shape or size. The football academy and Nehemiah FC first team will incorporate the small-sided game to all age levels and intensities of play. The ball itself can be used in full-field scrimmages to teach touch or it can be used in it's traditional setting on a harder surface. We hope that futsal will be considered recreational play for members of the community who are not in the academy or the club. In my community in Washington, we have a group that ranges in age from teenagers to sixty-year-olds who get together to play. Futsal is anyone's game.

For more information on Nehemiah FC, click here
And for more information on futsal, click here

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