Sign in / Join

Soccer skills

You must grow up with them, according to Arsenal's Arsene Wenger:

"When I started at the academy at Strasbourg, I worked mornings and afternoons with 18-year-olds who couldn't cross," Wenger said. "After a year I thought I must be useless because they still couldn't cross. We then had a meeting with all the coaches at other club academies. I said: 'Can someone tell me how can I improve my players? I work the players hard twice a day - and no change.' There was relief all around! Everyone had the same problem.

"At 18 years it is too late to improve players. We decided to go down to 16. Then 14. Now in France they go to 12. Technically, at 13 the basics are done. After that you could bring in every professor and they will not turn a guy with no technique into a good technician."

Interesting. They say that the greats - like Tiger Woods in golf - had the magic at a very early age. They grew up with a ball glued to their feet.

I'm still waiting for the first American player with crazy skills (apart from the foreign-born Adu) - perhaps we start serious training too late?