Growing up in Elgin Illinois, I lived at the Elgin Sports Complex. I would hop on my bike and ride as fast as I could so I could to play a pickup game, watch a game, or do some training soccer myself. Soccer was and is my addiction! Fast forward to today and I wonder to myself what made me love the game as much as I do now? Where did it come from? Simple answer, my parents for signing me up in the first place. But no, it was way deeper than that. It was the energy that surrounded me which started from my coach. Coach Kari had this unique way of getting us fired up whether it was for games or practices. She created the atmosphere to fall in love with this beautiful game.
Vision and Awareness are the New Buzz Words. How important are they?
Of all the pillars of player development, the two that separate an exceptional player from a good player are the level of Vision and Awareness.
Vision is the skill of seeing things quickly and in some instances before they happen in the game.
Awareness is a combination of feeling and recognizing opportunities to make and execute plays faster than opponents.
In team sports like soccer where interactions with team members are integral to ball possession, vision can be as simple as having your head on a swivel checking in every direction for clues as to what the opponent is doing and what you and your teammates are doing. It allows a player in control of the ball to serve the pass to an open player, perhaps starting a possession sequence that could lead to scoring goals. Vison can also include a player not with the ball moving into open spaces, placing them in a situational dominance of defenders, making their opponent unable to match their pace of play and movement.