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Ian Graham’s Decision Technology’s Football Blog
And just like that I have a new found respect for Jermaine Defoe. Imagine if you were a kid playing footy on the streets and a professional soccer player stopped to play with you? That would go down as one of the top five moments in my life. It is hard to quantify how much that affected Harry Kane’s development into a world-class professional soccer player but I bet it had at least a little effect on who he became. It’s also an extra dash of class that Defoe gave his number to Kane when he left the club. What a great guy who clearly saw the potential of Harry Kane before many of us got to see it play out on the pitch.
Meet Yolanda Cardona, girlfriend of Victor Valdes the current backup goalkeeper for Manchester United. Bet he was glad to have her to keep him company while he recovered from his ACL tear.
From ESPN FC:
Raheem Sterling is set to tell Liverpool he wants to leave the club in the summer when talks between the two parties resume this week, sources have told ESPN FC.
Multiple news outlets reported on Monday night that the England forward would inform club chiefs that he sees his future away from Anfield. Those reports came after a well-placed source told ESPN FC last month that Sterling will not sign a new contract at Liverpool as he waits to see what offers come his way this summer
Sterling’s agent Aidy Ward will meet Liverpool’s chief executive Ian Ayre on Friday to express Sterling’s desires, the reports say, and the player already told Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers in person before the 1-1 draw at Chelsea on May 10 that he wanted to leave, according to the BBC.
As a soccer fan I have seen how young talents, especially young English talents, are overvalued and fast-tracked way too quickly in their careers. The USMNT has a proclivity for this when in their rush to anoint the next big “savior of American soccer” they force young players such as Freddy Adu and Julian Green into the spotlight too early and end up doing irreparable damage to their careers (Jury is admittedly still out on Julian Green but recent events in his career have been worrisome). These actions are understandable. Finding the next young player is a lot cheaper then the transfer market and if the gamble pays off you have a stud who will be good for many years to come. It is no wonder that Liverpool are so protective of Raheem Sterling and why teams are so eager to sign him just like teams were with Martin Odegaard.
Young players, however, are very volatile. In fact, it is not just a problem with professional soccer players, since most kids that age are also volatile. At that age these boys are becoming men and the road to becoming a man is filled with many pitfalls. Some boys navigate it successfully while others fail miserably. That process is then magnified ten-fold when these boys are navigating that road as professional soccer players. Most boys their age can make one mistake and slip it under the rug whereas any mistake a professional soccer player makes is blown out of proportion. Take for example Raheem Sterling’s “hookah” fiasco. It is not a drug and many kids do it on occasion but because he is a high-profile soccer player he was vilified for it. It’s hard to go through life like that and it is even harder to go through life like that when you also have loads of stress on the training field and during games. All of this stress can ruin young players without proper guidance.
Brendan Rodgers has shown that guidance towards Raheem Sterling and the other young Liverpool players. He has protected them, given them guidance, and even put his career at risk by letting Raheem Sterling visit family in Jamaica during the middle of the season so that he could recoup both mentally and physically. Not many managers would do this for a young player especially when his team was struggling and needed all hands on deck. Most managers would just run the player into the ground regardless of age because they are just an asset that he bought to win games. At the end of the day Raheem Sterling does not know how cushy he has it. Liverpool is willing to pay him more than he’s worth and treat him with special care because they want him to succeed in a red shirt.
If Sterling goes to another squad like a Manchester City or Real Madrid he will just be benched and booed when he fails to perform. Gareth Bale is ten times the player Raheem Sterling is and he’s been thrown to the wolves at Real Madrid. Raheem Sterling, like all other players in professional soccer, is entitled to chase money and titles but he also should consider his career. He could still leave Liverpool in four years and be a a mature player with his entire career ahead of him. Therefore, he needs to take a step back and realize his development could be seriously stunted by a premature move. If he plays his cards right he has a long career ahead of him.
From Goal Nation:
Brandon Quaranta, Director of Coaching for Baltimore Celtic SC and McDonogh High School Varsity Boys Soccer Head Coach, shares his thoughts on the overlapping world of High School and Academy. This is a debate — or discussion — which flairs up and makes everyone question what is really best for America’s elite youth soccer players …. And, whose decision should it be?
This debate will take awhile to be resolved and it is a real shame. As a player who once played both club and high school soccer I am a firm believer that both have their benefits. While I understand that high school soccer isn’t as developed and the competition is below the quality of club soccer I do not believe that makes it useless. There’s a bond and level of camaraderie that one gets from playing high school sports that they can’t get from club sports. Most of these players won’t end up in the professional ranks and of the few who do many won’t be successful. Therefore, for those players sport experiences are just as important as the training they received. In that regard the experiences they would gain from playing high school soccer are worth their weight in gold. It is not fair to take that completely away from them. There must be a way to compromise so that these players can receive the superior training of their club teams without completely giving up on high school soccer. I hope for the sake of america’s youth that a compromise is reached sooner rather than later because I feel for those players who are being deprived of high school soccer.
Click the hyperlink above to read the entire article. Brandon offers a very unique point of view on this issue.
Soccer is made for grassy lands and soft beaches. I am not sure this is what the soccer gods intended when designing the beautiful game but it sure is entertaining. Check out the video below: