Our kids are happy playing 8v8 at U8 now. Why upset the cart?
Question 4:
Our kids are happy playing 8v8 at U8 now. Why upset the cart?
GARY ALLEN, Assistant Director of Virginia Youth Soccer, USSF National Coaching Staff.

Kids are happy playing in the mud, but that does not mean that they would not be much happier playing in the sand at the beach if they knew it existed and were given the chance to do so. The issue really has nothing to do with upsetting the kids' apple cart, and that really is the problem. It is the adults' apple cart that is threatened. No, it is more like the adults' orange cart, because the argument mixes apples and oranges.

Adults have developed an organized system of leagues and tournaments, and created all kinds of periphery, based primarily on convenience and profit. It has nothing to do with development. In essence, the organization of leagues and tournaments have procedural ramifications, but have nothing to do with the substantive issue of development, other than that maintaining the status quo and hindering development.

There are virtually no substantive arguments against smaller sided play for these ages. There is no expert in the game from any country that does not extol the value of smaller sided play for development. The "kids being happy" point is a red herring. Kids from all over the globe play pick-up games in their neighborhoods in much smaller numbers and in much smaller spaces. It is the game itself, not the numbers that make kids happy.


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