Executive VP Christian Lavers: How to develop smarter youth players

Executive VP Christian Lavers: How to develop smarter youth players

US Club Soccer Executive Vice President Christian Lavers penned an article, Sept. 28, in SoccerAmerica’s Youth Soccer Insider titled: “Developing smarter players: What we should and shouldn’t coach at the younger ages — and why.”

Lavers begins the article by noting: “The greatest area for improvement in American youth soccer is in the sophistication of thought and decision-making of players” and then later discusses three major coaching points:

  1. In order to think fast, players must first be taught how to think
  2. Stop coaching and encouraging high pressing: instructing young soccer players at U-12 and younger to press high is not coaching defending, and it is not teaching anything
  3. Stop coaching and encouraging a game of field position: constantly coaching and encouraging players to “get behind,” “go forward,” and “be safe,” is not teaching how to attack

Excerpt: “If as a youth soccer country we can begin to correct the first two areas — (i) to teach thinking before demanding faster actions, and (ii) to limit encouragement of high pressing, we will have exponentially moved the needle in creating a youth environment that fosters more thoughtful and independent players.”

Read the entire article here, and learn about US Club Soccer’s Players First initiative – a branded, holistic club soccer experience for parents and players, which emphasizes the development of each individual to his or her full potential, and helps parents make better choices about where their children should play.


A National Association member of the U.S. Soccer Federation, US Club Soccer fosters the growth and development of soccer clubs in order to create the best possible development environment for players of all ages.

Anchored by Players First and its five pillars of Club Development, Coaching Development, Player Development, Parent Engagement & Education and Player Health & Safety, US Club Soccer offers registration, league- and cup-based competition platforms, player identification and a variety of other programming, resources and services.

US Club Soccer is sponsored by Nike and supported by LaLiga through a technical partnership.

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