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VA ODP TAKES ON GERMANY! By Gordon Miller, VYSA Technical Director For the 13th consecutive year the Virginia ODP embarked on their annual overseas tour. The 2003 and 2002 Boys and the 2003 and 2001 Girls were the groups that headed to Germany in April to play in the capital city of Berlin as well as the historical city of Dresden. The ODP has visited other parts of Germany (Munich, Stuttgart and Cologne) while on previous trips, but we have never been this far east and to cities that contain so much WW II history.

Upon arrival the teams went straight to a professional Bundesliga game where they saw Hertha Berlin play Augsburg in the same Olympic Stadium where the 1936 Olympic games (note: see Jesse Owens) were held. An added surprise awaited them as they witnessed American John Brooks score Gordon Miller and Matt Badiee the winner for Hertha and in old town Dresden then acknowledge the large Virginia contingent with a point to our section. The '02 and `03 boys outside Brandenburg Gate

The Virginia ODP prefers to play games where we can play different clubs in different locations, as opposed to a tournament where teams are locked into one particular site. With the first part of the trip’s home base in Dresden, the teams were able to travel an hour south to play their first match against Teplice of the Czech Republic. Teplice is the 3rd largest club in the country behind Sparta Prague and Slavia Prague. In addition to the Czech game, the Virginia girls played games against Fortuna Dresden, Union Berlin and Viktoria Berlin. The boys also played four; their other games were against the famous Dynamo Dresden, Empor Berlin and Viktoria Berlin. The teams were accorded the unique opportunity to eat with the other teams afterwards in the club house of their hosts The ’01 and ’03 girls are ready to begin their grand adventure where pleasantries, gifts and pictures were exchanged by all. Between games our group visited the old city of Dresden, the Brandenburg gate, Checkpoint Charlie, and the Berlin Wall, We were also given a personal and up close tour of the US Embassy by Defense Attaché Colonel Terry Anderson. Not only was the soccer of high quality, but the Virginia players also enjoyed the added experiences of dealing with people from another culture, a different language, a different currency, different foods, and different customs, all on a six hour time difference whilst living with their teammates. They came back not only better from a soccer standpoint, but, more importantly, more mature, well-rounded, and richer people for the experience.


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GOALS: SET ‘EM AND GET ‘EM SETTING GOALS BY JOELLEN DELEON As the beginning of the soccer season approaches, there is a sense of anticipation and excitement to start the season on a good note. Players dream of taking the first step on the field, while coaches envision the first day of practice, hoping they can positively influence their players’ development. There are several thoughts that run across the minds of the players and coaches, and among those thoughts should be goals for the next training session, the next game, the season or even goals for a multi-year plan. Goals are more than simply dreams and desires; they are specific and the effort is focused in one direction. No matter what goals players or coaches set for themselves, here are a few tips to think about when putting those goals into place. CREATING YOUR GOALS There are numerous methods to building effective goals, but one specific technique is to follow the S.M.A.R.T. method. Goals should be S-Specific, M-Measurable, AAttainable, R-Relevant and T-Time-bound. Kaylan Marckese, a sophomore goalkeeper at the University of Florida and 2015 US Youth Soccer National Champion with Tampa Bay United (FL), constantly sets goals for herself, and she knows which goals work for her, personally. “The tougher goals to accomplish are the ones that are broader,” Marckese said. “A broad goal for me, for example, is I want to get my left foot better, but there’s so many different techniques and ways to use my left foot for distribution or for touching. If I want to set a goal that my goal kicks are going to be 50 yards, I can specifically get there and measure it. When I get to 50 yards, then that goal is accomplished, and I know that and it’s easy to tell.” For coaches, goal setting takes on a different perspective as they have to think about two sets of goals: the goals they want to achieve with a particular team and the goals they personally have for their coaching careers. When it comes to coaching the team, the coach should be aware that he or she does not have full control over the individuals. “You can influence those individuals, but you’re not in their head,” Sam Snow, US Youth Soccer’s Director of Coaching, said. “You can try to improve their personal motivation, but in the end, it’s their personal motivation. Only they can get the most out of themselves. All the coach can do is nudge them along and create the right environments for the team and the individuals to improve.”

THINK IT AND INK IT “There’s the old adage of ‘think it and ink it,’” Snow said. “If you have these ideas in your head—that this is what you would try to accomplish this season, this year or in your soccer career—writing it down is step one. Without that, it’s just wishful thinking. Until you put it on paper and start to achieve those goals, it’s just dreams.” After writing a goal down, it is also recommended to share the goal with other people, such as parents, coaches or teammates. Individuals can ask others for their opinions and figure out if the goal is realistic for the goal setter. In doing so, this may require the individual to go back to the beginning of the process and reassess the goal, but in the end, friends, family and peers can play a fundamental role in helping individuals stick to their goals. “I’ll constantly ask my trainers or the coaches or even other players, ‘Hey, will you watch this for me and really see if I’m doing that?’” Marckese said. “Sometimes, I feel like I’m doing great, but really I’m not. If I can get other people to help me, too, and if other people know my goals, surrounding myself with those type of people in that type of environment helps my goals grow.” In addition, coaches can discuss their goals with other coaches and their personal mentors. Receiving feedback on how coaches run training sessions or how they conduct themselves during a game can go a long way in improving the coaches’ skills. SHORT-TERM AND LONG-TERM GOALS Goal setters should think about both short-term and longterm goals. While individuals may set the ultimate long-term goal that they desire to see as the final result, there are short-term goals that they can create to guide them along the way. Long-term goals may not be able to be accomplished until the end of the season, or they might even be a two or three-year process, whereas short-term goals can be created based on the next training, the next game or the next week.

“For more short-term goals, I would definitely focus on one game at a time and really drive home one thing,” Marckese said. “So in this game, I’m going to work on my feet being quick and I’m going to release the ball quickly. In a different game, I might focus on something different like I’m going to distribute a lot with my arm and see how accurate that is. Then my long-term goals, I would set them with my team and say we’re going to win these next five games in a row, so it would put us in a good position to win our league. For me personally, I would say I’m going to make the regional ODP team this year.” Snow added it’s important to always ask yourself how shortterm goals help toward achieving long-term goals.

REFLECTION At the end of the day, game or season, reflection of the individual’s performance in relation to his or her goal is an important step in the process. “Reflection is probably the biggest piece of it all,” Snow said. “As a coach, as a player, as the leaders of a club, think about the moments when we can step back and think about how we’re doing. So for a player or a coach, it can be after any single training session or match, not just the end of a season or the soccer year.” Evaluation allows players and coaches to see what progress they have made and if the goal was in fact achieved. “There are definitely goals you’re going to have to change, that aren’t met in the time frame you wanted to,” Marckese said. “You may have to extend the time span or alter that goal a little bit. The process is always going back and checking on that goal. You don’t set the goal and then go away from it and all of the sudden come back to it. I have to focus on that goal, and the more focused I stay, the harder I work to accomplish that goal.” There are numerous factors that play into goal setting, and each individual will go through the process in his or own way. It’s just a matter of finding what works best while keeping these tips in mind.


BEWARE: CONTROLLABLE AND UNCONTROLLABLE FACTORS Goal setting can become tricky when it comes to the factors that may be in the individual’s control and the ones that are not. The goals that are not primarily in the individual’s control are generally going to be tougher to achieve. For example, there is a difference between setting the goal of scoring a certain amount of goals in the game as opposed to a goal such as obtaining the diet of a top level athlete. “To an extent, [scoring a goal] is under your control, but not fully,” Snow said. “You can’t directly control you scoring a goal. You have to deal with your teammates actually helping you create goal-scoring chances, giving you passes that might put you in situations to take a shot on goal. That’s okay as a goal but not as directly under your control as your personal nutrition, your physical fitness, your personal sense of responsibility.” While individuals can set goals that may not be completely in their control, it is essential to be aware of these type of goals and why they can be harder to accomplish.


+ The goal was not written down. + Rewards for achieving the goal were not given. + The goal was unrealistic or not specific enough. + The goal is not really believable or there was no commitment. + Goals change too often. + You didn’t hold yourself accountable or didn’t have someone that would. + The goal did not include a realistic plan.

This article was reprinted from FUEL Soccer. The official digital magazine of US Youth Soccer.

During the summer of 2016, our VYSA intern, Wheeler Richardson, was tasked with researching an organization that would take donations of our gently used Olympic Development Program uniforms and training tshirts. She contacted Passback, a program supported by the US Soccer Foundation.

The U.S. Embassy recently emailed to let us know they had finished the distribution of most of the equipment we donated to their sports diplomacy outreach programs in Bamako.

They partnered with alumni from one of their Embassy-sponsored exchange programs, as well as an American Lieutenant Colonel serving with the UN peacekeeping forces in Mali, to distribute the VYSA uniforms and some soccer balls donated through the One World Play project. Passback collects and redistributes soccer equipment to children in underserved communities where children love the sport, but don’t have the resources to play. People who love soccer are able to recycle their gear and enrich the lives of children. Wheeler was put in touch with the US Embassy in Bamako, Mali, and for four months sorted, labeled, boxed, and sent gear to the Embassy.

The equipment was used to support the International Sports Forum held in Bamako in December. The Forum is organized by a female Malian Taekwondo athlete who is working to include disadvantaged youth and young women in sports activities in Mali. The uniforms were donated to the youth teams being organized to represent the different neighborhoods of Bamako during the Sports Forum’s soccer tournament. Stephen Kochuba, Public Affairs Officer for the US Embassy (pictured above) concluded the six-week youth soccer tournament for young women in Kati, Mali, and awarded the uniforms as prizes to the top three championship teams. The girls were so excited to get the uniforms! For more information on the US Soccer Foundation Passback program, click here.


The E-Newsletter of the Virginia Youth Soccer Association


The E-Newsletter of the Virginia Youth Soccer Association