PDP contributor, Erik Imler discusses the importance of young players celebrating their success.

Coaching my U11B team this weekend, we faced quite a good team. The opponent had one of those difference makers in their team. Besides his technical ability and confidence on the ball under pressure, he brought something different to yesterday’s dance (game)….the joy of celebration!

The difference between him and the rest of the players I saw during the day (upwards of 100+) was the flair and joy he displayed when scoring goals. He has obviously been watching plenty of soccer on television because emulating Cristiano Ronaldo was his celebration of choice.


My take-away…he was a player who loves the game. Judging by the control displayed with a ball at his feet, he has made a commitment to getting better each and every day. He was a difference maker. He had that something special. I can only imagine what his youth development experience looks like…filled with soccer all the time….on the field with his team on Monday’s and Wednesday’s, pick up games with his buddies Tuesday’s, Thursday’s, Friday’s and Sunday’s, games with his club on Saturday’s, watching matches on TV anywhere at anytime, fooling around with a ball, trying new things, etc, etc. And – oh by the way – I’m sure he loves every second of it.


Since this is NOT how most of middle class American kids are wired, I plan to challenge my players with goal celebration – we need plenty of help in this category. Maybe this will serve as a stimulus to getting them to watch more games on TV.

Just an idea worth experimenting with.


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