These Football Times Interview

Host Jim Hart holds a discussion with former US national team player and former under-17 coach Erik Imler. Also joining Jim is senior writer Jon Townsend, who is a youth coach in St. Louis and one of the most respected writers on the US game. Erik and Jon discuss the impact of Bruce Arena taking over from Jürgen Klinsmann as national team head coach as well as what it means for the development of players in America

About Erik Imler

A Retired Professional Player, NCAA Champion (1989,1991,1992), and 1992 U.S. Olympic Team (Barcelona, Spain)who is dis-satisfied with the status quo of youth soccer development in the United States and motivated to create a youth program that addresses the most prominent technical deficiencies in many youth players - passing & receiving.

  • USA is too big for one coach to deal with national team and structure of game.
    Need to get good people in regions working with elite.

  • stop looking to blame, as Bill Shankley said coaches dont make players God and mothers do.
    Be positive and help develop the amazing potential in USA

  • Great podcast and very thought provoking questions were raised about our youth soccer programs. You mentioned and circled back around several times regarding quality coaching at the youth/rec level and how it affects the pipeline of quality players. The points made and questions raised resonated with me as well and I have to say, I am perplexed on answers to your questions. I know from my personal experience as a volunteer rec coach for my son, it was tough to come up with game plans on how to develop these kids into better players. Sure, there are plenty of online tips/blogs/videos, etc to help out, but I was never sure on what should be the priorities. I just didn’t know. Would coaching certification camps have helped out? Absolutely! Could I have taken a week or two away from work as you mentioned to accomplish this? Absolutely not!
    Another aspect that I thought about is how we as parent coaches follow our children from one age group to the next and leave the prior age group behind and eventually stop coaching when “real” coaches kick in.. Our coaching careers are now effectively over.. Or should they be? Should club directors identify coaches at the rec level that “get” it and persuade them to stay behind and coach the next incoming group of kids? How can they be convinced to coach someone else’s children while missing their own kids games on a Saturday? As a club, should we even have parent volunteer coaches or do we have only paid, certified coaches at all levels? Should we pay for coaches training at the rec level that want it? Then of course the big question is, “Would the club/parents absorb the costs associated with that”?

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