Landon Donovan on Developing Youth Soccer Players Who Love the Game
While Landon Donovan holds the records for all-time leader in assists and goals for the U.S. Men’s National Team as well as MLS, he has rarely discussed his views on youth soccer coaches. The former LA Galaxy star — who hoisted four MLS Cups with the club plus two with the San Jose Earthquakes — speaks frankly and openly on what it takes to be a good coach.
Soccer News: San Diegans remain hopeful that the proposal for the $1 billion Soccer City initiative to bring MLS to San Diego will become a reality this year — and everyone wonders what the impact will be.
Landon Donovan — America’s soccer superstar — is the face of the effort to bring MLS to San Diego and turn America’s Finest City in to a real SoccerCity.
Donovan is an American-grown talent and the product of U.S. Soccer’s U-17 National Team’s residency program at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The first man to be named 3 times U.S. Soccer Athlete of the year, the former MLS star Donovan now lives in San Diego and is obviously the soccer expert behind this privately financed effort.
Who better than America’s soccer star who has shined brightest in the red, white and blue to lead this charge?
Related Article: LANDON DONOVAN: The Force Behind MLS Coming to San Diego
Obviously Donovan’s wisdom on the beautiful game is a huge asset helping bring Major League Soccer (MLS) to San Diego — but what are his views on player development and role of being a youth soccer coach?
As the count down to the final stages of approval begins, Diane Scavuzzo asked Landon for his views on this hot topic.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is the job of a youth soccer coach?
Landon Donovan: In my opinion, the job of a youth coach is two-fold; develop the children into good human beings and good soccer players.
It’s an overly simplistic view, but I feel that it embodies what the priorities of a youth coach should be. If those are the intentions, improving and winning will happen naturally.
Diane Scavuzzo: What if you are an elite player with dreams of following in your footsteps and representing the USA on the world stage?
Landon Donovan: For many years, youth players who wanted to make it to the very top had limited options; they could stay in the club soccer, high school, college system here in America or go overseas to get professional training at a club in Europe, South America, etc.
Over the past 5-10 years, that has all changed.
With the recent improvements to U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy and Major League Soccer’s youth academy teams, players can now receive top level training right in their own backyards.
I envision a young San Diegan making their way all the way up through our Academy and playing for our MLS team without ever having to leave San Diego to develop!
Diane Scavuzzo: How did a coach inspire you?
Landon Donovan: Many coaches inspired me in many different ways, but the most effective way to develop a player at a young age is by ensuring that they are enjoying it and having fun.
There are many people who can teach players basic skills and help them improve from a technical standpoint. I believe the most critical component is ensuring that players are enjoying the game.
“Player development is not a race.”
Update on FS Investors SoccerCity Proposal
The fate of the SoccerCity proposal will be decided by San Diego residents in a special election on November 7 and with more than 112,000 signatures collected — nearly 40,000 more than required to get the proposal on the ballot — everyone agrees there has been an overwhelming level of support behind the effort to bring MLS to San Diego.
More than just an amazing revitalization of Mission Valley’s Qualcomm area with a glistening new stadium for the San Diego MLS team — as well as where the SDSU’s Aztecs could play football — plus 55 acres of public park space and an entertainment district, MLS coming to town will impact the landscape of youth soccer, and with Donovan leading the way, this would be a very good change.
If San Diego wants an MLS team, remember to come out and vote for it on November 7th. For more information, visit SoccerCitySD.