Ras Charles – Entrepreneur, Trainer, Coach – Discusses What’s Right and Wrong With US Youth Soccer
Ras Charles dives into what it takes to develop youth players, what American youth soccer needs to change, and what a great coach looks like.
Soccer Interviews: Ras Charles has been playing soccer all his life. Hailing from Jamaica, Charles played on a number of prestigious teams including the national premier league championship team and for his country’s own, the Jamaican National Team.
Charles currently runs his own youth soccer training program, Soccer Clipboards.
He is an organized and motivated trainer and coach, with a passion for the game and a talent for working with youth soccer players.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is right and what is wrong in American youth soccer?
Ras Charles: I think that there too much emphasis on money and not on the actual game and development of the game and players, with too much short-term planning. There is also too much emphasis on winning at all costs and the most parent thinks that this is what it is all about, so the trend continues.
Diane Scavuzzo: What needs to change in youth soccer today?
Ras Charles: Fairness is needed.
The fees are way too high for some players who are great but can’t afford the cost so they drop out.
I think if they genuinely care and focus on development for the youth and enjoy what they do, kids will play with those clubs longer and the money will come.
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Diane Scavuzzo: Where have we fallen short and how can that be improved?
Ras Charles: More quality training by learning the basic skills and tactics, learning proper technique and most of all the fundamentals of the game.
Less talking and standing around, less meaningless tournaments, help spacial players to develop their skills with potential to grow instead of stifling and limiting them.
We need to give players a sense of purpose, and help the player find their worth.
Diane Scavuzzo: What do you recommend?
Ras Charles: I recommend decreasing the cost/fee of some of these clubs. This would allow more families to afford to have their kids play, focus, and dream. More quality coaches and not just some person with a license who has never played nor has a total commitment to the game and development.
Diane Scavuzzo: What makes a good coach?
Ras Charles: To be a role model, positive communication. Observance, dedication, organization, the ability to teach, the ability to direct. A coach must not only teach soccer but also social skills like patience, determination and most of all discipline and how to be a team player.
I see where coaches have multiple teams but do more with some team and less with the others. A good coach treats all player’s interest equally. The player’s success is their success.
Diane Scavuzzo: How old were you when you first became involved with soccer? What is your favorite memory?
Ras Charles: I start playing when I was about 10 or 12 years, and my favorite moment was when 30 players from my state were invited to try out for Jamaica under 17 national team and I was the only one that got selected.
Also when Pele come to Jamaica to play in an invitational game with the senior team and I shook his hand – I did not wash my hands for 3 days!
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Photo Credit: Soccer Clipboards, Ras Charles