World Football Academy USA’s Raymond Verheijen
Youth Soccer News: The World Football Academy USA is world’s leading independent education institute for coaches, staff, and players.
Changing the subjectivity in soccer.
The WFA wants soccer to be the preeminent sport — even in America and realizes that it is only the level of coaching that is holding back this vast country.
Headquartered in the Netherlands, with world renowned coach Raymond Verheijen serving as CEO, the WFA services over 2,000 football specialists in more than 20 countries per year.
“No one knows the soccer situation in the USA like USA coaches,” says Verheijen.
Raymond Verheijen is not your average speaker — he is not a lecturer who repeats the same empty phrases once thought to be inspiring. He is provocative. He is inspiring. His mission is to make people think and question their assumptions.
To tear off the saturated confines of preconceptions, Raymond Verheijen calls into question many of the steadfast beliefs in youth soccer coaching and asks annoying questions. Recently in San Diego on the USA tour, I had the chance to listen to his presentation.
Raymond asks, “How far do I allow the bar to drop before I go work in a supermarket?”
Raymond Verheijen is a vibrant instructor — and, a man who holds himself apart from the fray and invites everyone else to join him.
“You can be part of the solution or the problem when it comes to developing local players,” said Kraig Chiles, Cardiff FC Mustangs and the Captain of the San Diego Sockers. “Raymond has a ton of experience and I found his course very educational.”
“I’ve taken three of his courses, including an intense week in Amsterdam, and Raymond’s relentless pursuit of professionalism and high-standards resonates with me,” said Yalla San Diego’s Ryan Shera. “This pursuit is sorely lacking in the football industry and something I haven’t experienced professionally since I was a law clerk for a federal judge.”
What does it mean to be a youth soccer coach? Raymond Verheijen asked the packed lecture room why they were youth soccer coaches and what that responsibility meant to them — and how do they go about coaching.
If the soccer player thinks he cannot do it — Make him think that he can.
“The interesting thing about Raymond is that he is not peddling certain tactics or styles of play,” says Aaron Jaffe, San Diego Soccer Club head coach. “His approach to coaching education is clarifying the philosophy of what football is in order for coaches to determine how to execute it based on how they feel it should be played.”
“Raymond Verheijen breaks things down slowly and methodically in a manner that allows you to get on the same page as him without feeling patronized. The rationale behind this is sound as it leaves little room for personal interpretation — and, instead allows the person listening to zoom in on what he is speaking about, in order to fully understand these complex topics,” said Jaffe.
Raymond Verheijen does not provide answers, rather, he provides questions.
“This is a powerful pedagogical method as the students must think critically rather than simply repeat what they are told. This type of education is where U.S. Soccer seems to be going, moving away from the older “do as I say” type of education,” said Jaffe.
Raymond Verheijen wants coaches to ask if they are in charge of their own thoughts, or are their thoughts in charge of them? What do they really want from their young football players? Raymond Verheijen encourages coaches to get their players to think quickly, in the present — and wants everyone in the sport to stop complaining.
For example, “Don’t think that you’re tired, think creative space,” says Verheijen who says coaches often complain, ‘What has gone wrong? We always lose in the last 30 minutes. We don’t have mental toughness.’
“I hope you understand that the word mental toughness is a joke,” Verheijen tells his audience in Southern California. “First of all, it doesn’t exist and it allows elite players to put responsibility outside themselves.”
“Who says they are the victim of the lack of sharpness? No, you have a thinking problem,” says Verheijen … and this is a problem he challenges his listeners to fix.
“Having been to Raymond’s sessions/lectures at past NSCAA conventions, reading his books and watching his webinars, it was excellent to be involved in one of his courses first hand and to pick his brain, ask questions directly and learn even more,” said Louis Hunt, San Diego Surf SC Assistant Director of Coaching.
“Raymond’s methods are solid, it is impossible to find a counter-argument to any of it,” said Sergio Palafox, SoCal Surf PDL Technical Director. “They just make sense.”
“The football/soccer philosophy he puts forward is a universal approach that every coach should be aware of and can learn from to make their sessions and learning environment more beneficial for the players they coach,” says Hunt.
“Raymond and the WFA break the sport down to its most logical and fundamental form to help simplify the teaching process.” said Daniel Richards, Cal Poly Pomona Program Associate / Pateadores coach.
Verheijen wants players to think about the next action — and not to think about anything else. He says one of the big problems in youth coaching is coaches not giving clear, concise and specific instructions to their players. “Your players should not have to guess what you mean — if they know what you want they will perform better, says Verheijen. “Instead of explaining — players need to experience what is needed.”
“If you are a shit coach, okay bring on the cones,” adds Verheijen who is obviously not a fan.
“If you have reached your top limit, then your players have reached a glass ceiling.” He explains that he feels sorry for players when they have to do bullshit, explaining that some youth coaches slow down a player’s development – accusing bad coaches of robbing the players’ of training hours.
“Consciously incompetent – before you were unconsciously incompetent,” Verheijen explains to the gathering of youth soccer coaches.
Not for the faint of heart nor short on false modesty, Verheijen says, “I’m here to help your players – like mother Theresa.”
Just because people are doing something for a while does not make it fact or right. It can just be a traditional or a ritual
When asked, ‘Did this session change your mindset?’ Surf SC Development Academy coach Benoit David said, “Personally, it emphasized my desire to continue down this path on this style of methodology and fine tuning it. As for other coaches, I believe no matter what their methodology or views on how they should coach the game or how their team should play, the course provided information that people can accept or throw away but at the end, everyone walked out of the classroom evaluating themselves.”
I walked into this lecture to take a few pictures and was spellbound by Verheijen. This is one coach’s coach not to miss.
The World Football Academy’s goal is to continue developing all related areas of soccer expertise; presenting ground-breaking studies by scientific research, and providing tailor-made consultancy. It has a long tradition as an innovative organization which continues to expand to meet emerging customer needs, the WFA’s courses, international conferences and football books/videos all work effortlessly to raise the bar on soccer coaching around the globe. Visit their global website here.