Whatever It Takes

“You want to play on a real team? A team of real players who need real competition?” The questions were rapid fire. I tried not to think too hard as I wiped my brow after an indoor game at a place in Palatine, Illinois called Soccer City. “Yeah, I think so,” I said. A man […]

The Culture Wars of American Soccer

If you’ve played, coached, or watched soccer at any level in the United States and Canada then you’ve seen the worst pregame warm-up activity imaginable — the shooting line. The activity itself is a microcosm of the pedestrian misappropriation of the world’s game. Youth team coaches are guilty of allowing all of the players regardless […]

Training vs. Practice: A Measured Approach

The narrow footpath widens as I approach the now abandoned football pitch. At my foot is a scuffed football and in tow are my two nephews aged five and nine. My nephews have just returned from Ireland and brought with them a new love for football. The moment I show up to visit my parents […]

The Allure of the Rondo

The Allure of the Rondo By: Jon Townsend @jon_townsend3   Call it “Piggy in the Middle”, 3v1, 5v2, 5v5+2 or any variation where a numerically superior group of players has the ball and a smaller group of players tries to win the ball back. Great players do this with precise and frenetic one-touch passes to […]

The Game is Free

“There is a time and place for organized soccer, but if that is all players play, then enjoyment, creativity, leadership, and fun will have to be ‘coached’ into players, instead of being developed organically” I have this memory of my father showing me a clip of Pelé juggling a grapefruit when I was a boy […]

The Captain Before the Armband

It’s often the players who seek the elusive who find only the ‘what might have been’s’ in football. Some players are simply part of the wrong generation. This generation is one where club loyalty is a rarity and a nation’s World Cup hopes didn’t hinge solely upon expectation, but rather continue to sway in the […]

Hindsight Is 2018

Hindsight Is 2018 By Jonathan Townsend @jon_townsend3 “Soccer has arrived in the United States! And it’s here to stay… just look at the watch parties, full stadiums stateside watching the United States Men’s National Team play in the World Cup! Check out the television ratings! More viewers tuned in for the game versus Portugal than […]

The Cost of Development — Tom Byer’s Effect

What The US Can Learn From Tom Byer and Japan A hero in Japan for his profound effect on youth football coaching, we look at what US Soccer can learn from Tom Byer and how his methods have successfully developed many essential skills in young players. The Cost of Development By: Jon Townsend @jon_townsend3 Part […]

A Place to Call Home

This article first appeared on http://www.thesefootballtimes.net on April 21, 2014.  A Place to Call Home By: Jon Townsend   The sunshine, the banging of drums, and the green, blue, and white-paneled Mitre Ultimax soccer ball are images that remind of Saturday, April 6, 1996 in San Jose, California as Major League Soccer kicked off its […]

The General’s Death

This content was written for http://www.thesefootballtimes.net and appeared there first on April 4, 2014.  The General’s Death By: Jonathan Townsend   I recently found myself watching a replay of the 1988 FA Cup Final between the ‘Crazy Gang’ of Wimbledon and a heavily-favoured Liverpool side on late-night television. As the footage cut out, I flipped […]