Optimal Youth Development Checklist In soccer and a lot of (mostly American) sports it’s human nature to look at the big picture or put more face value in what they’re learning/quality of training first. But being around PNR so long you realize nobody ever starts day 1 for any other reason but to PLAY, theirs no investments with expected mega returns, or scholarship aspirations or Athena B promos at stake; strip everything else down and we are there to “play” the game, not win it… IMO nothing speaks louder to you as a coach as how many of your kids return… At some point after the season’s long over, mom or dad probably asks you off the cuff, “do you want to play soccer?” and for a split second you either have a positive thought come to mind or a negative one… if some coach ripped that out of you during an absolutely meaningless Uu game and the answers is no, then the odds of returning down the road are slim to none. You can’t get to season 12 without getting through season 2 first… and you really start to wonder how many William’s twins and HK’s we lose before we ever had them. That also can have a domino effect, goes to show how 1-2 kids could affect an entire program because of a minor overreaction from an adult that had good motive or intentions but wasn’t able to keep things in perspective… If we don’t have HK season 1 in Academy, we don’t have a team season 1 in Academy LOL. Now we both can be successful without each other because of the process. In this game, it’s not always about what you do- but sometimes what you choose not to do or what you simply never did. DS taught me that sitting down on the bench, his demeanor and confidence (because of the right approach he took, his training POV and how that trickled down to the calmness and composure his teams played with. Socks? ok they were questionable, but maybe the socks too kept things in perspective. Crazy deep and wild to think about.