Recently Martin Rennie spoke to a passionate group of coaches about fixing Canadian soccer. The topics varied from creating a professional league to coach education standards. Each subject had its own points and each has its own set of hurdles to actually achieve.
What struck me wasn’t the fact that there was a problem people were beginning to talk about but that for so long we have continued to do the same things expecting we will get improved results.
Evidence of success starting to take shape are coming in little drips; things like the Whitecaps throwing some very promising Canadians into the professional fray last night, Ontario and B.C. wading into High performance Youth Leagues [OPDL & HPL], television showing more and more soccer to inspire our youth, and of course our country having cities with professional franchises that our kids can attend and watch in person. These are all great signs of a future for soccer in North America. Like it or hate it, MLS has helped shape a landscape for soccer to leap off of and actually make a big difference at the ground level.
If we really want to create a groundswell of true player development we need to start taking advantage of this opportunity. We need to get out of the way, stop trying to own the pathways, stop trying to decide how soccer should be and let passionate people on the ground show us the way.
We need to leap into the unknown.
Why are we scared to let people start their own businesses, work within the game, provide competition? What do we have to lose? As far as I can tell, and based on our rankings, it seems absolutely nothing. [But you tell me…drop us a comment if you think differently.]
Should we govern the game? Keep it at a standard? Yes. Just like a business can be kept in check by basic laws that govern our nation. Should we dictate how people play, train, or develop the game? I don’t think so. It actually seems like harder work to monitor people and rule people than to allow them to be creative, passionate and perhaps show us the way. The best businesses are crowdsourcing and outsourcing to increase ideas, access, transparency and bottom line results. Why wouldn’t soccer? The best concepts always rise to the top.
Whatever people think, our current process is not working and people that want to help can’t.
We need to embrace change and then work towards a better future. It will be hard work and there will be bumps but it will be worth it. Everybody can have a voice. At this stage, everybody should have a voice and be able to add their energy to help fix this game.
Our kids are relying on us to fix sports.
p.s. Our primary game at Play Better is 5yr – 12yr old player development. Here’s a look at what we think a new a fresh approach can bring. It has been called distinctly Canadian…I like that.