What have we forgotten? – a small story

What have we forgotten about youth development?

My friend’s team participated in a sunday youth tournament, he is their coach, friend and sometimes thier father. 90% of the squad is from minority, sometimes they can’t go to training, because of the weather, they haven’t got enough warm clothes to use it for training. If they play a match the families come to cheer them.  They have some really talented lad who could make something out from football.

But they never will.

They are poor and sometimes they eat bread with butter for dinner. Sometimes I go to help my friend in training, to give them some care. Last Christmas we invited them to eat pizza, they smiled, and they were happy. These are the moments that we started to work with children.

A few weeks ago they got invited to a tournament, where they can play with other teams in their age group. When they heard the news, they started to prepare to the tournament like it would be the World cup. They wanted to train every day, and some of them bought  “new” shoes (it means they bought it second hand).

When the big day came, they were excited and waited for the matches. We met with the other teams, and their “coaches”, mostly they were much more equipped, one team had their own coach to travel. We weren’t prepared for such an occasion, and the lads got scared a bit scared, because they thought they were the worst team on that day.

They were right.

We played three matches in the group stage, we got beaten in two and made a draw in the last match. They got tired, jaded from the trial in those games. The results are not important. They played well but this is their level, got beaten and leave the tournament.

I watched the other teams because i was curious, how they warmed-up,how their coach behaved. I got dissapointed to see the anger in their face, they got trained like an army, and they wanted to win the game, not to play football. They were agressive, as their coach too, who shouted with them and and hurried them. When a kid missed a chance he cursed him, and promised him to run some kilometres later. And this was similar with the other teams and coaches too. I was really upset with this to see.

I’ve never imagined that some adult men, who was appointed to lead, train and teach these kids, break their role and become some shouting troll.

I was sad because of my friend’s lads but maybe this is much more worse. These “coaches” kill the feeling of a good game in friday afternoon with the guys, making it a labour camp for them.

These people are frustrated and upset with their life, and they hurry these kids to win them something. This is not about youth development, this is not about the game and this is not about happinnes.

I am not sure the winning team enjoyed the final.


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