When Results Matter

In youth soccer, or really any type of developmental soccer, hopefully the process of development is more important than the results that occur. When the process is given the attention it deserves and a program is ran in the proper way results will come over time.

This can be seen in many different sources in the professional game. While some teams are content purchasing the best players in the world ever season to see if they can find the proper combination of world class talents to be a dominant force, other teams prefer to use their youth academies and develop players over the long term who can become the elite players that other teams want to purchase. This is probably best seen in the current UEFA Europa League Final of Manchester United versus Ajax. United just spent astronomical sums of several of the best current players in the world, while Ajax takes the development approach and has elite players all across the world from their youth academy.

When it comes to youth coaches we are faced with the battle between finding the results necessary to achieve promotion, keep players and at times remain employed with the desire to develop players the right way. Most coaches would agree that the development of players is the most important thing, but when does the desire for results take over and become necessary?

While this challenge cannot be answered with a cookie cutter approach a general rule of thumb to use in these difficult situations is to ask “What is going to be best for the players in this situation?” This question will usually lead to an answer that will help the coach understand how to navigate the situation, but ultimately a balance between getting results and developing players will come down to a coach making a tough decision.


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