Today is an article by guest blogger, Terry Michler. Terry is the nation's winningest high school coach with over 800 wins at CBC High School in St. Louis. Terry is also the author of these books, Dutch Total Football, Coaching Soccer Champions, Full Season Training Program - Elite Team and is the subject of our recent release Find a Way to Win.
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Credit to Germany
The Germans have reached the ‘business end of the deal’ for the last 2 World Cups. Credit to them for producing quality in their game that gives them the chance to take a ‘run for the money.’
In 2000, I attended 10 games of the European Championships held in Holland and Belgium and it was consensus that England and Germany were not up to the standard of play of the competition. They did poorly and left after the pool play.
In 2002 I attended the NSCAA National Coaching Convention in Baltimore and sat in on a session by the German Football Federation. Erich Rotemuller presented the revamped German approach to regaining status among the footballing world. The German realized that their standard had slipped and were grossly concerned that they were falling behind the rest of the world. Their approach was very comprehensive. First they formed a committee to analyze and identify their shortcomings and then they focused on the successful teams in the world and what made them successful. After collecting all their data and evaluating what could work for them, they then set out an action plan that they felt would be conducive to the German mentality and its soccer culture. They took the best from the best in the world and tweaked it to fit their needs and reversed a downward cycle which has rewarded them with 2 successive successful World Cups.
It was interesting to hear Steve McManaman following the Germany – England game say in the post game show that “maybe England just isn’t good enough and maybe we need to overhaul the entire system.” Well, Germany said the same thing 10 years earlier and now they have the proof of their transition, but it takes time to produce.
This World Cup has shown that the middleweights are closing the gap and teams that are not proactive are falling behind. With the game becoming more international at Club level, valuable experience is gained in League play and taken back to the homeland, where players are combining with others of shared experiences and the product is much improved. Look back 4 years and project 4 years ahead and what do you see -- who are teams that caused a stir 4 years ago that are still around today who in 4 years time maybe more than a handful for most.
Credit to Germany for their introspection and successful revitalization of their football program, they took a hard look and made the necessary changes at the right time.