Every youth soccer club will tout player development as the cornerstone of everything it does.
But making player development the top priority rarely happens. In many cases, the club is exaggerating its commitment to player development. In most cases, they are wishing it was true but not doing a lot to make it happen.
There are a lot of reasons, of course. But one in particular is especially frustrating in youth soccer, and that’s when winning games is more important to the coach.
Coaches endure an internal argument between their naturally competitive impulses and the desire to do right by the players. Too many times, when the competitive beats development.
That’s why Noel Gillespie’s job is so interesting.