College Scholarships

 


With the Legends,

Premier Soccer doesn't cost...

IT PAYS!!


$8,800,000 in Scholarships...

And Counting!!

 

Because of our unique brave creative leadership training approach our scholarship
success has been "Legendary".



              

The ability of the ball carrier is unquestionably the biggest single positive factor in a great team's attack. It is an indisputable axiom that the more talented the ball carriers and finishers, the better the team's attacking chances. Teams without talented ball carriers and finishers find it almost impossible to win at the highest level.

What's more, the player without great ball handling and striking skills finds it almost impossible to progress to a higher level by earning a college scholarship or stepping up to the professional game. The ideal ball carrier should be a mix of the great football quarterback, the baseball "no hit" pitcher and the high scoring, deceptive dribbling point guard in basketball. He merges the coolness of the assassin, the tactical foresight of the chess maestro, the creative artistry of the grandmaster painter plus the combative spirit and skilled execution of the champion gladiator. He is confident and self-assured under pressure and believes in his ability to make the big plays that win games. The team with the most "Soccer Legends" will enjoy the greater opportunity for success.

Developing a team stacked with great dribblers and finishers increases the chance of dominating games. When in possession of the ball, the field general is the engine of the car and nerve center of the team. He is the crucial factor, the hub of the wheel. He is the hard drive, microchip and motherboard of the computer all rolled into one. He fuses players to each other, links the defense to the midfield, the midfield to the forwards and converts possession in the final third into goals. There is no other role in soccer as stressful, important and ultimately crucial as that of the ball wizard and a team stacked with ball wizards is one to be feared.

A high self-concept and great leadership skills are mind based qualities that occur as a result of the Legends creative training methods because players who have great skill and the ability to make big plays in the most congested of conditions cannot help but grow into team leaders. This becomes especially evident when our players play in programs unrelated to the Legends i.e. guest playing for other teams, State Select, High School or College. In these situations our players, (because they are trained to perform the most difficult creative skills at speed), stand out, head and shoulders above the rest and assume leadership roles that others are incapable of performing.

 Coaching styles and opinions are possibly more diverse in soccer than any other sport. This is due to the extremely open nature of soccer, which challenges both coaches and players alike with more variables than any other team game. Many diverse viewpoints have been reflected in books about such well-worn subjects as technique development, appropriate drills, tactical teaching and rules. However, a lack of in depth analysis has resulted in a dearth of truly well formulated long-term youth teaching plans that are designed to maximize the skill acquisition, fitness development, tactical efficiency and psychological strength of each individual within a team framework.

 As the "Training Soccer Legends" philosophy evolved, the importance of training players who are capable of being selected to the highest level of play became more and more evident. Any coaching system should be judged solely by its ability to develop players with the necessary attributes for competing at the upper echelon of play, whether that level be high school varsity, state, regional or national ODP, college or professional. After 15 years of refining the "Training Soccer Legends" approach I can state categorically that there is no better system for earning a spot at the higher representative level than this one.

 In 1998, I took one of my Legends teams to a top college showcase. A number of the players on this team had been with the "Training Soccer Legends" program from ages 5, 6 & 7. In this event, I chose to adopt a different coaching approach. After my normal team talk about demonstrating tremendous individual skill on the ball until the right time to pass, I sat down and studied approximately 150 college coaches who were evaluating my players from the opposite touchline.

In our first match-up of the three game showcase we played a State Champion team from Detroit, Michigan, one of the strongest mid-western soccer cities. We lost the toss and were given the kick-off. Jesse Baker (Drake University, NCAA All American Player of the Week 2003, MO Valley Conference Player of the Year 2005) took the ball from the short kick off, committed the on-rushing opponent, faked a pass out to Bryan Williams (Junior College All-American 2003), and performed a beautiful "Maradona Turn" around his helpless opponent before committing the midfielder and then playing the pass to Bryan. Meanwhile Bryan had slipped behind the opposition's outside mid-fielder to the open space between him and the full-back. Bryan continued the skillful sequence with a "Double Scissors" to beat the full back before creating an opportunity to score with a cross that slid across the front of their goal. We did not score but almost all of the 150 college coaches overtly acknowledged the brilliance of the play by looking down at their clipboards and making notes. This is pure conjecture but I'm 100% confident that they listed Jesse and Bryan as players worth watching closely for the rest of the game and/or tournament.

This pattern of events was reproduced many times during the tournament as Legends-trained players produced deceptive moves in every area of the field to beat opponents or create space prior to making the pass. The contrast between the effect of the Legends-trained players and the other team's players on the college coaches was remarkable to behold.

The other team played a classic passing game with excellent one and two touch play plus intelligent, explosive running off the ball to create space. However, during these passing sequences there was almost no overt recognition of the players involved in a particular passing play by the college coaches. In marked contrast, every time a Legends trained player performed a fake prior to releasing a penetrating pass, numerous college coaches acknowledged the demonstration of elite individual skill prior to the pass, by collectively lowering their heads and taking notes. I can only assume that the overt ability of the Legends trained players to deceive with a fake, made them stand out from the crowd. From the reaction of the college coaches it appeared that the more deceptive players were the ones that made a greater impression, whereas, the tendency of the other team’s players to quickly pass the ball, (and the responsibility), left the college coaches unable to assess whether or not they were really good players. This observation was reinforced by the many phone calls I received immediately following this, (and many other), showcase events. For many days following collegiate showcase events my phone rings consistently with inquiries about, and requests for information on, my players. Of note, is that most coaches who call me are interested in three or more Legends players, whereas my past experience as a College coach is of finding it difficult to identify more than one blue-chip player from any team I watched at showcase events. Furthermore, there is normally a mass turnover of college coaches at half time of showcase games because each coach has limited time, and many different games and players to watch, over the course of the weekend. However, in this game only a few coaches left at half for other games and many more arrived than departed. Once again I can only assume logically that the college coaches present during the first half of play felt that, rather than moving over to watch two different teams, their time would be better spent watching the Legends players they had made notes on to see if they really were top college material.

The extra time that a college coach spends watching the ball wizard combined with the extra time that the ball wizard has on the ball due to their elite skill is crucial to maximizing the opportunity of being selected for a higher-level team. When analyzed statistically it can be seen that the average player gets very little time on the ball with which to impress the college coach or professional scout. Most college coaches attend only half of each game because they need to watch as many players as possible over the course of the event. In that half of play, (45 minutes), each team may be playing with an average roster of 16 players. Therefore, there are 32 players competing for one ball during 45 minutes. Statistical evaluation has shown that most ball possessions are momentary in nature. In fact, "live" time on the ball in the English Premier League is less than 25% of the total time of the game. Stoppages in play, travel time of the ball between players and the conventional playing methods of one and two touch passing, reduce each player’s time on the ball. Consequently each player actually spends a mere fraction of total game duration in possession of the ball. However, certain players on each team enjoy more possession. Each team’s central midfielder usually enjoys more ball possession because of the greater incidence of action in the middle of the field. Conversely satellite players, i.e. full backs and wingers, get less time in possession and less opportunity to impress.

If we take time in actual possession on a conventional team as one fourth of 45 minutes, (that’s high side positive), the total time on the ball for both teams in one half of play will be a maximum of 12 minutes. When 32 players are divided into 12 minutes each player will get less than 24 seconds with which to impress a college coach or professional scout. If all they do in their precious 24 seconds is treat the ball like a "hot potato" and pass, the evaluator will only see a limited amount of their capabilities. If, however, the player is capable of mixing one and two touch passing with well chosen fakes & dribbling based possession, followed by a successful forward pass or shot, the evaluator will get a more attractive picture of that player as a "big play" maker and be significantly more likely to recruit her. Furthermore, great dribblers and goal scorers will enjoy more time on the ball than their less creative counterparts, (see the “skill compounding” section for greater detail).

Much of this extra time on the ball is endorsed and provided by teammates who pass to the creative dribbler more often because they recognize that her superior skill makes her more effective. Because she is more able to create opportunities to penetrate or score than the conventional passer, the deceptive dribbler will also hold the ball for longer periods of time. This extra time on the ball will give a talented dribbler a much greater share of total exposure than the 22 seconds on the ball that an average player gets. Therefore, as a consequence of receiving the ball more often, the ability to hold the ball longer and greater skill at making penetrating plays, players developed in the "Training Soccer Legends" system enjoy vastly better opportunities to impress evaluators and secure an invitation to play at a higher level.

An added benefit of the "Training Soccer Legends" approach comes from the inability of the opposing coach to single out one or two key Legends players and man mark those players to the detriment of the team. In the showcase game against the Michigan state champions the opposing coach initially assigned his best man marker to Jesse Baker, however after 15 minutes of great individual skill from numerous Legends players, the assigned man marker turned to the coach in obvious confusion and asked, "which one do I mark?" His coach shrugged his shoulders in the traditional gesture of confusion and indecision because there was no obvious answer. It takes opposing coaches many games to assess Legends trained players’ strengths and weaknesses. This is because all Legends players are trained to be great dribblers and goal scorers, therefore when compared to most teams where good dribblers and finishers are a rare commodity, the creative difference between the best and worst Legends player is very small. Because all Legends players are trained to be extremely creative identifying one impact player on a Legends team is an almost impossible task.

A further benefit of the "Training Soccer Legends" philosophy is that the team is less susceptible to the negative effect of injuries on statistical success. A more traditionally trained squad has trouble when key players get injured. However, teams trained with the Legends method don’t have the same degree of problems because skillful players can be switched from position to position without major disruption. In the 1998 USYSA Mid-West Regional Championship game the 81/82 Legends faced Javanon S.C. from Kentucky without four injured players. One of our top goal scorers, a Regional team mid-fielder, our team captain and a player who later represented the KC Wizards had all suffered long-term injuries, leaving us with just 13 healthy players to face the best the Mid-West had to offer. In the final we scored three great goals in open play to overcome two penalty kicks and won the game 3-2 on a sudden-death overtime “golden goal”. The goal was scored by Joe Burns (top goal-scorer at St Joseph’s & Rockhurst Universities 2000-2004), who had mostly played as a defender during the preceding year. For the golden goal Joe dribbled from his own half of the field and beat 5 Javanon players before finishing a left-foot bullet. That year Joe also scored the winning goals in the Missouri State Cup semi-final and final to lead Rockhurst High School, (who had 9 Legends trained players on their team), to the Missouri State High School Championship for the second straight year. Meanwhile, on the Kansas side of the State line, Drew Perkins (drafted pro by the Kansas City Comets), and Geoff Miles (NCAA Div One All Conference & top 25 nationally in assists 2003) led Shawnee Mission Northwest in goals and assists to the Kansas State High School title. For the past 10 years State Championship high school successes have been achieved time and again by a variety of schools with Legends trained players in key midfield and striking roles.


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