It’s well known one of the advantages players outside the US have is pickup ball.
Across the globe, players of all ages from 7 year olds to adults benefit from the street game – that informal pickup culture the American player lacks. The barrio, as hispanic/latino cultures call it, is where strong mentalities, ball skills (of the smooth, not mechanized variety), and the dark arts of the game are forged.
- This is something you can’t get at your club.
- This is something you can’t get with personal training.
And this is something that is critical to top-level player development, perhaps most critical.
If a player doesn’t have this throughout their early developmental years … well, the player will likely never have “it”.
Again, remember this is not us speaking in theoretical terms, or parroting what countless world class players have said. This is us speaking from decades of personal experience working with players at all ages and levels, up to and including the cutting edge in the United States.
I’ve been quite outspoken about the ‘soft suburban culture’ over the years and how that negatively impacts a player’s formation. The best players, historically, and from personal experience, by and large don’t come from a soft, pampered, background. They come from struggle, and having to earn every inch of progress.
Nothing does that better than the self-regulating streets.
Nothing does that better than pickup game culture:
- Where you clown, and get clowned.
- Where you may not get as many games, or any, as the next guy because you don’t get on a team that often.
- Where you may be called ‘little man’ because you’re younger, smaller, or just not as good as everyone … yet.
- Where even the best baller in the barrio may get shown up by an up-and-comer, a new-comer, or a ringer.
- Where every inch of respect is earned, not given.
Privilege and entitlements go out the window here folks. This is the jungle.
But these are also among the fondest memories of virtually all footballers. Aside from building irreplaceable footballing skills, it builds character that lasts a lifetime.
After years of wanting to bring this to the suburban community, we’ve finally acquired a field and are building this for players within reach of Fullerton, CA. If you want in on the action, here’s how you can get the details.
If you aren’t local to us, we hope you’ll launch pickup games yourself or find a location where it’s already happening.
Players at the earliest of ages will gain more from a weekly experience in that environment than practically any structured club program.