AYSO United West Michigan Director of Coaching, Paul Kramer, explains how TopTekkers will benefit his players, coaches and parents.
Who are AYSO United West Michigan?
We were formed three years ago and I believe we are the one organic club in the whole of AYSO - we started from basically scratch. We're not a purchased club, we didn't inherit any teams, we started from nothing. We are very proud of the momentum that we have been able to achieve - West Michigan is a hotbed of soccer talent. I love the people that I work with, they share the same passion and desire. The families are superb, second to none in my opinion. The kids are motivated, hard-working, and want to be better players. And the growth is evident - after three years we have four or five teams on the cusp of going into the state Premier League. Hopefully in two or three years we have teams that are on the cusp of going into the National League, and from that point, the sky's the limit.
Do young soccer players today practise enough?
No. I think the percentage of kids that take the initiative and drive to work on their game alone has shrunk 20, 30-fold in the last 10-15 years. We can blame video games, we can blame street ball not being a necessity any more. When I was young, my parents had to drag me inside when the streetlights when the streetlights went out. Now parents are dragging their kids outside to get them out and active. This app will make the kids want to do that on their own, without having to be prodded and pushed, so it's another reason why we're super excited about this app.
Why aren't young soccer players practising enough?
As much as I love technology and we all have smartphones that we can't live without, unfortunately it's the way of the world today. Video games, everything's interactive, online without having to be physically interactive outdoors like it used to be. Everybody can talk with their friends via video games, where we used to go outside and talk with our friends playing streetball or picking up a game in the park. So this app is important from a social standpoint as well because it's getting kids out and active, and they can get their teammates involved with many of the drills, so it'll actually help them from that standpoint as well.
Why is individual practice so important?
I think the hardest part of being a soccer coach is getting kids to work on their development outside of the game. As a club coach we only get them two days a week, maybe three if there's an optional training. So it's imperative for their development as a young player to work on their game outside of the bounds of a normal training session. So TopTekkers in our opinion is a vital tool to help coaches and the players in that path. We are looking forward to utilising this tool and I think the players are too.