State DOC Blog

A blog from Jacob Daniel, Georgia Soccer's State Director of Coaching. If you have comments, questions, or topic suggestions, please send them to


From Costa Rica with Region III ODP 00 Boys

Jacob Daniel- State DOC

The Region 3 Boys ODP 2000 age group is in Costa Rica playing a series of games against the youth academies of the top Costa Rican pro teams. There are 5 players from Georgia’s ODP in the 18 player squad, more than any other state.


With have played 3 games so far and our record is won 2 and tied one. We have one game left before returning on Thursday. This is the first time that I can remember where our Region team was able to come to Costa Rica and dominate possession in games.  The usual pattern of our past experiences involved a lot of defending and counter attacking without much possession. In the past we relied on our defensive organization to stay in the game. This time, we have improved the possession part of our game to a point where we can keep the ball and take the pressure off our defenders.

Our region ODP ’99 and ’98 teams are traveling to Italy in early March and that will be another, more difficult test of our progress in terms of possession abilities. Stay tuned for more.


Maximizing the Benefits of Practice Scrimmages

Jacob Daniel- State DOC

Most coaches typically finish their practice with a scrimmage without giving it much thought.  Many coaches regard the scrimmage as mainly a fun activity, a reward for the players after making them go through the coach-directed rigors of the session.  Scrimmaging is definitely the most fun part of the practice for the players, but coaches should pay more attention to the planning and running of practice scrimmages in order to derive the maximum benefits, other than just a fun reward.

The first consideration is to make the scrimmage position-specific by playing in a set formation.  A formation-based scrimmage puts the players into roles similar to what they will experience in the game on the weekend.  This allows the coach to focus on teaching specific behavior for each player, based on their position.  So, if your team finishes with a 6v6 scrimmage, put the players into roles, for example 3-1-2 (three defenders, one midfielder, and two forwards) and teach them the team shape, movement off the ball and decisions on the ball relative to their position.  choose a formation that resembles the most to the 11v11 formation you will use on the weekend.

Other considerations are to add an offside line to the scrimmage to replicate the conditions of the game.  Also, create a scenario and ask the players to manage the game according to the scenario.  For example, give one team a 1 goal lead and tell the players that there are only 15 minutes left in the game. How should the trailing team play?  How should the winning team play?

Use big goals and keepers in the scrimmages as much as possible to replicate the conditions of the real game.  This approach derives more out of the scrimmage and improves your player's tactical awareness.


New U.S. Soccer Digital Coaching Center

Jacob Daniel- State DOC


Over the past three years, US Soccer has been revamping its coaching education program. One of the main changes is the emphasis on 'reality based training' which basically means that each practice activity should address a moment or a specific situation in the game and recreate it in practice and teach the players the right behavior to fix the specific problem.

This means that the activities need to be in the same area of the field as the game, using the same player positions of the game, and involving all the players that would have an impact on the target situation. This is done by the coach asking himself/herself the where, who, why, and when questions to recreate the game scenario accurately.

This is a welcome change to the courses and should help our coaches be more effective.


ODP Integration Project

Jacob Daniel- State DOC

While attending the US Youth Soccer annual workshop in conjunction with the NSCAA convention in Philadelphia, I had the opportunity to update all of the State DOC's on our ODP Integration Project.

As the Region III boys ODP Technical Director, I was asked to provide a progress report on the ODP Integration Project that we launched in 2013. The objective of the project is to improve the player development component of the ODP (ODP has two components: Player Identification and Player Development). A new training methodology was created to achieve our objective.

The new methodology involves all 55 state associations and 4 Regions training to play the same formation and playing style of possession soccer playing out of the back in a 4-3-3 formation in accordance with the recommendations of US Soccer. To accomplish this, we created a new ODP Coaching Manual and ODP Player Manual and a set of training principles that optimize the effectiveness of ODP. The manuals include the 10 principles of possession soccer that form the guidelines for players and coaches. These 10 principles are used to teach our ODP players the correct behavior and decision making in the game.

We are now in year two of the project and the level of play in ODP has improved noticeably throughout the country. This is an exciting project that impacts 20,000 boys and girls and hundreds of coaches and is of a magnitude never tried before in our country.