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From the Desk of the Georgia State DOC

This blog is written by Georgia Soccer's Director of Coaching, Jacob Daniel.


Playing Style, Formations and Mismatched Opponents

Mar 11, 2019

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Barcelona La Masia training complex in Spain.  This is the famous Barcelona FC youth academy that produced Messi, Iniesta, Xabi, and al.

We watched youth league games involving the boys u10's and U13's and the girls U12's and U16's.  The u10 boys and the U12 girls played 7v7 in a 2-3-1 formation.  The u13 boys and u16 girls played 11v11 in a 4-3-3 formation.

The most striking observation was that all the Barcelona FC youth teams played the same possession playing style, using the same passing patterns and patience exhibited by the first team.

The other notable observation was that all the games were a mismatch, meaning the Barcelona team was much stronger than the opposition and the scores were very lopsided for three of the games, something like 13-0, 10-1, and 5-1.  Yet, the intensity of the Barcelona FC teams was high throughout the games and they didnt slow down or ease off or get complacent.  I can imagine if the same scenario happened here in Atlanta, the adults on the side lines would probably get upset at the mismatch and the score.  The parents on the losing team would probably complain about the winning team's lack of sportmanship or compassion running up the score so mercilessly and the parents of the winning team would probably complain that the game was a waste of time.  But in Barcelona, no one seemed to think this was an issue.  The Barcelona FC youth teams have the best players in the province and are expected to be much stronger than everyone else, so no big deal.

The last observation was that the girls teams were accorded the same facilities and investment in coaches and resources as the boys and the result was there for all to see.  It's no wonder that Spain reached the Women's U17world Cup Final this year (they lost to France in the final).  Spain will be a major force in the women's game soon, judging by what we saw in Barcelona. 


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