man standing beside soccer ball on soccer field

Should I take private soccer classes? Are they worth it?

At almost every tryout I am approached by a proud parent who wants to share that they have bought private soccer classes for their kid. However, at the tryouts, nothing confirms that. It looks like a theft when looking at how technically deficient the kid is compared to the other players who have never had a private lesson. Let me be clear, I am not saying that you should never take a private soccer class. But nobody tells you when you should take one. At worst, it’s the team soccer coach trying to get extra money from the parents by offering individual classes to the same players, because the parents cannot coach their kids soccer as it is something they don’t know. At best, it’s a knowledgeable soccer player who knows little about actual coaching. Either way, it’s not what we want.

Should I get private soccer classes?

Whether or not to get private soccer classes depends on your specific goals, budget, and learning preferences. Private classes can offer personalized attention and faster progress, but they should only be used as a supplement for the group lesson and the self-guided practice. They should be used to fix a particular problem that the player needs help with and not to think of them as a substitute for team practices, individual practices, or without a purpose.

The levels of experience the players need, at any level and any age, are these:

  1. Game experience – Even at the highest professional level, players move clubs to get playing time. There is no way a player can progress if they don’t get competitive playing experience. I recommend playing pickup games and rec leagues if possible. This is in addition to the team games and practices. I recommend a significant amount of unstructured playing time. Please make sure you make that happen.
  2. Team practice – If the player is more serious about soccer, join a team at least for a year. That will bring some structure and some experience in both practices and games. Don’t judge immediately based on the quality of the coach, the teammates, and the opponents. It is likely that there will be much variation in the talent and commitment of the players at an early age. Adjusting for the right coach and teammates will never end. Just look at Ronaldo and Messi moving continents!
  3. Individual practice – Kids don’t understand that individual practice is related to performance. So, we need to make sure we show that to them. When a player understands that they need to start doing the individual drills themselves, they will start to progress rapidly. If they enjoy doing them, then we have the next soccer superstar in our backyard. I show individual drills at team practices. However, it will be up to the players to do many, many repetitions on their own. Especially when they are very young, they need to make a game out of it with soccer toys.
  4. Private lessons – Only once we are done with the first 3 buckets and are hungry for more, do we need to look for private soccer classes. Good private coaches will ask what you want to fix and if you barely play soccer, how would you know? So, make sure you spend lots of time playing, going to team practices and games, and doing your own individual practices before looking for private lessons.

How to determine if the private soccer classes are worth it?

Let’s assume that the player has been trying something specific, like a goalkeeper doing long kicks. If they have been trying for weeks, have worked with their coach, and tried to make it work on their own time, but keep failing to execute. If a quality coach can solve that issue in a class or two, then that’s a good use of time and money. However, when the private coach starts teaching the same drills over and over again, just to get through the time, it’s time to move on. They see soccer coaching as a side job to make money and that’s it. In fact, if the lesson is “Let’s do the same with our other foot”, then it should be the last class. Instead, when I coach, I give homework to repeat the drills with both feet. Then, I ask to come back once that is done.

How much does a private soccer class cost?

Depending on the location and reputation of the coach, prices can vary from $35 to $200+. The price variation can be steep. But high price doesn’t guarantee results. Coaches often offer a discount when signing up for multiple classes at once. You can find coaches on various platforms, but the best is word-of-mouth recommendations. Feel free to reach out to us and we might be able to help looking for a coach in your area.

Note that while reputation and quality are often correlated, they are often not linked. You need to judge the coach’s character. Firstly, are they here with the purpose of significantly improving the player? No, we are not talking about keeping them active. They need to make substantial fixes to individual elements of the player. Secondly, they need to have a plan. When I coach a team, I always have a plan on what to teach them. I can change that if I see something more pressing, but I always have a plan. Finally, they need to admit when they don’t know something. While I coach all positions on my team, I ask the goalkeeping coach to do individual practices for my goalkeepers. You don’t want wrong advice to be the only advice because of the price paid for it.


I hope this helped you decide on your private lessons. We wrote a clear step-by-step guide to help you decide when to get individual soccer classes. It’s not an easy decision and you might get it wrong. That doesn’t mean I don’t try to experiment. I always try to see where I can learn and get value. However, when it doesn’t work, I am happy to move on. So, be open to changes and make sure you follow the structure. Get lots of unstructured play, join a team, and do individual practice. Only then consider getting private lessons with a clear goal in mind. Good luck and feel free to reach out for a question or a chat!

Laughing at funny story

Insane Soccer Stories of Professional Players You Must Read

Soccer is a crazy world and the mix of young players, lots of money, and a high level of competition result in stories that you can’t make up. Some of these personal stories are well-documented in biographical soccer books, while others are recorded in movies and interviews. Over time we found more and more characters that bring fun into the environment. They feel free to express themselves and the wages they get at a young age allow them to be exactly who they are. We can call them eccentric, unconventional, or just insane soccer stories. Let’s get into them – be ready for a fun ride!

Balotelli – the master of discipline

Well, probably everything in the history of Balotelli is somewhat controversial. One of the most insane soccer stories is when he caused the fire department to intervene. He invited everybody in Manchester City club to come to his house for a party. He planned to do fireworks, but instead, he caused a fire and evacuation. Not the best time he had at Man City.

This story is about his early years in Inter Milan at age 19. From Jose Mourinho interview:

“We went to Kazan in the Champions League. In that match, all my strikers were injured. No Milito, no Eto’o, I was really in trouble and Mario was the only one. Mario gets a yellow card in minute 42. So when I go to the dressing room at half-time, I spend 14 minutes of the 15 speaking only for Mario.

‘Mario I cannot change you. I cannot make a change. I don’t have a striker on the bench. Don’t touch anybody. Play only with the ball. When we lose the ball, no reaction. If somebody provokes you, no reaction. If the referee makes a mistake, no reaction. Mario, please.’

“Minute 46, red card!”

Redknapp – his recruitment of the new Bulgarian striker

Harry Redknapp is a masterful storyteller and soccer manager of multiple teams in England, and this is from his time at West Ham. During pre-season, West Ham is playing a friendly game against Oxford United. Some fans came to see the game and kept talking trash so that everybody can hear how badly the team is playing. A fan full of West Ham tattoos and earrings, Steve Davies, was very loud. So Redknapp turned to him

“… at half-time, I made three substitutions, so had no more subs. And suddenly I got an injury after 10 minutes so I only have 10 men, so I turned to the fella who had been giving me grief and said, ‘Can you play as good as you talk?’ He said, ‘I can play better than that Chapman.’ Anyway, he came on, he played up front and scored a goal, and to be honest, he was better than Chapman!”

In another interview, Redknapp revealed another part of the story where he invented a player to mock journalists.

“When the stadium announcer saw Steve take to the field, he sent an assistant down to get the name of this new signing so he could announce it to the crowd. I asked the guy, ‘You’ve been watching the World Cup? The great Bulgarian Tittyshev?'”

Ibrahimovic – the humbleness jersey

Here’s one of the insane soccer stories by the legendary Zlatan. Towards the end of Ibrahimovic’s career, he decided to go to LA Galaxy. In his statement, he said: “I decided to sign with Galaxy because I think it’s the right place for me”. A regular person would do that and get back to training. Instead, Zlatan has taken out a full-page advert in the LA Times announcing his arrival at LA Galaxy

“Dear Los Angeles,

You’re welcome.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic”

That’s the end, right? No. LeBron James, already playing for the Lakers sends a jersey to Zlatan Ibrahimovic to welcome him to LA. Zlatan, signs it and mails it back to LeBron. 

Maicon – motivation by Mourinho

Neymar is famous for collecting yellow cards on purpose to miss a game and be able to celebrate his sister’s birthday. However, he is not the first one to try to do something like that. In fact, here is a story by Mourinho about another Brazilian, Maicon, in 2008:

“I remember a match in Siena, with Maicon. They reminded me that he used to take the fifth yellow card before the Christmas break, to go to Brazil. I told him that he couldn’t go if he got booked. He asked me what would happen if he scored. I joked that he had to score two. He scored twice, took his shirt off, and got booked, and in the end, he had an extra week of vacation.”

Cristiano Ronaldo – the super competitor

The fact that Ronaldo is super competitive is no secret. In fact, people knew that about him when they were scouting his talent and mindset from his time in Portugal. Patris Evra has one of the most insane soccer stories to illustrate this from their time at Manchester United.

“They were playing table tennis and Rio beat him and we were all screaming and Ronaldo was so upset. So upset that his response was to order a table tennis table, improve his game, and become the best. The story of his life. He trained for two weeks at home and he came back and he beat Rio in front of everyone. That’s Cristiano Ronaldo. That’s why I am not surprised today that he wants to win another Golden Ball, why he wants to win the World Cup because he’s an angry man.”

Leo Messi – what can’t he do

We are not going to solve if Messi or Ronaldo is the best player ever, but here is a story from Rio Ferdinand’s autobiography:

“So when the ball went back to his goalkeeper, he (Messi) ran back and demanded the ball. The goalkeeper rolled him the ball, and Messi then proceeded to run through the entire team and score in anger. Thierry said that was what he used to do in the playground at school. I did stuff like that too against little kids. But he (Messi) did it against some of the best in the world: Yaya Toure, Puyol, Iniesta, Xavi, Busquets. And it wasn’t just that one time. He did it a couple of times. Thierry said: ‘Can Ronaldo do that?’ I said, ‘Well, I’ve never seen him do that.’ Thierry played with Zidane and Ronaldinho but they never did anything like that. He said: ‘That’s when I knew Messi was different to anyone we’ve ever seen.'”

Which one was your favorite story? Did we miss a story you wanted to hear?

Soccer team huddle

How to Choose My Soccer Position? [Explained Roles Guide]

New players always wonder “How do I choose my soccer position?”. Choosing a position in soccer is unlike any other sport. In basketball, positions go by height, where the tallest player is the center, and the shortest is the point guard. In most other sports the positions go by physical attributes. American football or European handball is the same where you can guess the positions only by their looks.

In soccer, the way to choose a position is to figure out what is in the players’ heads. Their level of aggression, bravery, focus, and communication, play a much bigger role than their physical attributes. The question of how to choose my soccer position can be hard because it is where the introspection needs to happen and it is really hard to have that at a very young age of the soccer journey. Let’s guide you through how the mindset of the player determines where the particular player should play.

I don’t need to choose my soccer position – I want to be a striker! 

This is the statement that we get every time a new player comes for practice and we start playing a scrimmage. They usually say that they want to be a striker because they want to score goals. My response is that scoring goal is just a job of a striker, so I will not cheer that much for them. However, I will applaud them more if they score goals from other positions. Also, especially in our youth soccer formations created for development, we want to give experience in multiple positions.

There is a great story by Casemiro, the legendary defensive midfielder for Real Madrid, Manchester United, and Brazil. In his youth, he went for tryouts with several hundred other players on a team with 25 spots. He wanted to be a striker but also saw that half of the other players wanted to be strikers, too. So when they asked him, he saw that the holding mid has the least amount of competition at those tryouts and went for it. What happened is a fantastic career for one of the best defensive midfielders ever.

Soccer is versatile and soccer players need to be versatile, too. Everybody can and should play soccer, but their role on the team might change. In fact, if you want to increase your chances of playing soccer and have a soccer career worth writing about, you better be ready to play in any position on the field. I’ve seen players on the bench as wing-back in their freshmen year and then on the wing in their sophomore year. The same player transitioned to the creative midfield role for the remaining two years of high school, which is the role they wanted to play from the beginning.


The goalkeeper, often referred to as the “last line of defense,” is the team’s shield against the opponent’s attacks. I often remind them that the attack also starts with the goalkeeper. The goalkeeper should be the master of the 18-yard box and for that, it has an advantage over other players to use their hands. Their primary objective is to protect the net from the opposing team’s shots. However, we have seen that in modern soccer a goalkeeper can have the advantage of being good with their feet. A goalkeeper’s skills include diving to make spectacular saves, quick decision-making, and effective communication with the defense. The key qualities of the keeper are concentration, aggressiveness, and communication. They are the backbone of the team, providing confidence and security to their comrades.

Famous active players: Manuel Neuer, Aaron Ramsdale, Gianluigi Donnarumma.


Modern soccer is played with 3 or 4 defenders. In a 4 defender shape, we have two central defenders and two wing-backs. In the 3 defender formation, we have one central defender and two defenders that have a hybrid role between the defender and a full-back. We will use the full-back and wing-back terms interchangeably for simplicity. The traditional terminology acknowledges the fullback as having more attacking responsibilities than a fullback. Let’s profile these roles and the natural predispositions to play them.

Central defender

The defenders form a crucial wall in front of the goalkeeper, aiming to disrupt the opponent’s offensive maneuvers. These players are responsible for stopping the opposing team’s attackers from getting close to the goal. Their role involves clearances, interceptions, and well-timed tackles to regain possession and start counter-attacks. Center-backs are the anchors of the defense, focusing on marking the opposing team’s strikers – that’s their main job. To achieve this, they need to have focus, bravery, and teamwork.

As there are usually two defenders, it is important to understand that they should ideally have a partnership and characteristics that complement each other. The ideal partnership is when one of the defenders is the natural aggressor, while the other one is more cautious, often called the anchor. When playing against one striker, one center-back will mark them tightly, while the other one provides cover. When defending against two attackers, they will likely get support from the full-backs or the defensive midfielders, but the principles will remain the same. Being able to be both the aggressor and the anchor, will increase the chances of being selected on a team and a lineup.

Famous active players/players: Dias and Stones (Man City), Arujo and Christensen (Barcelona), Rudinger and Militao (Real Madrid)

Fullback or wingback

The fullbacks today are expected to be incredibly versatile players. There is the traditional fullback that helps the attack when attacking through their side, or shifting as a third defender in the middle. The wingback role expects to do overlapping runs and deliver crosses. The inverted wingback is expected to play as a defender but slide into the central midfield area when attacking. Today, it feels like all of these things are expected at the same time, which of course is not possible. However, coaches expect the players to have high levels of adaptability, tactical awareness, and technical skills, both offensively and defensively.

Easier said than done – coaches acknowledge the difficulty and the tacticians that put some thought into it usually experiment with the roles of the fullbacks. My favorite personal story was when my right defender was injured for a game. So, I had to put another player that usually played as central midfielder. For a week, I kept reminding the player to be disciplined and focus on the basics, which is defending. I was so anxious, knowing that this would backfire. Amazingly, we found out that the weak point of the opponents was really their left flank. The winger was slow and scared to attack, so stayed basically as a second right back, even when they were attacking. Our “forced” right wingback ended up looking like a genius, sometimes coming in the middle to help, otherwise pushing all the way up the wing.

Famous active players: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Luke Shaw, Achraf Hakimi


Games are won or lost in the midfield. It has always been true and it is true today.Iif one team is dominating the middle of the pitch, they will win the game. Therefore, we will focus on the central midfielders and in particular the 6, 8, and 10. The wide midfielders, in a 4-4-2 or a 3-5-2, are essentially variations of the wingers or the wingbacks, so the profiles are similar to them. When I needed to choose my soccer position, I wanted to become a midfielder and that’s where I play in my pickup games. 

Holding mid (#6)

I usually refer to this role as the infrastructure. When we go to a restaurant, we always focus on the food, the service, and the atmosphere. We are never amazed by the infrastructure. However, if the infrastructure doesn’t function, then we can have a horrible time and it affects other aspects, too. For example, the lack of water or electricity will both ruin our time while dining or using the restrooms, but also the chef’s ability to cook. The holding midfielder is the same for the team – they need to be consistent, aggressive, and tactically aware. They need to be really disciplined to do the “dirty” work of delaying opponents, covering on defense and transitioning the ball to the attackers, and switching the wings. 

Famous active players: Casemiro, Declan Rice, Enzo Fernandez

Central midfielder (#8) or the Box-to-Box

Central midfielders are the dynamic engine room of the team. They are connecting the defense and attack and create advantages on both sides of the pitch. There are three basic types of advantages – numerical, positional, and qualitative. The simple one that the box-to-box midfielders can bring is to cover lots of ground and be positioned well to bring numerical advantage to the team. If they join the attackers when attacking and help the defense when defending, they can bring almost permanent numerical advantage to the team. To achieve that, they need to be consistent, positioned well, and disciplined. It is very unlikely that a player can successfully play this role without much stamina. The players don’t have to be particularly fast or strong, but if the opponents have high-stamina players, then the team with low-stamina midfielders will be at a disadvantage. 

Famous active players: Frenkie de Jong, Thiago Alcantara, Kevin De Bruyne

Attacking mid (#10) or the Playmaker

For decades this has been considered the most important role in soccer. The creative maestros are supposed to exploit the weaknesses of the opponents with their vision, ball control and creativity. They provide the key passes, so technical superiority over the average player is a must. Because the role is so hard and it is almost impossible to find a player that can perform the role at the highest level, many coaches and teams have found ways to adapt to it by not having a classic playmakers. Furthermore, if the key passes come only from one player, the opponents would often mark them tightly or even double team them. Instead, they play with two central midfielders and distribute the roles across them, and the rest of the team. So, often players all around the field are required to pitch in when it comes to seeing good passes and bring creativity.

Famous active players: Pedri, Martin Odegaard, Bruno Fernandes


The attackers, or forwards, are the players responsible for scoring goals and wreaking havoc in the opponent’s defense. Their primary objective is to find openings in the opposing team’s defense and convert opportunities into goals. In modern soccer, the attackers are fluid and have more tasks, such as helping on defense and putting pressure. We can classify the attack in two groups – wingers and strikers. Of course, there are subcategories, such as poachers, target men, false 9, shadow strikers, and so on. However, a good striker can have multiple tools in their pocket to use depending on the opponent. so it’s up to them to adapt in the situation. 


Wingers or wide forwards operate on the flanks, delivering accurate crosses and providing support to the strikers. They need to have an oxymoronic characteristic (great opportunity to teach some SAT words to the young players) to be patiently aggressive. That is extremely hard trait to spot by coaches or even scouts that specialize in spotting soccer talent. They need to be patient because the ball might not get to them for 5 or 10 minutes in a game, but they need to make runs into space or stay wide or put high press in that time. However, when the ball gets to them they need to get in a full sprint. Similarly, if they see a cross coming, they might need to sprint in the box or second post. The art of soccer coaching is to develop both sides of the personality.  

Famous active players: Vinicius Jr, Bukayo Saka, Raheem Sterling, Cristiano Ronaldo


Strikers are often the primary scorers, utilizing their speed, agility, and shooting prowess to beat the goalkeeper. While physical dominance can help, the true advantage is in the mindset. The truth is that if you ask yourself “how to choose my soccer position”, you probably are not a striker. In the core simplicity, the strikers are obsessed with scoring. The coaches these days want the strikers to help with defense and buildup. However, there is no coach that will complain if the striker fails to deliver in defense but scores a hat-trick. The opponents often double team the strikers, so they have to do something incredible to score goals. The striker becomes and stays a striker by scoring goals. If a player can score goals regularly, then sooner or later they will become a striker.

Famous active players: Erling Haaland, Kylian Mbappe, Harry Kane, Leo Messi


Understanding soccer positions allows us to appreciate the intricate teamwork and individual brilliance displayed on the field. Each position contributes to the overall strategy, with players specializing in their respective roles. When thinking about how to choose your soccer position, remember that every player has a vital role to play in the beautiful game of soccer. So, the next time you watch a match, keep an eye on the different positions and marvel at the magic unfolding before you.

Gym exercise to prevent soccer injuries

How to prevent soccer injuries? Tips and Tricks 2023

There is nothing more annoying than an injury. Anybody that has played sports at a competitive level, sooner or later has encountered that issue. Sometimes they are minor and go away quickly. Other times, they are recurring and regularly create both physical and psychological setbacks. Whether it’s a sprained ankle or a pulled muscle, soccer players often find themselves sidelined due to these unfortunate accidents. In the nature vs. nurture discussion, we will not discuss the nature side or at least not try to influence it through genetic modifications or other mechanisms that are hard to explain. There are particular exercises to do and gear to use that will mostly get you there. Let’s look at the steps to prevent soccer injuries. 

Stay healthy: Exercises to prevent soccer injuries!

Soccer is a sport that requires agility, strength, and coordination. To prevent injuries, it is crucial to focus on improving these aspects of your game. One way to do this is by incorporating regular strength and conditioning exercises into your training routine. By strengthening your muscles, you can provide better support to your joints and reduce the risk of sprains and strains. Additionally, practicing balance and coordination drills can help improve your body’s stability, making it easier to stay on your feet and avoid falls.

These are particularly important for teenage players, as they go through growth spurts. They will have an imbalance of how fast their bones, muscles, and ligaments are growing. Furthermore, their muscle memory will lag their growth spurt, so they can look uncoordinated during this period. To counter that, we need to focus on the right practices to do every day and also the warmup drills before practices and games. 

Exercises to do each day (at home for 10 min)

Single leg squats – most of the injuries in soccer are in the lower extremities. We recommend starting with full squats and looking to target particular muscles over time. We often do only ankle exercises or attempt side steps to make sure that various muscles are used. It is a constant feedback loop that the body gives to see where it needs strengthening.

Back exercises – they can be planks for your core or Superman/swimmer exercises specifically targeting your lower back. We recommend interchanging these with the squats, so there is a good balance of activities and everything stays interesting.

Balance board – a fun exercise at home is to get a balance board and attempt to use it as part of your every day. For adults, that is during meetings at a standing desk or for watching TV. For younger kids, it should start with lower complexity and full focus, then over time make it more challenging and interesting.

Exercises to do before practice

If you have celebrated a birthday with two number-shaped candles and don’t have warm-up and cool-down routines, things need to change. Create a routine of running that you follow every time, then stretching, then dynamic exercises with the ball. This is an example of jogging, 30 seconds each:

  1. Forward
  2. Backward
  3. High knees jogging
  4. Sideways right first
  5. Sideways left first
  6. Hip opening steps
  7. Zig-zag running
  8. Half sprint to sprint

That way 4 minutes of running. Then we do the stretching which is similar to the squats and back exercises at home, but also some upper body part stretching. Finally, do the same jogging, but with a soccer ball. That all should take around 10-15 min and is all individual. We know that it can be boring, but it is just so important to do that.

For the cool-down routine, we like to do a similar routine, but we focus much more on stretching. In fact, we recommend at least half of the cool-down process be on stretching. Do them regularly, just as if they are part of the practice and games. It is good both for physical and mental health.

Get the right gear to prevent soccer injuries and still look good!

Gear for everyday

The absolute minimum is to have shin guards and some soccer tape in your backpack. Shin guards are a requirement for any serious game, as the worst sort of injuries come from not having them. There are several different types of shin guards, but whichever you get, make sure to have some. The soccer tape in this case is for keeping them tight and well-positioned. It can be frustrating to have them moving throughout the entire game on every sprint and will likely move when there might be a collision.

We also recommend wearing a mouthguard, especially as the players get into teenage years. Soccer can be rough and wearing a mouthguard is important. Particularly important is to wear the mouthguard if you have braces. A small injury can cause huge problems with the braces at this point and we have seen players going to the emergency that could have prevented with a simple mouthguard.

Of course, we would recommend getting the right layers of soccer clothes depending on the weather. However, one specific suggestion for soccer is to get protective soccer sliding shorts. If you start getting serious about soccer, you will need to get good quality protection, especially if you play as a goalkeeper or a defender. These sliding shorts can make the difference if you are out for a week or back the next day, we are serious about it. So, not everybody needs it, but if you are kind of player that do serious challenges and sliding tackles, get them.

Gear for a recurring injury

This is a big topic, so let’s summarize the advice – as your doctor for the right gear! We’ve seen players come with immobilized hands for injuries because it looks like they are doing something. However, this can be counterproductive if the muscles and the ligaments need blood flowing to heal. So don’t experiment and get the right gear to protect, but also enable you to get stronger. The advice will be different depending on the injury, but most of the time it would be to wear a gear that gives support to the area, but doesn’t affect the flexibility too much.

Get back on the field!

The best advice on how to prevent soccer injuries we can give is to be careful. It is a very hard psychological situation to feel strong and worry about an injury at the same time. For players that are fortunate, their first encounter is when they are old enough to handle it well. However, we don’t have to rely only on fortune. Firstly, the mindset is important to listen to our bodies and act accordingly. Secondly, it is to be prepared, both as something simple as having enough water and electrolytes, to getting the right gear and doing the appropriate warm-up and cool-down routines. Finally, it is about supporting each other and learn how to get into situations where we can progress. Have fun and see you on the field!