Pre-Season Soccer Training – The Basics

Effective pre-season training is important for all soccer players of any age, whether you play for a team in the Premier League or your local college team and the work done in pre-season can define the competitive season ahead, making the difference between winning trophies or being also-rans.

The Pre-season soccer training schedule should be planned out by the coach in order to maximise each session. Ideally training should begin at least five to six weeks before the season actually starts.

Each training session should start with a thorough warm-up taking care not to strain any muscles in early pre-season. Ideally each session should begin with a five minutes gentle jogging followed by gentle static stretching, followed by more jogging followed by a more intensive stretching session, while taking care not to over stretch and cause damage to muscles, tendons or ligaments.

Stretching for soccer should include all major muscle groups, with a mixture of dynamic and static stretches. Dynamic stretching exercises that are perfect for soccer and include swinging the arms and circling the shoulders, twisting the upper body and swinging the legs as if kicking an imaginary ball, be careful not to over stretch with these exercises. Static stretches do not involve movement of the joint and are essential for the quadriceps and hamstrings. Ballistic stretches which involve bouncing to maximise the stretch are no longer advocated and should be avoided.

Running is excellent for aerobic conditioning and should be encouraged as improved fitness will pay dividends later in the season, this should involve distance work, sprinting and running that involves work with the soccer ball. Dribbling the soccer ball around cones or across a defined area will improve conditioning, speed and ball control at the same time.

Work with the soccer ball can be extended by spending time controlling the ball with the feet, knees and head, a perfect way to practice this is to divide players into pairs and have one player throw the ball while the other controls and returns to his partner .

Each session can be completed with a short game possibly integrating two touch soccer which will improve ball control and passing accuracy and also encourage thinking and movement off the ball. Following the game a cool down with stretching should take place to minimise aching and tired muscles which will aid recovery for your next session.

During early pre-season is it important not to over exert the players and to make the sessions fun which will motivate if players are tired not too push them too much, this can result in injury and lack of enthusiasm. Another important factor for any training session is adequate hydration, ensure all the players have a water bottle and keep adequately hydrated throughout the training session.

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Oswestry Town FC

Oswestry has been a home for football for as long as anyone can remember, in fact there are no official records relating to when the team was formed but it is a common perception that Oswestry FC would have been one of the first football teams formed in the world … maybe even the first. Originally born as Oswestry United, friendly matches were played on the local cricket pitch against local teams such as Chirk, Ruabon and the Druids, all of which are from the surrounding areas of Wrexham in North Wales. Oswestry United was a member member, along with Ruabon, Chirk and Druids of a league which covered North Wales and the Northern west of England known as "The combination".

In 1876, Oswestry became a founder member of the Football Association of Wales, subsequently entering the first ever Welsh cup the following season. Following the war, the team was renamed to Oswestry Town and they began competitiveness in the Welsh Alliance league Oswestry Town would later move to face different competition in the Birmingham league having been crowned champions of the Welsh Alliance in 1924 and desiring new challenges which came in the face of restructured teams such as Telford United, Shrewbury Town and Kidderminster Harriers.

Spells in the Cheshire League, the Southern Premier League and the Northern Premier League would follow put over time Oswestry Town began to struggle both on the pitch and off the pitch as the finances became strained and debt mounted This resolved in the sad sale of their long time home, the Victoria Road Ground and a period where football in Oswestry was suspended, possibly for the long term. Sometimes fortunes began to upturn with the use of the Park Hall site located on the outskirts of the town. Park Hall was an army built facility that already hosted many different sports in the area including Rugby Union and horse riding.

During the clubs stagnant years the face of football had changed with the introduction of a national league of Wales. As mentioned earlier Oswestry Town had been founder members of the Welsh Football Association and so had the right to play within it's league. Oswestry Town recommenced their football by entering the Welsh Nation League (Wrexham area) and began to clime the pyramid system of welsh football Leagues. Upon reaching the Cymru Alliance league which is one of two feeder leagues to the League of Wales. Oswestry Town won a League and Cup double at the first time of asking. However, sadly they were denied their chance of life in the top tier of Welsh football due to the Park Hall ground not meeting strict stadium requirements of the league. After much funding and contributions the club were able to raise money to purchase floodlights which brought the ground up to the correct standard and another successful Cymru Alliance season in 1999/2000 was met with further financial difficulties which again resulted the move to the League of Wales . This time the financial difficulties were too severe for the club to overcome and Oswestry Town have now played their last match. Football in Oswestry continues, at Park Hall due to the relocation of The New Saints who were previously based in nearby Lantsantfraid.

The Secret to Beating Teams That Are More Athletic Than Your Team in Youth Football

Playing in Space is the key term.

We aren’t talking about playing football on the moon, zero gravity would make us all have to rethink the game quite a bit.

«In Space» means playing with distance between your players and the other team. If your team is bigger and more athletic and can handle the other teams players one on one, you want space, it is your friend.

However, if you don’t have bigger and better athletes than the other team, space is your enemy.

Playing «In space» means just what it says, putting your players with space in-between them and the opposition. If your team is made up of faster, bigger and more athletic kids, they will dominate in one on one match-ups. That’s why you see teams with lots of big fast receivers do very well in the «spread» offenses where they isolate weaker defenders out very wide versus these dominant receivers, of course you have to have a QB that can throw it in these cases. If that stud receiver can just get the ball «in space» he will have a chance to score in most cases.

On the other hand, most youth football teams do not have the player truly dominates the league. Most of us are blessed with just an average group of kids and some of us will have that odd grouping of kids that is just smaller and less athletic than the teams we face. In these cases you want to have as little space as possible between your kids and the opposition.

Just think about your tackling drills, when you have a tackling drill run in close quarters, lets say a 1 yard square box, most of your even non-athletic kids can often make the tackle. But turn that tackling drill into an open field tackling drill of a 20 yard by 20 yard square, how many of your less athletic kids can now make a tackle in that drill? The same is true for blocking; very athletic kids can make blocks «in space» less athletic kids can’t.

Less athletic teams nearly always perform better if they tighten their line splits down, double team block and pull to have overwhelming numbers at the point of attack. Less athletic teams need to run traps and other close quarter running plays like the wedge in order to keep more athletic teams at bay. The less athletic teams need to run lots of misdirection to keep the defense moving away from the play, while they run it between the tackles. The spinner series in kryptonite to the supermen on these squads. There are just some plays that make NO SENSE against teams like this, sweeps, drop back passes, deep reverses, these will be negative yardage plays.

The good news is with the Single Wing Offense, less athletic teams can compete with very athletic teams. Often called «football in a phone booth» the spinners and traps keep the very athletic teams from flowing hard to your base plays. The double team blocks, wedges and pulling give your team numbers advantages at the point of attack so even smaller or weaker linemen can have success. The tight splits, misdirection and pulling linemen help even very average backs to put up big numbers with this offense.

In 2002 we had a very average sized back named J.A. with average speed. For our age 8-10 team he weighed 81 pounds and when we ran our eval races he was about 6th out of 25 kids. J.A. was a very obedient player, he was a patient runner, he always kept his legs moving and was always looking for an opening, but nothing special. In 2002 he played Fullback for us and ran just 2 plays that year, wedge and trap. He scored 31 TDs for us on FB wedge plays alone, of course we had a very weak backfield that year and he got a lot of carries. Had we had the spinner series in he would have done even better.

As to beating bigger or more athletic teams: In 2003 my age 8-10 team from Omaha was undefeated in league and put up some very gaudy numbers. We scored at will, went 11-0 and won our league title game 46-12 after leading 46-0 in the third quarter. We went on to beat two league champions from other leagues that were age 11-12. In 2004 I started a new program in rural Nebraska in an area where the existing youth program had won something like 4-5 total games in 5 years before I got here. The first year there we had all rookie players with the exception of 2-3 bench-warming castoffs from the other team in town. We had just one player over 100lbs at age 8-10. Slowly but surely we improved each week and by seasons end we started looking pretty good. We played a very big and fast Inner-city team from Lincoln that year the Salvation Army. They had not lost a game in 3 years, we were out-manned, outsized and had less speed, but beat them in a nail biter by a single TD in route to an 11-0 season.

Our biggest win in an extreme overmatch with in 2005 verses the Omaha Select Black. That age 8-10 team chose from over 150 kids, had at least 5 kids over 150 lbs and had not lost in 3 years in Omaha’s «select» league. They were a very aggressive Inner-city team with plenty of speed and confidence. I on the other hand had just the 25 country kids that showed up, not cuts or selects and plenty of younger kids on it. To make a long story short, we had this team by 4 TDS in the first half and could have named the score. Needless to say that team, their parents and our parents for that matter were shocked. The good thing is with this offense you can compete with anyone, the bad news is once you do it’s hard to get extra out of league games. Big Inner-city teams like the North Omaha Boys Club will not even play us on their home fields, it is embarrassing getting beat by much smaller and slower teams, they have turned me down twice in the last 2 years for extra games that we both had open dates at seasons end.

The Single Wing does offer some flexibility if you do have that stud player that you want to isolate «In space». We added the mesh series in 2005 to accommodate a player we thought would make sense to put «in space». When we went against weaker opponents the «mesh» series worked very well, no one could handle our stud. When we played against equal or lesser competition we had to move back to our tight splits base offense to move the ball consistently.

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A Short Biography of Famous Soccer Player – Zinedine Zidane

His complete name is Zinedine Yazid Zidane. He was born on 23 June 1972 in Marseille, France. He has nickname of Zizou. He got his start in soccer at an early age, when Zidane played for the club of US Saint-Henri. Zidane is an ex-French World Cup-winning soccer player. His playing position in the field is as attacking midfielder. Even if regarded as a brilliant player even from the time when he was a youngster, nobody imagined of Zidane as a considerable contender to Platini’s place as the best player in the history of France.

Zinedine Yazid Zidane experienced playing for some senior clubs, and they are Cannes (1987-1992) and Girondins (1992-1996) in France, Juventus in Italy (1996-2001), and Real Madrid in Spain (2001-2006), winning main championships and cups with every team.

He was regarded as one of the finest contemporary footballers. The achievements of his career contain assisting his national team of France gain the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000, as well as with Real Madrid winning the 2002 UEFA Champions League. In 1998 he was entitled the European Footballer of the Year. And also a four-time was named world footballer of the year 1998, 2000, 2003, and 2006. In soccer history Zidane became the most costly player while Real Madrid got him for 46 million pounds (approximately $66 million US Dollars). His colleagues on Real Madrid included big names Luis Figo, David Beckham, and also Ronaldo, amongst others by 2003.

In 2001, Pelé include Zidane in the list of the 125 greatest living soccer players. A flamboyant midfielder, in the World Cups of 1998 and 2006 Zidane gained the Golden Ball as the most worthwhile player. After leading France to the finals of the 2006 World Cup, Zinedine Yazid Zidane got retirement from professional soccer.

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The Top 10 Football Teams in London

There is much to see for those who are interested in football in London. Just to clarify for any readers of this article from outside the UK, football means the ‘beautiful game’, what is commonly referred to as Soccer around the world.

London has a proud tradition of famous football teams with much competition between them to be the top club. There are generally four or five London teams in the Premier League and there are many commentators who believe that this is one of the biggest obstacles to any one of them winning the league. A ‘local derby’ between two London football teams could produce an electric atmosphere and turn current form on its head they are so well contested.

Premier League tickets are sometimes difficult to obtain, but a bit of persistence often gets results. There are a number of ticket agencies that can get them for a price.

In the last decade, both Arsenal and Chelsea have each won the illustrious Premier League title twice and reached the final of the European Cup.

Here are some details about the top 10 football clubs in London and to avoid any accusations of being partisan, they are listed in alphabetical order:-

Arsenal

The Gunners, Arsenal have played in the top division of English football in consecutive seasons since the 1919-20 season. They have been champions on 13 occasions and achieved a unique record for modern times in 2003-04 season when they went the whole season without being beaten.

Arsenal have won the much coveted ‘double’ (league and cup winners in the same season) three times, in 1971, 1998 and 2002

In recent years they have moved to a new venue, The Emirates Stadium, with a 60,000 capacity. The Arsenal Museum is well worth a visit and is open every day.

Brentford

The Bees, Brentford Football Club are currently playing in Football League I. They were founded in 1889 and play their home games at Griffin Park their home stadium since 1904. Brentford’s most successful spell came during the 1930s, when they achieved consecutive top six finishes in the First Division.

Since the War, they have spent most of their time in the third and fourth tiers of English football. Brentford have been FA Cup quarter-finalists on four occasions, and have twice been Football League Trophy runners-up.

Charlton Athletic

The Addicks, Charlton Athletic have seen better days. There halcyon days were in the 1930s and 40s. In recent years they have struggled after being relegated from the Premier League in 2005 and then from the Championship in 2008.

They play at The Valley just south of the River Thames in Greenwich. The club was founded in 1905.

Historically, Charlton’s most successful period was the 1930s, when the club’s highest league finishes were recorded, including runners-up of the league in 1937, and after World War II, when the club reached the FA Cup final twice, winning in 1947.

Chelsea

The Pensioners or the Blues, Chelsea Football Club was founded in 1905, and play in the Premier League. Chelsea have been champions three times (1955, 2005, 2006), and have won the FA Cup five times, the League Cup four times and the UEFA Cup Winners Cup twice. They reached the UEFA Champions League Final in 2008

Chelsea play at Stamford Bridge in West London and their ground capacity is 42,000.The Chelsea Museum is open most days and is well worth a visit for those interested in museums and football history.

Crystal Palace

The Eagles, Crystal Palace Football Club was formed in 1905. The team plays its home matches at Selhurst Park, where it has been based since 1924. The club is currently competing in the second tier, The Championship.

Crystal Palace’s most recent successful period began in 1988-89, when the club finished third in the Second Division and were promoted to the First Division. Reaching the 1990 FA Cup Final only to lose the replay against Manchester United and finishing 3rd in the First Division in 1990-91.

Since then Palace have been relegated from and promoted to the FA Premier League on a number of occasions, their most recent relegation from the top flight was in the 2004-05 season. This is all despite the club being almost bankrupt in July 2000.

Fulham

The Cottagers, Fulham Football Club was founded in 1879, they celebrated their 125th anniversary in 2004, and are in the top tier of English football, the Premier League. Fulham are the oldest professional football team in London.

In 2009, Fulham had their highest-ever finish in the Premier League, coming 7th to qualify for Europe.

The club has produced many great British footballers including Johnny Haynes, George Cohen, Bobby Robson, Rodney Marsh and Alan Mullery and Jim Langley. They play at the historic Craven Cottage, their home since 1896, a riverside ground on the banks of the River Thames in Fulham.

Queens Park Rangers

The Hoops or just QPR, Queens Park Rangers Football Club based in Shepherd’s Bush, West London. They currently play in the Football League Championship, and their honours include winning the League Cup in 1967, and being runners-up in the old First Division in 1975-76 and FA Cup in 1982.

Queens Park Rangers Football Club was founded in 1882, and its traditional colours are blue and white. Owing to its proximity to other West London clubs, QPR maintains long-standing rivalries with several other clubs in the area, the most notable of these being Chelsea, Brentford and Fulham with whom they contest what are known as West London derbies.

In 2007 QPR was taken over by Italian tycoon Flavio Briatore and rank among the top 10 richest sporting clubs in the world. Other major shareholders include Lakshmi Mittal & F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone. So watch this space!

Tottenham Hotspurs

The famous ‘Spurs’ side of 1961, is still reckoned by many football enthusiasts, to be one of the best football teams in English football history. They achieved the ‘double’ which had not been achieved at that time since Aston Villa won it in 1897.

This has given recent Spurs’ teams a lot to live up to. But Spurs have a long tradition of playing good football so there are many exciting matches at White Hart Lane especially with their close North London rivals, Arsenal.

In 1963, Spurs became the first British club to win a major European trophy – the European Cup Winners’ Cup. In the 1970s, they won the Football League Cup on two occasions and were the inaugural winners of the UEFA Cup in 1972. In the 1980s, Spurs won several trophies: the FA Cup twice, FA Community Shield and the UEFA Cup 1983-84. In the 1990s, they won the FA Cup and the Football League Cup and in 2008, they beat Chelsea in the final of the Football League Cup. This victory means that Tottenham have won a trophy in each of the last six decades – an achievement only matched by Manchester United.

Spurs have planned a new stadium to be completed by 2012 and it is expected to be one of the best stadiums in the UK.

Watford

The Hornets, Watford Football Club based in Watford, Hertfordshire. They play in the Championship. The club was founded in 1881, and played at several grounds before moving to a permanent location at Vicarage Road in 1922, where they remain to this day. Since 1997, they have shared the stadium with Saracens Rugby Club. Watford have a long-standing rivalry with Luton Town.

The club is best known for two spells under the management of former England manager Graham Taylor. The first lasted from 1977 to 1987, when the club rose to the old First Division from the Fourth Division. Once in the highest division of English football, Watford finished second in the league in 1983, reached the FA Cup final in 1984 and competed in the UEFA Cup in the 1984-85 season.

The second period spanned from 1997 to 2001, when Taylor took the club from the renamed Second Division to the Premier League in successive seasons. Taylor is currently a non-executive director of the club, and honorary life president alongside Sir Elton John who owned the club during both of these eras and has continued a long association with the club.

West Ham United

The Hammers, West Ham United Football Club have play at Upton Park (Boleyn Ground), in East London since 1904 having been formed in 1895.

They featured in the first FA Cup Final to be held at Wembley in 1923 against Bolton Wanderers. The club have won the FA Cup three times: in 1964, 1975 and 1980. They have also been runners-up twice, in 1923 and 2006.

In 1965, they won the European Cup Winners Cup, and in 1999 they won the InterToto Cup.

Their players are considered an important factor behind England’s triumph in the 1966 World Cup, as England’s captain at the time was West Ham’s Bobby Moore, and both goalscorers Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters were West Ham players.

West Ham currently compete in the Premier League, their highest finish in the Premier League was 5th in 1998-99.

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FC Barcelona Pictures and News

Experience the glorious past and the vibrant present of FC Barcelona through pictures and news readily available online. Apart from the official club website, exciting and breathtaking FC Barcelona pictures are in abundance in several blogs, news sites, and websites dedicated to the club. Check out the latest FC Barcelona news in the top news sites in the world as well as in the official and other unofficial websites.

Futbol Club Barcelona, ​​nicknamed Barça, is not as much as a football club as it is a Catalan institution. Founded in 1899, it is one of the best Spanish clubs with Real Madrid as its closest rival. At present, it home to other sports teams apart from the football club.

FC Barcelona is said to be the most popular football club in the whole of Europe. Some surveys show that it has a fan base of 44.2 million fans in the football-crazy continent alone. Here, FC Barcelona news and Barça rumors are in great demand online. Fans are also racing to shoot photos of their beloved club during matches and sell them online. Online buyers are faced with several options.

Track Record
Barça is among the big three Spanish football club. Alongside Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, it has never been relegated or demoted from the La Liga, the premier league in Spain. All in all, the club has lifted 18 La Liga titles, a record of 24 Spanish Cups, two League Cups, and seven Spanish Super Cups.

In European leagues, FC Barcelona has won four UEFA Cup Winners' Cups, two European Cups, two UEFA Super Cups, and three Inter-Cities Fairs Cups.

Camp Nou
The home stadium of Barça is Camp Nou, also referred to as "Nou Camp." Constructed in 1957, it has witnessed hundreds of football matches against visiting clubs since 1857. Camp Nou is rated by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) as a five-star stadium. It can hold up to 98,772 people and is the largest European football stadium.

Camp Nou is one of the preferred hosts of UEFA Champions League Finals. The club won their very first game at their new stadium in 1957. They thrashed Legia Warsaw of Germany, 4-2.It was built from 1954 to 1957 and was designed by a group of three architects. The stadium has also been the venue for several major music events.

There are plenty of FC Barcelona pictures with Camp Nou as the background available to fans. They come in colored and black-and-white. Sometimes, the pictures are able to capture the club in their most intense action. There is drama, joy, love, and passion in pictures. You could also easily find group and individual photos.

Latest News
In the most recent Barça news, the club bulldozed Malaga in a pre-weekend La Liga match. The resounding win catapulted the club to the topmost position in the league standings, six points ahead Real Madrid. They are slated to next face Valladolid but their recent triumph over Malaga is bound to boost their spirits prior to their anticipated UEFA Champions League quarterfinal fixture against Germany's Bayern Munich. Browse online for photos and the latest news of the match.

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