With our first 100 days of Amplified Soccer Athlete now behind us and more than 1,000 downloads of the app under our belt, we wanted to recap the top 10 viewed articles from the website to showcase some of our partners and writers.
Thanks to everyone that has made this possible (see full list at the end of the article), for our great audience and for the motivation to keep providing this resource!
1) Developing Decision Making Speed in Soccer from Performance Conditioning Soccer
Speed of foot, speed of movement, speed of thought and speed of skill execution all contribute in determining a soccer player's ability to "play at speed". Weineck (1992) listed seven characteristics of speed and their significance as they relate to soccer performance. These elements include 1) perceptual speed, 2) anticipation speed, 3) decision making speed, 4) reaction speed, 5) speed without the ball, 6) action speed with the ball, and 7) game action speed. My previous article dealing with the development of soccer- specific speed, discussed how players can improve their "movement speed without the ball." This can be a critical factor affecting a player's overall level of performance since the bulk of player movement - sprints, stops, starts body fakes, jumps, turns and sudden changes of direction - are often performed without the ball!
This article discusses an equally important element affecting soccer performance - decision making speed. A player's ability to make correct split- second decisions is particularly critical at higher levels of competition where time and space are limited. The individual who can consistently choose the best course of action from a variety of possible options under conditions of limited time, restricted space, physical fatigue and challenging opponents will have a decided edge on players who lack that ability.
2) Civana Kuhlmann, a new 99er
The United States last won the World Cup in 1999, July 10th to be exact, in a penalty shoot-out with China. Civana Kuhlmann, a member of the U.S. Under 17 Women’s National Team, was a few days less than 3 months old then so it’s hard to blame her for not being able to easily name the United States line-up that year in this video put together by U.S. Soccer.
As fellow “new 99er” Frankie Tagliaferri says of the original 99ers, “They’re the ones that set the path for us and they’re the reasons why we’re here today.”
That team along with all current and former players have set a very high benchmark for the current youth players. Kuhlmann from Littleton, Colorado is definitely one of those players. First kicking around a ball when she was only 3 or 4 years old, she states that there is nothing else she would rather do than play soccer. When she started realizing that playing soccer was her calling, she was willing to put hours of practice into being the very best. She soon would take her talents to playing for her hometown club, Colorado Rush Soccer Club, and the United States Youth National Team program.
3) Appalachian State’s Mountaineers Superwoman: Freshman Kelly Flanders
When you think of college soccer, you think of big-time universities such as: The Florida State University or UCLA, but the SunBelt Conference holds an upcoming college soccer star rising through the ranks who can change that mold all-together. Appalachian State University Freshman Kelly Flanders is poised to make an impact after an outstanding freshman year for years to come.
“Kelly is an inspiration through her work rate, her achievement, and her leadership,” states Appalachian State Women’s Soccer Coach Sarah Strickland. This is only one of a few great things that current and former teammates, coaches, and community leaders had to say about Kelly Flanders.
4) Beast Mode Soccer is Changing Individual Soccer Training and Everyone is Taking Notice
David Copeland-Smith is part of a new generation of skills specialists, alongside others like Scott Moody/AthleteFIT and Chris “Trainer” Gorres that are becoming their own training brand while changing the way that individual athletes take their game to the next level outside of the standard team and individual training.
For those aspirational athletes looking to get ahead, they have to work harder and smarter than ever before and this is where David and Beast Mode Soccer get involved. It’s rare that someone embodies their brand as much as David Copeland-Smith does with his training program/philosophy, Beast Mode Soccer. However, David is one of the hardest working people you will ever meet and athletes wanting to work with him need to be ready to match him.
5) "Greatness is..." - Michelle Akers Horse Rescue
"Greatness is intentional" - Meaning it’s something you do every day..."on purpose"... to be great. Michelle Akers did that as a soccer player, and now she's doing it with her horse rescue. She tries to make their lives "great" every day.
Michelle does an awesome job taking care of her horses. But she desperately needs our help. When it rains her pastures flood and her barn floods. Her horses have no where to go. Many times their hay even gets soaked. The barn needs to be relocated or even rebuilt on higher ground. Her land needs to be fixed so that when it rains the water has somewhere else to go. To fix these things will cost a lot of money. Money she does not have.
6) Player Profile: Andy Alvarez
Andy Alvarez is a Gulliver Preparatory High School (Miami, FL) soccer stand out and 2015 Army University incoming freshmen. In 2015 Alvarez was voted team MVP, Gulliver Prep Athlete of the Year, and All-Dade County Athlete of the Year, while also adding his second Florida High School Athletic Association Class 2A State Championship. He finished his senior season as the No. 5 ranked recruit in the country with 21 goals and 21 assists.
For 17 year old Andy Alvarez, soccer as well as life has never been about the recognition, high school awards, or state championships that he's been apart of. It has only been about one thing, serving others. A true class act, Alvarez has focused more on making those around him successful and less on himself through his high school career. In that process however, he quietly wrote his own success story.
7) Becoming the Complete Player: Training Advice from the Pros
Yael Averbuch, David Copeland-Smith (Beast Mode Soccer), and Chris Gorres (Trainer Gorres) spent some time with Amplified Soccer Athlete discussing how to "Become the Complete Player."
Topics of Discussion:
• The difference between good and great players
• Common mistakes players make
• How to train without a fancy facility
• Soccer-specific strength and conditioning
• ACL prevention
• Common themes among successful athletes
8) From the Magazine: 7 Technical Tests of the U.S. Youth National Team
U.S. Soccer’s Youth National Team Director April Heinrichs and her staff have identified and refined the following protocols which can be used as tests, homework and training exercises. These tests were designed with U-12 to U-20 players in mind, are geared towards motivating players to spend time on their own improving their ball control, short range passing, speed and agility with the ball, and, the use of their instep for driven balls and shooting. A player that controls the ball is a player that helps control the tempo of the game, advance the ball and contribute to the team’s tactical abilities. We hope you find these technical tests fun, challenging and rewarding as you see the daily improvement in your game!
“The primary vision of the U.S. Women’s Youth National Teams program is, to deliver more technically skilled and tactically sophisticated players to the full Women’s National Team in an effort to sustain performance success over the next 20 years. As part of the goal to develop players, we have identified the need to establish nation-wide technical testing and benchmarking. We hope to inspire players to spend more time with the ball through this cultural and behavioral revolution.”
— U.S. Soccer Youth National Team
9) The “Gauntlet” KU Women's Soccer Fitness Test
The University of Kansas Women’s Soccer team finished third in 2014 in the Big 12, which is one of the best conferences in Division 1 women’s soccer. KU competed with soccer powerhouses such as Texas, Texas Tech, West Virginia, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and Baylor, managing to end with a successful record of 15-6, be ranked as high as ninth in the nation during the season, and receive their first NCAA bid since 2011.
KU’s success in 2014 can be attributed to numerous things, but one major change that occurred was the required and grueling preseason fitness tests. For more than ten years the team would have to run two fitness tests, the Beep Test and a shuttle test. The players would only have to pass at least one test to play and receive gear, but if they passed both tests, they did not have to participate in extra running during preseason.
10) Movement Training and Early Specialization from AthleteFIT
To be a confident, competitive, skillful athlete we first need to establish a very strong foundation in dynamic balance, rhythmic footwork and an understanding of how to quickly reposition the body to gain a competitive advantage. Coordination is key to mastering any skill, and many young players are lacking this foundational component of sports mastery.
Movement based training is becoming a lost art as young athletes get pushed into technical and tactical sport skills (early specialization) during critical periods of development. Training has dramatically changed in the past decade, and although the research and sports science field has helped top end athletes achieve great things, we are losing the battle in the trenches.
Bonus: An Athlete's Self Talk
It’s not just your feet. It’s not just your ability to control or strike a ball. It’s not just your eyes. It’s not just your ability to see space or see a move ahead. Your words are important too. Not just to direct others, but also to direct yourself, To motivate yourself, To focus and to play with confidence. Your language, your words are important too!
Athletes need to talk their way through the game. Their words can lead to excellence, to high performance and to the kind of consistency that typifies a champion.
Their self-talk can be action based – their inner voice can keep them physically driving forward, physically strong, physically tough, physically working hard.
Bonus: Why Yael Averbuch is the image of Amplified Soccer Athlete
One of our favorite early posts before we had grown to where we are today.
Energy, Passion, Determination and Hard Work! These adjectives describe Yael Averbuch and are feelings evoked in the image that adorns the main page of our website and the cover of the first issue of Amplified Soccer Athlete magazine.
“I pursue my goals with every ounce of my being, but above all, I love the journey.” – Yael Averbuch
Athletes like Yael - achievers, strivers and in general those athletes that have the passion to work hard to become better and more complete - are the reason that we launched Amplified Soccer Athlete. We love the game and want to provide resources and a digital magazine for those athletes who want to put in that extra work and prepare physically and mentally for the journey. When we were connected with Yael, the image and her involvement became perfect fits and we are greatly appreciative of the ability to use that image and for her continued support.
Thank you to all of our regular contributors, Scott Moody from AthleteFIT, David Copeland-Smith from Beast Mode Soccer, Chris “Trainer” Gorres, Dan Abrahams, Ken Kontor from Performance Conditioning Soccer, Yael Averbuch, John DeWitt, Olivia Nadon and Jon Denham.
Thank you to our current team of Brian Peters, Eric Dodd, Chris Clements, Marykate Halm, Alyne Moore and Jamie Fletcher.
Thank you to Clint Hall from Facebook.
Thank you to all of the contributors from our Indiegogo campaign: Cliff and Kathy Burt, Jeff and Carrie Moore, Steve and Kathy Knickerbocker, Tammy Romanisko, Tyler and Shala Burt, Derek Dolezal, AJ and Alix Orrick, Joyce Markley and Diane Hansen.
Thank you to our families!
Special thanks to Rhae “soon to be Burt” Moore and Randi Simmons.
Without all of you this dream doesn’t happen!