SuperLiga experience a good way to educate

GLENN DAVIS - Houston Chronicle - Aug. 9, 2007

When the Dynamo face Pachuca of Mexico on Tuesday at Robertson Stadium, it will be a meeting of the champions of Major League Soccer and the champions of Mexican Futbol League.

The pride of club, country and league will be on display. This will not be like a normal MLS game for the Dynamo.

Anyone who has watched the Dynamo in recent SuperLiga competition against Club América and Morelia knows these games take on a different feel.

Europeans, South Americans and Central Americans understand these games and the uniqueness and pride that go into them.

For some, this will be a measuring stick for MLS and its growth. Others will realize the gap between the leagues is closing.

These SuperLiga matches provide an atmosphere of sound, vision and passion from loyal fans, not to mention breathtaking soccer.

Experts ask when a larger percentage of more skilled, better technical players will be produced in the U.S. Fans ask when American players will become more comfortable with a ball at their feet.

Draw a straight line from the youth community to Robertson Stadium. Here is where the soccer culture and environment can teach the young something about the game.

Forget the training sessions and hiring of specialists to improve quickness and mobility. On Tuesday night, walking into the stadium, young players will be influenced by the atmosphere.

If you want a more passionate young player, live Dynamo games can provide the connection.

Some area youth clubs have cancelled practices or moved them so that players and their families can attend Dynamo games. The South Texas Youth Soccer Association is suggesting youth clubs make professional soccer a priority when the Dynamo take on Pachuca.

"We are trying to create more passionate soccer players," said Olivier Finidori of Cy-Fair Dynamos. "We encourage our players to go to live games to see the players in person. Watching it on TV and being coached at the fields does not give the youth player the full picture."

It’s great to see youth coaching directors making decisions for the benefit of their players.

Youth soccer is not about the number of practices or tournaments but about experiences that clubs can provide. Providing the proper soccer upbringing is a tricky business, and the standard of success is how many remain connected to the sport through their lifetime.

The job criteria of a youth coaching director now must include creating passionate individuals and passionate players.

By promoting the attendance at professional matches, coaches are empowering their players to see the big picture.