“What’s the score?”
Football worldwide has evolved. In Europe and parts of North America, some teams have implemented a 'no score rule' among the ages of 12 years old and younger.
“I think scores shouldn’t matter at a young age,” said Joe Funicello, CEO and Director at SoccerViza Football Club. “We need to make young players’ fundamental's good so that they can compete at the higher level when it really matters.”
Funicello said that mostly applies to Europe where top European teams in Spain, Netherlands and other countries, are applying the ‘no score’ rule. It works in Europe, according to Funicello, because parents, players, and coaches understand the players development comes first.
“The culture here is different so it wouldn’t work,” said Funicello. “Status is everything. My kid scored the goal. My team won. Because there’s so much competition in this area, it’s not like Europe where winning doesn’t overshadow the fundamentals.”
Funicello said if he were to implement the ‘no score rule,’ he would also make some games ‘3 halves’ where coaches had a chance to regroup their teams and make better coaching points and adjustments. The ‘3 halves rule’ is, in fact, used in Europe. (I.e. a 90-minute game would be split into three, thirty-minute halves.)
In 2014, the Ontario Soccer Association implemented the no score rule for ages 12 and under. In the Netherlands, they’re known for having some of the best youth academies in the world and some of them, don’t keep score.
US Soccer Director, Sam Snow, spoke to Athletic Business about the factors holding the 'no score rule' back inside the United States.
“We recommend the ‘no score rule' so that coaches, club administrators and parents of U10 players can allow the kids to play without too much stress on the outcome of the game," Snow told Athletics Business. "When kids aren't allowed to make mistakes as they try to implement new skills, that hinders their development."
According to Snow, parents expect their children to work hard and excel, holding coaches responsible for their success - or failure. He also told Athletic Business, in the case of some coaches, their livelihood is on the line based on the performance of 10-year-old children. This causes coaches to project that stress onto the kids, and it's all about the score instead of helping the kids learn how to play the game.
"If parents understand the timeline involved to develop in a team sport a little bit better, then things like not overemphasizing the score or not having league standings make more sense," said Snow.
Daryl Leinweber, executive director of the Calgary Minor Soccer Association thinks otherwise.
"You still need to have competitive games to know how well you've developed that skill. Winning and losing also tells you how well you're doing,” said Leinweber to Athletic Business.
"If we had no standings or scores, they could be playing a team at the bottom and winning by 25 or 30 goals," says Leinweber. "Nobody has fun being beaten 25 or 30 to nothing."