The first level of development a football player will ever take is playing football as a child. Kids football is very popular in the United Kingdom, with the official statistics suggesting four million children participate in organised football just in England. This highlights the continued popularity in the sport, however, to make sure that continues, many argue that 'street football' needs to return for kids to enjoy their football, rather than going straight into organised and disciplined training sessions.
Historically, all the great football players will have all started to play football on the streets of their local town with their peers. They would have a laugh, a kick about and generally enjoy themselves. One of the most famous quotes on this topic matter was from Sir Bobby Charlton when talking about the World Cup, he claimed that it was "won on the streets" as opposed to "on the playing fields of England". Street football culture has played much importance in the development of many past legend's and they have all considered it to be one of the most important stages in becoming a professional football player.
However, in recent years that street culture has diminished. Instead, players are put into academies at young ages and are expected to follow rigorous training and fitness sessions, disciplined drill regime's and understand complex defensive tactics. More and more pressure is being put on young boys from an early age to perform and achieve winning results week in week out. With coaches further emphasising how important to win is to younger children and completely forgetting the enjoyment factor, it could result in much less children participating in kids football up and down the country which could have detrimental effects on the future of the England international team.
There is much opposition to today's modern kids football. Many ex-players continue to report on how important playing in the streets is. Kids who play on the street develop as creative players with flair and have a greater imagination rather than those who are trained under a ruthless adult coach teaching them advanced tactics. Lots of the success that South American's have in football is because of their whole street football culture, especially in working class areas of the continent. It also allows the children to feel more free on the ball, essentially making them more productive players in the future. If scheme's were introduced to encourage young football players to play on the street more, then England may end up a more successful footballing nation in years to come with a host of much more technically gifted players.
It is important to emphasise the need for this modern day culture of organised tactics which puts even more unnecessary stress and pressure on younger children left to one side, in an attempt to give way for street football which gives kids more choice and imagination on how they want to play their individual game. It also brings back the fun factor into the game by letting children express themselves more without the fear of discipline.
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