One, two, three – victory!
The 10-year-olds at the parent-run soccer academy Team Next Norway stand in a circle and shout the Latin word for victory.
And it’s not just the battle cry that suggests an offensive attitude toward children’s football.
– To put it this way, there are more people trying to put sticks in wheels than pushing each other forward in Norway. Especially in children’s sports. In Norwegian football, you are not allowed to become good until you are young, unlike sports such as cross-country skiing, athletics and gymnastics. We think this is a mistake. If children want to play sports, we will facilitate it. Not everyone likes it, says John Ole Dipdahl.
meets the opposition
He was previously a parent coach at a large traditional Norwegian club in Nordre Follo. Not anymore, because there were extraordinary board meetings and tough confrontations when Team Next Norway brought together some of the most excited kids from different clubs to get additional training in addition to club life.
Dipdal himself says he wished a parent-run football academy – where all the coaches themselves have their kids on the team – were unnecessary.
I think everyone admits that you could have had this at the club, in a system that was so sophisticated that you left it. I think everyone will. But we are not there in Norway today. Then we simply have to do it ourselves.
– Perhaps some think that here we have very zealous parents who push the children in front of them, trying to realize their own ambitions?
It’s the simplest presentation in the world that people often put up because they have bad arguments. Everything we do is up to the children themselves. Dipdal says they are the ones who want training, more training and serious training.
The 10-year-olds at Team Next Norway come from a number of different clubs in and around the Oslo region, and gather for weekly training, as well as elite tournaments abroad.
The competitors are often top clubs from Sweden and Denmark, such as Hammarby, Djurgården, Bromawecarna and Brondby, but also clubs such as FC Lugano of Switzerland.
Breaks the rules with complete transparency
to me Sports regulations for children For the Norwegian Sports Federation, children may not compete for places until they reach the age of 11, while the Norwegian Football Association (NFF) operates with stricter rules:
“In the Boy/Girl 12 and Younger category, no tournament winner is selected,” This is stated in their display regulations.
There are some rules in Norway about that, but we’re not a club. We go on a private initiative. If people think it’s true or false…we arrange the Norway Cup, then. There are a number of foreign small teams out there, but I don’t see people shouting about that, which is a bit ironic, says Dipdal.
What is the value of facing such good resistance at such a young age?
Certainly not everyone wants it, but for those who want it, I see no reason to be negative. Bring with you experiences, not the least of which is a wonderful camaraderie. The boys here have lifelong friends. In addition, we see internationally where the list is, and use it as a catalyst in everyday life.
Are there concerns about letting 10-year-olds play elite tournaments that are more competitive?
– Looking at the Norwegian mentality, I see it. But looking at life in general… Kids should not somehow learn to win and lose when they are young. This is a discussion that many people have opinions about. We believe that life consists of winning a little and losing a little. One must learn to deal with both. I guess it doesn’t hurt, they’d rather get stronger than him. Anyway, I didn’t see that it had a negative effect on our children. They grew up on it, enjoying themselves and having fun. Dipdal thinks they’re using it as fuel.
Likes serious workouts
TV2 talks to two 10-year-olds on the special team an hour and a half later. The level of players in Team Next Norway is undisputedly high, not least when it comes to individual skills and near technicality.
What is the difference between playing to train with the club team and training here?
“There’s a little higher level here, and everyone’s more serious,” answers Chris Sander Sorkins Reiss (10).
– We go abroad and so, then they are more serious here, agrees Lukas Eriksen.
What do you like about people being more serious then?
– That there wouldn’t be much nonsense in training. And the boys say what you’ve been told about is what you do.
Renate Heder is one of the many parents who sit on the sidelines and watch their children’s training along the way.
She traveled for three-quarters of an hour from Skedsmo with her son Mikel to receive training early on Saturday with Team Next Norway.
– Why are you here?
We are here because we have a committed boy who loves football. This is a measure to give him additional challenges, and a level up, she says.
Father Arne Balto says his son has an inner drive when it comes to football.
– That’s why we support him in that. If he wants to do something else, or quit, there is support from his parents anyway, he says.
There is no better place
Coach John Ole Diebdal does not know how long NEXT Norway will be around, as he is mainly critical of the principles of children’s football in this country.
Norway has gotten fantastically good when it comes to youth football, it’s something completely different. And when the boys are young, this may not be necessary.
So what is the problem first and foremost about children’s football?
– Absolutely. In youth football, a lot is well done now. I wish they had started a little earlier, like in Denmark. There, they use existing regulations with a view to differentiation, and they’ve gone the extra mile with qualified coaches.
– So what is your dream for Norwegian children’s football?
– to have it for everyone. This is not the case today. Today it is not for those who are the best and who want to be the best. There is no place for them. Hope it changes sometime in the future.
So who do you think football for kids is what it is today?
– What a camouflage crosswise, most people. but that is not all. I mean it should be for those who are a little weaker, those who are average and those who are better. No matter if you are an intermediate or a strong player, the most important thing is to feel mastered. You can do this by playing at your level, and getting a match at your level. Dipdal says it should be for everyone.
Warning of early seriousness
Håkon Grøttland is the NFF’s Player Development Leader, and principal in charge of the national team’s school, which begins when kids turn 12.
Do you agree with those who think that you cannot be good before you are young in Norway?
– We see that we have something to continue considering that more clubs will provide more training for the children. But if you get 2-3 good sessions in the club, the most important thing is to play football, and not to train every day. I do not believe that.
How early do you think seriousness should come?
– As late as possible. Those who are the best in the end didn’t even think about training. They just played and loved the game and did it on their own.
Isn’t it good that the best come together to train against each other?
– Now we have taken a stand on it, and we say that when you are 12 years old you can do it. Then we begin to choose, and then the best can meet the best. Because then the players start getting old enough that they are able to challenge themselves, and deal with the fact that there are differences here. Before that, we want the same offer to as many people as possible, he says.
At the same time, he and the NFF are positive for differentiation in children’s football. But with one clear condition:
– We encourage affirmative action. I’m not a fan of dividing into fixed and fixed groups based on skill level. But this is in parts of the session that are divided into groups based on different criteria – I am in favor of that.
– What do you put in fixed groups?
– They say “You’re very good, while you are very good, so you should be there and there for the next six months,” Grotland says.
Inspired by Denmark
In any case, Team Next Norway are convinced that their plan increases the chances that the 10-year-olds will realize their footballing dreams.
Undoubtedly guaranteed. Along with a lot. But this is one of the many reasons if you want to get to the top – you must get good training. In Danish and Swedish football, you see how many people have made the transition from youth football to the top of football, compared to Norway. Diebdal claims that there are very significant differences.
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