The Beauty Of Authentic Soccer & Futsal Development

May 2 2023

Soccer has always been referred to as the beautiful game and of course Futsal remains a brother with soccer. One can argue that Futsal is soccer on “ice”, due to its speed, creativity, the number of top soccer players developed and amazing excitement. Both games are beautiful, and for the purposes of this writing, I will refer with the beautiful game for both sports.

So what is the beauty of authentic soccer and futsal development? Is it the uniforms, the buildings, the repeated word “development”, or wining a trophy? No, regardless how much effort is put in all else, the beauty of authentic soccer and futsal development lives in the beautiful and creative play. Playing beautiful, is a form of communication, a form of expression, a beautiful piece of art. And no one can make beautiful art simply by talking about art, in the end everyone will want to see what was produced. Here I am not referring to wining but the process of development and yes performance as well. In order to cultivate beautiful and creative play, the training environment has to display these strong qualities.

a. Coaching Education

b. Training Details

c. Work Rate

d. Level & Impact of Correcting

e. Teaching Methodology

f. (and most importantly) Passion

So, while the field quality matters, status of league play matters, and many other things matter. What matters the most is a player that aims to build beautiful play and a coaching environment that provides authentic training. Life has an amazing balance here, this is not a process that can be taken or given, only earned. One, can not simply claim they have coaching education or they are good in details. Instead, coaching education is something one can very easily read on the training pitch and coaching details are mirrored clearly during competition (games).

If soccer and futsal are the beautiful game, player are the artist that make beautiful art and authentic coaching is a beautiful action. Passion remains the anchor that will move mountains, and make what seems impossible, possible. Live and breath what you love and give all you have. You may or may not win the trophy, because in life there are no guarantees. But you will have the best trophy ever, a beautiful life.

Forge Courage




Learning or Maintaining?

Sep 29 2022

Love The Beautiful Game

Soccer and Futsal training is one of the most beautiful gifts for players, teams and coaches. How much time in training is spent in learning and how much in maintaining? To answer this question, consider these facts:

a. How much information is new to the players? To be clear, by information we do not refer to coaches talking, but to quality of information. By new, we refer to details to an existing concept or a fully new concept. 

b. What is the level of difficulty? By level of difficulty, we refer to ability to do something without having to engage the brain, or not be able to process, or having to engage the brain and yet succeed.

c. Is learning passive or active? This is truly a huge part of learning. While one can use many methods to teach, ultimately teaching has to be active and active all the time, in order players to retain information.

While there is a time for maintaining of course, it is very fair to say that the part that goes most ignored is not maintaining :). It is learning that goes unchecked and if this is the case, how will players grow? How much will they grow?

Forge Your Feet Only By Forging Your Mind,

llir Lushaj


For The Love of The Game: The Current US Soccer & Potential for Excellence

The Current

  1. Strengths and Weaknesses 
    •  Strengths: physical level of players
    •  Weakness: technical & tactical level of players
  1. The Big Experiment: The team is going in with the same sense of entitlements, and looking for results, instead of gratitude and focusing on the process.  Any experiment would eventually require changes, and by that, I mean real changes that carry depth, not superficial ones that don’t touch the root of the problem.
  2. Approach: the approach is too goal focused instead of process focused, we want to be the best, and want it today without placing the seeds for success, there is no 1-, 3-, 5- and 10-year-old plan. 
  3. Beating the Uncomfortable with Comfort: we continue to show up to win without looking at how much we are putting in.
  4. Individual Versus Collective Effort: key importance to create a team culture where all is united
  5. The No Street Blame: yes it is definitely true that kids not playing in the street, causes a loss to the sport and player development, but hockey and football is not being played on the street either, gymnastics is not played on the street in Rumania, the best school fo music in New York is not being practiced on the street, so let’s tackle the problem why not being able to develop as the primary tool of player development, then look at other supplement like the street.
  6. Klinsmann: it was fair he eventually had to go, but even more fair that he had to come, it was a move in the right direction. Not succeeding it means we go further forward and look to hire a top tactician at international level.

The Future

  1. Project: Initiate a 12-month project on coach education to reflect three key points:
  2. A clear licensure education to reflect updated curriculum
  3. An ongoing continuing coach education process based on quality
  4. A high standard coaching education minimum requirement (to be set very high) for ages 5-12
  5. Set clear tactical and technical standards and provide games and environments to support
  6. Emphasize work ethic, nothing happens unless the work is done
  7. Project D:  Create a clear standard on all academy clubs, hold them responsible to hold standard.  The level of development must be pressed very strong here, so academies are the ones that deliver.
  8. Project E: Creating 300 centers in the USA, channeled to 36, channeled to 4, channeled to 1. Each free to members, paid staff for talent assessment.
  9. Create one system not 100 levels, a universal system where teams move up or down based on performance not ability to pay for their place.
  10. Project F:  Hiring 5 top international coaches to coach these teams and assist with coach education:
  11. USA National Team
  12. USA National U21 Team
  13. USA National U19 Team
  14. USA National U17 Team
  15. USA National U14 Team
  16. Project G: Set goals for National U14, U17, U19, U21 and Final Team, and focus on the process that achieves those goals. 
  17. Project H: Create a research-based taskforce, whose role is to assess all every 3 months and come up with suggestions.

Eventually, it is a matter of time before USA becomes fantastic and plays the best soccer at the international level.  This will take time but will have with all the players and their love for the game.

Ilir Lushaj

Forge Excellence 

The True Value

The true value of work is a measure of purpose, passion, education, work ethic, unity. Top level will always create and create, grow and grow, learn, reflect and correct, like “writing music” always focuses on creating and building quality versus self-promotion. The measure is now how loud one “plays the drums”, but what kind of quality is in the music. A great factor that can impact this, is the audience, it’s a must to understand “good music” versus “loud drums.”

I recently, listen to the 2018 Nobel Prize discussion. One of the scientists there said, “we have a theory we believe, and we spend the rest of our lives to prove ourselves wrong.” What a way to grow. This seems like great way to approach coaching also.

Forge Excellence