What High Schools team play the beautiful game?

I guess it depends on your definition of beautiful ... I love comments like "what HS teams would you say play the game the way it was meant to be played?" So who says how it was meant to be played. At any level that is considered competitive, the way is was meant to be played is the way that gives your own team the best chance to succeed.
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Originally Posted by Soccer Toe View Post
I guess it depends on your definition of beautiful ... I love comments like "what HS teams would you say play the game the way it was meant to be played?" So who says how it was meant to be played. At any level that is considered competitive, the way is was meant to be played is the way that gives your own team the best chance to succeed.


No, not really my definition.

What I said (and I made this clear), that I acknowledge that some teams are effective at winning, but play a style that is not exactly beautiful. I also get that no HS team is Brazil or Barca, so the term is used somewhat in jest. ....I am assuming that by stating "the way the game was meant to be played" refers to that style of play. Maybe I am assuming wrong that everyone likes seeing creative, fluid, skilled soccer. But it appears that some like watching a more direct style that is less based on skill that wins games. My bad.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beautiful_Game
 
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No, not really my definition.

What I said (and I made this clear), that I acknowledge that some teams are effective at winning, but play a style that is not exactly beautiful. I also get that no HS team is Brazil or Barca, so the term is used somewhat in jest. ....I am assuming that by stating "the way the game was meant to be played" refers to that style of play. Maybe I am assuming wrong that everyone likes seeing creative, fluid, skilled soccer. But it appears that some like watching a more direct style that is less based on skill that wins games. My bad.


To use basketball as an analogy (Because, you know, Indiana), I don't think half court teams are any prettier than fast break teams. I think pretty is teams that do what they do well. When a team recognizes to go over the top when their opponent's backline pushes too far forward. And when said team can play through the middle effectively when they get the width at the midfield and up top.

I watched an Ohio D3 playoff game where one of the teams had an ECNL girl. They played beautiful technical soccer, with combinations through the middle and on the outside. They played their ECNL girl who is ridiculously fast/athletic with her back to the goal, up (Similarly to the way Beavercreek plays MC). They rarely switched the point of play, and they never just put the ball into space for their ECNL girl to run on to and get some 1v1's or even 1v2's.

They looked "beautiful" combining through the midfield but got bogged down in the offensive third as she got triple and quadruple teamed. I think they'd have looked beautiful'er if they'd just gone over the top a couple of times.
 
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shoprat2

Member
As long as they keep score you do what you have to do to win the game. But the best teams are the ones capable of playing in the way necessary to win. The best team I have seen was a D3 school but they could play whatever style the opposition wanted to play. I would rather see a team that is capable of adjusting and changing to counter anything the opposition wanted to play. That is a beautiful team and game.
 

SirStanley

New member
As long as they keep score you do what you have to do to win the game. But the best teams are the ones capable of playing in the way necessary to win. The best team I have seen was a D3 school but they could play whatever style the opposition wanted to play. I would rather see a team that is capable of adjusting and changing to counter anything the opposition wanted to play. That is a beautiful team and game.
Dying to know which team you are referring to, Shoprat2! (And hoping all is well with you!)
 
No, not really my definition.

What I said (and I made this clear), that I acknowledge that some teams are effective at winning, but play a style that is not exactly beautiful. I also get that no HS team is Brazil or Barca, so the term is used somewhat in jest. ....I am assuming that by stating "the way the game was meant to be played" refers to that style of play. Maybe I am assuming wrong that everyone likes seeing creative, fluid, skilled soccer. But it appears that some like watching a more direct style that is less based on skill that wins games. My bad.


To use basketball as an analogy (Because, you know, Indiana), I don't think half court teams are any prettier than fast break teams. I think pretty is teams that do what they do well. When a team recognizes to go over the top when their opponent's backline pushes too far forward. And when said team can play through the middle effectively when they get the width at the midfield and up top.

I watched an Ohio D3 playoff game where one of the teams had an ECNL girl. They played beautiful technical soccer, with combinations through the middle and on the outside. They played their ECNL girl who is ridiculously fast/athletic with her back to the goal, up (Similarly to the way Beavercreek plays MC). They rarely switched the point of play, and they never just put the ball into space for their ECNL girl to run on to and get some 1v1's or even 1v2's.

They looked "beautiful" combining through the midfield but got bogged down in the offensive third as she got triple and quadruple teamed. I think they'd have looked beautiful'er if they'd just gone over the top a couple of times.
Totally agree. And if they would have gone over the top a couple of times it would have made the opponent rethink that high line and opened up the midfield. Point taken.

I agree that when a team recognizes how to adjust to another team's style it is fun to watch. However, it is not always beautiful. The U.S. men's team shocked the world and beat the best team in the world at the time-Spain (a team that plays the short passing Tiki-taka style of play) in the Confederations Cup in 2009 by packing the midfield and having athletic and fast strikers who got behind the Spain defense. Bob Bradley made a name for himself as a coach on this game. Other coaches modeled their game plan on what an American coach did against Spain, imagine that! However, it was not a particularly beautiful win. It was an effective win.

When I first started coaching HS I travelled to Cbus with my first year coaching buddies and watched Bay Village Bay win the D2 boys state title with two big, fast, physical midfielders who were twins just run over everyone who got in their way. I will never forget it even though it was years ago. It was not pretty and I said to myself I hope this is not the style of play that I need to coach to win games in H.S. It was ugly but effective. It was not beautiful.

Contrast those two with a team who plays a skilled game and realizes that a defense with a high line can be beat by playing balls behind the defense. Accurate, purposeful balls meant to counteract the formation. A long swerving pass by Beckham (or Wayne Rooney in MLS) can certainly be beautifulandeffective. Playing a short-short-long game can be deadly, so I get that. But it has to be with skill. Just running over people, relying on athleticism, physical size, and playing out of control balls is another.

I know winning is important, but there are teams in the world that would rather lose with style than win without it. (Just not in HS soccer!)
 

shoprat2

Member
Dying to know which team you are referring to, Shoprat2! (And hoping all is well with you!)
You get one guess and we know what that will be. I haven’t seen everybody but from D3 you and I both know that some of those great small school teams were good enough to win any division. Nice to hear from you and nice to see Your old charges back in the mix. Seems to me they have a real shot at Columbus. Good luck.
 

THE FLOCK

New member
The Fenwick Falcons girls soccer team plays a pretty solid game. The future is bright with sophomore Mackenzie Zlotnik leading the way the next two years. Not gonna say she's one of the best in the state, but with a little training and work with balls I think she could be a standout. Keep an eye on them next year!
 
Anybody see the Creek/MND game last night?

Creek does play pretty soccer and can play direct and indirect effectively. They have the elite scorer, a technical midfield that can hold and deliver the ball accurately, and they have a backline that gets forward and contributes. I think one of their OB's has 9 assists. They also have speed all over the field.
 

THE FLOCK

New member
Anybody see the Creek/MND game last night?

Creek does play pretty soccer and can play direct and indirect effectively. They have the elite scorer, a technical midfield that can hold and deliver the ball accurately, and they have a backline that gets forward and contributes. I think one of their OB's has 9 assists. They also have speed all over the field.
Didn't see them play MND, but I saw them play Springboro, and I agree. They ran circles around the poor Panthers, who are a very strong team! Remind me of Mia Hamm's old US teams. I expect them to roll to a state championship
 

fearthekeeper

New member
I am curious. For those of you (refs mainly) who see a lot of different teams in a season, what HS teams would you say play the game the way it was meant to be played?

I am not talking about teams that win on physical soccer, set plays, flip throws, corners, etc.

One could argue that set plays and direct style are a critical and legitimate part of the game, but let's save that for another day. I am talking about creative, skilled, fun to watch, possession type soccer.

This is not about winning games. It is easy to win by sacrificing style, finesse and creativity.

I am tired of seeing highly skilled players not being successful in HS because they can't win balls out of the air, aren't big enough to run through people, or are not physical enough.

Again, I realize that physical play is part of the game, but I am talking about playing the beautiful game. It frustrates me as a youth trainer that we spend hours and hours on ball skills when kids are young and they get to HS and sit the bench because they don't run through people or crunch others on headers.

So who are your teams? I would like to come and watch them in the tourney and congratulate their coaches after the game for taking the high road.
The short answer is None...
 
The beautiful game can be ruined by a team that plays very physical above and beyond what the rules allow. Two handed shoves in the back, pulling shirts excessively, tripping players, etc. Sure it’s part of the game but when the refs don’t call it or call it and never give warnings or yellows and allow it to happen all game long it kills the flow of the game. Of course you won’t see a team string 3-6 passes in a row if this kind of behavior is allowed. Shoulder to shoulder challenges- go for it, may the strongest person win. Same with 50/50 hard challenges, strongest or fastest person should win. But when will the refs have courage to pull yellow or red cards early when players pull on jerseys to prevent a clear scoring opportunity? Or challenge a slower team to play better positioning or help more finesse players show more creativeness and vision by disallowing constant pushing on the back?

Some teams KNOW they are out gunned and out skilled so they are coached to do whatever it takes to stop a player. Whether it’s the coach telling players or players deciding on their own doesn’t matter. They go into the game knowing what it takes to stay in the game - fouls be damned - and it works when allowed to happen all game long.

Fast and skilled should win more plays but refs sometimes don’t let it be the only factor. There are a lot of good refs as well so this isn’t a ref bash post. I’d love to hear why this sort of behavior is allowed early and often throughout games.

High school absolutely has teams that can play beautifully if you allow speed,vision and creativity to win over push, pull, and trip.


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Soccer Toe

New member
I rarely watch HS soccer anymore but a few weeks back, I went to the Turpin-Elder playoff game and one could say that the ref won the game for Turpin. Turpin was knocking the ball around midfield most of the game and created very few chances. The Turpin coach didn't/couldn't/wouldn't adjust the game plan as Elder had the better scoring opportunities and not just from direct play either. About half way thru the 2nd half, the ref ejects a Turpin player on a double yellow ... bingo, the Turpin coach goes to a direct style and while being a man down, they start creating many chances on goal and put one in the back of the net.

For me the beautiful game is not knowing what is going to happen next so a good mixture of direct play and possession play is what I like to see along with a good amount of (mostly fair) physical play.
 
For me the beautiful game is not knowing what is going to happen next so a good mixture of direct play and possession play is what I like to see along with a good amount of (mostly fair) physical play.

Go watch the regional game. Hopefully you’ll see some beautiful plays by both teams.



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Shoot. There aren't many club teams that play "beautifully."

Why should we expect any high school team to play beautiful soccer when clubs don't play that way either? Kids spend 3-8 months a year barely training to pass the ball. They won't be good at possession OR even direct play when they can't play a ball properly.
 
Shoot. There aren't many club teams that play "beautifully."

Why should we expect any high school team to play beautiful soccer when clubs don't play that way either? Kids spend 3-8 months a year barely training to pass the ball. They won't be good at possession OR even direct play when they can't play a ball properly.
Yeah. Everyone should quit.
 

cincysports4

Active member
I also think it depends on what your definition of beautiful is. While one person thins something is beautiful, someone else might think its ugly. In Highschool, no one is there to get style points. Take a look at Ursula. To some they try/play "The Beautiful game", however they went below .500. High School is a different beast. You have to play with the personnel you have for that year. If you don't adjust, your program/team may not succeed. Not every High School team is blessed with 18 CDA Premier or 18 ECNL level players. Its always a mix at the majority of the schools. I like watching Cincy HS Soccer due to the fact that there are so many different styles.
 
Shoot. There aren't many club teams that play "beautifully."

Why should we expect any high school team to play beautiful soccer when clubs don't play that way either? Kids spend 3-8 months a year barely training to pass the ball. They won't be good at possession OR even direct play when they can't play a ball properly.


I have watched a lot of club ball over the years and I have to agree with Belied Dat. Most of the time when you go to these club games it is not a beautiful style of play being played by most of the local teams unless they are playing against an inferior opponent. If you want to see an DA team play beautiful go watch them against a terrible Shattuck St. Mary. If you want to see an ECNL team play beautiful go watch them against a terrible FC Alliance. On the other hand if you want to see both clubs play direct and play with less quality watch the DA play against Nationals and watch the ECNL play against Tennessee SC. The speed of play will expose the lesser quality players when playing against better opponents and the game will be played with less quality.

If you are looking to see quality play in high school it’s probably not going to happen often. High school coaches only have these kids for 3 months and they are from all different clubs with different training philosophies. Club coaches get to select kids at tryouts based on position based needs and they have 8 months to work with and develop these kids. High school coaches have these kids for 2 weeks of training and have to begin winning games immediately therefor winning will be more of the focus rather than patient development.
 

cincysports4

Active member
I have watched a lot of club ball over the years and I have to agree with Belied Dat. Most of the time when you go to these club games it is not a beautiful style of play being played by most of the local teams unless they are playing against an inferior opponent. If you want to see an DA team play beautiful go watch them against a terrible Shattuck St. Mary. If you want to see an ECNL team play beautiful go watch them against a terrible FC Alliance. On the other hand if you want to see both clubs play direct and play with less quality watch the DA play against Nationals and watch the ECNL play against Tennessee SC. The speed of play will expose the lesser quality players when playing against better opponents and the game will be played with less quality.

If you are looking to see quality play in high school it’s probably not going to happen often. High school coaches only have these kids for 3 months and they are from all different clubs with different training philosophies. Club coaches get to select kids at tryouts based on position based needs and they have 8 months to work with and develop these kids. High school coaches have these kids for 2 weeks of training and have to begin winning games immediately therefor winning will be more of the focus rather than patient development.
Agree 100%
 

dslinville

New member
Let's be honest. With 5000 club team in every age group., the "premier league" going 5 divisions deep and 5 teams in each age group in every club..how many teams in each age group in Ohio South are top of the line elite and play the "right way"? Maybe 3 or 4. Tops. So lets not bash hs soccer too much. My opinion.

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I have watched a lot of club ball over the years and I have to agree with Belied Dat. Most of the time when you go to these club games it is not a beautiful style of play being played by most of the local teams unless they are playing against an inferior opponent. If you want to see an DA team play beautiful go watch them against a terrible Shattuck St. Mary. If you want to see an ECNL team play beautiful go watch them against a terrible FC Alliance. On the other hand if you want to see both clubs play direct and play with less quality watch the DA play against Nationals and watch the ECNL play against Tennessee SC. The speed of play will expose the lesser quality players when playing against better opponents and the game will be played with less quality.

If you are looking to see quality play in high school it’s probably not going to happen often. High school coaches only have these kids for 3 months and they are from all different clubs with different training philosophies. Club coaches get to select kids at tryouts based on position based needs and they have 8 months to work with and develop these kids. High school coaches have these kids for 2 weeks of training and have to begin winning games immediately therefor winning will be more of the focus rather than patient development.
I disagree and I don't think it HAS to be this way. HS coaches have players everyday for 3 weeks prior to the first game and then 4 days a week once games started. By mid-season, that means about 30 training sessions, which is plenty. At the big schools, they are getting some pretty skilled players, not technically perfect, but good enough to trap and pass the ball with accuracy.

I just think we are taking the short cut and making excuses for not taking the high road. I train youth teams with much less training time and much less skill and I see teams building it out of the back, stringing 5 and 6 passes together, playing it back to the keeper to reset the attack, changing the point of attack, etc. These are 10-13 yr olds! and we can't do it with HS kids?

The key is you have to coach for the long term, and not go for the easy fix. Yes, playing the long ball to the fast winger may get you goals, but against a good team that won't work. Yes, you may give up a goal trying to work it out of the back early in the season and lose a game, but if you stick to it you will learn to possess the ball and play under pressure by mid-season. It is a lazy and impatient coach who takes the quick fix.

I am not saying there isn't at time to play direct. or to play that long ball behind the defense to that fast striker, but IMO, we should be building a foundation of possession and then looking to mix it up under certain circumstances.
 
Assuming that there's a "correct" way to play complicates things a lot. Why would I play out of the back if I don't have the personnel to do it? Why would I press if I don't have the personnel to do it? Both high school coaches and club coaches have to adapt to play the way that puts their team in a position to win soccer games. There are very, very few high school goalkeepers equipped to play on a team who is going to play out of the back. There are very few attacking players who fully understand what it takes to implement a pressing style.

Too often, teams get knocked for sitting in, playing direct, or playing any other style than Barcelona in 2010. No one's job is to make their team look pretty. The job is to give their team the best opportunity to win.
 
Assuming that there's a "correct" way to play complicates things a lot. Why would I play out of the back if I don't have the personnel to do it? Why would I press if I don't have the personnel to do it? Both high school coaches and club coaches have to adapt to play the way that puts their team in a position to win soccer games. There are very, very few high school goalkeepers equipped to play on a team who is going to play out of the back. There are very few attacking players who fully understand what it takes to implement a pressing style.

Too often, teams get knocked for sitting in, playing direct, or playing any other style than Barcelona in 2010. No one's job is to make their team look pretty. The job is to give their team the best opportunity to win.
Well we keep going around in circles here....the title of the thread is "What teams play the beautiful game" not "what teams are effective at winning". The term "Beautiful Game" has a special meaning in soccer, and soccer enthusiasts agree that it is a more preferred style than playing direct. Or physical. However, it may not always equate to winning games. There are, believe it or not, places where (and people who feel that) playing with style and losing is more appreciated than playing ugly and winning. Read the entire thread and you will see that it has been acknowledged that it is possible to win without playing the beautiful game. This is not about winning. It is about playing with style and skill. Nobody really thinks that a HS team will play like Barcelona 2010. My point was that I wanted to know if there are any teams attempting to play with style and skill at the expense of taking the short term, easy fix of physical and direct play that I see many HS teams play.

And I would disagree with both of your statements regarding keepers playing out of the back and strikers pressing. There are many HS players capable of doing that.
 
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