Players, Coaches, Referees, Administrators and Their Parents

There has been a lot of talk about strength training for soccer athletes, where to start and when to leave off. Not only are questions like in-season strength training being addressed differently today but how early a player (youth level) should start and what the focus should be for the young have changed drastically.

I have been training athletes for competition in a variety of sports for 27+ years. My clients have excelled and surpassed their current state of strength and fitness, having rejuvenated, resurrected, and/or established themselves as never before. My own children, not really clients if you know anything about fathers training daughters, flourished, both winning scholarships (full and 3/4) to major NCAA DI universities, starting in their freshmen years (goalkeeper, midfielder, and defender). I don't mention other clients on an open website without permission, and even then I am hesitant. Some really think they can keep a good thing all to themselves! Now, they almost can, as I only accept a few clients a year now (a few online and a few more personal, one-on-one). I have applied my strength training, sport-specific techniques to top-caliber amateurs and professionals in soccer, football (American), basketball, track and field, etc. I have worked with NFL football players and NCAA DI National Champion football players, basketball players (male and female), wrestlers, and runners. I have trained a number of the finest soccer-athletes to play the game at the amateur level, male and female. And, I have worked with young players just starting out, developing in them a level of strength and fitness that all but ensures they will play injury free! Call me for a free consultation. May also consider the right offer for a strength coach position.,, (216-712-6526, 24/7 voicemail), Skype: johnzajaros1, Yahoo! Instant Messenger: keepersteam,

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It sounds like you have been very successful with your strength training program.

However, I don't believe there has been any plausible scientific strength training research specific to soccer as of yet.

So my belief from experience is that if you use any kind of strength training aside from the players body itself, you may be taking away another quality, like agility, flexibility, touch, speed etc...

Till I read a proper research paper where soccer players have been used as subjects during a strength training program using dead weights, or weight machines of various kinds, or other forms of supplemental weight training, I would recommend to anyone to avoid strength training, and only train strength using the existing weight and dynamics of the athlete's body itself.


You are right!


Body of research?


Never mind the anecdotal "evidence," just "Google" any of these terms, in combination:

Cleveland Clinic,
Cleveland Clinic sports medicine
Dr. John Bergfeld, ( )
ACL injuries in female athletes,
ACL injuries in female soccer players,
strength training and injury prevention


any one of the millions, literally millions, of citations dealing with all aspects of sport and sex-specific strength and fitness training.

And, if you are REALLY set in your way of thinking?

A gift (all you have to day is request it!):

Keep in mind that times DO change!

We used to have kids running through cones for hours and hours!

Then, we just knew that the sooner we could get the kids into full-field training and matches, the better! We had 8 year olds running around on a 110 x 70 pitch! They were exhausted by halftime!

How many times did you have players quit because they said, "I don't like to run!"

Of course there were those wonderfully enlightened coaches who had their players running laps on ad infinitum!
After all, they run in the match, don't they?


So the exodus continued!

Then, things really escalated and we had the whole full-field vs small-sided games debate: The Sequel!


"OK!" they said. "But only in practice! They need to play on a full field, after all, that's where they are going to end up, right!!"

And they raged on!

Some were almost run out of their respective community, state associations, the USYSA, and even US soccer entirely over that one!



Ask Tom Turner then!

Oh yeah! Then we just knew that girls and boys shouldn't and really couldn't play together...but there weren't any (as in, almost none, zip, zilch, nada, squat, doodlely-squat) all-girl we lost 80% of them and almost 95% by high school.

Doodley-squat? Ask Vonnegut! It's the nothing at all the poor don't have!

In this case: It's the nothing at all the girls had and didn't get in the way of a league, a spokesperson, a movement...until Mia, the US WNT, Billie Jean King, and Title IX woke everyone up to the Beautiful Game actually being played Beautifully!

And that wasn't long ago! Maybe 15-18 years, tops!

For years backward-thinking soccer people (parents, coaches, administrators, etc) argued they were right and if the girls really wanted to play, they'd "tough it out!" Heck, they even had some of the girls believing it! AAAARRGGGHHHH!


I know! Because a friend of mine, a sports medicine doc and soccer player (through university), and I started the all-girls league in our community, so our girls, and over 250 others just from our small berg, first year, wouldn't quit!

Wouldn't quit?


They never would have started! Not until they had their own teams, leagues and identity!

Now? I can start with the SAME thinking that put half of a certain Big-10 women's varsity squad out with ACL injuries and another school, with almost no ACL injuries in the same decade!


YUP! I'll bet they hated that one in Poughkeepsie!

They have a space requirement on this forum or I could, and would, go on for hours. But let's face it, you won't change your thinking until you educate yourself. If you are willing to do that, I am willing to help you by sending you all the material I can and that your hard-drive will hold.

If you are up for it, I'm game. If not? Well, I hope....

No, enough said!

Good luck to you and to those you are charged with influencing.

God Bless! Call or write anytime. We can take this "out back!" Ha!

Obvious you hit a nerve? YUP!

Take care,


PS, I have attempted to proofread this, I usually let things sit 24 hours after writing them, just to clarify my thoughts and to make sure what I think I've written and what is actually on paper is at least close. I just think this is too time sensitive to hold off, for even another minute! So please forgive any typos, they really did teach me how to write and spell in elementary school! Never mind when I was finishing up my doctorate!

PSS, If there's a mistake? I guess I'll do what the kids say to do! I'll "Walk it out!" (Play Your Part, Pt1, by Girl talk, I think). Definitely NOT for the faint of heart and definitely NOT PG! Times! They are a-changin' Peter! JZ
One more question? It just came to me as I began my daily fix of SoccerAmerica !

Why in the world would people a WHOLE LOT smarter than you and I spend as much money as they do for strength and fitness coaches? I am talking about beginning programs, club-level youth soccer clubs, and at the highest levels of the game?

Whoops, that's two questions!

"Come on Irene!" Just popped into my headphones. Good UK soccer tune! The Midnight Runners!

See? I do have a sense of humor....

Take care Pete!


Go ahead send me one good paper on strength training using weights, free or dead, strength machines, etc., where the study was specific to soccer players, and this study was done for both men and women...

I can read...and will if I get it.

American Journal of Sports Medicine,
You have to be a member, I am, to read the full articles and it only costs a little over $400 to get access. So, have at it! BTW, this was only one of the journals I subscribe to, there are a total of 78 that are worthy of being listed as scientific sports medicine journals, I only get 10. Of that number there were well over 2000 articles dealing SPECIFICALLY with soccer players and strength training. I have sent along a few of the abstracts (a brief synopsis of the scientific findings to be presented in the body of the work). I think they should suffice. That is, unless you are totally closed off to the proof, which is overwhelming.

Happy reading!


1) Jean-Louis Croisier, Sebastien Ganteaume, Johnny Binet, Marc Genty, and Jean-Marcel Ferret
Strength Imbalances and Prevention of Hamstring Injury in Professional Soccer Players
Am J Sports Med August 2008 36:1469-1475; PreView April 30, 2008, doi:10.1177/0363546508316764
...complete resolution of muscle strength performance, a recent paper by...investigating professional Australian soccer players has also suggested a time properly allocated to training. Nevertheless, because of the...examined the effect of preseason strength training with eccentric and concentric actions in Swedish elite soccer players. In spite of a small number...Hamstring injury occurrence in elite soccer players after preseason strength training with eccentric overload. Scand...
Abstract Full Text Full Text (PDF)
Select this article
2) Farshid Mohammadi
Comparison of 3 Preventive Methods to Reduce the Recurrence of Ankle Inversion Sprains in Male Soccer Players
Am J Sports Med June 2007 35:922-926; PreView March 22, 2007, doi:10.1177/0363546507299259
...sprains are frequent injuries in soccer. Several strategies can be used to...the most common are proprioceptive training, strength training, and orthoses. Objective...these 3 interventions (proprioceptive training, strength training, and orthoses) in soccer players with previous ankle inversion...
Abstract Full Text Full Text (PDF)
Select this article
3) Robert S. Heidt, Jr., Lisa M. Sweeterman, Richelle L. Carlonas, Jeff A. Traub, and Francis X. Tekulve
Avoidance of Soccer Injuries with Preseason Conditioning
Am J Sports Med September 2000 28:659-662
...evaluated over 1 year of competitive soccer participation. The year included...participate in the Frappier Acceleration Training Program (Frappier Acceleration, Fargo...plyometric work, sport cord drills, strength training, and flexibility exercises...Evaluation of injuries in youth soccer. Am J Sports Med 8 : 325-327...Cometti G: The influence of maximal strength training of lower limbs of soccer players on their physical and kick...
Abstract Full Text Full Text (PDF)
4) Anders H. Engebretsen, Grethe Myklebust, Ingar Holme, Lars Engebretsen, and Roald Bahr
Prevention of Injuries Among Male Soccer Players
Am J Sports Med June 2008 36:1052-1060; PreView April 3, 2008, doi:10.1177/0363546508314432
...eccentric vs. concentric hamstring strength training in well-trained soccer players. Scand J Med Sci Sports...Hamstring injury occurrence in elite soccer players after preseason strength training with eccentric overload. Scand...eccentric vs. concentric hamstring strength training in well-trained soccer players. Scand J Med Sci Sports...
Abstract Full Text Full Text (PDF) Appendix
Select this article
5) Matt Greig
The Influence of Soccer-Specific Fatigue on Peak Isokinetic Torque Production of the Knee Flexors and Extensors
Am J Sports Med July 2008 36:1403-1409; PreView March 6, 2008, doi:10.1177/0363546508314413
...high-intensity exercise on knee flexor strength in male and female soccer players. Eur J Appl Physiol . 2003...comparing eccentric vs. concentric hamstring strength training in well-trained soccer players. Scand J Med Sci Sports . 2004...
Abstract Full Text Full Text (PDF)
Select this article
6) Franck Le Gall, Christopher Carling, and Thomas Reilly
Injuries in Young Elite Female Soccer Players
Am J Sports Med February 2008 36:276-284; PreView October 11, 2007, doi:10.1177/0363546507307866
...goalkeepers and outfield players and strengthen the case for injury prevention training to be specific to positional role...present study on elite youth female soccer players revealed markedly high rates...Malliou P, Pafis G, Godolias G. Soccer players muscular imbalances: restoration with an isokinetic strength training program. Percept Mot Skills. 2006...Injuries in womens professional soccer. Br J Sports Med. 2005;39:212-216...
Abstract Full Text Full Text (PDF)
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