In the first annual Soccer MVP (most valuable part) Tournament, I am pleased to announce that the winner is … (drum roll please) … the INSIDE-OF-THE-FOOT (cheers and confetti please). The contest was not even close. ‘Inside’ won in a landslide.
The contestants for the inaugural tournament were:
- The six surfaces of the foot
The head, chest, and thighs failed to make the finals. Many argued that ‘Head’, and more specifically the brain, should remain in the tournament because of its overall important function. However, when analyzing the head from a purely soccer standpoint, it along with ‘Chest’ and ‘Thighs’ were determined to play only a limited role in soccer. The same fate befell \’Toe\’ and \’Heel\’. While those parts of the foot are used on occasion, they are not used enough to be considered a potential MVP.
That left the following parts to battle it out for top prize:
- Inside-of-the-foot (Inside)
- Top-of-the-foot (Laces)
- Outside-of-the-foot (Outside)
- Bottom-of-the-foot (Bottom)
These parts were judged on the following 13 main and secondary disciplines:
- Forgiveness (how forgiving each part was when the ball did not hit the designated sweet spot)
- Level of control
- Coverage (how many different types of passes could be controlled with each surface)
- Moves to get around defenders
- Types of passes
- Breadth (in terms of what parts of the goal could be hit with a shot)
- Popularity Among Professional Players
- Ease of Learning
Of these disciplines, ‘Inside’ was the clear winner with nine 1st-place finishes (see yellow cells in the table below). ‘Laces’ was declared the runner with its two 1st-place finishes even though ‘Bottom’ finished with three 1st-place finishes. In fact, \’Bottom\’ was relegated to last place because of its tournament-leading eight last-place finishes.
Follow-up posts will go into more detail in terms of how each discipline was played out. But based on the results, there are two points I would like to make now.
- ‘Inside’ won all but two of the disciplines. Yet in many youth practices that I have observed and the many training DVDs I have watched, not enough emphasis is placed on this part of the foot. If soccer is to improve in the United States, our young players need to learn the importance of and be taught how to properly use the inside-of-the-foot.
- Unless a player is abnormally bow-legged, learning to use the inside-of-the-foot is not easy or natural. It takes a tremendous amount of time, effort, and energy for a player just to feel comfortable using this part of the foot. The longer a youth player goes without learning how to use the inside-of-the-foot, the less likely he/she will be able to reach his/her full soccer-playing potential. Loopball is a great way to introduce and teach the importance of the inside-of-the-foot.
This will be the first of what I hope will be many MVP tournaments. In order to make next year\’s event even better, I welcome all comments and feedback.
Author\’s note: What do you call this part of the foot? Please vote.