For more info call: (571) 428-8387 or write an email:

A Note from Dr. Joe Machnik – No. 1 Staff Coach – Michael Sheparovich

No 1 Soccer Camps mourns the passing of legendary No. 1 Staff Coach Michael Sheparovich. Michael was an original staff member who traveled the country as part of the No. 1 Goalkeepers Camp. Michael was a McDonald’s All American Goalkeeper and participated in many of the skill and athletic demonstrations which motivated thousands of young goalkeepers across the country.
Michael’s father immigrated from the Ukraine and is the man responsible for introducing me (Joe Machnik ) to the sport of soccer in high school and later at the Ukrainian Soccer Club in NY.
Michael was part of an elite staff of goalkeeper instructors which led to the national recognition of No. 1 Soccer Camps.
I will miss him as a friend and a member of our extended family.
Rest in Peace Michael!
Dr. Joe and all of the No. 1 Family!

College Recruitment Tips from College Coaches Zoom Chat

By Regional Director John Adams

I’d like to start off by thanking Nick Roberts (Ashland), Will Dyer (Lawrence Tech), Mike Pilger (Trinity) and Chris Legates (Tackling College Sports) for taking time out of their busy schedule to chat with me about all things College Recruiting.

I really enjoyed the 51 minutes we spent together. In here, there is a clear message from these 4 coaches, all of whom coach in different parts of the country at different levels and different experiences – As a recruit,  do something that makes you stand out.

For all recruits and parents, this is is a great use of your time. Real, usable information.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

No. 1 Soccer Camps – Elite Training Camp

The game of soccer continues to evolve and so too has the No.1 Soccer Camps. For over 40 years the No.1 Soccer Camps has been revered for its incredible staff, a cutting edge methodology and forward looking curriculum. We have been, and continue to be, at the forefront of the soccer camp industry. As the soccer landscape in our country continues to take shape it’s important that we provide our participants with the tools, knowledge and competitive edge required to be a successful player.

In 2019 we have formatted our weekly camp offerings to be reflective of the current trends, methods and coaching demands for today’s player. US Soccer has identified six Key Qualities to look for in a player’s development. We will explore those qualities and introduce you to the necessary skills to have an enjoyable and formative soccer playing experience.

Striker Camp

Our New No.1 Elite Training Camp is designed for the High School aged player and combines the best of our Senior Academy and College Prep programs under one week. High School aged players can be looking forward to making the varsity or moving up to the highest team within their club. This aged player is also looking forward to the preparation needed to perhaps play college soccer. Our No.1 Elite Training Camp is poised to prepare competitive players for the next level. Dynamic field sessions led by our professional staff of coaches will prepare you both on and off field for what awaits you next in your soccer career.

 At the No. 1 Elite Training Camp, players will be exposed to the 3 moments of the game; attacking, defending and transition at a deeper level, so they can be successful playing in the modern game.

Competitive tournaments will be played throughout the week, and will be the highlight of our evening sessions. Players will have the opportunity to compete against other teams (World Cup), against other players (Dutch) and against themselves (Pressure Training).

Staff Coaches at the No. 1 Elite Training Camp will share their knowledge and passion for the game on and off the field.  After our evening sessions, players will meet with their Staff Coaches to review the day’s events.  In addition, High Performance discussions led by our staff coaches and guest speakers occur throughout the week.  Topics will be relevant to the development of the modern player and include, “Playing Soccer in College”,” Behaviors for High Level Players”, “Nutrition”, and “Soccer Specific Conditioning.

At the No.1 Elite Training Camp, goalkeepers and field players will receive the incredible quality of training and a truly unique week of camp that has been the hallmark of the No.1 Soccer Camps for over 40 years.

No.1 for a reason!

New for 2019 – No. 1 National Training Centers for Goalkeepers

The No.1 National Training Centers for Goalkeepers

Boy and Girls

Ages U13-U18

The No.1 National Training Centers for Goalkeepers will provide a comprehensive and stimulating Goalkeeper specific training opportunity. For over 40 years the No.1 Soccer Camps have provided the most inclusive, comprehensive and pertinent Goalkeeper training in the country. Founded by Dr. Joseph Machnik, the No.1 Goalkeeper Camps were the first of its kind to offer specialized training in the most important area of the field, the 35 yards in front of the goal. The alumni, players and coaches who attended the No.1 Goalkeeper camp is without equal. Numerous goalkeepers-male and female have gone on to play in the World Cup, Internationally, professionally and collegiately, ours is a successful list unmatched by any camp organization in the world.

A primary reason for this incredible record of success is our staff of accomplished professional goalkeeper coaches who consistently aspire to research, dissect and then design pertinent training sessions. There have been an influx of opinions on everything from proper catching technique to proper diving technique, providing ample opportunity for debate and experimentation. All-in-all, the arguments continue to rage. And as the tactical shop-talk persists among soccer circles, so does the evolution of the goalkeeper position and the “right way” to do it amongst the goalkeepers. The demand on the modern goalkeeper as played by the likes of DeGea, Allison, Nauer, Bardsley and Solo is much different than even five years ago. You are unique and possess a unique skill set, our goal will be to accentuate your strengths and encourage continued growth through an intensive goalkeeper specific environment.

The No.1 Goalkeepers Camp has always provided a forward thinking curriculum and in 2019 we are once again putting modern methodologies to the test, where they matter most, on the field-35 yards from the penalty area as always we are offering groundbreaking training situations.

Our National Training Centers will focus on the following:

  1. Become a coach on the field, a goalkeeper who effectively organizes and directs teammates from an optimal viewpoint. Exudes confidence and becomes a true leader.
  2. Have the requisite passing skills and tactical awareness to make correct decisions under pressure and be an effective first line attack.
  3. Have the ability to read the game by correct positioning in order to deal with through balls behind the defensively line, deal effectively with crosses and eliminate the opponents goal scoring chances.
  4. The necessary athleticism, quickness and technical skills to be able to deal with 1v1 situations, shots on goal and for reaction and reflex saves.

Our National Training Centers will provide extensive feedback from our knowledgeable, professional staff via, 1on 1 meetings, verbal evaluations, video evaluations and a detailed written evaluation. Our National Training Centers for Goalkeepers is an incredible opportunity to get the intensive specialized training required to be the No.1 Goalkeeper on your team, and provide you with a pathway to achieve future growth and success both on and off the field.

Typical Day Schedule

7:30am Training accountability- exercises that you can do yourself to improve footwork, handling, coordination as well as speed, agility and quickness.
8:30 Breakfast – plan your day
9:30 Lesson- Reading the play- effectively dealing with through balls
11:30 Session review and individual feedback
12:00 Lunch
1:00  Regeneration: effective Goalkeeper prehab/ rehab exercises
2:00  Lesson- Deal with back passes under pressure
4:00 Session review- video review
5:00 Dinner
6:00  Penalty Kick lesson, study the three types of Penalty Kicks
6:30 Goalkeeper specific Dynamic warm-up
7:00 Penalty Kick contest
8:30 Regeneration: Nutrition
9:00 Evening Lecture: Develop effective communication skills
10:30 Lights out

New for 2019 – Elite Training Camp

We have renamed our Sr. Academy camp to the No.1 Elite Training Academy. This camp will combine the best of our Sr. Academy and College Prep camps to offer our High School and Club players the best and most complete training experience possible.

 Ages U14-U19, 2000-2005 Male and Female, Field Players and Goalkeepers

The No.1 Elite Training Camp is designed for the ambitious player who wishes to challenge themselves by being trained at the next level.  Throughout the week, players will be put in a competitive environment that will bring out their very best. Our focus will be on the current US Soccer player development model. Based on their birth year, our participants will explore the six Key Qualities of a U.S Soccer Player. They are:

  • Game understanding and decision making:

The ability to read and understand the game and make autonomous decisions.

  • Initiative:

Take initiative and be proactive

  • Focus:

The ability to focus for the duration of a match in their task

  • Optimal Technical:

Execute their task for the duration of their match with optimal technical ability

  • Optimal Physical:

Execute their task with optimal physical ability

  • Responsibility:

      Take responsibility and accountability for their own development and performance

At the No. 1 Elite Training Camp, players will be exposed to the 3 moments of the game; attacking, defending and transition at a deeper level, so they can be a successful playing in the modern game.

Competitive tournaments will be played throughout the week, and will be the highlight of our evening sessions. Players will have the opportunity to compete against other teams (World Cup), against other players (Dutch) and against themselves (Pressure Training).

Staff Coaches at the No. 1 Elite Training Camp will share their knowledge and passion for the game on and off the field.  After our evening sessions, players will meet with their Staff Coaches to review the day’s events.  In addition, High Performance discussions led by our staff coaches and guest speakers occur throughout the week.  Topics will be relevant to the development of the modern player and include, “Playing Soccer in College”,” Behaviors for High Level Players” and “Nutrition and “Soccer Specific Conditioning.

At select The No.1 Elite Training Camp sites we host the No. 1 College Showcase ID events. When you enroll in the Elite Training Camp, you will have the opportunity to also enroll into the College Showcase ID Camp. The directors of our College ID Showcase Camps are all currently active college coaches. In addition, the College Showcase ID Camps allow you to be seen by, and to work directly with college coaches and their assistants from programs all over the US. Additional details regarding both events will be sent to you upon receipt of your registration.

We offer both Residential and Commuter options at The No.1 Elite Training Camp.  Resident campers stay on campus in the dorms at night, whereas commuter campers will leave for home following the Evening Field Session. The resident camper registration fee includes room and all meals.  Meals included in the commuter registration fee are lunch and dinner daily.  Residents and commuters will get the same No.1 Elite Training Camp on-field training.

Frequently Asked Questions

How are players evaluated?  Our professional staff coaches do a daily evaluation to ensure that the players are in the right groups and receiving the expert coaching that is expected. At the end of the week, every player will review with their staff coach No.1 Elite Training Camp Player Journal.  This detailed report is written with input of their staff coach during the week, and reviewed by the camp director.

Will this program help prepare the player for the next level?  Yes!  This specialized week of training will provide you with the confidence to make the next step in your playing career. Our staff is comprised of College level coaches and players. Whether you are getting ready for your High School, Club or College season, you will gain the confidence needed to compete at the next level.

New Programs for 2019 – No. 1 Soccer Camps


The No.1 Soccer Camps has always been at the forefront of providing the most relevant and modern methods in soccer camp instruction. In 2019 we will once again spread our wings and reach new heights with a revised and updated curriculum, as well as programming for campers at all age and ability levels. The most obvious change in our programming are the names of the sessions. We have changed from Jr. Academy to the No.1 Soccer Camps, and we have replaced Sr. Academy with the Elite Training Camp.  This article will explain the changes and relevance of the new No.1 Soccer Camps for boys and girls, field players and goalkeepers ages u10-u14.  Birth years 2005-2010.

The No.1 Soccer Camp is designed for boys & girls, goalkeepers and field players ages 10-14. The program has been designed to build a foundation that will help the participant’s progress to the next level of their development, this will be accomplished in a fun, entertaining and positive environment. Based on their birth year, our participants will be exposed to the six Key Qualities of a U.S Soccer Player. Our camp curriculum is very unique in that repetitions with the ball will give this group the confidence needed in the over 1,000 Go to Goal situations that players are exposed to throughout the week. The Machnik Method, a pediological approach to training, is present in every session. Competitive small sided tournaments will be played throughout the week, and be the highlight of our evening sessions. In our unique evening competitions, players will have the opportunity to compete against other teams (World Cup), other players (Dutch) and themselves (Pressure Training).

Goalkeeper Camp

A typical session will start with the Goalkeepers and Field Players working with their own specialized coaches. The topics covered on both training grounds will be mirror images of each other, so when they come together for the Small-Sided Game, the situations will be game related.  Spectacular goals and outstanding saves are the norm during the session.

All topics, exercises and games will be engaging and pertinent for this age group and ability level.  Our newly revised schedule and sessions will allow for more detailed sessions for our goalkeepers to explore in depth the qualities required to be a modern day goalkeeper. At the same time our field players will have additional training sessions that will expose our participants to the modern demands of technique and tactics to be a successful soccer player.

For our goalkeepers and our field players we will stress proper technical development with the ability to use real live situations in match related activities to challenge themselves and to execute those skills at the highest level.

We offer both Residential and Commuter options for our No.1 Soccer Camp. Resident campers stay on campus in the dorms at night, whereas commuter campers will leave for home following the Evening Field Session. The resident camper registration fee includes room and board, breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Meals included in the commuter registration fee are lunch and dinner.  Both residents and commuters will get the same No.1 on-field training and our highly acclaim and newly revised 75 point detailed Evaluation.

Challenge yourself to become the No. 1 player on your team and in your league!

Dear Soccer,

Dear Soccer,

I never thought you would mean so much to me when I first started playing.  I never thought you’d be my first love.  I never thought you would take me to college. You have affected my life in so many different ways.  Thank you for being there for me for 17 years.  Thank you for being my outlet, for never failing me.  Thank you for introducing me to some of the most amazing coaches who not only taught me about the game, but taught me about life.  Thank you for giving me teammates who became sisters I never had.  Thank you for teaching me dedication, hard work and leadership.  Thank you for all the memories, life lessons, and experiences you gave me through our life together.  It’s hard to see the good in goodbye here, but I understand nothing good can stay.  But, thank you for making me into the person I am today.

Love, Angelina

Angelina Piccirillo is a staff coach at No. 1 Soccer Camps in DanburySalisbury, Phelps School and Long Island.  She just finished her career at Albertus Magnus College where she was notably named Female Athlete of the Year in 2017.

Tryout Tips for Players & Parents

By: John Adams, No. 1 Soccer Camps Regional Director

Practice Technique and Comfort On The Ball

Weeks of preparation on the ball, receiving, trapping, killing, all pay off. Close control, or lack of it, is one of the two things easiest to observe in a tryout. (The other is pace). Don’t waste time on much psychological preparation except that the player should be bright, friendly, and communicative at the tryout. When bored with skill work, play 3v3 and 4v4 to cone goals.

Arrive Early and Get Touches in Early

Most players first 100 touches are not their best, yet many players come to tryouts and games and don’t get 100 touches on the ball before the match or tryout ends. From a practical point of view, come early with a partner and get at least 30 minutes of ball work (see point 1 above), preferably more, before the tryout begins.

Wear Distinctive Clothing If Allowed

At some ODP tryouts, white tee shirts are mandated, club uniforms are prohibited at most, for a lot of good reasons. But if you don’t have to wear white, why not wear something distinctive but not silly, like an Ajax top with a bold red panel down the front, or a Sheffield type top. I did a U19 ODP tryout once, and everyone had the same stuff on.  We had to sprint across the field to pick up numbers that got more crumpled as the time went on. It was a lot easier when one of the other coaches would point to someone with yellow shorts or striped socks and ask an opinion than when pointing to the girl with the same white tee shirt and blue shorts everyone else wore.  However, don’t show up in bright green fluorescent clothing, no one will take you seriously.

Play with Vigor and Influence the Game

Most tryouts start with small-sided games, like 4v4 or 5v5 to cone goals, and work up to 11 v 11 to goals with goalies. Most decisions are made in the small-sided phase. Often, players are rated 1, 2, 3. Definitely, maybe, and certainly not. In the 11v11 stage, the 2’s get the most playing time because a decision must be reached. Don’t try to guess whether you made it or not by which team you are on.  Play vigorously, don’t hold back, and try to win and use as many balls as possible to have as great an impact on the game as possible. For defenders, this means winning balls and then attacking out of the back by overlapping forward of their pass or running with the ball. Midfielders and strikers too should win and use as many balls as possible. The secret of staying involved in the attack is not to hog the ball and dribble the opponents, but to provide instant and continuing support for the passes.

Communicate in The Games

Players who give instructions and help other players with verbal and visual cues stand out as leaders. It does not have to be long winded or a continuous narrative, but good communication makes players stand out in a positive way to the observers. Silent players appear to be out of the game mentally.

Introduce Yourself and Ask Questions

Whenever there is a moment, the player should greet each of the coaches. It is sad to hear kids say that they went to the tryout but did not know who had evaluated them. Players should ask questions to ensure that they understand what’s going to happen at both the tryout and during any follow-on tryouts or administrative mumbo jumbo.

Ask for The Job

Good heavens, please tell the coaches you had a good time and want to play for the team. As a coach, I really have a much harder time cutting kids who show up, work hard, introduce themselves and who ask for the job than I do cutting kids who show up, play, and leave without indicating any interest.

PARENTS – Be Prepared

  • Understand that your child may not be the big fish anymore.
  • Part of being prepared is being realistic
  • Have an open mind. Accept that the coaches may see your daughter in a different role than what you have been used to.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the club beforehand.

PARENTS – Be Supportive

  • Before tryouts, tell them you love them
  • During tryouts, don’t stand on the sideline and coach them; don’t stand on the sideline lurking or with negative body language.
  • After tryouts, refrain from post-game analysis. Tell them you love them, ask them if they had fun and where they want to eat.
  • Sit back and enjoy. The angst that the players feel might go away if you’re relaxed.

PARENTS – Be Helpful

  • Dealing with disappointment is an important lesson that young people need to learn. With acceptance or rejection comes a teachable moment and a life lesson.
  • Take a neutral stance on the outcome of the evaluation process.
  • Support them no matter what the outcome is and that you are proud of them no matter what.
  • Ranting, raving and otherwise placing blame will harm your children’s development.


The World Cup, Russia 2018

The World Cup, Russia 2018

By Dr. Joe Machnik

In summers where there has been a World Cup, both Men’s and Women’s, it has always been a special time at No1 Soccer Camps. In the early years, when there was only limited TV coverage, we struggled to make the games available to our campers as part of the daily program. Of course, the USA did not qualify until 1990 and the camp was already in existence for 12 years. But we still wanted to learn all we could about the latest in goalkeeping, watching some of the best like Ranat Dassaev of Russia whose distribution was of such high quality that teams were careful to only take high quality scoring chances against him in fear of being counter attacked. In 1990 we were startled at the antics of Columbia’s Rene Higuita, one of the first sweeper keepers, and this year we hope that Manuel Neuer recovers from his injury in time to show us the perfection of that concept and how everything begins with the keeper’s starting position in relationship to the ball and the ability of the opponents to place a ball over the goalkeeper’s efforts to get back to the cross bar with footwork.

Over the years, when field players were added to the No.1 Camp program we had so many stars to emulate and from so many countries. But today’s super stars, Ronaldo, Messi and Neymar (also recovering from an injury) are expected to lead the pack. Will Robert Lewandowski be able to show his form for Poland without the Bayer Munich support staff is another good question?

One of my favorite times at camp was when we opened the camp in Dallas/Ft Worth @ TCU and the WC games were coming to us from Korea/Japan at 4AM. We didn’t wake up the campers (obviously) but many staff members set their alarms to watch the USA play and then caught an hour more sleep before sunrise soccer.

Of course, officiating has always been an issue at the WC and controversy has been a part of the mystery of the game. This year, however, FIFA is attempting to minimize the negative headlines that surround officiating with the use of video replay and the video assistant referee (VAR) program.

FIFA and the IFAB have experimented with VAR over the past two years at various competitions including the Bundesliga and MLS. The program has generated mixed results and there are those that believe that the experiment is incomplete and needs further practice. Time will tell if the objective of “minimum interference-maximum benefit” will be reached.

I have had the good fortune to be working as a Rules Analyst for FOX SPORTS and have spent considerable time studying the VAR program. In early April, I attend a VAR Seminar run by PRO, the officiating body in charge of professional games in the US, such as MLS. And in the same month, I delivered a presentation for the broadcasters and staff at FOX who are going to be working this summer’s World Cup. I believe, at this time, that I have a pretty good understanding of the protocol and processes which are to be implemented and which are designed to reach that objective.

It has always been understood that there are three (3) match critical decisions which Referee/Assistants make which influence the outcome of a game because of the low scoring nature of soccer. The importance of decisions pertaining to offside, penalty kicks and send offs (red cards) are clear to everyone. And because the game is now so fast, there are times where the Referee team can also miss an incident, perhaps off the ball, which maybe only visible with the help of instant replay.

One of the obvious benefits of VAR has been the reduction of off ball incidents, as player behavior has been modified with the knowledge that there is now no place to hide.

So as we once again watch the World Cup at No1 Soccer Camps, (all 64 games will be televised by Fox) I will have the personal responsibility and privilege of helping our broadcast teams and at times explaining to the TV audience; the intricacies of the VAR system, and there are many.

Every goal will be checked to see if there was an offside, or a foul in the attacking possession phase (APP) which might lead to overturning the decision and disallowing the goal. When the VAR system is used to make such a decision, the Referee will make a clear rectangular TV screen signal so that we all know that VAR has been used. FIFA has promised to show the video clip which enabled the correct decision to be made on the stadium’s giant screen and rapidly to the TV audience. Reviewing goals by this nature has the unfortunate effect of disallowing more goals than awarding which may be an unexpected and unwanted by product of the VAR system.

Also, being reviewed are every decision relating to the possibility of a penalty kick (PK). Was the foul inside the area or outside? Was their real illegal contact or simulation?

And of course, serious foul play and or violent conduct incidents will be reviewed to see if a send off is justified. In the Bundesliga, we have witnessed yellow cards turned to red and even a red card reversed to yellow, all with the assistance of the VAR system.

The VAR Manual containing all the protocol and processes is some sixty-seven (67) pages long, almost as long as the Laws of the Game (LOTG). It describes the various incidents at which VAR can be reviewed. Here are a couple to serve as an example:

  1. “What happens if the VAR identifies a clear mistake in a match changing incident after the Referee has blown the whistle for half or full time”?
  2. “What if a goal is scored after a possible penalty at the other end of the field”?
  3. “What happens if the VAR identifies a clear “missed” penalty kick but also an offside in the build up to the missed penalty”?

Of course, if I provided the reader with all the answers in this blog, there would be no need for you to listen to “Dr. Joe” when I try to explain what is happening on the field within seconds of the incident appearing on your TV screen.

This will be the sixth World Cup that I will be attending in person. My first was the ’82 Cup in Spain. I then had the good fortune to serve as Assistant Coach to the USA as we qualified for the 1990 World Cup in Italy. While everyone remembers the Paul Caligiuri goal which helped defeat Trinidad & Tobago in Nov. ’89; forgot in the mix that led to qualification for the USA’s first World Cup in forty years was the four (4) straight shutouts by Tony Meola, (all in one goal wins or zero-zero ties) and the penalty kick save by Dave Vanole (a five year No.1 Goalkeeper Camp camper and later staff coach) against Costa Rica which preserved our first win in the qualification process.

I also had the good fortune to attend the World Cups in Germany and France and of course in the USA in 1994. But this (2018) will be my first as a broadcaster.

The World Cup is the barometer by which all soccer is measured. It is considered the ultimate world-wide sporting event and soccer’s biggest stage and moment. Let’s all hope that the VAR system enhances the games to an even higher level. I know that I will be glued to the studio monitor watching every crucial event with the hope that previous errors which decided matches will be corrected now in a most sporting fashion. I hope all our readers will be watching as well and perhaps some of you watching at No.1 Soccer Camps.

Have a great summer!

It’s No. 1 Soccer Camps founder, Dr. Joe Machnik

There is an awfully familiar face in the broadcasting lineup for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™.

It’s No. 1 Soccer Camps founder Dr. Joe Machnik!

Last week, FOX Sports unveiled their all-star lineup of International Broadcasters to Celebrate the 50-day countdown to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™.  This summer’s global event, will air on FOX and FS1 from June 14 to July 15. The best-in-class broadcast team of play-by-play announcers, match analysts, studio hosts and commentators combine for a wealth of international on-field and television experience, including FIFA World Cups™, UEFA Champions League, FIFA Confederations Cups, Olympic Games, UEFA European Championships, CONCACAF Gold Cups and FA Cups.

Dr. Joe Machnik will offer his expertise as the RULES ANALYST for each and every broadcast.  He will be front and center trying to help the viewers sort out any situations that might get controversial during a match.

“Thank you to everyone in the No. 1 Soccer Camps community.  Players, parents, coaches, directors.  Your hard work has helped make this possible.” said Dr. Joe Machnik, last week.

Along with founding No. 1 Soccer Camps back in 1977, Dr. Joe Machnik is a former FIFA and CONCACAF Match Commissioner and was inducted into National Soccer Hall of Fame earlier this year. An All-America goalkeeper at Long Island University, he coached his alma mater to the 1966 National Championship Game and is believed to be the only person to play in the NCAA Soccer Tournament, coach in three NCAA finals and referee an NCAA Championship.

The (Ongoing) Evolution of the Goalkeeper Position

By: Lyndse Hokanson, Regional Director

I recently sat down to coffee with a mentor of mine, and we spoke at length about the position that is near and dear to both of our hearts: the most important position on the field, the goalkeeper (spoken like a true GK, I know).

We spent a majority of our time discussing the emergence of the spread/block breakaway save that is making its way through the professional and collegiate ranks. Below is a photo of Joe Hart, one of the best at this technique in the world. I expressed my naiveté to the training of the technique, as I never was taught nor used it growing up. We talked about the strengths of the technique and the weaknesses and how we think it should best be handled moving forward with our No. 1 goalkeeper curriculum. When I was learning breakaway saves, and particularly those that break to a semi-lateral position which the spread save is mostly used for, we were taught an array of techniques from the “cobra” block save with our forearms, to the stalk-set-save mantra that used to give me nightmares after long breakaway sessions. The advantage, and perhaps largest reason this technique has caught on is its ability to keep the goalkeeper upright, while allowing a maximum amount of the body’s surface area to obstruct the path between the ball and the goal. It also gives the goalkeeper the opportunity to save balls waist height and above with their hands while freeing the legs and feet to prove useful on low, hard, driven finishes. As field players in today’s game have grown in finishing finesse a la Messi and Christiano Ronaldo, it has forced the goalkeeper into becoming more savvy in their ability to stop a range of finishes from close range.

This extensive dialogue got me thinking about just how much the position has changed since I played it not so long ago, and even more from when said mentor played it. The position continues to evolve in so many ways as the rest of the game changes around it. As I was coming through the game from the youth levels on, the use of the goalkeeper’s feet was the trademark of the “modern goalkeeper.” We would spent countless hours on showing for and executing successful backpasses to help our team get out of pressure. At the time, goalkeepers with great feet were the way of the future and now it has become a necessity of the position at nearly all competitive levels.

I have heard arguments for a high starting position, an aggressive stance where the goalkeeper eliminates attacking threats before they happen by clearing balls with their feet. I have heard other coaches who argue that goalkeepers have the best chance to make the most number of saves by remaining close to their line and allowing for a greater amount of response time. I have heard coaches who believe that if a ball is not caught, the save is not nearly as successful, and others who have graduated to practically strictly parrying technique.

There have been an influx of opinions on everything from proper catching technique to proper diving technique, providing ample opportunity for debate and experimentation. Low dives in particular have started to morph as goalkeepers around the world are implementing a single-handed extension reach with a trap from the second hand versus a two-handed approach, as seen below.

All-in-all, the arguments continue to rage. And as the tactical shop-talk persists among soccer circles, so does the evolution of the goalkeeper position and the “right way” to do it amongst the goalcreatures (as my boss so affectionately coins us).  As a former goalkeeper and now college goalkeeper coach, what I can tell you is this: there is no one singular answer as to how to play the position. I know that may sound like an obvious answer, but among GK circles this is not the popular answer. Many seem to have their way or the highway. But having coached a variety of ages and body types, what is consistent among the samples is that some things work for certain kids that don’t work for others. Some kids can fly while others have quick feet and make saves upright. Some are going to de Gea their way through their career with a multitude of saves using their feet and calves while others will have safer hands than that famous insurance provider. For every technical robot there will be an unconventional save-maker who gets the job done.

My point to all of this is that as the game changes, and as the position changes, it is important for us as educators of the position to stay alert to the modern trends and pay mind to the way others are playing and training their goalkeepers. At the end of the day, by opening our minds to certain techniques and offering those ideas to our goalkeepers we give them the opportunity to find what works for them. So even if I am not a master of the Joe Hart spread save, by introducing the technique to my goalkeepers, I may give them a tool that allows them to be the best that they can be. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that the only way we can hurt our GKs is by making them only do things our way and not allowing them to find what will be their style. Here’s to continuing to watch the position evolve, and to may shutouts ever abound.


“The Machnik Method”

“The Machnik Method”

By Christine Huber, CAO – Regional Director No 1 Soccer Camps

Soccer parents ask me:  “Does your camp play 11 vs 11?”  Me – “No!”

Here at No. 1 Soccer Camps will use what is called the “Machnik Method.”  All of our games are played small sided in 4 vs 4 or 5 vs 5 situations.

Think about it, would you rather your child be standing as a left defender only touching the ball a few times during the course of the game? Or would you want them to get them involved in a diamond formation where they are constantly moving, constantly touching the ball, while constantly under pressure?

From the youngest age groups to the professional ranks; teams, leagues, and soccer organizations are now incorporating more small sided play into their practice plans.  The reason is simple: more involvement.  We call the small sided theory the “Machnik Method” after Dr. Joe Machnik.  “Dr. Joe” as Fox Sports, Rob Stone and Lexi Lalas love calling him…. is US Soccer’s Renaissance Man.  He was recently inducted into the National Hall of Fame and his influence on US Soccer is unparalleled.  From starting “Goalkeeper Wars”, “Dutch” tournaments, and many other small sided games, he has had his impact on coaches and players thought the world.

At No. 1 Soccer Camps we make our fields about 40 yards in length by 30 yards wide.  On offense, we are encouraging a diamond shaped formation.  This formation stretches the field in length and width.  With 4 players on the field, and one goalkeeper, everyone is not only touching the ball but will need to move off the ball and think ahead to be successful.  No matter what position you play, you need to be able to handle the ball in pressure situations.  In a 5 vs 5 game on a 40 yard long field, the pressure is high and the play is quick.  The player needs to think about how to create the best scoring opportunity quickly.  The first touch is crucial.  A bad decision can send the opposing team immediately to a goal scoring opportunity on a quick counter attack.  Due to the small field, players learn that if they lose the ball, they must be the first one to try to win it back.

The results we see week after week are amazing.  In just a few days, we see players gain confidence on and off of the ball by learning from their mistakes that they made earlier in the week.  We see players picking their head up and looking to score from 20 – 30 yards out.  We see the goalkeepers increase their communication and angle play because every player is dangerous with the ball at their foot in small sided games.  The bottom line is: the more involvement in the play, the better one will become.  This is the “Machnik Method”.


The Most Important Dimension of the Game


By Regional Director Rob Andrulis

Famous Basketball Coach John Wooden once said “The most important thing in any athletic endeavor is the 5-inch playing field between your ears”

Since the founding of No.1 Soccer Camps back in 1977 the focus on teaching the game has been an emphasis on the 4 dimensions. The Physical, Psychological, Technical and Tactical components of soccer.

In this article we will focus on the most important Dimension!

We asked Founder and Recent US Soccer Hall of Fame Inductee Dr Joe Machnik his take on this and how he incorporated it into the His “Machnik Methodology “of training.

“When Dettmar Cramer did the first US Soccer Coaching Schools; he was the first to expose us to the four dimensions of soccer.

We all had a sense of the physical and technical but struggled with the tactical and psychological.

Among the psychological factors stressed were will power (he called it “fighting power”) and mental toughness, ideas such as playing in pain (pressure training) and confidence to overcome adversity (early goal against, mistake by a GK, losing at half time)

I took those concepts and from my personal experiences as a goalkeeper developed a training method (if you will) which relied on the need to have those components to be successful. And an attitude for which they could work in the psychological intimidation of opponents. Cramer used to say: “The body says NO, but the mind says YES”

I used to love the comments by parents after camp which were more about the campers improved training habits, love for the game, recognition of intrinsic values, improved behavior around the game, higher level of confidence etc.”

Fast Forward to the late 1980’s

A young Goalkeeper named Jon Busch was attending camp and a few years later was asked to be on staff. Jon has had a storied playing career in college and in the professional ranks. It culminated with Jon being selected as the 2008 Major League Soccer Goalkeeper of the year!

We ask Jon to share is experience at No.1 Soccer Camps first as a camper and then as a staff member, and how the most important dimension influenced and molded him into the player he became.

“I think I went 2 or 3 years as a camper.  That would have been around 89-90.  I went to Pennsylvania first time, then CT second and if there was a 3rd year also would have been CT.  The following year is when Doc made me the “demo boy”.  I did this for 2-3 years also.  First year was just on the east coast camps, Windsor CT, Philadelphia Pennsylvania, Atlanta Georgia.  The next year Doc flew me all over, Dallas Texas, Dayton Ohio, east coast, west coast, wherever he told me to go I did.  Back then we would train 3 times a day and lectures in the evening.  They taught us that to be successful in the game not only did you have to be physically tough but also mentally tough.  To be able to control your mind when your body wanted to give up, to keep working at your craft even when a mistake was made.  As I went into college and then the pros I took these lessons and applied them even more.  I never allowed myself to be outworked by anyone no matter if it was on the field or in the gym.  As a shorter goalkeeper I had to prove myself even more and be mentally tougher than any other goalkeeper because my height was always in question.  These lessons I learned made me a very focused, driven Goalkeeper.  I would not have had a 21-year pro career without these early lessons from No.1 Soccer Camps.

My impressions of Doc were that he was a goalkeeping god.  When he would show up and talk everyone was in awe.  We hung on every word he said.  He was the man when it came to goalkeeping at that time.  As I got to know him, and his wife Barbara I realized how much they cared for all their staff and campers and how we were like their family.  They are wonderful people and so caring.  They have a special place in my heart even to this day for the opportunity they gave me.  I am eternally grateful.”

Jump Ahead to the modern day

Charlies Shanks was born in York England and played soccer in England and Switzerland before moving to the USA. Charlie attended the No.1 Soccer Camps College Prep Performance Academy in 2015 at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury Ct. Charlie Currently plays High School Soccer for Litchfield High School in Litchfield CT. Charlie this past season played a pivotal role as the attacking Midfielder for his team and was selected All Conference first team and All State First team. Charlie also led the conference in goals scored last season and has become one of the conferences Elite Players.

We asked Charlie about his experience at camp and how the most “Important Dimension” has helped him continue to improve and excel at soccer and beyond.

“No.1 Soccer Camps helped me develop to the high school game tremendously. The physicality and quickness of soccer in high school and college means that being technically good is not enough.No.1 Soccer Camps caters to this because throughout the week, the training sessions focus on speed and fitness as well the skills-based part of the game and the mental side as well. One day we had a strength and conditioning coach come in and he did a clinic with us that improved our speed and running technique. As a player that relies more on my skill than speed, this clinic helped me bring another vital element to my game. This emphasis on speed also affected me mentally as it creates a mindset of playing quickly and sharpening my decision making.”

“It is a tradition at No.1 Soccer Camps that one night every camp, everyone did pressure training. It is basically a series of one-minute stents which are physically challenging and exhausting. As the night goes on, the intensity does not drop but the stents just get harder. Therefore, the session made me mentally stronger because you have to push through the pain whilst still concentrating on the exercise. This is a session we also do during the high school season and it mimics the tiredness one feels towards the end of a game when it is crucial one can mentally and physically perform to the same level as in the first 5 minutes.”

“My favorite thing about No.1 Soccer Camps was the college ID camp at the end. It was awesome that after working all week to improve our game and condition ourselves, we were able to then show our abilities to actual college coaches. In addition, the standard of soccer was very high from the kids from camp, so it was great, competitive soccer.”

Come Join us this summer and be apart of over 85,000 campers who have made their mark on soccer fields across the country!

No.1 For A Reason!

The Best Article I’ve Ever Read…..

The Best Article I’ve Ever Read…

by John Adams, No. 1 Soccer Camps Regional Director

Twitter has been a truly amazing resource for me as a coach over the last 5 years.  I have been able to connect with coaches from across the country and across the pond to get new ideas, share my own and grow as a coach.  An article I came across the other day was an interview with Xavi Alonso titled “Clearing the Ball is an Intellectual Defeat”

You can view the article in full here

Xavi talks about improving the mental aspect of the game.

One thing I try and impress upon my teams (college and youth) is to change the timeline of receiving the ball.



Imagine how quickly your team would be playing if you presented them with this challenge every time you took the field at training.  This is something I try and hammer home with my players during every session.  It is not easy for them and there is a lot of resistance initially.  Simply looking around, creating pictures in their minds, not focusing on the ball and using all this information to problem solve is extremely difficult for them.  It needs to be trained every single day.

I encourage everyone to read that article, then re-read it again later.  Bookmark it as a favorite and refer back to it later.  Incorporate problem solving into each one of your sessions.  If each one of us as coaches does this a little bit better, imagine the benefits that will come of it.

Piano Lessons & Soccer


We recently attended a Piano Concert where 20 Etudes were played by five world class pianist over a two hour period. The concert was incredible, as were the performers. In the note section of the Playbill, it was noted that the composer of the music and his teaching style was based on a “Pedagogical Approach”. At the No.1 Soccer Camps this “Pedagogical Approach” has been in use since our founding.

This step by step process is well-known and used by teachers in various disciplines including the academic disciplines, the arts and sciences and athletics. It is also used in teaching the individual techniques of soccer skills. While we all marvel at the best players in the world who dazzle us with intuitive and incredible creativity, there is little doubt that even they learned those skills, and can execute them instantaneously at the most important moment of a match, over time, with much trial and error. A basic premise would be that there is not a single best method for teaching soccer, or music or writing. Most theory programs and individual teaching programs are a compromise among various possible approaches. Good teaching/coaching then is the ability to recognize the strengths and weakness of a wide variety of approaches then blend the greatest number to form your session.

A secondary part of a Pedagogical Approach is when we relate theory and practice we should then give our participants an opportunity to reflect on their own learning experience. After a session for our field players that incorporates the technical ingredients of striking the ball, or for our goalkeepers who work on the technique of diving to make a save, the next logical step, the “pedagogical” step is to provide  our participants the opportunity explore and reflect on their own learning experience. We do this by affording the opportunity to all of our participants to explore relevant techniques in small sided games. These opportunities create the formulation of strategies to explore the technique and to encourage the real life application of the technique. We engage our participants by providing a positive learning culture where teaching is matched with individual exploration and the opportunity to reflect. We understand that learning takes place in multiple environments, and that is important for us to provide that environment within our one week camp.

If you have ever wondered about the roots of No. 1 Soccer Camps, you need to start with Dr. Joe Machnik. Few people in American soccer history have had such a diverse and distinguished career. Even fewer have impacted the American soccer scene in such an indelible way. From his humble beginnings in Brooklyn, to becoming a World Cup and Professional coach, Dr. Joe has helped transform the American soccer landscape in a profound and meaningful way.

Joe Machnik’s No.1 Soccer Camps, the first national camp of its kind when it debuted in 1977, was designed for the instruction and training of youth and elite soccer players. Here Machnik developed a methodology and pedagogical style which is universally recognized and used today. His technical and tactical training sessions are considered to be standard.

No. 1 Soccer Camps is the first national soccer specialty camp of its kind. The No. 1 Goalkeeper Camp and the No. 1 Striker Camp offers an incredible opportunity for players to challenge themselves in a unique full week of soccer education. Here Machnik developed a methodology and pedagogical style which is universally recognized and used today. Based on our unique “Go to Goal” curriculum with modern methodologies, we offer five distinct training levels and programs for a unique week of soccer education for field players and goalkeepers of every age and ability level.