When you zig, he zags. His coworkers might consider him overrated, but that doesn’t seem to phase the speed at which he dispenses his unconventional wisdom. Somehow, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh telling prospective football recruits to play soccer through junior high is the second most interesting thing he’s said today,
On Monday, the Wall Street Journal ran a story about Jim Harbaugh and his unconventional advice to those who want to play football at the next level.
While hosting a camp for young quarterbacks, Harbaugh threw them a curveball by converting the Michigan practice space into a soccer field. While the young quarterbacks were ready to show off their arm strength and accuracy and hopefully earn a scholarship offer before playing in a high school, Harbaugh had other plans.
According to Harbaugh, players should play soccer until eighth grade before making the transition to football.
“There is really no other game like it,” Harbaugh said last month after Michigan practiced with the Italian Serie A club AS Roma . “I always encourage youngsters in America to play soccer.”
The reason Harbaugh advocates that players learn to play soccer competently is obvious. The parallels and similarities to American football are abound, and in terms of testing an athletes physical in endurance, few other sports can compare to soccer. Balance, coordination, thinking on the fly, and working in unison with 10 other players on the field, all without taking a monster hit. It’s kind of surprising it is taking so long for other coaches to get on the soccer bandwagon.
If you need any further proof, consider that Harbaugh had his own players scrimmage against the AS Roma while they were visiting Italy earlier this year.
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