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Published on 05 Jul 2011 | over 5 years ago

When Brendan was four years old, he wanted to learn how to develop football/soccer skills like his heroes in the 2010 World Cup. There was, however, a big problem. His mother and I are both paralyzed and unable to demonstrate skills. All he had was a little brother and the internet. I showed them Mohammad Madin’s “Next Ronaldo” video and Hassan Ayari’s “Little Messi” video, which they used to train. A month later, Brendan asked to make a video of him doing Madin’s and Ayari’s skills. We combined the title of Madin’s and Ayari’s videos to make a bit of a joke out of our channel name. Messi and Ronaldo are obviously opposites. To be Messi is NOT to be Ronaldo. The kids would always say that they were trying to be like Messi when practicing fundamental skills and trying to be like Ronaldo when doing futsal training. The titles of all of our early videos were likewise hybrids of Madin’s and Ayari’s videos. Brendan, however, insisted on adding Ronaldinho to the title because he loved his elastico.

We never thought that our soccerskills4kids.com videos would get more than 300 views. We were shocked when our channel received over 10 million views and thousands of subscribers. Our training videos were meant only to help teach skills to local kids whom we coach for free. Brendan, Julian, and I learned that even in a wheelchair I could coach as well as able-bodied coaches by using YouTube as part of our regular training. Once Brendan and Julian had learned the skills on the internet, I was able to use them as my assistant coaches. They were able to teach the kids by demonstrating the skills that I could no longer demonstrate myself. Even able-bodied coaches began to use Brendan and Julian to demonstrate skills in practices because they had learned so much from YouTube. When our soccerskills4kids.com players were practicing at home, moreover, they could just go to our YouTube channel to see ball familiarity drills and cone drills. It turned out to be a successful training system for the kids in our community. Brendan, Julian, and I have helped to develop around 40 players from various clubs in Arizona (for free).

For those who have asked, Brendan and Julian can claim dual U.S./German citizenship because their grandmother was essentially kidnapped from Bayern/Bavaria after the war. Her German family didn't find her until 40 years later. It’s a complicated, legal nightmare even for a lawyer like me. They initially learned to play football like someone from Latin America, particularly Brazil and Argentina. They have family from both Germany and Brazil. They are presently learning German, hoping one day to be able to speak with their cousins who speak very little English.

The footage on the beach was Brendan's first time ever trying to kick a ball on sand. It was really thick sand, too, so it made for a lot of fun.

The song is Insanity by Dan Marciano and Michael Kaiser.

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