The match pitted two select teams against each other. The teams were divided between players affiliated with Liga clubs (Teplice, Jablonec, Liberec, etc.) and non-Liga teams (Dechin). The pitch was a dark dirt surface, which had no grass and appeared to be tightly compacted dirt and gravel. This surface has the advantage of being basically impervious to weather. Though it had rained continuously for the week prior to my visit and the match was played during a steady drizzle, there was no standing water on the field, the pitch was fast and the ball traveled true. Dechin had a nice clubhouse with a bar and restaurant on the premises. The match was lightly attended but the restaurant was full. The match consisted of two games between the same players with a 20 minute break in between.
The Liga players clearly had the better of the run of play, although the first match ended in a draw. The second match was 2-0 at half. The teams showed all the disparities in size you expect of 14 year old boys. Neither side seemed to have an advantage due to the size, although the Liga teams were slightly bigger physically.
I observed the following differences between the teams and American youth players:
In the final third of the field, the Liga players always followed their pass with a penetrating run. The run was not always rewarded with a return pass, but often was effective to move defenders and create new playing options for the player on the ball.
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©2000 Scott Placek