Cosmos Academy Introduces the 5,000 Touch Challenge

Mar 27, 2020
Are you ready for the 5,000 Touch Challenge?
The New York Cosmos have come up with a series of individual exercises for their Academy players that the club wants to share with the rest of the soccer world during these trying times of social distance during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The team has unveiled a series of video drills that boys and girls can work out on their own, whether they are on their front lawn, in their backyard or basement or even a big room in their house or apartment.
"You don't need a lot of space to do it," Cosmos Academy director Ronan Wiseman said. "We thought it was a good idea to send them some work to do, some homework in a safe environment. We don't want them going out and gathering in groups. That's why the exercises are all individual."
"These are decent little workouts that you can do at your house pretty simply, get a good workout in and stay sharp on the ball," said Cosmos center back Matt Lewis, who demonstrated the various moves from his family house in Kansas City, Mo.
The players are asked to do a certain number of touches on the ball, in the hundreds, up to 500 times. The exercises start with some basic pendulum switches to get the players' heart rate going. 
"There's some different variations," Lewis said. "You can move around, move side to side, forward sand backwards. You can rotate yourself, just making it more difficult."
Other videos include juggling challenges, passing a ball against a wall, the world-famous Cruyff turn, the V turn, among other drills.
"We're not reinventing the wheel by any stretch," Lewis said. "These are things that have been around for a long time. Kids are probably doing this stuff. Everybody does a little bit better with a guideline. If you’ve got an outline of what you have to do and see it. You see it in the young kids today. They are getting more technical. The emphasis is so much more technical than what it was when we were growing up. these kids are going to be doing this kind of stuff a lot more on their own. It’s going to be a lot bigger emphasis for them to be on the ball."
There is another level involved as well - building up speed over a certain amount of time.
"We asked them to record the time it takes them to do all of the touches and then the next time they do it, they have to try to beat that time," Wiseman said. "As they're playing at a fairly high level and they want to continue playing at a high level, speed of play and technical speed is a big thing. This is going to help them achieve that. As far as soccer is concerned, they are all type A's. So, they want to compete. They want to be the best."
The 5,000 Touch Challenge has a multi-fold purpose: to give Academy players an opportunity to hone and refine their skillset, have them learn new ones and keep them active.
"We didn't know the extent of the shutdown, didn't know what it was going to look like. Now, it seems it's going to be a long-time thing," Wiseman said. "We have the hope of getting back on the field by the end of April, if things work. It's a very fluid thing.

"But in the meantime, we have the Academy kids sitting around and not able to do much. We thought, 'Ok, let's give them something to do individually.' At least they can maintain the level of technical expertise that they have building up over the past three or four years, depending on how long they have been playing in the Academy so you don't want that to fall behind."

Introduction with Matt Lewis

Drill #1: Pendulums

Drill #2: Sole Touch

Drill #3: Juggling

Drill #4: V-Turn

Drill #5: Cruyff Turn

Drill #6: One-Touch Passing

Drill #7: Two-Touch

Passing Drill #8: Reciving On The Turn

Drill #9: Final Challenge

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