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The Kid Has Mad Skills

Madin Mohammed, a 6-year-old born in Algeria who moved with his family to France, has become an Internet phenomenon.

Here's why:

Where's the young Dema Kovalenko to take him out?!

By Steve Goff  |  February 20, 2009; 2:10 PM ET
Categories:  Misc.  
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Comments

Are you sure that's not Franco Niell and this isn't a scam like the Dominican baseball "kid"?

Posted by: OWNTF | February 20, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

DCU should sign up Kun Aguero's kid that was born this week. With Aguero's and Maradona's genes, that kid is bound to be a helluva football player.

Posted by: vmrg1974 | February 20, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Niell's touch wasn't that good!

Posted by: ncguy | February 20, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Ball hog!

Posted by: joedoc1 | February 20, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Ball hog!

Posted by: joedoc1 | February 20, 2009 2:23 PM
-------------

boot it!

Posted by: hogmesh | February 20, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

does he have any moves except the full soul roll and the cruyuff turn?

and the best part? Le Pen is already talking about how he's 'not really french'

Posted by: joshuaostevens | February 20, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Send it!

Posted by: joedoc1 | February 20, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I got that move.

-B Olsen-

Posted by: CrippledKeeper | February 20, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Kovelanko? What about Stoichkov?

Posted by: delantero | February 20, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

In all seriousness, it's interesting how basketball and soccer in the United States differ on this.

American basketball players are routinely criticized for lacking fundamentals, which the Europeans are said to do very well -- and which is why they've eliminated the gap between us and the world. We can dunk, but they can shoot, pass and defend.

Meanwhile, American soccer players are criticized for being too robotic, too predictable... that we lack the flair of the Central and South American players. (And, for that matter, of six-year-old Algerians).

I'm starting to see evidence (in my own small world) of young players being given the freedom to express their individual flair. Credit YouTube, credit FSC, credit FIFA 09, credit good coaching... whatever, it's becoming acceptable to allow kids to dribble. That's an important step for the development of soccer in U.S. of A.

Awaiting the slings and arrows of my Insider colleauges...

Posted by: joedoc1 | February 20, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

big deal, i didn't see him even score one goal.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | February 20, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I agree to a point, Joedoc. Has to be a happy medium there somewhere. All the dribbling in the world can't save a kid who can't shoot accurately and conversely, a kid who can't open up space for himself to get a good shot won't do well, either.

Posted by: CrippledKeeper | February 20, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

""Meanwhile, American soccer players are criticized for being too robotic, too predictable... ""

I remember watching Ben Olsen at UVA in the Final Four in Richmond (against UCLA?). There was a guy in front of me who kept saying "What a hot dog, pass it."

Ben was non-stop energy that day.

I just laughed and thought . . . he's the best player on the field and he's going to be in the World Cup . . .

Posted by: delantero | February 20, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the kid has been watching a lot of Zidane. I didn't see the head butt though, was it in there?

Posted by: Eugene7 | February 20, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

6-year-old me would definitely be earning a yellow for "persistent infringement"...

Posted by: xstillillx | February 20, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Well he is already as tall as Freddy Adu and looks to have more skill. C'mon MLS this is your next 15 minutes of fame!

Posted by: DCU_VW | February 20, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Damn, hip hop sounds SO much better in French.

Posted by: jeffResistor | February 20, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

does he have any moves except the full soul roll and the cruyuff turn?

and the best part? Le Pen is already talking about how he's 'not really french'

Posted by: joshuaostevens | February 20, 2009 2:28 PM

Hahahahahahahha

Posted by: ZidVicious | February 20, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Wow, those kids he was schooling are woeful. If that's the future of French defending then Lizarazu is already warming up to roll in his grave.

Posted by: MBUSA | February 20, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I bet the parents of the other kids in his league can't stand him.

Posted by: SonicDeathMonkey | February 20, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Well he is already as tall as Freddy Adu and looks to have more skill. C'mon MLS this is your next 15 minutes of fame!

Posted by: DCU_VW | February 20, 2009 3:01 PM
**********************

Open your eyes. That IS Freddy.

He's just gotten a bit pale under that weak European sun.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | February 20, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

6? Come on, show me the bone scan. Till then I don't believe it!

Posted by: LookingDangerous | February 20, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Damn, hip hop sounds SO much better in French.

Posted by: jeffResistor | February 20, 2009 3:04 PM

Good lord tell me your kidding.

Posted by: DadRyan | February 20, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Where's the young Dema Kovalenko to take him out?!

By Steve Goff | February 20, 2009; 2:10 PM ET
-------------------------------------------
Working with the rest of the Pink Cows 7-and-under travelling team....

Posted by: throwin | February 20, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I don't know about the parents hating him, but I bet his teammates can't stand him. I love the spot about two minutes in where he's madly dribbling away against three defenders, while his teammate stands 5 yards away, wide open and waving at him to pass.

Posted by: jburksva | February 20, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I said the same thing when I saw it on Goal.com: He's got no left foot.

I kid of course.

Joedoc, there's credit to your argument: My little brother went to a tryout at a small college the other day, I took him and a couple of his high school friends. I was talking with the Coach (Irish, played a couple of seasons in the Championship), he said when he moved to America about 5 years ago he couldn't believe the number of kids with even above average dribble/trick skills. He said the ability to watch the high levels on tv, plus the fifa video games and the internet (even pointing out youtube) has really opened eyes of a younger generation as to this style of play, something he in no way expected.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | February 20, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

He has tremendous balance and body control, as well as foot-eye coordination. It's like watching a young Cristiano Ronaldo. Shooting touch will be there, too. The only thing is whether he gets power behind his shot. Based on the other factors, I'm sure he will. It's not like basketball. There's a far greater correlation between the skills/ability needed to control a ball like that, and the ability to score. In basketball, you can be a great shooter, even if you can't dribble a lick, and vice-versa. Less likely to have one-trick ponies in soccer. True, he will have to learn how to use his dribbling to create space to pass, instead of just to show off. Can't be much fun to be on his team, or playing defense.

I don't know if Ben has all those moves -- especially that trailing foot behind the back touch.

I miss Dema.

Posted by: fischy | February 20, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Don't you see how edited the tape is.

Posted by: Chrltuna | February 20, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Wow, the kid can dribble. Now all he needs to do is pass, shoot, head, run, play defense, tackle, cross, play a long ball, and learn to position himself, and he'll be a heck of a player.

Take THAT, six-year-old boy!

Posted by: jsm91 | February 20, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

The next Denielson.

Posted by: DCUinCT | February 20, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Joedoc: it's not about kids having the freedom to dribble and take people on, it's about them perfecting that skill outside the practice and team environment. you can't teach that, and no amount of two hour practices will help kids develop it. training and organized matches are for fundamental skills and tactics, playing on your own is how you develop foot skills like this.

basketball's not a bad comparison. since the early nineties, the foreign players entering the NBA have had great fundamentals (I think back to the pioneers from eastern Europe like Vlade Divac and Saurunas Marciolonis, Arvydas Sabonis, Drazen Petrovic and others) they were brilliant spot shooters, great passers, super team players. these are the things you learn playing on teams. you'll notice that what you get on these players are shooting guards and agile big men. what they don't have, as a general rule, and still don't have, is the ability to create. (Dirk Nowitzki is the exception that proves the rule) you get role players, not that certain flair that allows you to break down a team and win a game on your shoulders. I consider a college god like JJ Reddick to be a European style basketball player. He can shoot the freaking lights out, but he's missing the x factor that allows success at the higher levels. that X factor comes from street ball, playground ball, spending a childhood with the ball in your hands. and even then, you are more likely than not to fail. some players have that creativity, which combined with immense talent, superior coaching and dedication beyond anything we can imagine, produces a player capable of taking over a game at the highest levels.

I'm not talking about a Messi, or a CR07, or a Jordan, or Tiger, or LeBron, or LaDanian, those absolute freaks of nature who had all of that and a talent beyond anyone else. I'm talking about the next level down, the backbone of a team and program. how do you take a playground legend in the making and make him a professional? how do you take a future solid professional and give him that x factor of creativity? it's easier to do the first than the second. you can teach ball skills, but it's only in repetition after repetition in varied environments that makes it instinctual. you don't learn to win in training, and you can't play enough formal games to make that happen. you learn that instinctual behavior in hundreds of hours of playing, over and over, against anyone you can.

There is a park near my apartment with a basketball court. there are kids out there shooting hoops from dawn to dusk on weekends, and all the time after school. there are adults playing, teenagers, all the time. you can't walk by without seeing it in use. until that level of play happens in soccer, we'll never make it.

Posted by: joshuaostevens | February 20, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Good lord tell me your kidding.

Posted by: DadRyan | February 20, 2009 3:41 PM

To kid is the only reason I ever post.

Posted by: jeffResistor | February 20, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else get the impression that tape was speeded up, particularly the clips of ball handling with just the kid on the screen? And yeah lots of editing - I think the few passes we saw him start to make weren't headed anywhere good. But mostly, I can't believe I'm taking cracks at the moves of a 6-yr old. Way to go kid!

Posted by: regularfan | February 20, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

"Meanwhile, American soccer players are criticized for being too robotic, too predictable... that we lack the flair of the Central and South American players."

One criticism of American coaching is that coaches remove the "creative license" from players. Coaches don't encourage dribbling specifically and creativity overall. Coaches are taught to "enforce" team play. This 6 year old is accordingly a coach's worst nightmare.

What's gotta happen is that American coaches need to find time to encourage creativity and experimentation. On many competitive teams there simply is no time for this, and as a result the players, and the overall play, suffer.

Of course it is a matter of balance. Wunderkids like this one will at some point realize the need to pass the ball. That will come over time, perhaps when Dema Jr. gets tired of watching the dance and gives him a stiff one...

Posted by: 22206no1 | February 20, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

A young Dema? I was waiting for a mini-Materazzi to sneak in, say something about the kid's 3-year-old sister, and take a nice little forehead to the chest...

Posted by: edub21 | February 20, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I've played for 20 years and don't have near the dribbling ability of that kid...

But can he execute a clean slide-tackle? That's what I learned at 6.

I bet he'll end up in Olympique Marseille's youth program before being sold to ManU.

Posted by: alecw81 | February 20, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Anyone want to guess why around the 48 second mark there's a quick flash (which when paused) that looks like a tv game show host and audience?

Subliminal game-show advertising?

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | February 20, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

The thought of a young Dema Kovalenko coming in and messing the kid up made me smile a lot more than it should have...

Posted by: sitruc | February 20, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Poopy, it's a news anchor. The editing is, based on what I saw on Goal.com, just taking out the news guys and excessive replays of the same moves.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | February 20, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Wow... I lived in Algeria as a kid, and there were tons of talented kids there. Anyone remember the '82 World Cup when Algeria beat West Germany and then got jobbed by the Austria-Germany conspiracy? Unfortunately, the civil war in the '90s wrecked a lot of civil society (including the soccer infrastructure) and the club and national teams have never recovered from that.

Posted by: edgeonyou | February 20, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

The sad thing is that as soon as he has a growth spurt he'll lose all that balance and probably some speed. The skill is remarkable though. His father must be a huge pain in the ass.

Posted by: Eric_in_Baltimore | February 20, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Anyone can look great around little kids.

Posted by: Freddy_ADU | February 21, 2009 12:08 AM | Report abuse

His coach needs to teach him how to pass.

Posted by: bartapest1 | February 21, 2009 5:23 AM | Report abuse

I saw atleast 4 passes in the video.

Most of the video was practice sessions of him taking on 2 defenders as well as a coach. There is no need to pass when it is him vs the 2 or 3.

Posted by: FutbolDoc | February 21, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

"I'm gonna get him. Kid shouldn't be dribbling a ball if he doesn't want to get hit."

-- Adrian Serioux

Posted by: stancollins | February 21, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

hmmm, wonder when the the first euro team will offer him a contract

Posted by: doh1 | February 22, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

The kid is 6 he can learn to shoot and pass at any point later in his life, but his dribbling moves will seperate him from the rest of the pack. Who cares if he scored he is 6. That is not important at that age. The real problem in the US is all of the soccer ignorance. Thinking winning and scoring is important at 6. Thats why we can't win and score at 25.

Posted by: jmmills20 | February 22, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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