Youth Development: From Losers to World Cup Champions

A few weeks ago, Japan’s women’s soccer team won the World Cup beating the favorite American team in a penalty shootout after twice coming from behind.  Along the way, Japan had eliminated another favorite team: Germany, the host of the 2011 World Cup and winner of the last two Cups.  What’s remarkable is that just twelve years ago, Japan was routinely losing to the U.S. by scores of 9-0 and 7-0.  So how did the Japanese close the gap so quickly with only 25,000 females playing the sport, while 7 million do so in the Unites States?  That’s a story that should be of interest to American Judo.

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