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Best Practices

What's really important about the U.S. Soccer Federation's ambitious move into youth soccer isn't just the U-16 and U-18 boys leagues of its new U.S. Soccer Development Academy.


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Keys to good corner kicks

The corner kick is an incredible opportunity to score, and it's something players can practice on their own, because unlike a cross that you're hitting during the run of play, the corner kick is always taken from the same distance, give or take the few yards by which the width of fields varies from stadium to stadium.


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A meaningful version of 'Soccer Dad'

The expression "Soccer Mom" has become a cliché. Sadly, some moms can be obnoxious spectators, too. Often, they learn that behavior observing men. Imagine the good that would come from being a highly visible and meaningful version of "Soccer Dad?"


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Tryouts: The whys, why-nots and maybes

In a typical club system where parents fund their child's experience and pretty directly the club and its employees -- team formation can be the most difficult part of the year.


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The Coed Question

Prior to puberty, there is no gender-based physiological reason to separate males and females in sports competition. However, sex-separate programs may be appropriate because of non-gender differences in skill or experience.
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A Case for High School Ball

Club coaches and high school coaches can work together to develop a player not only in technical and tactical skills and awareness but also with the intangible experience for playing for something greater than themselves: their community.


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From Passionate to Frenzied

Believe it or not, there was a time not so long ago that families spent Saturday mornings together at home or someplace other than a soccer field. ... When I was growing up, youth sports were dominated by boys, and kids generally didn't get started in team sports until 3rd grade at the earliest, joining seasonal teams like football, baseball ...
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Clubs Face Major Transformation

Youth clubs try to generate revenue to support their ambitions by appealing to players whose families are willing to pay higher fees. The competition for players and in some cases, "warm bodies," is exposing a major chink in youth soccer armor.


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Intelligent Crossing

One reason so many crosses don't end up producing a scoring chance is because players too often send them in blindly. They figure that if they're on the wing, just whip the ball into the middle. Even in the pros, you see this time after time. A player moves down the wing and launches a cross even if there are ...
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How Much Soccer is Too Much Soccer?

How much soccer is too much soccer? From my perspective as a sports medicine specialist, I know when a player has played too much when various types of "overuse" injuries start appearing.


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Time for a Children's Revolt

Some of the things I've heard adults yell at children at soccer games are just downright hilarious. Like the coach who yelled at a 6-year-old, "Give him a target on the flank!"


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Filling a player's 'emotional tank'

A player's "emotional tank" is similar to a car's gas tank. When the tank is full, the player runs well. With an empty tank, the player does not run at all. Coaches, parents and players can fill or drain tanks, depending on how they communicate.
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Small-Sided Games: What's all the fuss?

For quite a few years now US Youth Soccer, U.S. Soccer, AYSO and the NSCAA have advocated playing less than 11-a-side soccer for our younger players.
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How To Save Your ACL

"You've torn your ACL." That's a phrase no player wants to hear. In the United States it is estimated that 250,000 people tear an ACL each year, and a substantial number of them will undergo reconstructive knee surgery. But recent studies suggest that specific training methods can reduce the number of ACL tears sustained by soccer players.


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A Positive Approach to Player Development

Player development is critical to U.S. soccer success. Without a pipeline of prospects, the USA cannot compete with the traditional world powers. The best way to build, fill and maintain that pipeline is to help kids fall in love and stay in love with soccer.
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