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The man who's coached 4,000 coaches

On a cold, blustery early December weekend, 34 coaches from the Washington, D.C., area braved the weather conditions to take Len Oliver's USSF E Course. The coaches in attendance hailed from 10 different countries, including Mali, Honduras, Cambodia, Vietnam, Bulgaria, Ethiopia, England, Afghanistan and France, bringing the total countries represented in the training over the years to 77.
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Feedback on Parent Behavior, Overcoaching ...

Soccer America readers comment on recent editions of the Youth Soccer Insider e-letter.
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Parents On The Other Side

Two weeks ago, our soccer league had its end of year tournament. As the previous game ended, my daughter's coach strode to the far side of the field to set up the bench for the girls. The coach -- and the parents -- of our opponents surprisingly followed suit, setting up camp directly next to our team.


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Being Different in an Ocean of Great Players

Every young player knows the feeling. You're playing in a big game and there are college coaches on the sidelines. Every time you do something good, they seem to be looking the other way. Every time you mess up, they're looking right at you.
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Pickup vs. Organized (Coaches Survey)

For today's youth soccer player in the United States, there exist two prevailing systems under which their sporting experiences take place. One can be referred to as the institutionalized or organized approach, where the athlete plays and trains under the direct supervision of coaches and administrators.
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Concussions: Tips for Sideline Management

Concussion is a controversial and tricky medical topic, but any coach or parent who works with soccer players needs to know what to do if you are faced with a situation in which you suspect a player has had a concussion.


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Girls & Boys: Taking Gender Into Account

My daughter comes bursting through the door after soccer practice and exclaims, "Mom! We had so much fun! Maya and Natalie and I got to be on the same team!" "Did you win?" I ask. She replies, "I have no idea."


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The Role of Captains

In preparation for your next season, give some thought to the role of captains on your team. In a recent Leadership Roundtable Conference Call for leaders of schools and youth sports organizations partnered with Positive Coaching Alliance, we identified several best practices in:


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Pro Role Models Return for U.S. Girls Along with Top Level Soccer

What a busy time it has been for us the past six months at the Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) league office: new faces in the front office, teams drafting their first players for the 2009 season, the announcement of our national television partner - Fox Soccer Channel - and the addition of the San Francisco Bay Area as the league's ...
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Refocusing the Player Development Model

Having been involved in soccer in the USA since 1967, I have had the pleasure of seeing it grow beyond anyone's expectations. The shear number of players is staggering to say the least. FIFA stats indicate that the USA now leads the world in registered youth players.
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For all Shapes and Sizes

This past Saturday, as I stood on the sidelines of my daughter's soccer game, it struck me: I was looking at a group of 9-year-olds of all sizes. Some, like my daughter, are tiny spitfires of energy. Others have already hit a growth spurt and are nearly my height (all of 5-foot-5). But while there is no uniformity in height, ...
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Dealing with sideline abuse

Brian Hall became a referee at age 13. He earned his FIFA badge at age 31, officiated at a World Cup and numerous major international tournaments, and earned MLS's Referee of the Year honor four times. But most teens who take up refereeing don't last very long.
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Getting 'match fit' the fun way

"Are you match fit?" The definition being, you are fit enough to play at a high pace for a full match.
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How should young players warm-up?

For those of us who grew up as teenage athletes in the 1970s (or earlier), we are familiar with the old "stretching" routine: we typically began a training or pregame session with a series of somewhat contorted movements such as the hurdler's stretch for the hamstrings, an Achilles stretch, butterfly, and a quadriceps stretch usually done with a partner.


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Tips for the Camp Counselor

In this day and age, soccer camps come in all sorts of shapes and sizes: skills camps, indoor camps, fun camps, and team camps. And for better or worse, I've worked at all of them.
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