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How Refs Make Their Next Game Easier

For most youth soccer games, the ref would do well by being fit and in position, by smiling, having a good attitude, by enforcing the rules and knowing their application plus giving brief explanations when necessary. It's extremely important that the ref call the first foul, in part since an unwhistled foul could lead to retaliation. Refs who follow this ...
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Keeper Questions: How to prevent a goalie shortage

The latest edition of "Keeper Questions" looks at how clubs can ensure they have a sufficient corps of goalkeepers.
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Thanks, Coach, for Saying That!

In the spirit of the holiday, I give thanks to some of the coaches who have during the last year shared insight I believe valuable to coaches and parents. Happy Thanksgiving!
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A San Francisco Quest: Can Inner Cities Produce U.S. Stars?

San Francisco is known for many things: The Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz; sourdough bread and Dungeness crab; cable cars and Victorian houses; the Giants and 49ers. Soccer? Not so much.
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The Rules Nobody Seems to Know

Game control of this boys under-19 game was becoming dicey with increasing dissent as we approached the midway point of the second half. I had several years of referee experience back then and this being New York in the mid-1980s, I was refereeing the game by myself with no assistant referees, just club linesmen.
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Brandi Chastain: 'Give power to the players'

The U.S. national team career of Brandi Chastain, most famous for her title-clinching penalty kick at the 1999 Women's World Cup, spanned from 1988 to 2004 and included 1996 and 2004 Olympic gold medals. Her coaching career, at the youth level and as assistant coach to her husband, Jerry Smith, at Santa Clara University, began while still an active player.
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The Infamous 'Other Ref'

Ages ago, I was assigned a men's amateur cup match between two teams who had played one another in a league match the Sunday before. As the league game had just concluded, two players got into a fistfight and they were eventually separated but the ref did not take send off the players for violent conduct. Not surprisingly, that ref ...
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Dennis Bergkamp: 'There are times not to coach'

Dennis Bergkamp scored 37 goals in 79 appearances for the Netherlands and won titles with Ajax Amsterdam, Inter Milan and Arsenal, where he lifted three EPL and four FA Cup crowns.
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Advice for Parents: Communicating with Coaches -- and Children (Part 2)

In Part 2 of our series on coach-parent-player communication, the Youth Soccer Insider sought advice for parents.
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April Heinrichs: 'Embracing Fits of Failure'

Why do we want to teach youth national team players to "embrace failure?"
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Coaches Communicating with Parents: 'They're our Customers' (Part 1)

How much information and access should parents expect from their children's coaches? In Part 1 of our series on coach-parent-player communication, the Youth Soccer Insider sought perspective from the clubs' side.
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How coaches' mouths lose games

I suspected this many times as a coach and spectator, but it comes through even more clearly when I referee: Coaches can destroy their teams with the way they shout from the sidelines.
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GotSoccer Insanity: Ranking 9-year-olds! Really?

America is obsessed with rankings. From NCAA football and basketball to top high school recruits across the sporting spectrum, the American sports fan has no shortage of statistics and ratings in every professional and college sport. Unfortunately, team rankings have leached into youth sports as well, where any benefit they bring is far outweighed by the negative consequences of rating ...
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When Refs Must Weather the Storm

In "Save the Best For Last," Vanessa Williams sings, "Sometimes the snow comes down in June, Sometimes the sun goes 'round the moon." Those are unusual lyrics that describe the interesting weather we have been experiencing of late.
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Do captains matter in youth soccer?

If you coach at the younger levels, this might be a familiar scenario:
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