Bravo to parents saying no to overpriced coaching

By Mike Woitalla

I got a few things wrong when in a 2007 article I predicted what American youth soccer would look like by now.

There is still no Under-2 National Championship and Prenatal Soccer Camps have yet to launch.

But the youth soccer industrial complex forges full speed ahead. There are businesses out there offering soccer classes to 18-month-olds and private coaches charging $100 a session. We’ve got State Cups for 8-year-olds, and tournament organizers boast about their events making “economic impacts” in the tens of millions of dollars.

I had forecast with tongue in cheek the extinction of the volunteer coach by quoting the director of the Super Star Soccer Factory for Infants & Toddlers: "Parents have finally comprehended the fact that it's foolish to trust their children's soccer development to someone they're not paying lots of money."

So I found refreshing a CBSNewYork article earlier this week that some Long Island parents weren’t convinced that they should accept a registration fee increase for 5-year-olds from $130 to $320 because the club claimed that the youngsters needed “professional trainers.”

“They can wait a few more years till they spend the big bucks on the trainers, I feel,” said Megan Schaming of Lindenhurst.

The article reported that it couldn’t “find anyone at all who supported the new fees” and that even the club’s former president scoffed at the notion of professional training for 5-year-olds.

It’s a good sign indeed when parents recognize that expensive coaching isn’t necessary to give little children a chance to fall in love with soccer.

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U.S. U-17 girls trounce Jamaica, 8-1

The USA began its qualifying campaign for the 2016 U-17 World Cup with an 8-1 victory over Jamaica in which PDA's Frankie Tagliaferri  scored four goals after entering as a 70th minute sub.

The Colorado Rush's Civana Kuhlmann opened the scoring in the 15th minute. Floridian Shayla Smart equalized for the Reggae Girlz in the 32nd minute but Ashley Sanchez (SoCal Blues) scored two minutes later. Kuhlmann added her second four minutes into the second half. Sanchez  struck in the 56th minute before Tagliaferri hit the net four times.

The USA faces Mexico, a 4-2 victor over Costa Rica, on Sunday in its second Group B game.

March 4 in St. George’s, Grenada
USA 8 Jamaica 1. Goals: Kuhlmann (Pickett) 15, Sanchez 34, Kuhlmann (Rodriguez) 49, Sanchez (Howell) 56, Tagliaferri (Smith) 72, Tagliaferri 75, Tagliaferri (Smith) 81, Tagliaferri (Jones) 88; Smart (Clarke) 32.
USA -- Ivory; Wiesner, Girma, Rodriguez, Pickett (Smith, 65); Howell, Zandi (Tagliaferri, 70), Sanchez, Pinto, Spaanstra; Kuhlmann (Jones, 77).
Jamaica -- Schneider; Walters, Chin-Jackson (Dixon, 57), Mikalsen, Washington; Clarke (Steele, 46), Caza, Julien, Smart; Fray (Brown, 77), Moxie.
Referee: Tatiana Montes (Panama)

2016 Concacaf U-17 Women's Championship
USA Group B Schedule
March 4
USA 8 Jamaica 1
March 6
USA vs. Mexico 2:30 pm ET
March 8
USA vs. Costa Rica noon ET
(TV: FOX Soccer Plus, FOX Soccer 2Go)

Games can be viewed free of charge on by entering the promo code “U17WNT” on the registration page. The promo code can be activated though March 13.

8 comments about "Bravo to parents saying no to overpriced coaching ".
  1. BJ Genovese, March 4, 2016 at 11:29 p.m.

    The fleecing is the worst by the tourney directors who are using college coaches names as attendees to there "college showcases". It takes half a dozen expensive trips to these things before most parents realize its a scam. Yah there may be a few walking around with there embroidered suits so everybody knows how important they are. But they are not there to recruit. Most dont even attend which should be considered fraud. College coaches really need to make sure they attend these if they are going to allow the tourney to put there name on the website to lure teams and parents to the fleecing. I think they do it in order to get emails to invite kids to the ID camps "fundraisers" they have a couple times a year. Again, getting parents all excited because they recieved an email addressed to there Son/Daughter to come to an ID camp. Somebody really needs to get ahold of this. The sad thing is most college coaches have no idea how to idea the modern players that have worked on there game. They just look for big/fast/strong. Again fooling everyone along the way that though all the "high level tourneys" and "development programs" would increase there chances to get a college to desire them.

  2. aaron dutch, March 5, 2016 at 2 p.m.

    BJ Genovese is 100% right. Its a scam, save your money take your kid to the best local park with the most international players young & old and let them play 3x a week for free (buy the old guys beer to take care of your kid) , Watch all the great leagues on TV with them and let them enjoy the game fully. Get them a real hard core indoor/futsal/ high touch trainer long term $40 a week and 1000 touches a session 1x a week who keeps pushing them beyond their comfort zone. let your kid go to youtube for their own style/creative/crazy tricks (free) put them in a local lame club league 3 years older until they are 15, let them crush their high school team and all that will save you $10's of thousands, build a 3x better player who has a true love/passion for the game. then have them go to 3-4 college camps that are local/regional in the summer for $300 a week for 3-4 weeks from 13-16 and by 16 they are ready to for advanced development if they are really good enough if not they will have a blast as the ringer on every time they play on for fun.

  3. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, March 7, 2016 at 11:24 a.m.

    Our youth development system and pay to play are flawed. No question about it. But it's also flawed to think a kid can become an elite player by playing pickup games in the park and watching videos on youtube. It's not that easy.

  4. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, March 7, 2016 at 5:32 p.m.

    Also Ronaldinho was in Gremio's youth system when he was seven. Ronaldo was signed by Curziero at age 12. But that's ok - keep believing this myth that people in Brazil just grow up playing pickup games in the street. Don't let reality interfere.

  5. Ric Fonseca, March 7, 2016 at 3:07 p.m.

    Thank you Mike W for lead article! Actually you're not too far off from talking about the "U-2 and Pre-natal" play, as I have recently begun to see it in certain circles and it does boggle the mind. Though yeah it's ok to have your toddler rattle the kitchen dishes and shake the front room while "dribbling" a size 2 or 3 ball, BUT, MW it IS happening, with "Soccer Toddler" and "Soccer Squirt" programs. And as for the "youth soccer industrial complex," I also saw it coming when MY own kids started out the ayso k-leagues
    (anyone notice the ayso ad on these pages, announcing itself as the "largest" soccer club?) then I shelled out $35.00 for my son - I HAD to volunteer to coach, else my son would not be "allowed" to play in that specific region; for my daughter, she/we were told they had no more spaces in the girls k-league in the same reagion, so we HAD to search for another one that was more inclusive, though my wife HAD to be the assistant coach!) When our son and daughter finally "aged out" the club fee was $80 per year which included registration and uniforms; tournament fees were extra. BUT NOW that very same club charges, between $2-3000 PER YEAR with some summer time off; members have to attend "pre-season" camps, the olders are told of the "college connection" (pure bunk) they publish an expensive website, boast their club members go to exclusive colleges (but do not say how many are playing varsity) Over all, Aaron Dutch has called it correctly, "Its a scam...!(sic)" The sad thing about all of this are the parents who are conned about their kid's athletic prowess/abilities, then since they're so gullible, sell them the Brooklyn bridge. On the other hand, I see a light at the end of the tunnel - not another train coming - as the current "homegrown" players become parents themselves, I sincerely hope they see the scams, BUT also sincerely hope they do not succumb to the scammers and soccer-con guys tactics and become one of them. PLAY ON!!!

  6. BJ Genovese, March 7, 2016 at 8:40 p.m.

    Just got back from another "college showcase" with a specific drop down menu with over 40 college coaches that were supposed to attend. In the top u17 boys bracket... over the whole weekend only one coach from Spokane Washington (Whitworth) was on the sidelines. Total scam, total fleecing. Im beginning to wonder how these tourney directors can get away with this? They really need to consider the possiblity of a class action suite. They are using college coaches as a draw to these tourneys and they are just not showing up.

  7. Andy Cap replied, March 15, 2016 at 9:03 a.m.

    They get away with it because of parents/coaches like you.We are never
    honest and upfront with the players.
    ECNL clubs in my home state are now having two teams at each age level
    each team has on average 24 players.
    What they are not telling the parents and players is the 2nd team will/may
    never play an ECNL game ... But you are an ECNL level player because you get to train with them every now and again.

  8. Rob Kalal, March 9, 2016 at 3:40 p.m.

    I definitely agree that the pay-to-play system sucks. But it is unfortunately the system we have. You do have to pay something for your kid to become great. The phrase 'practice makes perfect' is BS - perfect practice makes perfect. If a kid practices doing something incorrectly the only thing they are doing is reinforcing how to do it incorrectly. The true challenge is in sifting through all the 'elite' soccer camps, 'premier' traveling leagues and 'college showcase' tournaments. Some truly provide a great return on your investment and others are just throwing money away.
    The state ODP programs are typically a pretty good value. Also at the soccer club my kids play at - I identified a few good coaches and asked them if it would be alright if my kid practiced with their team. I have yet to have one of them say no, in fact they love the initiative. Obviously you have to use some common sense - if your kid is on the lowest level team at an age group and you ask the coach of the top team at that age group, they probably won't be as willing. As your child will likely hold up their practices. But if you ask the coach at a team 1 level higher your chances are much better. Or the coach at the same level, but perhaps 1 age group older. Basically for every 10 training sessions my kids practice with another team - I save the cost of 1 soccer camp and my kids get to improve their skills for free. So I don't think you have to spend thousands of dollars on camps and personal coaches, but I also don't think you can just get by dropping them off at the park to play pickup games or signing them up for a rec league.

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