• Hall of Fame fun for kids, but ...
    After five days of watching her brother play baseball at the Cooperstown Dreams Park in Cooperstown, N.Y., my 10-year-old daughter begged me to take her to the National Soccer Hall of Fame just down the road in Oneonta. My husband and I thought it was just what the doctor ordered for our soccer-crazy daughter on her birthday, especially since the United States would be playing Mexico that afternoon.
  • Dare To Be Great: Take Risks
    In the past months I have had the pleasure of working with both a U16 Regional ODP team and a U-14 national team. Both camps included some greatly talented players who are extremely well-driven and are strong athletes. The coaches working at these camps are top-notch coaches who are clearly some of the best in the country.
  • Mix it up and let players 'train' players
    In our youth soccer environment the training sessions tend to be fairly sterile in that the U7 team only practices with the U7 age group, girls only practice with girls, and so forth.
  • Clicking for Kicks
    To develop skills and master the game, the next best thing to playing is to watch. But a common lament among American coaches, one I've heard even from U.S. national team coaches, is their young players don't watch enough soccer.
  • Reality Check: What You're Paying For
    There is a young team, within a premier club recognized for its past successes, which is taking things to the extreme in regard to cost, matches, and the player's total involvement in the sport. This team is currently playing more than 80 games per year and practices at least two times per week.
  • Questions Parents Should Ask
    As a parent, you are constantly faced with decisions that have a profound impact on your child's future. I believe it is important to examine some of these issues as they relate to youth soccer and all youth sports today.
  • Heat and Hydration Guidelines for Summer Soccer
    Summer camps and tournaments in most parts of the country will be played in hot, humid conditions. With the weather change, athletes are at higher risk for heat-related illness. What I would like to do below is to present a common sense guide to a preventable problem: heat-related illnesses, including dehydration, cramping, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
  • Feedback: The Barcelona Approach; Tryouts
    Soccer America readers comment on recent editions of the Youth Soccer Insider e-letter.
  • Enjoying Summer Freedom
    Summer is arriving quickly and for many players, the soccer season will end with the school year. It is time for children to enjoy freedom and head outside to play amidst the nice weather. No more bells to direct them from classroom to classroom, no more homework to distract them from what they enjoy most - playing.
  • Barcelona's approach to youth development
    Two years ago, while visiting Spain, I looked into to its approach to youth development. Since then, Spain has won the 2008 European Championship and Barcelona won the 2009 UEFA Champions League.
  • Feedback: Introducing Position Play
    Soccer America readers comments on a recent edition of the Youth Soccer Insider e-letter.
  • Introducing Positions Without Shackles
    I am firmly against having young kids play "positions" that are part of the adult game. I coach a U-9 team in a league that plays 8-v-8 (including keepers) and my players are now at the transitional age when they can begin to grasp the concept of positions.
  • The tendency that exists in all of us
    The other night I was watching the program "How I Met Your Mother." I admit this even though it may decrease my credibility in some people's eyes. But I find the show a pleasant diversion for Mondays. In this particular episode one storyline concerns Marshall, who is married to Lily, a kindergarten teacher. He agrees to coach her class basketball team. Marshall has an amiable even child-like demeanor, and Lily is just plain sweet.
  • Getting the most out of a Director of Coaching
    Over the years more of our 6,000 youth soccer clubs have become increasingly professional. The clubs are paying more attention to facilities, staff and programming. Among the staff some clubs have hired are coaches. A number of clubs have the coaches do administration as well as coaching.
  • Feedback: Passing, Sportsmanship, Game Coaching
    Soccer America readers comment on recent editions of the Youth Soccer Insider e-letter.