• Is that a keeper? Spotting potential
    When I first saw Tim Howard at a camp I coached in Metuchen, N.J., he was 12 years old. I may not have said to myself, "Here's a kid who will play in the English Premier League." But I really did see the potential for greatness.
  • Be a Good Winner
    It was cold outside -- in the 30s. The game didn't count for district standings. And only diehard parents showed up. The kind I'd expect to know enough about soccer that I wouldn't have the urge to wrap duct tape around their mouths and stuff them under the stands until the game was over.
  • Be aware of common injuries
    Dr. Dev K. Mishra, who has served as team doctor at the professional, national team, college and high school level, is the founder of SidelineSportsDoc.com. We asked Dr. Mishra about injury trends he has observed in youth soccer; whether there are different injury patterns between boys and girls; and what coaches can do to help keep their players healthy ...
  • They scored -- now what?
    Goalkeepers react in various ways after they get scored on. Some keepers whack the ball in anger. Some fall to their knees, head in hands. Some scream at their teammates. And some hang forlornly on the net. Whether the keepers realize it or not, these immediate, emotional responses are more than personal reactions. These actions speak loudly to the keepers' own teammates and to their opponents.
  • Injury management: The return-to-play decision
    One of the toughest decisions in youth soccer is determining when a player who has suffered an injury is ready to return to action. Dr. Dev K. Mishra, who has served as team doctor at the professional, national team, college and high school level, is the founder of SidelineSportsDoc.com. We asked Dr. Mishra for advice on making the return-to-play decision.
  • A season ends; reflections begin
    Today is soccer practice day, but it isn't because the season ended last weekend. So I'm not checking which balls need to be pumped up, if the first-aid kit is in order, or if the pinnies and goalkeeper gloves are back in the coach's bag. (Which reminds me, are you ever supposed to wash those pinnies?)
  • Reffing the most common restart
    The throw-in is unique as it's the only opportunity for players other than the goalkeeper to legally use their hands. It is also the most common restart in soccer.
  • Crucial for Coaches: Injury management know-how
    To coach young children where I live, I had to get licenses from a couple of coaching courses that totaled five days of instruction. We were taught all sorts of drills -- a few of which resembled soccer-playing -- and were given some useful tips. Like keeping plastic bags in your coaching bag in case you need to pick up dog poo before practice.
  • Champion coach Albertin Montoya puts winning in perspective
    On a sunny September Sunday, Coach Albertin Montoya watched his Gold Pride players, including the magnificent Brazilian Marta and U.S. world champion Tiffeny Milbrett, celebrate the WPS championship after a 4-0 win over Philadelphia.
  • How Referees Apply the Advantage Clause
    Advantage is a wonderful clause in the rules in which whistling the foul would actually be hurting the team being fouled by not letting play continue. Let's say the white midfielder is dribbling the ball outside the gray penalty area when a gray player pushes white. Yet white does not fall down and is still able to continue the dribble unimpeded toward goal. The ref yells "Play on!" with both arms extended, indicating to everybody that there's an advantage.
  • Pregame prep important for refs, too
    The teams spend time training and working on teamwork in practice. Their coaches go over tactics before the game. Doesn't it logically follow that the officiating team needs to spend some time before the game discussing how they will work as a team?
  • How Referees Keep Coaches Under Control
    In the early 1990s, the college referee chapter in which I am now a Vice President, NYMISOA (New York Metro Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association), started a sportsmanship award.
  • How refs can master most important rule
    Law 12 on Fouls and Misconduct is the most important rule in soccer. Referees who have played soccer have an initial advantage in spotting fouls over those refs who never played the game. After all, the official who played knows what a foul feels like and might even know what a cautionable or sending-off foul feels like as well.
  • How adults can 'teach' kids by playing along
    One of the best ways for adults to coach children is to play along with them.
  • Coaching Education: The Case for Some Orthodoxy
    In a recent column by Soccer America's Paul Gardner, the author maligned orthodoxy and posited that curricula are where "problems start." If taken to the extreme, these points have some validity, however, when thrown into the context of coaching education in our country they prove somewhat amiss.