• Girls vs. Boys: Should they be coached differently? (Part 1)
    The first time I heard the question, it took me by surprise.
  • 'Top players play on their own' (Q&A with Todd Saldana, Part 2)
    Todd Saldana grew up playing youth soccer in Southern California in the 1970s, when his club coach was Sigi Schmid. Saldana played for the USA at the first U-20 World Cup it qualified for, in 1981, and signed pro out of high school with the old NASL's Los Angeles Aztecs, where his coaches included Rinus Michels and Claudio Coutinho.
  • Club Cooperation Pays Off in So Cal (Q&A with Todd Saldana, Part 1)
    Southern California club South Bay Force had its application to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy rejected, but Director of Coaching Todd Saldana still found a way for his players to play at the highest level of boys soccer in the USA.
  • Keeper Questions: Holiday Activities; Eye on the Ball
    What should goalkeepers do when they're on break, such as over the winter holidays?
  • Choose words wisely while coaching kids
    "If I was asked to find one word to describe one of the main differences I have noticed in 25 years of coaching, the word would probably be 'Why'? ...
  • Should Refs Adjust Their Style to Fit the Players?
    Most youth soccer referees quit within the first couple of years of officiating with verbal abuse by kids' parents being the No. 1 reason for quitting. But if they can get through those critical first two or three years, refs will develop a reputation and style, both of which will evolve over the years.
  • MLS should mandate minutes for homegrown players
    In 2007, Major League Soccer created the Youth Development Initiative, requiring its clubs to field youth teams.
  • Strides made; improvement still needed (Steve Swanson Q&A, Part 2)
    In September, Steve Swanson coached the USA to the 2012 U-20 Women's World Cup title. A women's college coach since 1990, including the last 13 seasons at University of Virginia, Swanson has also coached in the U.S. national team women's program at the U-16, U-17, U-18 and U-19 levels since 2000. Swanson spoke to us about his U-20 team's victory and the state of women's and girls soccer in the USA.
  • College recruiting starts too young (Steve Swanson Q&A, Part 1)
    Steve Swanson, who guided the USA to the 2012 U-20 Women's World Cup title in September, has coached women's college ball since 1990. After stints at Dartmouth and Stanford, he has coached the University of Virginia since 2000. He spoke with us about the perils of a recruiting system that has girls commit to colleges when they're still sophomores or 9th-graders.
  • Should Championship Games Be Officiated Differently?
    Soccer America columnist Paul Gardner has lamented that championship games are generally not as good as the matches that proceeded it as the teams often are more concerned with not making a mistake defensively than going for the goal. Although teams might play title games more conservatively, should refs officiate a championship game any differently than other games?
  • A plan to spur pick-up play
    Nearly all discussions in the soccer coaching community of the United States concerning how to improve youth soccer arrive at the conclusion that youth players do not spend nearly enough time pursuing soccer on their own and/or in a street soccer or pick-up soccer environment.
  • Coaching girls as Title IX turns 40
    I stand on the sidelines watching my soccer team. I can hear my girls breathing hard as they sprint past, see their fierce faces. One of them collides with a player from the other team, fights to hang on to the ball, then takes off down the field.
  • Tom Sermanni: 'Technical takes priority over physical'
    On Wednesday new U.S. women's national team coach Tom Sermanni addressed the media and touched on what role he may play with the USA youth national teams and fielded questions about youth coaching and youth development.
  • Combating an injury epidemic (Dr. Bert Mandelbaum Q&A)
    Dr. Bert Mandelbaum, the team physician for U.S. Soccer national teams, has been a pioneer in researching ACL injury trends among female athletes and creating injury prevention methods for soccer players. We talked to him about what youth coaches can do to decrease the chances of injuries and the FIFA 11+ warmup procedure that he's promoting through the Sports Injury Prevention Program.
  • Gabriel Borges, an American abroad: 'Look at the big picture and set goals'
    For most top players coming out of high school, college is the obvious route. But Gabriel Borges, who made a name for himself playing for Northern California youth power Santa Clara Sporting, took a different route. He could have returned to Brazil, where he was born, or tried his luck in Mexico, where he previously trained with Pachuca after starring at the Dallas Cup. But after graduating from Albany (Calif.) High School in June, he was spotted by scouts of Croatian champion Dinamo Zagreb, which has developed in extensive scouting network in the United States, and moved to ...
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