• Tab Ramos: Connecting the National Teams (Part 2)
    U.S. Hall of Famer Tab Ramos' run with the U.S. national team program dates back to playing at the 1983 U-20 World Cup as a 16-year-old. Last year he coached at the U-20 World Cup, assisted with the full national team, and in November became U.S. Soccer's new Youth Technical Director. In Part 2 of our interview we continue our discussion about the U.S. youth soccer landscape and his work with Jurgen Klinsmann.
  • Tab Ramos: 'We're in a great place with room to grow' (Part 1)
    Last month, the U.S. Soccer Federation named Tab Ramos its Youth Technical Director, replacing Claudio Reyna, who left for MLS expansion club New York City FC in May. Ramos, also an assistant to Jurgen Klinsmann with the full national team, will continue as U-20 men's national team head coach. We spoke to Ramos, who in December was selected to the USA's All-Time National Team Best XI, about his expanded role with the Federation.
  • Klinsmann's message to youth coaches
    Jurgen Klinsmann, head coach of the USA since July of 2011, earlier this month was re-signed for another four years and Technical Director was added to his responsibilities. That, in USSF President Sunil Gulati's words, formalized Klinsmann's previously informal role in influencing the direction of American player development.
  • Why So Many Non-Competitive Games?
    I hate to be a Grinch during this Christmas season but there's a problem with a good minority of college and high school games, at least the ones that I have been officiating.
  • Richie Williams Q&A: On beating England, Brazil -- and Bradenton's Future
    In an extraordinary week for the U.S. U-17 boys national team, Coach Richie Williams' team beat England, 5-1, and Brazil, 4-1, to lift the Nike Friendlies title. We spoke with Williams, who has headed the U-17s and the Bradenton Residency Program since January 2012, of the triumph, which comes in the wake of the U-17s' failure to qualify for the 2013 U-17 World Cup.
  • Why no laps -- and other fitness & health insight (Q&A: John Cone)
    John Cone, who most recently served as the Portland Timbers Director of Sports Science and fitness coach, is a health and fitness consultant to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy and the youth national team program, and a USSF coach educator. We asked Cone to address fitness training issues for youth players.
  • 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 formula can have a long career and most teams would gladly want them to referee their team again.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 did not have a long career.
  • 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.
  • 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.