• April Heinrichs: 'Embracing Fits of Failure'
    Why do we want to teach youth national team players to "embrace failure?"
  • Coaches Communicating with Parents: 'They're our Customers' (Part 1)
    How much information and access should parents expect from their children's coaches? In Part 1 of our series on coach-parent-player communication, the Youth Soccer Insider sought perspective from the clubs' side.
  • How coaches' mouths lose games
    I suspected this many times as a coach and spectator, but it comes through even more clearly when I referee: Coaches can destroy their teams with the way they shout from the sidelines.
  • GotSoccer Insanity: Ranking 9-year-olds! Really?
    America is obsessed with rankings. From NCAA football and basketball to top high school recruits across the sporting spectrum, the American sports fan has no shortage of statistics and ratings in every professional and college sport. Unfortunately, team rankings have leached into youth sports as well, where any benefit they bring is far outweighed by the negative consequences of rating young athletes and teams during their developmental years.
  • When Refs Must Weather the Storm
    In "Save the Best For Last," Vanessa Williams sings, "Sometimes the snow comes down in June, Sometimes the sun goes 'round the moon." Those are unusual lyrics that describe the interesting weather we have been experiencing of late.
  • Do captains matter in youth soccer?
    If you coach at the younger levels, this might be a familiar scenario:
  • As ref, you hear it all
    "Why is it a goal kick when she kicked it out?" -- is what an 8-year-old asked me.
  • Injury Recovery: Listen to the 'Voice In The Back Of Your Head'
    If you've had any kind of significant injury that's caused you to miss playing time you probably know that you need to be healed from your injury and then you need to regain fitness for your sport before you can successfully get back to your game.
  • Klinsmann's Advice: 'It's driven by you, coaches are just helpers'
    Last Sunday, U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann showed up at a breakfast for the 46 finalists of the 7Up Sueno Alianza National Finals presented by Verizon in Southern California. Here are excerpts from Klinsmann's advice to aspiring young soccer players:
  • Hugo Perez Searches for Future U.S. Stars
    One of the greatest players ever to wear the U.S. jersey -- and perhaps the most skillful -- now searches for future national team talent.
  • Aiming to Bridge Gap Between the Haves and Have-Nots
    The NorCal Premier League, with nearly 200 Northern California clubs, covers an area that's larger than England and has one of the world's most ethnically and economically diverse populations. NorCal clubs range from those with million dollar budgets to ones that depend solely on volunteer staff. NorCal has launched a Club Outreach Project to aid clubs -- most of which serve Latino youth -- that struggle to meet the demands of the modern American youth soccer structure.
  • Body Language Lessons from Klinsmann et al.
    A few years ago I arrived at soccer practice in a bad mood for reasons I don't recall. The giggly girls hardly hit a decent pass during the warm-up rondos and I started barking.
  • The College Process: Be Prepared, Proactive and Persistent
    No two children are alike and their dreams are as unique as their goals. So as thousands of high school students across the nation start school many will begin the exciting -- and at times overwhelming --process of preparing for college.
  • For Kids Only ...
    Dear Soccer-Playing Children of America,
  • Jorge Campos: Enjoy and Practice Plenty
    Watching Jorge Campos navigate San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf reminds one of what made him such a delightful soccer star. During his futile search for a Starbucks -- he settles for a Peet's -- he's always smiling and cracking jokes. Later in the day, he's signing autographs in San Jose and enjoying himself as much as the children who idolize the Mexican goalkeeping legend.