• Put Costa Rica high on the list of nations we might learn from
    We're always looking abroad for insight and ideas on how to improve our player development. The Dutch have long been particularly popular. MLS sent its youth academy coaches to learn from the French. U.S. Club Soccer has partnered with Spain.
  • 'The ball is ever-present': Increasing the physical demands of a common tactical exercise
    Every activity we set up contains a physical element - and for this reason contributes to our players' development of fitness and athleticism. When I worked as an assistant coach for Bob Gansler with the Kansas City Wizards (now Sporting KC) one of his many sayings that have stuck with me was: "the ball is ever-present." This applies to the youth coach just as it does the professional player, and moves beyond the simple application of "fitness with the ball."
  • Don't blame the player pool for U-17 debacle
    The U.S. U-17 boys national team was long a source of pride for American soccer. From 1985, when FIFA launched the biennial U-17 World Cup, to 2011, the USA was the only nation that qualified for all 14 U-17 World Cups. Quite an achievement.
  • Compensating youth clubs: 'The ball moves forward'
    American youth clubs' quest to get paid for their former players who go pro -- standard throughout the world under FIFA regulations -- led to a meeting on Oct. 16 hosted by U.S. Soccer.
  • Going Back to the Future
    "Back to the Future 1" is my favorite movie of all time. Movie critic Roger Ebert even compared the movie to another classic, "It's a Wonderful Life," as the film shows the power of one individual to make a difference in the world.
  • Collapse against Croatia doesn't bode well for USA at U-17 World Cup
    It's difficult to imagine the USA going far at the U-17 World Cup based on their second-half performance on Tuesday against Croatia, which overcame a 2-0 halftime deficit for a 2-2 final score that flattered the Americans. But, despite opening with a 2-0 loss to Nigeria, the USA has a clear path to the second round -- beating host Chile on Friday.
  • Defending champ Nigeria spoils U.S. start at U-17 World Cup
    There's a chance that the USA faced the strongest team, based on history and Saturday's performance, at the U-17 World Cup when it fell, 2-0, to Nigeria in the Group A opener in Santiago, Chile.
  • U.S. Soccer Development Academy expands to five age groups, adding U-12 and U-13 divisions
    The U.S. Soccer Development Academy is undergoing a second major expansion since its founding in 2007, when clubs competed in the U-15/16 and U-17/18 age groups.
  • USA's goal at the U-17 World Cup should be first knockout-stage win since 1999
    The USA begins its 2015 U-17 World Cup campaign in Chile on Saturday when it faces defending champion Nigeria. The USA's best performance in its 14 previous appearances at the biennial tournament came in 1999, with a fourth-place finish. That was also the last time the USA won a game in the knockout stage of the tournament.
  • Another USA-Mexico thriller -- in Germany
    The next generation of the U.S. U-20 team, 1997-born players, finished play in the U-19 division of Mercedes-Benz Elite Cup tying Mexico (3-3) and Scotland (2-2) after getting routed, 8-1, in their opener against host Germany.
  • U.S. U-19s shake off shell shock and tie Scotland
    The U.S. U-19 men's national team, which opened play at the Mercedes-Benz Elite Cup on Tuesday with an 8-1 loss to host Germany, tied Scotland, 2-2, on Friday.
  • Keys to picking the right club for your child
    When you're traveling, do you go to a local motel or a name-brand place? Do you like the restaurant with the famous chef, or do you try to find something off the beaten track? And what does it mean to you to buy local?
  • USA suffers major rout against Germany at U-19 men's tourney
    While seven of the graduates of the last cycle of the U.S. U-20 men's national team, which reached the quarterfinals of the 2015 U-20 World Cup in June, have helped the U.S. U-23 national team to within a win of qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, the new cycle of U-20s has had an inauspicious start.
  • Say it carefully, quickly and clearly: Getting your players' attention
    How do you get a rambunctious group of young players to pay attention?
  • Heel pain known as 'Sever's disease' frequently affects young athletes
    Heel pain is one of the most common complaints in young athletes. This generally occurs during the early portion of the growth phase around 8-10 years old, and can recur toward the end of growth (14-16 years old).