September 27, 2015
Remembering Dettmar Cramer reminds us: It's all about the ball
By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)
The legendary German coach Dettmar Cramer once joked he felt sorry for the ball when he watched soccer by players with poor technique.
I didn’t know he said that when, as an 8-year-old, I met
Cramer. The meeting came in Dallas, where my father was getting his
U.S. Soccer Federation “C” license from Cramer in
But I do remember how my dad -- who had before he got his license
from Cramer read three of his books -- coached. We did everything with
the ball. Even the stuff now called SAQ – speed, agility,
quickness training. I think Cramer may have called it gymnastics. And
he came up with ways to include the ball.
Cramer died last week at age 90. The scores of obituaries in the
German media listed plenty of his accomplishments and noted his impact
on the rise of German soccer as a federation (DFB) coach, first
working regionally to identify and develop young talent. Cramer was
Helmut Schoen’s assistant coach at the 1966
World Cup. He famously lobbied the DFB officials not to kick an
18-year-old Franz Beckenbauer out of the national
team program because he had sired a child out of wedlock. Cramer
coached several pro clubs, including Bayern Munich, which he guided to
back-to-back European Cups in the 1970s. Under the auspices of FIFA he
traveled to 90 nations to give coaching courses. In Japan, which
recruited him to create a soccer infrastructure and which he led
helped win the 1968 Olympic bronze medal, Cramer is considered
“The Father of Japanese Soccer.”
A few of the German obits mentioned his short stint as U.S.
national team coach, which comprised of two games against Mexico in
1974 before returning to Germany to coach Bayern. Not mentioned was
that Cramer had a profound impact on U.S. Soccer. In the early 1970s,
Cramer set up the U.S. Soccer Federation’s national coaching
school, helping create its curriculum and traveling the nation
teaching coaching courses.
The first course was held at the Moses Brown School in Rhode Island
in 1970. Among those getting their licenses at that session were
Joe Morrone (who
died last week) and future U.S. national team coaches
Eugene Chzyowych, Gordon Bradley,
Al Miller, Manfred Schellscheidt and
First USSF license course, 1970, Providence, R.I.
Back row: Bob Ritcey, Layton
Shoemaker, (unknown), Lenny Lucenko,
Tom Nevers, Dettmar Cramer, Bob McNulty,
Hubert Vogelsinger, Joe
Morrone, (unknown), Will Myers. Front row: Trevor Pugh,
Machnik, Gene Chyzowych, James Bradley, Manfred
Schellscheidt went into the record as the USA’s A-1 coach
(the first USSF A license coach) and also went on to coach or assist
with the U.S. U-17s, U-20s -- he headed the U.S. U-14 national team
program for nearly a decade -- as well as NASL, ASL and McGuire Cup
“Dettmar was a great man who had an enormous influence on
soccer and on people in general,” says Schellscheidt, who has in
turn been credited by the likes of Bruce Arena and
Bob Bradley for having a major influence on their
coaching. “Cramer coming here was a milestone of great
importance because he started the coaching schools that are in the end
still a good thing. The coaching school is not just to coach but to
have a better understanding of the game.”
The first encounter Schellscheidt, a German native, had with Cramer
came when Schellscheidt was a teenager called into a German regional
youth national team pool. When they met again 14 years later ...
“[USSF President] Gene Edwards and [general
secretary] Kurt Lamm asked me to join them to meet
Cramer at a restaurant,” Schellscheidt says. “Before I was
introduced, Dettmar looks at me and says, ‘Was machst du
denn hier?’ [What are you doing here?] It was unbelievable.
I was one out of hundreds of kids he coached. He had a photographic
When Miller, a Pennsylvania native who had started running
federation coaching programs and youth national team camps, first met
Cramer he didn’t expect it to go well.
“I was told the Federation was bringing in a German
guy,” says Miller, who would become the only U.S.-born coach to
win a title in the old NASL. “I thought, oh hell, not again. We
were always getting guys from Brooklyn -- Germans, Swedes, Brazilians
or whatever, who were supposed to have all these great soccer
credentials and 90 percent of the time these guys were total
“I knew zero about who this Cramer guy was.”
Cramer explained he was just there to observe and politely asked
Miller to see his training plan for the teens brought into a junior
Olympic development camp.
“Cramer looks at it,” says Miller. 'He says,
‘This is really impressive. Who developed this?’ I told
him I did. That I was a physical education teacher and grew up playing
soccer in Philadelphia’s German community, and I played soccer
in New York.”
On the second day of camp Cramer asked Miller if he could help.
Miller let Cramer to do a session on ball control.
“It was like an angel came down,” Miller says.
“Cramer gets up in front of the kids and starts juggling like a
wizard. The kids were mesmerized, and so was I. And he’s talking
to them the whole time! Sending a message: ‘Ball control is all
about being friendly with the ball, feeling the ball, understanding
the ball, how the ball works, and being a master of the
“And then he gives one of the most amazing sessions
I’ve ever seen.”
Miller still didn’t know exactly who Cramer was until Cramer
asked him if he wanted to use a film he brought for a classroom
“I said sure. We didn’t have very good film. It
wasn’t like now when there’s all sorts of video. So we
start watching and it’s the 1966 World Cup final. And I see
Cramer training the German players. I thought, ‘Oh my
God!’ This is the guy who liked my training plan!"
USSF "C" license course, 1972, Dallas. Bernard
Shub, Pat Craig, (unknown), Bill Murphy, Stephen Radvic, Philip
Ramirez, Dettmar Cramer Jr., Dettmar Cramer, Ron Griffith, Jan Book,
Miller says the curriculum that Cramer brought not only changed
American coaching, it also created a “tremendous camaraderie
between the college and high school and [adult] club and the youth
“Early in my days we had a little problem because if you were
a club coach, you thought college coaches were stupid,” says
Miller. “And if you were a college coach, you thought club
coaches were stupid. I was kind of caught in the middle because I was
coaching in college but playing at the club level.
“I thought that Dettmar’s original schools crushed that
and brought everybody together. That was one of the best things that
came out of it, other than learning good fundamentals for coaching and
getting educational coaching background.
“A lot college coaches were physical education teachers
trained by coaches who had never seen a game. Cramer modernized
American soccer coaching.”
Miller remembers Cramer’s approach to fitness being greeted
“He believed in fitness but the fitness was with the
ball,” Miller says. “He called it specific fitness --
getting fit for the game that you played by playing the game and using
the ball to do the running and exercising and so forth.
“He thought training without the ball was wasting time.
Everybody bought into it, because we didn’t have that much time
with our players and he was teaching us how we could get more out of
Schellscheidt says, “Of course, let’s take into account
that the game evolves. But what Dettmar put on paper is as good today
as it was in those days.”
September 20, 2015
Kevin Hartman: 'Player growth has to be timed properly'
Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)
Kevin Hartman holds the MLS record for most games played at 416. The 41-year-old goalkeeeper, whose playing career spanned from 1997 to 2013 and included two MLS Cup and two U.S. Open Cup titles, is the Technical Director of the IMG Academy, a residency program in
Bradenton, Fla. IMG fields teams in the boys U.S. Soccer Development Academy as well as 10 other boys and girls teams.
SOCCER AMERICA: How did you get into coaching youth soccer?
KEVIN HARTMAN: As I was growing up playing, I was
fortunate to have been a 16-year-old counselor in training at a
goalkeeping camp. I loved sharing my newly acquired techniques with
other players and began to relish my time working each summer. In my
senior year at UCLA, I was directing the camps and working hand in
hand with coaches whom I thought the world of. As our tournament hopes
were dashed that year, I found my way into Major League Soccer and was
blessed with opportunities to coach in the Academy Programs of the
Kansas City Wizards, FC Dallas and the New York Red Bulls. What a
great experience that was!
Another advantage of being in the pro game at this point were
additional doors that opened as U.S. Soccer began offering coaching
courses aimed at current and former professionals. This allowed me to
obtain my A License in 2009. As someone who grew up in a family
dedicated to education, it has been a fairly easy transition.
SA: What should former professionals keep in mind when they
KEVIN HARTMAN: I think it is crucial that
players, whether they are still playing or recently retired, quickly
come to the realization that just because they were successful as a
player doesn’t guarantee success as a coach. There is a reason
that coaches are referred to as managers. They manage technical
growth, team chemistry, players’ personalities and more. It is
extremely complex. An arrogant player is going to struggle to engage
followers in the locker room as his career unwinds. He will need to
make the transition to being able to lead and attract followers.
Going through the transition is remarkably difficult. For an
athlete who has been totally committed to one, personal objective for
so long to quickly become tuned into the needs of an entire group is
pretty daunting. My belief is that, as with everything in life, you
must remain humble.
While I know I might have different insights into the game than
someone who has never played at a high level, I am also very cognizant
that coaches who have not played at the top level have found ways to
adapt and may have strengths in other areas.
I once sat spellbound watching a clinician find a way to totally
engage a group of 9-year-olds that he had met only seconds before. The
session was entertaining and extremely educational; however, the thing
that interested me most was how easily the young players’
SA: What are the biggest challenges for you in your role as
KEVIN HARTMAN: At IMG we are involved in the
students’ lives 24 hours a day. That’s good because we can
create a positive daily work environment that is focused on developing
well-balanced and well-prepared athletes. The challenge for me as
Technical Director is to maintain effective communication between and
among the various entities at the school that impact the
students’ lives: campus life, athletic and personal development,
interrelated needs and roles of students, their faculty and
Further, I must work with the individual coaches to make sure each
student-athlete has an A+ experience. Fortunately, IMG provides the
instructional and co-curricular resources coupled with supportive
teachers and coaches to promote the growth and development of
SA: What kind of attributes do you look for in IMG coaches
at the various age levels?
KEVIN HARTMAN: Our goal as mentors is to create
an engaging environment of passion for the game, mutual respect for
each other, and a motivation to become more. I am proud to work
alongside coaches who can understand various age groups' psychological
and physiological needs while knowing when it is time to shift from
developmental fundamentals to conditioning and more tactical training.
IMG Academy is committed to recruiting and retaining coaches who
understand the game and have had prior successes in the development of
young players and youth soccer programs.
SA: Do you have any examples of methods your coaches used
that you have adopted?
KEVIN HARTMAN: Sigi Schmid, my
coach at UCLA and the Los Angeles Galaxy, and now current coach of the
Seattle Sounders, taught me it was important for players to discover
answers for themselves … to be independent thinkers.
By using questions, he was able to coax that “eureka
moment” out of his players. Those “eureka moments”
stuck with me longer than simply being told by the coach.
SA: Anything your former coaches did that you avoid?
KEVIN HARTMAN: I recall having an important game
coming up, when my coach decided he was going to share an insight with
me. His lesson was about the power of the human mind. To illustrate,
as we walked towards the field, he grabbed the player behind us and
asked him if he was feeling OK.
Believe it or not, within seconds, he convinced the player that he
was ill and that he needed a day off. Unfortunately, the player the
coach addressed was our most prolific scorer. The timing of the
coach’s intervention contributed to a less than ideal
preparation and performance by the team. I learned a valuable lesson
not only about the power of the human mind, but also the importance of
timing in addressing a player’s development.
SA: What’s the biggest mistake youth coaches make?
KEVIN HARTMAN: My belief is that one of the
biggest mistakes made is over-coaching. Too often coaches skip through
the fundamental and critical technical aspects and jump to the tactics
of the game. Player growth has to be timed properly. One of the
strengths of our program is the primary emphasis on fundamentals and
then a properly timed and executed focus on tactics. This minimizes
the confusion in a player’s mind by allowing for directed focus
on specific areas of player development and game tactics.
SA: What’s your advice for coaches at the youngest
KEVIN HARTMAN: Most of my memories as a child
were the fun times that I had playing the game with friends. While I
will never dispute the importance of coaching at a young age, it is
critical that the kids have fun. If a coach is able to ignite passion
for the game within the players, the coach will drastically increase
the chances of success. It is amazing what obstacles players are
willing to overcome if they believe there is enjoyment ahead. This was
a key element in my early and continuing love for the game.
SA: Do you think kids are much different now than when you
were in youth soccer and should coaches be aware that they might need
to coach differently than how they were coached at the youth level?
KEVIN HARTMAN: Today, youth players have so many
more opportunities than I did. Growing up in rural Virginia, I had
limited chances to learn about the game, but luckily there were a few
coaches (interestingly, mostly women) who coached youth soccer and
wanted their sons and daughters to play the game. I had to seek out
regional colleges and universities with soccer camps at an early age
-- one of those was a goalkeeper-specific camp, which I fell in love
When my family relocated to Southern California in high school, my
access to soccer resources increased dramatically, and I was able to
grow and learn from coaches I sought out at that time. Fast forward to
today -- there are abundant resources for children to develop,
especially at a place like IMG Academy.
Coaches and parents can create an environment and offer the young
players the tools necessary, but the motivation and effort have to
come from within. If he or she doesn’t have the desire, interest
will wane. Coaches and parents must also be very cognizant of how they
communicate with the players and parents. They need to work on finding
that teachable moment and intervene with a positive and constructive
Being abusive in the moment is no longer acceptable. When I hear
loud, aggressive coaches who are perceived as being abusive, I think
they have missed the point in terms of the need to be a teacher and
supporter of the players. I would much rather have my child coached by
someone who cares about the players and the development of the skills
they need to succeed.
Editor’s note: Sports and entertainment company IMG purchased the
Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, founded in 1978 by Bollettieri, in
1987. The IMG
Academy, which added soccer in 1994, now offers programs in nine
Soccer U-17 Residency Program players live on the IMG Academy
campus and use IMG facilities.
September 15, 2015
The case for compensating youth clubs -- a lawyer's view (Cory Roth Q&A)
By Mike Woitalla
Non-MLS American youth clubs are pushing hard to have access to
training compensation and solidarity payments, which are paid
according to FIFA regulations in other nations to amateur youth clubs
and academies associated with professional clubs when their players
make it to the pros, and deliver even larger sums if those players
switch clubs on transfer fees.
U.S. Soccer has prevented the implementation of the solidarity and
training compensation payments. As reported
by SI.com’s Liviu Bird,
who has been covering the issue in detail, Crossfire Premier, Dallas
Texans SC and Sockers FC Chicago officially filed complaints with the
FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber, claiming a combined $480,500 on
transfers involving DeAndre Yedlin, Clint
Dempsey and Michael Bradley.
But before the recent action, including U.S. Soccer answering
to a U.S. Senate consumer protection subcommittee hearing, there
was the case of Rubio Rubin.
Rubin came out of Westside Metros, a diverse Oregon youth club that
has created access to mainstream youth soccer for many low-income
players such as Rubin, who played free of cost for Westside.
When Rubin, who has since played for the U.S. national team and
starred at the U-20 World Cup, joined Dutch club Eredivisie club
Utrecht at age 18 in 2014, Westside pursued training compensation as
stipulated by FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of
Houston lawyer Cory Roth, a former player for
Westside director Cony Konstin when was he coach of
the Houstonians, offered pro bono services to help determine whether
Westside was actually entitled to training compensation, and navigate
getting the money. Westside Metros (now Westside Timbers) has put the
pursuit on pause, in Roth’s opinion, in part because U.S. Soccer
made it seem impossible and illegal.
We spoke with Roth, a criminal trail
lawyer who also played college ball at the University of Texas,
Dallas and PDL club Palm Beach Pumas, about the key points and latest
developments in the youth clubs' pursuit
SA: What was your reaction to U.S.
Soccer’s answers to Senator Maria Cantwell’s questions
regarding its non-adherence to FIFA Regulations on the Status and
Transfer of Players (RSTP)?
CORY ROTH: It’s nonsense. They’ve gone
from child labor laws -- hello, Freddy Adu – to
NCAA eligibility, to ruining non-profit status, to the Fraser consent
decree, which I believe is not applicable, to now raising anti-trust
concerns to defend their position. I think they’re just scraping
on the bottom of the barrel now.
SA: This issue is not new, but it has heated up as non-MLS
youth clubs see players leave their clubs for MLS academies -- and the
MLS clubs make money on the transfer (e.g. Yedlin) although the player
spent more time with the non-MLS club than with the MLS academy. Is it
accurate to say that a portion of the fees the MLS clubs pocketed from
the buying clubs had actually been intended by the buying clubs to go
to the player’s non-MLS youth club?
CORY ROTH: I think so. Listen, paying training
compensation is the norm all around the world. When a European club
buys a professional player from say Mexico, or Colombia, the club that
trained the player from 12-18 gets paid training compensation.
Not all clubs operate on the same moral ground or with the same
knowledge of FIFA regulations, but when you have the Tottenham
Hotspurs of the world, writing checks to youth soccer clubs, I think
that speaks volumes about what the buying clubs intend to do.
Contractually the idea of express and implied agreements come to mind.
Every club in MLS is a FIFA club. All top division clubs in Europe are
FIFA clubs. When the clubs join FIFA, they expressly and impliedly
agree to follow FIFA’s rules.
Withholding funds to pay training compensation and solidarity
payments are part of the rules, so there is the implied understanding
that up to 5% of the transfer fee (more realistically 2.5% in the
United States) will be withheld to pay training compensation to the
player’s youth clubs.
MLS’s reliance on U.S. Soccer’s training and solidarity
policy is a false reliance because the fact of the matter is that U.S.
Soccer has no business intermeddling in training and solidarity
compensation other than to release player passes.
SA: If American soccer adhered to FIFA’s RSTP, would
that mean that every time MLS, NASL or NWSL signed an American player,
these leagues would have to make payments to the player’s youth
CORY ROTH: Yes, but NASL, if it remains division
2, wouldn’t be paying as much as MLS. There are some ideas on
creating a training and solidarity compensation system comparable to
FIFA’s but unique to the United States.
SA: Would it be a fair compromise that youth clubs are only
compensated when their former players move on a transfer fee to a
foreign club? (Transfer fees aren’t used within the USA.)
Because when an MLS club signs a player, it’s taking a chance on
a player who may never pan out. That could have the consequence of MLS
being less likely to bet on the potential of young American
CORY ROTH: That’s certainly a risk, but that
should incentivize youth academies, and especially MLS academies to
heavily invest in their setup. It might also help get politics out of
the game so that average Joes aren’t going to MLS in place of
real players, like back in my day. To answer your question, that could
be a fair compromise, but it’s not the only fair compromise.
SA: Why should youth clubs that charge parents -- quite a
lot of money in many cases -- to coach their children be entitled to
compensation? And when the clubs claim that the players in question
were “scholarshipped” -- doesn’t that just mean the
parents of the clubs’ other players were footing the bill?
Can’t one argue that the parents of the other kids are the ones
who should be compensated?
CORY ROTH: Pay-for-play youth soccer clubs should
be compensated because of the tangibles and intangibles. You have
pride, community, sacrifice, coaches and trainers who might not be
fairly compensated. You have fields that are dangerous. You have clubs
with no futsal courts. You have families scraping money together to
send their kids to soccer so that they stay out of trouble, learn
valuable life lessons, and possibly secure college and a career.
If “pay-for-play youth soccer club X” gets paid
however-many thousands of dollars in training compensation or
solidarity, maybe that means 20 more scholarships a year, or a futsal
court can be constructed, or lowered fees for everyone, or a new field
named in the player’s honor.
You are right, the parents of the other players are footing the
bill. I’m sure those parents would appreciate not footing the
bill when a training compensation check rolls in.
These youth clubs are non-profits, they aren’t in it to get
rich. To answer your last question, no. That is a nice law school
contracts final exam question, but there is no reasonable argument to
support the claim that the parents of the other kids should be
compensated. What it all boils down to is this: It’s for the
SA: Could you imagine a day when the NFL and Major League
Baseball start compensating Pop Warner or Little League Baseball, for
example, for each player who rises to those pro leagues?
CORY ROTH: They certainly have the money for it.
Shoot, imagine how many kids would have a safe place to be after
school, on the weekends, and during summers, instead of getting into
drugs and gangs and all sorts of trouble, if NFL and MLB had some sort
of compensation system that enriched the communities that give them
all their talent.
SA: Anything else you’d like to add?
CORY ROTH: This is about the kids and it’s
about respect. The more money that trickles down to these kids, the
better our nation will be not just in terms of soccer, but in all
terms because they are the future of sport, education, government,
business, and the arts. And it’s about respect. Americans need
to be respected on the field and off the field, and I have no doubt
that training compensation and solidarity contributions will help the
U.S. garner that respect, and help us to produce world-class talent
several times a generation instead of once in a lifetime (See,
Landon Donovan). Lastly, U.S. Soccer needs to look
out for all of its constituents, not just MLS.
(Editor's note: Included
in U.S. Soccer's answers to questions submitted by Senator
Maria Cantwell, on the question of U.S. Soccer
creating a U.S. system for compensating U.S. youth clubs, it stated
that new legal analysis is being conducted by U.S. Soccer’s
outside counsel. Read the complete transcript of U.S. Soccer's answers
to Cantwell HERE.
Also, U.S. Soccer has
called an Oct. 16 meeting on the dispute with many of the
USA’s top youth clubs.)
September 02, 2015
Looking to Spain makes sense
By Mike Woitalla
If I had a dollar for every time a foreign club offered to teach us how to coach, I’d be able to buy one the replica jerseys they’re selling.
I certainly don’t think it’s a bad idea for American
soccer to consider the methods used in other countries, and to adopt
those that might benefit our players. I’ve visited the youth
programs of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Boca Juniors, Tahuichi in
Bolivia, and have attended countless coaching “clinics”
run by foreign coaches. And I’ve seen stuff that makes good
sense to me.
I also find it laughable that foreign clubs that hardly, if ever,
produce their own players claim they can teach us how to do it. The
first questions we should ask ourselves when clubs or coaches from
abroad come here offering their services are:
1. What is their track record of producing talent?
2. Do they play the kind of soccer we’re striving for?
3. What’s in it for them?
In August, U.S.
Club Soccer announced "a technical partnership" with Spain’s
La Liga. According to the U.S. Club Soccer, La Liga is
“investing significant resources in U.S. youth soccer
So what’s in it for them?
“They’ve been upfront about it,” says U.S. Club
Soccer’s Executive Director/CEO Kevin Payne.
“They realize they have not done a very good job marketing the
La Liga brand. They believe that if they ask Americans to consume
their product, they should first give something to American soccer. To
share their knowledge and help the game grow.”
La Liga will provide U.S. Club Soccer clubs with training
curriculum. The partnership includes “reciprocal coaching
education seminars and elite player training opportunities
abroad” and “direct involvement” with U.S. Club
Soccer’s player identification programs.
“I believe it’s the best league in the world,”
Payne says. “Certainly there’s no argument about that from
La Liga tops the UEFA
club competition rankings by a significant margin. Spanish clubs
have won five of the last 10 Champions League crowns and six of the
last 10 Europa League titles (formerly UEFA Cup).
“And obviously Spain as a nation is very successful,”
says Payne. “I also believe La Liga is the most attractive in
terms of style. …
“The English Premier League had a 15-year head start [in
marketing to U.S. fans]. And if you say the Premier League is the best
in the world over and over and over again, people start to believe it.
But they’re really only No. 1 in money.
“When EPL clubs come to the United States, it’s always
about making money, slapping their names on clubs’ jerseys. I
can only think of maybe one or two exceptions, Manchester City in
particular, whose ventures here aren’t just about making
Payne has a strong case for La Liga. While its clubs’ success
is obviously also thanks to foreign imports, La Liga’s
percentage of foreign players last season of 39% is less than the
English Premier League (69%), Italy’s Serie A (55%) and the
German Bundesliga (46%). Moreover, Spain was second only to France in
exporting players to top European leagues.
Plus, with European Championship titles in 2008 and 2012
sandwiching a 2010 World Cup title, Spain is the most successful
national team of the last decade. (Spain also won the 2011 and 2013
U-21 European Championships and three of the last five U-19 European
“I believe they have an enlightened approach,” Payne
says. “It’s a great marriage for us. But it’s not a
silver bullet. I think one of the biggest problems in American soccer
is believing there’s one elixir and everything is going to be
great. This is just another tool in the toolbox for us. And for them,
it’s a way to develop fans.”
As far as the Spanish and La Liga style of soccer having a positive
influence on young American players – I won't argue against
PLAYERS FIRST INITIATIVE. The
La Liga partnership is part of U.S. Club Soccer’s
Players First initiative – “a holistic club soccer
experience for parents and players, which emphasizes the development
of each individual to his or her full potential, and helps parents
make better choices about where their children should play" -- it
launched last month, encompassing the five pillars of "Club
Development, Coaching Development, Player Development, Parent
Engagement & Education, Player Health & Safety."
Sam Borden of the New York Times
checks in with the family of 15-year-old California product
Ben Lederman, who joined Barcelona in 2011 but for
the last year has been banned from playing in games for Barcelona's
youth teams because of FIFA's enforcement of its ban on the transfer
of minors across international borders. “It is killing
him,” said Ben’s father, Danny Lederman.
“And as his dad, it’s killing me, too, to see him like
this. A year? Kids need to play; he practices, he practices, he
practices, but he can’t play? It’s not right. ... I
understand the rule was made to protect kids from being pulled away
from their families. But our family made a choice to move to Spain
together. Why should FIFA be able to tell our family where it has to
live if we want our kid to play soccer?” The Ledermans are
considering taking their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport
and challenging the basic notion of the rule that created it. "Strict
Enforcement of FIFA Rules Sidelines Young Players Abroad"
features a video of 17-year-old Mallory Pugh, the
USA's most highly touted female teen, and her experience of training
with the full national team. Pugh, at age 16, started all four games
for the USA at the 2014 U-20 Women's World Cup. The Real Colorado
forward, who graduates from high school in 2016 and has committed to
UCLA, is currently leading the USA's quest to qualify for the 2016
U-20 Women's World Cup. "Mallory
Pugh: A Day in The Show"
Copyright © 2007 - 2009 -- Mike Woitalla
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