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 1972.

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 Alkis Panagoulias.

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,
Joe Machnik, Gene Chyzowych, James Bradley, Manfred Schellscheidt.

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 championship teams.

“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 memory.”

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 screw-ups.

“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 ball.’

“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 session:

“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, Horst Woitalla.

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 coaches.”

“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 as “revolutionary.”

“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 them.”

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 start coaching?

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’ confidence grew.

SA: What are the biggest challenges for you in your role as Technical Director?

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 parents.

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 student-athletes.

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 ages?

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 with.

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 tone.

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 sports. U.S. 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 Players.

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 of compensation.

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.

Cory Roth.

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 clubs?

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 player.

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 kids.

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 development.”

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 UEFA.”

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 money.”

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 Championships.)

“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 that.

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."

Around the Net

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"

USSoccer.com 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"