goalkeeper.jpg












teamsnap_ad-200x200.jpg




December 31, 2013
Tab Ramos: 'We're in a great place with room to grow' (Part 1)

Tab Ramos talks about his expanded role with U.S. Soccer.

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



November 15, 2013
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.

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



August 01, 2013
Winning's not everything: How to convince parents

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Coaching young players to increase their chances of excelling at the higher levels can often mean losing games. So how can coaches convince parents not to confuse scorelines with player development progress? Here are a couple of methods that can help coaches show parents how to look for improvement without focusing on wins and losses:

Read more...



May 10, 2013
'Patience is crucial for coaches' (Q&A with Red Bulls' Bob Montgomery, Part 2)

In Part 2 of our interview with the Bob Montgomery we asked the New York Red Bulls' Director of Youth Programs about the clubs' coaching philosophy, its structure and the challenges of producing pros
for the first team.

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



May 03, 2013
USA's No. 1 club aims to produce more pros (Q&A: Red Bulls' Bob Montgomery, Part 1)

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

The New York Red Bulls, which last year had more than 20 players called up to a U.S. youth national team, were rated Soccer America's top 2012 boys youth club -- the first time an MLS club claimed No. 1 since the rankings’ inception 10 years ago. In Part 1 of our interview with the Red Bulls' Director of Youth Programs Bob Montgomery we spoke about the club's quest to produce pro players, the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, and the impact of pro teams on the youth soccer landscape.

Read more...



April 30, 2013
Why futsal gets a boost from U.S. Soccer (Keith Tozer Q&A)

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Play in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy's new U-13/14 age group -- with about a 100 teams -- begins this fall and futsal will be part the schedule. U.S. Soccer has also started hosting U-14 futsal events, including a 32-team tournament at the Home Depot Center in late April. We speak with Keith Tozer, U.S. national futsal team coach since 1996, on futsal's value to the development of young players.

Read more...



April 22, 2013
Instilling respect, passion and love for game (USL president Tim Holt Q&A Part 2)

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

In Part 2 of our interview with Tim Holt, the USL president addresses some of the key issues facing American youth soccer. Although best known for its expansive network of pro, semipro and amateur adults leagues, USL has had a major impact on the youth game, having launched the Super Y-League in 1999. USL also operates an Olympic Development Program, a U-20 Super Y-League, and its Premier Development League (PDL) provides a bridge to pro soccer for young players.

Read more...



April 20, 2013
'USL Widens the Net' (Tim Holt Q&A Part 1)

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

United Soccer Leagues (USL), best known for its expansive network of pro, semipro and amateur adult leagues, has also had a significant impact on the youth game, having launched the Super Y-League in 1999. USL also operates an Olympic Development Program, a U-20 league, and its Premier Development League (PDL) provides a bridge to pro soccer for young players. We spoke to USL President Tim Holt about USL's youth soccer ventures past, present and future.

Read more...



March 27, 2013
Getting players to pay attention

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

It's perfectly reasonable that children who show up to soccer practice might have a difficult time paying attention when the coach has something to say. They have, after all, spent an entire day at
school listening to adults. And now it's playtime.

Read more...



January 19, 2013
Girls vs. Boys: Should coaches communicate differently? (Part 4)

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

A few years ago, I asked a man with plenty of experience, and a fair amount of success, coaching both genders about whether he takes a different approach. He didn't want his quotes attributed, but ...

Read more...



January 12, 2013
Girls vs. Boys: A Difference in Social Dynamics? (Part 3)

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



January 02, 2013
Girls vs. Boys: 'It's about how the individual ticks' (Part 2)

In Part 2 of our series we speak with Minnesota coach Julie Eibensteiner, who has coached both genders at the youth and college level for more than a decade.

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



December 12, 2012
Girls vs. Boys: Should they be coached differently? (Part 1)

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



December 05, 2012
'Top players play on their own' (Q&A with Todd Saldana, Part 2)

Todd Saldana grew up playing youth soccer in Southern California in the 1970s, when his club coach was Sigi Schmid. Saldana played for the USA at the first U-20 World Cup it qualified for, in 1981,
and signed pro out of high school with the old NASL's Los Angeles Aztecs, where his coaches included Rinus Michels and Claudio Coutinho.

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



December 02, 2012
Club Cooperation Pays Off in So Cal (Q&A with Todd Saldana, Part 1)

Southern California club South Bay Force had its application to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy rejected, but Director of Coaching Todd Saldana still found a way for his players to play at the
highest level of boys soccer in the USA.

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



November 29, 2012
Strides made; improvement still needed (Steve Swanson Q&A, Part 2)

In September, Steve Swanson coached the USA to the 2012 U-20 Women's World Cup title. A women's college coach since 1990, including the last 13 seasons at University of Virginia, Swanson has also coached in the U.S. national team women's program at the U-16, U-17, U-18 and U-19 levels since 2000. Swanson spoke to us about his U-20 team's victory and the state of women's and girls soccer in the USA.

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



October 13, 2012
On losing without a loss (Q&A: U-17 coach Albertin Montoya)

In a year that saw the U.S. women win Olympic gold and lift the U-20 World Cup, the U.S. U-17 girls suffered a first-round exit at the U-17 World Cup in Azerbaijan last month, despite going undefeated and conceding only one goal. The two teams that edged the USA on goal difference, France and North Korea, reached the final. We spoke with U.S. U-17 coach Albertin Montoya, the director of Northern California youth club MVLA who took the U-17 helm after guiding FC Gold Pride to the 2010 WPS title.

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



September 28, 2012
Why Mexico has been so successful

It's five days after Mexico won the 2012 Olympic gold medal. Scouts from 11 Mexican pro clubs and three representatives of the Mexican federation (FMF) are eying players from ages 13 to 18. ... The scouts sit in a stadium 460 miles north of the Mexican border -- in San Francisco, Calif.

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



September 07, 2012
Laughter, Tears, Frustration, Celebration (Book Review)

By Mike Woitalla

If there's a book about a youth soccer coach's experience as entertaining and insightful as what Dan Woog has produced, I'm unaware of it.

Read more...



August 10, 2012
High school ban hits hard in Manhattan

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Martin Jacobson is likely the most renowned high school soccer coach in the USA as his success with inner-city New York kids, at a school dubbed "Horror High" by the tabloids, has been well-documented by media outlets, including CBS's "60 Minutes."

Read more...



August 03, 2012
Brian Bliss: 'At U-16s, winning becomes part of it'

For the second time in three years, the Columbus Crew Juniors won the McGuire Cup -- U.S. Youth Soccer's U-19 national championship -- coached by former U.S. World Cup player Brian
Bliss
, the MLS club's Technical Director.

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



July 20, 2012
Spain's bright future; U.S. U-20s; high school vs. club

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Two weeks after Spain routed Italy, 4-0, to win Euro 2012 – following up on its 2010 World Cup and 2008 Euro titles – came a sign that Spanish dominance could have a long future.

Read more...



July 12, 2012
Kristine Lilly: Have fun and go after it (Q&A Part 2)

Interview by Mike Woitalla By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Kristine Lilly, the world record holder for national team appearances with 352, debuted for the USA at age 16 in 1987 and retired in 2010 at age 39. In Part 2 of our interview with the veteran of five World Cups and three Olympic Games, Lilly offers advice for young players and reflects on her youth sports and national team experience.

Read more...



July 09, 2012
Kristine Lilly: Good coaches create good memories (Q&A Part 1)

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



July 01, 2012
Parents should hush on the ride home

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

"What is your worst memory from playing youth and high school sports?"

Read more...



June 29, 2012
Tim Howard's advice for keepers, parents and coaches

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



May 26, 2012
Mooch Soccer: An inner-city success story

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



May 20, 2012
Bobby Howe: 'Don't make it a mystery' (Q&A Part 2)

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



May 11, 2012
Bobby Howe: 'Drills are for the army' (Q&A Part 1)

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



April 27, 2012
Proud parents of great players offer insight

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

"The worst thing for a kid is to be on the field and hear his father screaming from the sidelines, and the kid has to look over and see that."

Read more...



April 24, 2012
Playing in 'small spaces' and speaking of Barcelona

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

"I think we really need to get better in small spaces," said Claudio Reyna, U.S. Soccer’s Youth Technical Director, in the wake of the U.S. men's failure to qualify for the Olympics.

Read more...



April 20, 2012
Mia Hamm's advice for girls, parents and coaches

American sports icon Mia Hamm debuted for the U.S. national team at age 15 in 1987. She helped the USA to two World Cup and two Olympic titles. The 158 national team goals she scored before retiring in 2004 remain a world record. We asked Hamm to reflect on her early years and offer advice for coaches, parents and young players.

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



March 30, 2012
Different paths to stardom (Sebastian's Story)

What especially impressed the South Carolina youth coach about the boy wasn't what he did with his Carolina Elite club - although Andrew Hyslop was very impressed -- it was the soccer Sebastian Velasquez played own his own.

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



March 23, 2012
Pros should compensate youth clubs (Q&A Lorne Donaldson, Real Colorado, Part 2)

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Lorne Donaldson is the Executive Director of Coaching of Real Colorado, which has nearly 5,000 players and competes in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy and ENCL. In the second part of our interview we spoke about youth soccer's high costs, how his club evaluates coaches, and the field-size problem.

Read more...



March 20, 2012
'Kids face tough choice' (Q&A Lorne Donaldson, Real Colorado, Part 1)

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Lorne Donaldson is the Executive Director of Coaching of Real Colorado, which has nearly 5,000 players and competes in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy and ENCL. We spoke with Donaldson about the high school vs. club debate in Part 1 of our interview.

Read more...



February 28, 2012
'Not every kid wants to play high school' (Q&A Leigh Cowlishaw, Richmond Kickers)

The Richmond Kickers have announced they will be covering the costs of players on their U.S. Soccer Development Academy teams. We spoke with Leigh Cowlishaw, the Central Virginia club's Director of Soccer, about the impact he expects from the move -- and the Academy's new 10-month season, which keeps its players out of high school ball.

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



February 17, 2012
Klinsmann and Co. make case for 10-month club season, no high school ball

U.S. Soccer made it official last Friday that its 78-club Development Academy league will move to a 10-month schedule starting with the 2012-13 season.

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



February 15, 2012
Dribble on! ... High school more fun?

We need dribblers! ...

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



January 30, 2012
'Coaches should help, not disturb' (Q&A with Bayern Munich's Werner Kern, Part 2)

Bayern Munich, Germany's richest and most successful club, buys international stars (eg Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben) and top domestic talent (eg Manuel Neuer and Mario Gomez) -- but its starting lineup usually includes four or five homegrown players, who are also national team regulars.


By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



January 28, 2012
Inside Bayern Munich's youth program (Q&A with Werner Kern, Part I)

Bayern Munich stars, such as Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm and Thomas Mueller, often cross paths with the youngsters at the club's Sabener Strasse grounds -- though they arrive in a different manner. The pros drive Audis provided by the team sponsor whose license plates end with their jersey numbers. After parking in the underground garage, they stop at the autograph station to sign shirts, balls and pictures that will be sent to fans. The youth players come mainly after school by train or in buses provided by the club. A small group of them live in the club's dorms.

By Mike Woitalla
(from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



December 23, 2011
'Put best coaches at youngest ages' (Q&A with Mustang's Fred Wilson)

The Youth Soccer Insider continues its interview series with youth club leaders by talking with Fred Wilson, the Boys Coaching Director of Northern California's Mustang Soccer, a club-slash-league with nearly 5,000 players under its umbrella.

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



December 14, 2011
Tackling gay issues in sports

The hardships faced by gay teens inspired the coming-out of former University of North Carolina star David Testo after nearly a decade of pro soccer in MLS, the USL and NASL. We contacted longtime soccer coach and journalist Dan Woog, the author of five books on gay and lesbian issues, to comment on the importance of pro athletes coming out and to offer advice for coaches on how to combat the homophobia that can torment gay and questioning teens.

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



November 30, 2011
'They need a guiding hand' (Derek Armstrong Q&A, Part 2)

In Part 2 of our interview, Armstrong addresses the USA's challenge in producing special players and the U.S. Soccer Federation's role in player development.

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



November 25, 2011
'U.S. coaching is first class' (Derek Armstrong Q&A - Part 1)

Few individuals have had as great an impact on American youth soccer as Derek Armstrong, who three decades ago pioneered the fully staffed, multi-team club model now prevalent throughout the USA.

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



November 14, 2011
Klinsmann Q&A: 'We are on the right track' (Part 2)

Jurgen Klinsmann's stint as Germany's national team coach in 2004-06 coincided with the nation's rebirth as a world power. We asked Klinsmann, U.S. head coach since July, to compare the German player development efforts with those in the USA.

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



November 11, 2011
Klinsmann Q&A: Parents can set an example (Part 1)

Jurgen Klinsmann, whose playing career included winning the 1990 World Cup title with Germany, took a keen interest in American youth soccer when he moved to California upon his retirement in 1998. He became head coach of the U.S. national team in July and took time before the USA's November friendlies against France and Slovenia to discuss American youth soccer issues, including the parents' role, pay-to-play, differences between European and American youth clubs, college ball -- and he offers some advice to youth coaches.

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



November 01, 2011
Richie Williams: Remember when you were a kid

After playing 14 years of pro ball and serving half-a-decade as an MLS assistant coach, Richie Williams now focuses full-time on the youth game.

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



October 25, 2011
Tab Ramos: 'I know what Jurgen's looking for'

No other coach of a U.S. national team on the men's side had as illustrious career in the U.S. jersey as new U-20 boss Tab Ramos, who played in three World Cups, two Copa Americas, the Olympics and the U-20 World Cup. One of the most skillful players in U.S. history, his dribbling skills have arguably yet to be matched by an American player. Upon retiring in 2002, Ramos founded the New Jersey youth club NJSA 04. In 2008, he coached the NJSA 04 Gunners to the U-14 U.S. Youth Soccer national title. He served as assistant coach to previous U.S. U-20 boss Thomas Rongen.

Interview by Mike Woitalla
(from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



October 20, 2011
Cruyff: 'Everyone grows'; Coaches' sons; U.S. Foundation grant cycle opens

Johan Cruyff, speaking with Rob Draper of the UK's Daily Mail, recounted seeing Pep Guardiola for the first time - shortly after Cruyff had been named Barcelona coach and Guardiola was a "scrawny teenager" in Barcelona's youth team.

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



October 01, 2011
Top U.S boys clubs get Report Cards

U.S. Soccer has been evaluating the clubs that comprise its Development Academy league since its launch in 2007, but it has now made those evaluations, in which clubs get rated on a 5-star system, public.

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



Club vs. High School conflict heats up (A view from the NSCAA)

We spoke with NSCAA CEO Joe Cummings about the tug-of-war for players between high schools and elite clubs, who often urge their players to skip scholastic ball.

Interview by Mike Woitalla

Read more...



September 23, 2011
Claudio Reyna: 'It all ties into style of play'

As U.S. Soccer's Youth Technical Director, Claudio Reyna believes a key to improving American player development is convincing more youth clubs to strive for a style of play conducive to nurturing talent.

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



September 13, 2011
Growing pains: Girls face challenge of the 'commotional' years

Age-appropriate coaching has been cited as extremely important in player development. The Youth Soccer Insider begins a series on this topic with a look at the challenges faced by female players as they transition into their teen years by checking in with Tad Bobak, one of the most experienced and successful girls coaches in American youth soccer.

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



September 01, 2011
Brad Rothenberg: 'Latino talent critically important to U.S. future'

Since Brad Rothenberg co-founded Alianza de Futbol in 2004, the program's tournaments and tryouts in U.S. Hispanic communities have become a magnet for Mexicans clubs scouting U.S.-bred talent. We spoke to Rothenberg about the integration of Hispanics into mainstream American soccer and the challenges faced by young Latino players in the USA.

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



August 28, 2011
Mexican clubs cast net over U.S. talent

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Jose Nino's hopes of attending a four-year college hit a roadblock. The $11,000 from Pell and Cal Grants the 18-year-old is eligible for doesn't cover all the college costs.

Read more...



August 14, 2011
Can Klinsmann make a grass-roots impact?

Before Jurgen Klinsmann's debut as U.S. coach against Mexico, ESPN's Julie Foudy asked him, "How would you define success over the next three years?" It's noteworthy that Klinsmann steered his response to youth soccer:

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



July 30, 2011
Voices from Ajax Amsterdam: 'Everyone here wants the ball'

Ajax Amsterdam, having produced players from Johan Cruyff to Wesley Sneijder, is considered by legions of American youth coaches as a model for youth development.

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



June 04, 2011
AYSO answered the call 40 years ago

The 40th anniversary of AYSO launching girls soccer coincides nicely with this summer's Women's World Cup, at which, as usual, the USA will field players who got their introduction to soccer in AYSO.

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



May 20, 2011
Anson Dorrance: 'Coaching is stealing best practices'

Twenty years ago, Anson Dorrance coached the USA to victory at the inaugural Women's World Cup in 1991. During his 1986-1994 national team tenure he coached the USA's first generation of great female players, including Mia Hamm, April Heinrichs and Kristine Lilly, who also played for him at the University of North Carolina, where Dorrance is aiming for his 22nd national title. We spoke to Dorrance upon the USSF's unveiling of its "U.S. Soccer Curriculum" for youth coaching.

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



May 15, 2011
U.S. Club Soccer has changed radically in 10 years

This year marks the 10th anniversary of U.S. Club Soccer, which since gaining U.S. Soccer Federation membership in 2001 has served as an alternative to U.S. Youth Soccer. We spoke with U.S. Club Soccer chairman Phil Wright about the past, present and future of the organization that now has member clubs and leagues in 50 states, runs national and state cup competitions, a player identification program (id2) and the girls Elite Clubs National League.

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



May 05, 2011
The latest coaching recipe

For the second time in six years, the U.S. Soccer Federation has produced a handbook designed to improve youth coaching in America. Claudio Reyna, the USSF's Youth Technical Director, unveiled the "U.S. Soccer Curriculum" in April. It offers specific, age-appropriate guidelines on how to run practice sessions throughout a season. The aim -- besides turning the USA into the soccer world power it certainly has the resources to become -- is to coach children in a way that helps create an American style of play.

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



April 30, 2011
Claudio Reyna: 'Coaches should sit down'

For many reasons, Claudio Reyna was the perfect choice to be named U.S. Soccer's Youth Technical Director one year ago.

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



April 23, 2011
Field play important for young keepers

Why goalkeepers shouldn't specialize too early ...

By Tim Mulqueen with Mike Woitalla (excerpted from "The Complete Soccer Goalkeeper")

Read more...



April 21, 2011
Reyna unveils new USSF coaching curriculum

The U.S. Soccer Federation has unveiled its new coaching curriculum for coaches of players ages 5-12.

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America)

Read more...



April 19, 2011
'Whether boys or girls: be consistent, send clear message'

A youth coach for nearly three decades, Theresa Echtermeyer is a director of coaching with Colorado United and also coaches the Mountain Vista High School boys and girls teams. She is a National Staff Coach and Instructor for the NSCAA. Echtermeyer spoke to us for the Youth Soccer Insider's ongoing interview series on key issues facing American youth soccer.

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



April 18, 2011
When They Were Children: Stories from the Stars

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

One of the more enjoyable parts of interviewing stars is hearing anecdotes from their youth soccer days. Here are some from this season's MLS players:

Read more...



April 12, 2011
'Coaching still a boys club'

Miriam Hickey, who has coached girls youth national teams in her native Netherlands, is the Girls Coaching Director at Vardar East and was U.S. Youth Soccer's 2008 Competitive Coach of the Year. She's also on Michigan Youth Soccer's board as Recreation Director. Hickey spoke to us for the Youth Soccer Insider's ongoing interview series on key issues facing American youth soccer.

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



April 05, 2011
Lecture them not

If being told how to play enabled children to master soccer we'd have an excess of great players and superb teams. The game, it is so obvious, is the best teacher. That's not to say the coaches' choice of words doesn't have an influence. The question is how a coach can communicate with youngsters to help them improve, inspire them, and make their soccer experience an enjoyable one.

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



March 26, 2011
Tom Howe: Coaching good soccer takes patience

Tom Howe helped found St. Louis' Scott Gallagher SC in 1976 and coached future stars such as Tim Ream, Brad Davis and Pat Noonan. One of his alums, Cal coach Kevin Grimes, calls Howe "a legend, one of the best youth coaches ever." Last year, after Scott Gallagher merged with Busch SC and Metro United, Howe left and started a new club, Woodson City Rangers. Howe, a St. Louis product himself who starred at SIU-Edwardsville and played in the old NASL, spoke to us for the Youth Soccer Insider's ongoing interview series with leaders of U.S. youth clubs.

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



March 18, 2011
Hassan Nazari: 'Good players always want the ball'

Hassan Nazari, who played for Iran in the 1978 World Cup and 1976 Olympics, founded the Dallas Texans in 1993 after coaching youth ball in the highly competitive Metroplex for eight years. The Dallas Texans have long been ranked among the top clubs in the nation for sending players to the college, pro and national team level, and for their success at national competitions. The club, which has affiliates throughout Texas, in Oklahoma, Florida, Canada and Ghana, has its own field complex and indoor facility in North Texas, where it's launching a residency program.

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



March 10, 2011
Tab Ramos: Keep the parents at bay

Tab Ramos, considered one of the USA's most skillful players ever, played for the USA at three World Cups, two Copa Americas, and in the Olympic Games. Two years after retiring in 2002 from a playing career in Spain, Mexico and MLS, he founded the New Jersey youth club NJSA 04. In 2008, he coached the NJSA 04 Gunners to the U-14 U.S. Youth Soccer national title, marking the first national championship for a New Jersey club in two decades.

Interview by Mike Woitalla
(from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



February 28, 2011
Westside Metros' Cony Konstin: 'Coaching is overrated'

Cony Konstin is the Director of Coaching of Westside Metros SC, a small club based in Beaverton, Ore., that has gotten national attention with the success of its U-19 Internationals boys team and has sent players to the U-15 national team pool. Previously, Konstin served as the Director of Houstonians FC, which became a model for inner-city youth soccer.

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



February 22, 2011
Reinventing the Soccer Ball

It seems to me that playing soccer with different kinds of balls is good for children's skill development. I don't have scientific evidence for this, but a lot of anecdotes from great players. Pele played with a grapefruit and a sock stuffed with paper when a proper ball wasn't available. Diego Maradona walked to school kicking an orange or crumpled-up paper. Claudio Reyna played one-on-one with his brother in the basement using a Nerf-type ball and kicked against the ball with one of those plastic bouncy balls you find in drug-store bins.

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



February 10, 2011
Rush's Tim Schulz: USSF should play even greater role

In a new Youth Soccer Insider series, we're asking the leaders of U.S. youth clubs to address key issues on the state of American youth soccer.

Interview by Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



January 28, 2011
The Beginnings of Barcelona's Superstars

The world's three greatest players have a few things in common. Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi all stand barely 5-foot-7 tall. They're teammates at Barcelona and they all came out of the club's youth program.

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



January 24, 2011
New leaders aim to boost girls soccer

The first ear-piercing wakeup call for U.S. women's soccer came at the 2007 World Cup, where a dazzling Brazil outplayed and routed the USA, 4-0, in semifinals.

Last year provided more examples that the benefit of the USA's huge head start in the girls and women's game was evaporating. The USA lost to Mexico for the first time ever, and at the U-17 World Cup, it wasn't the Americans being hailed for skillful, entertaining soccer -- but South Korea, North Korea, Japan and Spain.

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider)

Read more...



January 01, 2011
Is that a keeper? Spotting potential

When I first saw Tim Howard at a camp I coached in Metuchen, N.J., he was 12 years old. I may not have said to myself, "Here's a kid who will play in the English Premier League." But I really did see the potential for greatness.

By Tim Mulqueen (from "The Complete Soccer Goalkeeper")

Read more...



August 30, 2010
How adults can 'teach' kids by playing along

One of the best ways for adults to coach children is to play along with them.

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America Magazine's Youth Insider)

It's certainly no secret that children learn more from what they see than from what they are told. Just try explaining how to strike a ball without demonstrating.

Whether it’s at a practice scrimmage or a casual kickaround, children playing with and against adults pick up all sorts of soccer skill and knowledge.

But, of course, there are risks when children play a sport with persons three times as big, and the adults must play without causing injuries or invading on the children's playtime.

Read more...



October 10, 2009
Getting the most out of the best

For a decade now, U.S. Soccer has put the nation's top young boy players into its U-17 Residency Program. For the last two years, they have been mentored by Colombian World Cup veteran Wilmer Cabrera, who takes them to the U-17 world championship in October.

By Mike Woitalla (from the October 2009 issue of Soccer America)

When the players at the U-17 Residency Program hit the field for their daily practice session, they are first met one-on-one by the coaches.

Read more...



September 20, 2009
For Kids Only ...

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America Magazine's Youth Insider)

This column is for the kids. Adults can stop reading now

Read more...



May 20, 2009
Barcelona's approach to youth development

Two years ago, while visiting Spain, I looked into to its approach to youth development. Since then, Spain has won the 2008 European Championship and Barcelona won the 2009 UEFA Champions League.

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America Magazine's Youth Insider)

Read more...



April 02, 2009
Encouraging the Pass ... When the Time is Right

One of the biggest mistakes youth coaches can make is to force a passing game on children too early. So how can coaches encourage passing without impeding their players' development?

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider.)

Read more...



February 20, 2009
Field Play Makes Better Keepers

Is the USA's ability to produce great goalkeepers threatened by early specialization?

By Mike Woitalla (from the February issue of Soccer America)

Read more...



February 02, 2009
Getting kids to play on their own

By Mike Woitalla (from Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider, Jan. 15, 2008)

No one denies that children who want to excel at soccer should play the game in addition to their team's practices and games, but today's children have less unscheduled time than previous generations and more diversions. Getting them to choose soccer over other options -- whether it be Guitar Hero or Webkinz - can require prodding from the parents.


Here are some methods that parents and coaches can use to encourage children to play on their own, and games they'll enjoy while improving their skills:

Read more...



January 10, 2009
Getting kids to play on their own

My article in PLAYSOCCER Magazine on getting kids to player soccer on their own can be read HERE.
--Mike Woitalla




November 20, 2008
The Delight of Coaching Your Own Child

By Mike Woitalla from AYSO's PLAYSOCCER Magazine.

It's one of the greatest delights of parenthood. I don't recall it mentioned in any of the guide books while preparing for fatherhood or that it came up in the words of encouragement from friends or family. It's the magic of seeing the world through your child's eyes.

Spend a little time with a youngster, and you're fielding questions about the sky, the moon and the stars that you may not have thought about for years. Watch the eyes of children when they play with a dog, see a fire truck, or marvel at the way soap bubbles soar and pop.

Put together a train set, build Lego cities, goof around with dolls and stuffed animals. At some point it will hit. You feel like a child again. You're rediscovering joy and magnificence where you long ago forgot they existed.

And you get to play ball! If you're lucky, you might coach your child's soccer team.

Read more...



October 01, 2008
Has Development Academy shifted the focus?

The U.S. Soccer Development Academy's launch in 2007 promised to improve youth soccer for elite boys. We checked in with clubs that participated in the Academy's first season to see if the program met expectations.

By Mike Woitalla, Soccer America Magazine

Read more...



October 19, 2007
Reevaluating the Residency Program

In light of poor results at this year's U-17 World Cup, the launch of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, and MLS's move into the youth arena, it's time to reassess U.S. Soccer's 9-year-old Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla.

By Mike Woitalla (Soccer America Magazine)

Read more...



October 12, 2007
How Barcelona Spawns Stars

Barcelona can buy any player it wants, but maintains an ambitious and successful youth program.

By Mike Woitalla (Soccer America Magazine)

There's a large crowd of people in the plaza area surrounding Barcelona's Camp Nou Stadium, many of them are wearing jerseys with Ronaldinho, Messi and Eto'o on the back. But there's no game today.

It's a Thursday afternoon, the team is in Scotland for a preseason friendly, but that doesn't stop the crowds, who eat Spanish omelette sandwiches in between stadium tours and visiting the FC Barcelona Museum, which draws 1.2 million visitors a year, more than any other Barcelona museum.

Inside the league offices, behind the club store, sits Jose Ramon Alexanco, the director of Barcelona's youth program.

Alexanco's department has an annual budget of $10 million. But why does a club, which can buy pretty much any player it wants, try to develop its own players?

Read more...





CATEGORIES

BEST OF YSF


RECENT POSTS

ARCHIVES