There will be some ranting.
There will be some talk of soccer.
There will be at least one dad. Often more. Or perhaps a dad and a mom.
Ranting Soccer Dad is a podcast/blog that goes beyond the “nice” talk about youth soccer. If you go into youth soccer expecting a steady stream of pleasant character-building experiences, you’re going to be disappointed. A lot of things are frustrating. And they don’t all need to be that way.
So we’re going to offer up some reporting. Some constructive criticism. Some discussion about what to do if you’re a youth soccer parent, coach, administrator or executive overlord.
Sure, you may not have to go far to hear a ranting soccer dad. Just go to any youth game. The difference here is that the host and the guests are bringing years of research and experience to back up the skepticism. (Or optimism, depending on the guest.)
- Moving forward and making peace with U.S. Soccer’s “change” wing and the Athletes’ CouncilI have an important message for the “Gang of Six” supporters: You made a difference. Really. Your choice now is whether you want to follow through or just take to Twitter and whine about the […]
- Last-minute election plea: Think of the childrenWe, the media, have failed you. We’ve been distracted by the drama. The politics. The personalities. Not that the personalities aren’t important. The next U.S. Soccer president has to build bridges and trust. The right […]
- Scenes from a U.S. Soccer board meetingWhile other reporters were out chasing down details of the Gang of Six (or Five or Four), I was at a U.S. Soccer Board of Directors meeting. And what I can report from that meeting […]
- Scenes from an Orlando hotel (or, why Heather O’Reilly is hard core)After my interview with SiriusXM FC today (thanks, Dunny and Janusz), I headed over to the hotel where all the action is at the U.S. Soccer Annual General Meeting to grab a good meal and […]
- A quick Carlos Cordeiro Q-and-ARemember the questions I posed to the candidates last week? I knew it’d be difficult to get answers when the candidates are all talking to as many voters as possible. But I just got one […]
- U.S. Soccer election: On Carter, conspiracies and conflicts of interestBy announcing her plans to start an independent commission chaired by mega-agent Casey Wasserman, did USSF presidential candidate Kathy Carter force a lot of people into a conflict of interest? And can Wasserman’s company force […]
- USSF election: The final questions (cue Europe keyboard riff)With one week to go in the election, we’re all talking about many things. Not many of those things have anything to do with ideas or qualifications or anything like that. It’s mostly screaming that […]
- Fact/reality checking the Sunil Gulati speechI don’t think I’ve ever seen Sunil Gulati take a stage as quickly as he did at the U.S. Youth Soccer gala. It was as if he felt an internal clock ticking as he tried […]
- U.S. Soccer presidential election: Last call for questionsIn one week, U.S. Soccer members — from big-shot board members to little-known delegates from far-flung state associations — will descend upon a hotel just outside Disney World and Sea World. They’ll have two days […]
- Time for U.S. pro leagues to treat their cornerstones a bit betterWith its callous attitude toward Columbus, MLS has already staked out a “thanks for getting us off the ground, now go away” attitude that Don Garber must fix before he either leaves office or renews […]
and tune in …
- RSD26: Charles Boehm on the U.S. Soccer election and youth soccer January 24, 2018 9:42 pmThis week’s guest, Charles Boehm, is a player, coach, referee and writer — check out his intro at the 2:45 mark and learned where he played alongside future non-U.S. national teamers. Like me, he was in Philadelphia for the United Soccer Coaches convention and attended many of the U.S. Soccer presidential candidates’ sessions. We talk about what makes a soccer person and what makes an elitist (5:30), whether Eric Wynalda is the front-runner (8:00), the “anyone but (so-and-so)” approach to voting (9:45), what the candidates showed us in Philly (13:05), Kathy Carter and Soccer United Marketing (24:10), what’s changing in U.S. Soccer (30:00-ish), then youth soccer and the surprising focus on ODP (38:15). I didn’t get around to finishing my thought on why I was once the best U12 center back in Athens, Ga. The answer is the same reason why I was once a competent over-30 coed indoor goalkeeper: Reckless disregard for my own safety. It surely had nothing to [...]
- RSD25: Phillypalooza election preview, the disappointing USSF coaching education overhaul, and being nice January 18, 2018 12:58 amPoint 1: Why this weekend will be huge for the U.S. Soccer presidential election. (2:02) Included in that: Why I’m skeptical of current election projections (including a NewsRadio reference), what the Number 1 issue in this election should be (8:10), a few surprising things on Paralympic soccer (8:30), a question of what we’re really saying about futsal — the next beach volleyball? (9:30), SUM and pro/rel (11:30), and finally back to the Number 1 issue and how it overlaps with other major issues (18:00). Point 2: The new U.S. Soccer coaching curriculum, grassroots level (22:15) Included in that: Welcome to Disney (25:55), introducing tactics at 4v4? (26:20), the painful irony of the chosen video clip (27:15), U6 parent coaches developing their own coaching philosophy? (28:00), the nice tone (32:25). Point 3: Soccer discourse, [...]
- RSD24: An election-related New Year’s resolution January 3, 2018 8:07 pmNo interview lined up, so what’s the rant this week? How the United Soccer Coaches convention in Philadelphia might help us reset the hostility-to-substance ratio in the presidential race. Who I would NOT endorse for U.S. Soccer president, based on what I know now. (The answer is NOT Eric Wynalda, which I know might blow the minds of some folks on Twitter.) Why Riccardo Silva’s tweet about promotion and corruption was irresponsible and inaccurate. (He’s welcome to chat with me or simply tweet again to explain, clarify, etc.) https://twitter.com/_Riccardo_Silva/status/948324499631558658 A bit of U.S. Soccer voting history. Some musing on c [...]
- RSD23: The convoluted U.S. Soccer presidential race and the educational Soccer Parenting Summit December 13, 2017 7:33 pmBeau flies solo for the likely 2017 RSD finale and talks about the magnificent seven or the elite eight to reach this stage of the USSF presidential race. At the 15-minute mark, he tries to sum up 20-some hours of the Soccer Parenting Summit. Happy holidays, and get more details on this pod later this week at RantingSoccerDad.com
- RSD22: U.S. Soccer presidential candidate Paul Lapointe December 6, 2017 12:33 pmIf you want to skip Beau’s rant on the good and bad of US Club Soccer, Sunil Gulati and Twitter, skip to the 15-minute mark. That’s where you’ll find the interview with Paul Lapointe, one of the first candidates to declare his intent to run for the U.S. Soccer presidency. We talk about promotion/relegation, the role of the president, equal pay for the U.S. women’s team, women’s soccer promotion/relegation/Open Cup, the fragmented world of futsal, the fragmented world of indoor “balls and walls” soccer, youth soccer and coaching. All in less than 45 minutes.
- RSD21: U.S. Soccer presidential candidate Eric Wynalda December 1, 2017 6:09 pmEric Wynalda has played in multiple World Cups, Germany, MLS, etc. He’s been a successful coach and commentator. Yes, we talk about promotion/relegation. In fact, we did it first just so you single-issue types can listen and then bail out. If you want to hear about EVERY issue facing the next USSF president — well, we got to maybe half of them. There are lot of issues. In rough order, we talk about: 1. What’s different or similar between the concerns of the Twitterati and the concerns of the typical state or national association. 2. Whether people are nervous to speak up about the USSF power structure. 3. Women’s soccer: The new collective bargaining agreement and the NWSL. 4. Youth soccer: Has the federation done too little? Too much?
- RSD20: Mediating the NASL/USSF suit with Neil Morris November 29, 2017 11:00 amNeil Morris covers his local teams — North Carolina FC and the North Carolina Courage — for WRAL. His work includes a terrific podcast, the Inverted Triangle. In his day job, he’s an attorney and mediator. So why not combine his areas of expertise and try to mediate the NASL/USSF lawsuit? We gave it a whirl, with Neil playing the role of mediator and your host flipping between the roles of NASL and USSF advocates. The conversation starts around the 8:45 mark. We quickly explain what’s going on in the real world with the lawsuit, and then Neil explains the mediation process. I present a hypothetical NASL offer, prompted by Neil’s helpful questions and prodding, around the 25-minute mark. (Highlights: Cosmos owner on the USSF Board, drop di [...]
- RSD19: U.S. Soccer presidential candidate Kyle Martino November 15, 2017 12:29 pmA vote for Kyle Martino is actually a vote for a network of people that he believes can solve the problems in U.S. Soccer. He’s going to bring them together in early December to flesh out a “progress plan” that he outlines on his site. He’s already hard at work building this consensus, and this interview has a few glitches because he was on the run as we chatted. He had to run at one point to do a live interview, and the phone connection dropped as he hopped from train to train. The former MLS player and current (though on leave) NBC analyst grasps the complexities of the U.S. Soccer presidency for which he’s running. Like a couple of other candidates, he’s out talking with youth and adult constituencies to find out what they need. He has mixed feelings about the incumbent, Sunil Gulati, whom Martino firmly believes has run his course as president but still has a lot to offer U.S. Soccer. He’s shocked to h [...]
- RSD18: U.S. Soccer presidential candidate Mike Winograd November 8, 2017 12:10 pmHe doesn’t have the name recognition of Eric Wynalda, he hasn’t been in the U.S. Soccer inner circle like Carlos Cordeiro, and he hasn’t been campaigning as long as Steve Gans. But Mike Winograd is an interesting candidate for the USSF presidency. He’s a former player, he helped launch a pro club, and he’s a lawyer who works on very big deals. In our conversation (starting around the 10-minute mark after I ranted a bit about the NASL lawsuit and gave an overview of the presidential election), we talk about Winograd’s background and his plans, which he outlined in a prior interview at GotSoccer. His basic mode of operation: He wants to get everyone on the same page — or, as he puts it, rowing in the same direction. Key quote: “U.S. Soccer should not be in the business of trying to ram things down people’s throats.”
- RSD17: Adding tiers to the U.S. soccer cake, with NPSL’s Jef Thiffault November 1, 2017 1:00 pmJef Thiffault is the managing director for the NPSL, an elite amateur league that’s been sometimes pulled into promotion/relegation discussions. But he used to work for MLS and SUM. Mind blown yet? It’s actually an encouraging discussion that gives the impression that we have some smart people in U.S. soccer, toiling far away from the courtrooms and big-league boardrooms. And we might see a sea change in elite amateur competition that just might spill upward to the pros. Interview begins around the 10:30 mark after I give a long introduction and rant a bit about the NASL and so forth.
- RSD16: Kevin Payne (U.S. Club Soccer) shatters simplistic suggestions October 25, 2017 9:17 pmFix the pay-to-play system! Make U.S. clubs pay and receive solidarity payments and training compensation! Get Sunil Gulati out of U.S. Soccer! Not so fast. Today’s guest is Kevin Payne, currently the U.S. Club Soccer CEO and previously an executive with D.C. United, AEG, and Toronto FC. He also has plenty of experience within U.S. Soccer in a variety of roles, including membership on the Board of Directors. He’s here to tell you the pet solutions we toss around on Twitter are either (A) not so simple or (B) totally missing the boat. The interview starts at the 7:20 mark, after a brief rant on the state of MLS, the NASL, USL, NWSL and maybe even QSL. (Yes, I miss shortwave radio.)
- RSD15: The clogged youth-to-pro pipeline, with Brian Dunseth and Chris Keem October 18, 2017 12:05 pmWas Nik Besagno a warning sign? The top pick in the 2005 MLS Draft — ahead of Brad Guzan, Michael Parkhurst, Will John, Chris Rolfe, Bobby Boswell, Chris Wondolowski and Jeff Larentowicz — had a very short MLS career. Perhaps not coincidentally, that’s when people started to wonder if the U17 residency in Bradenton was producing soft, coddled players. Yes, the youth-to-pro pipeline is at the core of our national wailing and gnashing of teeth after the U.S. men failed to qualify for the World Cup. It’s a topic so big, we need two guests. First up, player-turned-commentator Brian Dunseth talks about what happened in Trinidad (3:30), Olympic soccer and how much it hurt the men to miss out (5:00), losing players from youth soccer (9:40), the parental perspective when clubs start demanding your money (11:20 [...]
- RSD14: U.S. Soccer presidential candidate Steven Gans October 11, 2017 1:59 amSteven Gans is running for U.S. Soccer president, and he has some bold statements. “Under my administration, nobody’s going to be ignored” (11:15). “The laissez-faire attitude (toward youth soccer) is troubling and would change under my administration” (29:00). The idea of having two State Cups in one state is “utterly ridiculous,” and those who are not working for the good of the game for the kids are going to be “marginalized” (31:30). If you’re also running for U.S. Soccer president and would like to be interviewed on this podcast, please get in touch. The podcast starts with a funny or cautionary tale from this weekend’s youth tournaments. (NOTE: This interview obviously took place BEFORE the USA was eliminated from the men’s World Cup on Tuesday night.)
- RSD13: Washington Spirit recap and why Vegas shouldn’t make us cynical October 4, 2017 2:11 pmIn the wake of the Las Vegas massacre, the podcast opens with a few thoughts on why we shouldn’t give up on changing people and society as a whole, either on something relatively trivial like youth soccer or something horrifying like one man’s ability to assemble the weapons to wound 500 people. Maybe we need a little less competition and a little more cooperation to make the changes we need? Also, a quick recap of the Washington Spirit’s season, in which the team fell from being 30 seconds away from a league championship to last place. Includes postgame comments from Spirit coach Jim Gabarra and the team’s star attacking player, Mallory Pugh. (Apologies for the drop in volume during the Pugh interview. Also, if you can’t hear Gabarra’s last two words, they’re “No comment.”)
- RSD12: Is youth soccer doomed to suck? September 27, 2017 12:00 pmHost Beau Dure flies solo for this edition, asking whether it’s possible to turn youth soccer into an activity that produces good soccer players and good human beings. Crowd noise sound effect is from FreeSound user paulw2k under a Creative Commons 3.0 license. I hope Brentford won the game.
- RSD11: Alexi Lalas on developing soft, tattooed millionaires September 20, 2017 12:00 pmAlexi Lalas is a Soccer Hall of Famer. He’s also an entertainer, with interests in music as well as riling people up from a soccer broadcast studio. So when he rips the U.S. men’s national team as “soft, tattooed millionaires,” he’s drawing on both backgrounds. In our conversation, Lalas explains that “tattooed millionaires” came from a solo release by Iron Maiden lead singer Bruce Dickinson (no, not the “More Cowbell” guy on SNL), and then we talk about whether everything from the now-defunct Bradenton residency program to the Development Academy is giving us a generation of coddled, entitled men’s soccer players.< [...]
- Ranting Soccer Dad, Ep. 10: Ronnie Woodard on youth soccer, women in coaching September 13, 2017 12:00 pmDo women actually face more difficulty breaking into college coaching today than they did 15 years ago? Is youth soccer going off the rails? I don’t know. But Ronnie Woodard would. The former Duke goalkeeper went straight from the college field to the college sideline and had a strong career coaching at College of Charleston and Vanderbilt before moving to youth soccer with Tennessee Soccer Club and taking national honors, including the 2016 NSCAA Coach of the Year Award. That’s not all. She has a master’s degree in counseling and runs a consulting service for female college prospects. A few conversation highlights: - 10:20: What’s keeping women out of coaching?
- Ranting Soccer Dad, Ep. 9: Girls DA with Travis Clark September 6, 2017 12:00 pmThe podcast starts this week with a bit of a political rant. The news on DACA is hard to ignore, and we’ve had some ongoing overheated arguments in the soccer community. The Travis Clark interview on the Development Academy starts around the 9:25 mark. A few landmarks: - Will the NWSL affiliates dominate? (19:45) - DA vs. high school (25:00) - Can we tame the chaos and still have multiple development pathways? (30:30) - A few clubs to watch in the DA (38:45)
- Ranting Soccer Dad, Ep. 8: Kris Ward August 30, 2017 12:00 pmKris Ward is young, but he has a lot of coaching experience at every level imaginable, starting with rec teams in his teens, then high schools, youth clubs, a small college and ODP. He worked with the Washington Freedom before they relocated to become magicJack, then coached in D.C. United’s academy program and was one of the first assistant coaches with the NWSL’s Washington Spirit. He managed the rec operations of D.C. Stoddert, a large club in the nation’s capital, before moving to California, where he coaches both in high school and youth club soccer. We covered a few issues in youth soccer at all levels, and then I turned it over to Kris for an extended meditation on the state of women’s soccer … 4:00 Do the U.S. Soccer mandates apply to rec soccer? Should they? 6:00 How to coach that first rec practice. 8:30 How French coaches set up practice differently. Could a Development Academy coach use the French method? 17:20 What a “ [...]
- Ranting Soccer Dad, Ep. 7: Skye Eddy Bruce August 23, 2017 12:00 pmWith all due respect to DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince (now known as Will Smith), sometimes parents DO understand. Skye Eddy Bruce, an experienced player and coach, is now working to help parents understand youth soccer and then advocate for their kids. Throughout this interview, she and I talk about empowering parents. (And educating them — the idea isn’t to have ignorant parents berating coaches all over the country.) We don’t need to let coaches push winning over development, and we don’t need to sign up for the league that travels all over creation. A few highlights: 2:15 About the Soccer Parenting Association - seeking to elevate the game with a focus on educating, engaging, supporting and advocating for youth soccer parents. And Bruce’s bio — including playing in Italy! 5:15 The stereotype of ignorant parents and how it’s changing. Includes a reference to this video: