Single-Digit Soccer: Keeping Sanity in the Earliest Ages of the Beautiful Game, published in August 2015, is the culmination of several years of research and interviews attempting to answer questions such as:
- Are we getting too serious, too soon? Should we hold off on travel, tryouts and keeping score?
- Can we cover a country as large and diverse as the United States with one curriculum and one style of play?
- Which pop culture references are best or worst when you’re a youth coach trying to demonstrate something?
- What’s the benefit of burping simultaneously while a U8 team is resting?
The goal is to bring everyone — administrators seeking future national team stars, coaches carving out a niche in the chaotic U.S. soccer landscape, know-it-all coaches, and befuddled parents — together to figure out how to make soccer fun and productive for everyone under age 10.
You can’t make a World Cup star at age 8, but you can ruin the experience for someone. Or you can create a lifelong love of the game in future players, coaches and fans.
The books is available electronically at:
The paperback edition is available at Amazon or at your local bookstore if you go in and demand it.
You can see several excerpts and related material, and I made a promo video:
The book has stirred some interest among people who care about youth soccer. I spoke at the 2015 NSCAA convention on Single-Digit Soccer, and I was asked to make my notes and my slides available online.
My interest in these issues grew in 2011, when I covered the unveiling of the U.S. Soccer curriculum for ESPN.com. I was also starting to coach my two sons on their soccer teams, so I was getting a look at youth soccer from two perspectives:
- “We need to prepare our kids to play like Barcelona so we can win a World Cup.”
- “Coach, can you tie my shoes and tell that other kid to stop kicking the ball?”
I hope my writing will serve as a reality check for well-intentioned youth programs, and I hope it will help parents make informed choices in the chaotic supermarket of available clubs and leagues.
- SoccerWire index
- SportsMyriad posts on Single-Digit Soccer
- Single-Digit Soccer on Facebook
- Survey: How many (too many) youth soccer leagues in your area? - Development Academy! ECNL, for girls AND boys! A different U.S. Club Soccer league! A traditional U.S. Youth Soccer league! Something else your local clubs set up and convinced you that you need to drive 300 miles for a league game! I’m doing a project on soccer leagues and whether we’re making families travel too much … Continue reading Survey: How many (too many) youth soccer leagues in your area?
- Lines, lines, everywhere a line: The biggest issues facing U.S. youth soccer - The annual NSCAA Convention brought another gathering of confused coaches trying to navigate the youth soccer waters. I was there to report. Source: Curriculum confusion: Academy drama, new field sizes and the biggest issues facing U.S. youth soccer | FourFourTwo
- 2017 NSCAA presentation: Parent coaches - I did a presentation at the 2017 NSCAA Convention in L.A. called “Confessions of a Parent Coach: How to Recruit and Train Us.” Several people were interested in seeing it again and sharing it, so I’ve roughly reproduced it here … ABOUT ME I got into youth soccer as a journalist first (not counting my … Continue reading 2017 NSCAA presentation: Parent coaches
- Youth soccer and credible voices (or, should parents shut up?) - I’m generally no fan of postmodernism. On matters like climate change, vaccines and economics, I think we should listen to experts, not just whoever’s shouting the loudest or is deemed to be the most disenfranchised. But it’s always good to get a variety of perspectives, as long as we take them for what they are. … Continue reading Youth soccer and credible voices (or, should parents shut up?)
- Dure: A Recreational Soccer Manifesto — Soccer Wire - Every soccer player starts as a recreational player. So rec leagues are important — and complicated, writes Beau Dure. They need to accommodate everyone from future pros to children with special needs. This week Beau offers up a comprehensive approach to making this entry level the most effective it can be. Source: Dure: A Recreational … Continue reading Dure: A Recreational Soccer Manifesto — Soccer Wire
- Survey says status quo in youth soccer isn’t satisfactory - Soccer leagues are proliferating like milkweed in the mid-Atlantic. Are they meeting unserved needs, or just getting in each other’s way? To find out, Beau Dure asked 102 local coaches, technical directors and club administrators a series of multiple-choice and short answer questions. Source: Dure: Survey says status quo in youth soccer isn’t satisfactory — … Continue reading Survey says status quo in youth soccer isn’t satisfactory
- U.S. men might not get any better. Deal with it - I don’t know how to make the U.S. men a consistent World Cup quarterfinalist. Neither do you. Neither does anyone else. How about we just build a soccer culture in which we aren’t fighting ourselves and see where that goes? Source: Dure: U.S. men might not get any better. Deal with it — Soccer Wire
- Parents demanding more from youth soccer experience - A two-fer here. For FourFourTwo, I explained that soccer parents’ complaints are no longer as easy to dismiss as they may have been when no one understood the game. Source: Parents rightfully demanding more from inconsistent youth soccer experience | FourFourTwo Then a related piece for Soccer Wire: Source: Dure: Are pro coaches really better … Continue reading Parents demanding more from youth soccer experience
- Mapping the chaotic youth soccer scene - The sprawling, chaotic, multi-layered Google Map from Hell: Select soccer clubs and leagues across the Mid-Atlantic region, where even second- and third-tier teams routinely drive hours for games. Follow-up coming in July … Source: Dure: Mapping the chaotic youth soccer scene — Soccer Wire April 29, 2016
- Is U.S. Soccer trying to fix what isn’t broken? - Here’s how my friends at Soccer Wire put it: “SoccerWire.com Featured Columnist Beau Dure says the laissez-faire, deregulated youth soccer model is in tatters, and applauds new involvement and leadership by the U.S. Soccer Federation. But he’s also feels many of the issues the federation has chosen are curious, to put it mildly.” Source: Dure: … Continue reading Is U.S. Soccer trying to fix what isn’t broken?