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 about soccer development, sportsmanship and simultaneous burping.
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.
- Curriculum confusion: Academy drama, new field sizes and the biggest issues facing U.S. youth soccer | FourFourTwoTags: clips 2017 youth soccer fourfourtwo yoso
- Single-Digit Soccer: NSCAA convention presentation (abridged) – Duresport.comTags: clips soccer youth soccer 2015 nscaa yoso
- Dure: U.S. Soccer’s birth-year plan is shortsighted, helping coaches, not kids — Soccer WireTags: clips soccer 2015 youth soccer soccerwire yoso
- Soccer: For U.S. Soccer, it's a matter of style - ESPNTags: clips soccer youth soccer 2011 espn geso yoso
- Dure: Mapping the chaotic youth soccer scene — Soccer WireTags: clips soccerwire 2016 youth soccer travel yoso
- U.S. Soccer needs to step up and talk with us, youth groups say — Soccer WireTags: clips soccerwire 2016 youth soccer yoso
- What will come from U.S. youth soccer organizations’ detente? — Soccer WireTags: clips soccerwire 2015 youth soccer yoso
- Youth Sports: For Everyone or Elites? | HuffPostTags: clips huffington post 2015 soccer youth soccer yoso
- 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 […]
- 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 […]
- Another man, another plan: Reviewing Eric Wynalda’s long-awaited manifestoIn less than 48 hours between my sprawling recap of the week in Philadelphia and my podcast on the week and the election (with Charles Boehm), one interesting thing has happened … I’ve received a lot […]
- RSD26: Charles Boehm on the U.S. Soccer election and youth soccerThis 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 […]
- RSD25: Phillypalooza election preview, the disappointing USSF coaching education overhaul, and being nicePoint 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 […]
- Yes, it’s possible to understand the U.S. Soccer WoSo and YoSo numbers — maybeThis tweet, with a screenshot from the 2018 U.S. Soccer Annual General Meeting book, created some consternation: I *think* these figures are from calendar year 2017, given the note that they're compared to 2016. pic.twitter.com/0GErzOc5xz […]
- Quick Caligiuri Q&A: Watch the convention for a full planPaul Caligiuri has kept a low profile through much of this election. He has a Twitter account but uses his tweets economically for things like his Open Letters, including one on NWSL representation. My second […]
- Soccer Parenting Summit: We need joy and collaboration … and maybe pro/relOne of the earliest Ranting Soccer Dad podcast guests was Skye Eddy Bruce, who played overseas back before pro women’s soccer was widespread and has gone on to coach and, most importantly for all of […]
- RSD21: U.S. Soccer presidential candidate Eric WynaldaEric 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 […]
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. I track ongoing stories such as the Development Academy and U.S. Soccer’s divisive rollout of age-group changes.
My work and the book 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. I did two more presentations in 2017, including one on parent coaches.