Youth soccer

sds-cover-widgetSingle-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.

The book is available electronically at AmazonBarnes and NobleApple and elsewhere. The paperback edition is available at Amazon or at your local bookstore if you go in and demand it.

Selected clips

Recent posts

  • Is soccer declining in the United States?
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  • What youth soccer can learn from karate
    Following up on my School of Rock post, here’s another one about a youth program that offers a few good lessons for soccer to follow … 1. Run afterschool programs. Elementary-school parents balk, with good […]
  • Creating opportunities for all U.S. youth
    In a vast country, how do you make sure everyone has an opportunity to go as far as he or she can go in soccer? Not an easy question. Today, a lot of the focus […]
  • Why coaching youth soccer is impossible
    There’s something funny about listening to a chat between the great soccer coaching gurus John O’Sullivan and Sam Snow while dodging baseballs lobbed over a bunch of Little League All-Stars and the right field fence […]
  • Why School of Rock is better than youth soccer
    We’ve made a decision in our household. Less soccer. More music. Don’t adjust Project Play’s dreary stats on quitting sports. We still have soccer players under our roof. (I’ll actually be the only non-player in […]
  • SafeSport, SUM and other U.S. Soccer issues
    Funny thing about engaging with Soccer Twitter: You can find yourself assigned a lot of volunteer work. A bunch of people who will never donate to your Patreon page or buy a book from your […]
  • A U.S. youth soccer reform update (FourFourTwo piece and beyond)
    My FourFourTwo piece from yesterday gave a multi-part plan for rescuing youth soccer from the pit of despair or some other dreary place of your choosing, and it features input from Kyle Martino, Kevin Payne […]
  • RSD36: Player pathways, college and elite leagues, with Lesle Gallimore
    Lesle Gallimore has been head women’s soccer coach at the University of Washington since 1994, and she’s the current president of United Soccer Coaches. In this conversation, we talk about how college coaches adapt their […]
  • When will the soccer “change” movement get serious?
    This will start out on a personal level, but bear with me — it’ll get to big-picture stuff. And we’ll talk about the desperate need to change a few things in U.S. soccer and at […]
  • Stubborn arrogance, bureaucracy and youth soccer in the USA and England
    Two vital reads today … At SoccerWire, RSD podcast guest Charles Boehm chats with U.S. Soccer Director of Coaching Education Programs Frank Tschan and Manager of Coaching Education Dan Russell about coaching education and rondos. […]


Publix clip

My interest in these issues grew in 2011, when I covered the unveiling of the U.S. Soccer curriculum for 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:

  1. “We need to prepare our kids to play like Barcelona so we can win a World Cup.”
  2. “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.

Full clips by topic: youth soccer, coaching, parents


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