Youth soccer

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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 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:

Also KoboScribd, Page Foundry/Inktera and Oyster.

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:

  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.

Links:

Latest youth soccer work:

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