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
- How hard is it to make your local high school team? Take the surveyYour soccer club’s site is so upbeat, talking up the programs it offers to help kids play in college. Maybe even beyond! So you spend a couple thousand a year for your child to play […]
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- Turf war! Huuuh! What is it good for?Absolutely nothing … say it again!* So I’m making a good bit of progress on the next Area Guide — Southern California this time. Should be ready in a day or two. Hey, what’s this […]
- Rec soccer and “development”: At what point can we just stop?Preseason coaches’ meeting. It’s always more of a lecture than a “meeting.” There’s absolutely no reason an email wouldn’t suffice. The in-person “meeting” would be much better reserved for a training session with a lot […]
- Can you learn anything about youth soccer from message boards?In 1999, I was hired at USA TODAY. Not as a soccer writer, though they agreed to let me write a weekly column online. That’s how the site went in those days — a lot […]
- New area guide: GeorgiaThe state of my youth! It’s changed quite a bit. For one thing, Atlanta seems to have gone supernova and swallowed up most of the state’s soccer community. This was originally a password-protected page for […]
- RSD31: Grassroots and futsal, with Leslie Hamer and Jason LongshoreIt’s a futsal/grassroots doubleheader! After a brief intro (no full rant this week), you’ll hear from Leslie Hamer, who works with futsal at every level from the grassroots to the pros. She has been getting […]
- How Norway dominates the Winter OlympicsSure, it helps to have a lot of snow and ice. And it helps a little to have a social democracy in which the government is happy to help with anything that makes children healthier. […]
- RSD30: Announcement timeThis week: The Ranting Soccer Dad Guide to Youth Soccer is officially underway. Check out the first couple of entries and support it on Patreon. In the podcast, I spend about five minutes explaining all […]
- The first Youth Soccer Guide pages are upAnd these are free. PAGE 1: About the Area Guides — this will tell you about all the national organizations you’ll need to know to make sense of the area guides. PAGE 2: Area Guide: D.C. metro […]
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.