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The 50/50 Blog

Note:  Opinions expressed on the US Youth Soccer Blog (web log) are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the United States Youth Soccer Association (US Youth Soccer). Links on this web log to articles do not necessarily imply agreement by the author or by US Youth Soccer with the contents of the articles. Links are provided to foster discussion of topics and issues. Readers should make their own evaluations of the contents of such articles.

 

The 50/50 Blog: 10.28.13

Stickley

Dempsey Scores for Seattle

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Clint Dempsey scored his first goal as a member of the Seattle Sounders by redirecting a cross using the outside of his foot in Sunday's 1-1 tie against the LA Galaxy.
 

 

More MLS News

 
The New York Red Bulls claimed their first major trophy by winning the MLS Supporters' Shield, awarded to the MLS club with the best regular-season record. The MLS Playoffs are now set, and you can view the bracket here.
 

 

 USWNT 4, New Zealand 1

 
The U.S. Women's National Team won another friendly match on Sunday, defeating New Zealand, 4-1, in San Francisco. If you missed the game, you can check out the full match in the above video. Megan Rapinoe, who recently did a Q&A with us, scored on a free kick (15:00 mark in video). Christen Press, who is on the cover of the latest FUEL Soccer Magazine, also scored (50:00 mark).
 

 

Bradley Scores Game-Winner

RECORD BREAKERS
 
United States midfielder Michael Bradley scored late to help 10-man Roma beat Udinese 1-0 and set a Serie A record by winning its first nine matches of the season.
 

 

U.S. Coach in Iran

 
Dan Gaspar, who will be presenting at the 2014 US Youth Soccer Workshop in January, was featured in this article about his life while on the coaching staff of the Iranian national soccer team.
 
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The 50/50 Blog: 10.25.13

Stickley

Drama in Seattle?

johnson
 
Seattle's Eddie Johnson has missed practice multiple times this week as Seattle prepare for their last game and the playoffs. Could we see an unhappy Johnson make a move to leave Seattle? Will this affect his chances to play with the U.S. Men's National Team? Read more.
 

 

Who should go to Europe?

Europe
 
Preparing for the 2014 World Cup, Klinsmann plans to work with MLS-based national-teamers to plan their offseason with a mix of individual training, European loans and a January national-team camp split between Southern California and Brazil. Who does Klinsmann think should go to Europe. Find out here.
 

 

Where are the coaches going?

columbus
 

There are a few teams in the MLS that are looking for coaches and it seems like the Columbus Crew are leading the running. Read here about which teams could be looking for coaches and what coaches they may be looking to snag.

 


 

Thank you from Jurgen Klinsmann

 
 

 

Embracing fits of failure

soccer-boy
 
If you think you can play sports without making mistakes along the road, you set yourself up for a perfect storm of emotions and disappointments. Fear of failure -- or avoiding failure -- is a sure step toward stunting one’s growth. Read more here.
 

 

Kentucky offers new coaching channel

 
 
Kentucky Youth Soccer Association (KYSA) and CoachFX Live are thrilled to announce a 3
year partnership to provide a fantastic range of online coach and player education benefits to
the 40,000 players and 8,000 coaches of KYSA. Learn more.
 
 
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The 50/50 Blog: 10.24.13

Stickley

MLS Pumpkin Contest

MLS Pumppkin Cropped
 
MLSsoccer.com is running its third annual MLS Pumpkin Carving Contest from Thursday, October 24 - Wednesday, October 30. One person's pumpkin carving will be selected based on style, creativity, originality, and its connection to MLS ie: club logos, players etc. The winner will receive one MLS jersey of his/her choice* from MLSGear.com, and the photo of their pumpkin will be featured on MLSsoccer.com on Halloween. Learn more here.
 

 

MLS player looks for US Citizenship

 
Diego
 
New England forward Diego Fagundez confirmed he plans to seek US citizenship after securing permanent residency status earlier this week. Fagundez, 18, now counts as a domestic player for the Revolution after securing his green card. He didn't delve into the specifics surrounding his new status, but he noted the positive outcome represents the first substantive step toward a possible shot with the US national team. Read more here.
 

 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic strikes four times

Zlatan
 
PSG were visitors as they faced Anderlechtin UEFA Champions League player yesterday. Check out two of the four goals here that were brilliant on the way to PSG's 5-0 win over the home-side.
 

 

Sam Snow on youth soccer rankings

Sam Snow
 
US Youth Soccer's Director of Coaching, Sam Snow, shares his thoughts on the recent lowering of the ranking age for youth soccer players by a registration company. Read Sam's thoughts here, http://bit.ly/W2HLdW, and then leave a comment about your thoughts on the rankings.
 

 

Stadium of the day

Aviva
 
The Aviva Stadium is located in Dublin, Ireland and is co-owned by both the Irish Rugby Football Union and the Football Association of Ireland. The stadium was officially opened in May 2010 and hold 51,700 spectators. Learn more.
 
 
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Ranking youth players is often more than a number

Sam Snow

Recently an online registration company announced it will begin to rank U9 to U11 teams. Right up front here’s my take on that – bad move! Fortunately the soccer public responded immediately and loudly against such a move. From our Men’s National Team head coach to Soccer America magazine to state and club coaches the pushback was strongly against the ranking of such young teams.
 
I am sure though that many adults will jump at the chance to have their U12 and younger teams ranked. Why? Bragging rights and revenue streams. Those are the only two reasons that otherwise reasonable adults would sell out the kids. Not to mention stalling the growth of the game in the USA.
 
The players will have been sold out since they will be robbed of the incentive to improve. After all, why have a growth mindset and a strong work ethic when you’ve been told you’re number 1 in the nation at the tender age of ten. Good soccer coaches, administrators, moms and dads know that to help young players improve their skills you praise their effort not the outcome. [Read the book Mindset by Dr. Carol Dweck for more information on the growth mindset.]
 
Players are already disrupted in their development continuum by jumping from club to club. Rankings at such young ages will exacerbate the problem. This outcome will happen when soccer club customers (parents) quickly change from club A to club B as soon as club B goes up in the rankings with their U9 to U1_ teams. Buyer beware! Choosing the right soccer club for young players (consumers) is more complicated than picking your new refrigerator. Yet many parents will research the new fridge more thoroughly than the club; even though the development of a young soccer player is far more complex than the features on a refrigerator.
 
The aspect of the decision to offer national rankings for U9 to U11 teams being about money is obvious. The registration company will only rank teams in the events with which the company is affiliated; i.e., creation of a revenue stream.
 
A club that buys into ranking systems is also looking for a deeper revenue stream. They hope that by achieving a high ranking they’ll attract more players (consumers) along with their parents (customers). Let’s be clear, rankings have nothing to do with player development.
 
Rankings themselves are dubious at best. The only ranking that can be valid is one in a league with head-to-head competition. Even the FIFA rankings of national teams are a guessing game. No national team coach thinks the world rankings are absolute. I spent six years on the NCAA Men’s Soccer Committee. At the end of the college soccer season we had to rank teams to sort out the post season bids for the NCAA national championships. We considered head-to-head competition, common opponents and strength of schedule. We had three different mathematical formulas to help with those evaluations. We had six to eight hour long conference calls to sort it all out. Ranking college teams who hadn’t played each other wasn’t easy. And this was evaluating teams with adult players on them, not children’s teams.
 
In short, ranking preteen teams is not only a fruitless effort; it can be one that hinders the healthy growth of players and clubs. Just say NO to rankings!
 
 
What is your opinion on rankings? Are 9-year-olds too young? What about 13-year-olds? We want to hear from you, so let us know what your feelings are about ranking youth players by commenting on this article.
 

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