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Coaches Blog

Sam's Blog is a bi-weekly addition to the US Youth Soccer Blog. Sam Snow is the Coaching Director for US Youth Soccer.

 

U8 Tournaments

Sam Snow

Please note that the Under-8 age group is not playing in tournaments nor do they all have flights or divisions of play across the USA. Indeed, most U8 teams play strictly intramural soccer (in-house; a.k.a., inside their own club). However, in some locals there is a rush to results oriented youth soccer and the questions and issues such as the one below come to being.
 
"Our U8 team attended a B, C level tournament with our C team. The host team played some of their designated B team players in all of the B games and also two for each of their C games along with their C players. Do you feel it is a skill building method to move the kids designated as B level to play against C players? And is this fair to the other teams who only brought C players?"
 
The intent of matches for the U8 age group should be to first and foremost deepen the love of the game within the children. The development of ball skills and game understanding is of secondary importance. Having players from two different levels play with and against each other can indeed be good for their development. That mixing of capabilities is what will happen when the kids have pick-up games in the neighborhood, at school or at the soccer club.
 
When the adults involved are less concerned with the score of the game and more attentive to how the kids play the game, then there’s a chance for real growth to occur; this where the question of fairness comes into discussion. Whether using a few "B" players in a "C" level match is fair stems from an outcome mindset. The mindset of the adults associated with the U8 age group should be on the process of play not the outcome of the match. While the players are aware of the score it is not the driving factor for their participation in soccer. They play, one hopes, because they enjoy the game. At this time in their soccer lives the emphasis must be on learning the game.
 
Please take a look at the U8 chapter in the US Youth Soccer Player Development Model. The information there will help to guide coaches, players’ parents and club administrators on meaningful developmental guidelines.
 
My final thought is really a question. Why are U8 players involved in a tournament in the first place? A tournament by definition is, "a championship series of games or athletic contests." So by definition, a tournament does not allow the opportunity for realistic development of such young players. They instead should participate in a soccer festival which is set up with round robin play, allows for players to play in several flights of competition and could even allow for players from different clubs to play in mixed matches. Oh, did I mention co-ed play? Give these children a fun soccer experience with a variety of levels of play and in time you’ll see their growth within the game. Now get out and play!

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The 50/50 Blog: 12.10.13

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Indoor Brilliance

 
 
Sometimes we find awesome highlights and need to share. This is one of those times.
 

 

Jimmy Nielsen

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After helping guide his team to a 2013 MLS Cup victory Jimmy Nielsen anounced his retirement. Read more about his storied career.
 

 

National League

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The first round of games of the US Youth Soccer National League has come to an end. Make sure you check out the most recent girls standings and highlights here.
 

 

Wambach

Wambach
 
Abby Wambach comes in at #5 on ESPN W's Top 10 impactful women athletes. Read more about her successful 2013.
 

 

FIFA Ballon d'Or

 
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Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery are the finalists for the Ballon d’Or, given to the world’s top soccer player, FIFA announced on Monday. Read more.
 
 
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The 50/50 Blog: 12.9.13

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Messi & Kobe

 
Messi stars alongside Kobe Bryant in this commerical for Turkish Airlines. If you could travel anywhere in the world to play soccer with Messi where would you go?
 

 

US Youth Soccer ODP All-Stars

2013 ODP logo
 
After some great US Youth Soccer ODP Boys and Girls Interregional soccer, the All-Star teams for the events have been announced. Make sure you make sure you check out who made the Boys and Girls All-Star lists.
 

 

2014 World Cup Draw

 
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Here are the groups for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Who do you think has the best chances of making it out of their group? Do you think the USA is in the "Group od death?"
 

 

MLS Cup Champions

MLS cup champs
 
Congratulations to Sporting Kansas City for winning the MLS Cup. SKC came back from being down 1-0 to force extra time and a shootout and then endured for the win.
 
 
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The 50/50 Blog: 12.5.13

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Suarez scores four

Liverpool vs Norwich
 
Liverpool's Luis Suarez scored four beautiful goals on the way to leading his to to victory over Norwich yesterday. See them all here.
 

 

Things not to do

 
 
When giving the ball to your opponent...don't do this. Please. Show some class.
 

 

Earn Your Place

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The 2014 National League Girls kick off their season today in Wilson, N.C. Follow the scores throughout the day.
 

 

Stephanie Cox returns to sport

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Stephanie Cox will be in the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team training camp this month. Cox is back in action after the birth of her first child, Kaylee. Originally from Elk Grove, Calif., she moved to Gig Harbor with her husband in 2008. Since then, she’s made her home here and trained locally. Read about her road back here.
 
 
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