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2015 Education Sessions

2015 US Youth Soccer Workshop — Education Sessions

Click here for presenter bios and backgrounds

4-3-3: A New Trend – Or is it?
Gary Stephenson, Assistant Technical Director – Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer
A look into the shifting trend in team formation. Is the 4-3-3 new? Is it old? Is it in fact 4-3-3? How the new/old formation is used and how and what implementations are needed for a youth team. After one season trying the system with a team, the pros and cons are discussed.

8-a-Side: Building out of the Defensive Third
Rick Meana. Director of Coaching – New Jersey Youth Soccer
Boot it, clear it, get it out!  Coaches who yell these comments at the top of their lungs give out the message to all their players that the priority of the "goalie" and "defenders" is to "clear the ball" out of the "danger zone".  Learning how to deal with these soccer situations will help all players especially the Goalkeeper and Backs as they grow with the game; these situations require a high degree of risk therefore they will lead to mistakes, lots of them!  Good youth coaches cannot be afraid to lose. This session will explore how youth soccer coaches can best use a variety of 8-a-side formations to teach players how to become confident building the attack out from the defensive third. The objectives are to improve your team’s ability to transition to attack after winning possession in your defending third, enhance your players’ passing and ball control skills when under pressure, and finally discover how to consistently and confidently move the ball into the attacking half in possession. 

The Administrative Role of a Club D.O.C.
John Ellinger, Technical Director – Soccer Association of Columbia
Discussion of the issues that the modern soccer club faces and how they are handled administratively by the club Director of Coaching. Issues such as corporate status, business plan, marketing, staffing, player development model, risk management, parental behavior and facilities all need input from the DOC on a daily basis.

Administrators Role in Player Development
Hans Hobson, Executive Director – Tennessee State Soccer
This session will use the lessons learned over the last 20 years while serving as a college coach, youth coach, director of coaching and executive director. The role of the administrator in youth soccer is very important and can make or break an organization. We will discuss how to be an effective administrator in today’s soccer culture while not losing focus on player development. The session will offer a unique perspective for today’s soccer administrator by answering these questions. What do most people think that we do? What is the role of the soccer administrator and what do we really do? What qualities are important to be an effective administrator in youth soccer? How does the administrator play a role in the soccer environment (positively or negatively)? What are the needs of the player? What are the needs of the team? What are the needs of the coach? What are the needs of the club? What are the needs of the families?

Attacking from the Flanks
Sam Snow, Technical Director – US Youth Soccer
Players in the Under-12 age group understand the concept of dividing the field into thirds. In this session, we’ll improve attacking from the flanks. Players will improve their recognition of the spaces in the attacking third in the flank channels and how to attack from those specific spaces.

Childhood Roots of National Team Players
Dr. David Carr, Professor – Ohio University; Dr. Ron Quinn, Professor – Xavier University

Coaches Guide for Helping Parents Create an “Environment of Excellence” for their Child
Dr. Lee Hancock, Sports Psychologist
The environment in which a child plays soccer is critical to his or her development — both as a person and as a soccer player. This presentation provides ideas and examples of an environment of excellence and then discuss ways coaches can help parents ensure this environment exists well beyond the playing field.

Coaching the Challenging TOPSoccer Player
Scott Craig, Assistant Technical Director – New York State West Youth Soccer
In today's demographic of children, the odds are high that coaches will be presented with players diagnosed or undiagnosed ADHD and/or an Autism Spectrum Disorder. This presentation will talk about determining the best environment, talking with coaches, parents and sharing input and how as coaches we can help every child succeed.

Coaching Healthy Habits
Megan Halmo and Alyssa Koomas – Tufts University
What does Clint Dempsey or Abby Wambach eat after a game? Cupcakes and candy? Definitely not. What do your youth soccer players eat after a game? Cupcakes and candy? Maybe? We know athletes perform their best when they eat a healthy, balanced diet, are well-hydrated, and maintain their fitness level through regular physical activity. But what’s the most effective way to help athletes develop these healthy habits at a young age, especially during trainings, matches and tournaments? This interactive and informative session will expand on the Coaching Healthy Habits training developed by Massachusetts Youth Soccer, US Youth Soccer, and Healthy Kids Out of School at Tufts University. We’ll discuss age-appropriate ideas for encouraging good nutrition and hydration with your athletes, answer common questions and myths about sports nutrition, and provide simple ways to get parents on board.

A Curriculum for Parent Education
Zac Crawford, Technical Director – Alabama Soccer
Parents are a key member of the team that are often overlooked, undervalued and under-utilized. This presentation will provide an in-depth look at the key components that are necessary to create and implement parent curriculums for various age groups and levels of play. Special attention will be given not only to the role of the coach, but also to the role of the administrator(s) and director(s).

Deliberate Play – Deliberate Practice
Steve Kehm, Technical Director- South Dakota State Soccer
Is deliberate practice a necessary condition to achieve high levels of expert performance? Where does deliberate play fit into the mix? This session will explore the many facets of free play and planned practice.

Development of a Goalkeeper: From a Beginner to a College Goalkeeper
John Gregg, Director – Elite Socker
Players at all ages should have experienced goalkeeping at one time or another. In this session, we’ll discuss at what ages to introduce goalkeeping, what age to go full-time with a goalkeeper, and the age-appropriate training for each age. As the goalkeeping position advances, it is important to discuss private training, position education, and what all that means when it comes to college recruiting at the oldest ages.

The Drop-out Factor
Lou Mignone, Director of Coaching and Player Development – West Orange United FC
An alarming 70 percent of children in the United States leave soccer by the age of 13 and never to return to play the game again. Various studies conducted in this area identified common reasons for drop-out as lack of fun, over-emphasis on winning by coaches and parents, fear of the making mistakes brought on by adults on both touchlines, and boredom from inactivity or rigidness at training sessions or matches. The solution to this far-reaching dilemma requires a comprehensive and unified shift of mindset among American youth coaches and parents so that a lifelong love of the beautiful game can grow within our soccer playing youngsters each step of the way.

Expand your organization’s impact – provide programs that can reach all children in your community
Stephanie Gabbert, Executive Director – Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club
Shouldn’t all successful youth soccer organizations incorporate within their mission providing ‘access to sport’ to those that don’t have it, typically due to economic barriers? If you agree then join us and be a part of this conversation where we will share best practices of organizations currently implementing these programs and provide useful information to anyone interested in making a greater impact in their own community.

Grassroots Soccer – The Game’s Future – Today
Bobby Lennox, Manager of Grassroots Soccer – The Ontario Soccer Association
This presentation will cover the state of the current grassroots game, new grassroots philosophy and guiding principles and look an Ontario player survey. It will also examine technical tools and structural changes implemented to help the younger player, as well as challenges and solutions that may pop up along the way.

Honest Answers for Soccer Parents
Mike Barr, Technical Director – Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer
This presentation will provide honest answers about youth soccer in the United States for all parents of soccer players from U-6 to U-17. Topics include: Sports Specialization, Recreation vs. Travel Soccer, Training and Periodization Schedules, Soccer Related Injuries, and Playing Soccer in College.

How to Incorporate Recreation and Academy Programs – Steps for Success
Eric Landon, Technical Director – Utah Youth Soccer
The presentation will take an in-depth look at the development, implementation, and critical pathways to integrating recreation and academy programs. Practical examples will be reviewed to help identify a synergistic approach to short-term and long-term player development models between both programs.

The Human Development in Player Development
Dr. Andrew Guest, Professor – University of Portland
In much of American soccer culture, ‘player development’ really means identifying precocious talent and maximizing short-term performance. What if instead soccer culture allowed for a more humanistic attention to players as people? What if that approach might actually, in the long-term, produce both better players and better people? This presentation will draw on perspectives from coaching, sport science, developmental psychology, and sociology to discuss those questions, with an emphasis on practical points of synergy between soccer-specific talent development and person-centered human development models of working with players.

The Importance of Non-Cognitive Functions and Memory During a Soccer Learning Process
Dr. Michel Bruyninckx, Partner – CogiTraining
Non-Cognitive Skills: These are the resources you need to develop before and while you are learning — persistence, self-control (attention and concentration), curiosity, conscientiousness, grit, mental endurance (character) and self-confidence. A human being’s learning processes are not an input output story. Winning the games for your team combined with unreasonable ability-praising drives you into a fixed mindset and performances will plummet. Does this phenomena not also question too much focused game-oriented developmental programs and competitions?

Increasing Sponsorship Commitments and Retention
BJ Zellers, President – Activation Sports Marketing, LLC
Whether you are seeking $100,000 or $50, there are key steps to secure and retain sponsors. In this session we will discuss how to target likely sponsors, determine your entry point, and customize your presentation to maximize your success rate. Once secured, how to activate and measure the results of your sponsor’s investment to keep them coming back.

Leadership in Youth Soccer
Kaylin Olivas, Technical Director – Wyoming Youth Soccer
Leadership in youth soccer is an important aspect in sports based on the amount of influence we have in athletes' lives. It’s a responsibility that requires coaches to step up and lead in multiple ways, as the title of a “coach” doesn’t focus solely on the field but what happens off of it, as well. This session describes the motivation behind the behavior of coaches, directly reflecting our leadership of players. The session identifies the decision making and power of coaches based on models dealing with leadership. It outlines the various aspects in managing a team, thus dealing with individual players in the attempts to form a cohesive team.

Mandatory Coaching License!
Sam Snow, Technical Director – US Youth Soccer
We will explore the pros and cons of youth soccer coaches being required to be certified. What are the possible outcomes of mandatory licensure? Can we really require volunteers to take a coaching course? Will a mandate increase or decrease the number of coaches in youth soccer?

Minnesota Youth Academy Program
John Curtis, Technical Director – Minnesota Youth Soccer
The Minnesota Youth Soccer Association Youth Academy Program approach places the emphasis on the player and their individual development and not that of the team, with the main focus on technical development without the pressure of short-term, result-oriented matches. To foster an environment that focuses on player development and has a player-centered philosophy. This presentation will give an overview of the program.

The NYL: 20-Year Reflection and Lessons Learned
Dr. Ron Quinn, Professor – Xavier University
Dr. Sheri Huckleberry, State Director – NSCAA
This presentation will discuss the development, curriculum, impact and lessons learned from the NYL since its inception in 1995. In addition, the presentation will discuss two studies on coaching efficacy of the National Youth License candidates, one conducted in 2010 and another using the same cohort two years later in 2012 to determine the long-term effects of the NYL.

Off-Field Impacts of Match Performance
Ian Mulliner, Technical Director – Massachusetts Youth Soccer
Coaching Healthy Habits - How to manage the dietary needs of a youth soccer player and what fuel you need to maximize performance.

Parent Coaches: What they are, what they should be (How can we help)
Eric Redder, Technical Director – New Hampshire Soccer
A look at volunteer parent coaches and “What they are” — common traits, tendencies, characteristics, positives, negatives and so on. And a look at “What they should (or need) to be” — characteristics, personality, psychology, how to improve the organization of the chaos, and what tools can be put in the toolbox.

Periodization: Planning & Implementing a Macro Cycle
Paul Thomas, Technical Director – Michigan State Youth Soccer
A week-to-week (micro), season-to-season (meso) guide to designing and implementing a yearlong (macro) development plan for the Under-11 and Under-12 age groups.

Personal Fitness
Dr. Ajit Korgaokar, Professor – University of Tennessee – Martin
When is the best time to improve speed, strength, endurance and skills? Based upon the stages of growth and development among youth soccer players, there are “sensitive periods” where adaptations to components of fitness are accelerated. The optimal periods for training components of fitness among youth players will impact the organization of your training sessions.

Philadelphia Union Player Development Methodology
Tommy Wilson – Philadelphia Union
Coach Wilson will provide a detailed overview of the Philadelphia Union holistic approach to Player Development with a major emphasis on technical and tactical support plus video analysis initiatives.

Possession Out of the Back
Tony DiCicco, Soccer Analyst and Former World Cup-Winning Coach
This session will utilize the goalkeeper, back defenders and midfielders to show how to constructively possess the ball out of the defensive third and into the attacking half of the field. The session will include a training exercise that will enhance the goalkeeper – defenders understanding and confidence when using a “back-pass” to the keeper. We will also explore some different options such as splitting the two center backs and dropping in the holding midfielder or building out of the back when playing a three-back system. The session will demonstrate to coaches, not only exercises that can help teach this concept but also multiple progressions of one exercise to help give confidence to their players and also imprint patterns of play.

Project Play — Reimagining Youth Sports in America with an 8-point Plan
Tom Farrey, Director of Sports and Society Program – The Aspen Institute
Over the past two years, the Aspen Institute’s Project Play has convened 300 leaders in a series of roundtables and summits, with the goal of reimagining youth sports in America. In February, the Aspen Institute will release its final report, “Sport for All, Play for Life: A Playbook to Get Every Kid in the Game.” Underwritten by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, with the support of Nike and the Clinton Foundation, the report organizes the best of the ideas that have surfaced into a national strategic plan that stakeholders – from parents to policymakers, sport chiefs to mayors – can align behind and plug into, to best serve the interests of children and communities. What opportunities does the report present for soccer in the U.S.? Tom Farrey, director of the Institute’s Sports & Society Program and an ESPN correspondent, previews the report’s recommendations and challenges soccer leaders to adopt bold policies that can grow both the quality and quantity of youth players.

Kaylin Olivas, Technical Director – Wyoming Youth Soccer
One of the most important aspects of sport is the recovery period or recuperation process. In a society focused on higher level and intense competition, coaches need to take the proper precaution for their athletes after competition. Proper recovery after athletic competition is necessary for consistent high-level performance and decreased risk of injuries. This session identifies the different provisions needed to maintain the health and performance level of athletes, while also focusing on the different recuperation methods used to assist athletes in preparing for the next training or competition.

Relative Age Effect
Dr. Ajit Korgaokar, Professor – University of Tennessee – Martin
When a child is born has a significant impact on future success in elite-level soccer. The chances of becoming a professional soccer player may differ significantly for two children who are born just days apart. Older soccer players are selected to elite level teams and receive motivating feedback, greater competition, and more advanced training; all contributing factors to an elite development pathway in sport. The RAE phenomenon has been observed in soccer in most of the countries in Europe, as well as Brazil, Japan, Australia, and the USA.

Safe Return to Play - A Coaches Guide
Dr. Kevin Freedman, Sports Medicine Surgeon – Rothman Institute
When an athlete goes down on the field, who determines if it's safe to return to play?  It's usually a decision for the coach, even when they have little medical background.  Also, if an athlete misses a practice or game due to injury, who decides when it's safe for the kids to return? Our session will review issues and provide recommendations surrounding safe return to play for our athletes.  Our session will also include a panel discussion with Coaches, Coach Educators and Certified Athletic Trainers.

Single-Digit Soccer: Solving Issues with U-10 and Under
Beau Dure, Author – Single-Digit Soccer
How do you design a soccer experience that accommodates everyone from future top-level youth players to those who, when asked to pass the ball, pick it up and cock an arm back like Peyton Manning? How do you keep serious players interested when the rest of the team wants to play "Mr. Wolf, what time is it?” Why do we segregate kids into "house" and "travel" at age 8, against all our better instincts and experience? Is your club set up to develop players who figure out or fall in love with the game at age 11, not age 7? If you see an opposing coach teaching 7-year-old kids how to head the ball, do you say anything? Why do we shove kids toward elite professional coaches, making them practice twice a week and play infrequent games, at an age at which they really need to be playing pickup soccer and learning the joy of the game? Why do we organize kids by age group rather than ability? What is the deal with parents today?

Six Criteria for Quality Instruction
Dr. Lew Atkinson, Instructor – U.S. Soccer
In this session, we will explore six criteria for quality instruction that every coach should know. Developing these skills will take time, but your patience and perseverance will be rewarded by players who learn more and as a result are excited to stay with our game.

Speed of Play: Coaching Behaviors
Dr. Lew Atkinson, Instructor – U.S. Soccer
It is all but impossible to have higher order thinking without strongly established basic skills. Speed of play is as much about speed of thought as it is about playing one and two-touch soccer. In this session, we will address how we can reinforce basic skills to achieve higher order thinking.

Sleep and Performance
Vince Ganzberg, Coaching Education Consultant – U.S. SoccerT
Sleep?  How does that effect on field performance?  It is widely recognized that sleep benefits wellness in children and adults.  It only makes sense that coaches encourage good sleep habits right along with eating healthy and getting plenty of fluids. his presentation will inform the audience of the benefits that proper sleep can provide an athlete.  How long a child should sleep, strategies to recognize sleep deprivation, and tips to improve sleep will be presented during this panel discussion.Coaches final message to their players before leaving practice should be to eat health, drink plenty of fluids, and get proper amount of sleep before the game on Saturday!

Teaching Games for Understanding and the Early Specialization Argument
Dr. Stuart Currie, Assistant Professor - University of Tennessee – Martin
This session will address the controversial issue of early sport specialization. Research investigating early age single-sport specialization versus multiple-sport participation will be discussed. A game-based approach (TGFU) to training and player development will be examined.

Technical-Tactical Functional Training for the Central Midfielder
Carlos Menjivar, Director of Coaching – California Youth Soccer Association North
In this session, we will discuss training ideas for players in a central midfielder role. We will touch on the skills and tactics to be an effective player in this role. The session is recommended for coaches of competitive level players in the U-12 to U-18 age groups.

The Technical Role of a Club D.O.C.
John Ellinger, Technical Director – Soccer Association of Columbia
Player development and coaching education programs are essential for proper development of our youth players, 3 to 18 years of age. There will be discussion of how Club DOCs implement various player development models for their clubs, which includes both the recreational and elite players, utilization of facilities to maximize player development, involvement of club staff in player development programs, and the development of a club curriculum and philosophy.

TOPSoccer 101 – Downs Syndrome
Libby Anderl, ACSM Certified Inclusive Fitness Trainer and TOPSoccer Coach – St. Francis SC
Children with Down syndrome are valued members of our US Youth Soccer family and a large percentage of our TOPSoccer athletes. This session aims to dispel coaches’ doubt and increase confidence when coaching these athletes. An overview of Down syndrome coupled with specific strategies and flexible coaching methods will help coaches promote the success and maintain the safety of these athletes. An interactive portion will challenge coaches, regardless of experience, to adapt familiar soccer activities to best suit athletes with Down syndrome.

TOPSoccer – Overcoming Barriers to Participation
Libby Anderl, ACSM Certified Inclusive Fitness Trainer and TOPSoccer Coach – St. Francis SC
As TOPSoccer coaches, our role is multi-faceted and often includes organizational duties, volunteer management, and session planning. This session will provide coaches tools for developing successful programs considering individual needs, resources, and the latest research findings on successful community programs for individuals with disabilities. Discuss barriers faced by clubs, coaches, parents, and athletes and how to overcome these barriers to create sustainable programs reaching a greater number of athletes.

TOPSoccer Practical – A Day in the Life
Auke Wiersma, Assistant Technical Director – North Carolina Youth Soccer
During this session, the attendees will get a practical experience walking with walkers or crutches, as well as being wheel chair enabled. Other disabilities like visual impairment and hearing impairment will also be introduced to the attendees. Through role-playing, coaches will get a better understanding of a disability and its possible limitations and the role the TOPSoccer Buddy. After the role-play session, we will then discuss how to best adapt our current methods.

Using Reserve Players
Rick Meana. Director of Coaching – New Jersey Youth Soccer
In today's youth soccer arena, many team rosters are filled beyond capacity. To add to the difficultly of coaching a youth coach has to deal with many substitutes. The player who suffers the most in silence is definitely the substitute. Relegated to the bench by their coach's decision that child may exhibit several behaviors: anger, defiance, disappointment or worse abandonment. Learning how to deal with these attitudes is not an easy task but a skill that a youth soccer coach must develop in order to keep children playing! No doubt the fight will not be any easy one. But the battle waged to reach these children will pay off in the long run. So even if a player feels doomed to occupy a section of the bench, how can we as coaches help them understand they must continue to fight and work for game time as in life which takes many turns. We will look at several possible ways we can reach these children. That includes helping them to understand their role and that practicing on their own, giving their all in training with regards to their level of intensity and effort, is key.

Winning at Fun: Using the FUN MAPS to Maximize Skill Development & Achievement
Dr. Amanda J. Visek, Professor – Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University
Heather Manning, Research Associate – Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University

There is an exact science to promoting the most fun positive youth sport experiences for children. Informed and conceptualized entirely by the youth soccer community, the FUN MAPS have been featured in over 80-plus media stories reaching more than 356 million viewers around the world. The FUN MAPS are the result of federally funded efforts to keep children involved in youth athletics in childhood and throughout their adolescence. This interactive workshop will use novel findings from the groundbreaking FUN MAPS to challenge common misconceptions about what makes playing soccer the most fun for both recreational and elite soccer players. Workshop attendees will be provided with a specific navigational blueprint and best practices for fostering fun while concurrently maximizing individual player and team achievement.