Dreams for District VII

I Have a Dream, Youth-Sports Style By Janis B. Meredith


I too, have a dream. But it’s a dream for youth sports. It’s a dream that keeps me writing, answering emails, and trying to help sports parents everywhere as they strive to make youth sports a better place for kids. 

I have a dream that in youth sports, every kid who wants to play will find a team, a league that offers him that opportunity. 

I have a dream that parents would let kids be kids and have fun playing sports, especially when they are young. 

I have a dream that kids would learn from youth sports that there are some things worth fighting for and that fighting for them makes you a stronger person. 

I have a dream that kids playing sports would know the unconditional love and support of their parents, win or lose.

I have a dream that kids in youth sports would learn what it means to be part of a team, to work together with others.

I have a dream that kids in youth sports would learn how to rise above mistakes and become better because of them. 

I have a dream that parents would not push their kids to fulfill the parent’s own personal desires, but that parents would listen to the kids’ dreams and passions.  

I have a dream that parents, coaches, and athletes would understand that youth sports is fun and may even open doors for the future, but that there is nothing more important than what an athlete becomes in the process.

May it remind you that in life, and in sports, there are some dreams worth fighting for. 

Janis B. Meredith Is a youth sports-parenting blogger, podcaster, and parent coach. She helps busy and often overwhelmed sports parents by providing resources to guide them as they strive to give their children a positive and growing youth sports experience.


 Sportsparenting email :janisbmeredith@gmail.com | 

web page http://jbmthinks.com

For more articles like this go to : www.fundamentalsoccer.com

District VII Youth Coaches of the Year -Raul Guerra and Justin Connolly

District 7 Boys Recreation Coach of the Year 

Raul Guerra (Fresno)…Has been placed in nomination for CYSA Boys Coach of the Year …Results will be announced on  Sat. Feb. 20, 2016 in Sacramento @ CYSA Expo and Hall of Fame Dinner

District 7 Girls Recreation Coach of the Year Justin Connolly (Madera) Has been placed in nomination for CYSA Girls Coach of the Year …

Results will be announced on  Sat. Feb. 20, 2016 in Sacramento @ CYSA Expo and Hall of Fame Dinner

District VII State,Regional and National Coach of the Year 2016

BALTIMORE: NSCAA Workshop and Awards Gala

Being named Boys Recreation District 7 2015 Coach of the Year for CYSA-North is truly an honor to cherish and one that I will forever be thankful for.  I never imagined that 13 months later, it would lead to getting on a plane for the first time to fly back east for the 2016 National Soccer Coaches Association of America Workshop and US Youth Soccer Awards Gala in Baltimore, Maryland.

Living in Fresno all my life, I had never been past Las Vegas, probably due to seeing the movie La Bamba so many times when I was younger.  So just getting to Baltimore was going to be an adventure (and personal challenge) in itself.  After taking in many words of advice from frequent flyers at my office and googling “how to overcome fear of flying” about a hundred times, I departed Fresno the morning of January 14th and found myself hailing a taxi outside the Baltimore-Washington International Airport later that night.  The experience of taking an airplane flight for the first time can be saved for a different column, but I was overjoyed to have made the 2,500-mile journey to represent not only the incredible players and families I coach for, but our District, State Association, and Region IV as well.

The next morning, I was completely blown away by the busy sights and sounds at the Baltimore Convention Center where over 1,400 soccer enthusiasts from all over the country were hustling about, similar to children in Toys ‘R Us during the Christmas season.  Players, coaches, and all kinds of socc
er fanatics were wide-eyed and full of energy as they made their way to one of many educational courses offered by soccer experts and professionals.  The courses were either classroom lecture sessions or actual on-field demos that were geared towards coaches, referees, and administrators.  And even if you weren’t one of the three, there was still a large selection of courses to choose from.  I really enjoyed the “Pathway to College Soccer” session by Coach Dean Koski who just marked his 24th season as head coach of the men’s soccer program at Lehigh University.  Coach Koski’s presentation was truly an eye opener for youth soccer coaches as well as parents of youth soccer players.  If you weren’t attending a session, then you might find yourself downstairs in the exhibit hall browsing one of the many vendor booths that ranged from soccer balls and uniform kits to the latest technology in goalkeeper training.  I spent hours checking out the vendor stations and most likely still didn’t come close to seeing everything.  Along the way I had the pleasure of meeting and making friends with.... 

John DeBenedictis -  Executive Director of The National Soccer Coaches Association of Canada

Neil Bradford - National Director of Coaching SAY Soccer

The US Youth Soccer Awards Gala on Friday night was special.  It was a relatively formal affair with an atmosphere that can be compared to the Academy Awards.  This evening was a banquet and celebration to honor many aspects of youth soccer.  When it came time to award the National Recreation Boys Coach of the Year, I proudly carried onstage a photobook that was given to me by the CJSL Open and District Tournament Champion U-12 Boys Fugman Blue Cobraz team that I’ve been so fortunate to coach. The book is a fabulous work of art that captures our amazing 2015 season that started in August with preseason training on our home field at Fugman Elementary in Fresno and culminated in December at the final four of the CYSA-North Founder’s Cup in Elk Grove.  

Although the national honor went to the Arkansas coach from Region III, my true award was the photo book I held in my hand.  It was because of my younger son’s Blue Cobraz team and my older son’s U-14 Boys FC Legacy team that I was able to share this stage with the three impressive coaches from Regions I, II, and III who were extremely well-credentialed.  My sons and their teammates make me a better coach and a better person each time we take the pitch together.

I thank my family for all their love, patience, and support; the players that I have been blessed to coach over the last several years as well as their wonderful families; Koach Karl Dewazian, Sal Blanco, John Hodgson, and Linda SoRelle at District 7; Craig Winans and CYSA-North, and all those who work so hard to share their knowledge and passion for the great sport of soccer with the many children who love to play it.
Fugman Soccer Club, Clovis Junior Soccer League
District 7 Recreation Coach of the Year (2015)
State CYSA-North Recreation Coach of the Year (2015)
Regional Recreation Coach of the Year (2015)
John DeBenedictis -  Executive Director of The National Soccer Coaches Association of Canada Neil Bradford - National Director of Coaching SAY Soccer

District VII Youth Referees of the Year - Alejandro and Alyssa

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly


y Alejandro Gonzalez  


The Good – Are uniformly dressed and act professionally during and after the game.  They are confident and consistent in their calls and controlling the game.

 The Bad – Are semi-uniformly dressed and act professionally most of the time during and after the game. They are not as confident and occasionally struggle in controlling the game.

 The Ugly – Are carelessly dressed and act unprofessionally during and after the game.  They have no idea what they are doing, they seldom run, they do not pay attention, and they do not take the game seriously.


The Good – Care for their team and do not argue when calls are made against their team. They also care for the referees when offering water at half-time because they know how hard we work especially in hot weather.

 The Bad – Show-up and from the very beginning will not leave the referees alone.  They try to get the referees to call it their way.

The Ugly – Are constantly getting-in-your-face and will not let the referee do their job.  They are consistently red-carded and asked to leave the field.


The Good – Focus strictly on playing their game and never come-in-your-face. And if a teammate does come-in-your face they back-them-off and apologize for their actions.

 The Bad – Try to distract you from doing your job.  They occasionally come to your face to discuss a call.

 The Ugly – Come to your face to discuss any/all fouls.  They are usually the players that play the players and not the ball.  They don’t have any respect for referees. 


The Good – Come to watch the game and do not distract the referee from doing their job.

 The Bad – Occasionally try to distract the referee and sometimes even argue with the referees but they know when to stop. 

The Ugly – Are constantly trying to distract the referee, question every simple call and don’t know when to stop arguing. 

TO PLEASE the GOOD, the BAD and the UGLY…

We (Referees) need to gain the respect of others.  We can only do that by being more professional in our appearance, our attitude and our actions. I truly believe that by gaining the respect of others we will eventually face less interference.   

Refereeing: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 

by Alyssa Nishikawa

Throughout my life, I have been exposed to many different levels of soccer.   As a college student-athlete playing for the Fresno State Women’s Soccer team and also a Fig Garden Youth Soccer League referee, I can claim that I have come across “the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” of soccer: the referees, coaches, players, and spectators. 
As a youth referee, I don’t think referees get the full credit that they deserve.  I must admit, it is much harder than it looks.  It takes courage, concentration, and responsibility to be an exceptional referee.  If these traits are not present, it can result in some ugly situations.  

The Good” of being a referee can be categorized when referees call a fair game and are shown appreciation for their good work.  It is always a great feeling when coaches and spectators applaud you for a fairly called game even if they came from the losing side.  “The Bad” of refereeing is that they have power and control over the results of the game.  It can be a lot of pressure to know that one bad call can dictate the outcome of a match. 

 “The Ugly” of refereeing can be summed up as an experience I had as a youth player that I just haven’t let go.  This refereeing blunder costed me and my team championship medals.  One of the sideline referees missed an off-sides call that resulted in a goal and a 1-0 win.  This particular sideline referee was caught watching another game on the field adjacent to her. You can bet all of the spectators, my coach and also some of the players were not polite after this play.
In my experience, I have also encountered many coaches.  The good coaches I have encountered while refereeing are supportive of their players and display good sportsmanship for all to follow.  The bad coaches I have encountered have lost their cool and thrown clipboards and chairs after what they thought was a “bad call.”  Needless to say, these instances resulted in red cards.  The ugly coaching instances involve when they yell at their youth players because they simply are losing the game.  I recall a coach yelling at a U-8 girl “Quit messing with your hair or do you want to come out?”  I was taken aback by this display of insensitivity.  

Refereeing youth players has taken me down memory lane.  I thoroughly enjoy encountering talented young players.  Some of these exceptional players are on the road to greatness if they continue their hard work.  During my refereeing years I have not encountered “bad or ugly” soccer players.  At the competitive level however, there were many instances where bad attitudes were displayed.  Players undermining their coaches or arguing with their teammates on the field are common displays of negativity.

I have seen variety when it comes to the spectators of the game as well.  I have witnessed many parents of 11-12 year old children acting as if they were spectators at the World Cup Final Match.  These parents reminded me of mine when I played youth soccer.  The “good” includes the parents who keep their composure and peacefully cheer for their team.  The “bad” includes parents who don’t know the rules of soccer, yet still yell at the referee for what they think was supposed to be an “offs-sides call”.  I was witness to one “ugly” situation in which a parent yelled at their child, “Just you wait until you get home!”  This was an unpleasant situation for me because, as a referee, there was nothing I could do or say.  

Through soccer I have grown as a player and as a person.  I have learned key life skills such as teamwork, responsibility, leadership, sportsmanship and commitment through being a soccer player and referee.  It has shaped my life and kept me focused and well-rounded.  I am looking forward to my next years of college soccer and my upcoming spring league as well as many more years refereeing with the Fig Garden Youth Soccer League.  In the game of soccer, it is inevitable that there will be some ugly plays and situations.  I wouldn’t want it any other way;  I love it all, “the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”.

Volunteer of the Year

Volunteer of the Year Danay Ferguson

Danay 9 years old is CEO of Reading Heart’s project and a recreational player in District VII (FGYSL).  Her Reading Heart project is a book donation program dedicated to serving children in hospitals and children in areas with limited access to books. Danay started Reading Heart at the age of eight because she wanted to share her passion for reading and the joy of escaping in a good book with other children. An avid book reader and advocate for education, Danay wants to spread the joy of reading and improve literacy by helping serve underprivileged children in the Fresno area,

At her awards acceptance Danay said, “It would be wonderful if District 7 and all of its Leagues would consider partnering with Reading Heart to have occasional book drives. 

Great Deals


FUNdamental Soccer Balls
Our premium quality soccer balls are made of waterproof soft composite leather lined with 4-ply non-stretchable synthetic material to insure roundness and balance. All soccer balls are Official size and weight. 

Value Now:

Size 2  $ 9.50  /Size 3  $9.50 / Size 4  $9.50 /  Size 5  $10.50

 To order balls - please email: cysakarl@comcast.net - we will give you prices for bulk sales For bulk discounts orders:  Click on this link which will take you to our order page - go to the soccer balls about halfway down the page and Let us know how many of each size ball you would like to purchase. And, where the balls would be shipped (City, State & Zip Code)... We'll email an estimate of the costs, taxes and shipping fees. Your email address will NEVER be sold, rented or given to any other business or company.


District News

Fresno Fuego 2016 Exhibition Game Information

I am reaching out to my entire networking community to help us build soccer in Central California.  When I think of this thriving soccer community I know that we as soccer leaders can continue to build upon the foundation and very soon fill Chukchansi Park with soccer fans.  The growth has been tremendous, our sport is trending incredibly in the US and we are in the midst of a generational shift of main stream sports in America.  I ask for your support of the Fresno Fuego in 2016 and make every effort possible to attend soccer games at Chukchansi Park.  My goal is to sell-out Chukchansi Park out on a regular basis for Fresno Fuego soccer.  In 2015 we averaged 3,900 fans, we have a 12,500 seat stadium…there is a lot of work to be done but with your help we will get there soon!

I hope to see you and your families at the following THREE-GAMES and throughout the Fuego 2016 season!

All the best and Thank you,

Jeremy Schultz 

Sports Medicine

Even God Rested By Carlos Flores RN FCN

 Even God rested. Rest is a necessary component of good training. The work out or exercise during sports practice is primarily adding physical stress to our bodies which helps to condition our bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. This physical stress creates a breakdown of those tissues which in turn develops “remodeling” to help them build up. The importance of rest in between tournaments, matches, and practice is essential for this remodeling to take place. Without rest, breakdown of tissue doesn’t allow the body to remodel. If coach cancels a regularly scheduled practice, it’s best that we heed that advice and allow rest for our child. Rest is also essential for the mind. A well rounded student athlete is what we really want to achieve. Interest and excellence in multiple arenas of life is what is most beneficial for our child’s development. Consider that less than 0.8% of student athletes of any level will ever make it to the professional ranks. Pushing them beyond their limits is counter-productive. Allowing rest between sports activity is equally important for the mind. This will prevent burn-out, which does in fact happen. As parents, we must be willing to find the balance between encouragement and being over-bearing. The National Athletic Trainers’ Association tells us that over-use injury accounts for about half of all sports related injury. To prevent this, NATA suggests the following:

  1. Injury surveillance – Listen to our kids. Watch for pain, fatigue and decreased performance. These are signs of potential over-use injury and burn-out.
  2.  Pre-participation physical exams (PPEs) – (see previous article) The PPE can provide good feedback to the parent on physical sports readiness and any potential health issues.
  3. Identification of physical risk factors – Some student athletes have physiological components that may inhibit full sports workouts. These can range from orthopedic anomalies to medical considerations.
  4. Sport alterations- repetitive use injury in a student athlete can interfere with the normal growing process. Again, the PPE with your child’s physician should take these into account. 
  5.  Training and conditioning programs –young athletes should only participate in one team of the same sport per season allowing for periods of rest between those seasons. However, cross training is encouraged.
  6. Delayed sports specialization – Youth athletes are encouraged to participate in multiple sports and recreational activities throughout the year, to enhance general fitness and aid in motor development. They should also take time off between sports seasons and take two to three non-consecutive months away from a specific sport, if they participate in a single sport year-round. Rest, is an essential component of any exceptional sports program.  

Play hard, play safe! 

Note:  If you would like to connect with Carlos Flores to suggest topics or receive personal feedback, he can reach him at cflores@valleychildrens.org.

Food for Thought

My Motto

By Chris Stewart  

My team motto (and my personal life motto) is "Try hard. Do your best. Have fun."

I talk about these three basic points ALL THE TIME. I find that by reinforcing them each and every touch (text, email, phone call, practice, game) that I lead my entire team family (not just players but parents, even grandparents) to understand that this team is about way more than winning or losing, trophies or awards. It is about life.

And life has winners and losers. Life is not fair. Fair is a fantasy. And losing is a wonderful teacher.  "Success has a thousand mothers, and failure is an orphan." By keeping it at this level, everyone buys in. Leave the fleeting external motivators out of it.

Foster the internal. That is where it needs to come from anyway if a player is going to achieve his or her potential.

For more thoughts go to: www.fundamentalsoccer.com


Coach: Why are you late to practice?

Player: Practice started before I got here.

Coach: Name one important thing we have today that we didn't have ten years ago. 
Player: Me! 

Coach: Why do you always get so dirty?
Player: Well, I'm a lot closer to the ground than you are. 

The outcome of our children is Infinitely more important than the outcome of any Game they will ever play!