Tips to Make Youth Soccer Great for Kids:  by Anne Josephson


Make the experience child centered. Youth sports should be centered on the child's needs first, not those of the adults coaching or parents viewing. It should be an environment free of bullying and intimidation. 

Create an environment of teamwork and community. The environment should encourage kids to be friends with one another and camaraderie should be cultivated through group activities in and outside of practice. 

Focus on process not product. We tend to talk about sports in terms of outcomes, asking questions like: Did you win? What was the score? What place did you get? Did you make the All-Star team? Are you trying for a scholarship? The Olympics? Considering asking questions like: Did you have fun? What part did you enjoy the most? Are you going to try anything differently next time? How you will practice this week? Did you say thank you to your coach? 

Make fun a central goal of your sports program, not a fluffy add-on. Ask your child if he or she is having fun. Often. While some days will be better than others, the frequency of "yeses" should overwhelm the few days when the answer is 'no.' By repeating the question frequently, your child will understand that fun is a worth goal. 

Fitness and skill development should take precedence over winning. While winning is fun, kids sitting on a bench for an entire game does nothing to contribute to their progress of fitness or development of skills. Emphasizing how good it feels to exercise and keeping your body healthy should be central messages in any youth sports program. 

Incremental improvement, effort and teamwork should be praised. Encourage the small wins and the good attitude the child demonstrates. Comments like tie improvement ("I see how much stronger you are getting.") to effort ("Your hard work is paying off.") helps your child link effort and achievement, a hallmark of the growth mindset. Avoid focusing on talent as it promotes a fixed mindset, the idea that you cannot meaningfully influence your abilities. 

Use failure as a normal part of learning. Failure scares most people. But, in actuality, it is a good thing because it is a normal part of learning. The more comfortable a person becomes with failure, the easier it is for them to be bold in the face of an obstacle. The good news is that sports provide multiple opportunities to fail. Talking about failure as feedback and using it to come up with a plan for how to do better next time teaches kids how to be resilient. 

Talk about the character building lessons and opportunities in sports. Sport builds discipline and responsibility when kids have to go to practice and meet their commitments even when they no longer feel like doing so. So when a child wants to miss practice for no good reason, it is a great chance to discuss why we don't behave that way. On the other hand, at one point or another, most kids are going to stop playing a sport. This gives the child the opportunity to learn the difference between quitting and ending. Quitting is giving up on something in the middle, often in frustration, anger or fear. Ending, however, is deciding something no longer fits our needs and unwinding from that responsibility in a manner that honors our commitments and relationships. These are valuable conversations. 

Allow those valuable life lessons to occur. Helicopter parents: come in for a landing. Letting your child experience the ups and downs that come with participating in sports, with your love and guidance, is marvelous preparation for their lives as adults. Don't intervene each time you think they are treated unfairly. Don't be too quick to jump in to shield them from frustration or disappointment. Allow the lessons that sports provide to teach them and you can be there to help them process.

Editor’s Note: The ‘D-7 Recreation Program’ addresses these and introduces more tips to help YOU Make Youth Soccer Great for the Kids in YOUR Community.  For details write to:   

Article by State Recreation Coach of the Year


What I did with our first-year Under-12 Boys team is go right into, “Warm-up #1” after their stretching.  This consists of breaking up into two groups.  The groups are approximately 10 yards apart facing each other. The first person does a simple instep pass to the first person of the opposite group and follows his pass.   

The two-touch rule is employed here, and for the first few training sessions, just controlling the ball properly and administering a pass that keeps the ball on the ground is challenging enough.  As we get into the fourth or fifth training session, we will incorporate a minor wrinkle into Warm-up 1, such as using a 20-yard space in between the players or attempting only one-touch on the passes. 

As we progressed further in the season, we always begin training with Warm-up #1, but we add combination passing to the activity or assign left-foot-only passing/controlling restrictions.

With just this warm-up, the players spend a solid 10-12 minutes at the beginning of each training session focusing on passing, controlling, and moving to open space.  It is continuous movement by all the players and truly compensates for running laps or sprints.  And with the added wrinkles into what really is a repetitive activity, the players did not get bored.

MICHAEL CALVILLO, *District 7 Recreation Coach of the Year (2015)., *State CYSA-North Recreation Coach of the Year (2015), * Look for more ideas from Michael in the next issue of Komments J

Editor’s Note: The D-7 Recreation Program has Developed a Curriculum & Trained a Staff of Instructors who want to help you become a successful youth coach. For details write to:

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Exciting NEWS!

D-7 Success Story:  KALVIN CONLEY Named NSCAA Scholar All-American 

Kalvin Conley started his soccer career with Hanford Youth Soccer and was coached by his father Ken for his first 5 years of soccer. Kalvin played high school soccer at Hanford West High School back with his favorite coach, his father, Ken. After Hanford West Kalvin started his college career at West Hills College in Lemoore, earning a starting position as a freshman. Kalvin was a respected member of the team, so much so his teammates voted him to be the captain in his sophomore year. Kalvin led by example rarely being out worked on the field or in the classroom. Kalvin was a President Scholar earning a cumulative GPA of 3.7 while at West Hills College. This last January Kalvin was recognized as part of the Scholar All-America team by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). Kalvin will graduate from West Hills College this May and has decided to continue his education and soccer career at California State East Bay in the Fall.

Coaching Corner

Dear Parents, Players and Coaches:

One sided scores:I noticed a lot of 8-0, 10-0, 11-0 scores etc. in the Don Hawkins side. Maybe these teams should be moved to Harold S. Young (where they should have been in the first place). These coaches are just afraid to test themselves and their players. They rather fish with a fish net or hunt with a bazooka!

Yesterday, my U12G team won 3-0, we could have easily won 8-0. What I did (in advance, not at the game) was have a strategy that if we score easily/quickly we have a play call Mustang 3 which means that players can only score with their left foot (if right foot dominant) or off a header and other systems to deal with these situations; including moving players around (e.g., putting our best forward as GK or taking two players out for one in a discreet manner). I just called out “Mustang 3” and the players knew. 

I didn't yell in the middle of the game “no more scoring”; which would have been demoralizing to the other young ladies. I think this is better than “keep away” which does nothing for either team in a game. Using a strategy such as my Mustang 3, our players are still trying hard and the other team is still in the game and in my view both teams are learning life lessons without knowing it. Why would I want to show up at work and say my U12 team can beat a team 12-0. This is grown men and women living vicariously through kids for their own glory days!  

Some coaches (grown men and ladies) will invariably say: “I cannot control them. I told them not to score and they did anyway.” Well, if a grown man or lady cannot control a U12 or any age youth player, maybe he or she should not be coaching and certainly should never undertake a management position with a company or try to lead a platoon in the military (you would have mutiny on your hands)! 

I suggest that we fine each league, for every goal after 6, $100 per goal. This is the only way they will learn.  

Sal Blanco, Cal-N D7 Coaching Director, USSF “C”. NSCAA National Diploma. NSCAA Advance GK Diploma

Editors Notes:More people are ruined by victory, I imagine than by defeat” Eleanor Roosevelt.  Bad losers are hard to take –but nearly as hard to take as bad winners. If you assume that you are somehow better than everyone else and more deserving of victory, you can turn victory into disaster. Maybe you did pay your dues and work hard.  Or, maybe you just recruited better athletes. Try to remember that everyone likes to win –but- that winning does not necessarily make you better than others.  There is always someone just a little bit better and that is a fact!

Referee Corner

It Is All About Time by Pat Ferre: Are you stealing time from the losing teams when you referee games? 

With few exceptions, all rules require that referees allow for time lost during a match due to injuries and deliberate time-wasting.  Some rules include time lost due to substitutions, goals, and cards issued.

If you let your watch run for the exact prescribed time, blow your whistle and leave the field, you are stealing some time.  It is stealing if, in the time you have stolen, the team that is tied or behind may have instead won or tied the game.

By not allowing the deserved time, you have not served the game well.  The Laws of The Game require that the players play a certain amount of time.  Even adding 1 minute when 4 minutes were wasted during a close match is larceny on the part of the referee.  

The most unfair way that time is lost is through time-wasting.  Players, some as young as 12, know to waste time when their team is ahead.  Some of the most often used methods are: kicking the ball over a fence, kicking the ball far away and taking time to retrieve it, finding the right blade of grass to position the ball, and substituting players from the far side of the field.  If the players know it, their opponents know what is being done as well.

Wasting time is a cautionable offense.  Have you ever given a card for that?  While the card should be a last resort, warning and adding time should begin as soon as the leading team starts using stalling tactics. 

When time is being added, it is a good idea to let the teams and spectators know that you are doing so by raising your arm with the watch and point to the watch with the other hand.  If that does not stop the time-wasting, a caution is on order.

Other tactics used to deliberately waste time are: moving the ball multiple times before kicking it, 2-3 players keep handing the ball to each other prior to a throw-in, kicking the ball way over the crossbar just after a whistle blows for offside, picking up the ball and walking away after a foul has been called against his/her team, a player bringing the ball to the referee is wasting time because he/she knows you cannot kick it.  Those actions are forms of time-wasting done with malicious forethought for which time must be added and either a stern talk or a caution given.

Free substitution is the more sophisticated method used to take time off of the clock.  Teams that abuse that privilege should be penalized.  Once a winning team starts to use this method, make a big show of adding time.  Caution the coach if the rules allow and file a report.

Fake or real injuries can be difficult to deal with but the Laws require that referees take into account time lost to deal with and assess injuries.  If the player is faking the injury in order to gain a favorable call from the referee, that is a caution able offense.

No one suggests that referees prolong the agony of a 12-0 and even a 4-0 game but if the score is 2-1 or tied, the teams deserved the entire allotted time to fairly decide the result.  Anything less would be cheating.

Pat Ferre, USSF Referee Grade 15 Emeritus, USSF Referee Instructor, USSF Referee Assessor, USSF Referee Assignor, District-7 Youth Referee Administrator (DYRA)

Note:  Please send you comments on this & other referee matters to:




Exclusive District-7 Discounts on Team & Coaches Kit


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As a special offer to members of District-7 we’re giving you 70% off coaching gear. We’re confident once you’ve tried Admiral you’ll love our quality, service and price. See some of our kit packages and special CYSA offers enclosed.


I'd like to speak with you about our new range, custom kit builder and how you can make money from the online store that we provide. Please email me on or call me on (305) 924 8282.

I look forward to hearing from you.  All the best

Paul Hamburger

Chief Executive Officer
Mobile: +1 305 924 8282 
Toll Free: 888-646-6822 Ext. 105, Email: Web:

District News

Fresno Fuego and Fresno Freeze Partner Organizations

As we approach the 2015 soccer season I want to express my gratitude for standing with us and our community through the sport of soccer.  Your partnership allows our franchises to be one of the most prestigious soccer clubs in the country where players from our own community are given the opportunity to pursue their sporting goals.  It is our ultimate responsibility to build not only elite soccer players but people who will have a positive impact in our community for years to come.  We thank you for your generous support and hope that you will join us in 2015 in making soccer the epicenter of all family entertainment at Chukchansi Park.

On behalf of the Fresno Fuego and Fresno Freeze we thank you for your partnership in our community!
See you at the Park,

Jeremy Schultz

Editor’s Note:  Look for game schedules, etc. in upcoming issues and please send your comments on this subject to:

Did You Know???

That another FUNdamental article went national?  Check-it-out by clicking here

Are Youth Sports Better Today Than Yesterday? by Karl Dewazien | Apr 2, 2015 

Did You Know:

With more than 150 youth clubs assessed in USA and Canada, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA's) research revealed that youth clubs, large and small, face a similar challenge: Educating Coaches!

Editors’ Note: The D-7 Recreation & Coaching Programs have been aware of this challenge and have diligently worked to resolve this challenge.  For details on how WE can help YOU meet this challenge…  Please write to:  

Did You Know:

That last summer’s World Cup was a real top class Cup but now we are about to view a real World Cup this Spring under the banner of the ECL. Here four world class teams will compete for the cup with the big ears - the ECL Trophy. We have the mouthwatering clashes between Bayern Munich vs. Barcelona and Juventus vs. Real Madrid - Four great teams to make this coming month possibly the finest in the history of the competition. 
In the fall everyone would have put their money on Bayern as they played at the ratified level but to maintain that is almost impossible and they almost became a normal club but Porto hit a raw Bayern nerve and suddenly they kicked into fifth gear again. 
Then there's the "Terrible Trio" of BARCA (Messi, Suarez & Neymar) backed by their stellar tradition
 of a great club.

Then a Mediterranean clash of the reigning champions Real Madrid will not let go of that title easily. They have been the masters of winning this trophy since 1955 and so their DNA is wrapped up in this Cup with their greatest player, Alfredo iStefano,  looking from above as he sadly died last summer. 

"The Old Lady" Juventus of Turin also has a rich tradition in this competition is emerging as a soccer power again after 12 years on soccer's sidelines since qualifying at this level. Maybe the only team of the 4 semi-finalists that might resort to winning ugly but they have the talent to surprise with players like Tevez, one of the world's great strikers.

All the indicators point to this being a classic month of brilliant soccer. So coaches get your charges ready to see the game played at the highest level. 

Don't miss this extravaganza.
Graham Ramsay

Smiles - just for Laughs

 As I was driving home from work one day, I stopped to watch a local soccer game that was being played in a park near my home. I stood behind a couple of the players on the sideline.  I asked one of the boys what the score was. "We're behind 4 to nothing," he answered with a smile. "Really," I said. "I have to say you don't look very discouraged." "Discouraged?" the boy asked with a puzzled look on his face. "Why should we be discouraged? “We haven't touched the ball yet.”

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