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Pennsylvania’s Leading Youth Soccer Publication

Winter 2019-20

Holiday Soccer Gift Guide

Coaching Education

A Decade Of Soccer


& Why Athletes Need it Social Media Tips & Tricks

How the game has grown in the Past 10 years

Quarterly Calendar Winter Tournament Schedule Caption Contest

Non-Profit US Postage PAID Permit #15 Monroe, GA

Nike Gear Review

credits Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Volume LX | Winter 2019 Touchline is published quarterly Published by: Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer 4070 Butler Pike, Suite 100 Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462 Phone: 610-238-9966 Fax: 610-238-9933 E-mail: info@EPYSA.org Website: EPYSA.org Executive Board President – Jeff Sommer Vice President, Recreation – TBD Vice President, Travel – Fran Burns Treasurer – Warren Beideman Secretary – Melissa Murphy Weber Registrar – Jim Christian State Youth Referee Administrator – Jeff Tener Office Staff Chief Executive Officer – Chris Branscome Chief Operating Officer – Kelly Connor Technical Director – Mike Barr Director of Soccer Development & Performance – Gary Stephenson Director of Competitions – TBD Director of Marketing & Events –TBD Director of Membership Services – Marisa J. Pigeon Member Services Manager – Courtney Chinworth Communications Manager – Ed Morrone Program Manager – Meridith Crowell Grassroots Soccer Manager – JT Dorsey Program Assistant – Julián Rey-Montes Touchline Editor-in-Chief: Chris Branscome Editor: Krissy Woods Printed and designed by A.E. Engine, Inc.

contents 2 From Our CEO 4-5 Coaching Education 6-7 Social Media Tips and Tricks 10 What’s Streaming 11 Holiday Gift Guide 12 National Team Look Ahead 14-15 Soccer in the Past Decade

30 ACL Injury Prevention 31 Honor Roll 32 2019 Award Winners 33 Where We’ve Been

19 Competition V. Development 20 Caption Contest

36 Coach & Player Q & A

24-25 Philadelphia Union: A Look Back on the 10th Season


President, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer

29 Winter Tournaments

34-35 Examining the 4v4 Professional Development Initiatives and the Effect on Younger Players

17 Quarterly Calendar

From Our

Jeff Sommer

26-27 Perspective and Why Athletes Need It

On the Cover: Scenes from the 2019 Eastern Pennsylvania Recreation Festival held in Octorara, PA.

Dear Reader, I can’t believe we’re nearing the end of 2019! Not only another year in the books but the passing of the second decade of the 2000’s… it makes me feel very old! Ten years in soccer, and in particular youth soccer, can be a lifetime. The U8 player is now U18. They went from playing 5v5 to their high school or college teams in the blink of an eye. The sound of little feet and smell of dirty cleats, socks, and shin guards which may have once been the music you danced to every week may now be a memory. Others are just beginning this wonderful, marvelous journey; to you, 2019 will seem like a steppingstone not only where you started but where you’re headed. We here at Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer are no different. We love the game and have watched our children and their friends grow, enjoy, and play the beautiful game. At our headquarters in Plymouth Meeting, we have seen our staff grow and change, bringing new ideas and energy with each hire. These years signify progress to us - from the wonderful FIFA Women’s World Cup Championship of 2019 to the Men’s World Cup in 2026 which we hope to host in Philadelphia in area designated as Eastern Pennsylvania. As we look back with fond memories of 2019 and the second decade of 2000s, we look forward to the years ahead. We hope you enjoy and revel in your soccer experience at every level… yesterday, today, and most certainly tomorrow.

Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer


From Our


Chris Branscome

Chief Executive Officer, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer

The next decade, in which this association will begin its 50th year of service looks to be one of great promise and achievement.


Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer



e close out the decade on New Year’s Eve. The Teens give way to the Twenties. This issue of the Touchline takes a look back at the last ten years. The decade of the “Tens” as many have called it, was certainly one of progress and change. That’s the way it should be, right? But change happens more frequently an quickly anymore, at least to me. Many of you adults reading this probably agree, but for the players reading this, it’s just another day, just another app. Ten years ago, there were no iPads, no Apple watches. No one Ubered anywhere yet. No one Venmo’d their friend for yesterday’s lunch. Facebook was still cool, a few people were on”Insta” and no one was Snapchatting. No one had asked Alexa a silly question, or said “Hey Google.” Mobile phones weren’t quite so smart, and people actually used to use them as phones. So how did we compare in the soccer world? I can start with a few basics. In 2009, our office was still in a tiny, tired space in Horsham with a staff of four. I was new in 2009 as well and using a Blackberry. The Philadelphia Union had no players and no stadium. By 2010, we moved into a new office in Plymouth Meeting, expanded our staff to 7 and I switched to an iPhone (major progress!). The Union had a team professional soccer was once again played in Philadelphia. Later that year, the US bid on hosting the World Cup, but lost to Qatar. Throughout the middle of the decade we experienced many changes and learned many things. In the 00’s, “player development” was a phrase in little use. Small Sided games were still being questioned. Playing 8v8 “wasn’t the real game” people said. In 2015, US Soccer approved the Player Development Initiative. By 2016, we had adopted the “PDI” and our kids were playing7v7 and 9v9. We adapted quickly and with far greater understanding. No one anticipated such a thing called a “build-out” line, or no punting from goalkeepers either. Now they are the new normal and player development is something we speak of every day as one of our primary focuses. Player safety was always a concern, but to what extent? Concussion awareness was brought to the forefront. We knew so little then, but now, everyone is aware. Coaches, players and parents know what concussion management and protocol is today. That led to a major change o the rules- no heading for youth players eleven years and younger. On top of that, we now discuss cardiac issue, heatstroke and temperature guidelines. We add water breaks in extreme heat. We warm-up with dynamic stretching…who would have imagined any of that in 2000? We take safety from injury quite seriously, but now, we take personal safety even more so. We ran random background checks and asked coaches to complete a disclosure form at the beginning of the decade. As a result of some extremely unfortunate and horrible acts, we all had to face up to the need for stronger measures to protect our children. By 2015, the state of Pennsylvania passed strict laws on clearances for all adults working with children. We were certainly in a new era. Volunteers and professional must undergo the necessary checks to be allowed to work with children. By the end of the decade, 2018, the Federal SafeSport Act had been passed and our risk management polices added further education and training to protect our children. Jumping into 2019, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer closes out the decade with energy and an ever stronger commitment to grow the sport. Through winning a US Soccer Innovation to Grow grant, we have invested nearly $300,000 on an effort to educate more coaches than ever before and enhance soccer in emerging communities and those that had fallen behind. Through smart investments over the past decade, we have been able to award over $400,000 in grants to 50 of our members organizations. We’ve also been able commit to a groundbreaking partnership with the Union and the City of Philadelphia to build fifteen mini-pitches and two full size fields. These are things I had only imagined in 2009 and proud that we have made a reality in 2019. To finish up the review…The Union spent much of the year in first place and won a great playoff game at home. Our US Women’s team, fresh of another World Cup championship, played to a record breaking audience at the Linc. The US, with our neighbors Mexico and Canada won the bid to host the 2026 World Cup- with Philly remaining in the hunt to host games. Our office staff now consists of a 12 dedicated professionals who work tirelessly to serve the needs of the youth soccer players and coaches in our state. As for me, I have been on Twitter for almost nine months now, use Uber instead of cabs, and am on my third iPhone that I use for phone calls, but does have a few apps. The next decade, in which this association will begin its 50th year of service looks to be one of great promise and achievement. Happy New Year, Happy New Decade.

Coaching Education E

astern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer’s coaching education pathway has changed greatly over the last ten years. At one time grassroots was not even a term we associated with education. Previous to the new curriculum we had an 18 hour E License and a 36 Hour D License. The E course took place over a weekend and a candidate was evaluated on the basis of a 15 minute coaching session. If the instructor felt the session met the E License standards, they would receive their license. If you passed the E License you had to wait a year to take the D License. This normally took place over two consecutive weekends and also had a pass/fail component. With the implementation of The Digital Coaching Center ( US Soccer Learning Center) US Soccer provided the first online F License and also the first Nationally Licensed Coach’s profiles. Within the profiles a standardized pathway was created for all coaches and waivers from other countries were not recognized within that pathway if they were not affiliated with FIFA.



US Soccer is committed to meet the needs of all coaches from U6 to Professional, so they in turn meet the needs of their players’ development. US Soccer believes education is a journey, and our goal is to provide the necessary tools, guidance, and mentorship a coach requires. New coaches can begin their journey with the free Introduction to Grassroots Coaching online course. This on line introduction lays the foundation for your success as a coach. After completing the introduction on line courses for 4v4, 7v7, 9v9 and 11v11 are available. Our association also offers the four Grassroot’s Courses in person. US Soccer still has the D License but the requirements to take the D are at least two grassroots in-person courses, one of which must be the 11v11, and an online license. There is no waiting period for the D License after completing the requirements. After the D License you must wait a year before taking the C License. After the C License the pathway becomes more stringent, as the application process includes a resume’ and often letters of recommendation.

Coaching education Pathway

Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer


Clubs Collaborate to Put Kids Needs First


n November 11th some key clubs in Central Pennsylvania came together to discuss ways of collaborating to put kids first in their soccer decisions. CASA, Eagle FC, Keystone FC, PA Classics, Penn FC and Super Nova decided that the first issue they wanted to address was the tryout timeline for teams. They all agreed that having a loose timeline or date was not good for children. Children and families stress and worry about selection or worse, the disappointment of not making the team. Those who have no idea what will happen suffer most. The more uncertainty the more distress. This distress is causing


children to potentially quit the game for good. Tryouts seem to be happening earlier and earlier each year and these clubs feel this trend needs to end if we are thinking about the kids. These clubs want to allow kids to develop through the spring season and play free of stress solicited by adults. These clubs decided to put the best interest of the kids mental health at the front of their thoughts. They decided to sign a declaration stating they would not have tryouts, kick arounds or ID clinics for youth, not currently within their clubs prior to Monday May 4th, 2020. It is great to see these clubs take the initiative and not wait on a mandate to help them make good choices for our youth in soccer. They decided to put kids first.

Coaching education Pathway

Online or In-Person courses

4U5-8 v4 7U9-10 v7 9U11-12 v9 11U13+ v11 Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer


Get in the Game: Social Media Tips & Tricks Congratulations, you’ve signed up for social media! Now what? There’s a big difference between being “on social media” and being good at it. The good thing about social media is that anyone can be on it. The negative side of social media is that everyone is on it and cutting through the clutter can be difficult. Honestly, finding success on social media is no different than finding success on the field: Have a game plan, pick your spots, and adjust as needed. Here are a few ways to be a rising star on social media!

Have a gameplan You’d never step onto the field without knowing what your game plan is. The same holds true for logging in to social media. Are you trying to grow your club? Are you trying to raise awareness for

outstanding community service efforts your group is performing? Are you a young athlete looking to catch the eye of a college coach? Define your role and find a game plan that works to accomplish it.

Pick your spot Again, social media is free and there are no limits. That doesn’t mean you absolutely need to post everything about anything. If you’re a club manager, sure there’s value in providing regular updates about matches and results. That doesn’t mean you need to go live and post every 2 minutes during a regular season match. For the entirety of a Division I soccer match, we post about 10 total tweets – that number may go up a bit if we’re playing particularly well and have highlights to share. For your personal accounts, the same holds true. It’s great that you can share so much with your friends and family. We’re connected to our core group more now than ever before. That doesn’t mean everything needs to be shared. Not only is there no guarantee that your messages stay private, there’s a big chance any important moments get lost in the clutter. The goal of social media is engagement. If you post 100 tweets about your day and no one likes them, are you operating properly?

Adjust as needed You wouldn’t stay in the same formation if you’re consistently not getting shots off, and the same runs true on social media. If your fans,


Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer


family and friends aren’t responding to your content, it’s time to revaluate your plan. It’s awesome that you learned how to use Facebook Live and can stream your son or daughter’s match. Are people really watching a video feed from 150 yards away? Is that stat graphic that took 45 minutes to make getting the same amount of shares that a standard action photo did? Post the action photo and use your time in a more valuable way.

Avoid #hastagoverload The quickest way to lose the value of your message? Overdo it with the hashtags. The purpose of a hashtag on social media is to help curate your specific content and allow fans to find it all in one place. If you type in #DOOP, there’s a pretty good chance you’re looking at content about or by the Philadelphia Union. That is the proper way to use a hashtag. If you call yourself a #Beast, so do a million other people who you may not align with. Find something that in unique that you can own.

even hold true for a specific team account, I know it did when I was managing @PennSoccer. At the same time, I can tell you that if you are going to use social media as a way to interact with coaches and/or managers then it’s best to have the player do the contact. Every single college coach I have worked with lists maturity as a big factor in deciding who they bring in to their program. That can start with being able to handle your own communication. We can tell when a message truly comes from an athlete or when it is a parent logging in and sending it. Don’t sell a false bill of goods, be yourself and own who you are.

Know Your Role Since everyone is probably thinking in some way about the next level, here’s my advice to anyone looking to interact with a college/pro team: Do your research on who does what for a program. The person running the @PennAthletics social media channels, for example, has very, very little impact on recruiting. So, don’t send that account your recruiting tape. The same might

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Chas Dorman is in his 14th year as a communications and social media specialist in college athletics. He’s currently the Assistant Athletic Director for Communications and Social Media at Princeton University and spent the previous 13 years at the University of Pennsylvania.

Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer


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Limit one item per coupon, per customer. Must be used in one transaction. Valid on in-store purchases only. Minimum purchase of $59.99, excludes tax and shipping charges. Cannot be combined with any other offers, team discounts, or used for gift cards, licenses or previously purchased merchandise. Not redeemable for cash, gift cards or store credit. No reproductions or rain checks accepted. Returns or exchanges where a ScoreCard Reward or other discount was applied may result in an adjusted refund amount. Excludes clearance items. Clearance items have .X3 or .X7 endings. Some exclusions apply. See store and DICKS.com/exclusions for details.

Limit one item per coupon, per customer. Must be used in one transaction. Valid on in-store purchases only. Minimum purchase of $50.00, excludes tax and shipping charges. Cannot be combined with any other offers, team discounts, or used for gift cards, licenses or previously purchased merchandise. Not redeemable for cash, gift cards or store credit. No reproductions or rain checks accepted. Returns or exchanges where a ScoreCard Reward or other discount was applied may result in an adjusted refund amount. Excludes clearance items. Clearance items have .X3 or .X7 endings. Some exclusions apply. See store and DICKS.com/exclusions for details.













Limit one item per coupon, per customer. Must be used in one transaction. Valid on in-store purchases only. Cannot be combined with any other offers, team discounts, or used for gift cards, licenses or previously purchased merchandise. Not redeemable for cash, gift cards or store credit. No reproductions or rain checks accepted. Returns or exchanges where a ScoreCard Reward or other discount was applied may result in an adjusted refund amount. Excludes clearance items. Clearance items have .X3 or .X7 endings. Some exclusions apply. See store and DICKS.com/exclusions for details.

Limit one item per coupon, per customer. Must be used in one transaction. Valid on in-store purchases only. Minimum purchase of $100.00, excludes tax and shipping charges. Cannot be combined with any other offers, team discounts, or used for gift cards, licenses or previously purchased merchandise. Not redeemable for cash, gift cards or store credit. No reproductions or rain checks accepted. Returns or exchanges where a ScoreCard Reward or other discount was applied may result in an adjusted refund amount. Excludes clearance items. Clearance items have .X3 or .X7 endings. Some exclusions apply. See store and DICKS.com/exclusions for details.

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What’s Streaming Media Guide

Looking to fill your holiday break with more soccer? We hear you. Below you’ll find some suggestions on what to watch over your school break, or maybe just to sneak a quick viewing session in past curfew on a weeknight.

Amazon Prime Video: All or Nothing: Manchester City – Season 1 In this ground-breaking docuseries, follow Manchester City behind the scenes throughout their Premier League winning, record-breaking 2017-18 season. Get an exclusive look into one of the best global sports clubs, including never-before-seen dressing room footage with legendary coach Pep Guardiola, and delve into the players’ lives on and off the pitch.

Inside Borussia Dortmund – Season 1 In this four-part docuseries, go behind-the-scenes with one of the Bundesliga’s biggest clubs and relive the thrilling 2018-19 football season from the team’s point of view. Discover their training facilities, experience the locker room drama first-hand, and become acquainted with the players’ personal lives.

Diego Maradona Maradona arrived in Naples on July 5, 1984, for a world-record fee. The charismatic Argentine was worshiped on and off the pitch and led Napoli to its first league title. This wild and unforgettable story will recount the miracles he performed on the field as darker days loomed ahead. It includes more than 500 hours of never-before-seen footage from Maradona’s personal archives, and decades-old news footage and interviews with historians and journalists.

The world of women’s sports was kicked upside down on July 10, 1999. Before a sold-out crowd of more than 90,000 at the Rose Bowl and an estimated 40 million Americans watching on television, the USWNT reached a cultural and athletic pinnacle with its penalty-kick shoot-out victory over China to win the Women’s World Cup. Relive the thrill on the 20th anniversary of the remarkable run with some of your favorite stars, including Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm and Kristine Lilly.

Netflix Antoine Griezmann: The Making of a Legend With heart and determination, Antoine Griezmann overcame his small stature to become one of the world’s top soccer players and a World Cup champion for France.

River El Mas Grande Siempre – River Plate

Sunderland ‘til I Die This docuseries follows English soccer club Sunderland through the 2017-18 season as they try to bounce back after relegation from the Premier League.

Sons of Ben Passion is an understatement. Meet the folks who wanted a Major League Soccer club in Philadelphia so badly, they became fans before it even existed.

YouTube The Story of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup – USA Champions Documentary USWNT stars Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Rose Lavelle, Crystal Dunn, Kelly O’Hara, Alyssa Naeher, and Head Coach Jill Ellis take a look back at their remarkable Women’s World Cup 2019 journey to the top of the podium. The team shares their personal stories, both highs and lows, which ultimately culminated in a second-consecutive World Cup title for the United States and a record fourth overall in franchise history.

Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer

Nine for IX: 99ers

Experience the highlights of Argentine soccer team Club Atlético River Plate’s long history, from its early development to its major victories.

Hulu & HBO




Bobby Robson: More than a Manager Explore the life and times of legendary soccer manager Bobby Robson, whose keen mind for the game was matched only by his devotion to his teams.

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Gameplay changes to FIFA 20 focus primarily on a new feature titled VOLTA Football. The mode, which translates to ‘return’ in Portuguese, focuses on street football rather than the traditional matches associated with the FIFA series. It includes several options to play in 3v3, 4v4 and 5v5 matches, as well as with professional futsal rules.

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Philadelphia Union Action Bookbag Show off your unwavering Philadelphia Union enthusiasm when you get this Action backpack. It features crisp Philadelphia Union graphics on the front and has multiple pockets for easy storage.

Nike Strike Snood The Nike Strike Snood covers your face and neck with soft fleece that wicks sweat to help you stay warm and dry. It locks over your ears for a secure fit at full speed.

30 for 30 Soccer Stories ESPN Films presents 30 for 30 Soccer Stories, a collection of eight films about the world’s most popular sport. From Maradona’s genius in the 1986 World Cup to the mystery behind one of the most coveted trophies in sports, an award-winning group of filmmakers, including Brett Ratner and Alex Gibney, offer compelling narratives from around the international soccer landscape. Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer


US Soccer National Team 2020 Calendar

2020 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament The United States, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Haiti, Jamaica, and Saint Kitts and Nevis qualified for CONCACAF’s Olympic Qualifiers, set to take place between January 28 and February 9. Semifinals will begin on Friday February 7 with the winners advancing to the championship game on Sunday February 9. Semifinalists will qualify for 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Welcome, Coach! Vlatko Andonovski was officially unveiled as the U.S. Women’s National Team’s new head coach in late October. The Macedonianborn 43-year-old takes the job following a successful stint in charge of the National Women’s Soccer League team Reign FC, where he was named NWSL Coach of the Year in 2019. Andonovski has big shoes to fill… He replaces Jill Ellis, the most successful coach in USWNT history, who won 106 games and lost only seven. In her five-year tenure as head coach, she won two back-to-back World Cups.

CONCACAF Nations League The USMNT will play their final group stage matches in the CONCACAF Nations League set for November 2019. They’ll face Canada on November 15 and Cuba November 19 to begin competition, and the winners of each group advance to the semifinals in June 2020, with a champion crowned just a few days later. The USMNT will need to beat both Canada and Cuba and have a greater goal differential to advance to semifinals.

Olympic Qualifying The U23 USMNT will compete in the 2020 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship tournament set to take place from March 20 to April 1. The tournament will be held in Guadalajara, Mexico and includes the United States, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Dominican Republic and Haiti. The two finalists will earn a berth into to the 2020 Summer Olympics.

2020 Summer Olympics:

Friday July 24th - Sunday August 9th 12

Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer


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Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer




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Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer



YES. IT IS CALLED SUDDEN CARDIAC ARREST. The heart stops beating, suddenly and unexpectedly. You just collapse.



the United States, but it is not just an adult thing.


takes the lives of thousands of students every year.


Fainting or seizures during exercise


Unexplained shortness of breath


Chest pains




Extreme fatigue


Unexplained death of family member under 50 (e.g. SIDS, drowning, auto accident)

What happens to a car that runs out of gas? EXACTLY.

2 TYPES OF CONDITIONS ELECTRICAL: The heart doesn’t beat properly. The rhythm of “lub dub” is off. STRUCTURAL: The heart is not designed properly. A valve is in the wrong place or its too big.



HEART SCREENING Find an organization and get your heart checked.

CPR Learn how to do a chest compression.


AED Make sure there is this lifesaving device where you learn and play. gotaed.org

/simonsheart.org |

/simonsheart |



calendar January 2020 1

Office Closed, New Year’s Day


Futsal Tournament Series | Lou Ramos Center (Allentown)

11-12 U13, U15, U16, U17 Indoor Cup | In the Net (Palmyra) 15-19 USYS Workshop at United Coaches Soccer Convention | Baltimore, Md. 20

Futsal Tournament Series | United Sports (Downingtown)


ODP Goalkeeper Day | TBD

25-26 U11 and U12 Indoor Cup | In the Net (Palmyra)

February 2020 1-2

Futsal Tournament Series | Spooky Nook & Lou Ramos Center (Manheim/Allentown)


U9, U10, U14, U19 Indoor Cup | In the Net (Palmyra)


Keystone Diamond Showcase | DE Turf Complex (Milford, Del.)


Futsal Tournament Series | Lou Ramos Center (Allentown)

13-17 ODP Pacific Coast Invitational (17U) | Calif. 21-23 ODP Virginia Friendlies (15U/16U) | Williamsburg, Va. 22-23 Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Annual Awards Banquet & AGM | DoubleTree by Hilton (Reading)

March 2020 27-29 National TOPSoccer Symmposium | Kansas City, Kan.

Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer






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Competition & Development


ithin the past few years, the main buzz word around the soccer world has been ‘development’. Individuals push the idea of development as if it’s some new fad that has never been talked about before. Development has always been the driver behind why we have clubs, teams and coaches. Development is the reason that players train two, three and four times a week. Does development have to take the place of competition? Can’t they both coexist within the game? Games are about competition, and competition is defined as an activity done by a number of people or organizations, each of which is trying to do better than the others. The reason behind competition’s negative stigma is the way in which we use, and how we see in practice, the term. Saturdays and Sundays should be for the players, and Saturday’s and competition gives players Sunday’s should the platform to express themselves in their own be for the players, environment. Competition and competition gets its negative connotation gives players the from the way in which we platform to express as coaches and parents themselves in their act. Think of the number of players thrown out of own environment. games versus the number of parents and coaches. Who is really competing on Saturday’s and Sunday’s? It’s not the parents… or the coaches. Soccer- “…a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams…”. Soccer is a sport. Sport is competition. Competition can drive development. Why do we have to sacrifice one for the other? The sacrifice comes about because we generally don’t utilize competition in the correct way. Are we prioritizing winning over performance?

Julian Fernandez

Director of Competitions, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer

As coaches, it’s our role to guide players towards positive performances that will breed positive results. Consider the following scenario: “We lost but we played well. The other team had one fast kid up top who scored all their goals.” We hear this on a weekly basis. Does this description define a positive performance? Competition gives players the opportunity to learn from being unsuccessful while being rewarded for successful outcomes. Kids are smarter than you may think, and generally know when they’ve made mistakes. Coaches screaming, ‘you need to play faster!’, or ‘you have to catch that ball!’ won’t teach players something they don’t already realize! Give them credit: ‘thanks coach, the ball going by me and into the net during a game - where my team is now losing - wasn’t evidence enough of my mistake.’ Let the development of your players grow through competition on the weekends… let the players compete with the other team, and not see parents and coaches doing it for them. Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer


caption contests! Prior to the publication of each Touchline, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer will host caption contests on social media with funny pictures. Kids, post your best comments and we’ll select a winner for each picture to receive an Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer goodie bag.

Congratulations to this issue’s winners!

I told you our hands are the same size! Evan Corcoran Nitro SC Elite 2005

Rock, Paper, Scissors, GOAL! Stephanie Swartz Shenandoah PA Shock

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @EPAYouthSoccer, where we’ll announce the winners. Best of Luck!


Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer


Nike Gear Review


Presented By Angelo’s Soccer Corner


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Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer


Perspective and Why Athletes Need It By Matthew Hood, M.S.


rom elite level and professional athletes all the way down to youth athletes in recreational programs, factors such as anxiety, depression, anger, worry, and frustration have become more prominent in sport today. Certified Mental Performance Consultants and other mental health professionals have noticed a common theme that athletes have a desire to be “free to perform” or

“free to play to my true ability”. Athletes want to be free from the burden of doubts, fears, and worries surrounding their involvement in sport. The freedom to play and the freedom to be themselves are becoming big factors that often determine who goes on to have a long, enjoyable, and successful career. Conversely, the lack of freedom is also a factor determining

who quits the sport or doesn’t enjoy it any longer. Athletes face a lot of pressure and expectations from coaches, parents, teammates, and often times themselves. When the pressure and expectations are not met or become too much to handle, athletes may say “I quit” or “I give up” out loud during a performance or they may drop their head. Ironically, at this point the athlete experiences a sudden sense of relaxation in his or her muscles, a clarity of thought, and the freedom to play or perform is present. This experience allows the athlete to perform to his or her true potential often resulting in success. It may be a short-term way to obtain this experience and not the best way to reach true potential on or off the field. This level of performance the athlete now demands the next time he or she performs only deteriorates back to the old anxious and tentative ways of performing. There are a wide range of factors

There are a wide range of factors that play a role in the development of an athlete’s beliefs about themselves and their abilities such as the environment, coaches and parents, peers and teammates, and the media. 26

Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer


P erspective and W hy A thletes need it

that play a role in the development of an athlete’s beliefs about themselves and their abilities such as the environment, coaches and parents, peers and teammates, and the media. Very often athletes believe that sport is more than just a game, and no longer is it something that is done for fun; rather, the sport becomes his or her identity. Performing successfully in the sport becomes extremely important because the result of the competition is perceived as a direct reflection of the performer’s identity. A bad performance thus becomes extremely painful and damages their self-esteem. Unfortunately, because the pressure is so great entering into each competitive, the athlete tends to struggle, and the performance suffers. There are ways to lower the pressure athletes face and gain the ability to play with the freedom to be themselves on and off the field. There is no magic wand, and the process of change can take weeks to months to notice change. With practice and persistence, the athlete will begin to have the freedom to play and to be themselves. The key to this more relaxed state is to practice putting sport into perspective and being rational about it. Research from neuroscience shows that with practice, the human brain begins to shift the blood and oxygen supply away from the emotional part of

With practice, the athlete will begin to notice a difference in his or her performance and the freedom to play free and clear from worry and fears will begin to flourish.

the brain which worries, panics, gets angry and fearful, and instead places it in the part of the brain which deals with being rational, and thinking clearly and logically. Once a more rational and logical approach has been practiced the athlete will find that he or she is far less absorbed in thoughts that surround the consequences of a poor performance and what others think of them. Instead the athlete sees sport as something that is done for fun and enjoyment. To make this happen, the athlete must question the way he or she currently views the sport and practice seeing it as just a game rather than anything more. This does not mean to stop working hard on and off the field to develop the technical and tactical aspects of the sport, rather, it’s an attitude shift and what the athlete says to him or herself about the sport. Some simple examples are: “I play my sport because I love it and enjoy it regardless of results”, “I am really lucky to be good at this sport so I am just going to enjoy it”, “Winning is nice but it’s not the most important thing”, and “I can only try my very best, I can’t do more than my best”. These statements are rational and logical. With practice, the athlete will begin to notice a difference in his or her performance and the freedom to play free and clear from worry and fears will begin to flourish.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Matthew Hood, M.S. is a doctoral candidate in Sport and Performance Psychology with a concentration in Individual Studies at the University of Western States. He is studying to become a Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC) with the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP). He is also the Girls Varsity Goalkeeper Coach at The Episcopal Academy and the U-12 Delco/Chester District ODP Goalkeeper Coach for Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer.

Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer


T ournament S chedule

Winter 2019-20 Tournaments Looking for a local tournament to fill out your winter schedule? Check out information on four that are coming in the next few months. To see a full list of Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer sanctioned tournaments, and for all information on how to get a tournament sanctioned, visit EPYSA.org/tournament-sanctioning/.


Penn Fusion Girls Winter Showcase The Penn Fusion Girls Presidents Day Showcase is a premier college recruitment event that will take place at one of the best synthetic turf field complexes in the Northeast region, United Sports. The showcase series will attract an array of collegiate coaches from the top NCAA Division I, II, and III programs. + + Dates: 2/15/2020-2/16/2020 + + Age Groups: Girls U14-U19

+ + Entry Deadline: January 3, 2020 + + Contact: Alex Kulp, akulp@unitedsports.net

Penn Fusion Boys Winter Showcase The Penn Fusion Boys Winter Showcase is a premier college recruitment event that will take place at one of the best synthetic turf field complexes in the Northeast region, United Sports. The showcase series will attract an array of collegiate coaches from the top NCAA Division I, II, & III programs. + + Dates: 2/22/2020-2/23/2020 + + Age Groups: Boys U14-U19


+ + Entry Deadline: January 10, 2020 + + Contact: Alex Kulp, akulp@unitedsports.net

10th Annual FC EUROPA TURF CUP The 10th Annual FC Europa Turf Cup is hosted by APL Tournaments in the Southeastern Pennsylvania area. This tournament is open to U9-19 Boys Premier, A, and B level teams. All games are played on Turf Fields! + + Dates: Boys: 2/29/2020-3/1/2020 Girls: 3/7/2020-3/8/2020 + + Age Groups: Boys and Girls U9-U19


Philadelphia Spring Kick-Off

+ + Entry Deadline: Boys Registration Deadline: January 21, 2020 Girls Registration Deadline: January 28, 2020 + + Contact: Joe Levan: jlevan@aplsoccer.com (boys) Alex Kulp: akulp@apltournaments.com (girls)

This two-day tournament is for boys and girls U13 (2007) to U17 (2003), with all games played on turf! Guaranteed to get you ready for the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer State Cup and spring league season. Games will be played at Maplezone Sports Village in Aston, Pa. + + Dates: 3/21/2020-3/22/2020 + + Age Groups: Boys & Girls U13-U17

+ + Application Deadline: March 8 2019 + + Contact: Steve Wilman: swilman@globalteamevents.com

Bimbo B-Active March Into Cups 2020 Are you ready for State Cups? Prepare your team outside on six local TURF FIELDS as well as real grass in beautiful Bucks County. Competitive and high level competition to prepare for State Cups and your Spring season! With over 200 teams, March into Cups will be one of the largest tournaments in Eastern PA with teams from all over the Northeast. + + Dates: 3/21/2020-3/22/2020 + + Age Groups: Boys & Girls U9-U19

Keystone FC’s 2020 Icebreaker + + Dates: March 28 & 29, 2020 + + Age Groups: U9-U14 Boys and Girls

+ + Entry Deadline: March 6, 2020 + + Contact: tournament@keystonefc.com

Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer


F rom O ur M edical advisory committee

ACL Injury Prevention By Kevin B. Freedman, M.D., Rothman Institute of Sports Medicine Chair, Medical Advisory Committee


nfortunately, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are common in soccer and they continue to be seen in greater frequency and younger age groups. The ACL is one of the major stabilizing ligaments in the center of the knee and helps prevent the thigh bone (femur) from shifting forward on the shin bone (tibia). It also helps control rotation of the knee. About 70% or more of ACL injuries are noncontact and occur from landing awkwardly or inability to control the position of the knee. Additionally, ACL injuries are more common in females and some of this is due to differences in the way females run, cut, jump, and decelerate. An injury to the ACL has devastating effects on our athletes including lost seasons, the need for surgery, and the potential for further knee problems in the future. The good news is that these injuries CAN BE PREVENTED! There has been extensive research performed to show that programs designed to improve athletes ability to control the way they jump and land can reduce their risk of injury. These programs can reduce the risk of injury by over 80%, are effective for both girls and boys, and can also reduce the risk of other

injuries as well. There are several programs available but all have similar elements. Most are about 12 weeks in length and begin in the preseason and continue throughout the year. They take about 10-15 minutes to preform and should be done three times per week. Typically, this replaces the traditional soccer warm-up at the beginning of practice. Performing these exercises with proper form is crucial to help avoid the trunk and knee positions that make the knee susceptible to injury. Goals of the program are to avoid vulnerable positions, increase flexibility, increase strength, and increase proprioception (your body’s ability to know where it is in space). Additional information can also be found at

RothmanOrtho.com/ACL Not all ACL injuries can be prevented, but some can. Talk to your coach. Dedicate time for you and your team to avoid these injuries and help have a successful season!

The Specific elements of each program include...


Warm up (Jog line to line, shuttle run, backward running)


Strengthening (Walking lunges, Nordic hamstring, single toe raises)


Plyometrics (Lateral hops over cones, forward/backward hops, single leg hops)


Sports-Specific Agility (Forward/ backward running/ diagonal runs/ bounding run)


Stretching (Calf stretch/quadriceps stretch/hamstring stretch)


Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer




A quick rundown of Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer players & alums who are doing big things in the game.

Lexow 4 Cam

Zandi 20 Sydney

McClernon 16 Phoebe

McCool 22 Megan

womens Soccer

Four former Penn Fusion and Eastern Pennsylvania ODP players, Megan McCool, Phoebe McClernon, Sydney Zandi and Cam Lexow have helped the University of Virginia reach the top of NCAA Division I with a ton of local talent. The Pennsylvania natives were a huge part of the 2018 Cavalier NCAA Tournament run and look to repeat that effort once again in 2019.

West chester

Mens Soccer

The 2019 men’s soccer team at West Chester University is on the verge of another historic season like last year’s team. They advanced to the National Championship game but fell short in a nail bitter. The team this year currently holds a 14-3-1 overall record with a 9-2-1 conference record. The Golden Rams are currently ranked 6th in Super-Region 1, as of November 3rd.

#4 Colin Muller

#8 Josh Daniels

Junior | Defensemen 3 years of ODP

Freshmen | Midfield 1 year of ODP

#14 Austin Eveland #15 Noah Fischer Sophomore | Midfield 1 year of ODP

Freshmen | Midfield 3 years of ODP

#16 Kendall Walkes

#17 Trevor Looby

#26 Stephen Thompson

Sophomore | Midfield 2 years of ODP

Freshmen | Forward 2 years of ODP

Junior | Midfield 1 year of ODP Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer



Award Winners Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer is proud to announce its 2019 Award Winners. These men and women were nominated by their peers and selected by the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Awards Committee. They will be honored at the 2020 Annual Awards Banquet on Friday, February 22 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Reading.

Administrator of the Year

Volunteer of the Year

CRUSA, Rock Spring League

Hulmeville SC

Boys Travel Coach of the Year

TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year

Jill DeLucia Mike Gorni

Lehigh Valley United

Dino Cieri

Chittur Ananthan Lehigh Valley TOPSoccer

Girls Travel Coach of the Year

Pete Gangl Lower Merion SC

Boys Recreational Coach of the Year

John Czapor Buckingham United

Girls Recreational Coach of the Year

Jason Reardon Camp Hill Soccer Club

Congratulations to the Winners! Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer will announce more award winners—including Excellence in Coaching, Service to Youth, Service to Community, D’Anjolell Award, among others—in the coming weeks. More information on how to purchase to tickets to the Annual Awards Banquet is available at EPYSA.org.

2020 Annual Awards Banquet

February 22 | DoubleTree by Hilton Reading 32

Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer


Where We’ve Been

More than 1,600 players across the eight locations tried out for the 2019-20 ODP season during the first two weekends of September. Since 1977, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer’s Olympic Development Program provides supplemental training and competitive opportunities for players with the goal of advancement to US Youth Soccer East Region teams and ultimately, national team selections.

A record-setting 49,504 fans descended upon South Philadelphia during the USWNT World Cup Victory Tour match against Portugal at Lincoln Financial Field on August 29th. Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer was able to partake in the celebration by setting up our inflatable dart board for fans to test their shot accuracy and win prizes.

As a sponsor of the Philadelphia International Unity Cup, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer was in attendance for the final match to partake in the festivities and celebrate. During halftime, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer CEO Chris Branscome announced the winners of the Fair Play Award at intermission. When the final whistle blew, Liberia defeated the United States (3-0) to win their thirdstraight Unity Cup title.

Since 2013, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer’s Development Grant Program has helped member organizations across the state with projects ranging from field development and lighting to nutrition programs. In 2019, approximately $73,000 was awarded in grant money toward qualifying applications. Nazareth Soccer Club was one of 17 clubs to receive money and their grant will help fund 25% of field renovations with construction already underway.

Through the Innovate to Grow grant with US Soccer, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer was able to support soccer at SteeltonHighspire High School for over 30 children in grades K-2. The grant allows increased access to participation in underserved and rural communities across the state by delivering coach, referee, and administrator education.

Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer


M i k e B arr ’ s C olumn

Examining the 4v4 Professional Development Initiatives and the Effect on Younger Players


hen the Professional Development Initiatives came out in the 2016/2017 season there was some confusion on the part of parents, administrators and coaches. Would these new ideas create a stronger environment where there would be technical and tactical growth by our players, or would it be a program that falls apart after a few years and US Soccer decides on a new approach? When the PDI’s arrived, I was confused on who were the actual authors of this curriculum and I was unsure of the studies and the models they examined that went into making the decisions. I also was doubtful if the standards would be adhered to by all of the membership of US Soccer. I looked at the PDI standards in a way a school district may decide to alter their curriculum. When a school district changes their curriculum, there are years of study assessing various curriculums before their decision. Teachers are assigned a lengthy examination of school districts with a similar model. An eventual implementation of the proposed curriculum in small case studies within the school district is made. Once the members of the curriculum study are close to making a decision, they bring in the teachers who will be affected and provide them studies why they chose the curriculum and the benefits of such a decision. Other soccer federations have followed the mode I just described. In evaluating the decision three years later there are still issues which need to be examined:

How many coaches are taking advantage of the recommendations for small side games and routinely making their own decisions that affect young players?

Birth year registration caused confusion and disrupted clubs, teams, players and parents. Was the birth year registration necessary and what were the benefits? Should it be re-examined to align with school calendar? Should all clubs adhere to the standards provided and is there a process available to determine what clubs or even state associations are following the standards? Within US Soccer Education are the courses meeting the needs of volunteers or parents who are coaching at the recreation or intramural level or are the coaches taking these licenses, primarily travel and paid coaches.


Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer


When the standards for small sided played were put into place I though it would have a positive impact on our young players especially if there was uniformity throughout the country. After all, small sided games especially 4v4 have proven to improve skills, improve tactical knowledge, develop confidence with the ball and better field awareness. It was proposed be an in-house program for all kids up to age eight. Unfortunately, numerous clubs and coaches had other ideas and went in a different direction to circumvent the PDI. Within many clubs, the decision was made to make travel teams for players sevenand eight-years old and allow them to play up within the 7V7 standards. In my opinion this decision has affected not only individual players but clubs, teams and the growth of the sport as well.

4V4 was meant for players from U6 to U8 to be played in-house. In that way numerous children are involved and are playing with friends and classmates. You create a comfortable environment for players and parents alike and you explain to parents the value of this process as soon as they register with the club. You can alter your teams, play within different 4v4 models and track player development. You can play with assigned teams or split players up on game days. You design fun activities in training as well as following the 4V4 National License structure. Coaches can be switched from team to team and every coach follows a curriculum for all the players to make sure they are being served properly.

I dislike the term “think outside the box” but following the standards suggested at 4V4 could be a benefit to all. Clubs and coaches should not feel trapped by following the playing up decision of other clubs. Explain to parents the benefits of 4v4 from U6 to U8 in-house and the positive development it brings to these young children. Some countries in Europe see the benefits of playing even 2V2 or 3V3 at these ages. Let’s keep these players in a safe and fun atmosphere and allow them to grow and by following the standards provided at 4v4 and have US Soccer continuously examining the PDI to make sure it is meeting the needs of our players.

Some clubs have drifted away from the standards the PDI suggested and have created travel teams to play up. Many clubs have two teams playing up, denying more players the benefits of playing 4v4. This decision in the long run will affect the number of players participating because the parents whose child is not chosen will pull him or her from the program. Does playing up at an early age have an impact on players who choose to drop out later? Could that be the one of the reasons for the high dropout rate as players get older. The biggest issue to me is how can any coach or individual predict the progress and development of children who are 6, 7 or 8?

Mike Barr

Technical Director, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer

Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer


What position do you play or what do you do on your team?

What is your favorite movie?


What is your nickname?

As a player it was ‘Brick’ because I scored a lot of goals off headers. While it stuck, it was an odd nickname

Who is your role model? Why? My mother. She’s hardworking, selfless and empathetic.

Right now it’s Maleficent 2, it’s great spin on the power of the spoken word (good and bad) and a love story between a mother and a daughter.

What is your favorite book?

The Four Agreements

What is your favorite food?

What is your favorite sport outside of soccer? Ice Hockey

What is your pet peeve (what makes you mad or drives you crazy)? Christmas decorations after New Year’s Day

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? Back to 1992 so I could tell myself not to cut my own hair.

Oscar-style steak

What is your favorite song?

Jen Gibbons

“Living on a Prayer” Bon Jovi. It just never gets old

What is your favorite soccer team?

All of the teams I am presently coaching. I can’t just choose one!

Penn Fusion Soccer Academy Eastern Pennsylvania ODP

Coach &


Santino Ferro

What position do you play or what do you do on your team? Right Midfield

What is your nickname? Santi

Who is your role model? Why? My dad, because he helps me and I look up to him.

What is your favorite soccer team? Argentina National Team

What is your favorite movie? Simpson’s Movie


Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer

Q &A Lower Merion Soccer Club

What is your favorite book?

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever

What is your favorite song? “Believer” Imagine Dragons

What is your favorite food? Spaghetti

What is your favorite sport outside of soccer? Wrestling


What is your pet peeve (what makes you mad or drives you crazy)? When my little brother doesn’t clean his mess

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? Argentina – that’s where my family lives

What do you want to be when you grow up? Write comics

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- Not valid on sale items or with other coupons. Not valid on team purchases. Coupon must be present in store to redeem offer. To use OFFER EXPIRES 1/26/20 coupon online use code EPY20 for discount.

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Touchline - Winter 2019  

Touchline - Winter 2019  

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