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T I O N P U B L I C A f a l l


eastern pennsylvania youth soccer

Fun & Development

Recognizing “Youth” in Youth Soccer

Soccer Life pg. 14-15

Social Media Corner pg.17

Sam Lee pg. 23

Master Coach pg. 7

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You Can Mold our Future By Bob McDade, President, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer When I ran for president in March 2009, I set forth distinct thoughts regarding changes I felt were necessary. Many of those changes have been instituted; however, many were long-term changes that would set forth our strategic direction. To accomplish these goals during the past year, our board and many of you have been working on strategic planning. We have spent many hours considering what is important to the association, its affiliates, players, coaches, and families. I am pleased to say that we have developed more than a dozen areas of strategic change that I believe will set the association on a course for long-term success. We are focused on everything from governance structure to facility development.

But before we can cast the future of this association, we need to hear from you. We need the voices of all areas of our state to help us develop these strategic opportunities. For example, one strategic goal is to examine programs and decide what is working, what needs improvement and how we ensure those programs are meeting the needs of our state. I bet everyone reading this has an idea for improving our programs. Now is the time to be heard. I invite anyone interested in participating in the strategic planning process to contact me or Chris Branscome through our email addresses on the website. I want to formalize the committees that will work on our strategic plans as soon as possible, so please contact us by Nov. 15, 2011. For those who have been part of the process already, a big thanks. I am very excited about our direction and, as always, am very proud to be leading this association.

It’s The Players’ Game By Chris Branscome, Chief Executive Officer, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer We talk a lot about player development in youth soccer. We should not forget it’s also child development. The experiences our children have on the soccer field can be just as important as their experiences in the classroom. In school, children are provided the opportunity to learn in a secluded environment. It’s the students and the teacher, focusing on the lesson, with minimal distractions. Parents don’t stand at the door and cheer their kids on during a lesson or quiz. Yet on the soccer field, it’s quite the opposite. We enjoy watching our kids play, but think for a moment—are we really letting them play? Kids—no matter the age—should enjoy “play time” at practice and games. One step in this process is simply to let them play. At practice, let them go with their team and their coach to learn. Let them try new things, let them make mistakes. Give them the freedom they have in school. At the end of practice, ask them first if they had fun before

diving into the details. Consider this on game day as well. Give consideration to the players as they try to do what they learned in practice. Some parents may become frustrated as they watch and may question, “Why did she do that?” The answer sometimes is, maybe they can’t perform the particular skill so well yet; maybe as a child they don’t comprehend the game as an adult would; maybe the view from the field is different from the view on the sideline. Have you ever experienced that trying to help with homework? As an adult, you know how to do multiplication or division, but in trying to help your son or daughter, have you ever experienced total frustration because they “don’t get it?” It happens. But eventually they do get it, in their own time and to the best of their abilities. The soccer field is no different. Kids all learn and mature at a different pace, so let them. Much of what I’m writing about happens in U12 and below, but it still goes on in the older age groups and at the professional level too. For the pros, though, it’s their job. For our kids, it’s a game. Let’s keep it in perspective. Let’s return the game to the players.

Vol. XXXIV • October 2011 Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer

4070 Butler Pike, Suite 100 Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462 Phone: 610-238-9966 Fax: 610-283-9933 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE President Robert McDade Vice President, Recreational Brian Talerico Vice President, Travel Jim Kuntz Treasurer Herb Maguire Secretary Jeff Sommer Registrar Donna Outt State Youth Referee Administrator John Campbell COMMITTEE CHAIRS Arbitration & Risk Management Rick Tompkins TOPSoccer Program Diane Spencer Soccer Across America John Kukitz Cup Commissioner Dave Ash Rules & Revisions Tom Dougherty Scholarships Dave Edgecombe STATE OFFICE STAFF Chief Executive Officer Chris Branscome Director of Coaching Mike Barr Director of Soccer Operations Frank Olszewski Communications Manager Rob Brown Membership Services Specialist Beck Kleinert ODP/Coaching Administrator Kelly Connor Coaching Assistant Gary Stephenson Director of Camps Sheldon Chamberlain Receptionist Morgan Sims Accountant Serena Karlson Public Relations Consultant Jim DeLorenzo TOUCHLINE Editor-in-Chief Rob Brown Contributing Editor Jim DeLorenzo

A.E. Engine 11880 28th Street North, Suite 101 St. Petersburg, Florida 33716 (727) 209.0792 / Fax: (727) 209.1776 Publisher Craig Baroncelli VP of Sales David Watson VP, Executive Accounts Dayne Maasdorp Art Director Jason Tedeschi Graphic Designer Stacey Foster Account Executives Chris Vita, Milt Russell, Kristy Limotta, Dustin “Doc” Lawson The entire contents of this publication are copyrighted; all rights reserved. Articles may not be reproduced or reprinted without written permission from EPYSA and AE Engine Media/Marketing. Advertising space in Touchline is purchased and paid for by the advertisers. None of the products or services are necessarily endorsed by EPYSA or its affiliates. The views and opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of EPYSA or its advertisers. Printed in the United States of America.

Contents Departments President’s Message….................................................1 Chief Executive Officer’s Report…................................1 Injury Prevention...........................................................3 Director of Coaching Message..................................…10-11 Social Media Corner.......................................................17 Sam Lee Profile.............................................................23 Coaching: Dribbling…....................................................28 Features Great Goalkeeping...................…..................................5 Gary Ross Earns Master Diploma................................7 Soccer Brings Family Closer.........................................14-15 Touchline Tales…..........................................................19 National League Annocuement...................................21 Junior Supports Club....................................................27






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How can parents and coaches help with player injury prevention?


here are some interesting facts about soccer injuries that can help parents and coaches understand the importance of prevention. They come from numerous studies of Sports Trauma Research Centers, FIFA and Schools of Sport Sciences in various countries. The most common types of injuries in youth soccer are: muscle strains (35-37 percent); ligament sprains (20-21 percent); and bruises (16-29 percent). The most commonly affected areas are: thigh (23 percent); ankle (29 percent); knee (15 percent); lower leg (nine percent); and foot (six percent). For a better understanding of how to prevent soccer injuries you may want to know first what can cause them. There are some common factors: lack of strength, endurance and flexibility; too much, too soon overuse and intensity loads; poor warm-up and stretching; uncomfortable shoes, and poor field and gear conditions; level of play and soccer skills; weather conditions; poor nutrition or fatigue. Who gets injured the most and how do they get injured? An analysis of the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System data shows that 85 percent of injuries occur in athletes under age 23, 45 percent are to those under age 15. Females are twice as likely to be injured more than males, while younger players have more head, face and upper extremity injuries. The incidence of severe injuries has been

found to be higher among low-skill groups than high skill groups. In aged-matched players, those with poor muscular strength are shown to have higher rates of injury. Players that have had a previous injury as well as inadequate rehabilitation are at greater risk for a future injury. Injuries occur more often during competitive play, and about onethird of injuries are a result of foul play. Between 44 to 74 percent of traumatic injuries result from physical contact between players. Studies comparing indoor and outdoor soccer indicate that indoor soccer players have six times the frequency of injury as outdoor soccer players with comparable playing time hours, while significantly more injuries and skin abrasions occur on artificial turf than on a grass playing field. Finally, deaths from soccer-related injuries are associated almost entirely with traumatic impact from goalposts. The US Youth Soccer Players Guide suggests the following for the preparation and training to prevent injuries: Athletes should participate in a year round conditioning program to improve and maintain strength, flexibility and endurance; Preseason training should gradually increase in intensity and duration to prepare athletes for competition; Warm-up and stretch before and after training and matches; Injury prevention programs should be administered by certified coaches and trainers at each session. What is “Getting match fit?” As the title implies, the question for most players is, “Are you match fit?” Meaning, are you fit enough to play at a high pace for a full match? The problem is not that coaches and players do not try to get match fit, it’s that the approach is a bit haphazard and inconsistent. Physical fitness is one component of soccer that is within your own control. This can be worked on in your own time as well as when you are at training with your team. Below is a list of physical fitness components that one should work on year round, to improve as a soccer player. These components are order of priority:

1. Balance 2. Agility 3. Coordination 4. Core strength and stability 5. Acceleration 6. Vertical jump 7. Endurance 8. Flexibility Parents and coaches can play a major role in preventing sport injury by utilizing all of the resources at their disposal. Having young athletes trained by a Certified Youth Fitness Professional can provide a solid foundation of correct technique, injury prevention and increased performance understanding. Currently Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer member clubs have access to just such a soccer specific Fitness Professional. As a member of our ODP staff, Master Trainer and “A” Licensed Coach, Chris Wilson has provided training and evaluations to many of our youth ODP teams, club camps, clinics and technical sessions since 2008. Currently working out of the Universal Athletic Club in Lancaster, Wilson works with club and High School teams and individual athletes in all sport, but his passion lies in helping youth soccer players reach their goals. Whether it’s total team training, or just one athlete, Wilson can provide a sport specific functional training plan incorporating performance training, nutrition, and range of motion aspects to meet the demands and rigors of the long season. Wilson believes that combining proper injury prevention, strength, speed, agility, and flexibility training along with proper nutrition and recovery strategies is essential to spending more time on the field and less time on the bench. Wilson’s individualized player and team programs allow athletes to maximize their physical abilities while training specifically for the demands of their position and roles for their team. All of his training programs are customized to meet individual or team training goals, and are based off of pre-training assessments. Training programs, clinics and camps are available for all Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer club coaches, teams and players of any age level and ability. For further information, visit the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer website at




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Consistent, Focused and Meaningful Practice is What Makes a Great Goalkeeper By Simon Robinson, ODP Goalkeeper Coach

Simon Robinson


field player shares similar characteristics and core skills to others on the team. However, the goalkeeper is unlike any other on the field and requires a completely different skill set. In order to allow the goalkeeper to develop and be effective in each game, keepers need training specifically tailored to their position.

Professional clubs have specific goalkeeper coaches, who can train the keeper’s apart from the main squad and deliver specialized sessions. They can then join in the main session if needed for a small-sided game or practice. While at many grassroots organizations there are limited resources in comparison to the professional set up. There is a theory, which applies to sports and other walks of life, regarding the number of hours training required to become elite in your field. The 10,000-hours rule is often thrown around when talking about elite athletes and their need for training up to this magnitude to achieve excellence. According to Dr K. Anders Ericsson, et al (Clemens Psychological Review, Vol 100, 1993) part of the original research team in this theory, it is not only the number of hours practiced that affects performance. In their published paper “The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance,” they

summarize that the practice must be deliberate, meaningful and focused. In soccer, hours of practice that are not specific and are complacent in nature will not have the same positive affect on performance. Now think about the goalkeeper; how many times do they repeat their specific skills in a team practice? They don’t get nearly enough focused and specific repetition for their skill set during a team practice. With this in mind, can the coach now understand why their goalkeeper does not catch every ball, or can misjudge a shot or dive? It all reverts back to the repetition of skills in the designated time for deliberate practice. Ideally, the goalkeeper would have separate training with high reps, focused solely on their technique and delivered by a knowledgeable practitioner.





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gary ross earns master diploma By Jim DeLorenzo

Gary Ross

[Editor’s Note: Gary Ross is the Under 8 Academy Director at Penn Legacy Soccer Club. He is also an Associate Staff Member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. He recently earned his Master Coach Diploma from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. Here are his thoughts on the sport he loves and the Master Coach program in response to our questions.] Why did you take the Master Coach Program? “The Master Coach Program is the NSCAA’s highest certification in coaching education. This course is the pinnacle of the NSCAA Academy system and is oriented toward coaches who already have significant knowledge and are looking to continue their professional growth and become an ambassador of the game, not just on the field but also off the field. Without a shadow of a doubt the Master Coach Program absolutely represents who I am and what I aspire to become as a Coach and Educator of the sport. “In my 20 year coaching career, I have developed a heartfelt love for this profession. For my professional dedication and for my innovative teaching, I have been awarded with a reputation that provides me with a strong sense of pride and achievement. Teaching soccer represents for me a field in which I can achieve satisfying personal development. I believe that my overall passion, desire and drive play a pivotal role in our club’s academy which I facilitate.

“There is nowhere I would rather be than on a soccer pitch teaching the world’s greatest game to fellow coaches and children. I absolutely love giving back to the parents, layers and coaches. The Master Coach Diploma is the perfect opportunity for me to take my goals and dreams as far as possible to a whole new level in this ever-changing game. For me, to pursue an advanced level of coaching education in the United States is not so much a challenge as an opportunity, fulfilling my aspiration to become an accomplished professional in the field of soccer. This makes my career choice more meaningful and rewarding.” Do you consider yourself a better coach now because of the program? “I have always possessed a desire for coaching the sport of soccer. I am also very passionate about advancing the game in the United States and having influence on the American sports culture. The experience of attending Youth Academies in Europe and here in the US are invaluable tools to take and use as a model for your own respective organization. I learned how organizations operate, not just in the technical and tactical performance on the pitch, but also in the grass-root levels of marketing, advertising and the overall operation. I feel that I am a better coach now because I have gained the knowledge to take my teaching to higher levels in player development as well as parent and coach education. I have also acquired the skills to organize, promote, manage, facilitate, market and implement the foundation required to obtain a successful soccer organization.” How will this impact the children that you coach? “Coaches’ continuing education will impact the social well being of players to instill a love of the game. In my present work environment, I personally have the pleasure to oversee 800 players ranging in age from three to eight years old. The children must have FUN while developing their skills. If they enjoy the game and they love their coaches and the environment we teach, they will continue to play and enjoy the game. This will have a huge impact on the kids’ self esteem and ego as well as the future of soccer in this country.”

How much work went into this? “I spent approximately 500 hours on the computer, implementing ways to develop power point presentations, writing thesis papers, producing videos and writing reports on my assignments. I spent endless hours preparing interviews, hosting events, conducting and coaching NSCAA courses, attending NSCAA conventions and symposiums in Fort Lauderdale, Philadelphia and Baltimore. In addition, we travelled to the UK for course presentations at Chelsea, Liverpool, Everton, Wembley Stadium, London, Chester and Southport, all of which required accompanying written reports.” Was it the toughest course you have ever taken? “Yes, the course was time consuming. Yes, the course required a lot of energy and enthusiasm. Yes, the course was tough. However, it was ALL soccer. My goal was to prepare each and every assignment with excellence. So with the course being full of soccer experiences, it may have been a tough course, but it was the BEST course I have ever taken.” What were some of the course requirements? “Upon acceptance into the course, the NSCAA requirements were to attend and report on special topics courses in fitness, nutrition, leadership, management, self-development, sports psychology and ‘reading the game.’ Another requirement was to visit both a domestic and an international professional soccer team. I chose DC United and Chelsea FC respectively. After each visit, I completed a report on the organizational structures, missions, goals, team building strategies, player and personnel issues, recruiting, training and utilization of staff. I also covered the administrative and promotional strategies and the overall playing philosophy of the coaching staff of each club. My personal favorite assignment was “Promoting a Game in the Community,” where I organized the US vs. England World Cup Match at Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster. The game was televised live on the big screens in conjunction with a soccer festival, live entertainment and on-field activities where the kids could play and enjoy the event.”








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Children & Sports: Developing an Understanding Mike Barr, Director of Coaching


ports programs for youth, in this case soccer, can have positive and negative effects. How programs are operated can have a significant impact on children’s psychological well-being, physical condition, and general interest in remaining engaged in the physical activity. Critical to deriving positive outcomes for children playing, is the expertise and sensitivity of coaches, and pressure placed by parents on their child. In the 1960’s and 70’s many children still ran their own sport activities at fields and playgrounds without adults. This led to playing different sports, trying different positions and experimenting with different techniques. This type of participation leads to developing leadership skills and social skills within children (only seen within the urban areas and within the rural Latino population today). In the 70’s, parents feeling a sense of apprehension about their child’s safety and the advent of Title IX, contributed to a huge, paradigm shift which led to having children join athletic programs supervised by adults (Halpern, 2003). Play now left the less formalized play-like endeavors, to ones which rivaled highly competitive programs found in high schools, colleges and professional leagues. In articles by Larry Tye, (Tye, 1997) children begin in formal programs earlier, practice more intensely, participate in fewer sports, and winning


becomes more important than the quality of experience. This is even more evident today. Children as young as seven train three nights a week and participate in up to two or three games on the weekend. Many of these children involved with soccer never get the opportunity to be exposed to other sports or activities. Unfortunately, other sports have followed youth soccer’s example and expect children to focus only on their particular sport. Deveraux (1978) argues that children’s games provide a means for children to experiment with a variety of roles, learn effective behaviors and gain experience expressing a variety of emotions in a socially appropriate manner. This happens best when children are self-motivated and engage in less formal sports programs. With the adult supervised activities, principles to be learned are explained or demonstrated by the coach, rather than being discovered by the children themselves. The pacing of activities, training schedules and curriculums are controlled by the coach. Adult supervised activities lead to less imagination and less risk taking by the young athletes. Adult programs are with merit as they do teach children technical skills and how to move through the athletic pyramid better than the more self-directed programs. Martens (1978) takes a more moderate position in suggesting that both unorganized and organized sports have a place in the world of children but only if the quality of leadership exhibited by adults is strong and they are aware of developmental factors related to all children. Strong, competent, educated coaches can help children master activities, have fun and feel a valued member of the peer group. At this point in youth soccer and other sports, coaches may have to demonstrate how to organize pick-up games and fun type activities that can be played without adults. It may also mean that a soccer club sets aside their fields for one day a week in order for player led small sided matches with no distinction to age or ability. For both boys and girls the most important reasons for participating in sports are developing skills, having fun, becoming physically fit and being challenged. Not surprisingly, studies reveal that coaches who



are more reinforcing and focus on developing technical skills in their players tend to be viewed more positively by the athletes who are also more motivated to remain associated with the sport (Smoll, Smith, Barnett and Everett, 1993). Even children with low self-esteem are most affected by interacting with coaches who are supportive and focus on technical instruction. Until about age 10, early immersions in sport can result in children becoming frustrated and discouraged. Most of these children usually cannot distinguish among ability, effort and task difficulty. Programs for children between seven and 10 should be based on children’s interests in play and developing new skills. Adult organized sports for children have become a major theme in childhood culture but we have to do a better in training adult coaches and parents of the children. Coaches must reinforce behaviors that are not directed to contest outcomes. Rewarding effort, technique, being on time for practices and games, supporting teammates and respecting officials and opponents are a few things coaches should focus rather than winning. Winning cannot be the only or most important goal and yet some clubs in Pennsylvania are so consumed with winning and recognition that they enter up to eight GotSoccer Tournaments a year, at an extraordinary cost to families, in order to get GotSoccer points, and to move up in the GotSoccer state, regional and national rankings. This is occurring more often as parents buy in to the false correlation between winning and development. The advent of winning at all costs has led to highly paid trainers, individualized paid instruction, more games and sadly, made youth soccer more and more exclusive. Coaches who take training programs that focus on learning, training methods, and monitoring of behaviors and objectives benefit themselves and their players. Competitive programs and games must also take into account the physical and psychological maturity of the participants. Adults should not put young children (between six and 10) into a competitive cauldron and relegating children to lower or higher positions based on their early attempts at a sport. At these ages playing time should be maximized for all participants,

instruction on proper techniques should be provided to all and proper moral and ethical values behaviors reinforced. When does the transition occur from instructional-education framework where winning is de-emphasized, to one where personal and team achievement is important and winning takes on a larger value? It probably takes place in the 12-14 age range or between 7th and 8th grade. The elite player will have little problem with the disparity between philosophies because of greater attention from coach and spectators. However, now players become marginalized and a pecking order begins to develop based on a child’s contribution in terms of winning or losing. Parents of the kids who are not at the upper end begin to make the situation more difficult by verbalizing their dissatisfaction for the coach, the program and the more favored players. This could be avoided if coaches and program administrators are forthright regarding the goals of the programs from U6 to U17. What about the prodigies? Gladwell’s 10,000-hour rule has made things difficult for coaches and parents who misinterpret Gladwell’s principle but more challenging for the children, who become pawns to trainers who believe over-training creates stars. What are the benefits of children younger than seven, engaging in professional type programs? Is this a prescription for success or disaster? Once formalized training is introduced (U12) it becomes self-perpetuating. The child becomes

the athlete and the parent the facilitator. It may limit a child’s development socially, intellectually and psychologically. The key ingredient is the child’s motivation (critical in Gladwell’s 10,000 hours) and that he or she is the driving force. Children and sports is becoming a road increasingly difficult to navigate. The role of coaches and trainers who are now being compensated should be held to the same accountability as teachers. Their influence on a child is immeasurable as it relates to self-esteem, development, overall health, social attributes and a growth in ability within the sport. Parents do not have to take the road most travelled currently in youth soccer. Call for change within your club if winning seems to be the criteria at young ages. Attach accountability to decision making for children at all levels of play. Most importantly, parents examine if you are competing vicariously with other parents through your children. Youth soccer has developed into a huge nudge dynamic. Parents are making decisions based on what other parents are doing with their children, in an effort to make sure their child has every opportunity to succeed and is not left behind. “Reinvent youth soccer” (from the San Diego Union Tribune, Mark Zeigler, June 28, 2011): “Assemble an international, and fully independent,

committee to examine a dysfunctional youth development system and then provide it with sweeping powers to implement change -- not just issue mindless directives that merely perpetuate the problem.” The obsession with winning under-10 State Cups needs to be de-emphasized, along with the influence of parents and the premium placed on raw athleticism at the expense of technical skill. Youth teams are grouped strictly by age level, which gives those who mature early an inordinate advantage and leaves behind the late bloomer, no matter how good he or she is with the ball. You have to wonder: Would Argentina’s Lionel Messi, a skinny, tiny tyke for most of his youth, have been passed over in America?

References Children and Sport Clark Science Center Smith College ESS200/children/ChildrenR.htm Devereux, Edward V (1978). Backyard versus Little League baseball: The improvement of children’s games. In R. Martens (ED). The Joy and Sadness in children’s sports. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 115-131.

Halpern, R. (2003). Physical (In) Activity among low-income children and youth. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Martens, R. (1986) Youth Sports in the USA. In Weiss, M.R. & Gould, D. (EDS), Sports for Children and Youths. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Smoll, F. L., Smith, R. E., Barnett, N. P., & Everett, J. J. (1993). Enhancement of children’s self-esteem through social support training for youth sport coaches. Journal of Applied Psychology, 78(4), 602-610. Tye, L. (1997). These parents who were pros didn’t push kids; But ‘family business’ beckons some to follow nonetheless. Boston Globe, pp. A9.




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In a father’s absence, family plays soccer in his native Colombia and Pennsylvania By Rebecca Thatcher Murcia


t was one of the many gut-wrenching moments that happened during the year in which my husband, Saúl Murcia, died of cancer after a long stretch of surgeries, medications and unrelenting pain. My sons, Mario, 7, and Gabo, 9, and I were at a small reception after we buried Saúl on June 10, 2005. The pastor of our church asked Gabo what he wanted to see at his father’s funeral. I felt terrible for my nine-year-old. A small child should never have to plan a parent’s funeral, I thought. Gabo looked serious for a moment and then smiled. “Let’s have a soccer game.” It seemed incredibly incongruous to play amidst the tragedy of the death of my husband, their father, who had grown up enjoying constant soccer games in Colombia and had remained a devoted fan during a long career as a waiter, chef and international aid agency administrator. But our pastor, Barry Krieder, smiled at the suggestion and agreed with Gabo. Two days later, after a long memorial service filled with prayer, stories and music in Saúl’s memory, dozens of people went to a nearby park and played soccer in his honor. During the five years since Saúl died, soccer has not only been a comfort and a way to forget our troubles, it has also helped us



make lasting connections in Colombia, his native land, and provided a way for our family to come together in good times and bad. Two years after Saúl died, we went to live in my sister-in-law’s neighborhood in La Mesa, Colombia, the small city near Saúl’s parents’ farm. I wanted my sons to improve their Spanish, learn more about their father by being around his family, and get to know their father’s native land better. As we were unpacking our suitcases, we heard a knock on the door of our new rental house, which sat directly in front of the neighborhood soccer-basketball-volleyball court. “You want play soccer?” our new neighbor, Carlos, asked in his best school-boy English. Gabo and Mario nodded wordlessly and walked out the front door with Carlos. They played the first of what would be hundreds of soccer games with the neighborhood boys. But they didn’t just play soccer during that year, they also played baseball, football and basketball. After dark, long games of tag, hide-and-seek, and kick the can would go on until parents insisted the children come inside. Sometimes I felt as though I had landed in the middle of an endless summer camp retreat. Later, Gabo and Mario signed up for the town soccer team and played and practiced under the tutelage of the resident soccer expert. On the field, the children seemed remarkably similar to American soccer players. Off the field, there were surprising


similarities, but much was strange. When the town soccer coach backed the losing candidate for mayor, the school closed for a few months while he negotiated his way back into the job. But Saúl didn’t just love playing the game, he was also a huge fan of his beloved national team. Just a few days before he died he spent a few treasured hours chatting with the Colombian national team players during their visit to New Jersey for a friendly with England. So we were delighted to go to see the Colombian national team during the best part of what ended up being an unsuccessful World Cup qualifying campaign. Playing at home, almost two miles above sea level at the Bogotá stadium, the Colombian national team defeated Argentina and tied Brazil. Both times we were thrilled, although Gabo commented that the song: “Argentineans are sons-of-b****” was stuck in his head for hours after the second game. When we came back to Pennsylvania a year later, the boys were fluent Spanish speakers and had learned a lot about their father and his country. Plus they had sharpened their soccer skills. Both boys were soon doing well in school soccer and having a fantastic time playing with their clubs in Pennsylvania. They played for Ephrata school teams and the Ephrata Youth Soccer Club. Mario’s U12 team won the Lanco league championship soon after he returned. And Gabo was the leading scorer on his middle school team. When we went back to Colombia two years later, the soccer

connection seemed to have become even more important. We arrived a week before the town’s big annual tournament, which attracts teams from throughout the country, and the coach and the local boys were delighted. Mario played centerback for the U13 team, despite having minimal experience in that position. And Gabo played midfield and forward for both the U15 and U17 team throughout the four-day tournament. I was amazed at how graceful and accepting all the players were, despite Gabo and Mario sometimes starting even though they were such recent arrivals. Suddenly five years have passed since that sunny day in June when we played soccer at Saúl’s funeral. Mario and Gabo are teenagers on the cusp of manhood. It has not been easy but soccer has been a bright spot, something that brings our family together, both in memory of Saúl’s past and in anticipation of our own future. [Rebecca Thatcher Murcia ( plays for the over-30 Blue Thunder team in Lancaster County, coaches for the Ephrata Youth Soccer Club and writes articles and nonfiction books on soccer, history and other topics. She is working on a memoir on the family’s year in Colombia. Gabo and Mario both played for the Ephrata High School soccer team this fall.]




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Is your soccer club social?

By Brandon Rost, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Social Media Consultant


n today’s world having presence on social media is an integral way to communicate with parents, players and coaches. Whether your club is on top sites like Facebook and Twitter, or utilizes multi-media sites with a photo gallery on Flickr or video channel on Youtube, social media has become a fundamental shift in the way we communicate day in and day out.

Now with over 800 million people on Facebook, establishing your brand on this social media channel is a great way to expand your communication with club members. But where do you get started? Within Facebook there are two key ways to establish yourself that are important: Group Pages and Fan Pages. The main difference is that group pages can be set up as private or public and allows you to inbox members within the group. Fan pages are public and allows you to show up in their newsfeeds. Sending an inbox within a group is similar to sending them a direct message in their Facebook messages tab. With fan pages, you can invite fans to “like” your page and can utilize Facebook Insights to analyze Facebook statistics with your page that

you cannot do with groups. For example, clubs should be set up as a fan page so everyone can see your information and you can push messages through to fans’ newsfeeds. Individual teams should set up group pages so they can inbox their members and utilize the private setting so only team members, coaches and parents of that team can see photos, messages and the group page’s wall. Similar to Facebook, Twitter is a popular social media channel that your club can utilize to interact with its members. Twitter is a micro-blogging channel that allows you to post messages up to 140 characters for each post. Setting up your club on Twitter will give you the opportunity to post important messaging like field closures, board meetings and soccer news within the club. In the next Touchline be sure to look for our article on a key way to grow your social media presence. If you have any questions in getting started with your club’s presence feel free to contact Brandon Rost at

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The 3rd Generation Prius set the bar for hybrid vehicles. Now Toyota is raising the bar again. Introducing the larger, family friendly Prius v, the stylish, compact Prius c Concept and the easy-to-charge Prius Plug-In. All Prii feature the legendary hybrid technology that the Prius is famous for and are designed to fit your unique lifestyle.

YOUR LOCAL TRI-STATE TOYOTA DEALERS ASSOCIATION IS PROUD TO BE THE OFFICIAL VEHICLE PARTNER OF THE EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA YOUTH SOCCER ASSOCIATION AND THE PHILADELPHIA UNION. Prototype vehicles shown with options. Production model may vary. Prius v coming fall 2011. Prius Plug-In and c Concept coming spring 2012.

Touchline Tales By Jim DeLorenzo

Frank Olszewski (left) and Rob Brown (right)


ehind the scenes at Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer, it’s been a busy time. Putting together all the programs and events at the association takes more than a few hands, and during the past few months, a lot has happened. During the summer, it was “all hands on deck” for the US Youth Soccer Region One Championships in Lancaster, which attracted over 13,000 people to the opening ceremonies July 30th at Hersheypark Stadium, and continued through July 5th. Most of the association staff was on hand for all days of the tournament, as well as a few newcomers. Among those newcomers was Rob Brown, who worked with Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer in organizing the 2011 US Youth Soccer Region One Championships and came on staff full-time in the Plymouth Meeting headquarters in mid-August as the organization’s Communications Manager. In his new role, Brown will oversee the continued growth of the Eastern Pennsylvania

Youth Soccer website (http://www.epysa. org), as well as the editorial content of the association’s quarterly magazine “Touchline” He is also responsible for messaging through a diverse group of media and online channels including video, print, online, social media and e-mail. Brown’s task is communicating with players, parents, coaches, referees and other Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer constituents, as well as external media outlets and Philadelphia-area partners including the Philadelphia Union and Philadelphia Independence. Previously the General Manager of Suburban Sports Training Center (Conshohocken, PA), Brown directed the center’s sales and marketing efforts, as well as member communications programs. Earlier, he was a Support Analyst with Advantzware, Inc., providing client support and project management for this local software developer. On the soccer side, Brown was the Director of Marketing as well as Newtown (PA) League Director for Philadelphia Super F League, was the Sports Director of the BucksMont Indoor Sports Center, and the Marketing Director of Mid-Atlantic Premier Soccer. He also owned a website design firm, SportsFit Web Ser-

vices, from 2004 through 2007. Brown was head coach and trainer of FC Bucks United ’93 Boys Premier soccer team from 2004 through 2008, and was the goalkeeper coach for Arcadia University’s women’s soccer team from 2003 through 2007. Brown received his associate’s degree in Sports Management from Bucks County Community College and his Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Strayer University. A few weeks later, on September 19th, Frank Olszewski, a veteran soccer coach and administrator, came onboard as Director of Operations for Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer. In his new position Olszewski will manage all aspects of Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer’s four annual State Cup tournaments, including the President’s Cup, Turkey Hill Challenge Cup, Horizon Services Indoor Cup and US Youth Soccer Eastern Pennsylvania State Championships. He will also direct both internal and external events and programs and other tournaments, as well as other sponsored competitions. He is the direct liaison with all leagues, clubs and strategic partners to maximize the participation, activation and exposure of all Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer programs and events. Most recently a teacher in the Chester County School System, Olszewski has also worked in the biotechnology/pharmaceutical industry for Cephalon, Inc., Aventis-Behring and Wyeth. He has also been a member of the Olympic Development Program Coaching Staff for 16 years. Olszewski holds a United States Soccer Federation “B” coaching license and he holds a National Soccer Coaches Association of America Level II Goalkeeping Diploma. He also holds referee certifications from 3 different organizations: United States Soccer Federation Grade 7 Referee (Youth), Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (High School) and National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association (Collegiate). And finally, congratulations are in order Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer’s Coaching Department Administrator, Kelly Connor and her husband Michael, who celebrated the arrival of their first child, Luke Michael Connor, on August 19th.





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5 Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer teams earn a spot in US Youth Soccer National League By Michael Anderson, US Youth Soccer Communications


he US Youth Soccer National League is set to begin its fifth season this fall as teams gather for the annual kick off weekend at the sites of the NCAA Men’s and Women’s College Cups. First introduced in 2007, the National League is an extension of the highly successful US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues , where the top teams in the country earn their place to compete against each other with the chance of claiming a league title and a spot in the prestigious US Youth Soccer National Championships. In its first four years, 13 National League teams have gone on to claim US Youth Soccer National Championships as the League brings together the top teams per gender age group based on performance, regardless of home town or club affiliation. Overall, 17 Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer teams have competed in the league, with four earning advancement to the National Championships. This season, five Eastern Penn teams have earned their spot in the league, including 2011 National Championships finalist,

U-18 Boys Penn Fusion Celtic, who fell to fellow league competitors Grand Rapids Crew Jrs. (MI) in a penalty shootout in last year’s national title game. Beginning with eight teams in each of the Under-15 and 16 Boys and Girls, the League has expanded every year while maintaining strict acceptance standards to ensure teams compete in the most competitive environment. Each game is meaningful as teams fight for a league title or an automatic berth in the next year’s season. The League will expand again in 20112012 with the addition of the Under-18 division, as 120 of the top Under-15 through Under-18 Boys and Girls teams will face off in the most competitive league in the country. National League teams are elite club soccer teams with an individual proven track record of success in US Youth Soccer programs. They are among the nation’s best, which creates another significant opportunity for the nation’s collegiate, professional and national team staffs to see players in an environment of meaningful play. League events have become a staple on college recruiting calendars, drawing hundreds

of college coaches to each weekend of play as scouts cite the competitive level of each and every team, each and every game throughout the season as valuable experience for potential recruits. With the first weekend of the 20112012 League season still more than two months away, more than 315 college coaches have already registered to attend the opening play date when all 60 Girls teams kick off this December in Atlanta. The development and competitive level of the League has proved invaluable for participating teams as an additional 10 National League teams won 2011 US Youth Soccer Regional Championships, meaning League teams captured 22 of a possible 36 spots at the National Championships. Nine of a possible 12 National Championships finalists were National League teams, with three claiming titles, while the U-17 Girls, U-16 Boys and U-17 Boys finals were all-league affairs. Follow all of the National League action including video highlights on




15 US Youth Soccer Region I Meeting, Quincy, MA 18 Nominations for Union League Good Citizenship awards open

NOVERMBER 2011 23 Horizon Services Indoor Cup application deadline 24-25 Thanksgiving | Offices Closed

DECEMBER 2011 13 Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Outdoor Cup application available 26-30 Winter Holiday Week | Offices Closed

7 U15 Boys Horizon Services Indoor Cup | Riverfront, Scranton 7 U15 Girls Horizon Services Indoor Cup | Riverfront, Scranton 8 U9 Boys Horizon Services Indoor Cup | In The Net, Palmyra 11-15 NSCAA Convention, Kansas City 16 MLK Day | Offices Closed 14 U14 Boys Horizon Services Indoor Cup | Wyoming Valley Sports Done 15 U14 Girls Horizon Services Indoor Cup | Wyoming Valley Sports Done 21 U13 Boys Horizon Services Indoor Cup | Riverfront, Scranton 22 U13 Girls Horizon Services Indoor Cup | Riverfront, Scranton 28 U16 Boys Horizon Services Indoor Cup | In The Net, Palmyra 29 U16 Girls Horizon Services Indoor Cup | In The Net, Palmyra 31 Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Outdoor Cup application EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA YOUTH SOCCER





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Sam Lee: A Great Coach Excels Off the Field By Rob Brown

Sam Lee on right


ell-known in local soccer circles, Sam Lee has achieved considerable success and numerous accolades off the field. In each aspect of his life, however, education, family and friends have played important roles.

A graduate of Saint Joseph’s University, Lee earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in History on Hawk Hill, as well as a Master of Sciences Degree in Educational Administration and a doctorate in Educational Leadership. During his undergraduate days, Lee was a standout on the Hawks men’s soccer team. In fact, the Philadelphia native is a member of both the Saint Joseph’s University and Philadelphia Soccer Halls of Fame. Lee, his wife Anne and their seven children, Katie, Josephine, Sammy, Heather, Jack, Teresa, and Angelina reside in Bensalem. He is currently the Superintendent of the Bristol Township School District. In his “spare” time, Lee is the president of Lighthouse Soccer Club and coaches U-16 boys and U-14 girls. Lee was named Philadelphia Old-timer’s Youth Coach of the Year and Liberty Mutual Pennsylvania Coach of the Year for 2007. Beyond his youth coaching experiences, Lee has had considerable success as an assistant coach at both the collegiate and professional levels. He spent 19 years as an assistant men’s soc-

cer coach at Saint Joseph’s University, and then was an assistant coach for the Philadelphia KiXX of the Major Indoor Soccer League. He initially joined the KiXX as an assistant coach for the 19992000 season; after a one-year absence, he returned to the KiXX as an assistant coach for the 2001-2002 season, during which they won the MISL Championship, and has been a mainstay on the KiXX staff through the most recent (20092010) season. An educator and administrator with almost three decades of experience, Lee was previously a director at the Gloucester County, N.J. School District. He has been a teacher, building principal and central office administrator and has served in a number of capacities providing leadership and development for special education, student support services, career-technical education, curriculum and instruction, technology, school construction, policy and planning and operations. Lee remains committed to his roots, coaching in Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer. “The most important part of the game is the kids,” Lee noted recently.


Do you know

someone involved in developing kids both on and off the field? If so please contact Rob Brown via email,

Sam Lee




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FIVE-YEAR-OLD DRIVES TRUCK THROUGH BUILDING Goes on to study psychology, act in commercial.

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Joe Smith, a five-year-old from Campbelltown, PA, had his first “driving lesson” – behind the wheel of an antique Turkey Hill Dairy milk truck in the Turkey Hill Experience. He also picked up some psychology when he learned how his personality relates to tea. To top off his day, he acted in his very own ice cream TV commercial. Write your own story at the Turkey Hill Experience. Lancaster County’s new “must see” interactive attraction is located in Columbia, PA.







Philadelphia Union Junior Supporters Club


he Philadelphia Union Junior Supporters Club offers young fans an exclusive opportunity to get involved with the team. At 127 members strong, kids from ages 2 to 14 years old have taken advantage of this opportunity. The Junior Supporters Club offers two membership packages, the Blue kit at $20 and the Gold kit at $35. Both packages include

Monthly newsletter that includes

Personalized membership card Personalized birthday card Union pencils Union folder Logo decal Union magnets Bumper stickers Temporary tattoo

Contests Tips from the pros Word find quiz Monthly birthdays Dunkin Donuts Youth Soccer Player of the Month

Those who upgrade to the Gold kit also receive a Union t-shirt and an autographed player card. Some other membership benefits include allowing the first 5-10 members who check in at games to receive on-field access for player warm-ups. Junior Supporter Club members who check-in at home games also get their membership cards stamped in order to receive rewards. The Junior Supporters Club newsletter is currently on its 8th issue. The Junior Supporters Club has also had other special

events this year. Most notably, the Philadelphia Union hosted a Junior Supporters Club parade at the July 29th match against the Colorado Rapids. The Junior Supporters Club members had an article featured in Free Kick issue 4, as well as being honorary flag kids, player escorts and ball kids. Currently, a Junior Supporter of the Season contest is taking place in which the winner will be recognized on field at the Union’s last regular season match at PPL Park. To enter, visit





Dribbling | U8-U10: Oldies but Goodies Warm up

Organization • Each player with a ball • Triangles (3 different colors) Sequence & Progression • Each player dribbles their ball through as many triangles as they can in a 1min or 1.5 min time set. Then each player dribbles through as many cones as they can in sequence – red – yellow- blue – red….for a timed set of 1min – 1.5min. Allowing the players to set a record (personnel best) to strive to better • Repeat with the right foot only then the only left foot

Main Activity Gauntlet

Organization • Mark out a grid 10 x 40 yard spilt into four 10 x10 squares • Two players (defenders) placed in two of the squares, defenders must stay in their square • Each (attacking) player with a ball Sequence & Progression • Each player tries to dribble their ball through as many squares as they can in a 1min or 1.5 min time set. All players go at the same time. If you make in it through 1 square 1pt, 2 squares 2 etc…. The defenders must try to stop and kick out the attackers balls. If an attacker’s ball is kicked out or is dribbled out of bounds, they

Main Activity – 3 v 3 to End Zone

Organization • Mark out a grid 20 x 30 yard with two 5yard end zones • Two players teams of 3 Sequence & Progression • Each team must try and dribble into opponent’s end zone and be in full control of the ball. Once a team scores they must turn around and attack the other end zone. Variations • The player on each team is numbered from 1, 2 & 3. They must score in sequence.




• Assign a move to a colored triangle eg. Yellow triangle “step-over”, Red tri angle “pull-back” • 2 or 3 defenders can be added, who can only challenge for the ball inside a triangle Coaching Points • Use different parts of the foot • Change of speed when changing direction • Head up to look for next target • Low center of gravity

must go back to the start and go again. • Get their scores and either add them as a team or keep them as individuals • Switch the players with the defenders Note – that the square with no defenders are safe zones. These safe zones allow the player to gain their composure and allow them to look up for space to attack – for greater success Coaching Points • Use different parts of the foot • Head up to look for next defender • Confidence to try moves • Low center of gravity • Look for the space to drive into • Speeding up and slowing down

Coaching Points • Use different parts of the foot • Head up to look for space behind the other team • Confidence on the ball • Look for the space to drive into • Speeding up and slowing down Remember when working on dribbling that you want the players to be flexible from the waist and you want them to use both feet equally


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2011 Fall Touchline  

Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer's Quarterly Magazine

2011 Fall Touchline  

Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer's Quarterly Magazine