Page 1


e a s t e r n p e n n s y lva n i a y o u t h s o c c e r

Two new executive board members elected p.15

Rec Soccer Spotlight p.9 Horizon services indoor cup recap p.14

When youth sports APRIL 29 become a job Conshohocken, PA

Non-Profit Organization US Postage PAID Permit #110


SPEND $75 SAVE $5 EASTPA1475 SPEND $125 SAVE $10 EASTPA14125 SPEND $175 SAVE $15 EASTPA14175





*Frequent Buyer Program does not apply to team order pruchases.




eastern pennsylvania youth soccer

Volume XLIV | April 2014 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: Website: EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE President: Jim Kuntz Vice President, Travel: Michael Finnegan Treasurer: Nicole Posillico Epps Secretary: Melissa Weber Registrar: Jim Christian Past President: Bob McDade



14 2014 Horizon Services Indoor Cup Recap

6–7 Profile: Richard Groff, Former State Association President Receives Highest Soccer Honor

15 Awards Reception & Annual General Meeting Brings Soccer Community Together

9 Rec Soccer Spotlight: Montgomery United Soccer Club

19 The Other Side of Soccer

20 Quarterly Calendar

13 When Youth Sports Become a Job: Examining the effects of overtraining & single sport specialization

21 Concussion Policy & Procedure

24 Olympic Development Program

STATE OFFICE STAFF Chief Executive Officer: Chris Branscome Director of Coaching: Mike Barr Director of Soccer Operations: Frank Olszewski Marketing & Communications Manager: Kylea Meredith Assistant Director of Coaching: Gary Stephenson Membership Services Specialist: Beck Kleinert Business Administration Manager: Kelly Connor Administrative Services Specialist: Barb Budgick Accountant: Judy Curran

4 Attention Seniors! Scholarships Available

26–27 Why Can’t All the Children Play

TOUCHLINE Editor-in-Chief: Chris Branscome Editor: Kylea Meredith Advertising Sales Rep: Dan Clark Printed by: The Pearl Group at CRW Graphics, 9100 Pennsauken Highway, Pennsauken, NJ 08110 Touchline is © Copyright 2014 Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer. The entire contents of this publication are copyrighted; all rights reserved. Articles may not be reproduced or reprinted without written permission of Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer. Advertising space in Touchline is purchased and paid for by the advertisers. None of the products or services is necessarily endorsed by Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer or its affiliates. The views and opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer or its advertisers. Printed in the United States of America

28 Coaching: Recreation Exercises

Committed to education by Chris Branscome, Chief Executive Officer, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer


astern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer is committed to education. We offer coaching education to improve the learning opportunities for adults who work with our children and therefore a better experience for the children. We continuously offer information and guidance on medical, social, psychological and business issues that concern our membership and youth sports in general. Our staff feels strongly that in these changing times, administrators, coaches and parents must be educated in these various topics so that they may make informed choices. In today’s world, there are many more opportunities being presented to children and their families, some are good, some may be detrimental to development. Professionalization as well as specialization has become prevalent in youth sports, especially in youth soccer. These are not necessarily positives. Families can become overcommitted in time and money. The sport is increasingly becoming more expensive due to extended training and traveling. The investment in soccer weighs in

heavily on a family budget and decision making process. The children can be overcommitted in their training and then miss or sacrifice other opportunities in life. Overtraining in any sport leads to injury. Over commitment is leading to burnout. Research shows dropout rates are increasing due to these current trends. We need to address these issues as a community and as individuals as we are seeing more children leaving the sport too early. In addition, as teams seek to become more competitive (maybe beyond their means), kids are being cut from teams before reaching physical or emotional maturity, and reaching their potential, and it’s forcing them out of soccer far too early. Being a multi-sport athlete is a good thing. Research shows its positive for general health, muscle memory and cuts down on injury rates. Many college coaches recruit multisport athletes as they have not yet peaked as a player and they maintain a healthy enthusiasm for the sport. Many coaches believe that multisport athletes tend to be more open to different coaching styles and are more understanding of

team dynamics because they have additional experiences. Time away from one sport promotes a healthy and renewed return. It can keep a sport special to a young player rather than being mundane or routine. When they are older and have had multiple experiences, they can better choose their direction. We believe in kids setting goals and dreaming big dreams. We believe in kids striving to achieve those goals. It’s our place as adults to guide them in their aspirations. Let the kids dream and enjoy their athletic experience. Let’s keep a proper balance between academics, social life and athletics. Soccer is a sport for anyone of any level and you can play and enjoy it for the rest of your life. We are proud of our players who reach elite status, play professionally or for the United States in a World Cup. But we should be just as proud, or more so, of the far greater number of good citizens and quality people. It’s those kids who will eventually replace us and keep the game moving forward.

Join thousands of other soccer enthusiasts for the summer’s largest international soccer festival and viewing party at SteelStacks in Bethlehem PA. • View all of the action on our giant LED Screen • Youth soccer/futsal tournaments in partnership with Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer • Youth soccer clinics in partnership with Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer • Coaching clinics • Kids soccer village with inflatables and activities

June 12-16 & 19-22, 2014 Bethlehem, Pa

• International cuisine and libations • Music from nationally touring artists • VIP Parties with special VIP Soccer guests • Learn about Bethlehem Steel FC, one of the most successful U.S. soccer teams

Jordan H.

Jacob R.

Craig P.

WHO’S YOUR TURKEY HILL DAIRY ALL-STAR? Youth soccer teams are filled with All-Star talent. It’s time for those stars to be recognized.

Turkey Hill Dairy and Philadelphia Union have teamed up again to shine a spotlight on the region’s most remarkable youth soccer players. That spotlight is the Turkey Hill Dairy All-Star Contest. Nominations will be accepted during the 2014 Major League Soccer season (March 8-October 26), and 17 All-Stars will be chosen.

• Four field–level seats at a Philadelphia Union home game • A special post-game autograph session with the players • Special recognition at the game • A feature in the gallery of winners on Philadelphia Union’s Facebook page


©2014 Turkey Hill Dairy


Attention High School Seniors! S

ince 1990, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer has award 96 students with four-year college scholarships equaling almost $400,000. The purpose of this scholarship program is to encourage qualified high school seniors registered in Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer to further their education in a four-year college program.

Amount and Detail of Each Scholarship Award: 1. Each scholarship award will be in the amount of $1,000 per year, renewable each year, for four years, payable jointly through the university or the college in one installment at the beginning of the fall semester. 2. The scholarship award is used to help defray cost of tuition and fees at any accredited college or university. 3. While at college, the recipients are expected to maintain good academic and disciplinary standing. They also must show a commitment to promote soccer by volunteering, coaching, refereeing or playing in a soccer program at college or a local community.

Applicant Eligibility: 1. High school seniors attending public and non-public high schools within Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer who are registered players, coaches or referees in the association will be eligible to participate in this program. 2. Applicants must meet scholarship and other entrance requirements for entrance into any accredited college or university.


Basis of Selection: 1. Applicants must complete and submit the application form which can be found at along with a transcript of their high school records on/or before April 30, 2014 to this address: Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer, Attn: Scholarship Committee, 4070 Butler Pike, Suite 100, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462. 2. Applicants must obtain a statement from their guidance counselor or their high school principal regarding their scholastic ability, leadership, and character, and mail it under a separate cover to the above address. Applicants may also submit a maximum of two letters from church and community leaders to validate qualities in leadership and character. Please include your name on all material sent to the committee. 3. Applications must be accompanied by a signed photocopy of just the first page of the Federal Student Aid Report (FAFSA). 4. Selection of the winners will be based on financial need, scholastic achievement, and leadership ability. Selection to be made by a committee that consists of people who are not relatives of any of the candidates and will also consist of people outside of Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer. 5. Scholarship winners will be notified by June 15, 2014.

the road to victory is a

Proud Partner of the Philadelphia Union


No artificial flavors, no added preservatives. Since 1886.

©2012 The Coca-Cola Company. “Coca-Cola,” “open happiness” and the Contour Bottle are registered trademarks of The Coca-Cola Company.


Profile: Richard Groff

Former State Association

By Rick Woelfel


ith the World Cup fast approaching, soccer enthusiasts around the nation are following the fortunes of the U.S. Men’s National Team. Its matches are television fixtures that allow American soccer fans, no matter where they may be, to come together via the internet and social media. It wasn’t always this way though. Three decades ago the U.S. Men’s National Team labored in virtually anonymity, playing its matches in front of small crowds and attracting little attention outside the soccer community. Richard Groff helped change all that. Today Groff is the president of the United States Adult Soccer Association. He also sits on the U.S. Soccer Federation Board of Directors. For some three decades he served Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer as a coach and administrator, including 13 years as the organization’s president. In January of this year, the U.S. Soccer Federation named him the recipient of the Werner Fricker Builder Award, which is presented annually to an individual who has worked tirelessly in furthering the interest of the sport of soccer without regard to personal recognition or advancement.


Groff grew up in Upper Bucks County where he first played soccer in a Mennonite church league. He played football as a freshman at Pennridge High School because the school had no freshman soccer team; the next year he moved to the pitch from the gridiron. After high school he played four years of soccer at Lafayette, spending time at sweeper and in the midfield while also finding time to run track in the spring. At the same time he also played for a United League team based in Allentown where he was part of a lineup that featured Lew Meehl in the central midfield and John Boles as a central defender, among others. By his own admission Groff was not the most talented player on the roster. “But it was great to play with them,” he

says now. Groff played in the United and Intercounty Leagues for a decade. When his sons started playing soccer he got involved in coaching; at one point in the mid-1980s he spent several seasons as an assistant at Lafayette, his alma mater. By then he had gotten to know Werner Fricker, who was the president of Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer at the time; it was Fricker who encouraged Groff’s desire to get involved with the administrative side of soccer. “He told me what to do,” Groff recalls, “and I followed his instructions for the next 20 years.” Groff became a familiar face at United League meetings and by 1986 he found himself being asked to run for the vice presidency of Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer. Two years later Ron D’Anjolell stepped down as president and Groff was elected to succeed him. Groff had always had a knack for organization and in 1988; Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer

hosted the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships at the United German Hungarian Club. The success of that event stoked Groff’s interest in promoting bigger events, specifically those involving America’s national teams. By this time the U.S. Men’s National Team had qualified for the 1988 Olympics in Seoul and was in the midst of preparations for the 1990 World Cup qualifying, but their matches attracted little attention outside the soccer community, a circumstance Groff found intolerable. “I’d go to those games and see five or six thousand fans,” he recalls. “I walked into Werner’s office and said ‘Look, we’re better than this. There are fans out there. I’m embarrassed to go to a national team game or Olympic qualifier and see six thousand fans.” Groff sought Fricker’s permission to bring the U.S. Men’s National Team to Philadelphia and assured him that 20,000 fans would show up. Despite some reservations, Fricker gave his consent and Groff and a group of Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer volunteers spent the next several months putting the event together. On August 26, 1989, 43,356 fans at Franklin Field saw the national team score a 1-0 win over Dnepr, a top club side from what was then the Ukraine region of the Soviet Union.

U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati presents the Werner Fricker Award to Groff at the 2014 U. S. Soccer Awards Gala in March


President Receives Highest Soccer Honor The evening was a watershed event in Groff’s career as a soccer administrator. “It showed that a group of soccer moms and volunteers could do something that no one else believed in,” he said. In 1990, Groff was named treasurer of U.S. Soccer. By this time he was spending considerable time and energy promoting the U.S. Men’s National Team. In 1992, he helped arrange for the United States to host friendlies against Portugal, Italy, and Ireland. “That was incredibly satisfying also,” Groff says. When he assumed the treasurer’s post with U.S. Soccer, Groff was forced to give up the presidency of Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer, but he stayed close to the organization. In the meantime, attendance for matches involving the U.S. Men’s National Team continued to rise, from an average of 16,540 in 1990 to 30,829 four years later. Groff did not confine his efforts to the men’s team. In 1991, he brought the U.S. Women’s National Team to the UGH Club for a match. In 1994, he was a driving force behind the Women’s Chiquita Cup, which featured the United States, China, Norway, and Germany; the four strongest women’s sides in the world at the time. It was another case of skeptics being unable to resist

Groff’s formidable powers of persuasion. “At the time U.S. Soccer’s leadership thought it would fail and did not want to do it,” he says. “The Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts state associations said ‘We’ll do it without you.’” And so they did, covering the costs associated with transporting, housing and feeding the three foreign sides along with handling all the logistics associated with matches themselves. Two years later, prior to the 1996 Olympics, Groff helped create the U.S. Women’s Cup ’96, which included Japan, China, and Canada. As part of that event, Groff brought the U. S. Women’s National Team to Hatboro-Horsham High School to face Japan. The 5,000-seat stadium wasn’t quite full, but a sizeable crowd turned out to watch Michelle Akers, Mia Hamm, and Kristine Lilly, among others. Prior to that match, the Americans utilized the Ukrainian Nationals’ training facilities and the club was overrun by young girls clamoring for Hamm’s autograph, despite the fact that the training session was scheduled in the middle of a school day. By this time Groff was also involved in professional soccer. In October of 1994 he began a two-season stint as commissioner of the fledging American

Professional Soccer League, which officially launched the following spring and was considered the top professional circuit in North America until MLS debuted a year later. In August of 1996, Groff staged a regular-season A-League match at War Memorial Field in Doylestown with the hope of bringing an A-League franchise to Philadelphia in the future. Over 3,000 fans turned out for the occasion, but the Philadelphia area never got its A-League franchise and the area remained without a toptier outdoor professional team until the Union joined MLS in 2010. It was one of the few occasions when Groff’s vision of what was possible failed to mesh with reality. Groff’s ambitious ideas and ‘full speed ahead’ mindset have ruffled feathers from time to time. He admits to sometimes being impatient with those who failed to share his vision of a particular project. “My greatest weakness was I would become frustrated with people who disagreed because they didn’t think it would work,” he says. “I’ve always had that frustration, no matter what I do. Sometimes I forget you’re supposed to be patient and politically correct.” In 2010, Groff was named president of the U. S. Adult Soccer Association which provides playing opportunities for a quarter million men and women of all ages and ability levels. “Our teams are very diverse,” Groff says. “There’s a team in the Lehigh Valley that plays in the National Premier Soccer League. That gives the college player a summer program that’s reasonably well organized with good competition. They can continue to develop and grow as players.” “The other extreme is, you have all these men and women coming out of college, they’re going to law school, they’re going to medical school, they’re getting MBAs but they want to keep playing. They’ll find a co-ed team to play on.” Groff points out that the players in today’s adult leagues help assure the continued growth of the sport. “They’re still playing.” he says, “They become fabulous fans of the national teams. They buy the t-shirts and they keep their kids involved. It’s the old circle of life thing.”

Groff with Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer CEO, Chris Branscome and President, Jim Kuntz at the 2014 U.S. Soccer Awards Gala in NYC


Do You Have a Pulse on Your Club’s Digital Presence? 3 Ways To Ensure You Are Receiving Key Information From Your Club

By Brandon Rost, President of beMarketing Digital Marketing is a pillar to the way soccer families are engaging your club and having the right presence on there is key for clubs. For families, knowing where to find the information is most important for you. As we begin to head into the spring months, many clubs are starting to release key information for the upcoming year. From scholarship information for seniors to key travel tryout dates, voting for board positions and more. Are you receiving this information so that your soccer players can partake in all that your club has to offer? Below you will see the top 3 digital ways we recommend following your club for key information. 1. Your Club’s Website – Have you visited your club’s website lately? This is the center of their solar system, the main area for you to

find all of the information you will need. Visiting the website frequently will ensure you are seeing key information. Whether the club has it in a message or slider on the home page, or you need to navigate through the website tabs at the top, the information should be easy to obtain. We recommend for you to bookmark the site or even make it your homepage so that you are visiting the page frequently.

pushed out to you without you having to go and find the information. Most likely you can sign up for the newsletter through their website. Keep an eye out for their regular newsletter. If your club is not utilizing this communication channel you should recommend it at their next board meeting and ask them to send out a regular newsletter at the same time each month. How about the 3rd Thursday every month?

2. Get Social With Your Club – Whether you are connecting with friends on Facebook, a pro tweeter, snapping photos on Instagram or posting boards on Pinterest there is a good chance that your club is interacting on these channels as well. Get social with your club by connecting with them on the social media channel that you use most frequently. Search for your club on these channels or head over to their site and seek out the social icon to be directed to their page.

Honorable Mentions of Other Digital Ways To Follow Your Club: Google Alert (RSS Feed), Local Community websites/social pages, Mobile App and Text Alerts.

3. Sign Up For Their Newsletter – If available, sign up forHALF your club’s newsletter. This is w/email COUPON one of the best ways to have their information

Make sure you follow Eastern Pennsylvania on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

All Things Soccer

In the end, the last thing you want to do is miss out on a key date or an important message from your club. Making sure you are connected through one of the 3 top digital marketing channels we recommended above will assist you in staying in the know heading into the upcoming soccer season!



off Your Purchase of $100 or More

Valid 3/15/14–5/15/14 More exclusions may apply. Visit or see store for details.

No cash value. No cash back. No rain checks. Coupon not valid on prior, online or S.A. Elite by Sports Authority purchases, gift cards, licenses, event tickets, store services or items intended for resale. Offer good on in-stock merchandise only. Must present coupon at time of purchase to redeem. Cannot be combined with any other offer, Cash Card, coupon or Employee or Friends & Family discount. Coupon may not be reproduced. One coupon per customer, per purchase. Exclusions include clearance items marked with $.97 price endings; BOGO offers; Deal of the Week; World Cup merchandise; baseball gloves priced $169.99 or more; Wilson game balls; firearms and ammunition; UGG; Under Armour; The North Face; Nike Pro; Brooks; select adidas, ASICS, Mizuno & Nike footwear; Babolat; Titleist; Burton; Volkl; GoPro; Fitbit; Penn Reels.

Get 5% Back on Cleats, Shin Guards,

Balls & More When You Join The League by Sports Authority 8

Proud Partners



Montgomery United Soccer Club F

or more than 35 years the Montgomery United Soccer Club has been a haven for youth soccer players of all ages and ability levels. Each week more than 2,000 soccer players fan out across fields in Montgomery, Upper Gwynedd and Hatfield Townships, along with the boroughs of Lansdale, Hatfield, and North Wales.

the North Penn High School program, but Jones insists that’s not the case. “Our intent was to make sure that when they were out there that they were learning the basics,” he says, “but also, it had to be fun. So we had to be sure the rec coaches weren’t focused on winning but really developing skill and making sure the

Christopher Dock High’s turf facility, which allows every rec player the opportunity to play on turf.

kids had fun, which ultimately is what keeps them coming back.”

coached for three decades from the youth level to high-school [North Penn] to NCAA Division I [Temple], is committed to dealing with that issue. “That’s actually our biggest mandate this year,” he says. ”One of our biggest goals on the rec side, indeed, throughout the club is educating the parents and making sure they understand why we’re in it, and what’s important.”

Of course, there are those who lose sight of the purpose of recreational soccer, who see it as the first step on the road to a college scholarship or an MLS contract, or perhaps a place on a U.S. National side. Jones, who has

The club prides itself on it’s commitment to recreational soccer. More than 1,500 youngsters, from 5-year olds to high-school students, comprise more than 130 rec teams. Some 200 other youngsters are involved in a separate introductory program. The Monu Mini’s is designed for children aged 3-5, who get out on a field with a soccer ball for an hour each week. There are also separate recreational leagues for adult men and women who still like to get out in the pitch for exercise and fellowship. All this brings a smile to the face of David Jones, Montgomery United’s Executive Director. “We decided we were going to really focus on the rec side,” he says. “The past couple years we’ve had paid trainers that have been with the younger rec age levels at least once a week. Our goal has really been to put the focus on the 5, 6. 7, and 8-10 year olds and give them a quality experience and really teach them the basics.” Some skeptics would contend that the system was set up to develop players for higher levels, such as one of the club’s 41 travel teams or

The club’s rec leagues are structured to meet that end. No standings are kept, no playoffs are held, and no championship trophies are awarded. Whenever possible, players are grouped according to their year in school rather than their birth date so classmates can play together. “When you’re playing in a league and you’re keeping standings and goals for and against its hard not to focus on winning,” Jones points out. “But if you eliminate that and it’s just about going out each Saturday or Sunday and playing a game it takes the pressure off.” Participants do get a taste of the tournament environment however. One weekend is devoted to a tournament-style ‘Rec Festival.’ “We have a festival for each age group,” Jones says. “They’ll have tents, they’ll tailgate, they’ll make signs and banners and they’ll just play games. It’s not about winning.” In recent years the fall season has concluded with an event at

“Last spring we set up our rec league with no parents on the sidelines and no coaches. The kids were kind of on their own. We had adults there monitoring the games but the kids would call their own fouls. The parents were nowhere near the field. They would bring a book or go for a jog. The kids loved it because they didn’t have anybody yelling at them. This year we’re going to allow the parents there but we’re going make sure they’re not a big part of the game. We really feel like if we educate them and teach them how we want them to act that that’s going to happen.”



THE NEWEST & MOST EXCITING THE NEWEST MOST EXCITING SPORT TO HIT&THE COUNTRY! SPORT TO HIT&THE COUNTRY! THE NEWEST MOST EXCITING Welcome to FootGolf – where the precision, power, and SPORT passion found inHIT both golf andCOUNTRY! soccer is combined create Welcome toTO FootGolf –THE where the precision, power,toand

one amazing playing Best of all, anyone play! passion found in bothexperience. golf and soccer is combined create Welcome to FootGolf – where the precision, power,tocan and one amazing Best of all, anyonetocan play! passion foundplaying in bothexperience. golf and soccer is combined create


one amazing playing experience. Best of all, anyone can play!

NJ FOOTGOLF OPEN NJ FOOTGOLF Sunday • May OPEN 18 Sunday May OPEN 18 Call for •Details NJ FOOTGOLF Call for •Details Sunday May 18 Call for Details

Valid on Cascades Course every day except weekends from 7:00am-3:00pm. Expires June 1, 2014. Cart fees not included. Valid on Cascades Course every day except weekends from 7:00am-3:00pm. Expires June 1, 2014. Cart fees not included. Valid on Cascades Course every day except weekends from 7:00am-3:00pm. Expires June 1, 2014. Cart fees not included.

Two Sports Rolled into One! Two Sports Rolled into One! Cascades Golf Course, Hamburg, NJ Two Sports Rolled into Cascades Golf Course, Hamburg, NJOne! • 973-827-5996, Ext. 1 Cascades Golf Course, Hamburg,• NJ 973-827-5996, Ext. 1 • 973-827-5996, Ext. 1

TouchlineMag_2014.indd 1

3/3/14 5:56 PM




We’ve been supplying energy to the Philadelphia Union and PPL ParkTM since the very first kick and we salute the fans for five great seasons of soccer. Visit for promotions and to enter to win exclusive experiences and contests.


PPL EnergyPlus LLC is an unregulated subsidiary of PPL Corporation. PPL EnergyPlus is not the same company as PPL Electric Utilities. The prices of PPL EnergyPlus are not regulated by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. You do not have to buy PPL EnergyPlus electricity or other products in order to receive the same quality regulated services from PPL Electric Utilities.

Our Goal

Healthy People, Healthy Planet . ™

SCA is committed to wellness. Our Tork systems provide hygienic solutions that promote

proper handwashing and help keep people healthy. One-at-a-time dispensing reduces paper usage and waste. We recycle over 750,000 tons of paper each year, of which 400,000 is post-consumer, which reduces use of natural resources and lessens the burdens on landfills.

Tork helps you reduce cost, stay healthy, and save the planet.

© 2014 SCA North America LLC. All rights reserved. ® Tork is a registered trademark of SCA NA, LLC or its affiliates

SCA — Proud to offer Tork towel, tissue, napkins, soap, wipers and dispensers


Bob Bigelow Dr. Matthew Grady Dr. Michael Ciccotti Dr. Ciaran Dalton Mike Barr

When Youth Sports Become a Job:

Examining the effects of overtraining & single sport specialization Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 7:00 PM Free Entry Philadelphia Marriott West 111 Crawford Street West Conshohocken, PA 19428 FOR MORE INFORMATION & TO REGISTER VISIT


2014 Eastern Pennsylvania Horizon Services Indoor Cup Champions

U9 Girls Elite Division

U12 Girls Elite Division

U15 Girls Elite Division

U9 Girls Challenge White Division

U12 Girls Challenge Division White

U15 Girls Challenge Division

U9 Girls Challenge Blue Division

U12 Girls Challenge Division Blue

U16 Girls Elite Division – Co-Champs

U10 Girls Elite Division

U13 Girls Elite Division

FC Bucks Freedom ECNL Red FC Bucks Freedom ECNL White

U10 Girls Challenge Division

U13 Girls Challenge Division – Blue

Berks Ajax Gunners

U11 Girls Elite Division

U13 Girls Challenge Division – White

FC Revolution Black Hawks

U11 Girls Challenge Division White

U14 Girls Elite Division

Warminster Lady Hawks

U11 Girls Challenge Division Blue

U14 Girls Challenge Division

Vincent United Pride

Philadelphia SC Coppa Swarm UGH Strikers

South Middletown SA Force HMMS-Legends

Wyoming Valley SC ‘03

FC Revolution Rowdies Harleysville Revolution Red Lionville Blue Surge

Fusion FC Strikers

FC Revolution Thunder

Quakertown Blue Tigers Lower Merion SC Storm Wyoming Valley SC ‘00 Warminster Inferno

FC Europa Hotspurs Cantolao Dolphins


Fishtown Titans

U16 Girls Challenge Division U17 Girls Elite Division

U17 Girls Challenge Division U19 Girls Elite Division

U19 Girls Challenge Division

Northumberland Sunbury SC Strikers

U09 Boys Elite Division

U12 Boys Challenge Division White

U15 Boys Challenge Division

U09 Boys Challenge Division

U12 Boys Challenge Division Blue

U16 Boys Elite Division

U10 Boys Elite Division

U13 Boys Elite Division

U16 Boys Challenge Division

U10 Boys Challenge Division

U13 Boys Challenge Division

U17 Boys Elite Division

U11 Boys Elite Division

U14 Boys Elite Division

U17 Boys Challenge Division

U11 Boys Challenge Division White

U14 Boys Challenge Division – Blue

U19 Boys Elite Division

U11 Boys Challenge Division Blue

U14 Boys Challenge Division – White

U19 Boys Challenge Division

U12 Boys Elite Division

U15 Boys Elite Division

Lower Merion SC Ding Danubia Eagles

Fishtown Hotspurs Feltonville SC ‘03

Fishtown Hotspurs Torresdale Sting

Western Lehigh ‘02 Raptors North Union Cannons


Lebanon Valley Sky

Lower Merion SC Sabertooth Rats HMMS-Eagle FC ‘00 Titans Lower Merion SC Boca Manheim Mutiny

Garnet Valley Maroon B

Fishtown Titans

Lower Merion SC Magic Red Montgomery Fury 2 Super Nova ‘96

CASA CAPA ‘96 Black PA Rush

CASA CAPA ‘95 Blue

FC Revolution Galacticos



Berks Ajax Gunners

he 26th Annual Eastern Pennsylvania Horizon Services Indoor Cup completed competitions March 1 after two months of play. 456 teams from all over Eastern Pennsylvania participated at one of the six facilities that hosted the event. Teams ranging from U9 – U19 participated in one of the 47 possible brackets. Eastern Pennsylvania Horizon Services Indoor Cup is the longest running indoor tournament on the east coast! Visit to view the full standings for the 2014 Indoor Cup along with more photos from the competitions.


Annual Awards Reception and Annual General Meeting Brings Soccer Community Together E

astern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer is extremely proud to have been able to recognize those individuals who create the best soccer experience for our youth in Eastern Pennsylvania at our Annual Awards Reception held on March 8th. From administrators, referees or coaches, our sport is forever grateful. We also honored four long-time Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer supporters. Joe Amorim and Lew Meehl took home the coveted Excellence in Coaching Award while Sharen Gregg-Bolognese and David Hatt received the Service to Youth Award. The D’Anjolell Award was presented to Lanco Youth Soccer League. Congratulations to all of our honorees. For more information on the 2013 Award Winners, visit


e would like to congratulate the following Union League of Philadelphia 2014 Good Citizenship Award winners; Andrew Alban, Elizabeth Bentz, Thomas “Tucker” Braman Burg, Ryan Dodds, Jason M. Douple, Erinne Finlayson, Jonathan Kleinhenz, Jessica Lee, James Joseph Leyden IV, Thomas Lippiard, Jared May, Devon Memis, Andrea Murga, Melissa Nicholas, Randi Purser, Olivia Seavy, Tim Seydel, Olivia Termini, Jaclyn Wood, Laurel Yaros. These 20 young athletes embody what it means to be a good citizen through their qualities of cooperative effort, selfcontrol, perseverance, serious scholarship, and good sportsmanship.


astern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer elected two new members to the Executive Board. Donna Outt retired her position after serving on the Board for over 20 years and completing a 12 year run as the State Registrar. She will still be heavily involved in the soccer community at her home club, Central Susquehanna Soccer Club. Jeff Sommer, who has spent the better part of the last two decades involved with Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer and more recently completed four years as Secretary of the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Executive Board is starting his new role as Chester County Judge of the Court of Common Pleas. Filling their seats on the Executive Board are Jim Christian as Registrar and Melissa Weber as Secretary. For more information on the new officers visit


College Soccer Dreams? Don’t waste thousands of dollars on some fly-by-night recruiting service. Instead by using India Trotter’s book, you’ll learn the six steps to follow to find the right fit, etiquette for making contact with coaches and colleges, and even a fill-in-the-blank toolkit to keep you organized as you and your daughter go through this process. Because ultimately you have the power to make your daughter’s dream for collegiate play a reality. Wake up. Live the dream.

CROWN TROPHY Proud supplier of awards for Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer

Your League’s One Stop Shop Custom Awards - Sportswear - Promotional Items

The BEST Selection The BEST Prices The BEST Service Call or email to begin your order today! Be sure to ask about getting your logo on any award

BERWYN 1049 Lancaster Avenue Berwyn, PA 19312 610.647.3337

KIMBERTON 2222 Kimberton Road Kimberton, PA 19442 610.935.8145

15% OFF



SPECIAL SPRING OFFER! March 14th to April 24th, 2014

Widener Leadership Works

Here. Today leadership is at a premium. In a competitive world, leadership separates the good from the irreplaceable. Especially real-time, real-life leadership on the playing field and within our communities. Widener University does more than talk about leadership. Our students experience it daily in nationally-recognized academic, public service, and athletic programs. It’s why Widener is in the top 10% of Academic All Americans in NCAA Division III. To learn more visit


The Other Side of Soccer P

layers, coaches and parents always applaud (hopefully) the action on the field at a soccer game but they often take for granted the efforts of the 23rd “player” on the field…the referee. It is not often an envied position, yet at times it seems to be the most recognized position on the field. Here is a glimpse of the path of the referee – what it takes to get there and how to maintain it.

The referee program in Eastern Pennsylvania is run by the Eastern Pennsylvania Soccer Association Referee Committee, more commonly known as EPSARC. They are a committee of the Eastern Pennsylvania Soccer Association, which administers adult soccer (19 and older) in Eastern Pennsylvania (more about this organization in the next issue of Touchline). EPSARC is run by an Executive Committee which consists of Frank Giancroce (State Referee Administrator), Jim Bollinger, (President of Eastern Pennsylvania Soccer), Jim Kuntz (President of Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer), Robert Ong (State Director of Assessment), Peter Schirk (State Director of Instruction) and Stan Nagle (State Youth Referee Administrator) as well as delegates from Eastern PA Referee sub-chapter (Mike Lukashanus, Tim Snyder, Angelo Puglisi, Jim Stocum, Adam Smeltz) and Roger Schott who is the State Coordinator of Assignments.

The Referee Committee meets 4 times a year, and in conjunction with the dictates of the US Soccer National Referee Committee, sets policies and standards for referees, instructors and assessors. It also sets the fee schedule for both youth and adult games in Eastern Pennsylvania in cooperation with the respective State Associations. There are two major responsibilities of the Referee Program that we’ll briefly review here: training new referees and maintaining existing referees. The minimum age to become a US Soccer licensed grade 8 (not related to school grade) referee in EPA is 14 years. The up and coming referee must attend an Entry Level Class, which consists of a 3 hour online course, as well as 15 hours of classroom instruction. Upon completion, and passing a written test, they will receive their grade 8 badge. They are then qualified to officiate all youth travel games, either as a center referee or assistant referee. New referees must then take the initiative to contact assignors, introduce themselves and get game assignments at local clubs and tournaments that befit their age and capabilities. There are individuals from the Referee Committee out there to help them, for example, the SRA Frank Giancroce or the SYRA Stan Nagle, as well as any of the assignors listed on the referee website,;

however, a good relationship with a supportive assignor is the foundation of a new referee’s career. In order to maintain their current grade 8 license, a referee must meet the following criteria yearly: attend 5 hours of instruction (often done at designated clinics hosted by EPSARC), pass a written test and, if over 18, complete a background check. Failure to meet these basic requirements means the referee must sit a year, or they can retake the Entry Level Class. Officiating a soccer match is by no means an easy task…everyone has experienced a time at home trying to work out a conflict between family members. Well imagine that challenge multiplied by 22 players, plus coaches and spectators, and it certainly can seem daunting. But we have a superb pool of referees, young and old (or seasoned, if you prefer), male and female, that spend time each weekend providing a safe, enjoyable match for your children. Sometimes you may see things differently, but remember, in the end, it’s always in “the opinion of the referee”. For more information on the referee program, please visit their website, or feel free to contact any of the Committee members with questions you might have.


Quarterly Calendar April 2014

May 2014 continued

13-21 ODP International Trips*

17-18 Turkey Hill Challenge Cup Finals | United Sports, Downingtown

15 Spring League Registration Fees Due

17-18 NCS State Cup Finals | United Sports, Downingtown

27 Scoring Goals for Autism | YSC, Wayne

29 When Youth Sports Become a Job: Examining the effects of overtraining & single sport specialization | Phila. Marriott West, West Conshohocken*

23-26 Region I Presidents Cup Championships | Slippery Rock, PA

5 Dia Del Ninos | Please Touch Museum

30 Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Scholarship Deadline

26 State Office Closed, Memorial Day

31 to Sports & Education Expo | Pennsylvania June 1 Convention Center*

June 2014

May 2014

1 NCS June Cup Registration Ends| U18 & U19, Boys & Girls

4 Presidents Cup Finals | Lehigh County Fields, Allentown

5 Tentative Board of Directors’ Meeting | State Office, Plymouth Meeting

8 NCS June Cup Draw | U18 & U19, Boys & Girls

16 NCS June Cup Roster Freeze | U18 & U19, Boys & Girls

1 NCS June State Cup Finals | U18 & U19, Boys & Girls | TBD

6-8 U12 ODP Tournament | Wilson, NC 6-8 U13-U17 ODP Region I Tournament | Mercer County, NJ 26 to US Youth Soccer Region I Championships | Kingston, RI July 1 * Visit for more information

Scoring Goals for Autism Scoring Goals for Autism is an annual soccer tournament fundraiser that benefits the Autism Science Foundation. Scoring Goals for Autism will take place at YSC Sports in Wayne, PA on Sunday, April 27, 2014. This one-of-a-kind indoor soccer tournament offers both competitive team play for adult players as well as a TOPSoccer skills and drills clinic for children and adolescents with special needs including autism. The mission of Scoring Goals for Autism is to bring the beautiful game of soccer to all athletes and to raise much needed dollars for autism research. All proceeds from Scoring Goals for Autism benefit the Autism Science Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity, which supports evidence-based research into better understanding autism. The Scoring Goals for Autism TOPSoccer program is a friendly, non-competitive soccer program designed for soccer players with special needs including Autism Spectrum. Each TOPS player is assigned a buddy/coach to assist with ball work, changing skills stations and participating in drills during the program. Trained volunteers and coaches support development of soccer skills and create opportunities for socialization. Director of Coaching, Mike Barr will be instructing a TOPSoccer coaching course that day as well. For more information visit 20


Policy on

Concussion Procedure and Protocol I

n November of 2012, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer’s Board of Directors passed a policy endorsing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Act 101, known as the “Safety In Youth Sports Act.” The Policy on Concussion Procedure and Protocol mandates concussion education for everyone involved in our sport, including parents and players. This policy also mandates certification for all coaches. In addition all member organizations must annually certify that they are compliant with the policy. It is aimed at educating and protecting our young athletes from the effects of traumatic brain injury. Concussions are brain injuries and have been largely mistreated and misdiagnosed for many years. Does your club follow this mandate? Make sure your coach and parents are educated.

Step 1: Did a concussion occur? Evaluate the player and note if any of the following signs and/or symptoms are present: 1 Dazed look or confusion about what happened 2 Memory difficulties 3 Neck pain, headaches, nausea, vomiting, double vision, blurriness, ringing noise or sensitive to sounds 4 Short attention span; can’t keep focused 5 Slow reaction time, slurred speech, bodily movements are lagging; fatigue, and slowly answer questions or has difficulty answering questions 6 Abnormal physical and/or mental behavior 7 Coordination skills are behind, ex: balancing, dizziness, clumsiness, reaction time

Step 2: Is emergency treatment needed? This would include the following scenarios: 1 Spine or neck injury or pain 2 Behavior patterns change, unable to recognize people/places, less responsive than usual 3 Loss of consciousness 4 Headaches that worsen 5 Seizures 6 Very drowsy, can’t be awakened 7 Repeated vomiting 8 Increasing confusion or irritability 9 Weakness, numbness in arms and legs

5 6 7 8 9

State of consciousness Mood, behavior, and personality Headache or “pressure” in head Nausea or vomiting Sensitivity to light and noise Players shall not re-enter competition, training, or partake in any activities for at least 24 hours. Even if there are no signs or symptoms after 15 to 20 min, activity should not be taken by the player.

Step 4: A player diagnosed with a possible concussion may return to play only after release from a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy specializing in concussion treatment and management. Step 5: If there is a possibility of a concussion, do the following: 1 The Concussion Notification Form is to be filled out in duplicate 2 3

Step 3: If a possible concussion occurred, but no emergency treatment is needed, what should be done now? Focus on these areas every 5 to 10 min for the next 1 to 2 hours, without returning to any activities: 1 Balance, movement 2 Speech 3 Memory, instructions, and responses 4 Attention on topics, details, confusion, ability to concentrate


and signed by a team official of the player’s team. If the player is able to do so, have the player sign and date the Form. If the player is not able to sign, note on the player’s signature line “unavailable.” If a parent/legal guardian of the player is present, have the parent/legal guardian sign and date the Form, and give the parent/legal guardian one of the copies of the completed Form. If the parent/legal guardian is not present, then the team official is responsible for notifying the parent/legal guardian ASAP by phone or email and then submitting the Form to the parent/legal guardian by email or mail. When the parent/legal guardian is not present, the team official must make a record of how and when the parent/legal guardian was notified. The notification will include a request for the parent/legal guardian to provide confirmation and completion of the Concussion Notification Form whether in writing or electronically. The team official must also get the player’s pass from the referee, and attach it to the copy of the Form retained by the team. For more information on concussion management, visit


Hey, Kids! { And adults, too! } Perhaps you’ve said to yourself:

“I want to be in

Magazine!” eastern pennsylvania youth soccer

Want to appear in an upcoming issue of Touchline?

This is an exciting feature in the magazine where Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer players, coaches, and parents get an opportunity to be seen and heard by the rest of our readers. Well, now is your chance! If you would like to be considered to appear in an upcoming issue, simply answer the 11 Questions that appear on our website (and on page 23 ), fill in the bio information and email it to Most importantly, you need to send a photo of yourself with the email, the higher quality, the better! If there is not a photo, then we can’t use your entry in the magazine. Entering is not a guarantee of getting published. We wish you luck, and who knows? Perhaps when you open the next issue of Touchline magazine, you will find yourself staring back at you!

To register go to:






Taylor Mentzer

Mitchell Mair

Margaret Wilde

Team Name Dynamo Organization/Club

FC Revolution

Team Name Oley Storm Organization/Club

Oley Valley Youth League

Team Name Helios Organization/Club Ukrainian Nationals

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

What position do you play or what do you do on your team? Forward or Left winger

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

What is your nickname? Tay

What is your nickname? Mitch

What is your nickname? I don’t have a nickname, but I wish I did.

Who is your role model? Why? Messi because he is a really good soccer player

Who is your role model? Why? Messi. Because he’s the player I admire the most for working hard

Who is your role model? Why? Alex Morgan, because her attitude on and off the field is positive.

What is your favorite soccer team? FC Revolution!

What is your favorite soccer team? F.C Barcelona

What is your favorite soccer team? USA Women’s National Team

What is your favorite movie? Wolverine

What is your favorite movie? Miracle on Ice (original)

What is your favorite movie? Daddy Daycare

What is your favorite song? Light Me Up – Hunter Hays

What is your favorite song? Eye of the Tiger

What is your favorite song? Roar by Katy Perry

What is your favorite book? Stranded Series

What is your favorite book? Diary of a Wimpy Kid

What is your favorite book? Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

What is your favorite food? Ham

What is your favorite food? Cheeseburgers

What is your favorite food? Mac & Cheese

What is your favorite sport outside of soccer? Softball

What is your favorite sport outside of soccer? Skiing and Ice Hockey

What is your favorite sport outside of soccer? Gymnastics

What is your pet peeve (what thing makes you mad or drives you crazy)? None

What is your pet peeve (what thing makes you mad or drives you crazy)? My sisters annoying singing

What is your pet peeve (what thing makes you mad or drives you crazy)? When there are “bumps” in my ponytail.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? Hawaii because it’s hot there

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? Hollywood, to see famous people

What do you want to be when you grow up? Pro Soccer Player

What do you want to be when you grow up? A pro soccer player or real estate agent

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? Brazil, because it has very good soccer there.

Age: 9

Age: 10

Age: 9

What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be a professional soccer player.

2014 Virginia Friendlies ODP Trip US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program On February 20, 2014, 347 ODP players started their long journey to Williamsburg, Virginia to participate in the annual Virginia Friendlies hosted by Virginia Youth Soccer Association. 18 Eastern Pennsylvania ODP teams from U13-U17 took the fields over the three-day event to compete against the best from various states. Each team participated in training and had three games. Eastern Pennsylvania players experience so much more than just soccer during this trip; players stay with their teammates at a local hotel and spend all of their free time getting to know their fellow players and participate in fun activities.

We would like to recognize a member of our Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer U15/1999 ODP boys team, Sebastian Kelly. Sebastian made the US Youth Soccer Region I ODP International Boys Team. As a result, Sebastian traveled and played with the Region 1 ODP International team in Istanbul, Turkey, February 15th – 23rd.

Congratulations, Sebastian!


1191 Record number of players tried-out for the 2013-14 season


State Associations To develop and train the best soccer players in Eastern Pennsylvania and to provide opportunities to be identified for the Region One Team and the Youth National Teams.


4 Regions


USSF Licensed Coaches

Region Maine to Virginia

13 State



22 24




he Olympic Development Program’s primary mission is to identify elite level Region I players and facilitate their selection to the U.S. National Team programs. The selection process takes place through state, regional and national trials. The primary benefit to the player is to be able to try out, train and play against the best players in their age group, allowing the best players to further their development as soccer players. Below are Eastern Pennsylvania ODP players who were selected for Regional Events this year:

Girls ODP

U14 International Trip, February 13 – 20, 2014 Location: Costa Rica Kailee Coonan, Rachael Dorwart, Kaitlin Higgins

Interregional Thanksgiving Event Location: Boca Raton, Florida U17: Phoebe McClernon U16: Murphy Agnew, Claire Micheletti, Shea Moyer U15: Cayla Davis, Rachael Dorwart National Training Camp, January 27 – February 1, 2014 Location: Phoenix, Arizona U13: Christina DiGiulio, Annelise Peterson, Mackenzie Pluck, Kamryn Stablein U14: Cashlin Copley, Margaret Daeche, Giovanna DeMarco U15: Ashlyn Kearney

U15/U16 International Trip, February 20 – March 1, 2014 Location: Germany Murphy Agnew, Claire Micheletti, Sydney Zandi U16/U17 International Trip, March 16 – 31, 2014 Location: Sochi, Russia Phoebe McClernon, Shea Moyer

U16/U17 International Trip, March 19 – 26, 2014 Location: Costa Rica Madeline Brill-Edwards, Kylie Strong

Boys ODP

December 2013 Interregional Event Location: Sarasota, Florida and Bradenton, Florida U18: Wyatt Fabian, Trey Thomas U17: Byron Derti U16: John Eltringham, Jake Stengel



National E License

National E License

Boyertown YMCA Boyertown Soccer Club May 2 -– 4, 2014

Marple Point Middle School Langhorne Neshaminy USC May 16 -–18, 2014

F Certificate

National E License

Marple Point Middle School Langhorne Neshaminy USC May 17, 2014

Whitpain Township Building Whitpain Recreational Assn. June 6 – 8, 2014

NATIONAL E & F LICENSE For more information, details and registration, please visit 25

Why Can’t All the Children Play? By Mike Barr, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Director of Coaching


t is close to the end of Black History Month as I write this article. In a few days the movie “42” will not be shown as frequently, news stations with commentators describing the struggles to desegregate our country will disappear, newspaper articles and television shows on historical African Americans will fade away to eventually resurrect next February and solutions to provide all people opportunities for future success in any endeavor will only be heard in political rhetoric. I had witnessed firsthand in my former career as a teacher the disparity within school districts in funding, quality of teachers, facilities, pupil expectations, extra-curricular activities and early childhood programs. I saw different obstacles or advantages a child has when born in one school district or the district adjacent. The prospects for a child whose family is considered upper income or upper middle income are substantial over children born to families with less income. The windows of opportunity are few to the children of low income families but some children overcome the hurdles presented and excel. Many times the most open window has been youth sports. Unfortunately, that window is closing quickly for many children and quite possibly youth soccer may be the main culprit in youth sports exclusivity. The playing field in youth soccer has never been more uneven and it has had a major effect on urban city minorities, rural families and even some middle income families throughout the country being able to play what was once the game for every child. The cost to play youth soccer in many clubs within Eastern Pennsylvania has increased faster than the rising costs of college tuition. Parents of players as young as six are paying increased fees for club training as paid coaches begin to outnumber volunteer coaches throughout the state. This is one small piece of a dilemma facing youth soccer as clubs knowingly or unknowingly are slowly segregating the sport from low income households. Sadly, the U.S. Soccer Federation ignores this phenomenon and whatever consequences may result.


The causes are not just financial, as decisions to have travel teams at younger and younger ages have eliminated any opportunities for a child who is introduced to the sport at age eight or ten of improving or advancing as he or she gets older. Those children who start later are placed in the recreation program and never experience the quality of training or the number of trainings the travel team players receive. Families who pay for extra or private training at early ages certainly give their children a huge advantage over parents of children who can barely pay for club expenses. I find it not unusual to see children as young as seven, train two night a week with their club team, two nights with private or supplemental training within their club (at an additional cost) and play two games on the weekend. It mirrors in some strange way, the red shirted kindergarteners whose parents have the financial ability to keep them out of kindergarten until the latest possible age, in order to provide them the benefits of maturity over the children who start at the appropriate age. Smaller clubs that once provided quality training and opportunities for kids to a few neighborhoods, have been swallowed up by larger clubs. The

larger clubs are much like a Wal-Mart; they move into an area and eliminate the smaller local stores but in soccer’s case the services become more expensive. These large clubs may carry up to three travel teams at every age group. The opportunity to ride your bike, walk or get a short car ride with a group of friends from school to your club team’s practice is gone. Larger clubs will take players from any geographic area with little thought to driving distance but a clear understanding of finances. As players get older costs go up, training time grows, the number of tournaments increase, and travel is more extensive. Players who may participate in other sports are forced to choose soccer training or risk being removed from the team. Parents and players become faced with a dilemma of deciding to stop playing soccer, though they have invested thousands of dollars into their child’s participation. Unfortunately, more players are eliminated. This elimination is not due to a player’s ability but a family’s decision that soccer is too expensive or poses too many restraints on the player. Meanwhile, children in our inner-cities face a lack of facilities to play, do not have the money to play in suburban leagues, do not receive quality or professional training and do not have the transportation to get to suburban locations for recognition. This may be reflected in the number of African American players currently in the MLS. Though the diversity within the MLS is strong, as people of color comprise 52.3% of MLS players, only 10.6 % are African


American (13.1% in general population). Most of the players of color come from Africa, Central America, The Caribbean and South America. Conversely, 78% of the NBA is comprised of African Americans players and 77% people playing in the NFL are African American. Baseball, much like soccer, has a minimal

of coaching. Within high school programs there are players who play for their local clubs and have the skills to be among the elite players but will never be recognized. Rhetoric from Developmental Academy Directors consistently bash high school soccer and recognizes only a handful of elite club

“Irony is evident within youth soccer. How could a sport, that in order to play you really only need a ball, cost so much money?” amount of African Americans playing. As of 2013 only 8.5% were African Americans, from a high of 27% in 1975. This may be due to the high cost to play baseball, as baseball now sets up all year travel programs much like youth soccer and the influx of Caribbean players signing inexpensive contracts at early ages. This practice of signing young foreign players is also becoming common in the MLS.

programs, the Developmental Academies and the Elite Club Soccer League on the girl’s side as being the future of U.S. Soccer. Would it not make sense to examine all programs and players throughout the United States, with a strong scouting system that makes the effort to find players at every level rather to keep investing time and money into programs that promise very little?

In a time where criticism from U.S. Soccer Academy coaches is directed at high school soccer; these high school programs still provide players recognition at a minimal cost or no cost, a chance to play with neighborhood friends, play in front of their local community, play against players up to three years older and in many instances have the same quality

I really believe it would be a short amount of time before U.S. Soccer would reach the pinnacle of success on the world stage if soccer was made more affordable to all children. I can’t help but think Jurgen Klinsmann would enjoy choosing from a pool of the entire population rather than the 50 to 60 percent who can afford the high costs to play soccer.

The argument can be made that MLS Developmental Academies are providing free training for their players but those players also received quality training at younger ages before they entered the academies. What type of positive influence would there be in our National Programs if the money from Nike to support the Developmental Academies initially, would have been used to instill quality programs in the inner cities? If an initiative would be pushed to bring soccer to children with less means we would have a higher percentage of Americans playing in the MLS (currently 57.2%). Irony is an overused word today but irony plays a huge part of this discussion. I took my grandchildren to the movies recently to see The Lego Movie. As I bought three bottles of water for $13.50, I examined the irony that I could have the same water for virtually nothing in my home. Irony is evident within youth soccer. How could a sport, that in order to play you only really need a ball, cost so much money? How can you predict a successful player at age seven? How can we praise the virtue of youth soccer when a city with an MLS team cannot provide travel teams or school soccer to the children? We don’t need mandates from U.S. Soccer but just a rethinking of how soccer or any sport can be made affordable to all.


recreation exercises

By Gary Stephenson, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Assistant Director of Coaching

Red Light, Green Light Organization

• Set up a 20yd X 20yd grid • One ball per player inside the grid

Sequence & Progression

• Players dribble their ball around the square and follow the coach’s commands • On coach’s command: “Green light” – Players move around the grid randomly “Red light” – They stop the ball and put their foot on top (brake)

“Yellow light” – They move around slowly “Super green” – They move around fast (speed) “Reverse” – They do a pull-back (drag back)

Coaching Points

• Using various parts of the foot to dribble the ball • Head up while dribbling around • Change of speed

Fox and Farmers Organization

• Set up a 20yd X 20yd grid • One ball per player inside the grid • Half the group has a scrimmage vest

Sequence & Progression

• The group is split into 2 teams; the fox and the farmers. Each player has a ball. Each fox has a scrimmage vest tucked into the back of their shorts giving them fox tails. Each fox dribbles around keeping the ball away from the

farmers. The farmers must try and pull out the fox tails while dribbling their ball. Once a fox has lost its tail they become a farmer. Play until there is only one fox.

Coaching Points

• Using various parts of the foot to dribble the ball • Head up while dribbling around • Change of speed • Ball close while dribbling

End Zone Game Organization

• Two end zones are added to the 20yd x 20yd grid • Team is split into teams of 3 or 4

Sequence & Progression

• Teams score by dribbling the ball into the end zone and stopping the ball. Nobody without a ball is allowed into the end zone.


Coaching Points

• Dribble into open space • Add extra balls to increase touches on the ball. • Encourage the dribble • Head up looking


Resident Camps at Immaculata University

July 6-10 & July 13-17 Boys & Girls ages 10-17 Day/Evening Camps at a field near you

All Summer Long What to Expect: • Fun filled activities • High energy sessions • Injury prevention techniques • Training habits that give players confidence • Improved technical & tactical training of the game

What’s included: • Tactical training • Technical training • Physical dimensions • U.S. Soccer curriculum • FIFA 11+ warm-up program

Register Register Now Now @ @


Touchline Spring 2014  

Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer, Mike Barr, Gary Stephenson, Chris Branscome, Jim Kuntz, soccer, youth, Eastern Pennsylvania, US Soccer, U...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you