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The Essence of Volunteerism By Bob McDade, President, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer
ome of you may have recently seen a beautiful story on “CBS News Sunday Morning,” which related how a single father challenged himself to read to his daughter every night, to try to keep a close relationship with his daughter after they had been abandoned by the girl’s mother. The story told of how he read each night to his daughter from the time she was 10 through high school. That daughter, Alice Ozma (who recently wrote the book “The Reading Promise: My Father, and the Books We Shared,” which relates her relationship with her father) said “You would think 15 minutes a day wouldn’t be that fundamental but it turned out it was what everything came back to.” As I heard her speak those words, I realized that that is the essence of volunteerism – and the value that volunteers bring to our sports, our communities and our children. What her words quickly convey is how important and impactful the giving of just a little bit of our time can be in the development of a child. I am often involved in discussions in which peo-
Vol. XXXIII • July 2011 ple are “concerned” that youth soccer is going from a volunteer model to a pay model – and some of the stories relate a considerable amount of money being paid to trainers, coaches, etc. I agree with this concern and, while I recognize that some level of the pay model will always exist, I do believe that if we all challenge ourselves to give 15 minutes a day – 90 minutes a week -- to our children (our own and those of the community), we can get back, closer, to the volunteer model. As a volunteer coach, trainer and administrator, I can honestly say that my decision to say become a volunteer 25 years ago was one of the best life decisions I have ever made. Volunteerism is truly the life blood of youth sports, and each of us should do our part to ensure that youth soccer stays healthy. I challenge anyone who is reading this message, if you are not already involved, think about stepping up this summer or this fall when the opportunity to volunteer as a new coach, administrator and team parent comes your way. If you need any help with how you can become a successful volunteer, reach out to our office. We have numerous resources including books, guides, videos, courses and more to get you moving in the right direction.
Intramurals is Important!
By Chris Branscome, Chief Executive Officer, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer
layer development is one of the hottest topics in youth soccer today. Clubs and parents will do what they can to attract the best coaches and trainers. The goals are often to be accepted into a particular league; to compete on the regional or national level; to gain entry into the “right” tournaments and be identified by colleges or professional scouts. Left out of the discussion is development at the beginning stages. The overwhelming majority of soccer players enter the game at the intramural level, or a house league or rec soccer program. We need to do more to ensure these are positive experiences and build a solid foundation to grow the sport from a competitive perspective as well as develop our future fan base. How many children skip kindergarten or first grade and move right into second grade? Aren’t there critical
steps in a child’s academic and sociological development that would be missed, and put the child at a disadvantage? How can we expect a child to dribble, pass with the inside of their foot or properly take a throw-in, if they have never been correctly taught? Mastery of the basic skills at the young ages will allow for the game to grow and flourish. To that end, to teach the basic skills and rules of the game, we need to see more of our experienced coaches’ work with these children and their parents. Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer is committed to the growth of the game. Our coaching staff is available to assist you develop your programs, as are our coaching education courses, videos, and club-based clinics. There has been a significant amount of time and money spent in developing our older, more competitive players, but think where we might be as a sport if we spent more time with the younger players. Perhaps we’d see more kids continue to play the sport into their teens. Perhaps they will develop a passion for soccer that will one day turn them into coaches and further grow our game.
Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer
4070 Butler Pike, Suite 100 Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462 Phone: 610-238-9966 Fax: 610-238-9933 www.epysa.org EXECUTIVE BOARD 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 Immediate Past President Tom Dougherty 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 Assistant Director of Coaching Danielle Fagan Director of Camps Sheldon Chamberlain Membership Services Specialist: Beck Kleinert ODP/Coaching Administrator Kelly Connor Programs Assistant Meghan Walker Accountant Serena Karlson Interns Natalie Dizio, Christopher Rio Public Relations Consultant Jim DeLorenzo TOUCHLINE Interim Editor-in-Chief Jim DeLorenzo Contributors Evan Kravitz, Christopher Rio, Natalie Dizio
A.E. Engine 11880 28th Street North, Suite 101 St. Petersburg, Florida 33716 (727) 209.0792 / Fax: (727) 209.1776 email@example.com www.ae-engine.com 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….................................................3 Chief Executive Officer’s Report…................................3 Coaching Combination Play.........................................13 Coaching Corner….......................................................14, 19 2011 State Cup.........................................................…24 ODP Try-outs in Sept…..................................................17 August Education Courses..........................................29 Features Broken Bones….............................................................5 Southeastern PA Hall of Fame…..................................8 Dan Venuto..................................…...............................9 Jen Gibbons..................................….............................11 Region I Championships.............................................22 On Racisim & Bullying…..............................................27 Scholarship Winners...................................................29
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Broken Bones By Christopher P. Rio
occer is a sport that is played through a series of thousands of split second decisions made by competitors on the field. Any one of those decisions has the ability to completely change the outcome of the game for better or for worse. However, sometimes these split second decisions don’t just affect the outcome of the game but they have the chance to affect the mental and physical well being of the players involved. This is a truth that 15 year old Bobby Kelly knows all too well, even though on this day an act of kindness would come from an unfamiliar source. It was a cold, windy morning as Bobby’s PA Rush team squared off against FC Bucks. The ball was played in Bobby’s direction on the left hand side of the field. In a split second Bobby decides to race towards the ball, and with the force of his body behind him he strikes the ball. At the instant of Bobby’s impact upon the ball the opposing player struck the ball with the same force that Bobby exerted upon it. Something had to give, and unfortunately for Bobby it was his leg. “It didn’t really feel painful because I was in shock but as I was falling down I saw my leg and it didn’t
look good,” said Bobby. Bobby had just recovered from a broken jaw that he had suffered during a Thanksgiving weekend tournament, and now he laid there on the field with a broken tibia and fibula. “It was his second game back and barely 10 minutes into the game before he got hurt again,” said Bobby’s dad Bob Kelly. “My reaction while sitting on the ground after the injury was just ugh, not again,” said Bobby. Another person who had already been through these circumstances with Bobby was Bobby’s father. At first Mr. Kelly wasn’t sure what had happened on the field, but he soon came to realize that his son was injured once again. “I was talking to other parents and saw two players come together and then Bobby’s coach said, somebody call 911. I looked for Bobby and didn’t see him and then I noticed his cleats were sticking out from the ground from the people behind him and I just ran out onto the field.” After everyone’s shock wore off it became the chief priority to get Bobby to the nearest hospital as fast as possible. Even though Bobby had been playing soccer since he was five and was very passionate about the game, he began to question if he would ever play again. “I was saying to myself I never want to play again. I just thought I’m done with it,” said Bobby. Bobby and his father arrived at St. Mary’s Hospital at 9:30 a.m., and Bobby wouldn’t be operated on until 4:30 later that afternoon. During this time the doctors supplied Bobby with maximum amounts of morphine but nothing seemed to help his pain. “It was the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my entire life,” said Bobby. The doctors tried alternative measures to fix Bobby’s leg instead of a full-blown operation. However, nothing seemed to work and the doctors decided to position a plate and screws into Bobby’s leg to make sure it would heal correctly.
Soccer is called the beautiful game because of the elegance of the players on the field, and the way the dazzling green fields catch the spectator’s eye. After Bobby’s surgery however, soccer became a beautiful game not just because of the way it appears on the field, but because of a somewhat lost ideal called sportsmanship off the field. After his surgery Bobby received greetings, and condolences from familiar faces such as family, teammates, and coaches. They even chipped in to buy Bobby a gift basket filled with soccer magazines, a Philadelphia Union t-shirt, and candy. However, a couple of weeks after the surgery Bobby received something in the mail that he wasn’t expecting. “It was really unexpected. I opened it up and saw the jersey and I opened the card and it said from your FC Bucks bros. I felt like they really cared and were sad about what happened,” said Bobby. Injuries are a part of sports that all of the participants need to deal with. However, with the severity of Bobby’s injury the FC Bucks players and coaching staff realized that even though they were on the opposing team they are still all part of the youth soccer family and that they needed to do something to help Bobby through his ordeal. “I think it is important for coaches and players to take a step back and realize that we are all in the same community together and we should treat one another like we would treat our own,” said FC Bucks coach Evren Asral. Bobby is making a swift recovery and he plans on playing soccer again for his high school team Lansdale Catholic this fall. Bobby also appreciates the gesture from the players and coaches on the FC Bucks team and he is grateful for the class they conducted themselves with. “They showed good sportsmanship. I’ve played teams where coaches, parents and players were all yelling at the refs and this team was the exact opposite of that,” said Bobby. TL
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One of our own Drafted by Philadelphia Union By Christopher P. Rio
rowing up in South Hampton, Ryan Richter had many dreams. Like many kids his age one of them was to play professional soccer. This past April 1st, Ryan’s hometown team, the Philadelphia Union, was picking next in the 2011 Major League Soccer Superdraft and Ryan was still available. Luckily for Ryan the management of the Union had taken a liking to his style of play and they weren’t about to lose him to another team. “We scouted Ryan playing for LaSalle University and believed that he had the qualities that would allow him to be successful at this level,” said Philadelphia Union coach John Hackworth. When Ryan got word that he would be playing professional soccer for his hometown team he could hardly believe his ears. It was a moment that almost didn’t seem real to him because now his dream was becoming reality. “It was the best day of my life when I heard I was selected by the Union,” said Richter. “I didn’t know who would select me, I had heard from a few teams saying they were interested in me and obviously in the back of my mind I was always hoping I’d be drafted by Philly and hoping I could play here after I got drafted.” Many young athletes dream of playing their sport at the highest level for their local professional franchise. For Richter, he will be able to play in the city that he grew up around, and he is able to play in front of the people that matter most to him. Growing up, Ryan played initially at Southampton Soccer Association, Warrington, Phoenix SC and FC Delco. During his younger years he was coached by John Morris and his father, Todd Richter, while at Delco he was coached by Mike Gorni and Dave Tordone. “It is a great situation to be able to play in front of my family and friends. I stayed close for college so I could play in front of my family and so that I could see my family all the time. Now I am still able to live here in Philly and now my family and friends can still
come to everyone of my games and I couldn’t ask for anything more,” said Richter. Some of the characteristics that enabled Ryan to separate himself from the rest of the players in the draft are his dedication to the game, his work ethic, and his competitiveness. Ryan’s attitude towards soccer and dedication towards getting playing time allows him to bring an important element to the team. “Ryan has the correct mentality it takes to succeed at this level. He brings that desire and competitive approach to each training session, which is so important to an individual’s development,” said Hackworth. Ryan’s ability to work through fatigue, and fight through the daily grind of being a professional soccer player comes from a burning desire that lies deep within him to be the best. It also comes from the words of advice he has received from his coaches throughout his soccer career, and those words are “never give up”. Those three words seem to supply Ryan with the daily motivation he needs to keep doing his best. “Something I’ve always been told throughout my career is never give up and I know that it sounds kind of cliché but that doesn’t just mean on the field. For me it’s something I take into the weight room everyday and motivates me to get the extra running in so that I can be prepared for all the opportunities that came my way,” said Richter. Even through Ryan’s playing days at LaSalle University he was able to make a name for himself due to his insatiable work ethic, and athletic ability on the field. “Ryan always had a really good upside athletically, and the thing that really impressed you about him and made him stand out was that he had a lot of desire and dedication. When you are able to combine athletic ability with desire like he could you will have a greater chance at being successful,” said head soccer coach at LaSalle University Pat Farrell. Now Ryan is trying to translate his incredible work ethic into playing time on the field for the Union. Through Ryan’s intense preparation during practice and through his off the field training activities he has been able to keep himself mentally and physically motivated even though his playing time slim. “I need to work hard every day at training and hope that my opportunity will come,” said Richter. Richter went on to say how the veterans on the team are helping him transition into the pros. ”I take a lot of advice from the older guys on the team because when they came into the league for the first couple years they were waiting to play just like me.,” Richter said. Richter seems confident that if he continues to stay on
the same regiment daily he will eventually hear his name called for his first real live game action. “Eventually my chance will come and I just need to keep working hard for it. For now I’m just trying to get better everyday and be ready for that opportunity when it does come, but the main thing is that I can’t get discouraged about my lack of playing time because I’ve achieved something that not a lot of people achieve in their lifetime.” As for the prospects for the rest of the Union’s season Richter believes that they have as good of a shot as any team to win the MLS championship. “We are a really good team and we have a lot of veteran leadership and as they say in every sport that’s really important in the post season and that’s why I honestly believe we have a very good chance at winning the whole thing this year.” Now that Richter is a professional soccer player playing for the Philadelphia Union, and even better, a pro soccer player who grew up playing within the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer system, he realizes kids from the area will be looking up to him. When asked what advice he would share with youth soccer players in Pennsylvania, Richter said, “One thing that is important to understand is that you can’t get discouraged when you don’t get accolades or the opportunities other people get because that’s how other people view you and if you keep working hard and you keep fighting for that chance and for that opportunity to succeed you are going to.” “I would absolutely say I’m living my dream because my dream was to play professional soccer and it couldn’t have worked out any better than the way it did.” TL
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Southeastern PA Soccer Hall of Fame Inducts 4 Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Alums into Its Ranks By Christopher P. Rio
he Southeastern Pennsylvania Soccer Hall of Fame (SEPA) held its 64th annual induction ceremony on Saturday, May 14 when they honored 10 outstanding men and women for their years of dedication to soccer. Among the class of 2011 were Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer’s own Sheldon Chamberlain, Richard Groff, Carol Urbach, and Patrick Farrell by making them official SEPA Hall of Fame members. Four of these individuals included Sheldon, Richard, Carol and Patrick. SEPA has been involved with soccer since 1949. They are one of the oldest organizations in the country to honor the game and the amazing accomplishments of the people involved in it. Every year they induct nine or ten new candidates into their hall of fame and for those people the hall of fame represents “a lifetime of accomplishments in some aspect of soccer whether it was playing, coaching, administrating, or any combination of these,” according to SEPA president Bob Kozlowski. “We look for things such as contributions to the game, which is more than playing, as well as what they did when they stopped playing,” said Kozlowski, “Also we want to see if they coached or helped society in some way. Anyone can kick a ball or score a goal. But it is what you do to change a young man or woman’s life that we look for in our inductees.” Sheldon “Shelly” Chamberlain, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer’s director of camps, was able to meet all of the Board’s pre-set criteria with flying colors. Chamberlain was a head coach at LaSalle and Villanova, as well as for Eastern Pennsylvania’s Olympic Development Program (ODP). Chamberlain has been able to transfer his love of the game to younger players through a lifestyle in which he focuses on the mental, physical, and social health of his players. Chamberlain has been a mainstay in
the soccer community for nearly sixty years and has dedicated his entire life to the game he loves. He couldn’t have been more honored to accept an award that validates his commitment to soccer throughout his lifetime. “Receiving this award is the icing on the cake, and it’s the top of the pyramid because it shows that your peers honor you, respect you and they give you the recognition for all of the years you put into the game,” said Chamberlain. Richard Groff is another Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer standout that exemplifies SEPA standards and his resume made his selection into the hall of fame an easy decision for the committee. At a time when Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer was in a bit of disarray Richard was able to set the ball rolling in the right direction again as president of the organization “Richard organized Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer (serving as its president from 1987 to 1991) when it was a fragmented organization,” said Kozlowski. “Soccer in Pennsylvania owes a lot to Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer and Richard because they guided the sport and made lots of opportunities for players, especially for girls. We used to have a very small number of girls teams and after about 20 years the number of teams between boys and girls has evened out.” Some of Richard’s other notable positions and activities within soccer in America include serving the president of the U.S. Adult Soccer Association, as vice president of U.S. Soccer from 1991-1994, and promoting several international games in the Eastern Pennsylvania Region. Richard was surprised that he was going to be inducted, but once the feeling began to sink into his mind he couldn’t have felt more honored about his induction. “Well, I think it is a recognition from the Philadelphia soccer community that you have done a good job and I think its great,” said Groff. “It is quite an honor and it is great to share an experience like this with the rest of the Philadelphia soccer family.” Throughout his career Richard has had the opportunity to see the many different phases that the game has to offer in many different areas around the country and throughout his career no area has been more important to him than the Philadelphia region. “For me, even though I ended up being with U.S. Soccer at the national level, being on their Board of Directors and being an officer of U.S. Soccer, the very first choice for a soccer event was still Philadelphia,” said Groff. “So you can get honors elsewhere, but this
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is where I started and I’ve been involved with a lot of people in this area for 30 years and for them to say you did a great job is very satisfying.” Carol Urbach has been a special part of the foundation that Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer has depended on for 25. Urbach is the fourth woman selected into the SEPA Hall of Fame, and a role model for young females in the region for decades to come. Urbach has been a leader in Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer’s administration for the indoor and outdoor State Cups, as well as other events. “I know the importance of the administration in youth soccer and you wouldn’t have all of these players and allstars and championships without that,” said Kozlowski. As for Carol’s feelings about her induction into the Hall of fame, well, she couldn’t believe her ears. “After hearing all of the previous recipient’s resumes and hearing all of their accomplishments I was truly humbled,” said Urbach. “I am extremely excited but truly humbled. I’m proud and honored by the whole thing.” Patrick Farrell has been one of the most prominent coaching figures in the Philadelphia region for the past 20 years. Throughout his years with LaSalle University, and as a long time coach with Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer, Farrell has been able to reach many young people’s lives and help them grow into a not just a great player on the field but, more importantly, a first-class person off the field. For these reasons Farrell was an easy selection on the part of the SEPA committee. “Pat Farrell has been great for the game,” said Kozlowski. “He played and then he did the next step in the process and he went back and coached and had an impact on players, and he’s a good role model for kids.” When Farrell heard he was going to be selected into the SEPA Hall of Fame he was very humbled by his induction. “It really is a tremendous honor,” said Farrell. “Most of the coaches I had when I was a younger player had all been members of SEPA, and it really is a big honor for me to be included with all of those coaches. I also have a lot of respect for what they have done for me while I was a player and helping me become a coach. I’ve been at LaSalle since 1971, when I was a player. Then I was there for 11 years as an assistant coach and 24 years as a head coach. This award means a lot because it’s the recognition for all of that time put in.” TL
Dan Venuto Skips out on HS graduation – to Play in Croatia By Christopher P. Rio
hile most high school seniors were prepping for graduation and planning summer vacations, 18-year-old Dan Venuto, a player for the YMS club, was preparing himself for a soccer journey to a world much different from that of Bensalem. Dan, an Archbishop Ryan High School student, decided to forgo his graduation ceremony and instead play soccer with his
Region I ODP team in Croatia, his first trip abroad from May 29th to June 7th. At first, Dan’s family looked into flying him back from Croatia to attend graduation, but the logistics were too complex. Dan would receive his diploma regardless of missing the ceremony but ultimately the decision was Dan’s to make, according to his father, John. John realized how much effort his son had put into making the ODP team, and he wanted Dan to arrive at a decision that would make him the happiest. So John offered Dan some advice. “You went through a whole year and a half of tryouts to get to this point, and you really earned making this team,” said John. After much deliberation, Dan decided that the opportunity to see another part of the world and play soccer within a different culture was too much to pass up on. His mind was set on going to Croatia. “It was a hard decision, but I felt like this was a once in a lifetime thing and something I just had to do,” said Dan. The support Dan received from family and friends alleviated some of the stress he felt while coming to a
decision. They all knew how much this meant to him so they did everything they could to help him through the process. “All of my friends were supportive and more excited than anything when I made my decision,” said Dan. “Even my high school coaches supported my decision.” Dan didn’t have time to be nervous about how his team would fare overseas; there were too many other emotions running through him. “I am more excited than nervous,” said Dan. “I don’t know what to expect. I’m just eager to see how they play in Croatia and the way their culture is different then ours.” As for Dan’s parents, they were, of course nervous about their son’s trip. But their excitement for his opportunity outweighed the distance that would separate them for a few days. “I’m really happy for him,” said John. “I want him to enjoy himself, and I hope he learns a little bit of the culture.” While Dan is in Croatia his team will play five games against local teams. He feels optimistic about their chances given his team’s chemistry. As this edition of Touchline was going to press, Dan was returning home and gearing up to play soccer at West Chester University this fall. TL
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Jen Gibbons Takes on the Challenge of Coaching Education By Natalie Dizio
hen Jen Gibbons picked up the spring edition of Touchline, an article caught her eye. The article, “Wanted: Female Soccer Coaches! The Girls Need You,” by Danielle Fagan, the assistant director of coaching for Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer, stressed the need for more women to take part in coaching education. An avid athlete and independent strength and conditioning coach specializing in Pilates in Exton, Gibbons felt an immediate connection to the call for more female coaches in a sport long dominated by men. Soccer has always been a part of Gibbons’ life. She played as a child growing up in Syracuse, and then continued when she moved to Lancaster. She first took to the field as a goalie for an all-boys team at an age when it never occurred to her she was any different from her teammates. She progressed to travel, select and premiere levels. When she attended college at Penn State’s York campus and found out there was no soccer program there, she sprang into action and started a rec league. But Gibbons stopped playing after college. She had a career to focus on and she was
becoming a mom. But her “retirement” from soccer was short-lived. When her daughter, nine-year-old Kayla began playing in 2006 Gibbons would later become the assistant coach of the team. She soon realized she needed more coaching education. “If you don’t know how to deliver the material then you’re not worth your weight in salt.” said Gibbons. Her quest for more youth soccer coaching tips led her to regular trips to Barnes & Noble, where she avidly read books written by USSF coaches. Still, Gibbons felt there was more to learn. “I felt like I needed more information,” said Gibbons. “I didn’t have the full picture. I had a good idea, but I wanted some credibility. I wanted to be around other coaches and expand my knowledge.” And so Gibbons decided to take her first step in her educational coaching journey and signed up for the U.S. Soccer “E” licensing course. A course she soon discovered is composed of mostly male candidates. Her enthusiasm melted to intimidation that first night as she walked into the classroom. Gibbons was only one of two females to sign up for the course. Imagine her surprise. “I couldn’t even see the other woman,” Gibbons explained. “I think there were 26 men. To me, in my brain, it looked like 40. I just started to sweat and felt really nervous.” Gibbons remembers the men being double her size and seemingly hesitant about her presence. Her 5’3, 110 pound self no doubt felt even more petite that day. Fortunately, the second day brought a more positive experience as nerves unwound
for both Gibbons and the men. As Gibbons’ started proving herself in the course and on the playing field, the fact that she was a woman was quickly disregarded. “When you start syncing and completing passes, they respect you more,” Gibbons recalled, “I started to relax when we actually started to play.” Her biggest inspiration came from course instructor Tim Lucas. “He was so energetic and passionate and knowledgeable about the game that he made me want to be a better coach,” Gibbons said. Lucas was just as impressed with Gibbons. Lucas praised her humility and desire to learn. “Compared to the other guys, she was very outspoken and I mean that in a positive way,” said Lucas. “She also wanted more information on how to deal with parent-coach conflicts, parent-board conflicts, behind the scenes, not only on the field about how a coach manages player but parents as well.” Gibbons put in the effort throughout the course and got out of it everything she expected plus much more. She didn’t just learn coaching tactics and skills. She also left the course with an immense amount of confidence in herself and as a developing coach. “It is absolutely the best thing you can do for yourself. As a female, being a coach, it can be intimidating no matter what. It gave me so much more confidence in making the decision to contribute coaching and now that I have the knowledge, I feel more powerful,” said Gibbons. Lucas concurs. He is also a strong believer in the lessons female coaches can instill in their players, especially a coach like Gibbons. “I think she’ll be a fantastic coach. Girls need a positive female role model,” he said, “Not Lady Gaga.” Gibbons has already signed up for her next coaching course with the NSCAA. This course will help her prepare for the U.S. “D” licensing course she intends to take on next year. “If I’m with the team for however many years, for every year I’m with them, I’ll try to achieve the next level. As they grow, I’ll try to grow as a coach as well,” she said. TL
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Coaching Combination Play: The Wall Pass Sequence & Progression
Phase 1 • Players knock the ball back and forth 2- and 3-touch in 1 place about 20 yards apart • At any time, one player shows at an angle in a side-on position to his/her partner • The player with the ball then passes it, then sprints by an imaginary defender to get the ball back off a 1-touch return pass.
Warm-up: (Fig 1) Organization
• Pairs in open space with one ball for Phase 1 • Groups of 6 – 8 with two balls in a diamond formation for Phase 2
• Mark out a 40 x 30 yard grid with a 5 foot square in the center. • Spilt team in 2 groups: 1 on outside of grid and 1 on the inside of the grid. Each player on the inside has a ball.
• Keep the ball on the ground • Player checking to the ball at an angle to create the “wall” should be wide and side-on • The initial pass to the “wall” player should be to his/her far foot so the return pass is 1-touch and leads the runner • After passing to the “wall” the player who passed the ball accelerates to the open space
Phase 2 • 2 – 4 players at cones at top and bottom of diamond grid with 1 ball at each end, and 1 player at each side cone of the diamond grid without a ball • Players on the ends pass to the player at the cone to the right of them, then sprint to get a return pass • Option to have the player who just did the wall pass to switch with the player on the cone
Sequence & Progression
Main Activity: 1 v 1 + 2 (Fig. 2)
each time and rotate around the grid or keep the same players as the wall passers and rotate after 2 minutes
• Players dribble around the grid and pass to players on the outside who pass back. Players must dribble through the square in the center before going to another player on the outside. • Time the players to see how many passes they can get in 1 minute. • Get their scores and either add them as a team or keep them as individuals. • Switch group on outside with group on inside after 1 minute.
• Start with the balls on the outside of the grid and have player run through the square in the middle, receive a pass and then pass back to the same player. • Same as above except have the players receive
a pass, dribble through the square and then pass it to another player. The player in the center of the square will then go to a different player with a different ball. • Add one or two defenders to knock balls away. • Have players on the outside toss the ball in like a throw-in so players on the inside can practice receiving the ball out of the air with their feet, thighs, head and chest.
• Use the inside of the foot with ankle locked and heel down with toe up when passing and receiving • Get body side-on and open to the grid when checking to receive a pass • Communicate so that players don’t end up with more than one ball at a time • Strike the center of the ball to keep it on the ground and place the non-kicking foot next to the ball towards the target for an accurate pass.
EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA YOUTH SOCCER • TOUCHLINE
Reexamining Traditional Soccer Coaching Methodology and Introducing Brain Centered Learning in Soccer Michael Barr, Director of Coaching • Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association
was fortunate enough to have Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer send me to a coaching symposium in London the weekend of the Champions League Final. The event took place at Bacon College, which has a working partnership with the Fulham Football Club. The main presenter was Michel Bruyninckx, trainer/coach of the Royal Belgium Football Federation who has caught the attention of many coaches in Europe based on his curriculum of “Brain Centered Learning in Football.” Former England International Chris Waddle sees a real need for the FA to reexamine the coaching methods used in English Football because the players in England have little flair, movement or confidence in their game. The lack of success internationally for England could be a direct result of following traditional training and not keeping up with newer accelerated means to train youth. Bruyninckx may be just what English Football needs and what American soccer should examine very closely as other out dated curriculums may be force fed to coaches, parents and players alike. With his methods endorsed by ex-Belgian National coaches Paul van Himst and Robert Waseige, Bruyninckx estimates 25% of the 100 or so players he has coached have gone on to play at top professional clubs or National Teams. It is pioneering work, better still it has broad applications across many sports besides soccer. Bruyninckx began his presentation with a quote from Dr. Paul Bach-y-Rita,“We see with our brains not with our eyes.” Bruyninckx feels we can make better players in a neural way in order to optimize rhythm, timing and space. In watching Barcelona against Manchester United, they are a clear reflection of what the outcome could be if those areas are emphasized. In addition Michel sees the need for young players to control emotion and show respect to teammates, opponents, referees and the game. Again, look to how the Barcelona players conduct themselves on the field and off. Slaven Bilic’ the National Team Coach for Croatia has stated, “Systems are dying, and it’s about the movement of ten players.” Michel’s training involves constant movement and concentration. He also believes in the strength of a strong social network in order to lower physical aggression during matches, stimulate cultural integration and improve school performance.
Dr. Marc Comerford of Australia is a proponent of the strength of the pelvic area in preventing future problems and persistent injuries for soccer players. Bruyninckx sees a reason for the lack of pelvic strength is due to not developing players to be strong with both feet, which keeps the pelvis in the correct position and utilizes both sides of their body. Without strength in the pelvic area injuries develop in numerous areas of the body. Prevention of reoccurring injuries in players should be a major concern. Michel points out that over half of all the World Cup Players in 2002 and 2006 took anti-inflammatory medication during matches. All of Michel’s training sessions utilize skill and comfort. Players are told that tackling is a last resort to win the ball. Often times warm up exercises with the ball are done without soccer shoes. Michel brought out that the FIFA 11 was found to be a cause of pelvic issues and is now in the process of changing. Spatial awareness and vision is impeded if coaches do not develop training utilizing peripheral training but continue to use central sight training. This vision can only be achieved when technique is introduced in small groups and the spatial organization of the exercise is based on external focusing. Success of a training session is based on cognitive readiness, spatial reasoning, temporal processing, skill acquisition in a soccer context and developing perceptual awareness and skills. Also players will learn with greater speed and precision if reinforcement and encouragement is constantly administered. He shares that competent players need 500,000 touches on the ball a year but he is not a proponent of Gladwell’s 10,000 hours rule because it leads to false expectations. For a training session to be effective and for the brain to retain the information, the session should peak curiosity, increase motivation, provide interest and be fun. Michel says, “The environment plays a larger role than genetics when developing players.” Emotions shape the brain and help store information. In fact Michel feels strongly that you can change lifelong behaviors and patterns even with professional players. He practices what he preaches because in addition to soccer, he works with elderly stroke victims in recovering stability and memory. Brain plasticity makes for life-long learning for everyone. The other issue that Michel feels strongly about is the weeding of players born in the last half of the year. How can we as coaches deprive players of quality training because of the time of year he or she may be born; especially at early ages? His research shows that synchronized tasks in training harmonize both team and individual learning. The four pillars of training should be emotion, attention, concentration and motivation. His exercises often have double tasking with a strong external focus from what an individual may be doing and leading to a final result. All
14 EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA YOUTH SOCCER • TOUCHLINE
his exercises start in a simple way but lead to differential learning where players are challenged to find optimal solutions. He believes in variable repetitions as opposed to repetitions in the same manner. This may include utilizing different sized balls in an exercise, counting or posing questions as the exercise takes place. In each exercise there should be continuous synchronization in an attempt to reduce perceptual time. He feels strongly that through Ballritmics you can improve coordination, agility, confidence and the strength in all surfaces of the weaker foot. You can see Ballritmics in action by searching on the internet Michel Bruyninckx or the term Ballritmics. Bruyninckx’ s training information is in complete agreement with leading educators in the world, who are attempting to improve education worldwide through compressing the time it takes to teach and learn the basics of a curriculum using learner centered principles and practices. His goal is to creatively engage players’ multiple learning systems, resulting in faster, deeper, and more proficient learning is the same as newer education curriculum models worldwide. We make connections with both sides of the brain with physical activity, where we crisscross the right and left side of our bodies. Motor stimulation directly impacts brain development and academic achievement for all ages. We can absorb more information faster if presented in a way that interests the learner. Positive emotions in a relaxed, alert state improve both learning and motivation. Threats impair any growth within the brain. Internal rewards (e.g., a sense of pride and satisfaction with one’s accomplishments) work better than external ones (e.g., candy, money, special privileges….. trophies?) Brain research tells us that we are we are naturally motivated by curiosity and novelty, meaningful activities, and successes (Jensen 1998, 65). As learners we take in more information visually than through any of our other senses. Our brains actually perceive information in images. Muscle memory helps us recall certain skills; it also helps us recall information associated with certain actions. Physical exercise by children from birth to about age ten stimulates the growth of neurological pathways in the brain needed for learning. I will be corresponding with Michel in the future and plan to have him show coaches in our state the numerous exercises he now utilizes with different player ability levels in his training. I am also attempting to bring Michel to our workshop in February. Hopefully our Region and US Soccer may have an interest in exploring the successful methods he employs. His training methods should not be ignored. It may offer our country the opportunity to produce consistent, confident, well-rounded players and coaches in the near future. TL
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A Young Goalie with Zeal & Ambition on the Rise in Lancaster By Natalie Dizio
s the last defender on the field, a lot is riding on your ability to make the momentous save when an opponent is on a breakaway coming straight at you. For that split second, right before your opponent open fires, thinking about technique or which foot they’re planning to shoot with won’t stop the goal. Instead, it comes down to instinct. Lauren Trower, 16, of Lancaster has that instinct. As a standout goalie in the U17 matronal pool and ODP Region I pool who also plays for Hempfield High School and LDC United, Lauren gravitated to the net when she was 10 years old. She remembers being put in as goalie because she was the tallest kid on the team. Encouraged by her mom and dad, both former athletes, Lauren quickly became absorbed with soccer and discovered she has a knack for stopping shots on goal, as well as a super-charged competitive streak. Her constant craving for soccer undoubtedly contributes to her success-stacked resume in the game. Trower has been named to the Region I ODP pool for four years in a row and most recently, joined the elite few in the Under 17 national pool this past year. ODP has given Trower much exposure to some of
the highest caliber soccer in the U.S. as well as travel opportunities, such as a recent trip to Costa Rica. “I just can’t get enough of it. I’ve never felt burnt out or anything,” Trower said. “I am really competitive and I want to be the best and do everything I can do to be the best. I think it’s easy if you love something to just do it all of the time.” John Gregg, coach of her ODP team, also recognizes this zealous drive that other goalies seem to be missing. “Lauren is a leader, she is not afraid to tell her teammates what needs to be done and what is not being done all while having the ability to lift and congratulate them as well,” stated Gregg. “She players bigger than she is, she earns the respect of teammates through her personality and her desire to win.” Her ambition is also matched with the right attitude as a goalkeeper’s job on a field is considerably different from any field position. It demands a different mindset. “You have to take on more of a role than the rest of the players because the whole game is in front of you and you are the last person on the field who has a chance to save your team from getting scored on,” Trower explained.
16 EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA YOUTH SOCCER • TOUCHLINE
The ability to handle the stress and pressure of the position is critical to succeeding in it as well. This is perhaps what separates a good goalkeeper from a great one. “As a field player if you mess up, you have multiple people to back you up but as a goalkeeper, it’s a goal, so you have to stay more focused and stress the organization on the field to your teammates,” she said. When a well-placed ball finds the back of the net, Trower admits, “I have to shake it off because you’re the most vocal person on the field and you have to let everyone know that it’s okay and we will come back and score again.” Not only is the mindset of a goalie different, but the physical demands of the position are unlike those of a field player as well. The position dictates a different kind of strength and power, contends Trower. “You use different muscles and your core has to be really strong for diving and everything, hand-eye coordination and vertical and horizontal movement,” said Trower. Usually she spends most of team practice with specific training that applies only to goalkeepers. Still, she places value in keeping with her foot skills, ultimately making her a more rounded player. As her high school years come to a close, Trower is already attracting interest from many Division I college soccer programs. Her long-time aspiration is to play Division I soccer while studying business at Georgetown University, and the interest is definitely mutual. “Georgetown is a great school and I think it is a good idea to look at schools are academically strong to try to get into instead of trying to get into the ones you already know you can,” Trower asserts. “I like the coach and the soccer is good. Everything fell into place and it seems to be exactly what I’m looking for.” “At her age now, she knows that nothing is ever given to you. She understands that to get something, you have to work hard for it,” Gregg said. With such focus and drive, this goalkeeper is destined to succeed, not just on the pitch, but in everything she chooses to do and what matters most to Lauren Trower is “knowing I tried my hardest and did everything I could to get as far as I could and that I had fun doing it too.” TL
Olympic Development Program (ODP) Try-outs in September 2011-2012 Season What is ODP? The US YOUTH SOCCER Olympic Development Program, or ODP as it is more commonly called, is a national identification and development program for high-level players. The program identifies and develops youth players throughout the country to represent their state association, region and the United States in soccer competition. ODP teams are formed at the state association and regional levels, made up of the best players in various age groups. At the state association level, pools of players are identified in each eligible age group, and brought together as a team to develop their skill through training and competition. From the state pools and subsequent teams, players are identified for regional and national pools and teams. Since 1977, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer’s Olympic Development Program has identified and trained players at the elite level. ODP provides supplemental training and competitive opportunities for players with the goal of advancement to US Youth Soccer Region 1 teams and ultimately, national team selections. Through training and regional competition, ODP also provides players with exposure to college
coaches. Eastern Pennsylvania ODP has been highly successful at the national level winning several US Youth Soccer ODP Championships. Most of our players successfully transition to college play and several have developed into professional players and have represented the United States in the Olympics and World Cup. ODP Tryouts will take place in September 2011 for the 2011-2012 ODP Season. Tryout dates and locations will be posted by August 2011, so please check our website (www.epysa.org) for the most up to date information as it relates to ODP. ODP Age Groups for the 2011-2012 Season ODP age is different than club/league age. ODP age is by calendar year. U-12 PLAYERS BORN IN 2000 (6 teams) U-13 PLAYERS BORN IN 1999 (3 teams) U-14 PLAYERS BORN IN 1998 (2 teams) U-15 PLAYERS BORN IN 1997 (1 team) U-16 PLAYERS BORN IN 1996 (1 team) U-17 PLAYERS BORN IN 1995 (1 team)
Real Philly. Real SocceR.
U-12 (Players born in 2000) will have six “district” teams in various locations across Eastern Pennsylvania. The six locations are: • Lancaster/Harrisburg • Delaware County/Chester County • Wilkes Barre/Scranton • Allentown/Reading • Philadelphia/Bucks County • Williamsport/Lewistown U-13 (Players born in 1999) will have three “district” teams in various locations across Eastern Pennsylvania. The three locations are: • Lehigh Valley • Lancaster/Harrisburg • Philadelphia Area (Delaware County/Chester County/Bucks County) The goal of the U-12 and U-13 Age Groups is player development. By keeping larger pools of players, we are providing an opportunity for more players to participate in ODP, take part in exclusive playing opportunities, and receive coaching from some of the best coaches in Eastern Pennsylvania.
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OMG – LOL – JK – TTYL -- Communicating with Today’s Youth Soccer Players By Danielle Fagan, Assistant Director of Coaching, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer
i th everyone attached to a Bluetooth headset, BlackBerry, iPod, iPad or iPhone, and finding out how people are doing via their status on Facebook, we’re connected more than ever, yet we’ve become simultaneously disconnected. Interpersonal communications have been reduced to a computer screen and maybe some pictures and videos. While Skype and video chatting have bridged a huge gap for long distance communications and have many benefits, the fact remains that how coaches communicate with today’s youth soccer players is critical to their development not only as players, but as people. When I played youth soccer, I had a dime in my soccer bag in case I needed to make a phone call in an emergency at the local pay phone. I wrote letters – by hand, on paper -- to pen pals. I fought with my brother to use the phone at home as there was only one line, and the phone cord kept me tethered in one place which usually wasn’t very private. There was no call-waiting and no caller ID. So if you got a busy signal, you kept trying to call back. And you couldn’t really avoid talking to people unless you simply didn’t answer the phone. Communicating as a child was mostly done in person and sometimes over the phone, but it was really expensive to call long-distance. So having to communicate in person came naturally to me and I had no problem speaking to adults or understanding what they wanted when they were coaching me. I pretty much knew exactly what the message was and not much got lost in translation as it does in email, text and instant messaging these days. It’s always been a challenge for adults to communicate with children, “tweens” and teens. Kids and teens have had their own language and generational slang, and the common phrase of
“you just don’t understand” has been spoken by virtually every child or teen to adults for decades. So while much has improved with communication because of technological developments that allow us to be connected instantly, all around the world and 24/7, interpersonal communications have suffered. I am astounded at how texting and instant messaging has brought us closer, but more importantly, how it has divided us. There are great uses for the technology with texting, instant messaging and emails, but nothing beats a phone call or a face to face conversation. For example, when I coached high school soccer, it was very easy to send a group text to the team or my captains about a schedule change or to call a meeting or even just send out a note of encouragement, but it didn’t work when players had questions about playing time, game situations, or personal issues. Many of the players struggled to speak to the coaching staff in person and were terrified of talking on the phone. I’m not sure the girls even knew they could use their phones for talking! Another interesting phenomenon is that the players can be standing right next to each other, but they don’t speak – they text to one another! And they are so afraid that during practice and games that they may miss an important communication, they are checking their phones at water breaks or any break in the action. I had to ban the phones from all team events so the players and coaches would be engaged and present to what we were doing. At one teambuilding party with the team, I looked over the dinner table and saw a player texting another player and that was the end of it for phones at all team events. For the younger players I work with, I don’t have that many problems with the texting issues I had with teenagers, but now I’m working with more coaches who are in college or who have just graduated. So I have to make sure that they are in tune with the players and teams they coach and to not be on their phones. As a coach, I only use my phone during practice or games if there is an emergency. You certainly won’t find me texting my friends during those times.
Overall, please don’t get me wrong, because I love my BlackBerry and how it has streamlined communications for me, but as coaches we need to be cognizant of our connectedness with the teams and players such that they feel like you’re paying attention to them and they are worth your time. Being an extraordinary coach requires open, honest and clear communication both verbal and non-verbal that fosters learning, development and creates a positive yet comTL petitive environment that is safe.
Guidelines for Communicating with Youth Soccer Players: • No sarcasm • Look them in the eyes and be at their level • No sunglasses when you’re speaking to the players • No slang or cursing • No derogatory comments • No teasing • Be positive • Be clear, concise, correct • Be motivating • Praise in public, criticize in private • Be careful of the tone of your voice and don’t scream • Keep the context age-appropriate • Make sure players understand what you’re saying by reinforcing verbal communication with demonstrations and diagrams • Watch your body language as it says volumes about what you’re thinking even if you don’t say it out loud • Get your players to think by asking questions rather than telling them everything • Be honest and straightforward • Turn off the cell phones – speak to them in person.
EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA YOUTH SOCCER • TOUCHLINE
US Soccer Grasping for Clues By Mike Barr, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Director of Coaching
s club coaches attempt to field teams that are fast and athletic, Barcelona presented us with the most unforgettable performance of any professional club team in the UEFA Champions League Final with a starting eleven that averaged five feet eight inches in height. Barcelona is also dominated by local players, as eight of the leading players are products of their coaching school. Also, Barcelona has abandoned the idea of setting up foreign academies and adopted a management style that works on so many levels. According to the May 19th edition of The Economist, the management style of Barcelona is in line with economic theorists who believe that long term corporate success lies in cultivating a distinctive set of values and promoting from within and putting down deep local roots. Those roots at Barcelona mean perseverance, team
spirit, and respect for the game. Examine how Barcelona players handle questionable calls and play within the rules. Their focus is on the game and their role during the match. The confidence, skill and mental toughness they displayed against Manchester United should never be overlooked. Meanwhile, many coaches are still under the impression that bigger players mean better players, that moving from one team to another means greater success and recruiting players from other clubs makes for better team performance. If Barcelona is the gold standard of developing players, why do US Soccer, the United States National Men’s Team and almost every MLS Club still follow failed formats of other countries in their attempt to be recognized as among the elite countries in the soccer playing world? How can a country like Panama, the size of South Carolina and a population of three million actually compete with the United States? Do their youth players pay thousands of dollars to club coaches in order to improve their skills? Currently the MLS has close to 220 foreign born players on their club rosters and sadly, most of the US talent on those rosters is not playing in the key, skill positions.
Is this an indictment against youth soccer training in this country, the academy format, or a sense that most MLS coaches feel more comfortable with foreign talent? If the EPL is a future indicator, the trend will move towards recruiting more foreign talent. Sadly, US Soccer has conceded that we are not producing talent also, as they are on a never-ending search for players that may have dual passports in order to boost the talent of the National Team. Former U20 National Coach Thomas Rongen has developed a list of 500 players who match this criterion. Obviously, the current US players within our current programs are not providing the talent needed to compete with the rest of the world. Maybe the US should step back and come up with a developmental program that reflects our society, assists soccer players growing up in this country, and stop attempting to follow the failed decisions of the FA in England. Getting back to smaller, local clubs who work with players in the community, provide quality training, plays fewer games and tournaments and having MLS Academies identifying their elite players will certainly pay dividends for the MLS and US Soccer. TL
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US Youth Soccer Region I Championships Comes to Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer, City of Lancaster By Christopher Rio with Jim DeLorenzo
eams in Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer’s region have always been able to compete against the best teams nationally on a yearly basis. The available talent stemming from the surrounding communities in the region feed Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer’s mission to grow the best talent in the country. Through countless hours of work and dedication to the game by coaches, players, and staff, this region has become one of the most highly regarded regions in the country. There seems to be a passion for soccer within the area that can only be paralleled by few other states. With significant changes and additions over the past two years, as Eastern Pennsylvania Youth soccer looks to exceed all of their competitors, the bar has been raised to an entirely different level to cement this region’s spot as one of the best youth soccer regions in the nation. In March 2010, it seemed like it was a long way away. That was when, through the efforts of a core group of volunteers and Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer staff, US Youth Soccer announced that Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer and the City of Lancaster had been awarded the 2011 and 2012 US Youth Soccer Region I Championships as part of the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series, the country’s most prestigious national youth soccer tournament. For the first time in Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer’s nearly 40 years of existence, the National Championship Series Region I Championships will be held within its own borders. This year and the next, the tournament will be hosted in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The 2011 Region I Championships will begin with the opening ceremonies in Hershey Stadium on June 30th and will conclude with the final championship matches on July 5th. In a nearly a five-year long process, the team at Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer was finally able to secure the winning bid for their hometown region. Jim Kuntz, the organization’s vice president of travel, is the co-chair of the local organizing committee for this year’s US Youth Soccer Region I Championship in Lancaster.
22 EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA YOUTH SOCCER • TOUCHLINE
“My dear friend Charlotte [Moran] and I worked on this for probably five years, politicking along the way to bring this to Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer,” said Kuntz. “If you start from day one it was the dream, and then the dream went into conception, and then that turned into a discussion with Bob McDade (President of Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer) and Chris Branscome (the Chief Executive Officer of the organization). We thought it would be a great opportunity so we worked on the bid. Even though Kuntz, McDade and Branscome agreed that they wanted to host the regional tournament in Eastern Pennsylvania, they still needed a partner venue or community. This resulted in the partnership with the Convention of Visitors Bureau in Lancaster. They worked together to design a proposal, which they presented to the National Youth Soccer Committee in Fort Worth, Texas on why this region would be the best candidate to host the tournament. “Originally it was just going to be us making the presentation, until Maryland decided they wanted to bid on it. They had their ideas and we both made our presentations. The presidents made the decision that we would have it and voted in favor of eastern Pennsylvania,” said Kuntz. Receiving the winning bid to host this prestigious tournament was ultimately just the beginning of a long road of preparation and planning. This type of project would call for extreme organization on the parts of Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer’s staff and their affiliates. Each of the dozen members of the local organizing committee involved with the project took on a responsibility that best suited their own skill set. Also, enabling the organization to feel confident in their ability to host such a large tournament was Branscome’s own professional background in coordinating events at the national level. His insight was imperative to the success of this operation. “After we got the bid from the national committee the fun began. Thanks to Chris’s background with US Youth Soccer, and his knowledge pertaining to these large events, we were confident in our ability to get the job done,” said Kuntz. Many others have also had their hands in the extensive process brought about by receiving the bid for regionals.
John Gregg, who holds various titles within Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer including head goalkeeping coach for the Olympic Development Program was called upon to head up the organization of the opening ceremonies. “I was in charge of everything that involved the opening ceremonies. I organized the program structure and everything else from guests, parking, the parade, the fly over, music, and the volunteers,” said Gregg. All involved are excited for the recognition this event will bring to Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer, the region it serves, as well as the City of Lancaster and the surrounding communities. Not only does this event mean a large amount of tourist dollars and exposure for Lancaster, but it also will bring exceptional soccer talent to the area, as well as the eyes of the soccer world for a few days. “For the Lancaster community in general, it’s between $12 to15 million in tourist dollars coming in,” said Kuntz. “With regards to soccer interest, Lancaster County is already a big soccer community. What this tournament will do for the local Lancaster community is that it will bring top notch soccer to the community and will let a lot of folks locally get a good look at top flight in soccer in the region.” The US Youth Soccer Region I Championships offers an exceptional playing experience for all of the young athletes involved and to help create lasting memories for them that will last their entire lives. “For me personally, it’s about the kids and the opportunity for them to compete at the highest level after they’ve worked so hard to get here,” said Loren Good, President of Hempfield Soccer Club. “A tournament like this is all about the kids and that’s what keeps me involved in sports.” For players, being a part of the Regional Championships is for many, a once in a lifetime opportunity. “Everyone needs to leave here feeling good about their experience,” said Good. “I want everyone to look back on this event and say that this was one of the top three most memorable soccer experiences in their lifetime. If that happens I would call this event a huge success.” This opportunity for Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer is the culmination of a dream that stems back for the past five years. Thanks to all of the hard work done by Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer’s staff all of the players, coaches, and families involved in the championships will surely be able to take a piece of Lancaster County with them that will last their entire lifetime. “Personally speaking this tournament is sort of a dream come true for us. The Regional Championships are finally coming to Eastern Pennsylvania and we are so delighted that we are the ones who get to put on the show,” said Kuntz. . TL
From left to right, back row: Chris Ackerman, Suzanne DuComb, Ken Baldt, Lennie Brown, Herb Maguire, Kathy Heim, and Jim Kuntz. Front row, left to right: John Gregg, Rob Brown, Chris Branscome. (Jim DeLorenzo Photo).
EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA YOUTH SOCCER • TOUCHLINE
2011 Eastern Pennsylvania State Cup Sunday, June 19 in West Chester, PA
U18 Girls: Penn Fusion 92 Gaels 7, LDC United 1
U19 Boys: Lower Merion SC Velez 4, YMS Xplosion 1
U18 Boys: YMS Thunder 2, LDC City Islanders 1 (2 overtimes)
U17 Girls: FC Pennsylvania Strikers 4, FC Revolution Dynamo 0
U15 Girls: FC Delco 95 2, HMMS Eagle FC Force 1 (2 overtimes)
U16 Girls: FC Delco Lightning 2, CRUSA FC Bucks Prowlers 1
U19 Girls: FC Delco 91 Sting 4, YMS Premier Comets 1:
24 EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA YOUTH SOCCER â€˘ TOUCHLINE
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Bullying, Racism – No place for either in the Beautiful Game By Christopher Rio & Natalie Dizio world are allowed pass through to the kids involved. Bryan Franco is a 13-yearold student at Northwest Middle School in Reading, who participates in youth soccer in Pennsylvania. During a youth league soccer game Bryan’s safe haven was shattered when a boy on the opposing team told him to go back to Africa. Bryan was unsure of how to respond because he had never heard this kind of remark before. “I was like, I’m not even African,” said Bryan as he recalled the incident. Mike Moyer, who has been a fixture in Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer for the past few decades, is the co-owner of FC Soccer star Thierry Henry, left, meets with Bryan Franco, 13, of Reading at Red Bull Arena Bucks Revolution, and Bryan’s in Harrison, N.J., after Thierry learned of racism Bryan experienced while playing soccer. coach during the time of the Courtesy of FC Revolution. incident recalled the game that day. he United States of America was built on “It was like something I’ve never seen before in my 30 the foundation that all men were created years with youth soccer. We have five Hispanic players equal and should be treated equal. Even on our team and they were getting verbally abused with though this is the cornerstone of the racial slurs throughout the entirety of the game from the American Constitution, wars have been started, and opposing players,” said Moyer. revolutions have been initiated because people Moyer, who was noticeably angered by the conduct throughout American history have been discrimiin the game, contacted Todd Hoffard, who is the New nated against just because they didn’t look the same, York Red Bulls goalkeeper coach, and discussed the or act the same as others. incident with him. Racism is the belief that there are inherent differences “Todd had been our goalkeeper coach in Reading; I in people’s traits and capacities due entirely to their race. knew he would be good person to contact about what Even today many people still hold the ideals that their happened because there are players on the Red Bulls own race is superior even though throughout recent who know how to handle these types of situations inhistory many people have had the courage to stand up cluding Thierry Henry, and Bouna Coundoul,” said Moyer. and fight for equality. Ever since Dr. Martin Luther King’s Hoffard, who was willing to help Moyer and his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on August 28, 1963, players out, discussed the situation with one of his the dream Dr. King spoke so candidly of has begun to goalies Bouna Coundoul. Coundoul had experienced blossom into a reality. Even though the dream has been racism growing up in the Bronx, and decided the best initiated and the seeds for change have been planted person to deal with this type of issue was is teammate there is still a lot of work to do before we can live in a Thierry Henry. racism free world. Henry has been the victim of a few soccer related Youth sports in America are supposed to provide kids racist incidents, and ever since then he has teamed up a safe haven where there can feel free from school, their with Nike to be an ambassador against racism in soccer, parents, and especially the stigmas of a relentlessly cruel and in the world. world. Youth sports are supposed to help kids express Henry decided that he wanted to meet Bryan and themselves on the field, and make new friends off it. discuss the incident with him. So Bryan was able to go However, every once in a while the haven of youth sports to Red Bulls practice and have a face to face with the is threatened and some of the terrible realities of our international superstar.
Bryan was given much to think about over that day, but Henry offered him one bit of advice that seemed to stick with him. “He told me to just let them make those comments. Just don’t do anything, and then go score a goal and smile at them. So if it happens again I’ll just keep my cool, try to score, and smile,” said Bryan. Even though it is hard to imagine that racism can play a part in a youth soccer game we have to understand that it is still prevalent in every aspect of today’s society. Even though the fight for equality has spanned centuries, our country today is still unable to rid itself of the disease that is racism. For now all that we can do is understand that it is happening, and when someone is hurt by racism we need to realize it is our job as a community to pick them up and lend a helping hand in any way that we can. “We need to understand that we won’t be able to stop the actions of other people, but what we can do is educate our players on how to deal with racism on and off the field so that they can be the bigger person if a situation like this arises again,” said Moyer. TL
FROM THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER I regret to report that incidents of racism have been reported in Eastern Pennsylvania. One report is clearly too many. Racism is not to be tolerated regardless, but when these acts are committed towards our children, it is infinitely reprehensible. Acts of racism have come from other children on the field as well as from adults on the sidelines. Use of racist or any other discriminatory or hate language must stop. In this regard, we cannot allow for our children to play in a hostile or intimidating environment. It is up to all of us to monitor these situations on our home or away fields. Such incidents should be reported to referee to be added to their game report, which can then be further investigated and addressed. We urge you all to act with greater sensitivity and civility and remember the great responsibility we have to the children. Chris Branscome
EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA YOUTH SOCCER • TOUCHLINE
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Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer 2011 Scholarship Winners Announced By Natalie Dizio
ach year, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer seeks out leaders amongst its graduating youth population, and awards individuals who exemplify strong leadership abilities, maintain high academic performance and seek financial support. This spring, Lindsey Haldeman won the 2011 Bill Whitney Memorial Scholarship, Alena Mokrzyeki won the 2011 Charlotte Moran Memorial Scholarship, and Alexander Blair and Alec Galanti each received the 2011 Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Scholarship. Alex Bair attended Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg. He currently plays for CAPA ’92 under Coach Larry Julius and has been a player in Eastern Pennsylvania system since the age of nine. Alex graduated with a 3.97 grade point average. He activities include: volunteer aide at Hershey Orthopedic & Spine, Carlisle Regional Medical Center; a Grade 8 USSF referee since 2007; Model United Nations participant; and camp counselor for CASA youth soccer camps
the last four summers. Alex will attend Misericordia University where he will continue to play soccer and pursue a Doctorate of Physical Therapy. Alec Galanti attended Montgomery Area High School, where his achievements included Student of the Year, named “High School Hero” by the Montgomery Middle School and a member of the National Honor Society. He was Student Council President, President of his class and captain of his school’s varsity soccer team for two years. He currently plays for Montgomery Soccer Club. Alec will attend Penn State University and major in Business Finance. Lindsey Haldeman attended Hershey Christian High School in Hummelstown. She was on the school’s honor roll all four years and maintained a 4.03 GPA. During her sophomore year she was inducted into the National Honor Society. Lindsey was captain of the varsity soccer and basketball teams, and played soccer for LDC United for Coach Bill Becher. She volunteers with her church, including helping Mega Sports
Camp in the summer where she teaches kids to play soccer and to practice good sportsmanship. Lindsey plans to attend Penn State, majoring in Recreation, Park and Tourism Management. Alena Mokrzyeki attended Souderton Area High School in Souderton, where she was a member of National Honor Society and consistently achieved distinguished honor roll status. She has held many leadership positions, including captain of her high school soccer team, volunteering for the local soup kitchen and mission trips to West Virginia and Kentucky to help poverty stricken areas. Alena is also a coach for a U-14 girl’s travel teams. In addition to coaching, she also plays for the Souderton Stars under Coach Greg Green. Alena plans to attend Temple University majoring in Kinesiology. TL
AUGUST Coaching Education Courses
astern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer offers a variety of coaching education course throughout the year. Anyone can attend, at any location. To register for a course, or to host a course, go to our website at www.EPYSA.org.
D-License (38 hour course) Host: Reading-Berks Junior Soccer League (RBJSL) Location: Body Zone, 3103 Papermill Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610 Dates: Friday, Aug. 5, 6 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 6, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, Aug. 7, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, Aug. 11, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday, Aug. 12, 6 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 13, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, Aug.14, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Host: Council Rock-United Soccer (CRUSA) Location: Richboro Elementary School, 125 Upper Holland Rd, Richboro, PA 18954 Dates: Saturday, Aug.12, 6 to 9 p.m.; Sunday, Aug.13, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Monday, Aug. 14, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Friday, Aug. 19, 6 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 20, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, Aug. 21, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
E-License (18 hour course) Host: Nazareth SC Location: Lucas Lane Fields, 1035 Bushkill Center Rd., Nazareth, PA 18064 Dates: Thursday, Aug. 4, 5 to 8 p.m.; Friday, Aug. 5, 5 to 8 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 6, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, Aug. 7, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Host: Pottsgrove SC Locations: Indoor Sessions: Pottsgrove High School, 1345 Kauffman Rd, Pottstown, PA 19464 Outdoor Sessions: Gerald Richards Park, 2150 Buchert Rd., Pottstown, PA 19464 Dates: Indoor Sessions: Wednesday, Aug. 10, 6 to 9 p.m.; Thursday, Aug. 11, 6 to 9 p.m. Outdoor Sessions: Saturday, Aug. 13, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, Aug. 14, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Host: Parkland Area SC Location: Wehr’s Mill (Covered Bridge Park) Footbridge #1, 2465 Wehr Mill Road, Allentown, PA 18104 Dates: Friday, Aug. 26, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 27, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday, Aug. 28, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Host: Council Rock-United Soccer (CRUSA) Location: Richboro Elementary School, 125 Upper Holland Rd., Richboro, PA 18954 Dates: Friday, Aug. 26, 6 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 27, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, Aug. 28, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. F-License (4 hour course) Host: Northeast Optimists (NEO Philadelphia) Location: Burholme Park, NEO Clubhouse, 401 Cottman Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19111 Date: Saturday, Aug. 13, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Host: Upper Dublin SC Location: Upper Dublin Spark Field #2, 725 Susquehanna Rd., Ambler, PA 19002 Date: Wednesday, Aug. 24, 6 to 10 p.m. G-License (4 hour course) Host: Back Mountain Youth Soccer (BMYSA) Location: Penn State Lehman Campus, 1269 Old 115, Lehman, PA 18627 Date: Sunday, Aug. 7, 4 to 8 p.m. Host: Upper Dublin SC Location: Upper Dublin Spark Field #2, 725 Susquehanna Rd., Ambler, PA 19002 Date: Wednesday, Aug. 24, 6 to 10 p.m.
EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA YOUTH SOCCER • TOUCHLINE
First Person: Carol May, TOPSoccer Coach
“I got involved as a volunteer in the Upper Perkiomen TOPSoccer program (part of the Valley Soccer Club) when it began three years ago. I started out as an assistant coach and a one-onone mentor for a player. “The program was instantly appealing to me, The appeal wasn’t necessarily rooted in soccer, but in the type of program it represented. I could identify with it. For five years I had been driving a school bus for special needs students. I already had exposure to the different levels of disabilities and health conditions these players had and knew many other families who might want to get their children involved. TOPSoccer, US Youth Soccer’s outreach program for soccer, is a community-based training and team placement program for young athletes with disabilities, which is organized by youth soccer association volunteers.
The program is designed to bring the opportunity of learning and playing soccer to boys or girls who have mental or physical disabilities. The goal is to give theses young athletes the opportunity to become valued and successful members of the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer and US Youth Soccer families. Working with TOPSoccer players is an amazing feeling on so many different levels. Just working with the players is a gift in and of itself. Each player brings something special to the program. It’s the smile, the hug, the laugh, the excitement when a skill is achieved or goal scored. It is also in the way the players respond to exercises they don’t want to do. The players are very creative and animated with their responses. Another reason I love being involved with TOPSoccer is the satisfaction I get from giving parents the opportunity to relax and watch their children grow, learn and have fun without it being “work” for them. The gratitude of the parents knows no bounds, and my gratitude toward the parents for allowing me the opportunity to get to know and work with their children is without definition. We have a great group of players, parents and assistant coaches. I take no credit for what we do. As my daughter puts it, “She’s here for the PR and to do paperwork and to help us. The assis-
30 EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA YOUTH SOCCER • TOUCHLINE
tants do all the real work.” She’s right. Along with the title of TOPSoccer head coach I have multiple other titles such as school bus driver and full-time student. I am a Cub Scout Day Camp program director and an active member of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. But my favorite title is that of “mom.” As a single parent, my kids Gracie and Keegan keep me insanely busy with all kinds of activities and, of course, soccer. No rest for the weary, right? I wouldn’t have it any other way. We play at Camelot Park in Upper Hanover Township from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. every Sunday. We have 23 youth registered so far. Our registration stays open all season for the benefit of players who might not be able to participate due to scheduling conflicts during different times of year or have recently found out about our program. While I have the title of head coach, my awesome assistant coaches Dylan, Gracie, Lacey and Kyle are the ones who really run the sessions. We are always on the lookout for volunteers. So if you find you have some free time come and hang out with us. Once you give it a try, you’ll be there every week too! Come visit us on the web at www,valleysc.org . To find a TOPSoccer program near you, visit http://www.EPYSA.org. TL
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