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E M A G G N I V L O THE EV February, 2017

Issue 38 Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Coaching Newsletter

Grassroots Soccer: The new Coaching Pathway and Cornerstones of Player Success The future of soccer coaching in the United States now rests securely in the hands of the U.S. Soccer Federation, as it has gone through a complete renovation of the coaching pathway many coaches have experienced in the past. The pathway has two distinct directions: One for youth coaches and one for professional coaches. Every course from now on will have an online component, as well as classroom and field sessions. Currently, youth modules for volunteer recreational coaches are being created for all ages of play, from 4v4 to 11v11. Also, a new Developmental or D License course will be unveiled in the near future. US Soccer realizes the importance of having a firm base of development within Zone 1 and structuring that base within a safe, age-appropriate and inclusive environment.
 These new courses, as well as the C License through the A Licenses, are based on the core characteristics of a strong soccer coach: Coaching games, coaching training sessions, leading the team, leading the player, managing the performance environment and leadership. The approach is holistic and reality based. Within each course, teaching is based on the game. With younger players, you will find a whole approach to training, and coaches will be provided methods to facilitate as well as teach the game. There will be an

emphasis on each coach to be a positive role model on and off the field and to show knowledge and understanding of not only the game but his or her ability to motivate, communicate and Mike Barr Eastern Pennsylvania
 inspire players. 
 Youth Soccer
 What is even more unique to Technical Director the changes in the licensing structure is all instructors in each course are expected to not only teach and demonstrate but to mentor and be a resource for each candidate they work within each coaching course. 
 As I am exposed to the changes, and also being a contributor in developing the new modules and the new Developmental or D License course, I am sure new coaches will be more aware of the game, training and their roles in developing young players. I also believe the courses will create more confident volunteer coaches who will begin to create a personal coaching development plan for themselves and their players. The coaching progression within the United States will now be completely aligned with the Player Development Initiatives presented last year. Change at times may be difficult, but you truly should trust the process and the direction US Soccer is taking.

Inside: An Interview with Brendan Burke


UPCOMING COACHING COURSES National E License - Warminster

March 3 - 5, 2017

Southampton, PA

National E License - YMS

March 10 - 12, 2017

Lower Makefield, PA

National E License - Dillsburg

March 17 - 19, 2017

Dillsburg, PA

National E License - Horsham

March 24 - 26, 2017

Ambler, PA

National E License - Reading

March 31 - April 2, 2017

Leesport, PA

National E License - Glenside

June 2 - 4, 2017

Glenside, PA

National E License - Lancaster

June 9 - 11, 2017

Lancaster, PA

National E License - Birdsboro

June 9 - 11, 2017

Birdsboro, PA

National License - Lancaster

March 17 - 19, 2017

Lancaster, PA

National License - Downingtown

Downingtown, PA

April 7 - 9, 2017

@EPaCoachingEd For more information, details and registration, please visit EPYSA.org





Feb. 11, 12:30PM Liverpool v Tottenham

FEB. 17, 2:45PM Juventus v Palermo

FEB. 11, 10:30AM Ingolstadt v Bayern Munich

FEB. 22, tbd Valencia v R Madrid

Feb. 27, 3:00PM Leicester v Liverpool

Feb. 26, 9:00AM Inter Milan v Roma

Feb. 17, 9:30AM Dortmund v Wolfsburg


FEB. 26, 10:15AM Ath Madrid v Barcelona

MEET THE COACH Brendan Burke - Bethlehem Steel Head Coach Bethlehem Steel FC formally introduced

matter what level you work at. I was always

head coach Brendan Burke on Oct. 29, 2015.

fearful when I was an assistant MLS (coach)

Burke previously spent six years with the

—I hadn’t gone through a lot of the licensing

Union before leaving the club in January 2014

—that I would be spending a lot of time

for a job at Northeastern University in Boston,

(getting the licenses) and not be receiving a

 Burke served as the assistant coach for the

lot of benefit. Now I am living the benefit. I am reaping the rewards of working through my

Philadelphia Union from 2011 through 2014

licenses right now. Especially as I have gone

and was heavily involved in all levels of the

from “E” to “D” to “C,” now I am in the

U.S. Soccer pyramid, including serving as the

process of finishing the new “B,” I feel like I’m

head coach of the Union’s PDL affiliate

on an “A” license. It is challenging and I am

Reading United from 2008 through 2013,

able to apply it to everything I do everyday.

where he maintained an exceptional record of

Have you talked to (Union Manager) Jim

71-18-19. Burke also had plenty of influence

Curtin about going through the A-Pro

with then USL-affiliate Harrisburg City


Islanders, in addition to his first team duties

Yeah, we were around and able to see in the

with the Union.

office what he went through with the “A” and

In the last 10 years, 51 players from Reading

the pro license. I think he feels the same way

United have signed professional contracts

that there’s a huge benefit to him in, if nothing

and 49 of those played under Burke including

else, being organized in how he approached

current Union defender Ray Gaddis, forward C.J. Sapong and goalkeeper John McCarthy. 

every day. And there’s a lot of leadership that is beneficial especially to young coaches. He

While at Reading United, Burke coached

is the youngest coach in MLS, and I am one

USMNT call-ups FC Dallas captain Matt

of the youngest coaches in USL. It’s things

Hedges and Toronto FC´s Alex Bono. Burke

we both need and value. 

also coached the No. 4 overall 2015

Speaking of Jim, you worked with Union

SuperDraft pick Fatai Alashe from the San

1.0 and now with Union 2.0 so to speak—

Jose Earthquakes and Deshorn Brown, who

what has been the biggest difference with

scored 10 goals in his rookie season with the

Earnie Stewart coming in and with Jim

Colorado Rapids and currently plays for

being the manager?

Valerenga Football in the Norwegian

The biggest difference with Earnie coming in

Tippeligaen league.

During Burke’s last

has been there is real clarity to everyone’s

season as coach at Reading, a record seven

role in the organization. There’s a very clear

players were drafted into MLS: Kadeem

directive that we are going develop our own

Dacres, Tolani Ibikunle, Damion Lowe, Steve

players in a very methodical fashion, and the USL plays an integral role in that in giving our

Neumann, Jimmy Ockford, Pedro Ribero and Bob Sweat. 

top 16-, 17- and 18-year-olds a platform to

In between his time with the Union and

show that they are good enough to move

Bethlehem Steel FC, Burke was the associate

through to the MLS. So it’s not cutting out the

head coach at Northeastern University.

college process; there are guys that are going

During his first season with the Huskies, the

to develop at a slower rate, and they will go

team went 8-11-1 and made it to the CAA

through the PDL process (Ed. Note: Reading

Tournament Semifinals where they fell 1-0 to

United) that Stephen (Hogan) runs for us now.





I think clarity of role has been one major


difference with Earnie and soccer has

What has been your biggest takeaway

become the main focus. There has been very

from the USSF Coaching Pathway?

little peripheral influence within the club

I think now more so

internally. There is a heavy focus on the game

than a few years

and developing our tactical identity, which I

ago you can apply what you take from

think Jim, in concert with Ernie, developed. We have a clear playing style through the

those courses to

MLS team to the USL team to the PDL team,



18’s, 16’s and14’s. So when I train one of the

environment no

16’s that has made it up to our training

session, he knows what I am talking about. He knows what his roles and responsibilities are because they do not change from up and down the levels. That’s been the biggest difference for me, and it makes it incredibly easy for me to coach within a system, and now we can address smaller, more individual issues within each player, and that’s pretty much how it has been layered and the biggest benefit is to the players, obviously
 I suppose there are challenges to that as well, though. As a competitor you may want to say, “Hey, this formation would work today.” How do you approach a directive that maybe you’re thinking, “This doesn’t really benefit this particular game or this particular 11”?
 Yeah, I get that one a lot. I did have a degree of frustration with it in the beginning, but honestly, I have come to better understand what my goals and objectives are within the organization. And that is to develop players. It has almost nothing to do with winning games at the USL level. So as a competitor, that is extremely difficult to swallow at first, but once you understand it, it is actually freeing and allows you to be more effective at developing players. I am not worried about a result on the weekend. We’re always going to approach a game trying to win. We are players and coaches, and you can never take that out of us. But the freedom to approach a game from a developmental standpoint when you are playing in front of 20,000 people in Cincinnati, I felt free to put Anthony Fontana in the game at 16 years old. So if I lose 1-0 instead of a draw at 1-1, my decision wasn’t influenced by the result, and Anthony is the beneficiary of that. 

MEET THE COACH Brendan Burke - Bethlehem Steel Head Coach Would you rather win a title in USL or

appreciate everything that (Union Minority

put four to five players on the Union

Owner) Richie (Graham) has done around

starting 11 by next season?

here. Between Richie and (Union Chairman

We put two in the team last year in

and Majority Owner) Mr. Sugarman, they’ve

Derrick Jones and Auston Trusty, and there is

given us an environment to be one of the

strong indication that at least one if not two

development leaders in the league, or at least

will go onto the roster this year. And that is

charge ourselves with that goal. They have

how we measure success and failure in

done a great job of making sure we have the

Earnie’s eyes, which are the only eyes that

resources to do it, and now we have the

matter at this point, Earnie and Jim. Whether

clarity to execute. 

(our players) become first team starters…

How does having that overlap of training

some of that has to do with how they

between the first team and Bethlehem

transition once they are in that environment

Steel benefit the players?

full time, and that’s another process. That

The benefit of that is experience. There

takes time and takes a lot of interaction

is zero replacement for a player experiencing

between first team assistant coaches and

a new, more challenging environment. So

staff and Jim. And the competition level

when they go up and train with the first team

shoots up. We are happy to get them onto the

and come back to us, they are training at a

roster and then the next step they sort of

higher level. When I take a U18 (player) and

have to take the process and take the reigns.

he plays in a game for us and goes back to a

You mentioned two names there that have

U18 game, he looks like a pro who is playing

been recognized on US Youth National

in a U18 game. It is a very natural

Teams. How do you approach coaching

experiential knowledge that we cannot give

them knowing they’ve been recognized on

them without games, without training

the national level?

sessions at a higher level. So the ability to

I don’t think you approach them any

move guys up and down is one of our most

differently than any others. We actually have

valuable tools, and that is why we are using it

a slew of 18-year-olds and 19-year-olds that

as much as or more then other clubs. 

are in camps. Justin McMaster and Mark

What were your expecting coming in and

McKenzie just got back from the 18’s camp.

what have your experiences been like

Matt Freese is in the 19’s camp this week

compared to that expectation?

coming up. Anthony Fontana has been in and

There is a lot of time to think about that,

out of camps through his development and

and I tried not to apply my college

Michael Pellegrino. And it goes on and on.

experience, because it was very brief, but

There are so many of them you almost

more so my experience as an assistant coach

become numb to that tag or that perception of

in MLS for three years to what I expected to

a player, and you treat them as individuals.

come from this role. What I expected is

They all have individual needs, be it to be

generally been how it’s applied as a reserve

more well rounded off the field so they are

team but also as a launch pad for academy

better prepared to perform once they get to

players and a home for trialists or USL-

training. You are dealing with very young

contracted players. Like Corey Burke, our

men, and they have a wide range of needs:

forward who is currently one of the stable of

some technical, some tactical. So we

No. 9’s for Jamaica, he is going to play the

approach them in small functional groups and

US on Friday (February 3). He was just

on an individual basis and that is for all of our

playing in the local Jamaican league last year

players, USL-contracted or academy guys

when we went down and saw him. And there

coming through. 

was enough there to say there’s something in

From your perspective, you see the clear

that kid that if we get him in the environment,

line—from Earnie Stewart on down to the

he could take off. Now it’s happening right in

academy. Do the players?

front of us. He is taking off, and he’s 25.

We see the clear line as staff, and I think

There are so many different projects that go

the players more and more, and younger and

into this one melting pot, I would call us. We

younger, are starting to see that line and

are a diverse group in so many different

appreciate the value of that line and

ways. I expected that but not to this degree. It

is actually a really fun initiative. 
 We have a tendency to try to sell American soccer. Do you feel you have something to sell to these players that they might not get anywhere else? Yeah, and that goes back to the resources Richie and Mr. Sugarman have provided us with. Our training fields are beautiful. We train on the same fields as the first team everyday. We provide meals twice a day for our players so we can help educate them on the nutrition side but also make sure we are actually watching what they eat. There are so many peripheral things that go into our environment that allow us to sell our environment to a kid from Africa or Jamaica or Europe that don’t have those types of resources. Our sports performance staff is one of the best around and having the ability to hand our players off to them a few days a week—I’m not trained to help the players in that area; it is not my expertise—so having people with that expertise all around us and sports psychology helps out. I wouldn’t leave them out. (Union Director of Sports Psychology) Dr. Christina Fink does a great job on her end. It’s a very holistic approach to player development. When you start to sell that to a player with no environment or very little environment, they cannot wait to get on a plane. 
 Year one of Bethlehem Steel is in the books. What would constitute success in year two?
 Two or three more players into the first team.

World Cup Expansion: More Stars, More Stories Borussia Dortmund’s PierreEmerick Aubameyang leads the Bundesliga in goal-scoring this season with 16. Perhaps you knew that. Maybe you’ve followed Dortmund since American wunderkind Christian Pulisic made his senior debut last year. Or maybe you’ve grown attached to the high-flying German club through the FIFA video games, where its mix of speed and skill makes Dortmund a trendy pick among gamers. However you grew familiar with Aubameyang—if you’re familiar at all—you know he’s a star. He’s netted 77 goals in 111 appearances for Dortmund with pace and lethal striking ability: 65 percent of his shots this season have hit the target (For comparison, Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski is sitting at 47 percent). You’ll find Aubameyang on Fox Sports 1 whenever Dortmund takes the pitch in the Bundesliga or Champions League. Where you won’t find him is the World Cup. Aubameyang represents Gabon at the international level, a nation that has yet to make a dent on the world stage. As of now, Gabon is a longshot to qualify for Russia 2018 or Qatar 2022 for that matter. This month’s Africa Cup of Nations, which Gabon is hosting, may prove to be the highlight of Aubameyang’s international career. As popular as Dortmund has become—and to an extent German soccer as a whole—nothing matches the pageantry, competition and earth-conquering drama of the World Cup. Aubameyang is not the only one who misses out; we do too when the stars we watch on the weekend—Manchester United’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan of Armenia and Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale of Wales

to mention two more—don’t take part in the quadrennial celebration. That could change in the next decade. Last month, FIFA’s Governing Council unanimously approved a plan that would expand the World Cup from 32 teams to 48 by the 2026 competition. It was an idea first proposed by new FIFA President Gianni Infantino. The format would open the door wider to Africa and Asia, federations that would send nine and eight and a half qualifiers each (up from five and four and a half respectively). While that leaves little hope for Aubameyang, who will be 37 by the 2026 World Cup, it does provide opportunities for future stars from unheralded soccer nations. Or, in another sense, it all but guarantees places for countries that battle for qualification, such as Sweden. After all, it was Zlatan Ibrahimovich who said upon missing out on Brazil 2014, “One thing is for sure: A World Cup without me is nothing to watch.” Now, stars aside, critics of the new format point to the watered-down competition a 48-team tournament ensures. For example, if the World cup was set up today based on FIFA rankings, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Curacao would qualify. Qualifying tournaments in CONCACAF and South America in particular would become nearly elementary for regional powers. Moreover, Infantino’s proposal is a shameless cash grab: FIFA projects a $1 billion boost in revenue. That’s a bit disconcerting given the organization’s sordid, read corrupt, past. Still, we shouldn’t focus too much on the negatives of expansion,

considering we’re still nine years short of the Dillon Friday overhaul; a lot Sports Journalist Eastern Pennsylvania can and will Youth Soccer
 Marketing Coordinator change between now and then (At the very least we have the impending socio-political disasters of Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 ahead of us first). The viewpoint that more teams equals worse soccer overlooks the World Cup’s greatest successes. In 1960, the largest recorded earthquake in history devastated Chile, which was set to host the 1962 edition. The Chileans persevered, claiming third place as their healing country rejoiced. In 1990, Cameroon captured the hearts of neutral fans across the globe. Led by 38-year-old Roger Milla, who scored four times and celebrated each strike flamboyantly, the Cameroonians reached the quarterfinals, becoming the first African side to make it to the final eight. The next time around Africa was awarded a fourth qualifying team, mostly due to Cameroon’s performance. Even the United States has a rags to riches story. The Americans qualified for Italy 1990 after a 40year absence from the World Cup. That rise drove momentum for the United States to host in 1994, which in turn resulted in the great soccer boom that we’re still experiencing today. In an alternate world, Pulisic is an undersized point guard or wide receiver.

World Cup Expansion: More Stars, More Stories Then there’s very real change that goes beyond sports—the Ivory Coast called a ceasefire in its civil war ahead of the 2006 World Cup, the nation’s first, so citizens could cheer on their Elephants together. For all of these positive stories, one could probably come up with just as many negative ones, or worse, tragic ones—Andres Escobar comes to mind as does the 1978 World Cup. In a story titled “While The World Watched,” ESPN’s Wright Thompson brilliantly captures the harrowing tale of Argentina’s triumph on home turf while the military dictatorship in place brutalized civilians. Thompson notes that 19 of the 22 players from that ‘78 team skipped the 30th anniversary “celebration.”

“It seems odd to an outsider, a soccer-mad nation trying to erase one of its greatest teams, but in Argentina, the scrubbing makes sense,” he writes. “The nation has the highest number of psychologists per capita in the world: This is a country drowning in toxic secrets, including the one about a World Cup it needs to forget.” And yet, soccer perseveres. If we accept that FIFA is inherently, for lack of a better word, evil, then our best counter is to make sure we control the narrative. Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated wrote “It’s the end of the World Cup as we know it” in response to the expansion news. Perhaps, he should have remembered his own story from 2005, when he profiled two Arab-

Israelis who brought Israel to the brink of qualification. “On the night the Arab saved Israel, an entire World Cup-crazy nation rejoiced,” said Wahl. “From Haifa to Nazareth to the Negev, one in three Israelis watched on television as (Abbas) Suan dropped to his knees, kissed the ground and thanked Allah just before his teammates—all but one of them Jewish—smothered him in a gang tackle of ecstasy.” Imagine if that scene played out at the finals, where the world watched and not just Israel. We can get behind that notion. We can support those stories and the stars who drive them. We’ll get more with an expanded World Cup.

US Soccer PDI: Formations for Small-sided Play

The U.S. Soccer Player Development Initiatives (PDI) outlined rules and methodology for small-sided games. The Under-8 and younger age groups will play 4v4, the U9&U10 age groups will play 7v7 and the U11&U12's will play 9v9. Above, we've put together playing formations for 7v7 and 9v9 to help acclimate coaches who may be new to small-sided games. The PDI is available in its entirety on our website here.

Created by Franco Lamesta

Last Update: May 13, 2016

TRAINING SESSION: RECOVERING THE BALL IN ATTACKING HALF Objectives Improve team's ability to recover the ball in attacking half.Who-#9,11,7,10,8,6. Where-Attacking half. When-Opponent in possession has back to play, has poor 1st-touch, plays slowly. Why-To win the ball back create scoring chances. What-High-pressure, delay at line of confrontation, restrict time space, force opponent to play a certain direction.

Technical Warm-Up - Recover ball in attacking half 8v4 Cones, balls, vests Intensity: 5 10:00 min (2 x 04:00 min, 01:00 min rest)

Coaching Points Pressure on ball to prevent penetration by opponent. Recognize cues when to press back to play, poor 1st touch, head down, slow play. Pressure/cover and individual defensive techniques - sideways-on, angle/speed of approach, intercept, tackle, contain. Communicate. Description 4v4v4. Attacking half. Red starts by trying to win possession from blue yellow. The team that loses possession to red now defends red keeps possession along with other team. Coach plays in new ball if

Small-Sided Activity - Recovering the ball in attacking half 5v5 Large goal, small goal, cones, balls Intensity: 7 20:00 min (4 x 04:00 min, 01:00 min rest)

Coaching Points Pressure on ball to prevent penetration by opponent. Recognize cues when to press back to play, poor 1st touch, head down, slow play. Pressure/cover and individual defensive techniques - sideways-on, angle/speed of approach, intercept, tackle, contain. Communicate. Description 6v5. Attacking half. Blue-#9,11,7,10,8. Red-#1,2,3,4,5,6. Blue team attempts to win the ball and score into the large goal. Red team scores by passing into the small goal. Red goalkeeper plays-in new balls on

Expanded Activity - Recovering the ball in attacking half 7v7 Large goals, balls Intensity: 10 20:00 min (4 x 04:00 min, 01:00 min rest)

Coaching Points Pressure on ball to prevent penetration by opponent. Recognize cues when to press back to play, poor 1st touch, head down, slow play. Pressure/cover and individual defensive techniques - sideways-on, angle/speed of approach, intercept, tackle, contain. Communicate. Description 7v7. Blue #9,11,7,10,8,6,1. Red #1,2,3,4,5,6,8. Attacking middle thirds. Blue team attempts to win the ball and score into the large goal. Red team scores by shooting on opposite goal. Red goalkeeper

Game Coaching Points Reinforce all training objectives.

9v9 Large goals, ball Intensity: 7 20:00 min (2 x 08:00 min, 02:00 min rest)

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Description 9v9. 1-3-2-3 v 1-3-2-3. All game rules apply.

Created by Brian Northey

Last Update: Nov 18, 2016

TRAINING SESSION: IMPROVE TEAM'S ABILITY TO DEFEND AGIANST THE WIDE ATTACK Objectives To improve team's ability to defend against the wide attack.

Technical Warm-up: Improve Team's Ability to Defend Against the Wide Attack Players Balls, cones, 2 small goals Intensity: 5 15:00 min (1 x 00:00 min, 00:00 min rest)

Coaching Points Application of defensive technique and pressure/cover; technique of individual defending - force inside/outside to support; runs - angle, speed, timing; body position/angle body towards area you wish attacker to enter; tackling techniques block, poke, slide. Description Wide playing defending - 1v1, 1v2, 2v2TRAINING AREA = 10W x 15L. Place 1 small goals at one end line. At the opposite end line make a 10W x 3L scoring end-zone. White player serve a ball into teammate on side of area. White tries to dribble into the

Small Sided Activity: Improve Team's Ability to Defend Against the Wide Attack 4v4 Balls, cones, 2 small goals Intensity: 5 20:00 min (1 x 00:00 min, 00:00 min rest)

Coaching Points Application of defensive technique and pressure/cover; technique of individual defending - force inside/outside to support; runs - angle, speed, timing; body position/angle body towards area you wish attacker to enter; tackling techniques block, poke, slide. Description 4v4 - 2 small goals 1 goal with conesTRAINING AREA = 30W x 40L. Place 2 small goals at one end line and one the opposite end line place 2 cones 5 yards a part for another goal Red (4) v White (4); Red and White score by passing/shooting ball

Extended Small Sided Activity: Improve Team's Ability to Defend Against the Wide Attack 9v8 Balls, cones, 1 large goal, 3 small goals Intensity: 5 20:00 min (1 x 00:00 min, 00:00 min rest)

Coaching Points 1v1 defending and pressure/cover defensive techniques; runs - angle, speed, timing; curve runs to force/push attacker toward your support or away from goal; body position/angle body towards area you wish attacker to enter; prevent overlapping runs. Description 8v7 - 1 large goal and 2 small counter goalsTRAINING AREA = 60W x 55L. Place 2 small counter goals (5 yards wide) on each corner at the half way line; place 1 large goal on opposite end line.Red (8) v White (7). Red scores on 2 small counter goals; white scores on 1 large goal.

Game: Improve Team's Ability to Defend Against the Wide Attack 9v9

Coaching Points Reinforce coaching points from earlier activities.

Balls, 2 large goals, 2 ARs

Description 9v9 gameUse specific formation for each team - GK-3-2-3

Intensity: 8 25:00 min (1 x 00:00 min, 00:00 min rest)

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Profile for Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer

The Evolving Game | February 2017  

Soccer Football coaching newsletter for youth coaches in the USA and beyond.

The Evolving Game | February 2017  

Soccer Football coaching newsletter for youth coaches in the USA and beyond.