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Youth soccer is a great opportunity to instill positive habits that last into adulthood. Publix proudly supports the Virginia Youth Soccer Association, as well as others throughout the Southeast. Visit for more information.

JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN KICK A BALL… By: Gordon Miller VYSA Technical Director We always run into a variety of current or ex high-level players, who are about to enter youth coaching, questioning why they need a license in the first place. Some figure since they played at that level, they should obviously be able to coach. However, most players are only worried about their own singular performance and how to make an overall contribution to the team result. They soon find out that amongst other things, they have to develop a training plan, progress through the practice stages and communicate effectively to the needs of the different ages, genders and learning styles - it’s not quite as easy as they thought. It’s a universal accepted practice now, that as we grow and develop the sport, there is even more of an emphasis placed on acquiring coach education than ever before. We all know that in order to develop better players, we must develop better coaches. Thus, it’s Chris Armas addresses the team Chris Armas incumbent upon every coach to do what they can to improve their players, both individually and collectively. In my last article, I told you about the new Player Development Initiatives (PDI’s) that US Soccer and VYSA are unveiling. These PDIs are aimed at the specific needs of the 4v4, 7v7, 9v9 and 11v11 rec and travel coach. Thankfully, we will no longer have a 9U assistant coach taking the same license as a 15U head coach. The needs and qualities of each player are very different. On the other end of the spectrum but yet not too far removed, the VYSA just hosted it’s 10th US Soccer National “C” License in August and most recently, for the first time, the US Soccer National “B” License. Well over half of the “C” License registrants were coaches from the Virginia area, while the “B” brought with it some interesting candidates amongst the 36 participants. Clarence Goodson making pts Clarence Goodson

The three highest profiled ex-players in the “B” were Chris Armas, Clarence Goodson and Leandro Coufre. Armas, with over 65 appearances for the Men’s National team and the current NY Red Bulls Coufre (far right) with Messi Leandro Coufre in group work assistant coach, took time out in the middle of the MLS season to attend the course. Alexandria’s own Clarence Goodson, with 46 caps for the National team, was here acquiring the knowledge. And Leandro Coufre, who has 17 international appearances for Argentina, has played with Leonel Messi, and was named Serie A “Defender of the Year” when he played for AS Roma, also came into Virginia to participate. Also, recently the MLS and US Soccer got together for a B license pilot course. Nine current members of DC United, whilst in the middle of their playing season and at the conclusion of their own training sessions, moved over to the classroom and training fields at RFK Stadium to hone their future skill set.

DC United’s Rob Vincent

These players have the desire and motivation to put themselves in a learning environment, knowing that they will one day transition out of playing and into the world of coaching. They know that just because they kicked a ball at the highest level doesn’t mean that they can coach young players. They are learning how to run a practice, coach in a game and learn the age appropriate skills necessary to be a future effective coach.

It’s tremendous to see so many current and ex-players realize that coaching is a skill that needs to be learned – like playing. And it’s good to see so many of them get it through US Soccer and the VYSA. Let’s continue to raise the bar on player performance.

REC PLAYER MAKES ODP DISTRICT POOL! Natalia Chow has been playing Arlington Soccer Association recreation soccer since 2009. She began with her current team LAFC, coached by Aaron Stevenson, in 2012 and played for the Washington Spirit Super Y program in 2015 and 2016. As a freshman, Natalia started every game on the 2017 Wakefield High School varsity team. She is an effective, creative, and skilled player in any position. Her favorite moments of the game are winning tackles, intercepting, and stealing the ball as a defensive midfielder. Natalia trains in both soccer-specific skills and weight training to continually challenge and improve herself. Her goal is to leg press 300 pounds by her 16th birthday; currently limited to 250 pounds for 4 reps. This is Natalia’s first year in the Olympic Development Program Northern District training pool and she loves the challenging environment and new skills she has been learning. Her age group head coach, Gerardo Ramirez, had this to say about Natalia: “I can tell you Natalia’s work ethic, commitment to training, and eagerness to learn is outstanding. We are very happy to have her in the district pool as she competes every time she steps on the field.” Natalia will be competing for a spot on the Virginia ODP 2002 girls’ state training pool at the Inter-District Scrimmages held November 18-19 and December 2-3 at the Publix Virginia Soccer Training Center.

Washington Area Girls Soccer (WAGS) League Becomes Women and Girls in Soccer New Charitable Organization Formed Washington Area Girls Soccer (WAGS) is proud to announce that it has completed its official transition to Women and Girls in Soccer. WAGS was, for 40 years, a competitive soccer league for girls in the Washington, DC area. The league merged with the National Capital Soccer League in 2016. WAGS’ Board of Directors voted this past spring to continue its mission to empower girls and women through soccer, by forming a charitable organization. They were able to retain the well-recognized acronym WAGS, which has always been synonymous with women and girls in soccer. “While the means have changed, the ends have not,” says Board Chair Lula Bauer. “Our Board continues to be committed to providing women and girls opportunities to grow and excel in their personal lives. We believe in the power of soccer to do that.” WAGS has reorganized as a 501 C (3) charitable organization, registered in Virginia. Though it will be primarily operated by a volunteer board of directors, former board member Kerry Diederich has taken on the role of Executive Director to oversee its day-to-day operations. With monies earned from the former league and replenished annually with the WAGS tournament in October that it will continue to host, WAGS will empower women and girls by financially supporting six programs: • • • • • •

Soccer Hall of Fame Award The United Soccer Coaches’ Women’s Award of Excellence College scholarships for female players committed to playing at the next level in college Coaches Certification Courses Referee Certification Courses Worldwide Outreach

With this announcement, WAGS launches its new website (, which will be the organization’s primary resource for detailed information and updates about the six programs. You can also follow WAGS on Twitter (@WAGSinsoccer), like them on Facebook (Women and Girls in Soccer), view videos on YouTube (WAGSinsoccer) and interact on Instagram and Snapchat as WAGSinsoccer. About WAGS WAGS is a 501 C (3) charitable organization established in Virginia in 2017. Its mission is to provide opportunities to sponsor, develop, or provide educational and character building programs for the benefit of girls and women through teaching and promoting an interest in the game of soccer. The six unique programs it supports, just for girls and women, promote confidence, strength, character and leadership in a variety of ways, and include awards recognition, coach and referee certification, college scholarships, and worldwide outreach. WAGS is on the web at For more information, contact Kerry Diederich at 714-334-6647.

SCOPING OUT THE COLLEGE SCENE Q&A WITH COLLEGE COACH College Coach Talks Recruiting, Prep for Next Level BY DAN GUTTENPLAN Mike Babst is starting his fifth season as the head coach of the University of Chicago men’s soccer team. During Babst’s tenure, the Maroons have broken 10 team records and set or tied six individual school records. Babst is a two-time UAA Coach of the Year and one-time NSCAA Central Region Coach of the Year. Prior to coming to Chicago, Babst worked as an assistant coach at Northwestern University, South Carolina and Duquesne.

What advice would you give a high school player who is looking to start the recruiting process? “I think there are two big things. No. 1 – If you’re playing club, you should initially start by putting together a big list of schools you have interest in. Notify those coaches of the events you’ll be playing in. If they’re putting a list together for events, they might get a chance to see you play. “No. 2, I always tell kids starting their sophomore years, if you can go to a college camp or two, sit down with your parents and map out a plan. You’re not making a final decision at this point, but you can go through the process and say, ‘These are the top two schools, let’s go to an ID camp at each school.’ You get an idea of where you fit in during the recruiting process. Next year, it might be different schools, but you’re honing in on the programs that fit you.”

Would you recommend that a high school player reach out to a college coach via phone call or email?

University of Chicago head coach Mike Babst

“Email is always best. Say you’re looking at Duke. They have a full staff, so you can email the assistants. If it’s a Division III school, just send an email to both coaches. Be realistic. If you’re an arriving sophomore and you email the UNC head coach thinking he’ll show up to your next game, you’re going to be disappointed. With a Division I staff, it’s better to reach out to assistant coaches. For Division III, email both coaches.”

What’s the best way for a potential recruit to make an impression at an ID camp? “They’re tough environments walking in. You might not know any of the other players. Step into everything with a goal of having a positive impact on how the group works. You might step into a 5v5 drill or 11v11. Help push the team. Interact with players of all levels. Have the mentality that this is the hand you’re dealt, and ask yourself, ‘How can I make it best for everyone?’ Show some personality and competitiveness, along with an ability to interact positively with other players.”

Should a player introduce himself / herself to the head coach at an ID camp? Or would you prefer a player respect your time? “Our camps are small enough where that’s not going to be a problem. We’re going to get a chance to interact with every player. We’ll have a chance to get a read on every player. If it’s a larger camp, and you have a chance to say hi to the coach and give your name, go for it. Some camps are different, depending on the size of the camp and the personality of the coach. Some coaches are engaged, and some stand back. Use it as an opportunity to introduce yourself if you can. But trust the process that if you do a good job on the field, they’ll work to find out your name.”

If a player is not being recruited by the staff at his / her dream school, when should he / she move on to a second option? “The timelines are all so jumbled. There are going to be players that are late-bloomers. There might be a team that has some scholarship money left toward the end. If you don’t give up and improve a lot, that might line up with a program’s needs. Be realistic about your conversations with each program. For a lot of kids, if there is interest from a college coach, that coach will be engaged. If you’re not getting much feedback, just know that every program is dealing with a constant volume of kids. If you’re not hearing much, then it’s time to be open-minded about other opportunities.

Broaden the scope. But I’ve seen latebloomers get in with a new team late and become top recruits for those schools.”

What can high school and club players be doing to better prepare for college? “In our model, we’re looking for personalities. We’re looking for competitors. It doesn’t matter if it’s the last day of camp, and we’re playing a Rondo game, or if it’s some warmup. You want to have someone out there driving the energy that wants to win. They know there’s something to be gained every time they step on the field. Ultimately, in recruiting, you’re looking at 16and 17-year-olds and guessing who will be best when they’re 19 and 20. We find the best way is to identify a player who is constantly getting after it.”

What conditioning advice would you give to incoming freshmen? “When their senior season ends, they can get on the college team’s summer program. You can’t commit as a sophomore and start communicating with the college team’s strength coach, but you can during that senior summer. You’ll get feedback if you commit. Coaches might get out to see you play; they’ll let you know what they see. It’s pretty standard that as soon as a high school player graduates, the team will get them on the same strength and fitness program.”

Reprinted from FUEL Soccer. The official digital magazine of US Youth Soccer.



The official e-newsletter of the Virginia Youth Soccer Association.


The official e-newsletter of the Virginia Youth Soccer Association.