Birth Year Matrix – hot off the press, after some confusion these last few months, here’s the final version from US Soccer

finalbirthyearmatrix

Big push by overseas pro clubs into U.S. youth soccer

International professional clubs have been very active recently here in the U.S. An increasing number of them are setting up official affiliations with youth soccer clubs across the country to identify talent as early as possible and then develop them in the right way, including at their home academies in Europe. Here’s a very interesting ‘must-read’ article on this topic just published by the LA Times: Other Countries Are Scouting Young U.S. Soccer Talent. Quoting from this article to set the scene: When Brad Friedel was growing up in suburban Cleveland a generation ago, youth soccer was more an afterthought than an organized activity. “There was nothing there,” he remembers. So he was a bit surprised when he moved back to the U.S. after spending most of the last 20 years playing in the English Premier League. “The entire landscape and scope of what soccer is today doesn’t compare, doesn’t even look remotely similar, to the landscape that I left,” he

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Behavior of visiting North American parents during youth game in Barcelona

I came across an interesting blog post about behavior of visiting North American parents during a couple of youth games in Barcelona. Most of us probably recognize this kind of behavior from our games? Do the ‘instructions’ sound familiar? I’m pasting it here with some edits for clarity and brevity: About three weeks ago we had some visiting teams from North America in the Barcelona area. Two of my sons (2003, 2004) had the opportunity to play a game each against their North American opponents. English is also not very common in these parts so when we had these visiting teams from North America it was a good excuse to practice my English just in case I am forgetting it. I quickly got in some conversations with visiting parents. Many had questions as to how we like it here, how is the soccer, how is the coaching, schools and many other questions about Catalonia and Spain and general. The conversation

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The declining role of high school (and college) soccer?

I came across this article from a high school soccer coach and I don’t understand what his point is. It’s quite simple in my (simple) mind: High school soccer is a great way to bond with classmates in your neighborhood and to learn what it means to be on a team. It can be fun and a confidence booster for youngsters. No question there is a place for high school soccer. However, the standard of play, the coaching, the practices, the tactical understanding, and the opposition for high school soccer is so far from competitive soccer levels, especially the top level, that boys and girls that are pursuing soccer at the top level cannot justify taking time out to play on their high school teams. The gap really is large and top players already have so little time left outside their clubs’ demanding practice & games schedule and keeping up with school work. Top players need to focus all their

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