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Saturday, July 30, 2022

I smirk when I hear parents say "KICK IT !"

Often times at youth soccer games, more specifically at the 08U, 10U, and 12U levels, I often hear parents and fans along the touchlines (on the side) state


Remember, when you have given up on the ball and KICKING IT the ball is given back to the other side.


From a technical skill perspective, yes we want the player to kick the ball appropriately.   



We also want the player as to when to make the RIGHT decision as to WHEN to kick the ball.


Can a 8U ( 6 or 7 year old ) kick the ball spectacularly from the defending half of the field  to  1) another player in transition or 2) score a goal!


In the defending 1/3 of the field, the player (6 or 7 year old - who is still learning the game ) - we need the player to 

Possess the ball with more graceful touches on the ball with first touch, then second touch and then third touch and so on.    


To make the right decision because at this point, the player would have won the 1 v 1 situation and then make the right decision to 

1) pass the ball (OR)

2) keep possession (OR)

3) yes if in the attacking half or attacking 1/3 of the field, then SCORE ( yes KICK IT ! )


But as I described the ball the words from the PARENTS should NOT ALWAYS BE



was recently asked about merging divisions as a benefit to everyone!

 Is it really a benefit to everyone ? 

If we were to reduce the number of teams by adding players to teams because of the lack of volunteers,  regardless of single gender or co-ed teams at the 8U Level the game is at minimum 4 v 4 or 5 v 5.  

Therefore if we were to double the size of the teams from 6 to 12 and existing coaches from both divisions would be co-coaching - there is no benefit to everyone.

1. The game would increase to 6 v 6 or more.    Our AYSO / United States Soccer Federation guidelines indicate that 4 v 4 or 5 b 5 is best at the 8U level for the amount of time each player touches the ball in a game or training session.
Increasing the number of players in a game reduces the number of touches on the ball.   ( touch meaning foot to ball, and not " kickball !" )

2.   We cannot be even close to 7 v 7 as that is the 10U Game.     5 v 5 is the most we can do.    If we go 7 v 7 in 8U we might as well add a GK which makes it 8 v 8 ~ for which this goes against current AYSO / USSF guidelines.   Back in 2000-2004 the game was this large and players did NOT develop well because of reduced chances on the ball.    We taught positioning at such a young age that the player progress from 8U thru 12U is that if a player was a defender (a back) in 8U, their behavior in 14U was still a back for which the residing in 1/3 of field was consistent,    we want the player to grow from using 1/3 of the field to a transitional play 1/3 to 2/3 of field.      Building in this process is only "learned" when playing the game with lesser number on the field - because players are challenged with the game of transition from 4 v 4 , 7 v 7 , 9 v 9 and 11 v 11.

3.  Everyone Plays!    If the team size were to double 12 players!  (and) if the game is 4 v 4 or 5 v 5, everyone will be playing half of the game or less before anyone gets to play 3/4 of a game.     So when parent observe the game, there will be at least one family that would state,   we are only here for the half ( 2 qtrs ) because that all we have to play based on 12+ player on a team.     I can see literally a family say the player is playing the half and we have to move on to the next activity.  

Friday, September 28, 2018

Laps, Lines, Language and Lecture....If that is how you coach then you are DAMN perfect (sarcasm!)

1. Laps
No Laps are allowed in Soccer Practices.   Period!    You are wasting time.     Coach.

2. Lines
No Lines are allowed in Soccer Practices.  Period!    You are wasting time.  Coach.

3. Lecture
No Lecture are allowed.   Period!  You are wasting time.  Coach.

4. Language
No " BAD " Language,  No Negative Coaching, No Modeling Bad Sporting Behavior.   You are wasting energy.  Coach.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Fall 2017 Week 3 Coach Note Sep-20 #1


Here are some AYSO Region 183 Coach Policies

If your team has a new assistant coach or team parent, please be sure that they register at and volunteer for the specific division.   Once completed, please have them email your division coordinator and the coach admin staff at      Also remind the volunteer that AYSO Safe Haven training is to be completed and if a coach, then coach certification is also required for assignment.

All coaches are to be registered for this season.  Every season, all returning coaches register (again) thru our registration system.   If you haven't registered, please do so!

#1 - Coach Side / Player Side
Both teams are to be on one side of the field.   We'll call it the coach side.   Players are to be on the coach side of the field.    Therefore when the game is in session, your players who are not playing must be at the coach side.

This area is really called the "Technical Area".

Also, coaches are NOT to use the whole length of the touchline directing traffic.   Coaches are to stay anchored at the center area or within the "technical area" that is painted.

Fans such as parents, family, friends, etc.  are to be on the opposite side of the field which is called the "fan side".   Remind families that they are not to be on the coach side of the field.     We do have signs posted at times that state parent side and coach side.

Also, no one is to be hanging around the goals or be near the corner areas, or goal lines.      Let's be very clear that this is the standard format going forward.    If anyone is on the goal side, please ask them kindly to move to the fan side of the field.  

#2 - Referees
Our Referees are volunteers too.   They are here to provide a fun, safe environment for our players and everyone here at AYSO.   At the start of every game, please introduce yourself to the referee, and have a pre-game meeting to go over important items such as game play, review of the Offside Law, or the Build Out Line (10U), etc. Please have your game lineup card ready.

Coaches are encouraged to complete AYSO Laws of the Game Online Training at AYSOU.ORG

Honor the Game!  (ROOTS)

#3 - Overcoaching / Joystick Coaching and Bring a Chair
Be very wary of your actions as a coach.   You'll find yourself that bringing a joystick may actually help you coach the team's game  (NOT!)     Remember, your training session (practices) and the many types of training games that you learned from Coach Certification courses gives you the ability to train players with many games.   Technical skill such as dribbling, passing, ball control are all focused development for technical training and team practice games.

At the actual game, provide guidance, direction and team support.   Ask your player questions at breaks, help them understand what did or did not work.   Let' them play.  

Constant conversation with them on the field during the game does not help them grow as players. 

#3 - Bring a chair, relax....
Let the Kids Play the game.
Take notes.
Train your players at training / practice sessions
Do not have a constant conversation on the field with your players while the players are playing the game. 
Directing traffic is for the streets.

#4 - Positive Charting Methods (Positive Coaching Alliance)
Taking notes during the game is a fine art.  We all can take notes, but writing down something that you see as a positive event for players is a key observation technique that is part of the AYSO Quality Coaching Cycle.

Did a player make a nice move?
Did a player touch the ball 3 times before a pass?
Did a player send (pass) the ball with accuracy and placed into space for a teammate ?

Players are unique and are learning the game at different rates. Charting and taking a notes for each player is the goal for Positive Charting during the game.

Your role as a coach is to find ways for improving each individual is to provide positive feedback so that the player can learn and become a better player and individual.

#5 - Setting Positions and Defending Third of Team Formation
(Fullback, Centerback, Leftback, Rightback)

When working your positions on the field, be wary as to stating "your are a defender" or a player states "I'm a defender,  I like defense".   

Typically when players hear the word "defender", they become instant statues on the field or stay glued to the penalty areas or even at the center line.

Yes, the paint has magical powers for players to stay on the paint line (sarcasm).    You as the coach should encourage full use of the field.

When players are playing on the defending side, they are known as " backs ",  such as a fullback, right back, or left back.   If players are in the attack, you can call them forwards, (left, right, center).   Please do not call them defenders.   Yes, these players are in the back of the formation but if the entire team is in the middle 1/3 and attacking 1/3 of the fields, these players are playing the back of the formation.    
You will want to be sure that players understand that every player on the team has field / area responsibility and not positional responsibility. 

For example, US Soccer Women's National Player and former AYSO Player Julie Ertz plays center back and midfielder has been recently scoring from those positions in the penalty area.  How can that be ? By watching video replays you see that she is taking on field / area responsibility as oppose to positional responsibility. 

Here are some videos

Highlights of Scoring

AYSO Commericial

#6 - Game out of hand !
You may find the game to be 3-0 in the 1st quarter of play (ie. within 3 minutes of play).    As coaches, you are to encourage good sportsmanship.    We've made a point by being ahead of 3-0, you made a greater point of making 6-0, then 9-0, then 12-0.    Understandably 3-0 is enough. 

As coaches, you are challenged with bring good player development and at the same time have good sportsmanship with positive coaching.   Yes that's a challenge.   

At a break, encourage your players to increasing passing, or dribble or touch the ball with only one foot.     Another challenge is to "touch the ball 3 times" before passing or kicking to another team mate.    Playing keep away is another method of increasing possession.

At other breaks, you may also want to give field responsibilities for players.  (not player positions).   So rotation of players is encouraged to play in the attacking side, or middle field or defending side of play.

#7 - AYSO Safe Haven Training
All Coaches are to be Safe Haven Trained.   Please be sure that you have completed the new AYSO Safe Haven Training at       Login into us with your AYSO BlueSombrero Account which is the login at

#8 - AYSO Incident Form
As part of your AYSO Safe Haven Training, you should know when to use the AYSO Incident Form.  For example, if a player is injured at an official AYSO game or practice,  please use this form to fill out. AYSO Incident Form (link) and follow the instructions.   You'll need to have a signature from our Regional Commissioner Lawrence Ramos if you are sending the form to AYSO National.   

Please print out a some copies and place in your coach bag / roster folder.  The form can be typed out in PDF format.   The form is to be filled out by an AYSO Volunteer that is registered as a volunteer and is AYSO Safe Haven Trained.

#9 - Lineup Cards! are REQUIRED
Remember to bring 2 lineup cards.  One for the ref and the other for you.    Here is a link to a PDF file of a lineup card.$!26+Documents/lineupcard_combined.pdf

Thursday, August 24, 2017