August 2014



TOPSoccer Program

Program Administration

By now you may have made new friends and are working along with other adults who share the same goal.  Together you have shared ideas and have outlined the program format.

If the league will only service a few children you won’t need to have very many people to administer the league.  In fact, your entire league may only consist of one team-Yours!  However, if your program guidelines involve large numbers of special needs children, you will need administrative help.

Either way, the administrator(s) should get together and make decisions on the issues your program may face.  If you are a part of an established youth soccer organization, a committee may be formed to make decisions relating to the special needs program.  If not, you may decide to incorporate as a non-profit, form a Board of Directors, and establish by laws & policies with your program guidelines.  Please consult with an attorney on how to from a non-profit corporation.

The administrative process will involve many important decisions.  You may need to accomplish the following:

Obtain Insurance – Remember that many facilities will require proof of liability insurance to obtain a permit.  Additionally, take steps to ensure that staff and players are covered in the case of an injury or accident.

Obtain Permits – Most public and private fields require a permit for usage.

 Write Policies and Procedures – To avoid disputes; it is a good idea to convert your program guidelines into a written format.  Your finished written document will put in writing the soccer laws, team sizes, and playing format that has been selected.  Additionally, you’re written documents should spell out who is responsible for each direct apect of the special needs program.

Develop a Budget – Costs of equipment, facilities, and other expenditures to the program must be considered when establishing a budget.  Calculate the expenditures first then proceed to identify sources of revenue.  Revenue will come from registration fees, sponsorships, grants, etc.  it is wise to calculate a budget which allow for a 10% carryover of revenue for the following year.

Send your questions or comments for TOPSoccer program to:

Article Source: “Miles & Miles of Soccer Smiles” Handbook

Co-Authors: Peggy Neason, Former US Youth Soccer TOPSoccer

                    Karl Dewazien D-7 Recreation Administrator 

Blue’s Clues Will Make You a Better Youth Coach
(Themes 1; 2 & 3 & 4)   By Brendan Donahue

Blue’s Clues Will Make You a Better Youth Coach

(Final Four Themes)By Brendan Donahue

Children learn in stages.  With this reality serving as our starting point, it is our duty as coaches to recognize this fact and cater our coaching style to suit their needs.  Although it can be tempting to try to speed up the development process to make the game look like “real soccer” quicker, if we attempt to force the issue we run the risk of overwhelming the child and stifling the development we were all so eager to see in the first place.  Let’s coach like Steve!  Have a plan and a methodical approach that guides the children, through exercises that offer repetition and skill appropriate challenges, where we place the children in an environment where they find the solutions to the game.

Theme 1. Construct your practice in the same manner day to day, week to week. 

Consistent structure will help the players establish a comfort level on what is expected of them and how the session will flow.  Being consistent is a very important dynamic for a coach at any level, but even more so with the younger age groups.  Once the players gain a familiarity with the practice format, it should also put an end to the question, “when are we going to scrimmage”.  If you always finish each practice with a game, they’ll know that the scrimmage is coming and can remain focused on the exercise at hand.  On a personal note, I would recommend beginning each practice with a street soccer game as an arrival activity. This helps address the same question listed above as well as giving the players an opportunity to express themselves.  

Theme 2. Progress Simple to Complex.  Allow for early success to establish a baseline and confidence in all the players.  Increase the complexity and difficulty in a manner that is challenging, but not overwhelming.  It’s okay to make mistakes as the practice progresses, this enhances the learning process, but you don’t want to begin the session with an activity that is too difficult and plants the seed of doubt in the players mind from the outset.  Remember, the proper ordering of the clues is vital to the show’s success.

Theme 3. Provide Repetition.  An adult considers constant repetition boring, because it requires reliving the same experience over and over again.  But to preschoolers repetition isn’t boring, because each time they watch something they are experiencing it in a completely different way. This is not to say that you need to run the same session with your team for 5 straight practices, but often by repeating an exercise or two from one practice to the next brings out a higher performance level since the players now comprehend the rules or objectives of an activity and can now focus on developing within the activity itself.  I caution coaches against changing the activities for their own enjoyment, when by doing so you may be hindering the enjoyment-and development- of your players.

Theme 4. Be a Guide- Steve has many characteristics of an ideal coach.  He poses questions, pauses long enough for the children to respond (a good listener) and methodically rehashes what they’ve learned along the journey.  As coaches, we should look to incorporate Steve’s skillfulness in asking questions with our players.  Asking questions engages the player and makes them active participants in the learning process.  Steve doesn’t provide the answers; instead he leads the children to discover the answers themselves.  This concept of Guided Discovery is one all coaches should embrace and seek to improve upon.

Editor’s Note: Coaches who have studied, understand and are using the ‘9-Step Practice Routine’ know how necessary these themes are in their practices & how well they work.. ! 

District News

A District-7 SUCCESS STORY -  

We have a soccer player in our US Air Force!!!!

Airmen Sierra Haro. She played for an absolutely great coach for seven years as well she was a referee for three years and coached an Under10 recreational team in Selma Youth Soccer's program. 

She graduated from basic training in San Antonio Texas on June 20 and is now in Mississippi for her tech training. She should be home on August 5th. Then will be making her way to Travis AFB in Fairfield as a reservist for two years. 

She is shown here (1)  with her sisters and grandmother sisters Cortney, McKenna,Julie and grandmother Linda.

 God bless our America!!!


Craig Kent

D-7 Recreation Instructor

 First District Staff Instructor to Schedule a

"Pre-F” course in 2014

League:  Fresno Metro

Event: ‘Pre-F’ Coaching Course

Date: September 5, 2014

Location: Hamilton School

                 102 E. Clinton, Ave.

                  Fresno, Ca. 

 D-7 Recreation Program Is Very Proud of You..! 

More Information on Coaching


That maxim may sound trite, but when it comes to developing world-class soccer stars, that cliche might be the key to success, according to Davis Paul, an American-born former MLS player. Paul recently returned from Brazil, where he made a video series about “the beautiful game” for GoPro in the lead-up for the World Cup.

The skill that exists down there is something that doesn't exist in the masses in the United States,” Davis said,adding that during the 16 days he spent in Brazil playing and filming pick-up games Brazilians on the beaches of Rio and the streets of the favelas he was most impressed with the kids.

To me, it was pretty amazing to see these kids go into a caged field — no referees, no structure — [and] put a ball down and literally just have the confidence to try to dribble and take every player that was in front of them,” Davis said, telling a story about playing against a 7-year-old kid as an example.

Instead of being afraid because I had played pro, he wanted to take me, he wanted to try to get through me.”Davis explained. “It was like they weren't really playing the game as much as they were just doing what they felt like they wanted to do.”

For Davis, that lack of an imposed structure when first learning the game is one of the reasons why Brazil has been able to develop players like Pele, Ronaldo and today’s Neymar,while the United States has not.

In the U.S. we have these big grass fields and big parks and we learn the game at such a slower pace,” Davis said. “It’s very much like ‘trap the ball,’ ‘kick the ball 30 yards,’everybody runs… It’s very cautious … I think we have to start doing it differently.

Besides letting kids follow less rules and have more fun when they first start learning, perhaps a change in where kids initially learn needs to happen, as well.

Every game I stumbled upon [in Brazil], it’s in tight little complexes, where there are fences, and so the ball never really goes out of bounds, it’s always in play,” Davis said.

This more ad hoc, more nonstop approach that many kids in Brazil use to train their feet and bodies to manipulate the ball teaches them to pass quicker and develop finer skills,Davis said. “They were just so sharp versus when you coach and 8-year-old team here in the United States.”

Editors Note: Creating 'That Lack of An Imposed Structure' is the main goal of the District-7 Recreation Programs'“Pre-F” course.  We hope you join us when a 'Pre-F' course comes to your community..!  

Referee Corner

Youth Soccer and Fouls
by Pat Ferre

In a youth game, two players are challenging for the ball when one player falls to the ground.  What the parents of the down player saw was a foul, illegal play, and something that the referee should be whistling in their favor. Parents of the other player saw a legal challenge, the player tripped over his own feet and there should be no whistle blown. What did the referee see?

Unlike what players and parents see in training films, television, and the like, the dynamics of a youth game are much different than the higher and professional levels.  At the younger levels, parents and spectators are not, in general, well experienced in soccer.  At this level, most adults are learning what the rules of soccer really are.

Parents are naturally protective of their child and tend to see what their own child does as acceptable and what is done to their child as unfair. As their child grows older, parents grow in experience as well and learn more about what is acceptable and fair play.

Players at a young age have little knowledge of what a foul is and are learning the basics of what is acceptable and what is not.  At the same time they are learning to control their bodies and many challenges are “unfair’ not because they are trying to cheat but because they lack the control of their own bodies.  At a young age, players can often be seen falling down even though there is no other player around them and they trip over their own feet.

As children grow older, their soccer skills improve and they have more control over their own bodies.  Since children improve and grow at different rates, the skill level within a game may vary greatly.  As players join new teams they also find themselves with teammates with more or less experience.  This can cause problems as the more skilled and experienced players may dominate play and take advantage of the less experienced players.  That dominance will cause other players to try hard to stop these players and create situations where sorting out fair from foul play can be difficult.

The referees of these younger age groups are faced with several roles.   The major role is to keep players from hurting themselves, being hurt and hurting others.  While trying to improve, some players may be influenced by trying to emulate older more experienced players and may be trying to play at a level beyond their own skills.  This may lead to players unintentionally hurting themselves and others.

Another role of the youth official is to teach the Laws of the Game.  At the youngest levels it means that the referee may actually stop the game for a “careless” foul and explain to the player that what they did is not considered fair play.

Ultimately, referees are the guardians of the Laws of the Game.  They must balance the need to keep the players safe and the game flowing while teaching what is fair and not fair play.

Pat Ferre
USSF Referee Grade 15 Emeritus,USSF Referee Instructor,USSF Referee Assessor,USSF Referee Assignor
District-7 Youth Referee Administrator (DYRA)

July Smiles - just for Laughs

Sixth Grade Research
By Emery Haggin

Many youth coaches are bound and determined to by-pass working on basic skills.  They seem to ‘think’ that skills can be gained by just playing the game.  Their focus is solely on the tactical aspect of the game.  I wonder if they will continue to work on the ‘mental part’ of the game after reading the following which are actual responses made by sixth grade students. I can really relate to these because some of my own sixth grade students have handed in materials similar to these:  

• Ancient Egypt was inhabited by mummies and they all wrote in hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Dessert. The climate of the Sarah is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere.

• Moses led the Hebrew slaves to the Red Sea where they made unleavened bread which is bread made without any ingredients. Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the Ten Commandments. He died before he ever reached Canada.

• Solomom had three hundred wives and seven hundred porcupines.

• The Greeks were a highly sculptured people and without them we wouldn't have history. The Greeks also had myths. A myth is a female moth.

• Send an 'actual' comment you have heard for future smiles and receive a bonus gift from the editor of this newsletter.


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