Toward a Positive Trend 

In our quest to help the younger soccer players improve we may have started something that is more harmful than helpful.  It is natural for adults to shout encouragement and advice to children as they are playing.  The instinct to help is prevalent in all of us.  As role models, however, we may need to take a look at some other more familiar sports and learn from them.

Picture these examples:   The long fly ball is heading toward left-center field.  The fielders begin to run underneath the ball. Does the baseball coach or fielders parents start yelling directions to the fielders as who, what, where and how to catch the ball? 

The quarterback drops back into the pocket to throw a pass and his pass protection starts breaking down.  Does the football coach or quarterbacks’ parents begin yelling instructions to the scrambler as to where and how to run in order to avoid being sacked?

The ball handler is in the lane ready to shoot a lay-up.  An opponent is coming from the right side to block the shot.  Can the coach or shooters parents call out any instruction that will help the player protect the ball from the opponent to get a clear shot at the basket?

You, of course, know that the answer in all the above situations is a loud and resounding – NO!!!

Knowledgeable coaches realize that during the action of any game one can only hope that instinct, talent and good basics will bring their players’ movements to successful fruition.  These wise coaches want players to focus and concentrate on the task at hand and to tune out every extraneous sound including calls from the sideline.

These same coaches go so far as to ask their spectators to refrain from calling players by their name or giving any instructions whatsoever.  They even take the time to  explain to the parents how difficult it is for players to… Concentrate on the Ebb and Flow of the Game … Listen for/to instructions … Hear the instruction … Understand the instruction … Apply the instruction while being pressured by an opponent. 

Some FACTS to consider:
1) A player receiving or handling a soccer ball is in the same physical/mental state as the baseball player chasing a fly ball; the quarterback ‘scrambling’; or a basketball player shooting a lay-up.

2) FIFA’s International Board states, “The Laws of the Game” are intended to provide the games should be played with as little interference as possible.”

3) Professional coaches can be banned from the sidelines if they are caught coaching during the game. 

We, in District 7, have an opportunity to set-a-trend by having coaches adhere to the Laws of the Game; stay inside the designated coaching area; observe their team in action; take notes of points to cover during half-time and weaknesses to improve at the next practice session.

We, in District 7, also have an opportunity to set-a-trend by marking-out a ‘spectator-line’ at every field; expect & enforce spectators to stay behind this designated line; encourage spectators to observe their team in action and cheer/applaud good play by both teams. 
Koach Karl (Karl Dewazien) 
State Director of Coaching - California Youth Soccer Association (1979-2012)
Author Internationally Published FUNdamental SOCCER Books Series 
Producer of the highly acclaimed ‘9-Step Practice Routine’ DVDs  
Websites: www.fundamentalsoccer.com   or www.karldewazien.com 
Contact at: cysakarl@comcast.net 

Must Read Article

We Are the Guests of the Players (A Must Read…) by Dave Campbell

Over the course of any season, we hear sporadic accounts of behaviors, at our practices and matches, that have to be addressed by a board representative. Usually, it only takes a conversation, and refreshingly, that conversation often starts out with something along the lines of “I know why you contacted me, and let me first apologize. I was having a bad day.” Other times it is an honest mistake, sometimes not knowing or understanding a NASA policy. Occasionally, nerves are a little more raw, and it might take some investigation to ferret out the cause. In a very limited number of cases, additional action has to be taken by the board.

Opening day had more reports than normal, but I chalked it up to a concerted effort to make sure that everyone is proactive in reporting their concerns. We don’t want folks to stew on something until the end of the season. Week 2 was even more unusual, but we couldn’t find a pattern, and I attributed it to a statistical aberration. Then we had weekends 3 and 4, and I have now received more reports of inappropriate behavior at the younger games this season than I have seen cumulatively in all of my time with NASA.
 Something is wrong.
 It is happening at all ages and all facilities. It isn’t at every game, yet, but the trend is heading that way. The escalation is in failures of sportsmanship at seemingly innocuous degrees, that in aggregate take a very serious toll on the culture of the club.
Just referring everyone back to the NASA Codes of Conduct and Ethics doesn’t feel adequate.
 To paraphrase several articles and commentaries: We are the guests of the players. Without adults, they could still have a game. We should not be letting the presence of adults detract from the game. “Think of the soccer field as a playground, not as a sports venue.” That is for any age and any level of play.
Rather than tell people what not to do, I like these suggestions on what we should do:
1. Cheer For The Team
2. Don’t Criticize Players
3. Think About How Others See You
4. Don’t Put Your Child On A Pedestal
5. Have Fun and Be Good Hosts

One of my favorite soccer initiatives from on high is the Play Positive program, which is the first place that I encountered the mnemonic “Respect our ROOTS.”
R ules – don’t break or bend the rules, even if you can get away with it.
O pponents – Play with people, not against them.
O fficials – especially when you disagree with their actions or inactions.
T eam – no one succeeds at this game without a team mentality.
S elves – set high standards for yourself, and let people see you exceed them.
Our goals at NASA have very little to do with winning on the scoreboard. We are much more concerned about helping players to develop a lifelong love of the game. That is unlikely to happen in an environment with adults behaving inappropriately.
A suggestion from me:
Don’t sit as a team on the spectator sideline. Mix it up, introduce yourself and share the game with someone new. In a couple of years, rosters get bigger, and you are going to start color coordinating for games with today’s opposition.
A NASA rule:
NASA asks spectators to do something very hard, which is to completely refrain from coaching on the spectator sideline. Seriously, don’t provide any instruction at all from the spectator sideline, regardless of age or level. It is detrimental to player development and a primary cause of attrition according to the players who quit. We aren’t asking you not to cheer, but it will help your players hear their coach if the cheering is kept to a minimum. And yes, excessive celebration on the spectator sideline is one of the many issues we are trying to address quickly within NASA. Cheer for good play. Cheer for effort. Cheer every goalkeeper save. Cheer regardless of the color of the jersey or club logo. But cheer in moderation, and with respect for the other team.
 A universal rule:
Do not make calls, criticize calls, or in any way allow anyone to suspect that you are not absolutely ecstatic with the referee crew’s performance during the match. Referees do make mistakes. Criticism during the game is usually counterproductive. If you feel the need to provide negative feedback, or constructive criticism, it is welcome. Just be sure to direct it to me or the board, afterwards, and not to the officials.
Please note that this email is the general message for the club, and I am dealing with some specific coach, player and referee concerns using other options. If you raised an issue, please don’t think that this message is in any way a dismissal of your concern or viewpoint.
Dave Campbell
North Austin Soccer Alliance
Loving Soccer, Serving Our Community

Letter to Parents/Coaches

Parents, want to be mentally tough?Try This:

Don’t comment to the referee – the whole weekend. Getting angry with them is a waste of time. Show other parents and players you can be passionate about something without having an enemy.

Unless they ask, don’t give your child (or other players on the team) soccer advice before, during, or after the game. If they do inquire, encourage them to give 100 percent, play confident, and enjoy themselves. There are few worse developmental barriers a coach can observe than 5-7 self-appointed coaches on the sidelines.

We the parents are supporters of our children and the game. If we want to be fans, great, let’s just head to a 49ers or Raiders game

Kevin Burk,

Executive director for the Tennessee Soccer Club (TSC)



Admirals’ Chief Executive Officer and owner, Paul Hamburger, has put

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  Help Us to Help Others by Ordering Your Products via this link

If you would like a tailor made quote for your soccer program feel free to contact Admiral toll free on 888-646-6822, Email Paul on paul@admiral-sports.com and see online: www.admiral-sports.com

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District News


Schwab Tournament

November 15-16, 2014

Contact: Eric Ramirez (559) 904-6074


CJSL Thanksgiving Tournament 

November 29-30, 2014

Contact: John Hancock (559) 325-2575


Cotton Classic Tournament

December 6 & 7, 2014

Contact: Phillip Mello (559) 816-3887


Metry Winter Challenge Tournament

December 6 & 7, 2014

Contact: Richard Hernandez (559) 994-8910

East Fresno

East Fresno Winter Classic

December 13 & 14, 2014

Contact: David Alvarez (559) 268-2015

Referee Corner

Officials Coaching During Games:

When Is It Appropriate?

Referees are all too familiar with coaches helping to officiate a game.  It is something that refs endure each season.  What happens when the roles are reversed and officials coach players and coaches during the game?

Some instructions like: “Number 4, keep your hands off her!”, “ Coach, number 15 is about to get a card if you do not get him to settle down.”  “If you do not let go of his shirt, I am going to call it.”  “Captain, you better tell number 8 to watch his mouth!”

Is that type of instruction appropriate?  At certain levels of play, the answer is yes.  At other times, it is just as inappropriate as coaches helping the referees with officiating.

The practice of officials “coaching” during a game comes from two areas.  One is the desire to teach or help players, coaches and parents learn the game.  The second is preventive officiating mechanics in which well-timed words can prevent an escalation of penalties and hostilities.

Teaching usually occurs when participants are usually new to the sport and vaguely familiar with the rules.  In those game a bit of coaching goes a long way in helping newcomers learn and keeping the game under control.  Parents in particular respond well to these calls as they help their child learn the game.  Instead of just calling a trip or push, a referee can explain that the push or trip, although unintentional, is still called a foul in this instance.

Problems arise when coaching by officials occurs during competitive matches such as high school, club or college games where skilled players are involved.  Here, the less said the better to avoid, or give the perception of, providing advantage to one team or another.  Statements like; “I don’t want to see you grab her shirt again!”, “Get away from the goalkeeper!”, or “Next time I’ll call the foul!” often will prompt players and coaches to ask:” Why are you instructing the other team?”  “Why don’t you just call the infraction?”

Even worse and simply unfair is when an official only warns the player from one team but, without a word of warning, cautions the player from the other team when he/she commits the same kind of infraction.

Four points to keep in mind when working games at the higher levels:

1.  The less said the better.  Can’t get in trouble for what you did not say.

2.  If you really feel that you must say something to prevent trouble later on, make it a private conversation as you pass by the


3.  If you need to go public, make sure that your comments address and apply to both teams.  “Gentlemen, the ball must be thrown

     in from the general location where it left the field.”  “Questioning the calls made by the ARs will not be tolerated!”

4.  None of the above applies to a fight.  At that time you have three tools: your voice, your presence and your whistle.

Pat Ferre

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

More Coaching Advice

Mental Play  By Ed Llanos 

Mental play is an important part of the development of the American youth soccer player.  The blend of old technology like foosball and video games will allow the players to connect with the game from a pure enjoyment perspective.  Today’s American youth soccer player has a tremendous amount of power at their fingertips.  Players can easily find YouTube videos of their favorite player like Leo Messi.  Or they can research a legend of the past like Johan Cruyff.   

Coaches and players can use apps and websites like iSoccer to improve and track their development.  Satellite and cable TV provide access to the highest level of soccer on the planet, the UEFA Champions.  Players can subscribe to premium soccer channels like BeIN Sport and Fox Sports 1 and follow teams from the MLS, La Liga, EPL, Serie A, Bundesliga, etc.  The MLS, semi-pro, college, and high school matches also give players an opportunity to get mental reps. 

New technology will have an impact on the American soccer player.  The Fitbit bands, Adidas MiCoach, and the Gatorade Smart Bottle (monitors hydration) are just a few new technologies that will impact player development and performance in the future. 

In closing, soccer is a game of tactics, styles, and culture.  If we find the right combination of structured, unstructured, and mental play, if we do it correctly, the American soccer player will be uniquely developed and competitive in the future.    

Ed Llanos

  • CYSA District 7 Staff Instructor
  • USSF National D
  • NSCAA GK Level 2 Diploma
  • Pending National Youth License


Smiles - just for Laughs

Coach:  One of my players asked me how old I was, and I told him, 54.

Player: Was quiet for a moment, and then he asked, "Did you start at 1?"

Coach: Was telling her team what her own childhood was like. "We used to skate outside on a pond. I had a swing made from a tire; it hung from a tree in our front yard. We rode our pony. We picked wild raspberries in the woods."

Players: The players were wide-eyed, taking this all in. At last one said, "I sure wish I'd gotten to know you sooner!"

Coach:  At the last practice one of my players asked, "Coach, do you know how you and God are alike?" I mentally polished my halo and I said, "No, how are we alike?''

Player:  "You're both old," he replied.   

Coach: When a player asked me how old I was, I teasingly replied, "I'm not sure."

Player:  "Look in your underwear, Coach," he advised "Mine says I'm 4 to 6."