Ranting Soccer Dad

Frank but fair conversations and occasional silliness about youth soccer.

March 14th, 2018    

RSD29: A random but interesting coach/parent, Mike Davitt

Do you know Mike Davitt? Until a few weeks ago, I didn’t, either. He’s a longtime soccer coach who, like many longtime soccer coaches do, also became a soccer parent. He’s originally from Kearny, N.J., hallowed ground for U.S. soccer.

After listening to a few of my rants, he emailed me and said he didn’t think youth soccer was doomed. It might even be a good thing.

I’ve been hoping to find people like that for the podcast, and so we chatted. Our conversation (starting around the 15:00 mark) ends up with an interesting idea on educating coaches, which is an issue that popped up in the big election. We talk about the positives of having an alphabet soup of leagues and organizations, how to help parents make educated decisions (23:00, including a suggestion that we should stop using the word “academy” unless you’re in the DA), how to watch out for players’ self-esteem (32:40), and how to keep score.

But first, I ranted. A little. I talked a bit about the big Chattanooga summit (4:25 mark) that may be the first big step toward a new pro league.


March 7th, 2018    

RSD28: SAY Soccer’s Doug Wood

After today’s explanation of the upcoming Guide to Youth Soccer (3:00) and a rant about promotion/relegation (4:15), my guest (12:30) is Doug Wood, executive director of SAY (Soccer Association for Youth). He starts by explaining what SAY does -- mostly recreational soccer through several different entry points, including schools.

SAY isn’t the most top-down organization out there. Its leagues and clubs sometimes have diverse approaches. Sounds a little different than the U.S. Soccer mandates, doesn’t it?

Along with U.S. Youth Soccer, U.S. Club Soccer, AYSO and USSSA, SAY is part of the Youth Council Technical Working Group, which sprung up in response to those mandates. We talk about whether that’s making a difference (26:00). And yes, we talk about the ill-fated birth-year age mandate (28:50).

What happens when SAY discovers a potential elite player? See 39:30.

How do SAY players play with other organizations as well? See 44:45.

Then get an impassioned plea on behalf of recreational sports at 53:15.


March 1st, 2018    

RSD27: Julie Foudy finds reasons to be optimistic about youth soccer

Today’s guest has an impossible task: Make me feel better about youth soccer, and soccer in general, and youth sports in general … maybe just life in general. But she’s faced tougher tasks. She’s Julie Foudy, Hall of Fame soccer player and ESPN journalist.

After I make an announcement and then rant about curling commentary, the interview starts around the 13:20 mark with a discussion of what’s good about youth soccer, whether soccer can have the same supportive atmosphere of extreme sports (20:30), the lack of women in coaching (26:20), her experiences as a soccer parent (31:20) and then U.S. Soccer politics, including the role of the Athletes’ Council (40:10). She also talks a bit about the U.S. women’s team heading into the SheBelieves Cup (51:10).


January 24th, 2018    

RSD26: Charles Boehm on the U.S. Soccer election and youth soccer

This week’s guest, Charles Boehm, is a player, coach, referee and writer -- check out his intro at the 2:45 mark and learned where he played alongside future non-U.S. national teamers. Like me, he was in Philadelphia for the United Soccer Coaches convention and attended many of the U.S. Soccer presidential candidates’ sessions.

We talk about what makes a soccer person and what makes an elitist (5:30), whether Eric Wynalda is the front-runner (8:00), the “anyone but (so-and-so)” approach to voting (9:45), what the candidates showed us in Philly (13:05), Kathy Carter and Soccer United Marketing (24:10), what’s changing in U.S. Soccer (30:00-ish), then youth soccer and the surprising focus on ODP (38:15).

I didn’t get around to finishing my thought on why I was once the best U12 center back in Athens, Ga. The answer is the same reason why I was once a competent over-30 coed indoor goalkeeper: Reckless disregard for my own safety. It surely had nothing to my skill. It also had a lot to do with the fact that not many kids played soccer and even fewer wanted to play defense.


January 17th, 2018    

RSD25: Phillypalooza election preview, the disappointing USSF coaching education overhaul, and being nice

Point 1: Why this weekend will be huge for the U.S. Soccer presidential election. (2:02)

Included in that: Why I’m skeptical of current election projections (including a NewsRadio reference), what the Number 1 issue in this election should be (8:10), a few surprising things on Paralympic soccer (8:30), a question of what we’re really saying about futsal -- the next beach volleyball? (9:30), SUM and pro/rel (11:30), and finally back to the Number 1 issue and how it overlaps with other major issues (18:00).

Point 2: The new U.S. Soccer coaching curriculum, grassroots level (22:15)

Included in that: Welcome to Disney (25:55), introducing tactics at 4v4? (26:20), the painful irony of the chosen video clip (27:15), U6 parent coaches developing their own coaching philosophy? (28:00), the nice tone (32:25).

Point 3: Soccer discourse, Twitter (33:40)

Include in that: What we all have to offer (34:15), why dealing with crap for 15 years makes these discussions difficult (35:45), different types of people (36:45), the ideal outcome of the Kathy Carter candidacy (39:30).

Next up for Ranting Soccer Dad (40:00). Basically, I’ll get back to interviews at some point and quit soloing like this. (And yes, I finally bring it full circle.)


January 3rd, 2018    

RSD24: An election-related New Year’s resolution

No interview lined up, so what's the rant this week?

How the United Soccer Coaches convention in Philadelphia might help us reset the hostility-to-substance ratio in the presidential race.

Who I would NOT endorse for U.S. Soccer president, based on what I know now. (The answer is NOT Eric Wynalda, which I know might blow the minds of some folks on Twitter.)

Why Riccardo Silva’s tweet about promotion and corruption was irresponsible and inaccurate. (He’s welcome to chat with me or simply tweet again to explain, clarify, etc.)


A bit of U.S. Soccer voting history.

Some musing on corruption and investigative journalism.

Where were Commisso and Silva in 2002 when MLS was about to fold and could’ve been steered in another direction?

Something that has actually encouraged me about public conversation right now.

My New Year’s resolution that I hope others will share.


December 13th, 2017    

RSD23: The convoluted U.S. Soccer presidential race and the educational Soccer Parenting Summit

Beau flies solo for the likely 2017 RSD finale and talks about the magnificent seven or the elite eight to reach this stage of the USSF presidential race. At the 15-minute mark, he tries to sum up 20-some hours of the Soccer Parenting Summit. Happy holidays, and get more details on this pod later this week at RantingSoccerDad.com


December 6th, 2017    

RSD22: U.S. Soccer presidential candidate Paul Lapointe

If you want to skip Beau's rant on the good and bad of US Club Soccer, Sunil Gulati and Twitter, skip to the 15-minute mark. That's where you'll find the interview with Paul Lapointe, one of the first candidates to declare his intent to run for the U.S. Soccer presidency. 

We talk about promotion/relegation, the role of the president, equal pay for the U.S. women's team, women's soccer promotion/relegation/Open Cup, the fragmented world of futsal, the fragmented world of indoor "balls and walls" soccer, youth soccer and coaching. All in less than 45 minutes. 


December 1st, 2017    

RSD21: U.S. Soccer presidential candidate Eric Wynalda

Eric Wynalda has played in multiple World Cups, Germany, MLS, etc. He's been a successful coach and commentator. 

Yes, we talk about promotion/relegation. In fact, we did it first just so you single-issue types can listen and then bail out. If you want to hear about EVERY issue facing the next USSF president -- well, we got to maybe half of them. There are lot of issues. In rough order, we talk about: 

1. What's different or similar between the concerns of the Twitterati and the concerns of the typical state or national association. 

2. Whether people are nervous to speak up about the USSF power structure. 

3. Women's soccer: The new collective bargaining agreement and the NWSL. 

4. Youth soccer: Has the federation done too little? Too much? 


November 29th, 2017    

RSD20: Mediating the NASL/USSF suit with Neil Morris

Neil Morris covers his local teams -- North Carolina FC and the North Carolina Courage -- for WRAL. His work includes a terrific podcast, the Inverted Triangle. In his day job, he's an attorney and mediator. 

So why not combine his areas of expertise and try to mediate the NASL/USSF lawsuit? We gave it a whirl, with Neil playing the role of mediator and your host flipping between the roles of NASL and USSF advocates.

The conversation starts around the 8:45 mark. We quickly explain what's going on in the real world with the lawsuit, and then Neil explains the mediation process. 

I present a hypothetical NASL offer, prompted by Neil's helpful questions and prodding, around the 25-minute mark. (Highlights: Cosmos owner on the USSF Board, drop divisional sanctioning OR give us D2 for a few years.) I give a hypothetical USSF counter at 43:45. We spend the last half-hour assessing our progress -- some promising ideas, but some roadblocks that even the most reasonable people may have difficulty eliminating. Uh oh.



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