Ranting Soccer Dad

Frank but fair conversations and occasional silliness about youth soccer.

March 28th, 2018    

RSD30: Announcement time

This week: The Ranting Soccer Dad Guide to Youth Soccer is officially underway. Check out the first couple of entries and support it on Patreon.

In the podcast, I spend about five minutes explaining all that. Then I go on a rant about the generation gap in understanding soccer and why we don't have a glorious promotion/relegation pyramid just yet. (Plus a few ideas on how to get there. Or how not to.)

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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.

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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.

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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).

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