Ranting Soccer Dad

Frank but fair conversations and occasional silliness about youth soccer.

April 25th, 2018    

RSD32: Christian Lavers on ECNL/DA, U.S. Club/U.S. Youth competition

Maybe they're not turf wars. Maybe it's just healthy competition.

Christian Lavers is fully immersed in the complicated landscape of U.S. youth soccer. He's a technical director with FC Wisconsin and an executive with the ECNL and U.S. Club Soccer. And miraculously, he still sounds optimistic. Even "nice." If you're looking for mud-slinging, you're not going to find it here. Instead, you're going to hear a candid but polite take on why we have multiple national championships and other stuff that those of us who cover youth soccer complain about. 

He's aware of the travel requirements these days -- "not every game should require a hotel stay or flight," he says. But he sees different organizations filling different legitimate needs.  

Leading into the interview, I have an announcement about the Ranting Soccer Dad Guide to Youth Soccer and the Patreon page.


April 11th, 2018    

RSD31: Grassroots and futsal, with Leslie Hamer and Jason Longshore

It’s a futsal/grassroots doubleheader! After a brief intro (no full rant this week), you’ll hear from Leslie Hamer, who works with futsal at every level from the grassroots to the pros. She has been getting futsal into New York City public schools and now into colleges.

Next up: Jason Longshore, whom you may know as a commentator on Atlanta United games but has spent much of the last 12 years working with Soccer in the Streets, an organization that brings soccer (or futsal -- whichever makes sense for the available facilities) to underserved communities and schools. You may know them from their effort to put a small soccer field at a MARTA (local transit) station.

You’ll find a few differences and a few similarities in their stories. They work with other organizations from municipal governments to soccer clubs to the U.S. Soccer Foundation. (Reminder: The Foundation is not the Federation, though the Fed does nominate some board members.) Both programs are fundamentally geared toward providing healthy and productive activities for underserved areas, but you’ll sometimes see players move into elite levels, including pro academies.

The bell sound is from SoundBible.com. Every other musical note and sound effect was scratched out by me in GarageBand or through GarageBand.