Septembert 2014

Articles in this issue: 
 Featured Article “Sincerely from Selma”

  • Coaching Your Own Child
  • Letter to Parent/Coaches
  • Very Important Reminder 
  • District News
  • Structured Play by Ed Llanos
  • Some Players Require Special Attention by Pat Ferre
  • Just For Laughs 



Coach Michaelray Ceja of the Selma Junior Soccer League became the 1st coach in District VII to be ‘officially’ recognized as a District Recreation Staff Instructor. He and Selma President, Ricardo Zamora, organized and hosted the Selma “pre-F” course on August 7, 2014.  Selma coaches that participated in and received the prestigious “D-VII pre-F” certificate:  C. Ashoori, R. Barron, R. Cruz Jr.,  R. Dominguez, R. Frutis, C. Fuentes, N. Garcia, A. Gomez, J. Luna, A. Mariscal, D. Mendoza, A. Ramirez, N. Sanchez, S. Zamora.

The D-VII office then received the following correspondence: Selma Youth Soccer League officials and coaches would like to thank the “D-7 Recreation Program” for coming out to our town to teach the “Pre F course”. The coaches were really excited to learn new skills and coaching techniques. Many have started implementing them during practices.  Here are some of the coaches’ comments: 

"I thought the minicamp was very helpful for a first time coach. It was a great learning experience" .JL

"I felt like the coaching techniques were very helpful.  They were simple but effective.  I already see a difference in my kids after I implemented them" .RD

"I really enjoyed training camp we had for coaches. It really opened my eyes to different ways to help coach the children to make it fun and learn at the same time ".CF

"I believe Karl was a good instructor and love his perception on soccer coaching. He knows how to teach people the right stuff and will use his 9 steps. It was worth the time being with an expert with kids, who has experience.  I felt that with this clinic it not only taught us to be suitable coaches for children but also good to people in general. The instructor accosted the main points with the precise words to have us, coaches in training, an open thought about everything.  Thank you also to Coach Ray-Ray". RC

Once again thank you. 
SYSL Officials and Coaches

Be Assured the D-7 Recreation Program is Here to Help YOU.

We are prepared to provide local community coaching classes. Classes at which your question of the who, the what, the when, the where and the why of coaching developing players will be answered.    

At first it may seem overwhelming when you realize that you could really use some help.  Be assured by our promise that, “Once you study, understand and apply our methods you will be overwhelmed by the players' and their parents' positive responses!” So, plan on attending one of our classes and be overwhelmed at how simple & enjoyable coaching youth players really is!

Very Important:
Your local administration will have information regarding scheduled courses.   
If you do not have local contact information then please contact me at:


  Coaching Your Own Child By Mike Woitalla

It's that time of year when men and women across the country embark on the wonderful adventure of youth soccer coaching. Many if not most of these newcomers will be coaching their own children. One of my favorite sources on this subject is Tony DiCicco, the Olympic gold medal and Women’s World Cup-winning coach who also coached his own children at the youth level. "I know something about parents coaching their own children, because I've done it and have made every possible mistake," says DiCicco, a father of four, in his book, “Catch Them Being Good.”  "What you must understand is that no matter what you say and no matter how you say it, it often registers as a personal attack when it comes from dad or mom. It’s important to explain that to your child -- that this is not coming from dad or mom, it’s coming from the coach.”

It should go without saying that coaches shouldn't give their own children preferential treatment --unearned extra playing time. But also to be avoided is treating one’s own child more harshly.  "You must also recognize that you're likely to be harder on your own child than you are on the other players and deal with it accordingly,” says DiCicco “Don't be afraid to praise your child. If you let your daughter know when things aren't happening the way they should, then make sure you hit the high notes as well. Acknowledge her strengths and accomplishments at every opportunity."
The good test on how to treat your child on the soccer team is to constantly ask yourself if your reactions to his play or behavior are the same as they are to his teammates.

Another peril of coaching one's own children is leaving your coaching hat on when the game or the training is over.  "Frankly, I don't think it's a great idea to discuss sensitive game situations with your child once you're off the field," says DiCicco, "but if you have a relationship where you can do that, just make sure you don't overdo it.”

On this aspect, the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) advises: “Don’t talk about other players on the team with your child. This places him in a complicated situation and may color his relationships with other players. He is a member of the team, not your co-coach.”  The PCA recommends you explain to your child, "I always love you and you are special to me. But when I'm coaching you, I need to treat you like all the other players. And you need to respond to me as your coach, not your dad. Do you think you can do that?"  One idea the PCA advises is to employ the "coaching hat." Explain to your child that when you're donning the cap, you're coach. When practice is over, the hat's off and you're back to parent.

An assistant coach offers a convenient solution for keeping the parent-child dynamic from creating tension: Have the assistant handle coaching communication with your child when one-on-one chats are called for. 
 Among the best youth coaching advice I've ever heard, whether your kid’s on the team or not, is to see the game through the children’s eyes. This will remind you that the most important contribution you can make is to help the kids have fun -- and not to treat 6-year-olds like 16-year-olds. Says DiCicco: "No matter what, understand that there are going to be some difficult moments and that, in the end, it is often better to coach less than more."

Mike Woitalla, the executive editor of Soccer America, is co-author, with Tim Mulqueen, of The Complete Soccer Goalkeeper and co-author with Claudio Reyna of More Than Goals: The Journey from Backyard Games to World Cup Competition. Woitalla's youth soccer articles are archived at Woitalla refs youth soccer in Northern California and coaches at East Bay United/Bay Oaks.   

Letter to Parents/Coaches

Letter to Parent Coaches : Dear Mom or Dad, 

Yesterday you told me that you’re going to coach my soccer team this season. I think I’m really excited about that and also a little nervous. I want to tell you some things so we can both have a great time, and maybe when it’s over we’ll want to play and coach together again next season. 

Please remember that children do not learn at the same age. Some of my friends are already good at soccer. I can barely control my body much less with that ball bouncing all over the place. Please don’t compare me to other kids because I am unique to this team and this game. I want to be good at soccer in your eyes, but be realistic with your expectations of me this season. I need to be challenged but not to be pushed beyond my ability. If soccer becomes something I really love I promise I’ll put in the time to get good at it later. 

You might see a different side of me on the soccer field than you do at home. Can you imagine having twelve kids my age fighting over the last meatball at dinner tonight? Sports are a little different from regular life so just remember that I may react differently, and probably not always how you wish I would. You've spent most of my life teaching me not to take things from other kids, and it’s confusing that you want me to break that rule just on the soccer field. I realize this could be hard on you, especially because all the other parents will be watching and you grown-ups seem to have some weird competition with each other over your kids. 

Anyway, all I’d ask is that you be patient with me while I learn to play this game. My friends and I need the chance to “smell the grass” while we’re young.   

I’m just your child at home and you’re just my parent. Our coach-player relationship will be different, and not only because you’ll have to spread your attention among all the kids. I’ll try to live up to the pressure of being the coach’s kid, but please try not to be extra hard on me just to avoid looking like I’m your favorite. Which of course I will be no matter what, right? And once we’re off the field can you just be my parent and not let the Coach come home with us? I’m pretty sure I’d rather have my ol’ ‘rental unit in the car who will just listen if I want to talk and not Super Coach breaking down the day’s performance. I mean, you don’t see me kicking out the back window because I’m still Super Player once we get in the car, so let’s agree to just be kid and parent again once we’re off the field. 

What I’m trying to say is, there’s some pretty cool things about you being my coach. I just want us to go into this with our eyes wide open, including the ones in the back of your head you’re always bragging about. I want to look forward to going to practice and games because they’ll be full of energy and fun, and I know you can make that possible. If as a coach you show all the patience, acceptance, and love you’ve shown (most of the time) as my parent, I’m sure this will lead to good times and happy memories for both of us. And even though I probably won’t be the best player out there I bet you’ll see me as a pretty good kid who can make you proud in lots of different ways. 

Your little miracle
By Andy Coutts, 
Minnesota Youth Soccer Director of Education



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

 together an “Award Points Program” which will allow the D-7 Recreation

 Program to exchange “Points” for Admiral Products to be distributed to

 those in need.  In addition he has adjusted Admiral Prices to provide all D-7

 members up to 65% off of all Admiral Products. 

  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 and see online:

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 To order balls - please - we will give you prices for bulk salesFor bulk discounts orders:  Click on this link which will take you to our order page - go to the soccer balls about halfway down the page and Let us know how many of each size ball you would like to purchase. And, where the balls would be shipped (City, State & Zip Code)... We'll email an estimate of the costs, taxes and shipping fees. Your email address will NEVER be sold, rented or given to any other business or company.


District News

Selma Scores by…
Hosting the: “Spook-N-Shoot Halloween Tournament” October 25-26, 2014

Co-ed = U-6; U-8; U-10 Boys
True =   U-12; U-14 Boys and Girls
Tournament Entry Fee: $175
Contact: Joan Godinez  (559) 305-6528

Pleasantries from Parlier
Dear Koach Karl. ...

The person we need to thank is Linda at the District Office for arranging your attending our Parlier League Meeting. Thank you for joining us; We really enjoyed having you present at our meeting. I really enjoyed your presentation as I’m sure everyone else in attendance did so too. Even though it was brief due to time constraints, it was very insightful for our new coaches. I am also looking forward to seeing you at the “Pre-f course”. Thanks again.

Mario Salinas – Parlier

September Scheduled “pre-F” Courses
Sept. 2, Rio Vista Middle School –Contact: David Pearce (559) 217-4748
Sept. 5, Hamilton School –Contact: Craig Kent (559) 243-6630 
Sept. 13,
2359 W. Superior Ave. Caruthers –Contact: Nicole Franco (559) 977-9629

More Information on Coaching

Structured Play By Ed Llanos

The American soccer player is developed largely in a structured environment.  Structured play is how the majority of American youth players experience soccer.  We are familiar with the Tuesday and Thursday 90 minute practice at the local elementary school.  I have witnessed these 90 minutes evaporate.  It is easy for the youth coach to spend 20 in a circle stretching the players, another 20 minutes explaining the rules of their small-sided game, and an additional 20 minutes lecturing the players when they make a mistake.  The remaining 30 minutes should be used for uninterrupted play, but instead, the coach will continue to stop the game to provide input.  As coaches, we should be mindful of the amount of touches our players get at each and every practice.  

US Youth Soccer has changed the format of practice to the four-stages to help simplify practice and provide a deeper understanding of the practice topic.  If you have not upgraded your license recently, you may not be familiar with the change.  Check with your local league and sign-up for a course.

In addition to practice, players learn from each other.  The level of competition should be considered when selecting a league, a bracket, or team.  The amount of game time, touches on the ball, positions played, and level of responsibility can all be impacted by the level of competition.

Tournaments also contribute to the development of players.  It is easy, to get tournamentitis.  Rankings, GotSoccer points, wins/losses, and the coaches’ ego can influence tournament selection.  It is easy for adults to lose site of the objective--player development.  Not all tournaments should be treated equally.  Tournaments can be used to assess the needs of your team, work on a new formation, play the children in new positions, etc.  As coaches, we need to avoid the trap of trying to win everything at all cost.  Every child needs to be given a chance to demonstrate what they have learned in practice.

Other examples of structured play:  indoor soccer, futsal, soccer camps, and private coaching.  All forms of structured play can impact a development.

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

Editors Note:  Look for Ed Llanos next article in Komments regarding “Unstructured Play”

Referee Corner

Some Players Require Special Attention  by Pat Ferre

Experienced referees have learned to watch some players more than others in order to keep the match safe, entertaining and under control.

How and when do they determine which players need more special attention and how do they deal with them before there are major problems in the match?

There are two types of players who need to be watched: the strikers and the midfield attackers.  If these players are not protected from the abuse of lesser skilled players, their teammates may take matter into their own hands.

Opponents quickly find the players they need to stop to win.  They are the skilled dribblers, with speed and good ball control, they have good vision, serve the ball well and have a good shot.  Referees need to make sure that the extra attention they get from the opponent is fair.

Another player that requires special attention is the overly physical one.  That player can often be identified during pre-game warm ups.  Look for a player with significantly less ball control.  A good candidate may also be a larger, more powerful individual than the rest of the team.

As the game progresses, you must confirm or correct your guesses.  Who is marking the skilled players and are they doing it legally?  Is there some shirt pulling, some ankle tapping?  Are the fouls getting more serious?  Let both the attackers and defenders know that you will stop any unfair play. Use your mouth, your whistle and if need be your cards to send a clear message.

For some players a quiet word will be sufficient while others will continue the unsporting behavior and will need to be shown a card.

What about situations where referees are aware that a player or team has a tendency to foul or injure players?  Should they consider or disregard the information? In this situation, “Forewarned is forearmed.”  Don’t go looking for trouble but if it is out there, be prepared for it.

It is our job to keep matches fun, entertaining and safe and to protect the skilled players from dangerous, damaging, physical play.

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

Smiles - just for Laughs

Just for Laughs
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.  We wonder if they will continue to work on the ‘mental part’ of the game after reading the following which are actual responses from children:  

Coach: What is the chemical formula for water? 
Player: H I J K L M N O. 
coach: What are you talking about? 
Player: Yesterday you said it's H to O. 
Coach: Name one important thing we have today that we didn't have ten years ago. 
Player: Me! 
Coach: Why do you always get so dirty?
Player: Well, I'm a lot closer to the ground than you are. 
Coach: Give me a sentence starting with ' I. ' 
Player: I is.. 
Coach: No, ..... Always say, 'I am.' 
Player: All right... 'I am the ninth letter of the alphabet.' 
Coach: George Washington not only chopped down his father's cherry tree, but also admitted it.  Now, do you know why his father didn't punish him? 
Player: Because George still had the axe in his hand..... 

Editors Smile: Send an 'actual' comment you have heard for ‘Future Smiles’ and receive a bonus gift from the editor of this newsletter.