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On the Touchlines - al.com



A blog about soccer from a soccer coach, parent, ref, writer and fan.



Last Build Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2008 18:46:39 UTC

Copyright: Copyright 2016
 



An Open Letter to Coach Pia Sundhage

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 18:45:07 UTC

2008-08-18T18:46:39Z

An Open Letter to Coach Pia Sundhage About ten years ago I saw the US Women's team dismantle the Japanese national team in Atlanta 9-0. This morning I watched the US struggle to handle a Japanese side in the Olympics. In ten short years the Japanese have not only made up the difference but have surpassed the U.S. in many...

An Open Letter to Coach Pia Sundhage

About ten years ago I saw the US Women's team dismantle the Japanese national team in Atlanta 9-0. This morning I watched the US struggle to handle a Japanese side in the Olympics.

In ten short years the Japanese have not only made up the difference but have surpassed the U.S. in many phases of the game. The Japanese have improved so much that they don't have to play the bunker defense they played against the U.S. in Atlanta. But the real story is that the United States still relies on skill and athleticism now and much of the rest of the world (the improving portion) now relies on teamwork and speed of play.

My suggestion would be to eschew some of the many overseas trips and games against other lower level national teams. Instead, I would suggest that she play more games versus top regional caliber U16 and U18 boys' teams (maybe the better academy teams) to improve their teamwork and speed of play.

The problem is that they probably can't charge spectators and make big bucks for US Soccer playing games against boys teams. And make no mistake US Soccer is a business to make money first and to finish first second.

It's also likely the boys teams would be likely to beat the women 75% to 90% of the time. And the damage to the egos and public image of the women's team might be more than what US Soccer is willing to permit.

By damage I mean that the US Women have been beaten badly in (non-public) practice games against top U14 and U15 boys teams. Would they be willing to get beaten 10-0 by a U16 boys' team in order to get better future results in World Cups and Olympic events?

I can promise you that if the US does not do this, the rest of the world will and the US will reach a point where they can't compete.

The United States women can no longer rely on being better at every position than their opponents. They've got to improve their game in areas where only playing against better competition and speed of play will help. The question is whether US Soccer is willing to do what it takes to improve.




BUSA Jets 91 Advance at Regionals

Mon, 23 Jun 2008 14:50:38 UTC

2008-06-23T15:33:36Z

The official version from US Soccer: Making waves in the Under-17 boys division are the Alabama BUSA Jets 91 Blue. In their first game of the weekend against Lafreniere Gamblers 91 (LA), BUSA came out slow in the first half and neither team scored. Energized and refocused to start the second half, BUSA picked up the pace. Jon Hoffman put... The official version from US Soccer: Making waves in the Under-17 boys division are the Alabama BUSA Jets 91 Blue. In their first game of the weekend against Lafreniere Gamblers 91 (LA), BUSA came out slow in the first half and neither team scored. Energized and refocused to start the second half, BUSA picked up the pace. Jon Hoffman put the first goal on the board, but the ball didn't stop there. Hoffman completed a hat trick with two more shots in the 57th and 75th minutes to finish the game 3:0 over the Lafreniere. Today, BUSA faced the Dallas Texans 91 and in the first 15 minutes, they went down 1:0, but once again, turned it around after the half. Within minutes of being back on the field, Alabama evened the score and continued to match the competitiveness of the Texans. Jon Hoffman buried a penalty kick to pull that put BUSA in the lead. The two victories over Lafreniere and the Texans combined with a game that was forfeited by Kendall Soccer Coalition White (FL) sends BUSA into the quarterfinal undefeated as they face CASL Elite (NC) tomorrow. The unofficial version: The Louisiana team, the Lafreniere Gamblers 91, probably expected to beat the Jets easily as they had won 4-1 in their previous Premier League meeting. After a scoreless first half, Chandler Hoffman struck a gorgeous free kick from about 35 yards out on the right side corner of the box. The ball bent around the Louisiana wall for a goal in the upper 90 which left the Gamblers' goalkeeper stunned. Hoffman added two more goals to complete his hat trick. Several other Jets had opportunities to score but just didn't finish. The Jets only had two reserves and that number was cut in half when defender, Eric Tifft, went down with a cracked rib. The final score of 3-0 absolutely shocked the Louisiana team. The second game on Sunday was forfeited by Kendal Soccer of Florida which allowed the Alabama team some recovery time which for a team with only two subs was badly needed. The Texans won 2-0 over Louisiana on Sunday and set the stage for a showdown for first place in the bracket between the Jets and the Texans. Amazingly the Alabama team was leading the bracket and only needed a tie against Texas to win the group. Midway through the first half, the Texans won a ball in the midfield and put together three nice passes and a breakaway finish to go up 1-0. At the time it would have been easy for the Jets to have been happy just finishing second. No one expected them to beat Texas. But the Jets battled bravely to stay in the game and held North Texas to their 1-0 lead at the half. A big part of the reason that BUSA was able to stay close was that the Jets' defender, Tommy DePriest, absolutely stymied the big, quick Texan forward, #21 - a player who was obviously not used to being shut out. Just 10 minutes into the second half, BUSA's Stefan Vaziri poked in a ball that bounced around off of a BUSA corner kick to tie up the game at 1-1. The Texans' bench was deep. They subbed with what looked like "NHL hockey style" line changes of six players at a time. But soccer can be a mental game and when you expect to win easily and you're not, it can be especially frustrating. That's the mindset that the Texas team was now in. With about thirty minutes remaining, the Jets' Colby Childress was taken down inside the box to set up a penalty kick which Hoffman converted to put BUSA up 2-1. The Texans were not used to be in a losing position and a combination of their frustration and great BUSA defense destined the final score to hold at 2-1. With only two reserves the Alabama team needed each and every player so Eric T[...]



Richard Todd to Help Coach Bermuda National Team

Wed, 11 Jun 2008 20:40:43 UTC

2008-06-16T15:18:22Z

Richard Todd to Help Coach Bermuda National Team Former HSC, Samba, Vestavia, Randolph School coach, Richard Todd, was named as an assistant coach on Bermuda's national team. Bermuda recently beat Barbados (the next US opponent for World Cup qualifiers) twice. Thanks to Enrico Poggio for the links. Darrell makes national team return By Stephen Wright Elder statesman of Bermuda football... Richard Todd to Help Coach Bermuda National Team Former HSC, Samba, Vestavia, Randolph School coach, Richard Todd, was named as an assistant coach on Bermuda's national team. Bermuda recently beat Barbados (the next US opponent for World Cup qualifiers) twice. Thanks to Enrico Poggio for the links. Darrell makes national team return By Stephen Wright Elder statesman of Bermuda football Gary Darrell will be used as a 'soundboard' for national team coach Kenny Thompson and will travel to Trinidad as a technical advisor. Bermuda Football Association (BFA) have also hired former North Village midfielder, and son of the soil, Richard Todd as an assistant coach to complete Thompson's exciting new-look backroom team. Darrell, who masterminded the Gombey Warriors' best ever World Cup run in 1992, has been invited back into the national team fold by BFA technical director Derek Broadley who views the ex-Washington Diplomats midfielder's knowledge of Caribbean football as invaluable. Darrell returned for a brief second stint as national team coach in 2002, before being replaced by Thompson 12 months later. Former Vestavia Hills Soccer Club academy coach Todd, who holds United States Soccer Federation (USSF) and Brazilian coaching badges, has been appointed at the request of Thompson after he missed out on his top target Dennis Brown. Broadley said he was overwhelmed to have Darrell, who still sits on the BFA's technical committee, back involved and said Todd, 35, would also provide a "fresh pair of eyes". "Both Gary Darrell and Richard Todd will be coming on board to assist with the national squad as we prepare for our World Cup qualifiers against Trinidad," said Broadley. "I'm overwhelmed Gary will be part of Kenny Thompson's backroom staff. He will act as a technical advisor for Kenny as well as supporting me in my role as technical director. "Gary has a wealth of experience on the international stage and his knowledge of Caribbean football will prove invaluable. He's very well respected on the Island and it's important to have someone of his stature involved." Darrell will act as Broadley's 'eyes and ears' in Port of Spain with the former Crystal Palace academy director opting to remain in Bermuda during the first leg qualifier to set up on-Island coaching courses. "Gary is a veteran of World Cup qualifying football and I believe he will be an asset in Trinidad. "I will be in contact with him daily while I stay on the Island to set up summer coaching clinics." Todd, nephew of late Southampton Rangers skipper Ray (Castro) Todd, is a former United States Independent Soccer League (USISL) player who has primarily coached in the US. Broadley described Todd's coaching resume as extensive and said he came at the recommendation of Somerset Eagles player/coach Thompson. "It's important Kenny is comfortable with who he works with. He said he wanted Richard as his assistant," said Broadley. "Some people may look at Richard and say he hasn't coached much in Bermuda, but he has a plethora of knowledge and coaching experience in the US. "He will also come with a fresh pair of eyes and that's never a bad thing." The BFA will hold a press conference at their Cedar Avenue offices for 2.30 p.m. regarding preparations for the World Cup qualifiers. Update - Bermuda Shocks T&T Trinidad & Tobago suffers shock loss Long-time indoor star John Barry Nusum scored two goals to lead Bermuda to a 2-1 win at Trinidad & Tobago in the biggest upset of the first leg of second-round qualifying in the Concacaf zone. Like Clint Demp[...]



Cat Whitehill Tears ACL

Wed, 11 Jun 2008 17:22:18 UTC

2008-06-11T17:28:18Z

U.S. Defender Cat Whitehill Tears ACL 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist and 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup Member Will Miss Olympics SEOUL, South Korea (June 11, 2008) - Veteran U.S. Women's National Team defender Cat Whitehill tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee during training in Seoul, South Korea, on June 10, and will miss the 2008 Olympics. The...

U.S. Defender Cat Whitehill Tears ACL

2004 Olympic Gold Medalist and 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup Member Will Miss Olympics

SEOUL, South Korea (June 11, 2008) - Veteran U.S. Women's National Team defender Cat Whitehill tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee during training in Seoul, South Korea, on June 10, and will miss the 2008 Olympics. The U.S. WNT is in South Korea to compete in the Peace Queen Cup.

Whitehill, who played every minute of the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup, had an MRI on Tuesday night in Seoul, confirming the ACL injury. Whitehill has played 129 times for the USA and was a likely candidate for the USA's 18-player roster for the 2008 Olympics. She won a gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics and also played a key role for the USA at the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup.

Whitehill, 26, will leave the team to return to the United States where she will have surgery sometime in the next few weeks.

"Obviously, it's a huge disappointment coming so close to a major tournament," said Whitehill. "I've gotten a lot of hugs from my teammates and everyone on the team has been really supportive. It's still a shock, especially since it's the first major injury of my career, but now it's time to go home, have surgery and spend time with my husband and be a good mom to my dog. I'll be watching the team and cheering in front of the TV."

The blow to the U.S. team comes just 19 days after the USA lost midfielder Leslie Osborne, also a likely Olympic Team member, to an ACL tear. Whitehill will have about an eight-month period of rehabilitation.

Defender Stephanie Cox will travel to South Korea to replace Whitehill on the roster for the Peace Queen Cup as well as in the pool of 22 players being considered for spots on the 18-player 2008 Olympic Team. Cox started all six games at the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup, but was not originally named to the USA's 22-player roster when U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage pared down the player pool following the USA's most recent training camp.

A previous article called 11 Questions with Cat Whitehill can be found here.


THE PRICE IS RIGHT FOR THE WNT:

When the USA was in training camp in Los Angeles a few weeks ago, a bunch of players had the chance to appear on the iconic game show The Price is Right, with host Drew Carey, who as soccer fans know, is quite a soccer fan himself. The players that weren't on stage sat in the audience and were conspicuous by their raucous cheering, which was impressive, even when you consider the usual enthusiasm shown by the Price Is Right studio audience. For a clip of the team on The Price is Right, which will air on June 13 (11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. ET; 10:00-11:00 a.m. PT on the CBS), go to the Sights & Sounds section of ussoccer.com (watch now).




All-Metro Team and More

Wed, 11 Jun 2008 16:58:27 UTC

2008-06-11T17:09:21Z

National High School Final Spring Rankings Complete Rankings No Alabama boys' teams were in the NSCAA National Top Twenty final Spring high school rankings but Mountain Brook girls came in NSCAA/adidas High School Girls Final Spring Rankings at #13. In the Region 2 regional rankings Alabama was represented by Oak Mountain Boys at #5 and John Carroll Catholic at #6.... National High School Final Spring Rankings Complete Rankings No Alabama boys' teams were in the NSCAA National Top Twenty final Spring high school rankings but Mountain Brook girls came in NSCAA/adidas High School Girls Final Spring Rankings at #13. In the Region 2 regional rankings Alabama was represented by Oak Mountain Boys at #5 and John Carroll Catholic at #6. http://www.nscaa.com/hsRes.php?it=1429 In the Region 3 girls' regional rankings Alabama was represented by: #3 Mountain Brook, #5 Spain Park and #6 Grissom. http://www.nscaa.com/hsRes.php?it=1432 Birmingham News All-Metro Soccer Team All-Metro Male Player of the Year Oak Mountain's Chandler Hoffman's travels lead him to Player of the Year All-Metro Female Player of the Year Mountain Brook senior Bonny Lepley is soccer's jack of all plays Tuscaloosa soccer team succeeds with talent, support An Open Letter to Bob Bradley Below is an excerpt from a fan's letter to US National Team coach Bob Bradley. The whole letter is worth reading. We know, you're working with the hand you've been dealt. It's just that some of us are beginning to question not your effort, but if you really know how to make the most of that hand. See, Coach, the problem with the analyses that blame the players' inadequacies is that they will never resolve the central debate here. The question is this: Is US soccer really still at a stage where we can expect to get manhandled every time we play a world power? Do we really need more learning experiences, or are we truly ready to compete at an elite international level? OK, that's two questions. We can discuss the US player pool and development all day but that won't change the resources that the federation has to work with. While everyone would prefer to have Rio Ferdinand on the back line and Lionel Messi up front, that is simply not an option the US has. We're not the only nation in that boat, but I remember Russia and Croatia beating England to a Euro spot, and Spain lost to Northern Ireland, among other teams, in the runup to the Euro. Why shouldn't we, too, face those teams with the expectation a good result, not just to learn from the experience? Another thing: the truth is that the US player pool is deeper than ever and becoming more stocked by the year. While we are not as talented as Argentina or England, we may never be. If we wait until the day that we can compete on talent with the World's best, well, we all may be dead by then. We'll have to go with what we've got, unless we are going to nationalize a bunch of Brasilians. So the only thing left to discuss here, Coach, is, well, you. And I'm afraid a cold analysis suggests that the only variable that can really be changed in the two years that separate us from South Africa is the man at the helm. The complete letter is available here. As World Cup soccer coach, Mork's gotta Belize The under-13 boys team at the Sonoma County Alliance Soccer Club is without its coach for two months. He's busy preparing for World Cup qualifying. Ian Mork is an unassuming guy from Wichita, Kan., whose playing career consisted of stops at the University of Southern Colorado, Johnson County (Kan.) Community College and what was then called Sangamon State (now the University of Illinois-Springfield), followed by a few games with the indoor Wichita Wings. On Sunday, he'll be at Reliant Stadium in Houston for Mexico's opening qualifier for the 2010 World Cup. Mexico plays a two-game series against the tiny Central American nation of Belize.[...]



Rocket City United Supporters Group being formed

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 23:02:32 UTC

2008-06-06T14:47:28Z

If you like soccer and want to enjoy it like the fans in the EPL as a part of a supporter's group like the U.S. National team's Sam's Army, check out Ryan Stroud's Rocketmen Supporters Club. The club is being formed to support the new Rocket City United soccer team of the NPSL. Ryan will meet anyone who wants to...

If you like soccer and want to enjoy it like the fans in the EPL as a part of a supporter's group like the U.S. National team's Sam's Army, check out Ryan Stroud's Rocketmen Supporters Club. The club is being formed to support the new Rocket City United soccer team of the NPSL.

Ryan will meet anyone who wants to join the club approximately 45 minutes before the start of the game outside the front gate at the ticket area.

He will have a drum and a few extra items for others to make noise with, but would like others to bring additional noise-makes as well (horns, drums, etc.). He will go over a few things (small rules to any chants like no swearing) as they try to establish a relationship with the fans.

You can contact Ryan at rocketcitysupporters@hotmail.com if interested.




"Penalty Box" Rule Could Hurt High School Soccer

Mon, 02 Jun 2008 15:01:01 UTC

2008-06-02T15:06:01Z

It seems that Alabama and Pennsylvania tend to be "test" states for NFHS (High School) soccer rules. For example, which two states use the striped referee shirts in high school soccer? Alabama and Pennsylvania. It appears from this on-line "Op-Ed" piece that Pennsylvania High Schools will implement a 5 minute penalty for all yellow cards this coming soccer season. Could...

It seems that Alabama and Pennsylvania tend to be "test" states for NFHS (High School) soccer rules. For example, which two states use the striped referee shirts in high school soccer? Alabama and Pennsylvania.

It appears from this on-line "Op-Ed" piece that Pennsylvania High Schools will implement a 5 minute penalty for all yellow cards this coming soccer season. Could this same experiment might be in the future for Alabama High School soccer?


"Penalty Box" rule could hurt high school soccer

Public Opinion Online

By GRAHAM MESSNER

For Public Opinion

Beginning in the fall, one of the more foolish rules I have ever heard about will be implemented by the PIAA in the sport of soccer.

Without going into exact wording of the rule, the gist is very simple: anyone receiving a yellow card (a warning) must sit out of the game for five minutes while his or her team plays short-handed.

This is kind of the soccer equivalent of hockey's penalty box.

Evidently, this edict is a pilot program. If it works well, it will be implemented nationally by NFHS. If it fails, no other state will be subjected to such a ridiculously unbalanced statute.

The rule is in response to what some have been saying is an ever-increasing show of unsportsmanlike behavior by players.

I don't know if there is more unsportsmanlike behavior or not. Personally, I haven't seen any marked increase in poor behavior in the high school game. I have seen a decline in behavior in regard to club ball, but that's not what we're talking about.

Currently, the yellow and red card system is in place to address poor behavior. One needs not get a yellow card before a player receives a red card (ejection). So, I'm not real sure of the point in regard to the yellow card time penalty.

Many coaches I have spoken to are fearful of this rule because of its subjective manner. All calls are subjective, but when you start taking guys off the field, that subjectivity becomes very powerful. If the yellow card given is a blown call, it's a blown call that lasts for five minutes.

Good officials will not have a problem either way, but a bad official with a penchant for quick cards could turn the game into a fiasco.

If you think parents, coaches and players get upset now, wait until kids start getting sidelined for five minutes after going into a 50-50 ball too hard with 5:10 left to go in the game, forcing a team to play a man down.

If there is a problem with sportsmanship within a particular game, nine times out of 10 you can bet there is an officiating issue. Good officials keep control of the game and can "feel" it when things are about to get chippy. These officials make sure the teams are properly calmed down and warned before the spikes hit the fan.


Read this rest of this editorial at http://www.publicopiniononline.com/ci_9442527




Positive Soccer Parenting

Mon, 02 Jun 2008 14:45:25 UTC

2008-06-02T14:50:36Z

The Kentucky Youth Soccer Association puts out a great and free Positive Parenting newsletter for Soccer Parents. This month's issue has several good articles for young parents. Top Ten Issues for Sports Parents By Rick Wolff Playing time, parental behavior, sportsmanship, competitive teams, support and praise are all key words for youth soccer. Your role as a parent can deeply...

The Kentucky Youth Soccer Association puts out a great and free Positive Parenting newsletter for Soccer Parents. This month's issue has several good articles for young parents.

Top Ten Issues for Sports Parents

By Rick Wolff

Playing time, parental behavior, sportsmanship, competitive teams, support and praise are all key words for youth soccer. Your role as a parent can deeply color your child's enjoyment of the game and love of the sport. How your child enjoys and plays the sport of soccer can be a direct result of your actions and attitudes as a parent at home, in the car and at the field. Rick Wolf offers 10 top issues and pointers for being an good soccer parent.

To read the entire article, please click here.


How to Pick a Summer Camp

by Daniel Gould, Ph.D., Director, Institute for the Study of Youth Sports

Summer sports camps are very popular and you certainly have many to choose from in our area. Attending one can be a very rewarding and enriching experience for your child. Your player can improve his athletic skills, meet new friends, and have a great deal of fun.

However, you need to recognize that not all camps are equal and that they are an income source for some of the coaches, universities, and organizations that sponsor them. Sports camps can also vary in their quality both across sports and sponsoring agencies. Hence, you want to do a little homework before signing your child up.

To read the entire article, please click here.


Soccer Cakes to Delight Young Players

Create Something Special for Your Favorite Team or Player by eHow.com
Want to create that special cake for your player of make something special cake recipes. Both are simple to make, require no special plan or tools. While proper nutrition is always important, there are times that kids enjoy something from the oven as a special treat.

Soccer Ball Cake
A super-simple way to celebrate with sports.


Soccer Team Cake
Score big with personalized soccer cake end-of-the-year team parties.

The recipes can be found here.




Reflections back on the things I did right and wrong

Tue, 27 May 2008 18:54:00 UTC

2008-05-27T18:57:22Z

Reflections back on the things I did right and wrong This was posted on the www.talking-soccer.com/ forum. It's a good retrospective piece that might help some parents new (and some of those not-so-new) to soccer. I corrected a few grammatical and spelling errors and reposted it below. The original post by College Parent is here. My kid is in college... Reflections back on the things I did right and wrong This was posted on the www.talking-soccer.com/ forum. It's a good retrospective piece that might help some parents new (and some of those not-so-new) to soccer. I corrected a few grammatical and spelling errors and reposted it below. The original post by College Parent is here. My kid is in college playing soccer. So, one would think there were not too many things I did wrong, but in retrospect, there were. My child started playing soccer at the age of 4 in rec. I am lucky that he continued playing soccer, due to my yelling on the field. I did not have any background or ANY knowledge of soccer early on, and had no clue as to what was happening on the field. I am a Type A competitive person and quickly found myself yelling advise to my son and his teammates...stupid advise. My child, despite me, joined the local "club soccer" team at the age of 8. What little knowledge I had of the game increased, but, and the stupidity of my comments and yelling did not. At this level, what I did that was right, (and he was developing skills), was put him into summer camps, and get a lot of extra training. Because of this extra training, his skill level increased and he made a move to a larger club and a better coached team, and then after a couple of years, he moved to an even better team, where he was seen by college coaches. I think it is paramount. If your child is intersted in college, then have them play on the highest level, for the best team, and one that goes to the best tournaments etc. I think he agrees with this, but not much more. The things I wished I had not done, which never made a difference, or I was incredibly lucky that, in the end, that made no difference were: 1. Yell at him during games .. he hated it, was embarrassed on the field by my continual yelling. 2. Yell at the refs in the game about any play that went against our team. I never learned that my opinion did not matter, that it was just a knee-jerk opinion based on what other parents were saying, or based on faulty soccer knowledge. 3. Get over involved. My child just wanted me to be like the other parents that attended the games who did not feel the need to yell, talk game strategy late at night during tournaments, discuss what players did well that day, the players that did not perform, who should start, who should be benched, etc. (You all know those parents, I was one.) 4. Take it upon myself to spend more money than I could afford in providing meals, rides, and offer my "insight" to his teammates etc, Not that my son thought it was bad, just that it was ingratiating and over reaching. 5. Become involved with this site which was considered by players, an adult site for over involved parents. 6. Talk on the phone to other parents on the team about tryouts, what new players were trying out, tournaments, coaching decisions etc. Again overinvolved. 7. Yelling at players on the opposing team, screaming "offsides" "dirty player" etc...etc. Well, it goes on and on. I remember his words and the look in his face, when we came off the field in many games, and in many tournaments. "I hate it when you do this" "If you do not quit, I will". "I never want you to attend another game". As bad as I was, there were parents that were much worse. Does not makes me feel better. How my child performed on the field was directly linked to MY self esteem. My child was a more adult than I[...]



Alabama Soccer Adds Shannon Lathrop

Tue, 27 May 2008 17:53:01 UTC

2008-05-27T17:54:47Z

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - University of Alabama head soccer coach Todd Bramble has added Shannon Lathrop of Birmingham's Oak Mountain High School to the Crimson Tide roster for the 2008 season. Lathrop, a 5-7 midfielder, was a 2007 First Team All-Metro selection and was voted Mountain Brook's Offensive Most Valuable Player as a senior. "Being able to add a play of...

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - University of Alabama head soccer coach Todd Bramble has added Shannon Lathrop of Birmingham's Oak Mountain High School to the Crimson Tide roster for the 2008 season. Lathrop, a 5-7 midfielder, was a 2007 First Team All-Metro selection and was voted Mountain Brook's Offensive Most Valuable Player as a senior.

"Being able to add a play of Shannon's quality at this late date is exciting," Bramble said. "Her comfort level on the ball and her tactical feel for the game make Shannon a perfect fit for our style of play. I see her competing for playing time right away."

Lathrop will be part of a group of eight newcomers to the Tide roster for 2008, Bramble's inaugural season at Alabama after a successful stint as head coach at Clemson. That core of newcomers will join an Alabama team that returns eight starters from 2007.

In her role with the Mountain Brook High School squad under head coach Kelly Christoffer, Lathrop earned 2004 Gatorade Rookie of the Year honors as a freshman in 2004. Lathrop has a depth of experience on the club level having played for several years with Birmingham United for head coach Eric Dade. The daughter of George and Mary Lathrop, Shannon will enroll at UA for the fall semester and hopes to major in Biology.




Rising Fuel Costs and Soccer

Fri, 23 May 2008 00:12:56 UTC

2008-05-23T00:18:10Z

Several soccer forums have good discussions about the effect that higher prices of fuel will have on youth soccer in the US. How will it affect you? At $4 a gallon, will it change the distance you allow your child to commute to play? What about $5 or $6 or even $7 a gallon? Even those that carpool will be...

Several soccer forums have good discussions about the effect that higher prices of fuel will have on youth soccer in the US.

How will it affect you?

At $4 a gallon, will it change the distance you allow your child to commute to play? What about $5 or $6 or even $7 a gallon? Even those that carpool will be spending considerably more.

Referee fees will have to go up to cover mileage to games so can we expect a similar rise is state fees?

Coaches will feel the crunch as they commute to practices. Can we look forward to a rise in club fees for the fall?

Travel costs to tournaments and for academy players will likely be much more than in the past. How will that affect team and club plans?

Alabama is a state that is almost 350 miles from Tennessee border to Mobile so it makes sense that state league play which required Huntsville to Mobile (and vice-versa) trips may not be very popular. What about Region 3 play? Is it still as enticing as before? Will this cause you to choose between Division I and Division II teams?

In my industry (construction) our suppliers are already preparing us for 20% increases in material costs before fall. Similar increases in many grocery prices are already being seen. Seemingly everything relies on freight which is directly affected by fuel, so consumers can expect significant increases in virtually everything they buy.

Most people do not have an endless supply of discretionary income. Travel/club soccer is still a middle upper class suburban sport in the United States. And at $4 a gallon it may still be somewhat insulated from drastic drop-offs in numbers. But it relies on a fair percentage of budget-minded parents who also scrimp and save to pay for their child's (or multiple children's) outside activities. If those parents change their minds about travel soccer, how does that affect the ones that remain?

At some point, will the rising cost of fuel and the companion rise in costs that depend upon fuel affect club soccer?

I'm not being Chicken Little - just trying to get a serious discussion of what the coming months might hold for soccer in Alabama.

What do you think?

Ken Gamble




Looking for Jewish Soccer Players

Thu, 22 May 2008 23:27:35 UTC

2008-05-22T23:30:09Z

Preston Goldfarb, the Men's head Soccer Coach at Birmingham-Southern College in Birmingham, Alabama has been appointed the Head Coach for the Junior Boys Soccer Team competing In Israel for the 2009 Maccabi Games, in July, 2009. He is looking for boys born in 1993 or 1994 to represent the United States in the Maccabi Games in Israel. The Maccabi games...

Preston Goldfarb, the Men's head Soccer Coach at Birmingham-Southern College in Birmingham, Alabama has been appointed the Head Coach for the Junior Boys Soccer Team competing In Israel for the 2009 Maccabi Games, in July, 2009. He is looking for boys born in 1993 or 1994 to represent the United States in the Maccabi Games in Israel.

The Maccabi games is an Olympic Type Event for Jewish athletes that occurs every four years with about 60 Countries and 9000 athletes participating in numerous events.

Players who want to apply can go to the website www.maccabiusa.com and apply online. They can also get in touch with Coach Goldfarb via email or by phone 205-226-4895 (office) or 205-602-3505 (cell), with any questions that they may have pursuant to this event.




Free Soccer Clinic in Huntsville

Mon, 19 May 2008 17:34:04 UTC

2008-05-19T17:37:00Z

Huntsville Soccer Club is offering a free soccer clinic to all players between the ages of 7 and 12. Players will be exposed to the finer points of dribbling, passing, shooting and games! All sessions will be conducted by the Huntsville Soccer Club's own professional coaching staff. When: May 19th - May 22nd from 5:00 - 6:30 pm each day...

Huntsville Soccer Club is offering a free soccer clinic to all players between the ages of 7 and 12. Players will be exposed to the finer points of dribbling, passing, shooting and games! All sessions will be conducted by the Huntsville Soccer Club's own professional coaching staff.

When: May 19th - May 22nd from 5:00 - 6:30 pm each day
Where: Merrimack complex - Field 3 on Triana Blvd - just off of Drake Avenue
What to Bring: Soccer ball, shin guards, cleats and water

For more information see the Huntsville Soccer Club website or call (256) 650-5613.




Questions Players and Parents Should Ask at Try-outs

Fri, 16 May 2008 18:32:49 UTC

2008-05-16T18:48:49Z

Questions Players and Parents Should Ask at Try-outs by Ken Gamble updated 5-16-2008 It's almost June and that means tryouts for club soccer teams. There are a few select regional-quality teams that can pick and choose the cream-of-the-crop players. But in general, soccer teams are a buyer's (players/parents) market. Teams need players more than players need teams and players can... Questions Players and Parents Should Ask at Try-outs by Ken Gamble updated 5-16-2008 It's almost June and that means tryouts for club soccer teams. There are a few select regional-quality teams that can pick and choose the cream-of-the-crop players. But in general, soccer teams are a buyer's (players/parents) market. Teams need players more than players need teams and players can exercise their power by moving to a team that closely fits their needs. With that in mind I have a list of questions that players and parents should be clear on before accepting a spot on a club soccer team. I intend no disrespect to any team. I do think that players who are offered a spot on a team should know for sure what they are being offered. And I think most teams and coaches will be truthful and forthcoming. Most coaches really want the players to know so there are no misgivings later in the season. If the answers are vague or the team/coach doesn't respond, players and parents should take that as a warning flag and look for another club/team. The critical point is to find a team that is a good fit for you. Here are the important areas of concern and some questions to ask. COST: What is the actual overall cost of what I am signing up for? Can I get a copy of the projected budget or last year's budget? What does it include? Usual items included are tournament fees, state fees, referee fees, coaching and club fees? Some teams include uniforms. What does it not include? Uniforms, bags, warm-ups, equipment, team camps, etc.? Are there any unexpected fees that could come up? For example, if the majority of the team feels that they want to play in a more expensive tournament than what is budgeted, do I have any recourse other than to pay the increase? Are goalkeeper gloves, jersey, training included or is it to be paid out of pocket by the keeper's parents? What are the expected travel expenses? (i.e. some higher level teams may rent a bus to go to a tournament or charter a plane at additional cost and players may have no choice but to contribute even if they would prefer to opt out.) Hand in hand with this goes the question of who is in charge of choosing the tournaments - coach, players, managers or parents? Are there other players to carpool with? Can the fees be paid over time? Can they be charged on a credit card or is cash/check required? Is there any scholarship money available for players? Where does that money come from? For example, if a player is on scholarship is the cost spread among the entire club or is that cost bared entirely by the team? This can be a point of contention - especially if the "scholarshipped" player is taking the playing time of a paying parent's child. Are there required fundraisers in addition to the fees? If I miss a fundraiser will I be assessed additional fees? COACH: Who is my coach going to be? Is that a guarantee? I have a firm belief that the coach should be THE MOST IMPORTANT factor when choosing a team. If the coach is a "coach to be assigned later" you may want to look for added assurances. What are the coach's qualifications and experience? Does it include experience with your age group? How long has he/she been with this club? Does he have any playing experience? What is his t[...]



Huntsville Soccer Club's Cole Iverson will play for the U15 National Team in Spain

Fri, 16 May 2008 00:07:26 UTC

2008-05-16T00:11:24Z

Cole Iverson from Decatur, Alabama is one of three forwards chosen to play for the U-15 U.S. National Team in Friendlies in Spain. U.S. U-15 BNT to Play Four Friendlies in Madrid, Spain During Foreign Training Camp CHICAGO (May 5, 2008) -- U.S. Under-15 Boy's National Team head coach Jim Barlow has named 20 players who will travel to Madrid,...

Cole Iverson from Decatur, Alabama is one of three forwards chosen to play for the U-15 U.S. National Team in Friendlies in Spain.


U.S. U-15 BNT to Play Four Friendlies in Madrid, Spain During Foreign Training Camp

CHICAGO (May 5, 2008) -- U.S. Under-15 Boy's National Team head coach Jim Barlow has named 20 players who will travel to Madrid, Spain from May 9-19. The team will take on youth squads from La Liga's Real Madrid (May 13) and Athletico Madrid (May 14), third-division club Rayo Majadahonda on May 16 and second-division club Rayo Vallecano on May 18.

Of the players who will travel to Spain, 12 took part in the team's first training camp of the year which took place in February at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

Three players, midfielders Luis Gil and Alex Shinsky and defender George Fradenburg, will join Barlow's squad from the Under-17 Men's National Team Residency Program, where they are two of the youngest players.

In addition to the trio of U-17s, 10 players are part of U.S. Soccer's Development Academy. Concorde Fire (Atlanta, Ga.) is the only Academy club to send two players as the club's U-15/16 team will be represented by midfielders Robert Botchway and Jordan McCrary.

U.S. Under-15 Boy's National Team Roster by Position:

GOALKEEPERS (2): Max Kurtzman (FC DELCO), Wil Whiddon (San Diego Surf)

DEFENDERS (5): David Caban (Kenosha, Wis.), George Fradenburg (Belden, Miss.), Jon-Paul Medina (Cal Odyssey), Boyd Okwuonu (Edmond, Okla.), Scott Thomsen (PDA)

MIDFIELDERS (10): Robert Botchway (Concorde Fire), Jack Coleman (Norman, Okla.), Darvin Ebanks (Macon, Ga.), Nathanael Eggleston (Potomac), Luis Gil (Pateadores), Jordan McCrary (Marietta, Ga.), James Petruccelli (Seacoast United), Victor Pineda (Chicago Fire), Alex Shinksy (York, Pa.), Wil Trapp (Gahanna, Ohio)

FORWARDS (3): Cole Iverson (Decatur, Ala.), Uly Mosqueda (Arsenal SC), Henry Rios (Nowalk, Calif.)

Complete article is available here.