Archive for the ‘leagues’ Category

Follow-up to the Reporter Article

May 19, 2010

Two months ago I approached my youngest son’s (U12) coaches with the idea of having a team reporter. They embraced the idea and I was off and running.

Before I share with you the reports that have been written so far, I’m including an overview of the program.

  • Attached is the score sheet (Game Summary ISUS) I fill out for each game. I include the date, time, location, and opponent of the game. I also track goalkeepers and the number of saves they made, goal scorers, and those who assisted on the goals. The score sheet also includes the report guidelines along with some notes that I write during a game that a player may or may not choose to use in the report. Notice I emphasize creativity.
  • On the score sheet, I list the player’s names that appeared in the last three reports. Some players will naturally appear more than others. These names help the report determine who has not been included in a while.
  • At the end of each game, I review the stats with the reporter so he understands what I have written and we go over the guidelines.
  • During the last game, a younger brother of one of the players was curious about what I was tracking. After a few instructions, he happily kept the stats for the rest of the game.
  • Since we have many Spanish-speaking families on our team, I get a mom to translate the reports into Spanish before I email out the report.

So far the reporter program has been a big hit. I have had a number of boys volunteer. Once I run out of new reporters, I will use this group of reporters again. It turns out these boys are just as creative with their pens as they are with their feet. Great job boys!

Game 1: Dylan

On March 28th 2010 Impact 98 had a victory in their opening spring game against DYSL Barcelona. The Impact U12 boys defeated Barcelona 5-2.

The two teams met at Cypress Park in Oakley and kick off was at 9:00. When Impact took the field they felt pumped up and ready to play. The first goal was scored by Jorge with an assist going to Grant.  Grant dribbled down the right half and crossed it to Jorge and he controlled the ball and chipped it over the goalie.  Grant and Jorge did great at hustling and timing. Grant scored a goal and then assisted Jorge again for the 3rd goal of the game. Daniel’s goal was next and it was great because he beat 4 guys and then shot. The team felt confident that they were going to win. Even though Delta squeezed one in, Ethan still had a great game saving 7 shots. He made a good save when a Delta player shot the ball fast and hard to the bottom left corner. Derek had a great defensive play because a Delta player shot it and Ethan was just getting up when Derek came and bombed it out.  It was an intense first half.

During the second half Delta Barcelona scored a ripping shot.  Oscar came back and assisted Jorge in scoring the last goal.  The communication was better than it usually is.  All the shots were right on target and hard.  The game was outstanding throughout both halves.  The defense was great from Zachary K, Andrew, Derek, Jose, and Zachary J.  In the second half Zachary K. took over in the goal and saved 3 shots.  The final score of the game was 5-2.  Impact 98 dominated the whole entire soccer game.  It will be a great season if Impact 98 keeps up the hard work.

Game 2: Jose

On April 10, 2010 at 1:30 two good teams played. The away team was Impact 98 and the home team was the Cosmos from Richmond. Impact invited three players from the younger U11 team. Their names were Ethan, Alex and Reynaldo.

The starting lineup for Impact was:

  • Goalie: Zach
  • Defense: Dylan, Andrew, Derek, and Jose
  • Midfield: Carlos, Daniel, and Grant
  • Forward: Oscar, Kyle and Jorge

After the first few minutes of the first half of the game we were down 3-0. Zach saved five shots from the Cosmos. But, Cosmos were able to score again. Close to the end of the first half, Impact substituted Grant for Josh. Then Impact scored one goal when Josh passed the ball to Jorge for the score. The first half ended 4-1.

In the second half, Cosmos scored four more goals. Impact’s goalie for the second half was Kyle. He saved ten shots from the Cosmos. It looked like Impact was going to get another goal when Reynaldo juked out the Cosmo’s goalie and shot it, but the goalie was able come back and save the shot. The final score was 8-1 for the Cosmos. It wasn’t Impact’s best performance but Impact 98 will do better next time we face them.

Game 3: Kyle


On April 17, 2010 IMPACT 98 faced Lamorinda United at Cypress Field in Oakley.  To start off Cohen was our team captain, coming back from an injury.  Cohen didn’t get to play, but it was great having him back with us.   IMPACT 98 beat Lamorinda United 5-0!

The weather was sunny, but got windy in the second half.   IMPACT had one guest player from U11, Adain.   The game started with Kyle and Adain on the sideline.   Derek started in the goal, and then Adain came in to sub.  Our defense was strong. Lamorinda couldn’t get past them and had no shots on goal.  Jorge scored our first goal with a header after a great assist from Dylan.  The score was 1-0 at half-time.

In the second half, it was very windy.  Adain was in the goal and had 3 saves for IMPACT.  Jorge scored a second goal off an assist by Kyle from the center.  Jorge scored a hat-trick with IMPACT’S 3rd goal, assisted by Carlos from the right side!!    Jorge score his 4th goal assisted by Oscar from the left side.  For the final goal, Kyle chipped the ball with his left foot over two defenders to Oscar who score our 5th goal.

We had great communication from our players this game.  Everyone was talking.  We had a lot of passing.   We missed having our goalie, Ethan this game, but Adain did a great job for us!
Our next game is April 24th at 4:00pm at Doherty High School in San Ramon.

GO IMPACT! ! ! ! !

Game 4: Daniel





The journey begins at 3:30 pm. It’s a beautiful day. The weather is cool, sunny and windy. The teams are getting ready on the field warming up.

Meanwhile, the fans start filling the stadium. At 3:55 pm coach Rick assisted from Kim, Luis and Memo called the team and gave them instructions. “The moment of truth has arrived.” Impact 98 expects a defensive Tri Valley but will try to impose its game plans.

The game started at 4:00 pm. We have to control the position of the ball and attack in a better way. We tried to play high-up the field and pressure the defense, but hurried things too much when we had possession that we were wasteful with our final ball. In the 17th minute in the first half Tri Valley took a shot and made the first goal. This was an early goal!!  But Impact wasn’t going to give up, receiving support from fans and not after having dominated possession and taken more shots. We were struggling to get the ball into the net. We were losing 1-0.

Jorge took a shot that barely went out. Then Jose took another shot but the goalkeeper got it. We were playing well but luck wasn’t with us. Tri Valley took 3 more shots. But there was Ethan (our wonderful goalkeeper) getting ready to save all shots. We went to halftime trying to get some rest and receiving more instructions from our coach.

The second half started. “It’s very hard to play against a team that controls the ball so well.” But, we know that we are a better team. Feeling the excitement of the game, we started playing better, having more shots and chances to score. Tri Valley wants to make more goals. They didn’t know we have a great defense and a goalkeeper that was on fire saving 7 more shots. Then, Kyle found more open space and made 3 powerful shots. In the last 5 minutes Derek took a shot, the goalkeeper tried to stop it; then Oscar got the rebound and passed to Daniel who scored and made the final goal. The game ended 1-1. “A great adventure has come to an end tonight, but we want more of this in the future.”


Game 5: Derek

Impact 98 Remains Undefeated at Home

Impact 98 vs. Pleasanton Ballistic

May 1, 2010 Cypress Park

At Cypress Field, two teams came at 2:00 to warm up for a 2:30 kick off.   Ballistic wearing their lights and Impact looking good in their darks.  A little windy, but a nice sunny day to be on the pitch.  Captains for this game were Miguel and Carlos.  We started off going into the wind.

In the first half Impact was mostly on Ballistic’s side of the field. Impact had some early shots with Miguel and Jorge taking great shots, unfortunately they both hit the crossbar. It took a while, but Impact finally found the net. Oscar (as known as ‘Big O’)crossed from the left, Derek passed it back to Carlos, who ripped it at the post and in. The halftime score was 1-0.

The second half started with the wind to our backs. This half Impact really dominated. To get things started in the second half Miguel took the ball down the line, crossed it to Jorge, and he volleyed straight in the net.  Right after that, Tunde passed it to Miguel and he again crossed it, this time to Zach Kos, who also volleyed into the net.  Unfortunately, a few minutes later Ballistic broke through and made it a 3-1 game.  Seconds after the Ballistic goal Big O dribbled down the line and curved a shot into the far post .  Shortly after his goal, Big O got an assist as he crossed it to Jorge, who flicked the ball over the goalie and into the goal.  The last and final goal came from a booming shot by Oscar, assisted by Daniel which wrapped up the game. At the end of the game, Ethan had a total of 5 saves. The final score was 6 to 1.  Good job Impact 98. Let’s keep up the good work.

Game 6: Tunde

Impact 98 Takes the Win

On Saturday, May 8, 2010, Impact 98 played Bay Oaks in Alameda. The field was very hard to find but in the end everyone was able to find the field. There was a little wind, but it was not too bad. The field was also very hard. For me, the game started very quickly, no warm ups just checked in and we were on our way.

In the first half Kyle started in goal. The ball was a little flat and the referee had to change it. Impact was not really playing as well as normal, but we were trying our hardest. Bay Oaks scored a quick goal to start the first half. Kyle saved six shots but Bay Oaks was able to slip one more goal in before the end of the half. At halftime Coach Rick and Coach Luis told us what we could do better.

In the second half Zach Kos started in goal, he saved two beautiful shots. After that, Oscar kicked a corner kick to Jorge and Jorge scored off the assist. This woke up the team. After the goal, Impact was still pressuring the ball and scored again. This time, it was off an assist from Kyle to Jorge who controlled it with his thigh and scored it with his left foot. Derek known as D-Rock then went in to the goalie position and saved one big goal with the help of Andrew. Carlos scored a beautiful goal off an assist by Oscar to close the game at 3-2 Impact. It was great to go home a winner.

Game 7: Zach K.

Impact 98 Dominates Lamorinda

On Mother’s Day, Impact 98 played in Orinda against Lamorinda United. After a close first half, the score was 2-1 for Impact. In the second half, we dominated the other team. The final score was 7-1.

The first half was kind of difficult. Lamorinda managed to keep the ball on our half of the field for most of the time, but that didn’t mean they were better than us. Oscar managed to slip the ball past their keeper and into the goal for an early 1-0 lead. The second goal scored by D-Rock (Derek) was a beautiful header that was assisted by Jorge. Lamorinda got lucky. They scored one goal against us. The half time score was 2-1.

During the second half, Impact 98 dominated Lamorinda. It started when Carlos assisted Oscar’s first goal of the second half. Kyle scored two goals; the first one assisted by Zach Jenkins and the second one by Daniel. Jorge also scored two goals; one assisted by Oscar and the other assisted by Jose Grimaldo. All of the second-half goals resulted in a 7-1 final score.

Thanks to Ethan’s little brother, Nolan, for keeping stats during the game. Ethan, our star goalie, saved 12 shots, which kept us going in this very important game. Also, thanks to Kim, our coach. She made cards for Mother’s Day. Kim, you rock!


Pre- and Post-Game Sportsmanship Rituals

March 11, 2010

When I played in West Germany as a first, second, and third grader, I was chosen to be a captain one year. At the time, there was a tradition that both teams followed before and after each game. Before the game:

  1. The home and away captains, followed by the respective starting goalies and then the rest of the players (no coaches) walked to the center of the field separated by the half-way line.
  2. When the team captains reached the center of the field, the teams stopped and faced each other.
  3. Then the home captain said the following cheer, “Wir begrüßen unsere Gegner mit einem dreifachen Hip Hip … Hurra, Hip Hip … Hurra, Hip Hip … Hurra”. Translated, the captain declared, “We welcome our opponents with three cheers.” Then the whole team got involved. The captain said, “Hip-hip” and the rest of the team responded with, “Hoo-rah” in unison. This was done three times.
  4. Then the opposing captain and team repeated the same cheer.

After the game, the teams again lined up across from each other. The captains and teams took turns declaring, “Wir bedanken uns bei unseren Gegnern mit einem dreifachen Hip Hip …. Hurra,  Hip Hip … Hurra, Hip Hip … Hurra”. Translated: “We thank our opponents with three cheers … hip-hip, hoo-rah … hip-hip, hoo-rah … hip-hip … hoo-rah”.

I think it is fantastic that many teams engage in a ceremonial handshake at the end of games. It teaches players good sportsmanship. It also allows players and teams to put aside disagreements or hard feelings that may have percolated during the game. It is important to learn to leave these feelings on the field.

I also love what professional teams do before a game. Players walk onto the field hand-in-hand with youth soccer players. Both teams face and salute the crowd. Then one team moves down the line, first shaking the hands of the referees followed by the hands of the opponents. Once the first team is done, the opponents shake the hands of the referees.

I strongly encourage leagues to formally adopt some sort of pre- and post-game ritual.

  • It should be done for all games, regardless if it is a scrimmage or a state championship game.
  • It sets the right tone for the game as well as after the game.
  • It gives the players an opportunity to acknowledge parents and fans (and vice versa).
  • It teaches players good sportsmanship.
  • The ‘pomp and circumstance’ makes the games more meaningful and memorable.

Are there other pre- and post-game rituals that leagues engage in? Readers of ‘Improving Soccer in the United States’ would love to hear about them.

‘Adopt-a-College-Soccer-Player’ Program

January 20, 2010

A few months ago I noticed a signed photo in my daughter’s room of a local soccer player who at the time was playing soccer at a local university on a full-ride scholarship. I was surprised to see it given that it was over seven years old. This player had been invited to my daughter’s U10 competition team to run practice and talk to the girls about the importance of school and hard work. Her university was nice enough to supply her with action shots that she signed for the girls. Later that year, the players were ball girls at one of the University’s home age. At least for my daughter, this player had made a favorable and lasting impression on her.

In an earlier post I wrote about a ‘Adopt-a-High-Soccer-Player‘ program and how such a program would benefit youth soccer players, the high school soccer players, the school/club/soccer organization, and adult coaches. These same groups will stand to benefit from this program as well. However, because the college/university player is more mature and a better soccer player than a high school player and there are simply fewer college players available, there are different types of ‘wins’ that such a program can produce.

Winner #1: Youth Soccer Player

Youth players will still relate better to a college player than a 40-year-old parent figure. The more youth players who get to hear, see, and interact with the college player, the better. The celebrity factor should make young players more interested in and attentive to a college player than a high school player.

Winner #2: College Student-Athletes

Given the college player’s playing ability and maturity, there are many more roles this player can assume within a Club/League. This player could:

  • Meet, speak, and run a practice for each team in the Club/League.
  • Be a regular trainer for a competitive team. Given the college player’s knowledge of the game, a competitive team with better and more focused players would be a better fit.
  • Become a board member for the Club/League. As a person who is living and experiencing soccer at an advanced level but is not too far removed from being a youth player, he/she could play an integral role in helping develop and shape the future of the Club.

Either one or a combination of these activities or responsibilities would look terrific on a resume or post-graduate application.

Winner #3: College/University Soccer Program

If a college program is able to partner with a local soccer Club/League, attendance should rise as interest in the team increases. The college will have an endless supply of ball boys and ball girls. And who knows, maybe five or 10 years down the road, a few of the youth soccer players who were a part of the ‘Adopt-a-College-Soccer Player’ program will be stars at the same university.

Winner #4: Adult Coaches

Once again, many soccer coaches have little or no soccer experience themselves. Any help or instructions, especially from someone with extensive knowledge of the game can only be beneficial.

Winner #5: Youth Soccer Club or League

If a Club or League develops a reputation for bringing on board local college players to help train its youth players, membership will grow. Having young, knowledgeable, and good soccer players train the Club’s youth players should result in better teams and players. With a good relationship with the local College, perhaps its coach(es) will contribute their knowledge and expertise to the Club/League as well.

Any player who is fortunate enough to play at the college level must be good. Only the ‘cream-of-the-crop’ play college soccer. If there is any way to get such a player to volunteer his or her time to your Club/League, go for it. Only a select number of college players will play and earn a living as a professional soccer player. By giving these players an opportunity to train, teach, and help build and grow a Club/League, they, too, will be part of a unique and valuable experience. It will be a win-win-win-win-win situation for all.