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Youth Boys Dec 04, 2015

What will come from U.S. youth soccer organizations’ detente?

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If U.S. Soccer has accomplished one thing with its recent mandates and guidelines on youth soccer, it’s this: People are talking.

Even more remarkably, people are listening to each other across the divides in the often-fractious youth soccer landscape.

This week, U.S. Youth Soccer hosted representatives from U.S. Club Soccer and AYSO at its headquarters in Frisco, Texas. SAY Soccer and the U.S. Specialty Sports Association couldn’t attend, but the door is open for them to participate in what promises to be an ongoing discussion.

[+ Read: US Youth Soccer BOD approves implementation of U.S. Soccer mandates ]

The goal is to come up with some consensus to take back to U.S. Soccer about how to handle the recent mandates and other issues in the youth games.

“It’s agreeing to talk at this point,” U.S. Youth Soccer Director of Coaching Sam Snow told this week. “We’re beginning to work on what we think, the information we want to give back to the Federation.”

The conversation will continue in working groups, each with representatives of each organization, on four topics:

  1. The birth-year age group mandate
  2. The small-sided games mandate
  3. Coaching education
  4. General policies

The issues in play here aren’t necessarily the same as those in U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy. These organizations reach all the way to the lowest age groups at the grass roots, something especially relevant for the coaching group:

“We talked a bit about coaching education and how we increase access for the more amateur coach that’s looking to not make a career out of coaching,” Snow said. “All the organizations had coaches like that. What might the organizations put together in terms of coaching education?”

Specific proposals and policies may take some time. But the sentiment coming out of the meeting was positive.

“The meeting was great,” said U.S. Club Soccer Executive Vice President Christian Lavers. “When technical leaders across the country come together to improve the game – in any fashion – great things are possible. Future collaboration will hopefully help us all continue to make youth soccer better.”