FUEL Soccer Talk: Soccer Across America; Keeping kids interested; The Wolves play on stage

Soccer – from sea to shining sea!

Soccer Across America: Introduces soccer to communities without clubs or leagues

Soccer is the fastest growing sport in the United States. It has reached into communities from coast to coast and from north to south. Yet, soccer has not always served inner city and rural communities and all economic and ethnic groups. In order to insure that every child has the opportunity to play our beautiful game, US Youth Soccer founded the Soccer Across America program.
Formerly known as Soccer Start, Soccer Across America is designed to introduce the sport of soccer to youngsters living in communities not yet served by existing clubs and leagues. Focused on making soccer available to lower-income children in underserved communities, the program provides soccer training and administrative guidance to players and organizations who might otherwise not be exposed to the sport. Soccer Across America also helps new programs find the funding and equipment to begin and then to expand their activities. In the past several years, US Youth Soccer has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial and material support to programs across the United States. Contact your local US Youth Soccer State Association office to find out more about getting involved with a local Soccer Across America program. For more information:

What other programs help give young players a kick toward soccer?

Opinion: A Positive Approach to Player Development

Player development is critical to U.S. soccer success. Without a pipeline of prospects, the USA cannot compete with the traditional world powers. The best way to build, fill and maintain that pipeline is to help kids fall in love and stay in love with soccer. A commonly cited statistic has 70 percent of U.S. youth athletes quitting organized sports by the age of 13. The primary reasons:
* the sport is just not fun anymore
* too much pressure from coaches or parents
* not enough playing time in organizations bent on winning at all cost.
Administrators and coaches at the elite level may not feel responsible for players loving soccer. It’s their job to make money, win games and raise the program’s profile, so that they can make more money, attract the best players and win more games. What’s love got to do with it?
Read the rest of this excellent column by David Jacobson, Marketing Communications Manager of the Positive Coaching Alliance, at

What are ways soccer can keep kids from quitting the sport at an early age?

“The Wolves” is a “portrait of teenage girls as human beings”

In 2016, Sarah DeLappe’s play “The Wolves” made its stage debut in New York City. Since then, theater groups all over the country have set up a field on their stages to present this Pulitzer Prize-nominated play. The story revolves around nine girls warming up together before their U-17 soccer games over the course of six weeks. While soccer is only the vehicle – it’s the girls inside the car that really drives the story – it’s interesting to see this play out on a soccer field. It’s also at times painfully real and honest and open.
In the words of the playwright: “I wanted to see a portrait of teenage girls as human beings- as complicated, nuanced, very idiosyncratic people who weren’t just girlfriends or sex objects or manic pixie dream girls but who were athletes and daughters and students and scholars and people who were trying actively to figure out who they were in this changing world around them.” The Wolves became a 2017 Pulitzer Prize finalist, and The Wolves’ NYC production won several impressive awards including an Obie Ensemble Award. If your love of soccer is what gets you in the theatre so be it – but you will leave the theater thinking about much more important things.
Search around your area to see if play is coming to a stage near you – or give the play a kick in the right direction by contacting your local theater and suggest “The Wolves.”

Photo Credit: “The Wolves” photo courtesy of Slipstream Theatre (Michigan)

What is your favorite soccer play or movie?

LET’S TALK: OK, now you’ve read what’s on my mind…what are your thoughts on the above or any other “football” happenings?

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