Feb 22, 2010

Support Soccer, Where to Attend a Game in DC/MD/VA

As an avid soccer fan I do all I can to support local soccer at all levels in my community. From coaching, to volunteering with youth soccer events, to serving as a board member of a non-profit soccer organization (P.U.S.H), to attending both men’s and women’s college and professional games.

With the upcoming professional soccer season right around the corner, I would like to encourage all the soccer fans in the D.C., Virginia, and Maryland area, and the entire country for that matter, to get out there and watch at least one game this season.

Of course if you are from this area and are already a supporter of soccer than you and your kids have more than likely attended at least one D.C. United match. My family and I have been to quite a few games over the past five years. My wife is especially responsible for starting this tradition since she bought me tickets for my birthday (not saying how old I turned that year). We have gone to see many games from regular season and playoff D.C. United games, David Beckham’s first MLS match, a World Soccer Challenge match between D.C. United and Real Madrid, a Washington Freedom game (where my daughter got to meet and get Hope Solo’s autograph on her goalie jersey), Northern Virginia Majestics (of the W-League), and finally the George Mason Women's and Maryland Women’s soccer teams.

Dare to Dream: The Story of the U.S. Women's Soccer Team

All of these games were very enjoyable and are a great way for me to pass on my love and appreciation of soccer to my own children as well as the kids I have coached over the years. As soccer fans we are extremely lucky to have the opportunity to not only attend a professional match but also have our youth teams participate in pregame events, be player escorts, ball girls/boys, and even play a quick game at halftime on the actual field in front of large crowds of fans. These experiences did not exist for me when I was a young soccer player and are sure to lead to great memories for the soccer youth of today.

There are usually great rates available for tickets and group rates for teams or large groups that can easily be found on your favorite teams’ web site. As for my families tradition of attending soccer matches, we plan to start the year off at the D.C. United home opener April 3rd vs. New England Revolution.

Maybe we will see you there!

Wincraft D.C. United Precision Magnet

Update: Coaching Certification Resources

I have had a couple responses to this article with some information I feel can be useful to the many coaches out there.

  • From: Phil Clegg, CEO at MotivatEd Ltd and Footee Ltd

    "The FA have an excellent range of online courses for coach development available at www.thefa.com/falearning - follow the link 'online courses' under FA Qualifications."
  • From: Gary Rossi, Manager of Client Services; Organizational Development & Management Consultant

    "I am sponsoring a High School Coaches Diploma Course by NSCAA in San Diego at our New High School, Del Norte High School in 4S Ranch September 10 to 12th. Come join us."
Thanks for the information and please send me any other useful information I can share with the youth coaching world.

Feb 17, 2010

Coaching Certification Resources

I am a certified soccer coach. What exactly does that mean? Well when I decided that I wanted to start coaching youth soccer I had no idea that there were organizations that actually teach and certify soccer coaches. The two organizations that are recognized as official certifying bodies are NSCAA and USSOCCER.

At the time I decided to pursue coaching my daughters then coach, Jerry Ellison, directed me to these two organizations to gain the necessary knowledge and certifications it would take for me to land a coaching position. This was almost four years ago now. I currently hold many different licenses and certifications from both NSCAA and USSOCCER. I also currently hold coaching positions with two local Girls High School Soccer programs.

I wanted to write this post for any current coaches or those of you who would like to start on your coaching journey to assist you in finding out exactly where to go to get the best available coaching education, licenses, and certifications. It’s not that this information is not out there to find but it can be a little confusing and would be easier to locate in one spot.

The path for obtaining your license or certification starts with the lowest level. To move up to the next level in both organizations usually requires holding a license for a specified amount of time (6-12 months). Also, as you move higher up you will eventually be required to pass a “test” at the end of your training. The tests can consist of written, oral, and practical or field sessions.

Below is an outline of the coaching course structure for each organization.

NSCAA (non-residential)


Parent Coach Diploma

Basic Level – “E” Certificate
State Diploma
Introductory Level – “D” License
Regional Diploma
Level 1 – National “C” License
Advanced Regional Diploma
Level 2 – National “B” License
Youth Diploma
Level 3 – National “A” License
Advanced Youth Diploma

High School Diploma

Director of Coaching Diploma

NSCAA (residential)

Additional Licenses

National Diploma

Goalkeeping License
Advanced National DiplomaFitness License
Premier Diploma
Youth License

NSCAA (Goalkeeping Institute)
Adult License

State Goalkeeping Diploma (level I)
Regional Goalkeeping Diploma (level II)
National Goalkeeping Diploma (level III)
Advanced National Goalkeeping Diploma

Here are the links to upcoming local coaching courses you
can attend in the Northern Virginia area.

Good luck on your coaching career.

Feb 16, 2010

Lack of quality Indoor youth Soccer Fields

By Chris Wimmer 

This past weekend I had the priveledge of taking my twelve year old daughter to play an "indoor" soccer match at quite possibly the worst indoor field in use in Virginia or for that matter the whole country.

Anyone who lives in the Northern Virginia area and participates in youth soccer will probably know about Frying Pan Park.  It is in essence a 1950's style working farm that is mostly used for school field trips to introduce children to farming and animals.  However, during the cold, rainy, and recently extremely snowy conditions it transforms into an indoor soccer field.

When I say transforms that is a bit of an overstatement.  In acutality it is just a metal barn type building that looks as if it is meant for showing animals in a 4-H event rather than a suitable soccer field.  It is all dirt and surrounded by a metal ranch fence. 

It is hard for me to believe, that with facilities like the Dulles Sports Plex, and the indoor field located at South Run Park, that Frying Pan Park is even considered for paying league soccer games.

With as many youth soccer clubs in the Northern Virginia Area and the amount of money that goes into both running and participating in the local soccer scene how can it be that there are such limited facilites. I know there is tremendous cost that goes into building indoor soccer fields but isn't it a shame that our children are relegated to using a horse corral to participate in sports during the winter.

We do after all live in a seemingly steady economical area and although the economy is not very strong currently I have not seen a drop in the number of kids participating in youth soccer over the last five years that I have been involved.

Let me know if you have played, coached or been a lucky spectator at Frying Pan Park and what your opinion is.