I Always Resented the Older Folks

My name is Bob Weisman and I was first introduced to CYSA at a coaching clinic when I coached my daughter's Under-8 team. If she were still playing, she would be Under-30 now, so it has been a long time.

When my girls played, I was involved deeply with Castro Valley Youth Soccer. I coached through U16, was an age-group coordinator for all ages, league vice president, and an active referee.

I thoroughly believed and preached the CYSA Coaching School Methodology of youth soccer that I learned at that and other courses.

As my girls grew and went away to college, I have still remained an active referee. I have not remained active in league management, because I always resented the older folks telling me how things should be done. I feel the league should belong to the families and players, who can take it in the direction they see fit.

That said, I am saddened to see the direction youth soccer has taken. I see competitive teams for children as young as the U7 age group. I see these teams hiring trainers who, as far as I can tell, have no real qualifications to work with kids this young — except that they all seem to have English accents.

I see competitive tournaments for Under-9s and Under-10s. I see trainers and coaches hired by the league and see families spending thousands of dollars for a year of youth soccer. I see parents of all age groups, especially young ages, worried about how team placement might affect their seven-year-old son's chance of a college scholarship. I see higher fees because (I am told) parents won't or can't volunteer, so the leagues have to hire coaches and field personnel.

I don't believe that kids are different today than they were 20 years ago. I know that when I ref an Under-7 soccer game, it is the hardest game to handle, because the parents don't know the game and kids that young should not be aware that the ball doesn't get tired.

I realize that there will always be a problem in that the people who run the leagues tend to be the ones most committed to the game and those want to see their kids go far — thus, they tend to be the parents of kids in competitive programs. This has come, though, at a severe price to the total programs.

As I see this, I contemplate whether to open my mouth and get involved beyond the referee program. Am I just an old guy remembering the good old days, or are my observations something to be concerned about?

Please send your observations to: Karl Dewazien at: cysakarl@comcast.net