So why exactly AM I doing this?

View Mike Baptistes profile on LinkedInI became a soccer coach in 2002 when the coaches of my son’s first soccer team moved up with their kids to the next age level. They asked me to take over the U6 team that Fall. Having absolutely no soccer background, besides being a fan, I was hesitant. But I’m good with kids so I decided to give it a go. Somewhere along the way I also offered to help organize the U6 division for our brand new league. We had maybe 120 kids that year, and I recall sitting with my laptop and an Excel spreadsheet trying to assign the teams evenly, calculate average ages for teams, and a LOT of scrolling, cutting and pasting.

I swore never again unless I had some tools to use, so I set out writing software to help manage the league. Each season I’ve added more functionality and it makes running our growing league (over 1000 players now) much easier. Someday I  hope to have enough time to build out the system we use and offer it to other leagues.

Being so involved in the operational side of the league somehow led to me being elected President of the league. At that point I learned first hand how much goes on in a youth soccer league, what the parents REALLY care about, and more. I had done a LOT of research online as we worked to improve our league (just how do the older leagues do it, etc.) and noticed there were very few web sites/blogs dedicated to soccer and especially youth soccer that weren’t trying to sell you something (“Learn the ultimate secret to coaching youth soccer for $19.95!!!”). Most discussion seemed to occur on mailing lists and forums.

So I decided to start up a blog to chronicle what we ran into as a new league, what we (and I) learned, and hopefully build a resource for other young leagues, coaches, and parents. Topics covered here primarily deal with youth soccer, but don’t be surprised to see occasional posts on professional soccer and other soccer tangents. During the World Cup, well, the fan in me takes over so watch for more youth related posts once it’s over.

You’ll find the frequency of posts varies with the time of year. Lots of posts before and after seasons in the Spring and Fall, very few in the Winter, and a smattering in the Summer. That may change, but we’ll see what time allows.

As for me - I’m learning new things every day, and likely will for many years to come. I’ve fallen in love with the game and want to do whatever I can to further youth soccer in our small, but growing, city. So I’m always looking for ideas, resources, and more from other leagues and associations to pass on.

I’ve coached Rec soccer at many levels (U5 up through U12) and currently coach a spirted group of ’96 girls, The Lunachicks, who travel across the state playing teams from other areas. I occasionally write about them here. I’m currently hold a USSF National ‘D’ Coaching License and a USSF/USYSA National Youth License.

I have four children, all of whom play soccer (two on travel teams and two playing swarm ball in the younger Rec divisions) as well as other sports and activities. So between their teams and my teams, Soccer Mom and I maintain one crazy schedule.

Like many, I have opinions, and will surely spout them off here, but I also try to publish useful unbiased information helpful to anyone involved in youth soccer. The nice thing with this being a blog is you can always post comments highlighting why I’m mistaken! But I hope some of what I discover and write about will help others who are just beginning their youth soccer journey and perhaps even get some more experienced folks to get involved in the debate.

So thanks for stopping by! Post a comment or two while you are here and if you’d like to see me write about something, pass it on! You can also follow my ramblings on Twitter, which has become an excellent resource for stories and ideas as well as meeting other soccer parents and coaches.

- Coach Mike aka ‘Soccer Dad’