The Alphabet Soup of Youth Soccer – US Youth Soccer
At times the world of youth soccer can seem like a confusing alphabet soup of acronyms . From clubs to leagues to the national level organizations, the letter designations can baffle the most knowledgeable soccer parent. It is often hard to understand how the world of youth soccer fits together. GoalNation went to some of the top youth leaders to get a better idea of how all these leagues and organizations fit together. This is the first in a series of articles demystifying the Alphabet Soup of Youth Soccer… and we thought we would start with the top!
Since 2004, Sam Snow has assumed the leadership role in American youth soccer as Coaching Director for US Youth Soccer, and is responsible for the 55 state soccer associations in the USA. Cal South is one of those state Associations.
Before Sam Snow joined US Youth Soccer’s Technical Department as Assistant Director of Coaching Education he was a U.S. Soccer National Staff Instructor and Director of Coaching for the Louisiana Soccer Association.
Sam Snow is a tremendous advocate for proper player development, with a strong interest in the importance of small-sided games to help players grow. He holds a USSF ‘A’ License, a National Youth License, and a Premier Diploma and National Goalkeeping Coaching License. Snow helps run youth soccer in America so we thought he would be the perfect person to help our readers understand this often confusing, acronym filled world.
Spotlight On US Youth Soccer’s Sam Snow
Diane Scavuzzo: How and where does US Youth Soccer fit into the youth soccer puzzle?
Sam Snow: US Youth Soccer is the largest member of U.S. Soccer and is the largest youth sports organization in the world.
Diane Scavuzzo: What does US Youth Soccer offer?
Sam Snow: US Youth Soccer offers services to the state associations and by extension to the clubs and leagues who are members of the state soccer associations. US Youth Soccer offers all levels of play for youth from the U6 age group to the U19 age group. We conduct four regional leagues and the National League. The regions are essentially East (Region I), Midwest (Region II), South (Region III) and West (Region IV).
Along with the state associations we conduct the Olympic Development Program and the American Cup. In conjunction with our 5500 clubs we offer TOPSoccer for disabled players.
US Youth Soccer conducts the Presidents Cup and the National Championships Series.
In addition to all this, we provide educational services for coaches, parents of players, referees and administrators. That education culminates at our annual Workshop.
We have a wealth of information on our US Youth Soccer web site and a TV show on Fox Soccer Channel as well.
Diane Scavuzzo: How does the Olympic Development Program fit with the U.S. Development Academy?
Sam Snow: The US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program (ODP), which has been serving soccer in America since 1977, continues to help players raise their game to then move up to more demanding levels of soccer. US Youth Soccer ODP and the U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy work alongside one another to scour the nation for youth players who have the potential to represent our nation on the international stage.
Diane Scavuzzo: In your opinion, how do US Club Soccer and the id2 and National League fit in?
Sam Snow: id2 is an identification program that is somewhat similar to US Youth Soccer ODP. The National League of US Youth Soccer is a club competition league, so there’s no correlation to id2.
…If soccer is only about win next weekend’s tournament, then it is a shallow life experience. Our intent must be to make soccer a lifetime sport. Read Sam Snow on the Importance of Player Development vs Winning at all Costs