Fundamental Youth Soccer

Graham Ramsay’s Articles

Mr. Graham Ramsay – Director of Soccer Sphere, a soccer educational cum marketing company based near Washington, DC, is also the former Director of Soccer Development for the Maryland State Soccer Association with nearly 20 years of service to the youth in that state . Graham was one of the first National Staff Coaches for US SOCCER and has written several books and numerous articles. His latest book, SOCCER FOR GIRLS has sold nearly 60,000 copies worldwide. Graham has spent extensive time traveling with soccer teams in Brazil. As well as coaching in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and across Europe.

While in the USA has coached in over 30 States doing clinics, workshops to helping college teams reach the NCAA’s to taking Annandale Boys Club to winning the McGuire Cup (U19 National Championship) to developing high school programs to help creating one of the finest youth programs in the USA – MSI in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Graham wants to share this knowledge with any group, club, association or school. Contact him directly at for details.

Graham’s company, Soccer Sphere, is online.

Playing Away or (Helping Your Opponent Win)
Without knowing it, many players fake preparing to compete or train. In other words, they are choosing to lose. Remember around 50% of a win is earned before the kick off.

When Things Go Wrong
Between poor Rob Green to poor other “keepers that drop clangers or worse still when clangers roll past you, between your legs, at snail pace into their net. I think we agree there’s no place to hide or worse place to be on this planet. So how to cope and prevent it happening again? Obviously more practice on the vital art of fielding a ball which takes up over 80% of a ‘keepers job but also the reaction of their teammates and coaches to this tragedy. Look what happened to poor Rob when that ball crawled in and the reaction of his so-called teammates who turned away in disgust/sorrow and suddenly Rob became a leper. My next question is who is the last person on your team do you want to be in the doldrums and probably about to react with more errors? The goalkeeper!

The Dreaded Throw In – Friend or Foe?
How often do you see this when watching a game: It’s Team A’s throw-in and the thrower throws it, quite inexplicably, to Team B. Without a moments hesitation, the game merrily carries on like nothing just happened. It’s as if such turnovers don’t matter. Yet, if it’s an intercepted pass in the midfield, then that’s another concern – now you’re talking a quality panic that gets a coach’s fibulator into overdrive. No wonder coaches at playoff time are often found walking, short of breath, keep a 2,000 yard stare, and suffering tremors. Just think of Coach Corleones reaction as his precious Godfather All Star Shooters concedes a golden goal in OT – off a flubbed throw, in their defensive and

Everey World Cup throws up the question of “who’s going to win the prize of prizes by Graham Ramsay
Are there clues from previous tournaments to guide us to the winner? Leadership – First of all beware of smooth sailing in the qualification rounds as the past two Cup, 2002 and 2006 were far from that for the eventual champion – Brasil in 2002 went through a couple of coaches, a scandal and qualified at the 11th hour. Whereas Italy chose to be challenged by a scandal that threatened more than just the World Cup team, but the whole of Italian calcio. Luckily both teams had great coaches in Scolari and Lippi who brought sanity and calmness to their squads. Other signs:

The Kitchen
This is a great game in which to coach “attacking” technique and tactics. I first saw this game played in Rio in 1991 and it seems to be a popular game throughout Brasil. Its called “The Kitchen” as the area outside the penalty area is where you prepare the attack like preparing a tasty meal.

What’s Wrong with Damien Duff? by Rob Smyth
Every Saturday, at around 4:51pm, one lucky member of the Guardian sports team is locked inside an airless pod with only an infinite supply of canned muscle relaxant for company, and told they are not allowed to leave until they have used our brilliant, newish chalkboards to demonstrate the three key points from the weekend’s Premier League action. So here they are.

Coaching the Czech Way by Kevin McShane
In the midst of the excitement, I felt that my decision to come to Prague to study for a soccer coach’s license and live in a real soccer culture seemed like a good one. The Czech National Team had just become the first team in the history of the European Championships to qualify with a perfect record. The team finished this feat just weeks before the 10th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, when the country gained its freedom from the Soviet Union. Even as they sang their National Anthem before the match, I could sense the pride that the Czechs felt in the success of their National Team – currently ranked second in the world, for whatever the rankings are worth.

The Power of Passion – Brazilian Soccer
They (the Brazilians) get passionate about soccer skill like we get excited about trophies and tournaments. Their way creates a Pele or a Zico or a Romario or a Ronaldinho or a Rivaldo to name just a few of their run of the mill world class players.

Are You A Player
Many teenagers ask the question, “What does it take to become a top class player?” To help you, here’s a checklist a famous European club uses to identify “real players”.

Approach to the Game
I’m trying to suggest that there is a definitive pattern of behavior that you must cultivate to help you to success; enthusiasm to play football in any conditions, and as often as you can; an imagination that will help you think of endless hours of practice as pleasant rather than monotonous.

A Captain on Every Play
Screaming instructions at the last moment is no way to win anything. It will probably reverse your strategy of getting ahead of the play and coaching your teammates to win. You have to develop the art of reading the play early and preparing your teammates for the next action.

Mr. Jacquet Comes To Town
Here is a man who has been an integral part of the national program that took over a decade to bear fruit. The youth development part was probably the key to the success of France ’98 and Euro 2000. We found gold but did not know it and we treated him as though he’s just another foreign coach passing through. Here was a very special man with extra-special knowledge to share.

The Want To Win
Winning proves everything we are told. It identifies perfection and the highest ideal of sport so we are led to believe and yet we have all these awards and winners but far fewer real players and coaches. The problem is compounded by the Al Davis’s of the world who trumped out, “win baby, win” everyday in the media.

High Noon
Goalkeepers today need to come to terms with dealing with breakaways, be they the breakout dribbler, exploding from the pack of stranded defenders to the through ball delivered into no-man’s land between the ‘keeper and their back line. Too often the goalies reaction is one of panic and blind aggression.

Law Changes, Food For Thought
At present, many games are being marred by petty abuse of the game and its Laws, e.g., dissent, time wasting with an abundance of back passing to the goalkeeper, defenders not retreating 10 yards at free kicks, cheap fouls of obstruction, etc. Unfortunately, many of these shady tactics have assumed an aura of legitimacy as we accept them as part of the game. The so-called “professional foul” is now considered a reasonable play at many levels of the sport.

Soccer in a Bottle
How can youngsters develop a savvy about the game or flowing skills if the ball is continually out of reach? If a player doesn’t touch the ball, how can they become skillful?

Key to Positive Coaching: Preparing the Coaching Ground
Before you can initiate your coaching program in soccer, you have to prepare the ground. The keys to such preparation may be described as the two O’s – Organized and Observation.