Keeping the F.A.I.T.H.
by Karl Dewazien
The California Youth Soccer Association was founded by a man named Don Greer, the same Don Greer who created the United States Youth Soccer Association. Mr. Greer founded both associations on the principle that everything will turn out right if the adult focuses on the development of the child.
Don Greer was a pioneer who had FAITH that, through the sport of soccer, children’s lives could be effected in a positive way. Mr. Greer had FAITH that adults working together could bring a soccer environment into the USA. He felt that events which included Fun, Awards, Intense Competition, Travel and Happiness would always be successful. He had FAITH that CYSA could set the trend in this development.
Before his untimely death, Mr. Greer realized the following results of his efforts: Three million children registered with the United States Youth Soccer Association and CYSA, indeed, became a trendsetter in the field of youth soccer development.
Don was very proud when CYSA introduced the ‘Modified Laws of the Game’ to the nation. These laws allowed young children to play on smaller fields, with smaller equipment and fewer opponents. He saw a new enthusiasm in these younger players and dramatic improvement in their technical development. His face glowed when Heinz Moratzke, FIFA International Coaching Project Manager, enthusiastically endorsed the CYSA teaching curriculum.
Still, Mr. Greer expressed concern over the continued, outrageous dropout rate of players between the ages of ten through fourteen. At that time, seventy-five percent of the players in those age groups were no longer re-registering to play. However, he had FAITH that CYSA could/would find a solution to curb this trend. And CYSA did! It introduced soccer events which included his formula of Fun, Awards, Intense Competition, Travel and Happiness! These events have been appropriately named ‘Play Days’, ‘Festivals’ or ‘Jamborees’. No matter the names, in all cases these are gatherings of six, seven, eight and nine-year old children who want to play soccer!
The events are obviously Fun because the children play several games during the day. Each child is given an Award at the end of the competition for his/her time and effort. Intense competition can be expected because young children have only two speeds, full speed or no speed! Reasonable Travel allows the children to experience their communities. And every player is guaranteed to go home Home with a trophy, medal or ribbon.
Of course it would be unreasonable to think that these events alone would prevent children from dropping out in their teens. Yet, studies and experts’ opinions support CYSA’s, and now other state associations’, philosophy. That is, children who have a positive introduction to any sport and who build a passion for that sport will continue to play the sport.
The reader will have more FAITH in the direction CYSA is taking with our six, seven, eight and nine-year old players by researching and reading in the following areas:
“Your Child? Or a Trophy?” by Mike Legarza
Positive Coaching Alliance – Department of Athletics, Stanford University
“Sports Medicine and Performance Commission Position Statement Addressing 10 and Under National Championship”
- Athletes and Parent
by Dr. Tom Tutko, San Jose State University
Creator of the Sports Psychology Newsletter
- Sports Illustrated – Special Report, “Out of Control”
by William Nack and Lester Munson
July 24, 2000
Don Greer’s FAITH in CYSA is surely validated as we continue our trend to gather the best and most current data that encourages and supports the development of our players. We are asking you, our readers, to help us in our research and find additional information on this theme.