The Blog 2018-06-06T11:49:18+00:00

Welcome to June’s article on the use of advanced ball control skills! It’s 2018 which means it’s a World Cup year and the excitement is ramping up.

We often get asked what types of services Soccer in Slow Motion provides and one of the most exciting ones is event entertainment. This summer we will be sharing our skills across the US for a variety of World Cup viewing parties from Los Angeles to New York. Not only do our players concentrate on their finer ball control skills, but they are acquiring a skill set that allows them to perform on behalf of major companies, travel across the US, and share their skills with soccer fans from all over.

Several of our players will be performing at World Cup viewing parties in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York. We will also be joining Adobe, Inc. for a fitness day for the employees, running a street soccer competition on June 30th in San Jose for Telemundo, and several others!

Performing looks a little like the video below which included samba dancers during the 2014 World Cup, signing autographs, performing on stage for live television programs, etc. During the 2014 World Cup we performed at six of the top night clubs across the United States. Check out the video below and see how our players are using their skills to enjoy the sport to the fullest.

So what’s it like to “perform” and what are the benefits?

Performances require that our players refine their skills in order to perform without mistakes on stage, or to develop their “vocabulary” of skills to be able to display a wide range of ball control skills while challenging participants. In soccer we often practice a single move and feel accomplished at having learned it. However, when it comes to street soccer, freestyle, and performances you’re now required to perfect your skills (as best possible, even the pros makes errors). The result is a player with more refined skills and a higher level of confidence due to the high level of competency required to perform.

  • Recently, Alejandra from the Bay Area was selected as a “soccer influencer” by Coca-Cola and will be traveling to Russia! She will be on field for the pregame ceremony when Mexico takes on Sweden on June 27th.
  • Young Jaedyn, a SISM player and top futsal player from Dallas, has had the chance to perform with us and represent McDonald’s on multiple tours. She’d showed many young guys that girls have quite the talent!
  • Also in the center photo is the United States’ top female street soccer player and 2x panna champion, Alexis Mata (center photo in red jersey). Alexis is our most seasoned performer and has performed and competed around the world for many of the top companies!
  • Young Leo traveled to Los Angeles with our SISM team and had the chance to share his skills as he competed against on the of the world’s top street players who was visiting from Belgium!

From left to right: Alejandra — Jaedyn (right side), Alexis (left side) — Leo

Above are pictures from our performances during the 2017 Champions League Summer Tour

So not only does the development of skills benefit players in their soccer matches, but it opens up opportunities than many would never have imagined! So keep an eye on our SISM social media pages as we continue on our journey of training using the Dewazien 9-step routine to build new young stars who will work their way to performing with their refined skills!

Until next month,

Coach Louie and the SISM team

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CLAUDIO REYNA when interviewed by DIANE SCAVUZZO, Editor in Chief of stated the following, It’s important to learn how to win, but it’s more important to learn how to play!”

“The focus, in this country, is too often on winning. I’m not saying anything we don’t know. It’s just cultural, in our country — where you go to a U-10 game and people are going crazy on the sidelines, it is unlike any other country I’ve ever visited.

I think there are a lot of organizations and like-minded parents and coaches who wish it didn’t happen. But unfortunately, that’s what we are..

 I would hope every coach in the country, and every organization didn’t care about rankings, and player rankings, and team rankings, and state rankings, because it means absolutely nothing.

They should focus on creating the right environment for players. We have a lot of sites that rank players, and rank boys and girls on all this kind of stuff that, unfortunately, people buy into, in our country, and think that it’s important, but it’s absolutely meaningless for young players, boys and girls, in their development of learning the sport.

It’s a unique, American phenomenon.

There’s no other country in the world where you go, and there are team rankings of all ages and coaches who are getting ranked.

And what I would say is, we lose sight and focus of what’s most important.  And it’s not just soccer, it’s all the youth sports in the United States which are, unfortunately, focused on the wrong things.

As Youth Sports dwindle in participation it is time to look forward and say what can we all do to get our kids off the couches, put down the electronic games and play sports. Why do kids play any game whether Electronic or physical activity? I think you will find it is for FUN!

Do we think it’s FUN to be yelled at for 25 minutes, if you make a mistake on the field to hear the magic word SUB, as a coach or parent did you ever make a mistake at 8 or 9 years old? Learning from our mistakes is one of the ways we learn.”

Based on the need to LEARN the Coaching Staff has developed and the District 7 Board has approved two (2) coaching courses to be taught based on the PDI mandates:

1. The D7 “F” course is focused on the 4 vs. 4 and 7 vs. 7 games.

2. The D7 “E” course on the 9 v 9 or 11 v 11 game formats.

I encourage ALL coaches and league administrators to attend the courses when are in your League.  Let us give the GAME back to the PLAYERS and make soccer FUN.

By John M Hodgson, Cal North D7 Commissioner

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Personally as a US Soccer grassroots instructor I feel more is learned in the in-person (face-to-face) courses.

The Technical Director for US Youth Soccer Sam Snow was recently interviewed about “What is Working and What Needs to Change” in Youth Soccer Today for Goal Nation.

Having grown up in the United States watching, playing and coaching the game of soccer grow I felt I should express my viewpoint on Sam Snow’s 2nd point: Mandating Coaching Certification

The cost for coaching licenses is being reduced for the new grassroots modules. Gone are the “F” and “E” coaching licenses that US Soccer used to teach. Instructors will be teaching a new format in these grassroots licenses of Play-Practice-Play. The modules will be based on the age the coach is coaching.

These new modules will be either a 2 hour online or a 4 hour in- person course. Personally as a US Soccer grassroots instructor I feel more is learned in the in person (face-to-face) courses.

The California Youth Soccer Associations’ (CYSA) Coaching School Scheme for which I was an instructor was:

U6 pre-F    = 3 hours

U-8 pre-F   = 3 hours

U-10 pre-F = 3 hours

“F”              = 9 hours

“E”              = 18 hours

“E/D”          =  32 hours

“D” (live-in) = 36 hours

TOTAL       104 hours –In-person (face-to-face)

Even that did not seem long enough.

With the courses  now moving to just 2 or 4 hours … Why would we not want to require that a coach spend this small amount of time learning the basics of how to coach face-to-face?

In my 23 years of being a coaching instructor even coaches with extensive playing and coaching experience leave a course saying “Wow, I learned so much”.

By Craig Winans, Emeritus 2nd Vice Chairman, California Youth Soccer Association

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Again, we wonder why our players’ development over the past 30+ years has been extremely sluggish. We think that just because we have the resources and number of players we are fated to rule the soccer world. And yet our players are unable to perform even the simplest of soccer development tasks which is to lay-out their own playing environment. If you are skeptical then try this experiment at your next practice…

Get to the field at your usual time and lay all of your equipment, balls, cones, flags, goals, etc. in one spot. As the players arrive greet them and tell them that you will meet them by the equipment. Pretend to be occupied with something a distance away from the gathering spot. Stay occupied until one of your players has the courage to come to you and ask, “What do you want us to do?’

It is extremely important that you do not give a directive response like, “Go ahead and Warm-up!” But simply say, “I will be right with you!” and continue to stay away.

I have conducted this experiment in more than 20 states in the USA and twice in Canada. The teams and players used in the experiment ranged from U-6 to U-18 Olympic Development players. The results were almost always the same,,,

The younger players would impatiently sit-around and toss grass at each other or put cones on their head and sit on their ball. The majority of older players would serenely lay in the grass listening to something in their head-phones. Rarely would players take the initiative to either juggle or even pass the ball around. When eventually asked, “What are you waiting for?” The universal response was always, “We are waiting for the coach to tell us what to do!”

Sadly, not even once did any of the players take the initiative to lay-out a field and start playing soccer 🙁

What does this have to do with our player’s lack of development? Anyone who has traveled abroad will tell you that it is only a matter of time before you come across children playing soccer in pick-up games. We also know that ALL world class players learned to play in fun games organized by older kids in their neighborhood. Yes, they learned the tricks-of-the-trade in free-style games where they experimented and failed their way to success.

Think about it, while our children are waiting for their parents to drive them to the next practice and then wait for the coach to tell them what to do. Children around the globe walk to the nearest open area in their neighborhood and adjust it to be soccer playable. Strange as it may seem no one has ever seen them organize a ‘drill’ of any kind. They use what is available and simply lay-out the environment to start playing their version of soccer. Why aren’t our players doing the same?

My personal opinion is that our players do not play pick-up games simply because no one has taught them how important, helpful and fun they are. We have a coach controlled environment where the coach controls all aspects of practice and provides constant direction. This controlled environment subconsciously teaches our players that they cannot play soccer without adult assistance.

I believe that it is our duty to teach the players that they are responsible for laying-out and adjusting all playing environments in each and every practice. This is very simply accomplished by using the same traditional steps that we use in teaching them technique or tactics.

Step 1. EXPLANATION – Communicate in simple everyday language. Create ‘buzz words’ words that ‘trigger’ the mind to highlight points of emphasis. Some examples: “warm-up area”; “1 vs. 1 field”; “small-sided 3 vs. 2 field”; “small-sided 5 vs. 5” field; etc.

Take into consideration the attention span of your players and adjust the length of your explanation accordingly. After you have dealt with a point ask question to make sure the point was understood> Repeat the verbal instructions only if necessary. Be brief!

Step 2. DEMONSTRATION – Give a demonstration slowly, simply and visually correct in how you want each playing environment to be laid-out. Show them the difference, for example, between a 1 vs. 1 field and a 4 vs. 1 field. Show them items that can be used to layout the environment such as: cones, flags, shoes, bags, etc.

Step 3. ACTION – Have the players show you that they can correctly lay-out the environment you request.  Help only those who need help and increased speed as they become proficient at accomplishing the task. I Do and I Understand!

Step 4. ASSIGN HOME PLAY – The key to dramatic player improvement is their playing some type of soccer whenever and wherever possible! Your encouragement in this step is vital..!

Step 5. ASK them how often and where they played these games as they arrive at every single practice session. Write down their responses to let them know how important this is to them and you.

When applying these steps: Be patient and do not expect immediate result. Be persistent because It will take time and effective repetition. Maintain that sense of humor letting your players work in a relaxed atmosphere and reward progress with a positive reaction, a positive comment or a smile!

An argument can be made that a coach may end up using a great deal of energy teaching them ‘how to’ layout the environment. Considering that this initial investment worked for the older neighborhood kids around the world. Surely it can work for us coaches here in the USA..!

Karl Dewazien
Karl Dewazien
Koach Karl is the former State Director of Coaching for the California Youth Soccer Association (CYSA), Author of the Internationally Published FUNdamental SOCCER Books Series, & Producer of the highly acclaimed ‘9-Step Practice Routine’ DVD.

Click here to learn more about Koach Karl Dewazien.

During soccer games, referees make countless decisions and signal correctly.  At times however, officials can be seen pointing in the wrong direction, missing a flag from an assistant, blowing the whistle when it is not needed or showing cards when they could have used an alternate way to handle a situation.

We are all human and are bound to make mistakes but it is how we explain our decisions, how quickly we correct them and how often we make them that determines how effective we are at successfully controlling the games we are asked to orchestrate.

Below are examples of common errors by officials:

Sounding the whistle too quickly before the ball is not entirely out of play, a goal has not been scored or a foul has not been committed.

Some players will stop while others will keep playing so you cannot just say: “Play on!!”  This decision could lead to unfair play for one or both teams.  Even though you may feel embarrassed and may hear comments from players, coaches and spectators your best course of action is to face the fact that you erred, be prepared to show that you realized that you made a mistake and clearly verbalize how you plan to restart play.  Wait for everyone to be in position and ready for play before performing the dropped ball.

Missed flag signals from an assistant referee.

 A missed flag for any reason is cause for major concern on the part of the center official.  Whether the signal was for a foul, an offside, a substitution or any other reason, the fact that the center official did not notice and/or respond to the flag signal can lead to a loss of game control.

If the center official routinely misses flag signals from the assistant, he/she needs to reconsider why that is happening.  Is the reason that the center official is not properly reading the game and is in the wrong position to see the signals?  Is the center official routinely overlooking the signals?  Or is the center lagging behind play or with his/her back to the assistant?

If you are in position to look through play to your assistant most of the time, you will not miss the flag signals.  If, when the flag is raised, you determine that you have a better view of the play, you have the power to overrule the flag signal.

When a flag signal is overruled, it is always a good idea to give the assistant referee a positive signal of thanks and support (often a thumb up) for the helpful cooperation in the matter.

Missed flag signals will often cause frustration and lack of trust on the part of the players, coaches, spectators and the assistant referees.

Wrong direction for a throw-in.

 When pointing in the wrong direction for a throw-in it is important that you correct the mistake immediately.  Stop play, point in the right direction and verbalize your decision so that everyone is aware of the change being made in your call.  Make sure that both teams are aware and ready for the correction so that one team does not unfairly gain or lose an advantage because of your mistake.

Catching the mistake prior to the wrong team getting ready to throw the ball in will be easier to sell than if the wrong team has been given time to put the ball into play.  Once you have allowed play to restarted your decision to correct your mistake or let play continue will be much harder to make and to sell to those watching.

Note: the start of the second half is often the time when officials have to concentrate on those calls since the teams have now changed sides and calls can be misdirected.

Calling a foul and awarding the ball to the wrong team by pointing in the wrong direction.

Just like for a throw-in, the mistake must be corrected immediately if not too much play has been allowed to take place.

Once the correct decision has been made the team who was ready to start an attack may be confused and may not be prepared to defend.  The team now with the ball may on the other hand try to cease that opportunity to take a quick free kick in order to catch the opponent off guard.

The defending players may not react too kindly to your mistake if on top of it all you allow the other team the opportunity to capitalize on your mistake and give them an unfair advantage.  Since you created the problem, you must stop play, hold up the kick  and give both teams a chance to reset themselves.

If not properly controlled, an unfair restart will cause players to become angry, retaliatory and you will find yourself having to deal with misconduct and loss of control.

Pat Ferre
Pat Ferre
USSF Referee Grade 15 Emeritus
USSF Referee Instructor
USSF Referee Assessor
USSF Referee Assignor
District-7 Youth Referee Administrator (DYRA)

Advanced Ball Control Training – Team Programs

Welcome back, this is Louie from Soccer in Slow Motion. This article includes 3 video links to from youth highlights to pro futsal so be sure to check them out!

This month I’ll share with you the progress made when we applied the most relevant “street soccer” skills to the pitch with a boys U10 team. I came to Liverpool Int’l Academy (formerly Pacific Soccer Academy from Los Gatos) to coach a team and to apply the advanced ball control skills that we use in our program.

The important decision is to ensure that the skills we taught could be used in game play. As I noted in article 1, when it comes to advanced skills, many coaches tend to think of tricks as moves that aren’t used in the game and a “waste of time” to be practicing. So it was my challenge to break that misconception and show the benefits that we’ve known about for years!

What are your players capable of? You won’t know until you provide them with the advanced ball control training that is used by some of the world’s most creative street soccer professionals.

Conclusion: So how’d it go? Am I jumping ahead here? Maybe, but we’re SISM, we do things a bit out of the ordinary! It went like this:

Season 1 – As a new coach to the team I didn’t know what my players were like and I didn’t get to see them the season before. My knowledge of their improvement was going to take some time. After the first season our parents shared their excitement of the improvement, they had seen the players and the team perform the season before and liked what they saw. As for me I liked the improvement, but it was only laying the groundwork for more to come. The creativity was not at the level of street soccer players yet, but they had worked their ways towards competent soccer players and I was satisfied so far.

Season 2 – As the second season got underway we continued with our 1v1 training as the beginning of our practice sessions. This is right in line with steps 3 and 4 of Karl Dewazien’s 9-Step Soccer Practice Routine that he has been advocating for years. By the end of the season we had a wonderful finale and won the final tournament of the season with creative game play that included everything from quality passing, pannas to beat players, a goal from just across the center line, and more! However, a special note should be made here. Our championship win is not what determined the success of our training program, the improvement in skill over two seasons and the creativity displayed is where progress was made. Had we not won the tournament, it would not have taken anything away from the progress the players made.

Here are the highlights from the end of season tournament:

It was a bitter sweet ending to the season…

Why is that? That would be the last time I coached the boys. After a successful run coaching a team, it was time to expand and share these training methods on a larger scale. After season 2 SISM was asked to provide an advanced skill training program for the academy and open up the advanced skill training to all players ready to learn new skills.

We went on to provide skill training that began with 1v1 training to start off our sessions as usual and thoroughly enjoyed the many successes from our players. Check out the fun learning that took place:

SISM brought two of the top street soccer players in the world to N. California. If you’ve been with us over the years then you might have gotten some pretty cool autographs! This next video clip has both Leamssi and Bencok and SISM had them both here for skill clinics before our international event, the American Panna & Freestyle Tournament. So you’ve seen the youth players training on their skills, but what does it look like it they kept at it? Here are some highlights:

What are your players capable of? You won’t know until you provide them with the advanced ball control training that is used by some of the world’s most creative street soccer professionals. For more information on the opportunities to experience the action go to for links to the activities around the US.

Next month we’re going to highlight 2 special Northern CA players whose advanced skills have helped them rise to the top!

Until next month!

Coach Louie and the SISM team

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Another World Cup and probably more surprises as more and more countries are capable of causing upsets. Gone are the days when you could almost pick out the semi-finalists. That day has gone with the game spreading across the planet like never before. Teams are tactically smart & talented be they a small country like Belgium to a giant like Brazil. Plus the media coverage is vast and if Ronaldo catches a cold the whole world knows about in less than a day.

Remember BRAZIl ’14? it came flew by and most can hardly remember the moments that shocked the world – Spain, the then world champions in the first round losing in spectacular fashion to Holland 5-1 to the final game, the final itself with Germany defeating Argentina to deservingly taking the Cup back to Berlin.

Germany set the standard both with its organization by even going to the lengths of building their hotel to create a base and then followed their top class performances throughout the tourney. Their semifinal destruction of Brazil, 5-1 was a top class performance. Not only deserving winners but great sportsmen to boot. At half time in that game recognizing the pain & anguish that their opponents were going through decided to respect their opponent by behaving in a first class manner and not make fun or take the “micky” out of them.

Remember Brazil were playing at home and if front of a full house that had come to watch Brazil win and not Germany. Sadly the heart & soul of Brazil, Thiago Silva & Neymat, were injured & not playing. A major loss of two world class talents.

So what shocks and surprises will this World Cup bring??

To my mind it is the best camp or coaching school you can attend, as you can observe some of the best players and teams play on soccer’s greatest stage – FIFA WORLD CUP.


First get organized and prepared. Don’t wait until it starts. Get ahead by planning TV schedules and researching newspapers like SOCCER AMERICA , NEW YORK TIMES & L.A.TIMES.

Further afield try the best of British media – GUARDIAN, DAILY TELEGRAPH, The INDEPENDENT. SKY TV., BBC and

You will see a ton of information from team news, formations, tactics, etc.

Identify what you want to learn more about. If its goalkeeping then there’s a whole crop of ‘keepers coming through like EDERSON of Brazil.

Learning from TV. First learn to edit the commentary as some get into trivia & emotional rants.

“Pro’s follow the play whereas fans follow the ball. When studying strikers play try to look at the big picture otherwise you get into the dreaded habit of “ball watching.”


  • Goals 2018- Record your own highlight tape.
  • SET PLAY’s – Over 50% of goals will probably come from this source.
  • You might make it a project with a friend or with your team.
  • Finally learn about its history. The first World Cup was in 1930 and the World Cup has given us classic games, great players & moments.

Good luck and Great Soccer!

Graham Ramsay
Graham Ramsay
Graham Ramsay is the Director of Soccer Sphere, a soccer educational cum marketing company based near Washington, DC. He 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 Ramsay also runs Soccer Clinics! Click here for more information.