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To improve youth soccer in the US, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

Buckminster Fuller


I love this quotation. It’s very hard not to agree and we can apply it to all the aspects of our society. And because soccer is one of these aspects, I think it’s better to propose a new model of Youth Leagues and Youth Clubs, instead of fighting the existent ones!


The very curious aspect is that amateur adult soccer leagues, women and men, like the Golden Gate Women’s Soccer League, GGWSL, and the San Francisco Football Soccer League, SFSFL, already do the right stuff. There are different categories based on the ability of the players and with the greatest mechanism that regulates soccer in the rest of the world:


Why is this great concept not applied to youth soccer? MYSTERY! To be more precise, I know why, but let’s ‘pretend’ that it’s a mystery!

So, I really hope that youth soccer leagues will apply this concept. How?

At the end of the season, analyze all the standings and the scores. Divide the teams into a minimum of 4 Divisions and the next season, apply the Promotion and Relegation concept. This way, in growing up, all the kids will begin to confront themselves with the sport that they will play for the rest of their lives. That sport is called: SUCCEED IN LIFE!

This sport has a very clear concept of different categories based on REAL values of ability and competence. So, the sooner they enter into reality, the better it will be! The concept of promotion and relegation is one of the fundamental aspects that greatly regulates professional daily life in any professional field. (even a soccer field!)

It’ would be great in school too. Maybe we’d have a few less million of ignorant kids who think that Joan of Arc is Noah‘s daughter! (I say this because 30% of the students answered that!)


The way teams are created here, inevitably make them disappear in a few years. This doesn’t permit soccer to grown locally and, much more important, doesn’t give birth to the most important thing that soccer needs to succeed and that is: TRADITION.

A long time ago I tried to explain how this concept is put into reality in the rest of the soccer world: Here and There. Two different ways to create a Youth Soccer Club.

Obviously, to do what is expressed in the article takes many years. But if we never start we never arrive and, it seems even superfluous to underline that, if the normal way of doing things proposed above, was put into reality years ago, today we would already have something that really works.

I’d like to remind all of us, that we had 145 years to do this and we didn’t do it! We had all the time in the world because, accidentally, we created the FIRST SOCCER TEAM IN THE WORLD! And when I say we, I mean USA!

But the beauty of this concept, creating just soccer teams which is WRONG and instead creating soccer clubs, is that we already have thousands of ‘soccer bricks’ to build real soccer Clubs. We have thousands of soccer teams, in all age groups, spread throughout the whole soccer territory. This means that what is underlined above, is possible INSTANTANEOUSLY and not through the years!


Simple! A real youth soccer club, has a minimum of 1 team for every age group from U10 to U17. This means 8 teams. Boys or girls or both. In the second case 16 teams.

Please, don’t tell me that with the thousands of teams that are out there in the Bay Area and in the Peninsula, groups of 8 teams, in the same area, from U10 to U17, can’t come together!

Please don’t tell me that what the Bay Oaks do, is not possible! And they have dozens of teams in their Club! They are not yet what I‘m suggesting, but are very close.

The 8 teams that I was referring to before, instead giving themselves names that include the whole spectrum of walking, flying, swimming or imaginary animals, could give themselves the name of the town, the district, the neighborhood, the county or the general locality that they represent!

This group of 8 teams would INSTANTANEOUSLY become a real soccer club, that would have the same name, wear the same uniform, represent the same territory and compete against other ‘territories‘ creating what soccer needs to succeed:


Every year, the players would pass to the age group above, and a new U10 would be created to fill the hole!

This way, all the kids in that area, would dream about playing on the team that represents his town or his county.

This seems easy, for a very simple reason. IT IS!

We just need to decide to do the RIGHT THINGS!

I’d like to conclude this way. When we are stuck in traffic or in line on the freeway, we often forget a very simple concept:


We, personally, individually and unequivocally, are one of the ones that is sitting by himself in the car, with other thousands that sit there by themselves, and never get together in 2 or 3 in the same car and go to the car-pool lane!

So, if WE are the traffic, then, in the same way, WE ARE SOCCER.

We, means you, and you, and you, and you, and you……………………… and me!

Force yourself to enter into the Club way of thinking and leave the team way of thinking, behind. I understand and I know that not all the teams can come together, but at the same time, I’m sure that hundreds of teams can do this and come together to create REAL soccer clubs, that will be there forever and will not disappear in a few years, like almost all the teams do in this moment!

Naturally, to do this takes a lot of humility, open vision, being able to see a little farther than the end of our noses, a great love for soccer and, more importantly, not just being there because by coincidence it happens that our sons or our daughters play soccer for a few years!

I understand that many of us are there just for this last reason, but many others are there because they really are true soccer lovers so, please, please, please, force yourself to come together, sit around a table and build the foundation of real soccer clubs that will not disappear in a few years, when your sons and daughters go to high schools or to colleges.

In doing this, you’ll be remembered forever as having created something that in a few decades, will be the equivalent of what other soccer lovers have created in the past and today those Clubs, are called Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Liverpool, New Castle, Celtic, Chelsea or A.C. Milan.

WE (that means you!) ARE SOCCER.

The clubs!

Clubs come together and create Leagues and Federations with an open vision. Not the opposite!

Coach Gianni.

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

Buckminster Fuller

Posted on 26 Jul 2007 by coachgianni
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