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How Young Athletes Can Dominate Soccer And Other Areas of Their Life

In episode 26 We interview Niyi Sobo, former pro athlete turned coach and motivational speaker. You have to listen to the show to learn how to improve and dominate all areas of your life, including your favorite sport. Maybe you want to dominate soccer… Niyi goes over some strategies that you can do TODAY! to improve your performance. I absolutely loved it and couldn’t believe he was giving all of this for free. I am very grateful that Niyi took some time to help out our listeners. If you would like to thank him, go Check out his website at
Because if you want to DOMINATE, Niyi can show you how.

niyiIMNOTYOU.COM is a brand reserved for highly competitive athletes, who desire to take their game to new and dominant levels, and refuse to “fit in” and settle for average.

It’s the mindset you MUST have if you want to dominate your sport and reach your goals.
As an athlete, there are 3 areas that you have got to master if you want to succeed and break through and Niyi breaks these down for us during the podcast.

You must have unshakeable believe in yourself and your abilities. Your beliefs, your visions, and your language and attitude have got to reflect the goals you have.

You MUST make sure you are doing all the things necessary, every day, to develop the consistency and skill. If you don’t, you can never expect to dominate, or even play well, on a consistent basis.

Systems & Strategies
You can’t afford to be “random”. If you take random actions, expect random results. All of your moves must be calculated, and part of a bigger picture.

If you want the results you say you do, you are going to have to take on an entirely different attitude, a different mindset. You will have to adopt the belief that will set you apart, and make sure that you stay strong when others are weak.

You’ll have to adopt the same belief I had during 3 hour 2 a day practices in blistering New orleans heat, when I was the lowest man on the totem pole trying to earn my spot. That belief is..

“I’m Not You.”

They give up. You re-up.

They compete. You Dominate.
If you’re up for that challenge, then listen to the podcast, visit and get the Free report to start dominating.


Futsal vs Soccer

FutsalLets take a look at the differences between futsal vs soccer because I get this question so much.. If I missed some that you think about, please write them below on the comments and I can keep adding to this article. All the best.
1. The ball, it’s a different size, weight, and bounce. I think everyone knows this already. But you should probably know that the senior size futsal ball is actually LIGHTER than the size 5 soccer ball. Did you know that. I had a parent ask me one time if their child should play goalie because the Futsal ball was “heavier” and could hurt their child. I did some research and found that the futsal ball is actually lighter, go figure. Everyone always assumes that the futsal ball is heavier.

2. What are the numbers in Futsal vs Soccer. 11 v 11 Soccer and 5 v 5 in futsal. Futsal is sometimes referred to as 5-a-side. One goalie and 4 “field” players. Soccer has 1 goalie, 10 field players.

3. Playing with the Keeper in Futsal vs Soccer. Unlimited passes back to the keeper are allowed in soccer, yes I know he can’t pick it up. But in Futsal, you are only allowed ONE pass back to the keeper until you pass the half line. Yes, after the keeper has touched the ball on your half, you cannot play him the ball again, unless you lose it or the defender touches it. According to the FIFA laws of the game, an indirect free kick is awarded if the goalkeeper touches with any part of his body a back pass that has been played back to him before the ball has (1) crossed the
halfway-line or (2) been touched by an opponent.

4. Substitutions in Futsal vs Soccer. Soccer has a limit of 3 substitutions, Futsal has unlimited substitutions, but with a roster limit of 12 futsal players. Although unlimited substitutes is the case in most outdoor soccer leagues throughout the US, FIFA only allows 3 subs for one game. In Futsal, the substitutes are unlimited from youth to FIFA.

5. Throw-ins in Futsal vs Soccer. There are no throw-ins in futsal, you must play the ball back in with your feet once it goes out of bounce. If the ball is played out the end line, the goal “throw” is awarded in Futsal, not a goal kick.

6. Goal Throws in Futsal vs Soccer. There are no “goal kicks” in futsal, however there are “goal clearances” in futsal. The goalie must throw the ball in or drop kick the futsal ball, however the goalie cannot come out of the goalie box with the ball. In soccer the goalie can punt the ball, throw it, or dribble out of the box with the ball. Once a goal kick is awarded in soccer, the goalie can only kick the ball out of the box.

7. Game Clock in Futsal vs Soccer. In Futsal, the clock can be stopped during an injury or for other delays. In soccer, the clock does not stop, it’s a “running clock”, but time could be added at the end of the game. In futsal there is no “stoppage time”. Futsal has a 22 Minute half, while Soccer has 45 minute halves.

8. Timeouts in Futsal vs Soccer. Each team gets one timeout per half in Futsal, but in soccer, there are no timeouts.

9. No shoulder charges allowed in Futsal vs Soccer. Futsal is a game of skill and less about strength and power. Although slide tackles were recently allowed into the Futsal leagues by FIFA, shoulder charges are still discouraged. Obviously in soccer there are slide tackles and shoulder charges.

10. 4 Second Restart Rule in Futsal vs Soccer. There is no actual restart rule in soccer, but in Futsal, you MUST restart within 4 seconds of ball going out of bounds or on a goal throw or risk losing the ball to the other team. This helps with the speed of the game.

11. No Offside rule in Futsal vs Soccer. While soccer has the offside rule to discourage cherry picking, Futsal does not enforce the off side rule due to the small size of the court, I don’t know this for a fact, but I will assume that it’s true. The futsal court is limited in size.

12. Sent off player can be replaced in Futsal vs Soccer. In Futsal, when a player receives a red card, that futsal player sent off can be substituted for after 2 minutes or after the other team has scored. This the complete opposite in Soccer as the player sent off cannot be substituted and the team must play a man down for the rest of the game.

13. Positions if Futsal vs Soccer. Futsal has the Fixo, Pivot, and Ala (2). Soccer teams have the Defenders (4),Midfielders (4-5), Forwards (1, 2, or 3 depending on formations.




YSE 21: Why soccer is an Art and players are Artists, with author, coach, teacher, Stan Baker Part 2,


This is part 2 of the interview with Stan Baker, author of “Our Competition is the World” and winner of the 2011 US Youth National Coach of The Year. If you have not listened to Part 1, please go back and listen by clicking here. 

In part two Stan continues his discussion on player development and discusses why soccer is an art and players are artists.

Stan discussed how Elementary kids at his school have started their own soccer league!! Amazing what kids can do when you get out of their way. He was not kidding when he said they have a great soccer environment.

That same environment is also responsible for producing Rubio Rubin, current FC Utrecth player and US National team member.

Stan also discussed Funino and how it helps kids develop. Learn more about Funino here and visit their website here.


Stan is involved in the in Comcast SportsNet’s inaugural All-Star Coach Program. It is aimed at recognizing the region’s top K-12 public school coaches, and the finalists are in and Stan Baker is one of them. Let’s vote for him!! I can assure you that he definitely deserves it.

From numerous nominations, finalists were selected by a panel of community leaders based on exemplary commitment to the school, student-athletes, parents, and the community; excellence in coaching style and interaction with student-athletes; distinction from other coaches; and, quality of coaching, including respect and inspiration. If you liked the podcast, please thank Stan by voting for him!



Do You Want To Learn More About Stan?

Visit Stan’s website

Stan’s Book “Our Competition is the World” Stan discussed in the podcast why he decided to write the book after being inspired by Claudio Reyna speech about player development.  

The book mentioned by Stan during the Podcast, “The Boys From Little Mexico” about the kids in his school.


Horst Wein Books

myteamrealReceive a 60 FREE TRIAL with MyTeamSpot for our listeners only, when you use promo code YSE60. Improve your communication with players and parents, share videos and photos, update schedules, and focus on player development!!!!


LINKS Discussed During Podcast
Thank you so much for supporting our podcast, if there is anything I can do to help, please let me know. Thank you.


Youth Soccer Age Groups 2015/2016

Age groupings for youth soccer players is sometimes confusing. The first thing you need to know is that the cutoff date that youth soccer clubs use is August 1st. The reason I highlight Youth Soccer Clubs in Bold is because Youth National teams use January 1st. We can discuss that later, for today we ca focus on youth soccer clubs in the United Sates.300by300pixels_logo

The second factor to understanding the youth soccer club age groupings is that the Under means you are Under that age group on August 1st. For example, a child that turns 13 years old on August 1st is considered a U13 player, even though they will be 13 years old the entire season. Most of his/her teammates will probably be 12 and start turning 13 during the year. If that child had turned 13 on July 31st, that player would now be a U14 player, because they will be 14 during this year 8/01/2014 – 7/31/2015.

A good rule of thumb is to take the date of the start of the season (usually September 1st) and go back a month (July 31st). How old was your child on that day? Add a U and 1 year and you get the age group. If he/she was 12, then they are a U13 player. If your child is 13 then they are a U14 player. If they are 12 and turn 13 the following day (August 1st), they are still a U13 player.

Understand that there are normally two seasons (Fall and Spring) every youth soccer club year, but your child will still hold the same age group throughout the entire year, until the following July 31st.

The table below will help you with the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 age groups. However when in doubt, refer back to the rule. Take the start of the season, go back to that July 31st and determine how old your child was. Then add 1 year. That is their age group.

Single year age grouping for 2015/2016 Season:


Born on or after AUG 1, 1996 & Younger


Born on or after AUG 1, 1997 & Younger


Born on or after AUG 1, 1998 & Younger


Born on or after AUG 1, 1999 & Younger


Born on or after AUG 1, 2000 & Younger


Born on or after AUG 1, 2001 & Younger


Born on or after AUG 1, 2002 & Younger


Born on or after AUG 1, 2003 & Younger


Born on or after AUG 1, 2004 & Younger


Born on or after AUG 1, 2005 & Younger


Born on or after AUG 1, 2006 & Younger


Born on or after AUG 1, 2007 & Younger


Born on or after AUG 1, 2008 & Younger


Born on or after AUG 1, 2009 & Younger


Becoming Christiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo, one of the greatest of all time started out the same way the majority of us are fortunate enough to begin. But Ronaldo took a different path and became one of the best of all time. Why did Ronaldo become Ronaldo? What made him what he is today? Why can’t that be duplicated? Today we look at Ronaldo’s upbringing and analyze what he did to develop into one of the greatest players of all time.

He was the youngest of 4 kids, born in Madeira, Portugal.

His family lived in one of the poorest areas in Madeira. This is common not only with soccer greats, but with the majority of professional athletes around the world.

His neighbors have stated that “he was always playing with the ball”, “you would always see him up and down, up and down the street with the ball”. If his neighbors saw him, this means he was always playing at home.

He Played street soccer with his friends and neighbors. He even talks about it in the documentary. Ronaldo said that they had to play street soccer on a sloped street, they would put rocks down as goal posts. When a car would be driving by, they had to remove the rocks. Ronaldo’s mother discusses how Ronaldo would come home from school and state that he didn’t have homework. Dinner would be on the table, but instead he would grab “a fruit and a yogurt and would not return until 9pm”.

If he was playing street soccer and at home on his own, this means tRonaldodribblehat Free Play played a big role in his development. There were no coaches around on the street or at home following him around telling him what to do. It was all Free Play.

What about Ronaldo’s environment and culture? I believe that the environment and culture make a huge difference in the development of any player. For starters, Ronaldo’s dad was director of a small soccer club in the City of Medeira. Ronaldo saw that his father enjoyed being around soccer so it was inevitable that Ronaldo would play as well.

His mother also loved soccer. She claims in the documentary that she wanted her son to play like Luis Figo. What a great environment to live under, his mom and dad both loved the game and that was a significant contributor to his development. Ronaldo’s mother also goes on to state that she wanted Ronaldo to play for Sporting Lisbon and supported the transfer when he was 12 years old. Sporting Lisbon was her favorite club growing up.

Christiano Ronaldo started playing for his dad’s club at 6 years old. He remembers that he had a lot of fun and they practiced almost every day. Can you imagine if you asked a parent in the US to practice everyday? Ronaldo loved to practice. He had an insatiable thirst for soccer and the key to his development was that the environment fed that thirst. Everywhere he went, he could play, at home, on the street, at school, and at his club. What a great soccer environment!

At about 10 years old, Ronaldo had established himself as one of the best players around. Ronaldo’s father contacted Ronaldo’s godfather and they facilitated a transfer to Nacional de Madeira. According to Nacional de Madeira coach, Antonio Mandoca, Ronaldo always wanted the ball at his feet. “He wanted to do everything on his own”. Think about what we do with 10 year old kids who are selfish with the ball….. I’ve seen so many parents and coaches coach this out of the kids. They yell at them that they must pass the ball. They work on drills all day long to coach the kids to pass because “he’s not a team player”. They forget the fact that the reason that the player is trying to do everything on his own is because he wants his team to win, he/she is competitive, but we view that as a negative. What we can learn from this is that we need to let kids be kids and let nature take its course. Kids are selfish weather we like it or not, and eventually they grow out of it.

What about his size? Today Ronaldo is known for his power, speed, and control. His runs and shots are so powerful. You would never have know that he was considered to be “too thin” as a young boy. His mother talks about how she was afraid that Ronaldo would break his shin from a hard tackle. What this should tell you is that size doesn’t matter. We HAVE to let nature take its course and allow the kids to grow. We must nurture their development. Ronaldo trophy

Ronaldo’s parents, sisters, and coaches report that he used to cry if he didn’t score or if his friends didn’t score goals. He did this so much that he earned the nickname “crybaby”. This is another example of how we need to let kids be kids. Ronaldo was only acting like a child, because that is what he was. Imagine how he would have been treated in the USA….. he would have been told that he doesn’t have the psychological make up to make a winner, etc. etc. He was a child and that’s how children act. My nephew who went on to play for the Regional ODP and college used to cry as well when he didn’t score, but that’s because he had a passion and that’s all.

Paolo Cardoso, from Sporting Lisbon, talks about the first time he met Ronaldo for the tryout. He said that he “put him (Ronaldo) to work with older players, got ball, went past two or three players, we looked at each other and knew he was special. Never seen such quality in a player.” He goes on to state that Ronaldo was “Player of unusual talent, excellent dribbler, we recommended that we sign him up!”.

At just 12 years old, Paolo knew that they had something special. Up to that time, Ronaldo had never attended any prestigious camps, clubs, or coaching clinics. He had never met any world famous coaches or anything of that sort. He just simply loved soccer, had a great soccer environment and culture around him, had a passion for learning and competing, had thousands of hours of free play, and was very athletic.

If you analyse these things, you notice that none of them cost anything. His love and passion for soccer and competition were part of his character, his soccer environment and culture were given to him, and his free play hours and athletic ability were part of his environment. He did receive good coaching, not great, but just good. He didn’t start getting “excellent coaching” until he reached Sporting Lisbon and Manchester United. By that time he was already considered a great soccer player, he was 12 years old. I believe that his parents and coaches made the right decision to send him away at 12-13 years old. I think this is the time when players are ready to be coached. By this time they should already be polished technically and ready for the tactical side of training and intentional practice.

So, when your son/daughter is U6 or U8, there is no need to pay thousands of dollars for coaching or playing. They need a love for the game, desire to play, receive reinforcement from their environment, create a culture that nurtures their creativity, free play, and thousands of hours of practice. You cannot control athleticism, and you won’t know until they reach their late teens. So in the meantime, give them what you can get for free.