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Coaching & Parent Education

The right type of coach and parent involvement can have a tremendous, positive impact on youth development and continued sport participation.  To this end, CSA has compiled useful resources that provide opportunities for coaches and parents to actively pursue continued learning on what is “best” for soccer players during different periods of development.

Parent & Player Education

US Youth Soccer Heat Stress Guidelines: Link

USSF Heat & Hydration Guidelines: Link

Drink, Drink, Drink: Link

US Youth Soccer Concussion Guidelines: Link

See below on this page for Crossroads’ more in-depth glance at concussion education.

The Parent’s Guide to Raising Happy, High-Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids: Link

Redefining Success: 8 Tips for Being a Great Sports Parent: Link

U.S. Soccer’s Feb. 2017 Player Development Initiatives: Link

CSA’s Long-Term Player Development Plan: Link

Healthy Fuel for Healthy Athletes: Link

Eating to PlayLink

Four Common Myths About Nutrition Among Soccer PlayersLink

7 Tips to a Highly Successful Recruiting Process: Link

Goalpost Safety: Link

Lightning Safety Outdoors: Link

You’ve Been Injured – Now What? [link]

Ice or Heat? [link]

RICE (Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevation) [link]

A Report on Knee Injuries [link]

Care and Prevention of Ankle Sprains [link]

Coach, My Ankle Hurts! [link]

Common Sports Injury – Muscle Soreness [link]

ACL Injury and the Female Soccer Player [link]

All there is to know about blisters [link]

Coaching Education

Coaching education in Louisiana is available from US Soccer and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). Click links below for available courses and schedules.

Coaching Courses in Louisiana: Link (course descriptions included)
LSA Coaching Course Schedule: Link
US Soccer Digital Coaching Center: Link (hub for all US Youth Soccer coaching education courses)

Please note the following recent changes in the US Soccer Coaching Education registration/education process:

No walk-up registrations will be accepted.
Online registration is required for all courses.
All payments must be complete before attending the course.
You must complete prerequisites for a course before registering.
US Soccer’s F-License Course is entirely ONLINE at the US Soccer Digital Coaching Center.
You must register for ALL US Soccer courses through the US Soccer Digital Coaching Center.

Coaching Resources

FIFA 11+ Complete Warm-up Program (Ages 14+): About | Field Setup | Complete Warm-up Program

LSA Hydration Education: Link

Typical characteristics of players ages 5-6:
  • Short attention span – directions should be simple and concise.
  • Most are individually-oriented – reality is what they can see and feel.
  • Little or no concern for team activities – Unable to see the world from another’s perspective.
  • Activities should be based on individual play.
  • Active imagination – be creative. Your activities should be stories.
  • Constantly in motion – enjoy playing, not watching. Everyone should have a ball at their feet.
  • Two speeds – All out or stopped.
  • Psychologically easily bruised. To them EFFORT = PERFORMANCE. They look for approval.
  • Physical and psychological development for boys and girls quite similar.
  • Physical coordination is undeveloped – Technique, technique, technique…
  • Unable to think in the abstract – the concept of space is a mystery.


Below are links to Sample Training Sessions designed specifically for the U5/6 Player.

US Youth Soccer Practice Plans

Massachusetts Youth Soccer Practice Plans

5U-6U CSA Handbook 

[Full Handbook below or click link above to download]


Here are some typical characteristics of players ages 7-8:
  • Attention span is still limited.
  • Inclined more toward activities in pairs or small groups
  • Still in motion and still want to be active rather than listening.
  • Beginning to see the world from others’ perspectives
  • Still unable to think abstractly – beginning to recognize the concept of time and space.
  • Beginning to understand sequence – “If I do A, then B will happen”
  • Still very sensitive and dislike personal failure in front of peers.
  • Aware of adult reactions and seek approval – be reassuring and supportive.
  • Beginning to emulate and imitate heroes and idols.
  • Beginning to develop physical coordination and muscle memories.
  • Still lack sense of pace. Go flat out.
  • Some become more competitive
Below are links to Sample Training Sessions designed specifically for the U7/8 Player.
[Full Handbook below or click link above to download]
Common characteristics of players ages 9-10:
  • Lengthened attention span
  • Starting to appreciate sequence of actions
  • Beginning to enjoy the game, not just playing
  • Players beginning to develop self-responsibility – give them homework.
  • Still in motion, but not as busy. Can tolerate short interruptions in play.
  • Psychologically becoming more firm. Peer pressure begins to develop.
  • Boys and girls beginning to develop separately, girls at a faster pace
  • Overall and small motor skills becoming much more refined
  • This is a crucial age for technical skill development.
  • Prefer balls and equipment with team identification
  • Pace factor becoming developed – beginning to think ahead.
  • Are far more team oriented and begin to identify with their team and their coach
  • Starting – for the first time – to recognize very basic tactical concepts
Below are links to Sample Training Sessions designed specifically for the U9/10 Player.
[Full Handbook below or click link above to download]
Here are some typical characteristics of the players ages 11-14:
  • Children are growing and developing at different rates and are sensitive to that fact.
  • Performance evaluation and competition between peers becomes prevalent.
  • Typically understand basic abstract ideas and hypothetical situations. Tactical concepts become real.
  • They like to solve problems. Let the game pose problems and let the players solve them.
  • Technical skills still need to be reinforced constantly.
  • Players should be encouraged to take chances – to play out of their comfort zone.
  • Overuse injuries can occur more frequently.
  • Players become more invested in the game and in their team. Foster leadership


Below are links to Sample Training Sessions designed specifically for the U11-U14 Player.

US Youth Soccer Practice Plans

Massachusetts Youth Soccer Practice Plans

12U CSA Handbook

14U CSA Handbook

Concussion Education

Research has shown that over 30% of concussions in soccer are caused by heading the ball or by attempting to head the ball and colliding with a player, object, or the ground. 11% of children who suffer a concussion still have symptoms three months later. Persistent post-concussion symptoms can be devastating. There is a growing body of literature showing that heading a soccer ball can result in problems with memory and attention, as well as structural and metabolic differences visible on advanced brain imaging, even in the absence of a symptomatic concussion. Further, there is substantial evidence supporting the notion that young people may be more susceptible to damage resulting from repetitive concussive and sub-concussive brain trauma. In younger children, the long term effects of brain trauma can become apparent years after injury, as normal developmental milestones are disrupted.

U.S. Youth Soccer’s Recognize to Recover Program

In 2011 the State of Louisiana recognized the concussion epidemic in youth sports and enacted legislation that requires youth sports organizations to notify its participants (players, parents and coaches) of the symptoms of concussions and the risks with continuing to participate with a possible concussion. More recently, US Soccer has introduced its RECOGNIZE TO RECOVER program, a comprehensive set of initiatives designed to address all aspects of player health and safety in the game of soccer. The program was developed with the assistance and guidance medical experts and is designed to give coaches, parents, players and referees the information, resources and materials needed to improve our understanding, recognition, management and treatment of head trauma and other injuries in youth soccer. Louisiana Soccer joins US Soccer in its efforts to educate our membership. Our Clubs, coaches, players and their parents must become familiar with the dangers and symptoms of concussion injuries and recognize new LSA Policies designed to protect the health and safety of all of our players.


Center for Disease Control’s HEADS UP Initiative

To help ensure the health and safety of young athletes, CDC developed the HEADS UP Concussion in Youth Sports initiative to offer information about concussions to coaches, parents, and athletes involved in youth sports. The HEADS UP initiative provides important information on preventing, recognizing, and responding to a concussion. To learn more on the basics of brain injuries, simply CLICK the CDC logo below. To go to any one of the CDC Resources simply CLICK on the specific document title below.

Louisiana Soccer Association’s Concussion & Heading Policy

At its August 2016 Annual General Meeting, LSA enacted Policy 213 Youth Player Safety Initiatives. Policy 213 describes how and when a player suspected of having suffered a concussion may be permitted to return to play. Coaches, parents and the players themselves are expected to become familiar with the dangers and symptoms of a concussion and to adhere to the policies, procedures and protocol established by Policy 213. Referees shall be familiar with the requirements of the Policy and shall strictly adhere to them. No one shall attempt to circumvent these procedures or protocol and no one shall attempt to encourage or influence a referee to do so either.

Concussion Injury Procedures and Protocol
If a qualified heath care provider (HCP) is present at the game, any player who sustains a significant blow to the head or body, who complains about or is exhibiting symptoms consistent with having suffered a concussion or is otherwise suspected of having sustained a concussion, must be evaluated by the HCP. Unless, after proper evaluation,  the HCP determines that the player has not suffered a concussion and personally informs the center referee, the player will not be permitted to return to play until the player has successfully completed the graduated RTP protocol described below and has been cleared to play in writing by a physician.

Where an HCP is not present, any player who sustains a significant blow to the head or body, who complains about or is exhibiting symptoms consistent with having suffered a concussion or is otherwise suspected of having sustained a concussion must be removed from play and shall not return to play until and unless the player has been cleared to return to play in writing by a physician.  The Policy sets forth the following Return to Play Protocol:

  1. The player must be symptom free at rest for 24 hours before commencing the protocol;
  2. The player must be symptom free after moderate activity for 24 hours;
  3. The player must be symptom free after heavy activity for 24 hours;
  4. If a baseline test had bee performed on the player prior to his/her concussion injury, the player will retake the same baseline test and a licensed neuropsychologist must review and interpret baseline and post-concussion test results;
  5. An HCP must confirm in writing to the player’s club that the player has completed the Return to Play protocol; and
  6. A licensed physician unrelated to the player must confirm in writing to the club that the player is approved to return to play.

Ban on Heading
In conjunction with the US Soccer Recognize To Recover Program and in the hope of curtailing concussive injuries at the youngest age group, Policy 213.5 establishes a ban on heading the ball. No player 10 years old or younger shall be permitted to head the ball in games or in training. Players participating in any U12 program and younger shall not engage in heading, either in practices or in games. In the event a player, in the discretion of the referee, intentionally heads the ball in a game at the U12 level of competition or younger, the referee shall immediately stop play and award the opposing team an indirect free kick.