How Phones and Social Media Usage Impacts Youth Soccer

A great discussion between Dan Abrahams, Ben Freakley, and Larissa Mills; about the issues around phone usage and social media in sport, it’s effects on youth.

To begin with, it’s important we realize this is a societal issue, but like almost all issues we find in society, youth sports reflects these problems in it’s microclimate.

Research has found some alarming statistics where by 16, kids are hitting huge overall hours of usage, even as young as 4 years old the hours of usage is alarming.

  • Kids are brains are under developed, effecting ability to learn, where they cannot focus, are tired, and lack attention.
  • 71% have negative self-talk.
  • Social media platforms are a significant influence over youths.
  • 98% of kids 12 years and older have phones
  • Phones and technology have negatively effected movement and communication.

Phones have been identified as having a block on performance, this due to it’s effects on routine, and social medias comments and stories about performance being constructed by opinions. Children are now learning and developing cognitively at a slower rate than previous generations.

While an easy solution, but hard to accomplish, it is recommended that youth athletes post and leave – publish messages of positivity, leave, and do not engage.

Longer times on the phone have been shown to increase depression and anxiety.

There is potential for positivity, there are opportunities for learning through open lines of communication. To do this though, ‘look sideways’, look for inspiration and not comparison.

There are solutions to how we can support youth athletes, and the youth in general with the effects of phones and social media on the individuals growth and development, and mental well-being.

  • Create routines  around training (phones in backpacks, etc.).
  • Create daily routines (no phones in bedrooms, at the dinner table, etc.).
  • Setting boundaries on content (pictures, when pictures are taken, etc.).
  • Create protocols (inclusivity of all within groups, when is the phone used).

Habits reduces phone addiction and social media addiction

When discussing the use of phones and social media, use open ended questions for deep engagement on the reasons ‘why’ it’s better to be off the phone; bringing awareness of which voices are being involved with the youth athlete, i.e., self awareness of whose voice really matters. This will better support the buy in to banning phones at important times, this being those times spent at sports with team mates, and family events.

  • Interventions at sporting events (training and games) are key to engaging conversation, utilizing pre, during, and post activity breaks, to break down psychology into attention, intensity, and intent.
  • Squash ANTS (automatic negative thoughts)
    • Incorporate this mental skill into practice
    • Use social governance to support each other
  • Establish values early on, providing purpose to social media use and avoiding the clustered approach to scrolling through social media. Think big picture to refrain from phone and social media usage, framing and reviewing the day around:
    • What actions today will/did align with my values, behaviors, and goals?

Key Takeaways:

The brain takes 20 minutes to refocus after phone usage (smart watches are a real problem!).

  • Are you in a state to engage in learning if you are not focused from the start?
  • Without attention, intensity, and intent, learning is greatly compromised.

Support children/athletes to be their own person.

  • Move away from comparison as a context in both online and in-person identity models.

Congratulations – Ezekiel Grundler, College Commitment

Congratulations to Ezekiel Grundler on his commitment to Chester University, UK.

Ezekiel will be traveling to England to play and study at University of Chester at their Football Academy.

Ezekiel had been with the 2006 age group throughout his Foundation Phase years, and into his later Development Phase years, moving to Texas in 2021 with his family. Ezekiel has been featured throughout his time at the club on our website and social media for his commitment to training and practicing outside of club events.

Ezekiel’s dedication to training, his intrinsic motivation to be the best he can be while enjoying his love for the game, has seen him excel with his football, and a great example of how much influence the psychosocial pillar has on later year performance.

We are very proud of Ezekiel’s achievements, and enjoy hearing from the family on his development and the families adventures in Texas. We now look forward to hearing all about Ezekiel’s adventures at the University of Chester.

Practicing at Home, Commitment and Dedication – Ezekiel Grundler

Training at Home

Training Cancelled – 1/27/2021

Due to the strong winds, and forecasts for heavy rain, and multiple weather warnings for flooding and high winds, we feel it is in the best interest of everyone’s safety to cancel tonight.

Soccer is an outdoor sport, played in winds and rain, but we also have a duty of care for all invested in the training experience, and with weather warnings for the area already closing down many outdoor activities, we must also consider the safety of everyone not only on the field but the conditions when leaving the house per the commute.

Training will go ahead in the rain, the wind, and other inclement weather, it is important we dress appropriately for these instances. In general we are very lucky in California as the weather is frequently mild and outside of any extremes.

Preparing for the Winter Sessions

Players need to dress appropriately for the conditions, and in the rain a rain jacket is recommended, and at least a warm up top should be worn. In the car following the practice a change of top should be ready. Players will not get sick from being in the rain, but will if not prepared for post exercise.

As a reminder, all players also need to be in Fremont YSC attire for all practices.

Coaching Convention Reflections – Rahul and Yichen

Rahul Berry

It was truly a very unique experience for me. I got the opportunity to learn from various professional coaches and former professional players. It was great to see the numerous field sessions that were taking place and I really got to see different approaches that were taken by all the coaches during field sessions.

Empowering Players

  • Focus on teaching players to make their own decisions during field sessions. Let them play freely and offer coaching points as the session continues on.
  • Design activities that provide more game like experiences for the players.


  • During goalkeeper sessions, find ways where you can get all goalkeepers involved in the session. Goalkeepers have evolved in modern playing trends, isolated training no longer supports the role of the keeper as an integral player involved in ball possession and defending spaces.
  • Goalkeepers are being evolved into more than just being shot stoppers and being more involved as playing from the back with their feet as this provides an advantage to transition from build up to attacking into the opponents half of the field.


  • Creating a positive environment for all players by building connections players and parents not only during training sessions but also outside of the sport.
  • If a player seems unmotivated during training sessions offer guidance to better support them, providing interventions of support and empathy rather than traditional scolding for effort.


The convention was a great experience, offering a variety of different styles from elite coaches from around the world and from different coaching experiences (college, club, professional), and the level of preparation and details which goes into the session design and layout for layering between activity transitions.

Competitive Environment

  • Competitive environments simulate the intensity and decision-making demands of real match situations, however, consideration must be for the learning to take place where cognitive processing isn’t overlooked for physical performance.
    • Competitive environments allow players to make mistakes where it’s better for the players to learn.
      • Setup the practice with pressure (time, space, opponents)
      • Set individual targets and challenges for a psychological consideration of training
      • Add more things or restrictions step by step

Methodology – Rondos

Rondo training is valuable and could have several forms

  • Technical Skill Refinement
    • Ball control and First touch
    • Passing
    • Movement
  • Teamwork and Communication
  • High Pressure game like scenarios
  • Practice the technical skill
  • Practice Transition
    • Manipulating the rate of transitions to effect the physical component (increased transitions for power and strength resulting from more accelerations and decelerations; fewer transitions for speed)
  • Practice the Communication
    • Verbal communication for roles and responsibilities, non-verbal communication of player and ball movement.
  • Set competitions and challenges for teams to compete against each other.

Leadership Environment

  • Decentralized the leadership – Empower players with responsibilities
    • Delegate tasks to players
  • Giving players ownership of something in training
    • Rotate captains
    • Captains to maintain the discipline in training
    • Captains to set standards in effort and team culture

Coaching Convention Reflections – Mounir Fellahi

I wanted to share some insights I gained from the Anaheim soccer convention. First of all, I want to thank our club for providing this opportunity, as not many clubs do. It was a great experience on many levels, interacting with coaches from professional and national teams, as well as professional players. Getting their perspective of the game and learning from them was remarkable. It was great to see how humble they are, given their experience and knowledge. I have many takeaways across various facets of soccer, including technical, tactical, physical, psychological aspects, game analysis, game model, performance, and leadership. I can’t list all of them, but here are some of the key takeaways:

  1. Focus on teaching players the principles of play for attack and defense to build a strong foundation and enhance problem-solving skills on the field.
  2. Design training with the end goal in mind and contextualize each session, transitioning from simple to complex scenarios. Ensure clarity and realism, moving away from drill-based sessions. Incorporate the SCORE approach (Setup, Challenging, Opportunity, Realistic, Educate – did we effectively educate). Simplify training while adhering to principles of play, using constraints instead of restrictions, as restrictions might contradict the principles of play. Focus on the player’s perspective for clear and realistic training and evaluate team and individual performance based on principles of play, not just the result of a game.
  3. Set up activities that are intuitive and realistic for players, to promote problem-solving and the development of instincts aligned with our game model.
  4. Avoid stopping the game for single mistakes; instead, focus on recognizing and addressing patterns of errors.
  5. Encourage players to develop a love for the game before focusing on achieving excellence.
  6. Continuously align analysis with the game model to develop desired player instincts.
  7. Maximize strengths and minimize weaknesses. Concentrate on strategies that enhance player strengths and reduce weaknesses.
  8. Offer clear guidance on what players should observe during play and how to effectively use the information gathered, this can be done using a decision tree.
  9. Motivate players to coach each other, to enhance and check their understanding of tactical concepts such as creating overloads, occupying space, and applying defensive principles.
  10. Use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for team assessment based on the team’s identity to assess performance and establish clear goals.
  11. Focus on the importance of mental health, help players to be distraction-free and block the noise, reminding them that it is just a game and to enjoy it to alleviate pressure, following Jürgen Klopp’s philosophy.
  12. Concentrate on enhancing players’ visual understanding of the game, focusing on what they see and how to adapt based on what the game presents, rather than what the coach sees.
  13. Focus on how to build connections and empathy with players, which has been shown to improve performance. This involves understanding their perspectives, fostering a supportive environment, and creating strong coach-player relationships.

I look forward to implementing what I learned and transferring this knowledge to our players. Most importantly, I aim to deepen their love for the game of soccer.

United Soccer Coaches Convention 2024

The Fremont YSC Coaching staff attended the United Soccer Coached Convention 2024 in Anaheim, CA.

We are incredibly proud and committed to our continued education, and key component of being a coach, dedicated to continued education and learning.

On the course, Mounir Fellahi completed his Advanced National Diploma, while the rest of the coaching staff attended field sessions and lectures aligned to many different educational pathways, including, Academy Director, Game Model, Talent Identification, and Game Analysis.

Presenters included coaches from across the world, from a range of different coaching contexts, and speakers who are at the top of their field in different modules of sports psychology.

Overall a great educational experience, an opportunity to meet and network with coaches and friends from across the coaching landscape, and for Mounir the chance to meet Javier Zanetti!




All American First Team – Max Robles

Congratulations to Max Robles on his selection to the All-American First Team…/
It was a pleasure to have Max and his family with the club for more than 10 years, progressing from U8’s to U19’s, leaving for Sacramento in his final season. Not only developing into an excellent soccer player, but also a exceptional human being.
We wish Max all the best with his future adventures.

Sporting Director joins Manchester City Academy Staff

Executive and Sporting Director, Dai Redwood, joins the Manchester City Academy Coaching Staff.

Dai will be joining the expanding Manchester City Academy program, which has locations throughout the world. Centered in Manchester, England, the Academy program provides opportunities for players cross the world to be trained to the standard of the homegrown players through is learning phase curriculum to prepare players for later sporting performance.

“I am thrilled to be joining one of the most successful clubs in the world, and retuning to the grass to be coaching todays youth. The position allows me to continue my work with Fremont YSC as Sporting Director, and gives opportunity to continually assess our own club footballing operations against that of the worlds finest. Although a Manchester United fan, the coaching philosophy of long term player development through a play methodology aligns with my own philosophy and research in youth sports, and therefore an opportunity I could not let pass.”

Congratulations Mounir – USSF D License

Congratulations Mounir on the successful completion of your USSF D License.

As coaches are life long learners in the sports specific knowledge or football, and the many accompanying disciples including physiology, and psychology.

Great to see the staff embracing their education both externally with National Governing Bodies, and internally with Fremont YSC.

TopTekkers National Championships

We would also like to wish the best of luck to Nishant Raj, and Kyra Gupta, who will be traveling to Orlando, Florida to participate in the TopTekkers Nationals this month, following their selection from the recent TopTekkers event hosted in September. We wish the players and their families safe travels to the event, and the best of luck with the event and possible further selection to participate in the International Event hosted in Manchester, England.