#2 -Happy Feet by Dan Blank


I’ll be honest right now. In the first time I saw this book and wanted to buy- on my Kindle -, I’ve asked myself: “What do I have to learn about soccer with an american coach?”. With a lot of arrogance I made this question internally to myself and, for my great surprise, the answer was…everything! The book is simply amazing! I had no idea about the quantity of good tips about the soccer coach work that this book has. I thought it was only a good book. Only for americans. Oh, God! A huge mistake!

What a great surprise this book was for me! Dan Blank, the author, divided the book in four sections: 1. SoccerSpeak; 2. What your coach wants you to know; 3. What the referee wants you to know; 4. What your kid wants you to know. Let’s see a little summary of one by one.

1.Soccer Speak


In this section, Blank explains about the soccer rules, the characteristics of this sport and destroys the fear about the understanding of the offside, showing that with good informations, we can be ready to admire the soccer – commonly called “The Beautiful Game“. He also exposes a lot of words used in the soccer fields, by coaches, players, referees and even the supporters. So here, in the first part of the book, you will read about: the reasons why kids quit; offside, free kick, corner kick, penalty kick, throw-in, fouls and other rules.

2. What your coach wants you to know


The book is mostly focused on parents of soccer players – principally if they are kids. I think this section is the most important of the whole book, because here the author explains the harm parents cause to their own kids, unintentionally, by saying wrong words, showing horrible behaviors in front of them and don’t understanding the mecanic of a complex sport like soccer. 

See those great thinkings in the author’s own words:

“Did you know that in the United States, 75% of children that play youth sports quit by the age of 13? Do you know why? Well, I’m sure you can guess, but I’ll tell you anyway. The number one reason children give for quitting a sport is this: It stopped being fun.”

“How can a kid who loves the game this much be pried away from it? Well, there is a list of ways, and at the top of that list are Mom and Dad.”

Remember, soccer, above all else, should be fun.

“That’s the thing about coaching – it’s the one occupation that everyone feels qualified to do, and with a reasonable degree of certainty that they would do it better than the guy who currently holds the job. And this is the essence of what will drive a coach into an early retirement. I wouldn’t dream of second guessing an engineer who was designing a bridge[…].”

3. What the referee wants you to know


The main advice in this section revolves around the respect for the referee and the example the parents can give to their children by not showing bad behaviour while the game is being played. It’s so difficult to be a soccer referee: players are always faking fouls; there are many of hard decisions the referees have to take in a matter of seconds; don’t matter if the referee took a good decision with his whistle, because this will be only good if favor a certain team. The referee is always being cursed by everyone. You’ll see those advice above, in the book, and a lot of more in this section.

4. What your kid wants you to know

Little Boy Playing Soccer With His Father

“To be a Gold Star Soccer Parent, you need to know why your child is playing in the first place. You need to know what motivates him to return to the field week after week. Here is a list of the top reasons that kids play soccer: To have fun.”

This stretch above is a summary of this section. Children just come to soccer while they’re having fun. In the vast majority of cases parent are the reasons why kids quit.

Last Words

Although I wanted to continue writing about this book here, I could not do it because it is much better to have all the work in hand and to discover alone the precious tips that the author gives us. I’m Brazilian, living in Brazil and I know that our way of work with soccer is much different than the american way. I would be very proud if our parents, here in Brazil, followed those teachings given by Dan Blank. Every soccer player parents needs to read this book. It helps a lot. If you have a kid that play soccer is your obligation to read this – even if you are experienced in soccer. Trust me: worth every penny.