"There are very, very, very few full-ride offers," he says.


On an early November morning, Les Armstrong is seated in the open-air patio of an Einstein Bros. Bagels in Phoenix. Steam from his coffee swirls into the chilly air. Armstrong has just returned from a visit to his mom, in Aberdeen, Scotland. He's counting the days until his suspension ends.

courtesy of Arizona State Media Relations

Soon, he'll get back to doing what he loves: coaching soccer. He says he has three job offers and that wherever he lands, it will become the best club in that state (he won't say which state) within years.

One thing is sure: Armstrong won't be returning to Sereno. President Darla Sipolt says the club remains competitive, but adds, "We're trying to broaden our perspective, as opposed to being just about wins and losses."

Armstrong has shoulder-length hair parted down the middle. He's wearing a waterproof Nike training shirt, warm-up pants, and an athletic watch. Armstrong says that after 20 years of directing a club, with more than 40 teams per year, he can point to dozens of parents and players who enjoyed their years at Sereno.

Paige Carmichael, a senior on Texas A&M's soccer team, told the Sereno newsletter that Armstrong prepared her to play at the college level. "I think the club experience I had with Sereno prepared me above and beyond for college. Les really made me — I think everyone else would agree he did the same for them — the player I am today."

Claire Bodiya, a captain on the University of Arizona soccer team, agrees. "When I came in to University of Arizona along with the other girls from Sereno, we were definitely the most prepared," she says.

Armstrong's former players have excelled in college, and two former Sereno girls on the U.S. Women's National Team, which recently played in the World Cup.

Armstrong says the parents who aren't happy are the ones whose kids didn't make it to the next level, probably because they weren't good enough.

"The reality is that, if my kid has a bad experience, the easiest thing is to blame somebody. Right now, I'm a pretty easy target. They can blame me for the rain, the snow. I'm probably at fault for the economy right now."

Armstrong says he doesn't mind parents complaining about his dirty mouth, but he wishes they'd confront him in person — rather than baiting a newspaper. He says the parents can be just as brutal, whether they swear or not.

One group of club parents booted a "scholarship player" who was an African refugee off the team because he was getting more playing time than their rich white kids, Armstrong says.

"On road trips, we were asking people 'Can you take one of these kids?' These are kids that have no money. We were asking 'Can somebody let this kid share a room with you?' They'd go, 'No, there's no way I'm taking him, because my son's only playing 20 percent of the time, and he's playing 80 percent of the time. We'll not take him in,'" Armstrong says.

"The culture really changed. It got kind of twisted, you know, from being a team sport, which is what it should be, and it ended up being a group of individuals — parents — doing what they think is best for their own kids," he adds.

For all his wily ways, Armstrong has delivered what club soccer parents paid for — victory at any cost and opportunities to play before college scouts. Former Sereno parent Jim Dougher says, "Les was verbally abusive, in my opinion. His method for motivation was fear and intimidation, a lot of threats. But he really does a good job of getting kids prepared to play at a college level."

Competitive parents created the market for coaches like Armstrong. Now, it seems, they're getting what they paid for.

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26 comments
Ben Cowan
Ben Cowan

This article and all the comments have been quite interestingto me, as Les Armstrong, is now training my son's team, herein Las Vegas. I must say that after reading it all multipletimes, I'm not sure whether to be worried or thrilled.So far, no complaints.

Mike
Mike

There are two main issues that need to be separated: playing youth soccer, and coaching youth soccer. First, "playing" youth sports should be enough fun, that you want to continue playing as long as you can. Does that happen in our Youth Soccer programs? I don't know - you tell me.Second, Youth, or children are defined under the AZ Revised Statues as "any person under eighteen years of age". These same Statutes provide for the welfare of our children, and identify abusive behavior. It would appear that all adults that care for/ supervise youth are required to do so without abusing them, that this is not an option, and that the youth players can not absolve an adult by agreeing to tolerate abuse from them. Perhaps we should get the opinion of USYSA/ USSF Counsel as to whether publically berating a child, etc qualifies as abuse.?

Mike
Mike

There are two main issues that need to be separated: playing youth soccer, and coaching youth soccer. First, "playing" youth sports should be enough fun, that you want to continue playing as long as you can. Does that happen in our Youth Soccer programs? I don't know - you tell me.Second, Youth, or children are defined under the AZ Revised Statues as "any person under eighteen years of age". These same Statutes provide for the welfare of our children, and identify abusive behavior. It would appear that all adults that care for/ supervise youth are required to do so without abusing them, that this is not an option, and that the youth players can not absolve an adult by agreeing to tolerate abuse from them. Perhaps we should get the opinion of USYSA/ USSF Counsel as to whether publically berating a child, etc qualifies as abuse.?

Drake Northpine
Drake Northpine

Jesus, these parents are no better than stage parents.

Angelo Onorato
Angelo Onorato

I am a 70 year old man who strated coaching youth traavel soccer in the 70s and continue to this day. I have never taken a penny and don't intend to do so. I have had girls teams that have won multiple titles including multiple state and regional championships.

Being one of those parents who started learning the game as I volunteered to coach in the seventies, I have observed the trend described in the article and have been concerned for a long time. It's very worrisome. Some good things have also happened over the years. The kids trained and coached by the volunteer parents in the 70s and 80s are now better equipped to coach and train the new kids. Some are doing so on a volunteer basis or for very little compensation. This is a good thing. However, some of the big money makers frown on those who still coach for the love of the game and for the kids. Of course, if you don't take any money, you can't be very good (sarcasm on my part). Some coaches/trainers/administrators now involved in youth soccer are in it full time and strive to make as much money as they can. This is not a good thing in my view. Too many parents willingly pay exorbitant amounts of money for their children to play on the so called elite teams. These parents want results for the money (winning, scholarships, etc). They put more pressure on the paid coaches which builds on the kids. Thus the real ugly issues described in the article. The kids suffer.

This business environment brings about too many competing money making entities who go after the top players at early ages when it should be about fun. The focus on scholarships, Olympic development, etc. at early ages adds to the pressure and forces kids and parents to make difficult and stressful decisions such as "play here but you can't play high school soccer, etc. I look back with fondness at the days of oranges at half time and drinks at the end of the game. Sure there were problems and maybe the kids did not get the best training but they developed into pretty good athletes and citizens. We all have a stake in this and can't let it go to far out of hand. We need to get back to competition, development and fun. I have no issue with reasonable compensation and benefits but it is way out of hand. We need a better balance. Thanks for the article.

Angelo Onorato

molly bear
molly bear

I'd like to start by saying that if this whole thing never happened, I would still be playing for Les Armstrong right now and would be happier than ever. Yes- he can be a little strict sometimes. Yes- he says some things that he probably shouldn't. But truth is, he knows what he is doing. I never left a training session feeling like i didn't get anything out of it, i've never had a coach push my team so hard. Even the nights that we felt like quiting, second best isn't good enough for Les Armstrong, and that is the best mentality that has ever been instilled in me. Sereno is not for every one, there is no doubt about that. If you aren't willing to practice 6 days a week, if you aren't willing to sacrifice social things and not play high school soccer, if you aren't willing to compete for your playing time, no one ever said you had to play for Sereno, or Les for that matter. But for people who have never played for him to judge his character or to judge the Sereno program is unjust. I have 15 teammates who would love nothing more than to train with Les Armstrong every night. I'm not saying what he did was the right thing to do, but to take away a program that he built wasn't right either. instead of interviewing an angry parent or a coach of a team Les has beat in state cup every year, how about interviewing the girls playing Divison 1 soccer right now? Or the ones who can say they have represented the US National Team? Or the teams who don't know what it is like to lose a state cup title. People can disagree with the way he coaches and treats players as much as they like but when it comes down to it, he builds champions. And after all, as mentioned multiple times in the article, our parents don't pay ALL THAT MONEY for nothing.

Shaylyn Scott
Shaylyn Scott

I am an assistant coach for a u-11 Boys team in Oro Valley and a parent forwarded this article to me. I played for the Sereno 86' Golden Eagles under Les Armstrong and to this day I am thankful for everything this man has done for me. I don't play soccer anymore and quit playing shortly after my first season in College. But the memories I have of playing for this very special team are everlasting. It hurts me everytime I hear some negative story come up about les, or hear some parent slandering his name. If it was so awful to play for Les, why did your daughter continue to play?

I worked my butt off and sacrificed a lot. There wasn't a practice I came home from that I wasn't dead tired and every part of my body sore. He pushed me every step of the way, but more importantly I know he believed in me when even I didn't. I still quote some the inspiring things he used to tell our team to pump us up. He built a toughness in me that even three brothers couldn't beat into me!

I am a huge fan of Les Armstrong, and no, I wasn't one of the best players on the team, nor was I on any national teams.. but none-the-less, I'm a fan. I am forever greatful for everything he taught me.

And like Les would say.. "if I went to war tomorrow, I'd like to have him fighting there with me" =)

Mitch B
Mitch B

Loved this article. Glad to know Nevada is not the only state that seems to have moral corruption problems with youth sports (soccer in particular). I would love to share Nevada stories with you.

Kathy Stump
Kathy Stump

This is an excellent article! I'm researching the club sport movement for a local magazine; this is the most comprehensive piece I've come across to date. Thank you!

I'd like to know more about the increased competition among women athletes due to more scholarship funding being available. I was unable to locate the sidebar referred to on the website.

Again, thank you for publishing a detailed, balanced piece on this phenomena.

Phat Daddy
Phat Daddy

I want to make it clear, there are different levels of play (and commitment) for soccer club teams, there is "A", "B" and rec teams. My daughter played Sereno rec but when it came time for more competition we queried other parents for a new team. We found that the Scottsdale Blackhawks (Red A.K.A. the B team)was a good fit. The drive to where Sereno practices is a 1/4 mile from our house but we found the 15 mile round trip to Blackhawk practices were well worth it. I feel our success is that our teenage girls all get along, our parents are not expecting there girls to the next Mia Hamm but a student first and a athlete second. Our manager and trainers are a good fit for the level of play.

The coaches and players are only 2/3 of the team, the parents are part of the team too. It doesn't matter if a player, coach or parent is a poor sport at a game, you represent the team and will not be remembered as the "dad in the green shirt" yelling at the ref, you will be remembered as the "Blackhawks dad" yelling at the ref.

Our team play is on hold for High School soccer season, anyone who wanted to play High School Soccer is on there respective High School teams. Over the past 4 years we have had girls play all year on the soccer team and play other sports like softball or volleyball. Our Manager and trainer expect to the girls to give 100% at practice, games or school work. If a girl has a school function or school work, we make it work without them.

As far as cost we are not an "A" team so our fees may be about $700 per year plus a couple out of city tournaments a year. It is worth every penny because my daughter loves it.

Sereno is one of the most competitive teams in the US, it a a good fit for some but not all.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith

It is interesting reading the article and comments about Sereno and Les. Before I comment, in the interest of full disclosure, I was on the board of Sereno for over 7 years and was president when he was hired. We moved to Minnesota 15 years ago, thus I have had limited contact with him over the years.

First off, if he is as bad as some are claiming, what kind of parents would let him coach their children, and what kind of player would play for him year after year? Many of these comments come across as sour grapes more than a picture of reality.

Second, if your kids are playing soccer just to get a D1 scholarship, you need a serious reality check. The scholarships are few and far between. Over the years, my kids have played on top teams (including two trips to the youth national tournament) and we have seen more kids quit (more often due to parents than coaches), get injured, or their talent just not progress to the point of playing at the D1 level. One of my kids did get a scholarship, and she was an All-American, thus I have a perspective of what it takes to get to the top of the heap � drive, desire, skill, a lot of luck, and most importantly, a love of the game.

When we left Phoenix, Sereno had never had a state championship team, much less gone beyond the state tournament level. 7 years later, we ran into 4 Sereno teams at the national championships. Sereno has become one of the best clubs in the country. I am sure that many people contributed to this rise, and I am also certain that Les was a major part of this success.

We have run into Les numerous times at soccer tournaments, and he has been nothing but gracious, supportive and even though my daughter left the club when she was 7 years old, he would still come to her games and proudly cheer her on and give her big smile and hug after the game. From our perspective, he is a class act.

As for the allegations against Les, I can assure you that as a former board member of numerous youth sport boards, sadly, it is often petty jealously that drives the results more than a desire to find the truth and correct the situation. Keep this all in perspective, the judge and jury are not without bias.

We wish Les the best of luck in his next endeavor. He is always welcome to join us in Minnesota either as a coach or as a friend.

Janele DeBaca
Janele DeBaca

I had just heard about this article today from one of my teammates. When I read it, I agreed with pretty much everything that was stated. I have been playing for SC Del Sol for most of my youth soccer career, so I will not comment on Les since I never knew him personally. Although, I do agree with what he has said about parents. I think that the parents of competitive players have caused the biggest problems. From a players point of view, it is pretty evident on how parents try to embellish their kids' abilities; trying to prove to other parents that their kid is better. I believe money is thrown around and flaunted through the camps their children are sent to, their personal training, and the equipment they use. The saddest thing out of all of this is the bad mouthing parents resort to during games. Many times I have heard parents bashing on other kids' abilities during games, for everyone to hear, and when their own kid makes a mistake, they say nothing about it. I don't want to sound like I am saying this about all parents. Sometimes there are maybe just a few of these parents on one team, but even one is too many in my opinion.

There is an immense difference in club soccer in Arizona from when I was younger to now, as a U18 player. Clubs have become a lot more expensive and false hope has been given to players based on scholarships. We're told if we outplay everyone on the field we will be noticed. Coaches need to start explaining to their players the importance of their academics. I have not met one person to go on to play for a D1 college that had horrible grades. I do know many extremely skilled players that are given a chance in community college to play, which for some reason is looked down upon by some soccer players, coaches, and parents. Coaches need to explain how much of a step there is to the next level. From my jr year to senior year, about half of the soccer players I know have changed their mindset from a D1 or D2 to community college, including myself. The other half is still following the dream, while paying a good amount of money, and not having any guarantees of playing their freshmen and sophomore year. I think those decisions should be placed in the hands of the player with parent support. It's sad to see some players being forced into situations they don't want to be in. Some parents and coaches need to settle down and rethink what we all do. Soccer is a beautiful game and I couldn't imagine my life without it. I love my team. We are a family. I enjoy every moment with them, including all of our practices. I just wish that all players at different clubs in Arizona could say the same.

sandi leroux
sandi leroux

I'm very disappointed to read only the negative things this writer could dig up on Les Armstrong. When I tried to call him for a interview he hung up twice on me. He knew the interview wasn't going to be negative. Isn't it funny that most people like to hear the dirt rather than the positive. Ok parents those of you complaining did you think your kid was a starter? Or did you think a competitive club was all fair time? Or did you really believe your kid was better than the ones getting the minutes and Les just wasn't fair? I'm sure Les trained everyone of those kids to be better than they would have been if they were coached by a parent that just coached so his kid could play. I'm sure you all know where I'm coming from. My daughter left home to go after her dream when she was 15 years old. She called me crying many times that she couldn't do it anymore. The door was open for her to come home. The only thing keeping her in Arizona was Les Armstrong. She loved him as a coach and a person. She believed he would get her to the next level which a player like her needed. She has told me many times she believed if it wasn't for Les she wouldn't be where she is now. Which was on the U20 womens national team and she won the golden boot and ball award at the world cup plus the world cup gold medal. I'm not saying this to brag I'm telling you this cause he was her coach and he trained her to be the player she is today. She is so upset that this has happened cause she doesn't see it this way. Don't tell me there isn't a coach out there that doesn't have their favorites. Lots of times they are harder on the ones they believe can make it to the next level. They know how hard they can push them. Or they let them get away with more than they should. I'm right I know that but every coach has his or her favorites. It's more the parents that have the problem with the coach than the players do. Or the parents all fighting with one another because of the competitiveness. Which we all know how much that happens. Most time the coach doesn't want to even get involved he's just there to coach the kids not to get in the middle of parents hating one another. I heard a call one day when Les was on the phone saying that the club was cutting back on scholarship money and he told the guy on the other end that he would do whatever he could so those kids could play. He was so worried about what would happen to these kids if they couldn't get scholarship money from the club. Now for the kid that thinks Les would sabatoge him from a college coach, come on do you think if a college coach thought your kid was special and was willing to give the kid scholarship money Les would honestly put the kid down. If your kid didn't get a scholarship it's because there are so many kids in the country and other countries they liked better. The parents that do the complaining are the ones that shouldn't have their kids in competitive clubs cause they are hurting their own kids because they want them to be this super star they aren't. It's just not in their blood parents. We all think are kids are so much better than they are and it's us as parents that are to blame. So please quit blaming Mr. Armstrong if your kid didn't get his or her scholarship, or fair playing time, you had your choices on what club you wanted to play in and its time to wonder what you did wrong. We wish Les the best of luck and remember don't always believe what you read cause it's only one sided..

Former Sereno Parent
Former Sereno Parent

As the father of a daughter who received a "full-ride" scholarship, I can tell you that my daughter would not have traded her experience at Sereno for anything. Over the last year we visited 6 schools on the East Coast and all said the same thing, "we like Sereno players because the club has them prepared mentally and phyiscally to play D-I soccer". Les Armstrong, Ally Maxwell, and Vini dos Santos were all outstanging trainers who took her game up to where she now has the opportunity to compete at the D-I level. No one forced her to play, or stay, at Sereno. She did it because it attracted serious players who had the same motovation and drive that she has.After reading the article and notes I see that most miss the point of Sereno and the top club programs in the country, to develop players that have a desire to play soccer at a university level. Compitition is fierce for these scholarship dollars and most of the partents I met wanted the best for their kids.

This is a wonderful country and you can vote with "your feet" if you desire. Some kids leave because the program or coach doesn't suit them, for others it is a money or time issue, or sometimes the parents just don't understand what they signed their kids up for. And yes, some level because they do not receive the playing time they were expecting but that is usually a function of skill level and hard work. Sereno was very clear to us in the beginning that this program wasn't for everyone. No one lied or told us it was a love-in. We were told that soccer at Sereno was serious and it was run for the benefit of the kids and the club, not the parents. If the program is so terrible, why did they win all 8 girls State Championships last year and 7 of 8 for coutless years before that?

Top level club programs around the country are for the serious, college bound player. There are plenty of other programs that have different goals and objectives and parents should ask those questions before they commit their kids to a program. Find the one that is in line with what you and your child desire.

Steve Cooke made a valid point that there is a whole other side to this story. Soory it would not be nearly as sensational as most of the garbage, half-truths, and lies printed in this one.

My daughter received exactly what she wanted from Sereno. Was everything perfect, of course not. Find me perfect program in the valley or anywhere in the country. We got exactly what we paid for. Thank you to Les, Ally, and Vini for what you have have done for 1000's of kids in the valley!!!

Been there, Done that, Glad it
Been there, Done that, Glad it

This article just begs a follow up in the arena of girls club volleyball. Misleading promises of scholarship offers, competitiveness beyond all normal bounds, AIA turning a blind eye to infractions by club directors, the list goes on and on. Check out the winners of recent high school volleyball titles, then see how many members of those championship teams play for the same club.

Dougy
Dougy

If Les and Co (in fairness to Les, there were other coaches that did similar things) really believed this sport was all about the team, I'm not sure how you measure their success.. Helping - to the extent you really can - your players get individual scholarships does nothing for the team. Winning a tournament by cheating does nothing for the team, except label it...Recruiting players and sitting them on the bench does nothing for the team, except to humiliate those players in front of their friends and teammates... Embarrasing and berating players, and officials ("your embarrassing yourself sir" - is so pompous and condescending that I don't know how the refs restrain themselves), does nothing for the team except teach them how to make excuses.This club has many state cup victories, but only one national title to show for all the effort, sacrifice and expense incurred by their players and parents.In my book, coaching and teaching is all about the students... It's all about preparing them to succeed, in whatever discipline you teach, and in life, in general. To that end, cheating, demeaning players and officials, etc are typically not an approach you want to hold out as an acceptable means to an end.

Tony Genualdi
Tony Genualdi

It's kind of a shame that youth soccer has to be so money-driven.

I've read lately that the English Football Association has started not keeping score at youth games, so the kids and their parents can focus on sharpening skills, and keeping a love for playing.

Alos, the big Argentine club Boca Juniors doesn't keep track of trophies won by its youth teams. Their "Hall of Fame" is what matters. That is, the players themselves who graduate to the first team, and indeed go on to play for Argentina's national team.

It's a shame we can't be like that.

Barry M. Rybicki
Barry M. Rybicki

I for one would like to echo the comments made by Steve Cooke. I also coached with Les at Sereno as a parent, not a paid trainer, I also have 2 boys that absolutely love him. With this being said I can not even begin to tell you the knowledge and understanding of the game that I picked up from Les. It is unfortunate that bad words spread faster and with more furiousity than anything positive. It is also unfortunate that it was never mentioned how parents have used Les, sure he was paid for the job he did but there was also a ton of stuff he did just for the benefit of his players and was never compensated for these actions. The one thing I can say is wherever Les ends up the club and its players will be better off for it.

Steve Cooke
Steve Cooke

Dear Mr. Dickerson,It would appear to me that you have taken many comments and from them made many false interpretations. I have known Les for around 12 years and was a colleague for 8 of those years.Les took a fairly recreational soccer club from anonymity to national prowess. This does not happen by merely having an accent and bluffing your way through. It takes incredible dedication, tremendous knowledge and a culture of discipline, organization and excellence. True, there will be some who disagree or dislike some teaching and coaching methods, but there will be many who are extremely grateful for their experience and the expertise that their children were able to gather.Les Armstrong is without doubt one of the most knowledgable soccer coaches in the country and one who has enabled many young people to live out their dreams. His vision for the program at Sereno created immense success for both individuals and teams. You should probably do some research and print another article citing all the many positives that parents, players, coaches and administrators have to say about Les Armstrong and the Sereno program he created and guided for years.I personally would like to thank Les for guiding my coaching career in the years I worked with him. Undoubtedly, the experience and information I was able to gather from Les has and will continue to be tremendously valuable to myself and the many young people we work with.I believe my comments will be echoed by many.

Regards, Steve Cooke.

A Mom
A Mom

"Armstrong says the parents who aren't happy are the ones whose kids didn't make it to the next level, probably because they weren't good enough."

This quote couldn't be further from the truth. My daughter (and many like her)is playing on a full ride scholarship at a top ranked division 1 school. Les Armstrong was her coach and I was counting down the years until I could get that man (too nice a word) out of our lives. He constantly swore, yelled and threatened the girls and let the parents know that if there was a problem the player needed to address it; not the parent. The parents and players on the team were terrified to say anything to Les, knowing that if they did their playing time and/or position on the team would be cut.

Many times certain running drills would end up with one or more players literally throwing up; they were told to wipe their mouths off and re-join the drill.

Yes, we did stay on the team as it was one of the top ranked in the country and did result in scholarships for every girl on the team. Today I am not sure if the verbal and mental abuse was worth it.

Please withhold my name as my daughter is STILL uncomfortable with Les knowing how she feels and is concerned he could STILL sabatoge college career.

J. Fishman
J. Fishman

The local soccer community would benefit from integrating the philosophy of the Positive Coaching Alliance (www.positivecoach.org) into its core programs (Club, High School, etc). This organization promotes the concept of a "Double-Goal Coach". To directly quote from their web site: "A Double Coach strives to win, and, more importantly, uses sports to teach life lessons through Positive Coaching."

In fact, the soccer community may look to the Arizona lacrosse scene to mirror these efforts at improving coaching philosophies and by extension finding balance in a sport's winning tradition...

The Arizona Youth Lacrosse League (www.AzLax.com) comprised of over 40 High School Lacrosse boys teams (Varsity and JV), and 22 Junior High teams---note that lacrosse is not currently AIA sanctioned so all HS teams are essentially Club level--has mandated that all Head Coaches for the 2009 season become Double-Goal certified through Positive Coaching Alliance. With these coaching philosophies in place, a Club's culture will still embrace a competitiveness to win, but no longer will "win-at-all costs" be the primary focus.

Lacrosse, like soccer, may offer a few elite players a chance at college scholarship--typically a partial ride--but ultimately the student-athlete has to find satisfaction and reward in academic pursuits...the prospects of becoming a professional lacrosse athlete are remote (and far less lucrative on the financial totem pole than perhaps a professional soccer player), so ones academic achievements will be a more likely route to career success.

marcy85022
marcy85022

Some one double check this for me, hundreds of parents spend upwards of $10K/yr on club soccer for 8 years in the faint hope that their kid might get a scholarship?

Tuition at Arizona colleges is about $6K/yr for 4 years.

Athletics is fun but wouldn't all those girls be better served with a better education and a bit less soccer?

Jim Dougher
Jim Dougher

For the record, it appears that the author has misunderstood my comments about my daughter's scholarship.

She did receive athletic scholarships (in addition to her academic scholarships) in both her freshman and sophomore years at college - they were not just full scholarships.

The maximum number of scholarships (as I understand the rules) for a womens D-1 soccer program is 12 and most programs carry at least 20 girls, so unless your kid is a super star, a four-year full-ride soccer scholarship is not likely. That's why I have always preached to other parents about the importance of grades. Coaches like kids that get good grades and some schools provide very generous academic scholarships that supplement athletic scholarships nicely.

Also, the money I spent for club soccer was for four years, not three as was stated.

As far as Les saying that he would have preferred that parents confront him personally about his foul mouth, unfortunately he made it painfully clear that he did not want to be bothered by parents. Unfortunately, I think that was a mistake on his part as it allowed anger to fester with parents.

The whole situation is unfortunate because Les was really able to get his players to play at a higher level. He just didn't seem to understand the need to take care of his customers - the parents of the players.

Although I didn't agree with all of Les' coaching methods, I do hope he figures it out because he really does have a lot to offer in preparing kids to play college soccer.

Rich Williams
Rich Williams

As a preface...I am a totally in favor and support our children participating in athletics and do believe children who excel at whatever sport should have "elite" teams to play for. I am also a member of the National Youth Sports Coaches Association. However-

What kind of an idiot believes there is no such thing as over-training??!!!! There is a HUGE amount of scientific research in this area, much of it paid for by people have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the salaries of professional athletes. It seems as though Mr. Armstrong feels he has a better understanding of this than someone such as Dr. Phil Maffetone..."...overtraining comes with many potential structural, chemical and mental problems...". Why in the hell we let egotistical idiots like Armstrong control the lives of children is beyond me. You can bet that for every athlete that gets a scholarship there is another who has been "warped" by a dictatorial coach who is more interested in his own ego that the overall welfare of the athletes they attempt to instruct.

Mike Chichester
Mike Chichester

It's interesting how Armstrong appears to criticize parents who use withholding of rides to other players as a means of competition while simultaneously demanding his players be unrelenting on the field. If this is all in pursuit of a future reward (however illusory) of scholarships, then everyone appears to be playing the same game.

 
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