RSD37: Shoeless Soccer author Nathan Richardson on taking youth soccer off the long grass

Nathan Richardson, co-author of Shoeless Soccer: Fixing the System and Winning the World Cup (which I reviewed here), joins the podcast this week to talk about the radical yet somewhat globally accepted ideas in his book. Basically, instead of turning soccer into an expensive coach-driven activity, why not let kids learn by playing? And maybe on hard surfaces so they’ll learn to control the ball instead of booting it?

This conversation should give us all some ideas for how to reform youth soccer, even if you don’t agree with all of them, and it should put the term “rec mindset” to bed once and for all. We all start as rec players, and in many cases, that’s where we (well, not me) learn the things that make us better players down the road.

We ran rather long, so this will be a two-parter. (Here’s Part 2.)

Here’s Part 1:


Practice plans mentioned in the podcast are on the Massachusetts Youth Soccer site.

Thanks as always to Patreon supporters, and keep an eye out for RSD merchandise available soon.

Patreon supporters are:

Keith Bundy
John Stewart
Dave Russell
Jason McConnell
Tim Stanton
Bill Beane
Judith Cavill
Taylor Sorrels
Robert Hay
Rich Heironimus
Armando Diaz
Jeff Clarke


2 thoughts on “RSD37: Shoeless Soccer author Nathan Richardson on taking youth soccer off the long grass

  1. I enjoyed the conversation, great job Beau. There is a reality on the pitch of youth soccer coaches trying to control every aspect of the players development. We as coaches need to let the players play more, have less instruction, more play equals better player development. With my HS team I start with 4v4 games before each practice. I set up 4 fields, split them up by skill and you couldn’t imagine how fast some of the weaker players develop just by touching the ball for the 20 minute time frame.


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