Omaha FC Newsletter vol. 6
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From the Staff
OFC Today
The Game Plan
Talk About Good
What's Ahead
Omaha FC Players and Parents:
Congratulations on a great fall soccer season!  We are very proud of all of our Omaha FC teams!
Many of you are aware of the recent USSF mandates (New U.S. Soccer Coaching Initiatives Target Improvement in Youth Development Standards) regarding small sided-game (SSG) format changes and the age group realignment to a calendar year model.  These mandates will go in affect beginning with the 2017-18 soccer year, allowing for one year of transition.  The SSG mandates are welcome and will aid in a faster rate of player development.  The switch to birth year age groups is extremely complex and difficult because it inherently contains competitive, social and logistical issues.   This switch would affect all levels of play in our Club who compete in a Nebraska State Soccer Association run league (ENSA, Nebraska League) and/or tournament (Kohl’s Cup and State Cup).  As a club, Omaha FC does not necessarily agree with this switch.  However, we do understand that this is the direction the USSF wants youth soccer programs to run.  We are working diligently as a staff and together with other local and national organizations to ascertain as much information before making any individual club decisions. 


There are 5 basic options to transition to the birth year calendar; each have pitfalls: 
  1. “Don’t do anything at all”  Keeping teams as they are in an academic grade approach will cause the least amount of disruption within the Club.  This approach will eventually put each team, regardless of level, at a competitive disadvantage in State, Regional and National competitions as “grade teams” would in effect play up against teams that go to a birth year model. Teams are required to register for event/leagues under the oldest birth year on the roster.  For example, an August 1, 2002-July 31, 2003 team would play up versus January 1-December 31, 2002 team.  This would be a potential 19-month difference between the oldest and youngest players on the field. 
  2. “Band aid”  This approach would mean making a full switch to birth year teams beginning in the fall of 2016.  This will cause the greatest level of short term uncertainty as all teams within the Club would be restructured in some way.  In the long-term, this would provide all teams with the best competitive platform in State, Regional and National competitions and future stability.  
  3. “Grade teams”  In this strategy, grade teams would be allowed until a certain age group and then switch to the birth year calendar.  This model would then allow for younger players to “play up” with classmates to a certain point.  Teams would eventually have to be disrupted to comply which would create another level of uncertainty. 
  4. “Cannibalization”  This would be a mix of birth year teams in some age groups and calendar year teams in other ages depending on the level of competitiveness.  It is expected that some clubs (especially smaller clubs) will use this model to retain competitive teams that insist on staying together.  However, this will significantly hurt the age groups immediately above and below as they will be without stronger players.  This hybrid model may also be applied to one specific age group, the top team would be formed by birth year while the remaining teams would be academic teams.  Separate team formation events would then be necessary for each team.
  5. “Grandfather”  This approach would allow older teams to continue as grade teams for their remaining years of youth soccer.  Grandfathered teams will place a significant disadvantage to the teams immediately below in age.  In addition, these teams will face the competitive disadvantage outlined in the “Don’t do anything at all” model. 
Regardless of which path is chosen, there will be significant uncertainty.  But this will be the same at all clubs in the first year. 
We ask for your patience during this process.  There are a lot of meetings at every level over the next several months that will help us determine the proper path for Omaha FC.  Once a transition plan has been decided upon, we will outline the transition to our members.  This will include age group town hall meetings, birth-year events (training and social) and possible birth-year tournaments. 
If you have any questions, please never hesitate to contact me.
Tim Bennett
Omaha FC
Executive Director


Heading Regulations for Youth Soccer

Omaha FC strongly supports the soccer governing bodies in removing heading risks. We believe the following steps will support long-term safety. Omaha FC will continue to monitor and evaluate any new information, and adjust this policy as required to ensure the safety of our players.
Effective immediately, Omaha FC is implementing the recent recommendations regarding heading in youth soccer for its select, academy and recreation programs. Heading the ball for children under 10 is prohibited. Heading will be limited in training for ages 11 - 13. This includes repetitive heading practices. All coaches at the YDP, Academy, Recreation and Select levels of play will be responsible of ensuring the successful implementation of this ban. For the ages of U11 and higher, please note that heading the ball is part of the game of soccer, and heading the ball is not being ‘banned’ completely at these age groups, just any form of repetitive ‘heading’ practice exercises, e.g. players in pairs or in lines serving (hands or feet) the ball to each other repetitively, over and over again to perform headers. Examples of scenarios where you could still see heading in training sessions, from players at the U12 and younger groups include, but are not limited to: any small-sided or full-sided games, crossing and finishing sessions, set piece exercises.
It is important for coaches to use the correct size and weight of the ball for each age group. Caution must be taken when players of mixed age groups play or train together. We must also use caution when allowing players to play up where the size of the soccer ball changes.


ENSA League Champions

Omaha FC Recreational program supports the desire of those athletes who simply want a practice and a game once a week. No more, no less. Our staff of volunteer coaches lead our players on this front. Fun, friends and team bonding are the backbone of what makes our teams so great.

Each season the recreational teams play in ENSA (Eastern Nebraska Soccer Association).  This past fall our Omaha FC teams ended up with six ENSA League Fall Division Champion teams.  

Pictured U12G Tempest
  • U11B4  OFC Eldiablos
  • U12B3  OFC Crush
  • U12G4  OFC Tempest
  • U13G3  OFC Lady Warriors
  • U16B2  OFC Courage
  • U19B2  OFC Rogue
Congratulations to players, coaches and parents on a great season!

Sporting KC Academy Player Update

This fall 3 of our Omaha FC players were selected to be part of the Sporting KC Academy.

What is Sporting Kansas City Academy?
SKC academy players have the opportunity to eventually join the Sporting Kansas City first team without going through the MLS draft process. In late 2006, Major League Soccer announced an initiative that created a “Home Grown Protected List” for each team. Clubs now have the opportunity to retain the professional rights of players developed within its youth academy. Sporting KC immediately began investing significant resources in the identification and development of young players from the region.

We asked the boys to tell us a little bit about there experience, and here is what they had to say:
Michael Ambrose
My experience with Sporting Kansas City (SKC) has been awesome for a number of reasons. The coaching staff is excellent and it is fun to watch the older players. I have been fortunate to be able to play against some great competition. The training sessions are very focused and allow me to get the most out of each training session. It is difficult for me to attend training sessions as frequently as I would like because I do not live in the Kansas City area, but it is worth the drive to Kansas City and I am very grateful for the opportunity to play with SKC.
Johnny Hansen
So far the past few months that I have been down here with Sporting KC have been nothing but great. The Coaches, teammates, and the facilities are awesome. Training is always intense and competitive, but it has made me a better player. I have seen a great amount of improvement in my play since I have been with the Academy. Overall, it has been a great experience and I'm grateful to have this opportunity to play for them.
Rocco Deppe
"My name is Rocco Deppe, I play for the 2003 age group for Sporting and I am having a great experience. Before, I played for Sporting, I played for Omaha FC for five-plus years. At Sporting, we have practice three to four times a week with games on the weekend. The training is fun, and very complicated. At practice you have to think just as hard as you play. The coaches at Sporting KC have high expectations at training, games, and all team events. That way there is no distractions, and the team can perform in all games. I'm grateful for the opportunity to play for Sporting KC."

State Cup Winners

Each year, the U13-U19 age groups around the U.S., compete within their state to make it to the regional tournament, with the hopes of making it to the national tournament. This past fall was the 2016 Region II qualifying Nebraska State Cup tournament for the U15 - U18 age groups. Omaha FC had 10 teams make it into the second round of games. From there, five teams went on to be State Cup Champions and one as a State Cup Finalist. Congratulations to all the teams on your accomplishments!
U15 Girls - 00/01 Elite - Mason, Champs
U15 Boys - 00/01 Elite, Finalist
U17 Girls - 98/99 Elite, Finalist
U17 Boys - 98/99 Elite, Champs
U18 Girls - 97/98 Elite, Champs
U18 Boys - 97/98 Elite, Champs

02/03G Elite Breaking Records

Redefining Success:

8 Tips for Being a Great Sports 

Exerpt taken from Changing the Game Project
for full story: Redefining Success: 8 Tips for Being a Great Sports Parent 
By James Leath

“When did parenting get to be so stressful?” began a recent post on the Changing the Game Project Facebook page. “I worry that if I don’t provide them with the best equipment, or get them on the best team, or take them to every camp or tournament, then I am letting my kids down. Why do I feel so much pressure? Can’t we just let kids be kids, have some free time and still raise a successful athlete?”

Have you ever felt this way? Tired of trying to keep up with the Joneses, stressed that your kids need to be in three places at once, and just hoping for a weekend off for a family meal?

If so, you are not alone. There is a lot of pressure on parents these days. We want the best for our children and we don’t think twice about taking action when we see we’re able to fill a need. But are we doing enough? Are we giving our kids the best chance of success?

It’s enough to drive you nuts.

But what if you could do more, simply by doing less?

Well, you can.

Omaha FC Coaches Unity Council

The mission of the Omaha FC Coaches Unity Council is to enhance the overall coaching experience at Omaha FC by fostering a positive Club image and inclusive coaching environment, and promoting coach engagement at the player, team and Club levels. 
The purpose of the Unity Council is to ensure that Omaha FC coaches have
input into decisions, strategies and policies that form the Club’s present identity and shape our future.  The Council will also strive to increase overall Club communication while also aiding in the implementation of new and/or adjusted Club wide programing and policy changes.
Chosen by their peers for a one-year term, the Council members act as a voice for the entire Omaha FC coaching staff and represent all levels of teams in the Club.  The Council also includes the Executive Director, the Boys and Girls Directors of Coaching and Academy Directors.  Current members are listed below with their 2015-16 teams:
            Sean McCoy (U13 Girls Elite, U12 Girls Elite, U12 Girls Gold)
            Tim Shriver (U18 Girls Black, U12 Boys Gold)
            Mike Moran (U14 Girls Gold)
            Karl Ostrand (U18 Boys Gold)
            Vish Sukhram U16 Girls Gold,
            Mike Dean (U13 Boys Elite, U16 Boys Elite, U16 Boys Gold)
            Matt Bragg-Girls Academy Director
            James Dean-Boys Academy Director
            Alex Mason-Girls Director of Coaching
            Ryan Kruse-Boys Director of Coaching
            Tim Bennett-Executive Director
            Braumon Creighton- moderator
This one of a kind platform is yet another example of how Omaha FC is leading the way in player and coach development in the state of Nebraska. 


“Brace” Yourself for this Information

A common question we receive from athletes who have suffered an ankle sprain is whether it is better to have the ankle taped or to wear an ankle support orthotic (brace). Some people prefer taping while others appreciate the adaptability of an ankle brace. In the case of soccer, many athletes will attest that ankle braces do not fit in their soccer shoes as well as tape.  

Research proves that both tape and bracing do not prevent injuries but rather provide proprioceptive input to the ankle which allows for greater joint awareness, potentially leading to greater neuromuscular efficiency in reactively stabilizing and protecting the ankle joint from excessive motion. So the question is, which one is better in reducing injury and providing stability?

From several research articles we reviewed in addition to what we have observed as physical therapists, there is no significant difference in re-injury rates between wearing a brace versus taping. Furthermore, the type of brace (bulky, lace up versus compressive sleeve) does not impact re-injury rates. Research studies have also shown that tape loosens up more than a brace does with exposure to activity. A brace can maintain its rigidity and/or support for longer periods of time versus tape. Finally, another benefit of a brace is that in the long run, it is less expensive than taping.  
For more information on these research articles, visit our website at or contact Omaha Physical Therapy Institute (OPTI) at (402)934-8688.  

The Importance of
Anti Inflammatory Foods for Athletes

Athletes need to learn and understand the importance of eating a healthy diet, rich in foods that fight inflammatory markers. Today’s athletes are busier than ever, going from practice to practice, game to game, and even participating in multiple sporting events on the weekends.  That being said, when you throw in homework and other daily living activities, athletes can generate very high amounts of free radicals (bad stuff) and inflammation.  Lately, inflammation has been linked to stress more than ever.  At the Xplosive Edge, we believe in utilizing food as medicine as we take a “food first” approach.  A daily multi-vitamin is great but can not replace the infinite value of the microscopic nutrients in food.  
Athletes need to learn to value of benefits of fresh produce and healthy oils with meals.  We preach that it is very important to get colorful foods on the plates of our athletes. These are foods such as fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, herbs, spices, and healthy oils.  We find it very valuable to get vitamins A, C, and E into the diets of our athletes.  These types of foods are rich in the ACE vitamins that are essential to our athletes.  These types of foods are also packed with anti-inflammatories and anti-oxidants (the good guys) which aid in recovery and healthy aging.  Also, the darker the pigment the better so we love foods such as blueberries, dark salad greens, tomatoes, red peppers, asparagus, cantaloupe, and healthy oils such as olive oil.  Nuts and seeds also play a role in fighting inflammation by supplying the body with healthy fats and vitamin E.  Nuts and seeds are our favorite snack foods for athletes because they put the fire out mid day and help athletes from not over eating or binge eating at night.  Although seeds are high in fat, they are high in what we call good fat which athletes need.  
Finally, just make sure your athlete is getting a wide variety of color on their plate.  These are the first foods that should go on the plate and we encourage our athletes to eat these foods while active and inactive.  It is important to mix it up and get these anti inflammatory foods in the stomachs of our hard working athletes.
Gibbie M. Duval, CSCS, RSCC*D, CPT, PRT
Owner & Director of Sports Performance
Omaha Lancers Head Strength & Conditioning Coach
Herzing University Professor
Postural Restoration Trained
“Strength & Conditioning Expert”- Tudor Bompa Institute
USAW Sports Performance Coach Certified Level 1
USA Volleyball VCAP Certified 
NASM Certified Personal Trainer & Fitness Nutrition Specialist
The Xplosive Edge, LLC
14706 Giles Rd.
Omaha, NE 68138
P: 402.933.7622
F: 402.933.7655
C: 402.880.5047

A Parent's Perspective

Dear OFC,
I thought you'd enjoy this little Parent's Point of View . . . Back in July, during tryouts, my daughter's coach asked to speak with us about how she was doing and how tryouts were shaking out. 
A few weeks earlier, at her evaluation, Coach was talking about how she's grown and what's next. But then, suggested we may have a decision to make, and mentioned the idea of going from the Elite team to Gold, where she would gain confidence; take on greater leadership; and maybe enjoy the game even more. My daughter and I were a little taken aback, but we gave it some thought, and since we really respect the coach, we knew he had her best interests in mind.
So now, back at Tryouts, when we got together with Coach,  sure enough, that's what he suggested. Long story made short, we decided to take his advice and give it a try, and it has been so good for her. Her new teammates were so welcoming and her coach seemed to know everything about her, as a player. As the team came together and all the tournament and regular-season games flew by, I saw a new girl developing. Stronger; more sure of herself; and talking to her teammates within the game. It was a tough decision for us to make, four months ago, but she's happy with her team and I'm happy with OFC. 
Thank you for making us feel like it's all about us.

ODP Recognition

Maddy Henry - Goalkeeper for 97/98 Girls Elite - has once again been selected to compete in the US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program (ODP), Girls Thanksgiving Interregional, held Nov. 20-27 at Spanish River Athletic Park and Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla.  Maddy is one of 17 players selected to the Region II 1998 age group roster.  More than 350 elite players in the 1998-2002 age groups, from each of the four US Youth Soccer Regions, will compete.  The event will consist of training sessions and matches in front of U.S. Soccer national staff and collegiate coaches to maximize their exposure for selection to the next level of play.

TOPsoccer is Growing at Omaha FC

Omaha FC’s TOPSoccer program is growing! What is TOPSoccer? The Outreach Program for Soccer, TOPSoccer gives every child the opportunity to play soccer. Our program is open to any child, 5 years and older with a special need. Players are grouped by ability, rather than age.

Additionally, to all the teams that volunteered their time to train with our TOPSoccer players this past fall...Thank you AND you're welcome!  We're sure it meant just as much to you, as it did to these terrific players.  Helping others feels so good!
For information regarding the upcoming Spring TOPSoccer season, please contact Christina Lewis. 402-896-4420.

Community Caring

Is your team planning on helping out in the community this holiday season?  Whether it's bell ringing for the Salvation Army, helping to serve meals or collecting diapers for The Lydia House, please send us your pictures and we'll post some of them in our next issue!  


Don't miss any of the soccer opportunities we have coming up. Click on any of the following images to take you to their registration!!