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"That Coach"

By Joe Ulm

In any youth sports season, regardless of the sport, you’re bound to run into “That Coach” at least once. If you’ve spent any time around youth sports, you know the type of coach I’m talking about. It’s the coach who:

  • Thinks they’re coaching the World Cup/World Series/Superbowl every time they walk on the field. 
  • Only knows how to communicate by yelling
  • Expects every 9 year-old on the team to master an encyclopedia’s worth of knowledge about the sport by the second week of practice
  • Is thrilled to use some weird trick play he invented to score one more goal even though there’s only 43 seconds left in the game and the team up by 5 goals
  • Carries a copy of the rules with them because “most of the referees don’t know them.”
  • Scouts upcoming opponents weeks before playing them
  • Runs extra practices each week so the players can perfect some new play or skill

Sadly, this was me when I first started coaching. Over 20 years have passed since then and I’m glad to say my time as “That Coach” was short-lived. But I still remember what it was like. I still remember how I thought. I still remember thinking it was about me.

I believe this is the problem with most coaches who operate this way. They think whatever happens on the field is a reflection on them. Win and they’re a winner. Lose and they’re a loser. Or worse yet, they think they’re the main actor on some grand stage of players, parents, and opponents. 

Having been “That Coach” once, I can say I wish someone would have shared this simple change of perspective with me back then. It would have changed things for me – and more importantly, it would have changed things for the kids I coached. It’s a thought that makes me wonder if coaches like that would listen today. Like most shared advice, I’m guessing some would, but most wouldn’t. For the kids’ sake, however, it’s certainly worth a try.

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street soccer

In our Street Soccer program, players have the opportunity to create their own teams, make their own calls, and unconsciously develop their technical and tactical awareness–all while expressing themselves with the ball at their feet. We believe players should be able to manage themselves and have the freedom to play, interact, problem-solve, innovate, and take ownership of their participation in the game. Teams are created the day of to promote diversity, and games are played without referees to reinforce positive conflict resolution techniques. Our I-Mentor coaches will supervise each field making sure that players and facilities are safe while maintaining a fun and challenging environment.

PSU’s Street Soccer is open to all 9U to 19U players. Our Old School Street Soccer is open to any parent, soccer coach, and their significant others. Bring the whole family!


  • Fridays : April 15 through June 3
  • Time: 5:30-7:00 pm
  • Location: Pewaukee Sports Complex


  • Games are 7 minutes long
  • Sliding or going to ground is not allowed
  • There is no offsides, but all other soccer rules apply
  • There are no referees – players call their own fouls
  • Profanity of any kind is not allowed

Important Information

  • Cleats, shin guards, socks (covering the shin guards) are required
  • Teams may be adjusted by PSU team members multiple times during each session, including during games
  • PSU reserves the right to disallow the participation of players in the program for any reason
  • Signed waiver is required