Coaching News

Introducing our new USYS ODP Technical Director: John Curtis

Date: September 23, 2019
To: Member State Associations
CC: Board of Directors, General Managers and National Office Staff
From: Chris Duke, Midwest Region General Manager- ODP
Subject: Introducing our new ODP Technical Director: John Curtis

It is a great honor and privilege to introduce to you our new ODP Technical Director, Coach John Curtis.

Curtis has been involved in youth soccer as a coach, administrator, director and parent for 25 years. Prior to accepting the position of US Youth Soccer ODP Technical Director, Curtis was employed by the USYS Member State Association, Minnesota Youth Soccer Association (MYSA), where he served for more than twenty years working his way up through the organization from college intern to Associate Director of Coaching and ultimately serving as Director of Coaching and Player Development. In addition to coaching education, player development and ODP, one of Curtis’ favorite roles with MYSA was community outreach, especially his visits to elementary schools in diverse, and often underserved, areas to work directly with kids and their physical education teachers.

For the past 16 years, Curtis has been involved with USYS’s ODP Midwest Region as a Staff Coach and U13/14 Head Coach. As a Regional ODP Coach, Curtis had the honor of coaching youth who have since gone on to become national team or professional MLS players, including: Michael Bradley, Darlington Nagbe, Ray Gaddis, Ethan Finlay, the late Kirk Urso, and many others. This past spring, Curtis was named the Girls’ Head Coach for the USYS ODP West Region.

“I am honored and excited to join US Youth Soccer as their ODP Technical Director and to continue my work with ODP on a national level,” Curtis said. “ODP is something I have been passionate about at both the state and regional levels because it provides valuable development opportunities for players from all backgrounds and gives them access to resources needed to reach the highest level in the sport of soccer. I am grateful for this opportunity to serve our ODP youth nationally and I look forward to continued collaboration with many of the top coaching talents in youth soccer.”

“John understands the landscape on the boys and girls side of soccer in this country,” says Chris Duke, Midwest Region General Manager- ODP. “John will bring tons of experience and knowledge to USYS and our Olympic Development Program (ODP).” “I am extremely excited to have him on our team and I look forward to working with him to help grow the USYS ODP.”

Curtis brings a wealth of professional relationships, experience and knowledge with him to this new role. From 1997 through 2010, he served as the Assistant Men’s Soccer Coach at St. Olaf and Macalester College, both Division III colleges in the MIAC Conference, working alongside esteemed head coaches, John Leaney and Ian Barker. Since 2016, Curtis has served as part of the US Department of State, Sports Diplomacy and Outreach making several goodwill trips to Haiti with United Soccer Coaches and The Sanneh Foundation to train coaches and players. From 2017 to 2019, he held the elected position of Technical Chair for the Midwest Region’s State Directors of Coaching. Curtis holds his USSF “A” license, National Youth License, Talent Scout License, Grassroots Instructors License and his United Soccer Coaches Premier Diploma. Curtis serves on the national staff for U.S. Soccer, US Youth Soccer and the United Soccer Coaches instructing advanced coaching license courses for coaches across the country. Additionally, Curtis is an active U.S. Soccer Scout working to identify both girls and boys for youth national teams.

“John Curtis is uniquely qualified to assume the role of USYS Olympic Development Program (ODP) Technical Director,” said Ian Barker – Head Coach Boys’ USYS ODP Midwest and Director of Coaching Education, United Soccer Coaches. “In addition to his breadth of knowledge in the technical direction of ODP, he has innovated advancements in providing low or no cost programming to make the program accessible to all players,” says Barker. “As ODP evolves into a relevant and powerful tool in the ongoing identification of young soccer talent and supporting that talent in the development pathway, John Curtis will be a strong leader. In his national role, he will be well placed to support all USYS states and regions collaborating to build a still stronger nationwide program.”

Family is a top priority for Curtis. He and his wife, Jeanne, have two elementary aged children, Evan and Molly. According to Curtis, “We are all excited for this next chapter. My family knows how much love I have for ODP and throughout my career, they have supported my ODP commitments and the time away that it requires. I wouldn’t be able to do this without their unwavering support.” When he is not traveling, Curtis enjoys spending time with his family relaxing on the lake, playing soccer or hockey, roller blading, biking, and skiing. “We definitely make the most of our time together.”

Please join me in welcoming John Curtis!

Chris Duke
Midwest Region General Manager- ODP US Youth Soccer

US Youth Soccer Becomes the Official Player and Personal Development Partner of the National Women’s Soccer League Players Association

FRISCO, Texas (July 27, 2019) – US Youth Soccer, the largest youth sport organization in America and the leader in youth soccer, is proud to announce an exclusive partnership with the National Women’s Soccer League Players Association (NWSLPA). The partnership is aimed at developing programs focused on growing the game of soccer and increasing awareness of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) and its players while cultivating the personal development of participating NWSL players.  Through this exclusive partnership, US Youth Soccer will be recognized as the “Official Player and Personal Development Partner of the NWSLPA.”

This first-of-its-kind relationship between a youth and professional soccer organization will create opportunities to further connect professional female soccer players with the various communities in which they were raised, live and compete. Through networking opportunities, clinics, camps, and speaking engagements, participating players from the NWSLPA will continue serving as positive role models within their communities as they encourage younger players.

“Partnering with US Youth Soccer and its 55 Member State Associations is a game changer for the NWSLPA and its players,” said Brooke Elby, President of the NWSLPA. “State Associations are uniquely positioned to provide our players with additional opportunities to develop community-based networks that will focus on the individual’s personal development on and off of the field.”

Given that a large majority of American players in the NWSL are alumnae of US Youth Soccer and grew up playing in one or more of US Youth Soccer’s competitive programs, they are uniquely familiar with the challenges and opportunities many young players face.

“US Youth Soccer could not be more excited about this partnership as we, in concert with our organization members, continue to lead the way in growing the game and providing the path for every player,” said Chris Moore, CEO of US Youth Soccer.  “To be able to not only expose our youth participants to these amazing professional players, but to also assist these powerful women in further developing skills that will aid in their eventual transition from players to community leaders, is an accomplishment of which we are truly proud.”


For more information on the US Youth Soccer National League and the 13 US Youth Soccer Conferences, click here.

What is TOPSoccer?

US Youth Soccer TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer) is a community-based training and team placement program for young athletes with disabilities, organized by youth soccer association volunteers. The program is designed to bring the opportunity of learning and playing soccer to any boy or girl, who has a mental or physical disability. Our goal is to enable the thousands of young athletes with disabilities to become valued and successful members of the US Youth Soccer family.

What is TOPSoccer?
TOPSoccer is a community-based training and team placement program for young athletes with special needs.  It provides a very affordable opportunity for fitness, fun and building self-esteem.

  • Modifications are made to the game to allow full participation and enjoyment to each child.

  • One-on-one assistance is available to those who need it.

  • It offers a recreational, leisure approach to the game of soccer for children with special needs.

Why do we need a TOPSoccer Program?
TOPSoccer was formed to perpetuate the US Youth Soccer mission statement which is, in part, “to foster the physical, mental and emotional growth and development of America’s youth through the sport of soccer at all levels of age and competition.” There are thousands of children with disabilities who need, and can be provided with, the opportunity to play soccer through the TOPSoccer program.

A TOPSoccer player is defined as any youth player between the ages of 4 and 19 who has a disability that limits their ability to perform at the level of play in which they have chosen to participate.

TOPSoccer was formed to perpetuate the US Youth Soccer mission statement, which is, to foster the physical, mental and emotional growth and development through the sport of soccer at all levels of age and competition.

Our goal is to enable the thousands of young athletes with disabilities to develop their physical fitness, technical skills, courage and self-esteem, through the joy and excitement of playing soccer.


Listed below are some amazing facts on the prevalence of disabilities within our society.  These facts are the latest available from the 1990 Census conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

  • There are 48.9 million people with disabilities.  7 million have mental disabilities

  • 50,000 children a year become disabled through accidents.

  • 150,000 babies are born each year with a birth defect.

Volunteers | How Can I Help?
The TOPSoccer program would not exist without the countless hours donated by dedicated volunteers across the country.  Yet, we need more volunteers to help make this a reality for these children.  If you believe in the statement “the gift of life is the gift of giving,” you are on the right track to becoming a volunteer.

More Information:

For information on local TOPSoccer programs, resources, registration and how to set up a TOPSoccer program, please contact our TOPSoccer Coordinators Tamara Morris and Ara Tamzarian.

Rally Your Team – Lancaster 2019

July 10-14, 2019 – Lancaster

2019 Adult Soccer Fest

Lancaster, Massachusetts