A New Direction

Where We Are

Decatur is no different from many cities around the country when it comes to youth soccer. Most kids start off playing in a league like Decatur Soccer where they learn about the game, develop some fundamental skills, hang out with friends, and, most importantly, have a lot of fun. Some kids and parents are happy doing this for years. However, other families want to see better competition and better coaching. This usually comes in the form of travel or club soccer. Regardless of the quality of the experience, it is much more expensive (in dollars and time) than recreational soccer.

Where We Could Be

Decatur Soccer believes there is a happy medium between the extremes of purely recreational soccer and purely competitive club soccer. We don’t believe price should be an obstacle for any player who wants to grow in the game, especially between the ages of 7 and 11 where players are learning to love the game, not just play it.

Decatur Soccer believes we can offer a great development environment based on proven best practices from around the world while keeping the costs the same as traditional recreational soccer. In most places around the country, recreational soccer is treated simply as a player pool for competitive club soccer.

We believe grassroots soccer leagues like ours, utilizing modern player and coach development methods, will play the most important role in creating intelligent players who love to play the Beautiful Game with passion and creativity. Is this an ambitious goal? Absolutely!

How We Get There

Starting in the 2014 fall season, Decatur Soccer will begin the pilot phase of a separate grassroots player development program based on the methodology created by Horst Wein, the world’s leading authority on developing youth soccer players. He calls it FUNiño.

FUNiño is the abbreviation for Fútbol a la Medida del Niño or “soccer designed for children”. It’s the result of Horst’s 30 years of observation, innovation, practice and continuous improvement in the field of youth player development. FUNino is the foundation of Horst’s Youth Football Development Model. FUNiño, along with other elements of Horst’s model, is a proven learning and coaching methodology that we believe is ideally suited for Decatur Soccer and grassroots soccer in general.

We believe FUNiño is the best way for kids to experience the game of soccer. Soccer is a “player’s game” and not a “coach’s game” because players make nearly all the decisions in a game. Because of this, the game of FUNiño becomes the teacher and the rules are the instructions. Everything about FUNiño was created with this in mind. It nurtures creativity and builds vital problem solving skills so rarely seen in US youth soccer.


“When you do what you have done always, you will never reach any further” – Horst Wein

Next Steps

Coaches: If you are a coach and you are open to learning a completely different way to teach children the game of soccer, please contact our Director of Coaching at