Lutgert College of Business in the News
This text and photos appeared in the Fort Myers News-Press of October 15, 2009. Dr. Duffus is a member of the Marketing Department Faculty.
Naples resident Lee Duffus, a professor at FGCU, is the author of the book "Youth Soccer Simplified."
October 15, 2009
Soccer surrounded Lee Duffus when he was growing up in his native Jamaica, but his education in the sport didn't really begin until he was the middle-aged father of another soccer player 27 years ago in Tennessee.
"My son lost every game for three years," Duffus, 71, said of Jason, a youth soccer player at the time. "The other parents, in exasperation, turned to me - 'You seem like you know what you're doing.' "
Teaching marketing at the University of Tennessee was his job. But that was when youth soccer became Duffus' vocation.
Within three years of assuming the coaching duties of his son's squad, the man who called his playing days as a child and later in college "undistinguished" was the coach of the Tennessee All-Star team that brought home the gold medal at the Junior Olympics in Bethesda, Md.
"It was 1984 and a big Olympic year," Duffus said with a broad smile. "(The University of Tennessee) had dozens of Olympians that brought back gold and silver medals. They honored us with them, and gave us silver cups and letters of commendation."
That was about the time that Duffus realized he had something to offer the game that was only beginning to gain steam in his new country. Within a few years, he published "Training the Trainers," a book instructing youth soccer coaches.
Decades later, the Naples resident and FGCU professor has poured all his publishing, marketing and youth soccer experience into his most comprehensive book, "Youth Soccer Simplified: A Step-by-Step Guide for Coaching Young Soccer Players."
"Soccer is the fastest-growing sport in America," Duffus said. "Most coaches come from the parenting ranks and didn't grow up with soccer.
"A lot of the disruptiveness at games comes from parents not knowing the rules of the game."
Duffus' colorful book attempts to address that with clear, concise language and his quirky illustrations.
"Most books use photographs of real figures," said Duffus, who opted for stick figures. "I thought that was not significantly dynamic. Everyone can relate to stick figures. Also, stick figures have no race and ethnicity.
"And they can be made to look really funny."
What the stick figures help convey is his "Soccer Triad" concept, the triad being players, parents and coaches, all equally important figures in the youth soccer dynamic. Also covered is the interrelationship between strategy, philosophy, sportsmanship and technique.
To put the book together, he consulted a number of coaches and game officials, including locally, where Duffus served as a referee for several years. Among the coaches he consulted was one he helped get hired, FGCU men's soccer mentor Bob Butehorn.
"I actually think it's a neat thing that he's doing, and he's been doing it for a while," Butehorn said. "I think (the book is) a very good resource and hope teams take advantage of it."
The book encourages youth soccer players to act as salespeople to spread word about the volume, which has been distributed to several youth teams and organizations.
Along with the Soccer Triad's Web site, soccertriad.com, it's becoming a large operation. And it's all held together by Duffus' love of the game.
"Good soccer is like ballet," Duffus said. "It's beauty in motion, people running up and down the field - constant motion."
Raising his arms, his excitement increased as he described his love for the sport that has grown years after his coaching career ended.
"Actually, it's more like a symphony in action!" Duffus exclaimed.
And though he's in his 70s, with children grown up and a job that keeps him plenty busy, he's thinking about expanding his self-publishing business.
"I would like to utilize the triad formula for basketball," Duffus said. "I've even started gathering information for golf and football."
And though those sports aren't as familiar to him as soccer, Duffus is confident that the triad system can apply.
"I can learn," he said with a twinkle in his eye.
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