Tom Byer: Soccer Starts at Home

September 3rd 2019

By Gabriella Perales

The TTI Soccer Coaching staff continue to educate through different events throughout the year. This past week, the Houston Dynamo had invited the local coaching community to BBVA Compass Stadium to hear Tom Byer present.

Wednesday last week, TTi Staff sat in on a presentation by Tom Byer. Byer, a U.S.-born player who became a technical skills coach, had become well known as Tom-san in Japan (, where his coaching schools gained quick momentum and began to pop up all over the country. Tom’s enthusiasm for the sport has garnered him much media time and fame across the Far East. Several of Japan’s men’s and women’s national team players had come through those programs as the nation had improved on the world stage.

Tom’s message; “Soccer Starts at Home”.

At its core, the Soccer Starts at Home mindset emphasizes two things: the importance of getting children comfortable with having the ball at their feet as soon as possible, and the vital role that parents play in early childhood development.

“It depends on the age, but what we’re doing is to basically introduce a ball – a small ball, because you want a small ball for a small foot – inside the home because the home is a very safe and protective environment away from ridicule,” Byer said. “The interaction between the child and the parent is what’s paramount because that child’s need for that parental approval is what really kind of sets the kid up for deep learning. It’s very simple, the things that we are showing parents, and fostering a stronger relationship and more activity between parents and children in hopes also that they understand the game more from a fundamental level”.

Lee Cullip, TTi Sporting Director said “Tom is world famous in the footballing world, and it is easy to see why. His approach is simplistic, yet thoughtful and deliberate. The approach to have children learn through love of the ball and the game is unique in the western world. The clear passion with which he delivers his message, some 20 years on, is inspirational” Cullip added “I am so pleased our staff got their idea renewed and reinforced for this age group”.

The overall goal is to improve our youth development from ages 2-6 in the basic fundamental skills of soccer. Ball mastery is key to building a child’s skills. Once you build your skills, you become confident and you are most likely to excel and continue playing the sport. Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric, and Tobin Heath all have stories of them beginning  to make contact with the soccer ball in their early stages of life.  

After that contact, became a love for the game. The rest is history.

Lee Cullip