Talking With Toph



Christopher Cramer is a soccer coach and blogger who is interested in all things coaching, leadership and development related. Christopher seeks out conversations with practitioners, thought leaders, and experts in a variety of fields.


  • #14 The #1 thing holding us back – Porter Garrison Terry

    #14 The #1 thing holding us back – Porter Garrison Terry

    04/02/2019 Duration: 01h16min

    This episode is with my good friend Porter Garrison Terry. Porter and I both coach in Oregon and have developed a good friendship over the last several years. We connected initially on social media (twitter), and then crossed paths at the fields on occasion. Eventually, it became a regular occurrence that we would meet up for coffee, or lunch, to discuss a variety of topics relating to coaching and the youth soccer landscape. We have scouted teams and players together, shared notes, and have both given and sought advice from each other. Many topics and ideas have been tossed around about how and when I would get Porter on the podcast. Last weekend Porter and I coached against each other for the first time. Afterwards we went out to lunch. Over an hour later I decided to pull out my phone and record our conversation. The plan was to do a “Quick Shot”—a short conversation about a very specific topic. It ended up going over an hour. So much for a quick shot. Maybe next time. On this episode Po

  • #13 Saul Isaksson-Hurst

    #13 Saul Isaksson-Hurst

    14/08/2018 Duration: 50min

    My guest this week is Saul Isaksson-Hurst. Saul is a 1-on-1 technical coach that offers online programming at and via his app of the same name. He is also the host of the @mpfcpodcast You can find Saul on twitter @MyFootballCoach

  • #12 Joey Cascio – balancing family, children, and your commitment to the craft

    #12 Joey Cascio – balancing family, children, and your commitment to the craft

    02/08/2018 Duration: 01h21min

    This week I spoke with Joey Cascio (@SupremacyTF) about our journey as coaches. Balancing our ambitions and commitment to the craft while also being husbands and fathers. We talk about what we have learned along the way and what we wished we had known at the beginning of the process. Joey can be found on twitter @SupremacyTF He is currently coaching at FRAM and is a staff member of 3FOUR3

  • #11 Doug Lemov – the importance of vulnerability

    #11 Doug Lemov – the importance of vulnerability

    26/07/2018 Duration: 50min

      My guest for episode #11 is Doug Lemov, author of Teach Like a Champion and Practice Perfect. I was introduced to Doug's work while completing my graduate degree in teaching. Shortly after reading TLAC I had the opportunity to interact with Doug via social media. In the conversation he told me he had just started working with US Soccer and their new coaching education programs. Since that time I have taken the C and B Licenses and Doug's influence on those courses and the instructors is obvious. As both a PE teacher and coach, I find Doug's work insightful, practical, and effective. It was a pleasure to have him on the podcast and I am confident you will enjoy this conversation. You can find Doug on twitter at @Doug_Lemov His blog is Check out his books (links provided above) on Amazon.

  • #10 Paul Varian on how to better operate a youth sports organization

    #10 Paul Varian on how to better operate a youth sports organization

    29/12/2017 Duration: 01h02min

    Here it is folks, episode 10 of Talking With Toph. Why is this of note? Because I set a goal at the beginning of 2017 to record and publish 10 episodes. It is fitting that this, my 10th episode, completes the goal and will be the last episode of the year. Based on the feedback and responses I plan on continuing the podcast, though I have not set a goal for 2018…yet. This is what I know: I plan on continuing to record and publish episodes. I will continue to invite on interesting guests to interview and converse with, but I will also look at some other ways to provide audio content. I will try some different formats. Certainly, my goal for 2018 will be for an increase in episode frequency…though I haven’t decided yet on a number. I just want to say thank you for listening this year and I look forward to continuing this journey in the coming year. Today my guest is Paul Varian. Paul does a great job at the beginning of the interview explaining his background and expertise, so I won’t bore you by repe

  • #9 Guided Discovery with Bruno Pereira

    #9 Guided Discovery with Bruno Pereira

    23/10/2017 Duration: 01h59min

    Bruno Pereira is a foundation coach at ASPIRE Academy in Qatar. Prior to moving to Qatar he grew up and began his coaching career in Portugal, where he coached at CF Benfica and SL Benfica. We talk about guided discovery, performance environments, and explore ideas and concepts that we may or may not have differing opinions on. This might be my favorite podcast to date! No offense to my previous guests but this was an interesting and unexpected conversation that went in a lot of great directions. Hope you all enjoy! Follow Bruno on Twitter @bmrp81

  • #8 – Running a club and coaching in the DA with Jon Burklo

    #8 – Running a club and coaching in the DA with Jon Burklo

    02/10/2017 Duration: 01h29min

    Jon Burklo and I have been friends for a few years. I had interacted with Jon on twitter a few times and heard him on the Football Garden podcast, and then Jon and I connected via email because we were both running small clubs and trying to do similar things. We shared resources and ideas for how to best turn our ideas in to real life application. Sometime after Jon moved on to a full-time gig with St. Louis Scott Gallagher we both ended up at the Mayor International Showcase in Las Vegas. Strangely enough we were staying at the same terrible motel. Now we both coach in the USSDA, albeit in very different situations. I was glad that Jon was able to take some time to chat with me for the podcast. In this episode we talk about Jon's playing career, his move in to coaching, the struggles and joys of running a small club, and what we are learning coaching in the DA. Unfortunately, Jon was limited on time and our conversation comes to a pretty abrupt end. No worries, though, Jon and I are already working on se

  • #7 Round 2 with Jordan Farrell

    #7 Round 2 with Jordan Farrell

    18/09/2017 Duration: 02h02min

    After a brief hiatus I am back with my round two discussion with Jordan Farrell. Last time Jordan was on the show he was an assistant coach at University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA. Not anymore! Jordan talks to me about his recent move to the US Development Academy working with the U13s and U14s at Sacramento Republic. Our conversation takes us down various paths as we discuss recruiting in youth soccer, periodization planning for youth teams, and how becoming a parent effects your coaching. Enjoy!  

  • #6 Work Loads and Game Models with Brett Uttley

    #6 Work Loads and Game Models with Brett Uttley

    27/03/2017 Duration: 01h24min

    Today's guest is Brett Uttley.  Brett is currently the Assistant Coach at Rio Grande Valley FC in Houston, TX.  RGVFC is the reserve team for the Houston Dynamos and competes in the USL. Prior to his recent move to RGVFC Brett worked as the Fitness Coach for Sounders 2, under the leadership of the Sounders High Performance Director, Dave Tenney. Brett is a certified CSCS and graduated from the MBP School of Coaches in Barcelona, Spain. In this conversation we talk about Brett's journey to RGVFC, how he balances his physical prep and training load priorities with his technical and tactical priorities, and the role of developing the individual within the team. Resources: Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life — Master Any Skill or Challenge by Learning to Love the Process The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living   You can find Brett on Twitter @BrettUttley and on his blog

  • #5 – Coach you should know: Jordan Farrell

    #5 – Coach you should know: Jordan Farrell

    20/02/2017 Duration: 01h48min

    In this episode I talk to Jordan Ferrell, Assistant Coach at University of the Pacific (NCAA DI) and  boys' coach at Central Valley Monarcas Academy. Jordan and I met in Seattle, WA at the USSF C License course this summer.  We quickly realized we were cut from the same cloth and had similar views on the game and many mutual friends and acquaintances. Jordan just finished his third season as Asst. Coach at Pacific and helped lead the team to a 13-4-2 record (best in program history) and a NCAA Tournament appearance (first in program history), where they lost in the second round to the eventual National Champions, Stanford.  Jordan and the rest of the Pacific staff were named the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Division I Far West Region Staff of the Year. Prior to joining Pacific, Ferrell earned Coach of the Year honors as head coach of San Joaquin Delta College. You can find Jordan on Facebook and on Twitter @ferrell_jz

  • #4 – Making Big Decisions with David Hansen (Part 2)

    #4 – Making Big Decisions with David Hansen (Part 2)

    06/02/2017 Duration: 02h18min

    This is part two with David Hansen.  In part one (which you can listen to here) we learn about David's background and some of his experiences in the game.  In this episode we talk specifically about an event that changed David's life 10 years ago, and how that even led to him leaving the MBP School of Coaches program early to make one of the biggest, and toughest decisions of his life. David's story and his attitude towards it is nothing short of inspirational. During this conversation David and I talk about Stoic Philosophy and and I recommend some books: The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph Ego Is the Enemy The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living Meditations Letters from a Stoic (Penguin Classics) You can find David on Twitter @DavidPHansen and on Instagram

  • #3 -Positional Play and Coaching in Spain with Kieran Smith

    #3 -Positional Play and Coaching in Spain with Kieran Smith

    13/01/2017 Duration: 02h35min

    Kieran Smith is another guy I met on twitter but have since developed a friendship with.  You may know him from his writing on Futbol Tactico, his presentation on Rondos and Positional Games (which has thousands of downloads and views), his 10 game analysis of Atletico Madrid, or even his most recent ebook on Rondos (available on Amazon!). He is a Scottish-born coach that has spent several years coaching at various levels in Spain, including clubs like AD Alcorcon and CE Europa.  He is a proponent of Juego de Posicion (Positional Play) and even hosts educational webinars on the subject. In this episode Kieran opens up about life as a coach in Spain, his views on the game, the impact Guardiola is having in the UK, and much more! You can find and connect with Kieran on twitter:  @KieranSmith1 Kieran also blogs occasionally at    

  • #2 -From NY to Barcelona and Back with David Hansen (Part 1)

    #2 -From NY to Barcelona and Back with David Hansen (Part 1)

    13/01/2017 Duration: 02h09min

    David Hansen and I talked for over two hours and barely scratched the surface of everything we could have talked about.  We decided this would have to be a two-part interview, with this portion being part 1.  By time this is posted we will have already recorded part 2, and you won't want to miss it! In this episode David talks about his experiences playing club and high school soccer growing up in New York (hint:  He won a National Title with St. John the Baptist in NY), his transition into coaching where he has experience at both the youth and collegiate levels, and his recent experience in the MBP School of Coaches in Barcelona, Spain where he continues his own development as a coach. You can find David on Twitter @DavidPHansen and on Instagram

  • #1 – Coaching, Conversing, and Craft Beer with John Pranjic

    #1 – Coaching, Conversing, and Craft Beer with John Pranjic

    13/01/2017 Duration: 01h44min

    In this episode I talk to the host of the 3four3 FM Podcast, John Pranjic (@ThatCroatianGuy). John and I have been friends now for several years.  We met via twitter and bonded over our common interest in soccer, coaching, and youth development.  Over the years we have met up several times for beers and conversation. When John started his podcast, before it was even titled, I was his first structured interview and guest.  It seemed natural that he would in turn be my first guest. John is a man of many hats.  He works full-time as a Brewhouse Manager -- though I prefer to refer to him as a Craft Beer Specialist!  In addition to his full-time job he also finds time to host the 3four3 Podcast, coach at 3four3 Camps, and coordinate the 3four3 Coaching Summit. He is even an occasional Uber driver. In this episode I talk to John about how he balances all of those responsibilities and ask him which role he most identifies with.  You might be surprised by his answer. I specifically ask John to talk to us about h

  • Talking with Toph — Podcast Teaser!

    Talking with Toph — Podcast Teaser!

    04/01/2017 Duration: 02min   Hey everyone!  One of my goals for the new year is to record and publish 10 podcast episodes. I have already recorded four episodes and am recording the fifth today.  I am putting the final touches on what I have done so far and am very close to being ready to publish. Here is a teaser that I have prepared to get you ready for what is to come. After listening feel free to leave me a comment about what you hope to hear on the podcast going forward.  You can recommend guests, topics, etc….  I really want to hear from you. Hope you enjoy!