A or B team

Discussion in 'NorCal Scene' started by Derek Mays, Apr 10, 2018.

  1. Derek Mays

    Derek Mays New Member

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    Hey Forum, I'm looking for some advise for my son. He is with a good club and is currently on the B team that will be playing U11 (9v9) next season. The A team coach has been having him practice and play some games with his team this Spring. From other peoples experience, would it be better to play on the A team with "better/more competitive" teammates or stay with your friends and continue to be a key player on the B team. My initial thought is I just want my son to have fun and develop which he can do on the B team. But the competitive dad in me wants to see him challenge himself and play on the A team. At 9v9 I don't think which team you play on matters as much because the goal would be to be on the A team for 11v11 in two years. I just wanted to hear the opinions of people that have been around the game longer than me.

    Thanks
  2. psyclone

    psyclone Member

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    At that age, the number one thing is a coach who gets your child and teaches good footskills. So I would go wherever the coach is better for your child.

    There will be massive movement between clubs, teams, and whatever else when you go to 11v11, and again at about U15ish. But even so, kids make the switch at all kinds of various times. So you can always change later.

    But a coach that fits your child is far more important than anything else. (And some coaches are very good with U-littles, but not so good with U-bigs and vice-versa, so don't be afraid to learn what you can from a particular coach, and then move on.)
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  3. ECNL

    ECNL Well-Known Member

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    Pay on the team the where your son will develop, be provided opportunities, have a good coach that beleives in him and where he will have fun. When the games becomes a job it's time to leave
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  4. Stolypin

    Stolypin New Member

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    Advice from psyclone and ECNL is spot on. Quality coach, skill development, enjoying the game. Too many chase A team or rankings. Had 3 players last year who were on B team at U12 or U13 - that are D1 and D2 college players this year. Another that played on a B team last year, played community college ball this season. All their peers that left, rather than play on a B team - done.
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  5. i_am_taxed

    i_am_taxed Member

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    I fully agree with the advice of others above.

    However, my general observation is that the "best" coach tends to be the A team coach.

    Typically a club assigns its "best" coach to A team because all those A team parents won't stay without it. They will go find the "best" coach.

    Also, A team typically gets better field location (turf during winter for example).


    Given all things equal (same coach for team A and B),

    if your son usually steps up to a challenge, I would argue for A team. The game speed is very different between U11 A team vs B team. It takes time to get used to it.

    if your son gets discouraged because of better-skilled teammates or reduced game time, then B team might be better. Most likely a player from B team will be a bench player initially.


    As a parent, you have to understand your son and provide an environment where he will be successful and have fun. I think the answer really depends on your son's personality.
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  6. EastGroveCoach

    EastGroveCoach Member

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    It should be about what your son wants, not you. If he wants to play with his friends on the B team and he is happy then you are only asking for yourself.

    Do what's right for your kid, it's not World Cup training. Too many times adults know best and within two years the high level coaching, expierence and extra driving have driven your kid out of love with the sport.
  7. i_am_taxed

    i_am_taxed Member

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    Up to a certain point, I agree. If your son really hates a coach or teammates, then you should go with him.

    But it's parents' job to provide what they need not what they want.
    If your son's goal is to play A team in 11v11, then provide what he needs.

    In my experience, boys don't hang onto teammates (unless they are in the same school) but they rather want to be promoted to the higher level team.

    As in life, being in A team opens opportunities. It's less likely that you will be dropped to B team in the future if you care about that. The club knows that people leave if demoted (even if it's justified). It's certainly easier to change club if you find a good coach.
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  8. ECNL

    ECNL Well-Known Member

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    At some point however if your son is that good he will choose the quality of team and training over friends. It's up to us to have those important discussions when we realize he is that good.
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  9. ballistic

    ballistic Member

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    It feels like I go through this decision making process every year.

    You are luckier than most, because the decision is between the A and B team within your son's club. He knows and has played with the A team players and the A team coach, and he knows if he gets along with them. Within the same club, unless there are significant red flags, the answer is almost always take the coaches' recommendations and move to the A team. Offhand, I can't think of anyone I know at any club that said, "nah, my son will stay with the B team."

    (Though I do know of a few that switched to the A team at the same club, had a bad experience with the coach/pressure/players, and then quit competitive soccer .. so pay attention to red flags.)

    It gets trickier and more nuanced when your club's coaches recommend that your son stay on the B team, and yet your son has a chance to tryout/play for the A team at a different club.

    Or your son is on the A team at a club with players/coach he likes, and has the chance to tryout/play for a better A team at a different club.

    Or if your son is on the A team at a club, hates the teammates or coach, and wants to play with a lower performing A team at a different club where a friend or favorite coach plays.

    In that more nuanced situation, it's a good idea to do whatever your son wants for all the reasons discussed above, even though it can be hard for a child that young (pre-tween) to articulate what they want.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2018
  10. beechwood

    beechwood New Member

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    In my experience, what I learned as a parent and from other parents and coaches who have who have done this for many years, this age group is about having fun and developing skills. If you think the coach can provide both by being in the A team and your son is up for the challenge then by all means go for it.
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  11. Derek Mays

    Derek Mays New Member

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    Thanks for all of the feedback. At age 9/10 I really just want him to have fun and learn good foot skills so I will probably just let him decide which team he feels more comfortable on and talk with both coaches to get their input. If your child has a desire to play in college one day, what age would you recommend doing the additional trainings through a program like Beastmode Soccer, MadSkillz, Futsal Factory etc? I've noticed that most of the kids on the A teams in my area do additional training programs, and the kids on the B teams don't. My concern is trying to make sure my kids don't have too much soccer at a young age and burned out. I want them to enjoy it so when they are 13,14,15 they still love it and want to play and be a life long soccer fan. Is 11 or 12 around the right age or too young for those programs?
  12. TJsoccer

    TJsoccer Active Member

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    You must be up here in Region 6. Those in season extra training companies have really taken off up here. I don't know if there has been enough time to figure out if those actually make a difference or not...or lead to burnout. They have been around for less than 5 years.

    My child was on a team last year that had about a third of the players doing extra training. I was surprised because the coach we had was excellent (I would only ever consider extra training if my kid's coach was a clueless daddy baller.)

    Its impossible to say if the extra stuff helped. The players participating in the extra training were in the upper third at the start of the season and they ended up that way at the end. My child started in the lower third (in terms of skills) but ended up in the upper third without any extra training (referring to technical skills, not game impact). I don't think it helped them much, but who knows what would happen if they stopped doing it. I know the parents felt a lot of pressure to make the different trainings work. I also felt that the additional cost and effort resulted in additional pressure on the children. Not sure if the additional trainings were a symptom or the cause...but our team is gone now, and I will be looking for a new team come tryouts. I will try to find out if the parents do extra stuff, and I will mark that as a "negative" for the team selection process for my child.

    Also, if a coach offers additional training for extra fees through one of these companies, I automatically disqualify them. Coaches can run extra trainings, but they shouldn't have kids on their teams enrolled in them.
  13. FindTheNine?

    FindTheNine? Member

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    In our family we let it really be kid-driven. If they wanted to do extra we would find the best option. But not at that age, and other than the mental part of feeling like she was working hard and the confidence that came from that I don’t think it had any impact on her game. But confidence is a big thing, and it did seem to help there.
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  14. Derek Mays

    Derek Mays New Member

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    Yup region 6, and our club has a policy that a coach can't do private trainings for a kid in the age group they coach. I heard that was a problem years ago with a coach that would play the kids more that paid for his private trainings. So they implemented a new policy to get rid of that conflict of interest.
  15. Scott

    Scott New Member

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    I would disagree with this statement somewhat. A number of clubs require all their coaches to coach at least one A team and one B team in a different age group. Thus the quality of the coaching is not likely to be better on an A team vs a B team. I know my son played for years on B teams for the same club, beofre moving to a new club where he plays on its A team. We left the old club not because he could be on an A team, but because his B team coach left a really poor taste in our mouth and the DOC (who has since left) was an ass. His first coach was awesome, his second coach I liked, but his last two years were spent with a guy who, in my opinion, simply should not be coaching children. He was always far too negative with the players and often left them feeling bad about themselves. There is a huge difference between being demanding with high expectations ("you can do so much better...") and just being insulting ("you are so slow...") His A team was in an even younger age group, and he was worse with them.

    So I would echo what others have said; pay attention to the coach and your son's personality, as well as the other parents. Although we have been lucky over the years (including the rec teams I coached) I have seen how where a bad parent group can make a bad year.

    One thing I would not worry about is playing time. While he might not start for an A team, the vast majority of coaches in younger age groups will try to get all of their players significant playing time, and I cannot recall instances of kids in younger age groups riding the bench.
  16. EastGroveCoach

    EastGroveCoach Member

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    Perfectly stated, let them answer the question and you assist with the facts that you can help provide.

    Desired to play college at 11 and by the time middle school was over MIT was more important so the desire changed.

    Do your homework and don't believe everything a potential coach says. Just like extra training programs A vs B will usually cost more $$
  17. Derek Mays

    Derek Mays New Member

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    Thanks for the feedback. You sound fairly experienced, so let me ask you have you noticed girls doing the same thing? For example, do the top few girls from each team tend to move clubs in search of the "better team" as opposed staying with their friends, or is the season team switching mainly just with boys?
  18. psyclone

    psyclone Member

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    Having been through the process twice with my daughters, and around a wide variety of levels.

    Yes, girls move teams with some regularity. Especially strong B-team players who, for whatever reason, can't get an invite to the same club's A-team, but have no trouble getting an invite to another club's A-team.

    Teams rise and fall, coaches change, many players drop out of soccer altogether--Sometimes a good one that had been doing dual sports will choose basketball over soccer, or whatever.

    Movement is common, especially these days. It is pretty rare to stick with one club all through your youth soccer experience, and even rarer to stick with one team.

    Team mergers and whatever add another layer.

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