U7 Tryouts/Team Formation

Discussion in 'NorCal Scene' started by emalca, Apr 21, 2018.

  1. emalca

    emalca New Member

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    I am fairly new to being a soccer dad, so I would appreciate advice and guidance from people who have gone through the process.

    My son is turning 6 this year. We are lucky to live in a central area with 10+ clubs within 30 min driving distance (4-5 of which are big, well-known names in the region). Most clubs are holding tryouts to form their 2012 teams either this fall or for next spring.

    The hope was to do good research comparing the clubs, get to know them well by the tryouts, find a coach who can develop soccer skills and inspire a passion for the game, and stick with them for at least 4-5 years, if not longer. Is that line of thinking too naive and do most parents take it season by season at this age? (All of this of course assumes my son continues to love playing soccer.)

    Given that clubs give parents 48 hours to make the decision, what info is reasonable to ask for a new team being formed? Curriculum? References on the coach? Both my brother and I grew up playing soccer in Europe, so I think can get a good sense of quality and style of coaching in a couple of sessions, but I understand there is not much coaching going on at the tryouts. Feels like the clubs are trying to lock parents in and the less they know about other options, the better. Do the new tryout guidelines also apply to the youngest age groups? In other words, does joining an in-house program at inception this fall preclude us from checking out the programs that will be formed in the winter for next spring? Are the tryouts/open houses an effective forum to learn more about a club, beyond what is already on their websites? We were planning to attend as many as possible as a "get to know you", but are also worried whether they are going to hold it against him later if we decide to delay the decision by a season and pass on an offer.

    Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated!
  2. sidelinemom

    sidelinemom New Member

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    Clubs have U7 tryouts?
  3. emalca

    emalca New Member

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    My understanding is that the in-house programs are fairly small typically(8-10 kids playing 4 vs. 4). Considering the local AYSO had 160 U-6 boys last fall and some clubs have enough interest to fill open rec classes every day of the week, it seems reasonable to me that they might not be able to accommodate every kid. It could also be a BS way to lock parents in early, which is one of the reason I am asking for advice here.
  4. Skip Fleshman

    Skip Fleshman New Member

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    I think many clubs will field 7v7 teams in the 2012 age group next fall and play in lower (bronze and silver) U7 divisions. it's a good time to start with a club (my son will too) but I wouldn't worry too much about the 48 hour deadline. Take your time making a decision and look for clubs that emphasize developing technical skills for young age groups.
  5. emalca

    emalca New Member

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    Thanks Skip Fleshman! We are exactly looking for clubs and a coach that emphasizes technical development! Do you have a recommendation on how to figure that out. I sometimes see U8-U9 kids practicing on the next field. Even within the same club, practices can vary a lot and it seems to all come down to individual coaches. How do I find out the coaches up for new teams and learn more about them before making the decision?
  6. soccercritique

    soccercritique Member

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    Are we really talking about skill development at 6 years old? This kid is gonna be burnt out by the time he reaches 12. In all honesty, at that age group, you're gonna be hit and miss. Person A will say this club is great at yada yada yada. Person B will say but this club does_____.

    At age 6 it really doesn't matter. He/she should begin to fall in love with the game by just playing. Is there anything wrong with rec anymore?
  7. emalca

    emalca New Member

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    Soccercritique, I very much agree with you that at this age group it is hit or miss, but I disagree that quality of coaching doesn't matter yet, in the same way that I believe elementary school teachers matter a lot. After all the years, my 1st-2nd grade teacher is still by far my favorite teacher and set me up to achieve a lot more than I should have given where I came from. Having an amazing early teacher/coach can really instill a lifelong love for learning/the game.

    Further to that point, Albertin Montoya randomly guest coached a practice that my son attended a few months ago. I didn't really know anything about Albertin at that point, but I couldn't believe my eyes in how much he was able to engage 5 year olds that he had never met, get them excited to play soccer and teach them a bunch of things in an hour. Now, I do not expect that Albertin will start coaching U-7 anytime soon, but the point is that quality teaching can make a difference at all ages and levels. My question is whether all parents are flying in blind at this age or if there is a way to make an informed decision.

    I think rec is fine, but the problem is exactly in falling in love with the game. We did AYSO last fall, my son really loved me coaching him and is begging me to do it again this fall, which is a part of the consideration for not joining a comp program yet. It would be great for him to play soccer with some of his buddies from Kindergarten, but with my job realistically this is the last year that I can coach him before they go to weekday practices. Not to be too dismissive, but I wouldn't rely on another random parent to keep my kid from falling out of love with the game. I saw too many kids who didn't want to be there just going through the motions coached by apathetic parents who have been doing AYSO for a number of years. I know that I wouldn't have been inspired or care about it as a kid and I see it as a bigger problem for burning out rather than starting to develop technical skills early. I don't know enough to make large pronouncements about the problems of US soccer, but it seems very inconsistent to me that everyone is complaining that the first touch of the players at the highest level is not enough, while at the same time condemning the early development of technique and feel for the ball, which is probably easiest to learn naturally at younger ages. Wouldn't that create a technical gap of a few years to other regions that would be very difficult to overcome later in development? Growing up playing soccer in Europe, I did not see or hear about any kids that suddenly developed an incredible touch at 9-10 years old.
  8. soccercritique

    soccercritique Member

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    IT really is a catch-22...Start kids that are young in a regimented platform and it could lead to burnout? Possibly. Will there be a technical gap if others started at U6? Of course...but there are hundreds of accounts of players that started playing soccer competitively later in life that have gone on to do great things (national team, college soccer etc.). I've always said that at the national level, players (in the USA) don't have good first touch, read the game, or have the soccer IQ that others have in other countries in the world and I think the biggest reason is because our game (USA) is too restricted and too regimented. There was an article about 10 years ago in CYSA that spoke to this issue. They were saying that in other countries int the world, the game is organic and played in the streets. That they praise players who are scoring goals and encouraging them to be creative. While here in the USA they also do that, it's not often we see boys or girls at younger ages that are out playing just "for fun". They go to practice, have cones, drills, and are taught what they should do...pretty opposite from other leaders in the world.

    I guess what I'm saying is that given my kids journey and being around youth sports for over 20 years I come from the school of thought that it's not wise to specialize so early. My kids didn't specialize until U13 and didn't play comp until u10. One chose a different path and the other one is going to be playing college soccer at a dream school. Mission accomplished. There's many ways to skin a cat but I'd be very weary about starting my kids off in competitive soccer too early. Just my two cents and good luck!

    PS Albertien is a special coach and if you could find someone like him, then I'd totally consider it..barring that it was year round. ;)
  9. soccerislife

    soccerislife Active Member

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    Albertin isn't the normal u7 coach :) but agree on your points.

    There are some in house programs where the commitment level isn't too bad. 1 training plus 1 4v4 scrimmage day. Maybe can do that and AYSO still for a season so you can coach. It may be too much if involved with other sports though. There is no wrong choice at that age so I wouldn't worry too much either way. If you're in the Mountain View/ Los Altos area per your above Albertin comment, there are many soccer options in the area. That's helpful when you eventually choose a club to try. Good luck
  10. Skip Fleshman

    Skip Fleshman New Member

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    I'd ask the DOC what their plans are for coaches in your age group next fall. They likely have a good idea who will work with them already. Some clubs have different coaches work with kids but most have a consistent coach for the age group. You could probably have your son attend a practice at a club with kids a year older right now. You'd at least see how they treat the kids. Some clubs offer weekend "training" for kids 3-9. Those are usually really good programs as an alternative. Happy to chat offline if you'd like
  11. LivingTheDream

    LivingTheDream Member

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    What does your kid want to do? Where does he enjoy & feel comfortable playing at age 7? Having fun will create a passion / interest in the game moving forward - my $.02
  12. EastGroveCoach

    EastGroveCoach Member

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    Find a club that is transparent and has your answer up front and/or in print. Careful of clubs that need money up front or if you sign a deal before the tryout window.

    You are correct in asking for a coaches resume. Even at age 6 it's ok to see what/who they have on staff and where the future is going. Watch out for resumes that show records, tournaments success and state cup status. Look for recommendations from families that span the coaches career.

    You can find a quality coach that can train properly and not focus on winning or state cup. They foster the love at the young age with quality training. In some cases these coaches will pass the players along as they get into older age groups. That's ok. At teenager age your kid will probably have changed their focus to go big or change sports.

    Good luck!
  13. psyclone

    psyclone Member

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    What a U7 kid needs is to fall in love with the game. So even more than technical development and intelligent coaching, get them a coach who keeps it fun--the kind of fun that comes from playing hard and working hard.

    Don't be afraid to switch clubs and teams and all that. What your kid needs changes every few years, and if they aren't getting what they need, go ahead and switch. Find someone whose love of the game is infectious for now, and then you can move on later.

    And yes, I've watch Albertin coach maybe a dozen teams, at all levels, from crummy high-schoo JV squads to U5 K-league to national championship winners--the man is amazing.
  14. ballistic

    ballistic Member

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    At that age, your only option is word of mouth. Although I'd lean towards a teaching background, or someone that, when you talk to him or her, really fires up your appreciation of the game and seems deeply/personally motivated to work with the kids -- because getting through to the little boys is extremely important.

    And once you find a coach that can really engage the kids and shape them up into something that looks like a team, hang on to him or her with both hands until they quit or your son wants to move.

    It's not easy to find a great coach, especially for kids that young.
  15. FindTheNine?

    FindTheNine? Member

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    As much as I laugh at ulittle parents over thinking soccer, I have to say in hindsight that the coach and environment are pretty critical (not necessarily perfect technical development so much as the right environment for your particular child.)

    I have multiple kids. Only one has stuck with soccer, and I don’t think it is a coincidence that it’s the one who had the best “fit” for her first couple years. She’s an intense kid and she ended up on a team with competitive - not necessarily good, but competitive “want to win” other kids and coach and it made it fun for her. She’s in love with the sport but is always in it for the win and a “development only” club might not have been a good fit for her at 8/9.

    Ironically she’s not my best soccer player. But that kid had multiple bad fit teams and just obnoxious coaches early on and she quit by 12 and does other sports now. My son also had some questionable experiences and still plays but never really developed, mostly because he stopped loving it and chose to play at a lower level so he could do other sports.

    So know your kid’s patience level and what motivates him and go from there. Ask questions about playing time and how the coach will manage bad parents (it affects the kids’ enjoyment. only takes one bad apple to make a whole team not have fun.)

    Good luck!
  16. emalca

    emalca New Member

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    Thanks everyone for your suggestions! Super helpful as we begin to navigate the process. What should we expect from the tryout? Is it just a normal practice? Are the actual coaches leading the process and do they usually engage with the parents then or later in the process? Should we ask the tough questions after the offer? Don't want to be too presumptuous that my son would necessarily make the team.

    Findthenine?, how do bad parents ruin it for teams that age? Everyone I have met seems very supportive and positive, but I guess they are not playing actual games yet. Another X-factor seems to be the teammates, but impossible to know at this point as the teams are not formed yet. I have seen disruptive kids make a class miserable for the rest, especially if they are bigger than the others. A whole season of that might not be fun.

    Eastgrovecoach, psyclone and ballistic, we would love to find a coach whose love for the game is infectious and can foster that through quality coaching. Lower number of formal games and tournaments at the beginning is certainly an important criteria for us.

    Soccercritique, going a bit off-topic here, but I think the lack of street game is a much bigger problem for developing a great first touch than starting practice too early. US ladies are doing just fine compared to the rest of the world with the same restricted, regimented training as the boys, but much fewer girls play soccer on the street abroad due to various societal and cultural reasons, so not having that "organic" first touch is less of an issue. Very different situation with the boys. Some of it is probably lack of cultural exposure to soccer. At AYSO, in unmoderated play, most little kids are trying to kick the ball as hard as they can, which is very different than street games elsewhere with kids trying to dribble the ball to imitate Messi or Ronaldo (or Romario or Roberto Baggio back in my days). The debate on early specialization seems very specific to the US with many options to choose from. In most countries, soccer reigns supreme and for better or worse is not really considered a seasonal thing. We played soccer below freezing and we played soccer in 100 degrees heat as it was what kids (boys) do. For example, I don't think English kids hear that they should go play rugby and cricket because it might improve their football (soccer) game. Having said that, the number of tournaments kids play here seem way to high and 4-5 games in a single weekend is just absurd if the coaches are using the same kids every match.
  17. soccercritique

    soccercritique Member

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    when talking about street soccer, I was referencing more the boys side than the girls. You're right..it's much harder (as a whole) to find girls to go out and play pick up soccer and I have no clue why. If I had the solution and answer to that, I'd be rich! ;) You do find the street soccer mentality in urban areas more so than in the suburbs-that's not to say that it doesn't happen, but I see it more. The cultural exposure to soccer is also a huge factor. I many Latin communities they're exposed almost immediately...

    You're also right in that there are many different sports to pick at young ages and soccer plays 4th fiddle in many cases to football, baseball, and basketball. As a development piece, don't get me started on the 5 games a weekend...talk about overuse. I do admire ECNL and the DA for only limiting their kids one game a day AND with the GDA, its two games in a row and rest (never three games in a row)...I'm still wondering if it's a money making thing or they're really interested in resting bodies. Jury's out!

    I read some of the comments above and whole heartedly agree that one of the most important factors is making the game fun! If it becomes regimented too early, you may see problems. Hindsight is 20/20 and I think I'd of done things a little different but our kid got what she wanted out of it. Hope yours does too! ;)
  18. FindTheNine?

    FindTheNine? Member

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    Screaming at refs, coaching from sidelines, undermining the coach. I can’t believe how many kids I’ve seen in tears on a soccer field because of their parents.
  19. The Outlaw

    The Outlaw New Member

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    This post can't be overstated. Other parents can and will ruin YOUR experience as easily as their own. If you can't find a way to kill them, do your best to maximize distance. There's usually one on every team.
  20. emalca

    emalca New Member

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    Really not looking forward to this. Parents shouldn't be on the touchline, especially where the coaches are. I saw legitimate clubs in the area who advertise that parents have a say in the team's playing time. How is that even possible?

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