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The 2 Gs - CSRN > Youth Coaching Corner > Fall 2006 season


Title: Fall 2006 season
Description: It's that time again


hamlinjosh - August 14, 2006 01:49 PM (GMT)
Well, my U11 daughter's fall season is getting underway . . . they had a friendly/scrimmage yesterday, and have another this evening. Pre-season tournaments are this coming weekend, local (and this one will cause me to miss the DC/Colorado game :angry: ), and Labor Day weekend, in Williamsburg, VA.

They are also playing in the WAGS Tournament in October, and there will be U11 teams travelling here from Illinois, Tennessee, as far south as South Carolina, and as far north as Massachusetts. This just strikes me as ridiculous! I understand that WAGS is a huge tournament as college recruiting goes, but these are U11s!! Anyone out there with youth players think that there is any point to travelling that far at that age for ANY tournament?

Another question for you soccer parents: Yesterday's game was against a quality team that plays in another local league where the U11s play 11v.11. My daughter's team plays in a league where they play 8v.8 through U11. What do you all think about playing a full-sided game at this age? I know the arguments in favor of small-sided play, but I'm wondering whether it makes much difference when you go to full-sided play.

jtgulls - August 15, 2006 06:59 AM (GMT)
Josh, I've been coaching our club teams for the past 11 seasons (first my daughter from U11 to U19 and now my son from U10 to U14). I've watched a lot of youth soccer in league play, local tournaments and state tourneys here in Illinois.

From what I've seen of the small sided teams, there still seem to be 3 to 4 players who dominate their side and 1 to 3 who rarely get touches on any team. The arguments in favor of small sided play make a lot of sense if you have high caliber players playing for big clubs but on lower level clubs like ours, the effect of switching to small sided rosters has only meant that we turn away more players at the very young ages and are left to scramble for players as we get to the 11 v 11 stage.

As for tourney travel at young ages, I recently had a conversation with two young women at my daughter's college. They both played at high powered nationally ranked clubs from U9 through U19 and they were burnt out by U14 (as were other teammates) but kept playing because of parental and peer pressure. They felt that younger players should be kept in state until they reached U14 and then they should be restricted in the number of tourneys they play per season. Interesting insights from these young ladies.

On a personal note, this is the first fall season that I have not coached since my daughter started in AYSO back in 1991. Feels a bit strange but I should be able to relax & enjoy my son's freshman high school season as a spectator. Good luck to all you coaches this fall. I'll be rejoining the ranks in Spring for our U15 boys club season.

hamlinjosh - August 15, 2006 02:54 PM (GMT)
Thanks for the insight, JT . . . as you've been through the cycle once already, with your daughter, I hope you don't mind if I periodically try to pick your brain and learn from your experience.

It looks like WAGS (my kid's league) is going to 8v8 through U12 . . . her team was split after last season, and currently only has 9 players on the roster (the plan was for 10, but one girl decided not to play this fall), and several of the girls are double rostered to what is the club's "B" team in this age group, so this season is going to be interesting, to say the least. :) They've looked really good in their preseason games, but I wonder if they might get worn down by the end of the season. :unsure:

Oh, and enjoy your season "just watching" . . . I coached my daughter for a couple years, but we mutually agreed that it was in each of our best interests that she be coached by somebody else, so she left my team, and I have since "retired" from coaching youth soccer teams.

hamlinjosh - August 25, 2006 12:38 PM (GMT)
Well, the girls had a great tournament last weekend: 4-0-0, 20 GF, 3 GA. Now its off to Williamsburg next weekend for what will be much stiffer competition. Here's a pic from the weekend (she really did enjoy playing much more than her facial expression might indicate):
user posted image

jmmj - August 25, 2006 03:57 PM (GMT)
I've taken on the U6 Commissioner role for our league this season. So far that has involved the administrative task of putting 168 U6 kids on 28 teams, by practice site and day preference and other requests. Not to mention talking parents into coaching. We distributed the rosters at the coaches meeting last night. The transfer requests are on the way, I'm sure.

For my squad, I've got 5 of 6 coming back (the sixth is back in U5) from Spring.

You folks seem to be more experienced with older players. What do you typically wish kids had learned or not learned when you see them? Any ideas for good training at these youngest levels?

siralfred - August 25, 2006 04:25 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (jmmj @ Aug 25 2006, 07:57 AM)
What do you typically wish kids had learned or not learned when you see them? Any ideas for good training at these youngest levels?

Basic ball-handling!

I coached a U10 travel team this spring where almost half the boys who had already participated in 3-5 seasons of in-town league couldn't kick the ball properly or in the intended direction. I had to split them up at practice so the kids who had skills could run passing drills, while the rest had to work on the basics they should have learned years ago.

At this young age the kids are pretty self centered and barely susceptible to a team mindset. So make sure everyone has a ball to maximize time on skills training, and learn to live with the fact that games are just going to be buffalo stampedes. ;)

jtgulls - August 25, 2006 05:09 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (siralfred @ Aug 25 2006, 10:25 AM)
Basic ball-handling!

Absolutely. If you can get them to learn how to pass properly, trap well, and dribble close to themselves, you will make some other coach down the road very happy AND your team will do well and have fun.

henry5 - September 5, 2006 04:42 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (jmmj @ Aug 25 2006, 11:57 AM)


You folks seem to be more experienced with older players. What do you typically wish kids had learned or not learned when you see them? Any ideas for good training at these youngest levels?

OPEN SPACE - Ball handling only works when the players spread the field, and at the U6 level, this is a virtual impossibility. However, if you can convince your players to pass the ball into open space and break up the 'swarm' then you will have reached coaching nirvana....

Practice passing in triangles.... trapping and controling the ball and then passing. Start small so the kids can actually pass it to each other. Go in one direction - then switch the other way. you can make it more fun for the kids if you blow a whistle when you want them to change directions.... and then blow the whistle more and more frequently until the kids fall over themselves....

Well it's fun for the coach anyway....

henry5 - September 12, 2006 12:46 AM (GMT)
The fall 2006 season started off for my U10 side with a gritty 4-3 win their first game of the season.

This managed to bring a huge smile to the face of my son who was very disheartened after our team didn't win a game all spring.

But more importantly I was impressed with the way my squad controlled the ball. After the other team scored twice in the early minutes, my heart sank as I thought my boys were doomed for a repeat of our tragic last season. But they hung in there and equalized on two hard fought goals...and managed to control the ball and keep possession for most of the first half.

In the second half, the other team scored again in the opening minutes, but again we came right back and scored the tying goal on a scorcher from my "big toe". We kept up the pressure and scored again with 10 minutes left. However - my boys instinctively pulled back into a defensive position and the other team took advantage, keeping the ball on our end of the field for the last few minutes of the game. However my guys held on - and made some great plays to keep the ball out of the net including some "heads up" saves from our goalie.

It was great to see the smile on my returning players faces - My "big toe" told me that he told his dad he was "going to score a goal before the end of the season if it's the last thing I do" - well he scored two in his first game. Most of the best players from last years squad are on the travel team now - but you wouldn't have known from the way my guys played. I have some very green players - some of whom are on the younger side of 8 - but they played big. Right now they are all giants in my eyes.

The only down side is: our team name. I didn't have much choice in shirts, so I chose the royal blue. They look like a bunch of Chelsea supporters out there. I suggested the Royals as our team name... but the kids didn't think that was very patriotic, so we are now...

The Blues

Cheers Graham, Sam, Rachiel, and Super-sub Pete Brown

hamlinjosh - September 12, 2006 10:16 PM (GMT)
My daughter played 3 games this weekend . . . She scored off a corner on Saturday morning - I mean directly off the corner, she was the taker - those 'Really Bend it Like Beckham' videos must really work!

Saturday pm she filled in on a just-formed lower league team that she is double rostered to, and played about a half at left back

Sunday, she scored twice in the first 10 minutes against a quality team, but just after halftime she went in on a challenge and fell wierd - broke the ulna and radius in her left arm. :( She went to the ortho today and he had to crack the bones back into place - he said that if she were an adult, she'd need surgery, but she lucked out . . . she'll be in a hot pink cast that goes almost to her shoulder for just four weeks.

On the way to the emergency clinic, she said "I never want to play soccer again!" By the time we were leaving, she was angry that she was not going to be able to play next weekend! :D

jtgulls - September 13, 2006 03:42 AM (GMT)
Tough one Josh!
May sound odd coming from somebody she doesn't know but tell her that I hope she heals quickly and is back out there scoring goals soon. '

One of my players broke his arm a couple seasons back and he used his down time to work on his fitness and dribbling skills. When he came back, his improvement was astonishing - far beyond the progress made by his teammates over the same time frame.

henry5 - September 13, 2006 05:52 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (hamlinjosh @ Sep 12 2006, 06:16 PM)
... just after halftime she went in on a challenge and fell wierd - broke the ulna and radius in her left arm.  :(  She went to the ortho today and he had to crack the bones back into place - he said that if she were an adult, she'd need surgery, but she lucked out . . . she'll be in a hot pink cast that goes almost to her shoulder for just four weeks.

Yikes Josh - I broke the same bones in my left arm when I was 10 years old. The cast went half way up my upper arm... no surgery necessary, but then again that was 1978.

But if memory serves, they also cut the cast back to just before the elbow after most of the healing was done.... sounds as if she will get back out there before the end of the season!

hamlinjosh - September 14, 2006 01:08 PM (GMT)
Well, she insisted on going to training last night . . . mostly a social visit, but she spent about an hour doing stationary passing and shooting, and juggling. I can see already that this is gonna do wonders for her juggling skills . . .

henry5 - September 19, 2006 07:53 PM (GMT)
Well the Dedham Blues had another successful weekend... back to back games: one on Saturday and one on Sunday. Two more victories (8 - 1 on Sat, 3 - 1 on Sun) so we are now 3-0 to start the season. Big change from last spring when we were winless -

Slightly different squad this year... some of the old team are back (my "big toe" scored 4 on Saturday and 1 off a corner Sunday)... and playing better than ever - which is good because some of the younger kids don't have the experience. We are also playing 6 v 6 instead of 8 v 8 - and on a smaller field than last spring. This is also making a difference as the kids don't have to run as much as they did last spring, and the reduced number on the field creates more space.

The kids are playing very well - passing the ball, creating space, and having fun!


hamlinjosh - September 20, 2006 02:12 AM (GMT)
Sounds like a cracking start, Hank! Say, DC United is looking for somebody who can score goals - do you think your "Big Toe" would be interested in being a Project 40 player? ;)

henry5 - September 20, 2006 05:51 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (hamlinjosh @ Sep 19 2006, 10:12 PM)
Sounds like a cracking start, Hank!  Say, DC United is looking for somebody who can score goals - do you think your "Big Toe" would be interested in being a Project 40 player?  ;)

I call him "Big Toe" partly because that's what he looks like. Thick & Stubby. He is about 4 feet tall and weighs in about 125. He gets around pretty good, mainly because the other kids can't push him over - and he has an unbelievably strong kick - but always using his toe. The problem is he has had such success with it that it's hard to convince him to use the top or side of his foot to properly kick the ball.

Just learned he only has one kidney, which prohibits him from playing "contact" sports like football and hockey - so a long term career in sports is probably out - but at least he is playing now and having fun.

I'll ask him about joining DC United tho....

henry5 - September 27, 2006 07:13 PM (GMT)
Another victory for the Dedham Blues. Big Toe strikes again!

We got lucky on the defensive end more than once as the other team had some wide open shots which they completely whiffed.

I have to give my son some props ... he has been a trooper for me. He played goalie while our regular goalie was out for two games in a row and he has played every position I have asked him to play. I haven't made it easy for him, but I appreciate all that he does. He had a couple of shots on Saturday which were easily saved, and picked up a hell of a knock in the face... but he kept on playing. He is taller than most of the kids out there, and one of these days he is going to knock a header past the goalie and all his patience will have paid off.

henry5 - October 4, 2006 03:36 PM (GMT)
Another saturday has come and gone and my boys are still undefeated. Best game yet in terms of passing, ball control, and overall possession of the ball.


jmmj - October 12, 2006 08:18 PM (GMT)
We got turned over for the first time this season (6-7) this past Saturday.

It's U6 and we play 3v3. Both of our teams were missing a player, mine was missing our second best. I don't know how much quality they were missing, but my guess is that we would have come out ahead if our full squads were both present.

They were better than any team we have faced at turning our goal kicks into goals. Usually we do that. Good to have a little bit of competition.

See you in the Spring, All Stars.

henry5 - October 19, 2006 11:13 AM (GMT)
We had back to back games again this past weekend due to the columbus day weekend the week before, and my boys notched up another 2 wins. Saturday I was away at a wedding, but was pleasantly surprised by the 6-2 result. Sunday's game we had to come back twice but won the game 4-2.

henry5 - November 6, 2006 05:54 PM (GMT)
Season is over...Still undefeated. Ended with a tie on Saturday. Took an early 2 - 0 lead and then gave up 3 goals, then tied it in the second half. I have to admire my kids' composure - they kept their heads and played well, in fact totally dominated in the second half.

I had to keep myself in check at the half - I started to get carried away with the undefeated season on the line. before taking the field I called the boys in and told them win or lose I was proud of them, and they should be proud of the season they had.





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