Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Youth Soccer: Select Soccer Tryout Drama

Select soccer for U9 girls can be very competitive. Too competitive if you ask me and I am not talking about the games. I am taking about the competition for a roster spot on the team.

Here's the situation regarding my daughter's team.

CC's team plays in the highest division of the metro area league and in the highest division of tournaments too. They finished in the middle of the league standings and have won several tournaments. The team is not a powerhouse, but they are very good.

There are nine hardworking girls on the team. (U9 girls compete in 6V6 games in this area.) Each girl on the team has strengths and weaknesses, but each player contributes to the team. In a recent tournament, all nine girls scored. There is a ranking of players / talent, but the difference between the 4th best girl and the 9th best girl is small. CC is one of the leading scorers on the team despite playing lots of minutes in goal, so I figured she had a good chance to make the team.

The best part about the team is that all the girls are friends and the parents have become friends too.

Tryouts for the team were held last week even though the season has not ended. The team is scheduled to play in a season ending tournament next weekend. Prior to the tryouts, the coach led the parents to believe that the team would most likely remain intact, but made it clear that the elite team is reserved for the very best players available.

My daughter went to the first tryout date without me. I went to see my son play in a baseball game instead of going to the tryout. I did not think that my daughter would need moral support at the "predetermined" tryout.

When she got home she told me some startling news. 1) the paid coach / trainer she loves was being replaced, 2) the new coach / trainer is running the tryouts and 3) the new coach trainer personally brought four very talent girls to the tryouts. It was very clear to me that nine incumbent players were vying for five slots. Friends became competitors and teammates became opponents. My daughter and I talked about the situation and the options.

I decided to go to the second soccer tryout date and use my knowledge of the process to help my daughter get noticed by the new coach. Read Youth Soccer: Tips and Tricks to Make a Select Soccer Team. I also wanted to meet the new coach and decide if he was the right coach for my daughter. I figured that my daughter has talent so she always has options.

After the tryout, I talked to the trainer / coach and I liked what I was hearing. He is passionate about soccer. He holds several coaching licenses. He has an unbelievable track record of winning, but player development is his objective. I also liked his strategic game plan better than the one that was currently being employed. As I was talking to the trainer after the tryout, CC was juggling a soccer ball in close proximity. The coach noticed. The plan was working.

We followed all the tips and tricks and CC was given an offer. We accepted the position today. My daughter will miss her old trainer and she will miss the teammates who will undoubtably be cut. (The list has not been made official.)

The Main Point

There is always a political undercurrent associated with the highest levels of select sports. You and your kids really have to have the stomach for it and you need to be prepared for anything.  More importantly, you need to prepare your kid for anything.

When I found out about the unexpected competitive situation, I explained to my daughter that there was a chance that she could be cut. I told her that she would have several choices if she was cut from the elite team. 1) She could take a position on the B team with some of her old teammates or 2) tryout for another elite club team.

As I was explaining the situation, she got up from the table and left the room. I was bewildered by this sudden move. A few minutes later, CC called me into our computer room. She had a website up on the screen. She said, "Look Dad, the Lightning have a tryout next week." She is a self driven competitor.

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