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SYSA Select Soccer 2009 Questions and Answers about playing select soccer in Seattle Youth Soccer Association This document is intended to provide general background and answer questions for parents and players new to the “select soccer.” What is “select soccer”? The term “select soccer” usually refers to a system where players go to tryouts, are evaluated, and then selected to be on teams. The term “select soccer” is also used to refer to more competitive soccer (as opposed to recreational or “rec” soccer), where players with the most ability, desire, and competitiveness are grouped on teams to play. Select soccer generally costs more for families than recreational soccer, and teams usually have paid coaches, although some select teams have excellent volunteer coaches. In addition, select soccer requires more time commitment from families because of travel, number of practices, length of the season, and tournament play. What is SYSA’s select soccer philosophy? SYSA believes that a select soccer program should be player-centric. It believes that the best soccer experience for kids occurs when they are playing with and against players of similar ability and commitment to the game. SYSA supports select soccer play because it provides an option for players who have advanced beyond the competition available to them at the recreation level. Why should a parent or player consider select soccer? All decisions about select soccer should be focused on what the players wants and what is best for the player. If a player wants to play at a higher level, to be more challenged, to play with equally talented players, or would benefit from more experienced and stronger coaching, then select soccer might be right for them. Playing to be with friends or to be an “elite” player are not usually adequate reasons to take on the commitment and cost of select soccer. How is select soccer different from recreational soccer? In recreational soccer, players are grouped on teams based on when they registered, where they live, and perhaps who else they know on the team. They should not be grouped intentionally by ability. Select soccer does try to intentionally create teams based primarily on the players’ effectiveness on the field. This is done so that players are challenged in training and games against players of similar ability. What is the difference between PDL and other select soccer teams? At its highest levels, the PDL, which stands for the Player Development League, is currently the premier level of play in Washington Youth Soccer. Seattle’s PDL club is Emerald City FC. Its highest level teams play against some of the best teams and players in the state, and those premier team players will be challenged with the highest competitive level. Players offered a position on an Emerald City PDL team should strongly consider whether this represents the best environment for their current soccer development. Emerald City creates an A, B, and sometimes a C team to play in the PDL leagues. The A teams have the top ranked players from tryouts, and play against other PDL club A teams The B teams have the players ranked in order after the A team players, and the B team plays in PDL leagues against other B teams. Emerald City may also form a C team if it thinks there are enough players of ability to do so. Other teams and programs that are not PDL teams are sometimes called “club select” or District teams, and play in a mixture of District, inter-District, State and other competitive leagues. All other select teams in SYSA are affiliated with a neighborhood club. These select teams may have paid coaches or volunteer coaches, and provide different levels of competition, length of season, and so on. Teams are required to list their team fees, coaches, and other information on a team information sheet that is available before tryouts. How much does playing select soccer cost? Select soccer cost more than recreational soccer. Select soccer costs can span a range from $500 to $2,000 a year, depending on the competitive level of the team, the select club or program, the number of seasons and leagues the teams play in, whether the coach is paid or volunteer, and a variety of other factors. In addition, there are costs to a family when teams travel to tournaments, including transportation, meals, and hotels, that can quickly add up to hundreds of dollars more. What is the select soccer time commitment? During a league season, select soccer is much like recreational soccer. Teams generally practice two times a week, with a game on the weekend. The difference is that select teams often train between seasons, or during the time after tryouts and before the start of a season. That means players might be training for 9 or 10 months of the year, depending on the team and the program they are in. If a team enters tournaments, there might be weekends with three or more games spread over three days. Finally, select teams often play away games that require more traveling, sometimes several hours for one game. How do tryouts work? Select soccer tryouts can be done in many ways. In SYSA, tryouts generally have all players on the field to start. Players are then separated into smaller groups, where they may play small sided games or do some other activities. Coach evaluators observe the players and evaluate their effectiveness in the game. Those player evaluations are coordinated among all the evaluators, and the players are usually ranked The tryout system is not a perfect one for the game is subjective. Sometimes players don’t show their abilities well, or may be timid or less aggressive in their play, or are just having a bad day. Some evaluators recognize the abilities that the players may possess. A tryout process that involves many coach evaluators and a relaxed atmosphere for the players is the best way to have the players show their impact on the game so they can be placed in the appropriate level of competition. At the end of tryouts, a coach from one of the teams will give the player a call. Generally, most players will be offered a spot on a team, depending on the number of players trying out and the number of teams. Sometimes, coaches will recommend that the players continue to play in rec or work on their game for another year. Not all players have the ability to play in a more competitive league. How much traveling will my child and I have to do? Teams in select soccer will almost certainly travel more than recreational teams do in SYSA. Half the team’s games will be home, somewhere in the Seattle area. But travel to away games will vary, depending on which league the team plays in. District 1 leagues include teams from Seattle north to as far as Bellingham. Most District 1 teams, though, are located between Seattle and Marysville to the north, with an occasional travel game further away. Teams in the Player Development League (PDL) may travel further south and east, to play teams that are as far as Vancouver in the south or Spokane in the east. Even in PDL leagues, though, most teams are within a 50 mile radius of Seattle, since that’s where most of the soccer playing population in the state lives. Practice travel also depends on the team. Neighborhood teams generally get practice fields within the boundaries of the club they are affiliated with. PDL teams that are part of Emerald City FC are “all city” teams, and get assigned practice fields that may be in any part of Seattle. Can my child play other sports and select soccer at the same time? Most select soccer teams at younger ages encourage players to participate in other sports and activities. Developmentally and emotionally, that is a good guideline. There may be conflicts with practices and games. Those need to be worked out ahead or as they occur with team coaches. How long is the select soccer season? Most select soccer teams play in the fall, except for high school age girls, who play in the winter/spring. The fall season is usually 10 to 14 games long, running from September into late November or early December. Many teams also participate in spring leagues, which can run for 6 to 10 weeks in the late winter and spring. In addition, most teams participate in tournaments, which occur starting in the spring and running through the summer. The number of tournaments a team participates in varies from team to team. Most teams will take part in 3 to 4 tournaments a year.
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