So, your child has completed 2 years of Academy training and is now ready for the cut and thrust of competitive soccer, so how does this differ from what your child has experienced and what can you expect?
The same high standard of coaching will still be evident. A new coach will be in place and will be able to take over where the Academy coaches left off. This change is important as it’s a proven fact that both players and coaches can stagnate when together for too long. Also we have coaches in place whose expertise is at this age bracket.
Team play will become more evident as we move from 7 aside to 9 aside, although the technical side of the game will still be the Coaches priority on training nights. A possible 3rd night of training could be an expectation as there is a great deal to cover as we move forward.
This will differ from what you have been used to in the Academy format. Teams will play just one game, which will last 60 minutes, divided into two 30 minute halves. Scores and standings will now be a factor, however still a small one.
The emphasis is still on development. It’s not possible to Coach to both win and develop, winning will come later. Most games will be in and around the Tampa Bay area and within an easy 30-45 minute drive.
You will now see 3 officials which, will consist of one center Referee and two Referee assistants. The Offside rule will now be implemented, which changes the way the game works. This rule is greatly misunderstood by many. It is suggested that reading a Rule book might be advisable to give a better understanding of how it works.
These become more prevalent at this age and are normally hosted at local clubs over a weekend. Most teams will enter at Least two Tournaments throughout the season to give players the club experience. You could expect 2 games on a Saturday and one on a Sunday. If successful in the preliminaries a final game is played later on Sunday. Trophies and medals are a part of these events.
The fee to participate at U-11s does go up in cost. You will incur, as you did in the Academy, both club and training fees. Club fees are normally paid in three installments; with training fees paid on a monthly basis during the course of pre season and culminating at the end of the season.
Although your child is playing “club soccer” keeping things in perspective is absolutely vital. Reducing the pressure of performing and keeping the game “fun” is vital if they are to mature in to complete soccer players. Burnout is at 75% at the ages of 12 and up, so keep it fun for your child and things in perspective, this will make for a wholesome and positive experience throughout their club tenure.