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  1. My conversation with my son has been basically this year is a training year. Next year when the kids he has always played with move up to U13 himself and the other 5 that moved up will have a years experience playing 11v11 on the big field and it will be an advantage for their team. He's small but solid and he doesn't usually back down and is extremely quick so I think he'll be ok until he runs into the kid that just figures he'll truck everyone and out weighs him by 40 pounds. Luckily the 6 of them that are moving up are all really good friends so they will have that. My other concern is they are extremely competitive and the last two years have been very good winning the league, the team they are moving up to is the opposite, other then a couple kids they are not committed from the parents down, they went I think 2-7 last year.
  2. 100% agree, I think your elite programs aren't really affected because they are bringing kids together from different areas and they team makeup changes each year anyway. Where it hurts is the small club teams that play in travel leagues. That is our case, when my son started at U9 two years ago with the old age groups it was all kids from his class. Last year with the changes the club decided they could stay together and play as a 2006 team even though they only had four fall 2006 birthday's, the rest were spring 2007. That worked well because they skipped right to U11 and didn't have to deal with going from 9v9 down to 7v7 and the build out lines. The issue occured this year because being a small club and small school district once the kids start playing Middle School soccer a lot stop playing at the club level. So when last years U12 team moved to U13 they didn't have enough players for 11v11 with subs. So they called up the four fall 2006 kids and two spring 2007 kids from last years U11 team. Now the club has a U13 team, no U12 teams because the remaining kids from last year U11 team were all spring 2007 birthdays so instead they have two U11 teams. As you said I think at the non-elite team level most of these kids are doing it to play with their friends and also as a way to get them ready to play in Middle School and High School and now you are dividing up classes.
  3. How did that go for him last year being on the young side ? That is basically the same boat my son is in, he turns 11 the end of October. My concern was that he is going into 5th grade and is a smaller kid, with some of the bigger clubs around us their U13 teams are going to end up being a bunch of spring 2005 birthday 7th graders that didn't make their middle school team. Skill wise I totally have faith in him against older kids especially ones that didn't make school teams but I'm worried those kids also get a chip on their shoulders and will want to use their size and age advantage to just make it a more physical game.
  4. Couple of questions Righetti what did you end up doing as far as your team makeup ? Every league is different but ours doesn't allow a club to have two teams in the same tier unless they are both in the lowest so for that reason I would keep the top 10 and send the other 3 down to play with the lower division team. Your league might be different and maybe you could create two more even teams and play the same tier. For the soccer gurus, at U13 moving to 11v11 what formation do you recommend ? As I had feared my son got moved up to the 2005 (U13) team because he has a fall 2006 birthday and that team was short players switching to 11v11 this year. Luckily his coach from the last few years son also is a fall 2006 birthday and got moved as well and he is taking over for the coach who was up there that seemed like a nice guy but not a great coach. I'm sure he has some ideas but just wondering what the norm is for kids moving to the big field the first time.
  5. You can do both depending on how your league runs and if you set expectations for parents up front. My son plays 10U and here is how we operate. All the kids play on one of our in-house teams and we play in a small in-house league with teams from 3 neighboring organizations (11 teams total, we have 3 of them). During in-house play we emphasize to our coaches every kid should get a shot at any position they want as long as they can do so safely. You might have kids that you just don't feel safe with at pitcher if a ball gets drilled back to them or playing first base if your short stop fires a ball. That is ok, work with those kids if they really want to play there in practice and try to help them. And it is ok to be honest sometimes and just say a kid can't safely play a spot, just talk to the parents. I had a kid this year, had never played before because he had brain cancer so he was behind the other kids and a little hesitant. He said he wanted to pitch but was in no way ready. We worked with him and moved him around during the season getting him to feel more comfortable. We had a non league game toward the end of the year and I was moving kids all over and we felt comfortable with giving him a chance, he came in and pitched a nice inning and even struck out one of the tournament team kids. I didn't see it but they said his mom was crying because he had gone out to tell her he was going to pitch and she didn't believe him until he actually did. Now as for our tournament team, these are the top 12 kids as selected at tryouts and play on this team in addition to their in-house teams. In April and May they play in 10U Sunday afternoon league where three teams get together and play a round robin. During this time they will get moved around and tried at different positions that they seem to have a knack for, keep in mind on the in-house teams they are usually the best 3 or 4 players, now a few of them are the 11th and 12th best. Each kid might play 4 different field positions and get a shot to pitch during these games. Some of the teams we play will play all out to win this little Sunday league, we use it as a way to sort out the team for tournament season. Come tournament season in June it is usually pretty obvious who fits at what position so the kids will start to focus on usually two positions plus probably 6 or 7 will also pitch. In the early tournaments we will still bat all 12 each game and everyone will get at least 2 innings in the field. Once we hit our last few tournaments and start Districts (we are Cal Ripken affiliated) we tighten that even more, we will bat everyone in the pool play games but come elimination rounds we bat 9 and sub the bottom of the lineup so everyone still gets some play time but our top 7 will usually play the whole game or at least 5 innings. If it is a blow out one way or the other then we will adjust on the fly and give the other kids some additional PT. The coach talked to the parents and let them know this was the plan ahead of time and how the kids did in practice and the opportunities they got would determine who those subs were. he emphasized they were still important and part of the team but if we wanted to be competitive we had to do this (and actually during Ripken play it was required). It seemed to work, they all improved over the year and when we got to the end batting just 9 turned our lineup over quicker and really helped us. We ended the season 14-13-2 but over the last 3 weekends were 7-3-1, won Districts against a much bigger program, finished third in a tournament losing a close game in the Semi's to the team that easily won the championship and won three games at the State tournament before losing in the quarter finals.
  6. US Soccer, wasn't even aware I was eligible but got an email last evening. I guess because I bought tickets for the She Believes Cup in Philly I was on the list.
  7. Just got my tickets on the presale for the US vs Costa Rica in September. I've seen the women play but this will be our families first game to see the men in action live.
  8. Never surprised by uninformed parents making irrational decisions, best is when they blow up about it on Facebook or Twitter. Here is one that just happened this past week, so for soccer last year we played as a 2006 team under the new rules although we only had four fall 2006 kids, the rest were spring 2007 but they are in the same grade and have played together since moving up to the travel team. So this year because the 2005 team moves up to 11 v 11 and some of the 2005 kids are now playing Middle School soccer and don't want to play the club level as well they were short kids. So the club decides they need 6 more kids for the 2005 team, they move up the four kids with fall 2006 birthdays, this happens to include the starting Center Mid, Sweeper and Goalie from last years team that won the league championship plus a backup goalie/defender. Then they had evals and selected two additional kids (the Striker from the previous years team and one utility type player). Well of course one mom who likely has no idea four of the kids moved up had no choice because they were 2006 birthdays goes ballistic on Facebook and starts with the "my son deserves to have made it and it is all about being part of the in crowd and on and on and on". Her son is actually a good player and if picking off their play last year I would say of the two 2007's picked I would have taken him over the second, that said maybe he didn't have a great eval and the other kid did. And here is the kicker the team these boys are moving up to stunk last year, they were like 2-7 on the year while the team the kids that aren't moving up is going to be stacked with a good number of returning kids from last years team plus some really good kids moving up and going to get to play at the 2007 age group (basically U11 for a second year), they'll likely contend for a league title again while the other team will be better with the core group that moved up they will still likely be a .500 team at best because these kids are going to be two grades lower then some of the kids they are playing now. If you respond you look like a heel if you say nothing they look correct. We've had this many times in baseball and as an officer/board member I've found it is best to say nothing, if someone asks explain the decision making process one on one. But as just a parent in this case I feel like I should comment and set the record straight.
  9. Thanks, I was never a soccer fan growing up but have become one watching them play. Best part is we are a very small school district (my sons class is like 110 kids) and all our sports programs are community based but he was lucky to be in a class that has a core group of very athletic kids and they all play baseball, soccer and basketball together so for their age their communication and trust of each other is really cool. He's adopted so his athletic ability has nothing to do with me either...lol.
  10. At least those are somewhat legitimate excuses (other then maybe the Safety Town Program, no idea what that is), sounds like glvsav37's players just don't show up and there is no communication. That said I am a big believer that when you make a commitment to a team you try to be there. I understand the catcher delimma, on our in-house team I coach I had 3 kids that caught. We have attendance alerts that go out several days before games that you click and let the coach know if you are going to be there. One game all three are to be there so my main catcher had been asking to pitch and we had back to back games that week so I figured I would let him pitch that night and have the other two catch. 45 minutes before the game as I am leaving my house I get a text from catcher B's mom, a friend had asked him to go to a AAA game that night so he wasn't coming. Ok as we loosen up I tell my main catcher he can still pitch but might be limited to a couple innings because he may need to catch some. Sure enough Catcher C never shows up, he is always late but just flat doesn't show. So now I need to either ruin this kids night who did everything we asked or experiment at catcher. Asked if anyone else had caught and one kid had the year before in 8U coach pitch. Put him back there and warned the ump it was an experiment. Ended up only letting the kid pitch one inning the kid was that bad behind the plate. I did get to make it up to the other kid and he got in some other games pitching so it worked out.
  11. We went to Beach Blast in Wildwood NJ this past weekend, 70+ beach soccer fields and a couple hundred teams ranging from U8 through adult. Maybe it is the beach atmosphere but was really impressed with the behavior all weekend I witnessed. At least in our games and a few others I watched before or after ours no real grumbling from parents or coaches. The refs were definitely no non-sense as well, we had a call go against us and the opposing coach was still complaining and jawing at the ref even though he got the call. As the kid was about to take the PK (all penalties in this format result in a direct kick PK from the spot of the foul) the ref blew the whistle and walked over to him and from what our coach told us later said to calm down or he was tossed that was his one warning for the weekend.
  12. Maybe they weren't mandatory but most of those went into effect last year at least with the league our club plays in along with dumb new age cutoff on calendar year instead of school year. The format changes I've got no problem with but they should have started it at U8 and changed as they moved up. For example my sons team was U9 in 2015, and played under the old rules. Last year because they wanted to keep the team together they played U11 (2006) because although they are all in the same grade the team was split between 2006 and 2007 birthdays and hence still had 9v9. However because of numbers a few kids from the year before ended playing U10 (2007), they went from playing the year before 9v9 with regular goalie rules to now playing 7v7 with these new rules, I know one kid who was a pretty good goalie the year before for us said he was done soccer and playing baseball this fall because he felt like he moved backward last year even though he went up an age division.
  13. We don't allow it even on our tournament teams at that age but some places do. Once we got into the Cal Ripken Districts and States we saw a few teams that had 10U kids throwing curves because it wasn't prohibited. Honestly at that age we didn't see one that could throw it effectively for a strike on any basis. From 46 feet with a 10 year old's power it's not going to be much more then an intimidation pitch to try and get the kid to back out of the box.
  14. One of my favorite moments from soccer a couple seasons ago, https://youtu.be/SbrIcrYTvGg?t=47s lady had be complaining to the ref about every call, he finally has enough and tells her if she doesn't want to watch she can go to her car. Background we played this team earlier in the year at their field, ref let everything go and you could tell the team was coached to be physical (this is U9 mind you) we must have had 5 injury stoppages but still won 4-3. The video was from the playoffs, now had a ref and two line judges and they were more experienced, 10 minutes in this big bruiser just lowers his shoulder and trucks our sweeper (who happens to be my son) after he had taken the ball away. Ref yellow cards the kid on the spot, kid comes off crying and this lady (assuming it was his mom) was on the guy until he finally shut her down.
  15. How is parking around Red Bull Arena ? I might look into tickets but bringing a 10 year old I don't want to be trekking 2 miles through the underbelly of Newark late at night to get back to the car. Looked at a Google view and it appears to be surrounded by empty lots under construction and warehouses and just a little parking lot.