With the end of the league schedules across Missouri, I’d like to point you to some Missouri Youth Soccer updates that you may have missed or haven’t been shared by your Club at this point. In October, Nik Bushell held District meetings in each of the four Districts within the state. At the meetings, he presented updates from US Soccer that are critical for Clubs in 2018. I’ve extracted the key information in my report below. You can also download the October 2017 District Meetings presentation.
To preface this material, let me offer some personal feedback. I cover on average 150 games a year, primarily U14 up, including professional and international matches, as well as watching many televised college and professional matches (about the only TV I watch anymore). I’ve come to the conclusion that technical skill levels are deficient across the board and that has to be improved for your child to succeed. The best time to do that is before age 12, which US Soccer is attempting to emphasize with their Player Development Initiatives (highlighted following the MYSA information). Kids can learn tactics and strategy later when they are better able to understand it. That’s also why playing multiple sports is a benefit, as they translate basketball and baseball hand-eye coordination and skills to soccer. Burnout is happening for too many kids.
By the way, I chose the picture above to illustrate this story because as I thought about a Club photo I could use, I remembered how impressed I was with the quality of the play these 8th and 9th graders showed as they won the 2017 Fall Cup Title. The final 15 minutes in particular stood out, holding a one goal lead and they continued to play out of the back, not blindly clearing the ball. Nerve-wracking and awe-inspiring at the same time. Think about how that could translate as College Freshmen.
October 2017 District Meetings
The US Soccer Federation has announced long term goals of having standards & certifications of all members including sanctioning bodies (i.e. States, USSSA, AYSA, US Club), affiliate leagues & clubs.
1) Review of by-laws & rules to verify adherence to best practices and the PDI.
2) Create standards of education and development to improve player experience and training.
3) Create a certification process that rewards those members who promote development.
Caitlin Carducci / USSF Manager of Member Programs on Standards & Certifications:
Standards and Certification: one of the common themes coming from our Member Meetings was, “create a level playing field by utilizing standards.” Using that mindset, we introduced the framework of a Standards and Certification program to the Board where we would look at certifying members, competitions and clubs based on published standards.
We see this being accomplished in three phases. The first is certifying Members based on those who are adhering to U.S. Soccer Bylaws and Policies. We believe this not only aligns with the feedback you provided, but will be the first step in defining a clear and aligned pathway for players, coaches and referees
As part of this process and for the continued development of the game the following measures must be considered:
1) – 8U and below all play is 4v4 – all players are developmental with no competitive divisions.
2) – 9U & 10U play is 7v7 – all players are developmental with no competitive divisions.
3) – 11U & Up – all play is separated into recreational divisions and competitive divisions with no cross-over play. Eliminate lopsided game play that does not foster enjoyment or development.
4) – 12U & Up – observe proper game/training ratios, games played are “meaningful matches for their skill level” per US Soccer Federation
How these concepts affect game play within the state:
1) – Remove 8U age group from all tournament play.
2) – Review all 7v7 rules for updates/revisions as needed.
3) – Clear & separate divisions in all leagues and tournaments that separate recreational and competitive game play for a better player experience
4) – Look to reduce game loads at all levels to allow for proper training ratios (consistent with USSF policy).
5) – Identify ways to increase coaching education for entry level and first time coaches.
Other policy discussions currently:
1) Recruitment of players
* Permission to participate form
* Reporting of recruitment
*Recruitment vs Informative
2) Player Agreements – protecting your club
* Parent Standards of Conduct
* Establishing the relationship of the player to the club
* Adding permission to participate wording
3) Definition of a “Registered Player” – 3 factors
a) money has been paid
b) documents have been signed
c) a card has been generated
Other state activities (with my comments):
1) Director of Coaching (on-going, no details available at State Cup)
2) Registration Software – USSF, USYS & MYSA (new provider, single system)
3) League Sanctioning – Annual Certification
4) Tournament Sanctioning Online Process
5) ODP in Fall 2018 – Booneville MO (link)
6) Communications & News / Newsletters
If you have questions about these topics, a few paths. One, talk to your Club Directors. Two, contact your District Commissioners, who can be found via the link above related to the four Districts in Missouri. Most importantly however is to review the Player Development Initiative that was announced in 2015 and was ‘rolled out’ in 2017.
From US Soccer, August 1st – Five Things to Know about the US Soccer Player Development Initiative
The PDIs are designed to shift the focus of youth soccer from results based to individual player development. Tasked with advancing the sport at all levels, these initiatives are being implemented to create uniform standards with the primary consideration extended to the individual player at each age level based on their developmental needs.
The path to Player Development is via small-sided games.
May I suggest you bookmark this link, to the MYSA Forms and Downloads page where you can find these documents and many others in the future. That includes the FIFA Laws of the Game and the US Soccer COde of Conduct for players and parents.