Being on a good team vs. individual development

Discussion in 'Girls Youth Soccer' started by oneheadertoomany, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. oneheadertoomany

    Feb 15, 2008

    Here's a situation I'd like to get some feedback on.

    My U11 daughter is in a small, start-up soccer club that has struggled to attract quality players at her level. We live in Eclipse territory, and it seems many of the top players go there (understandably so).

    The coach/trainer of our little club is outstanding, and my daughter's individual progress in the last year has been tremendous. She's got unbeatable skills. So, we're reluctant to leave, given her great individual development.

    However, with a few exceptions, her teammates (and more importanly, her teammates' parents) are not as committed to the team as we are.

    As a result, the team is not very good.

    So, my question is: At what age does a player need to start playing on a good team to continue her development?

    Thanks for any input. I'm sure we'll end up at the Eclipse or some other megaclub eventually, but should that be at U12, U13, U14...when??

  2. CarmelSC

    CarmelSC New Member

    Jun 28, 2008
    Sounds like you have a pretty good idea. Best of luck with your child's development.
  3. MenaceFanatic

    MenaceFanatic New Member

    Oct 5, 2004
    I am sure that there will be those who will violently disagree with me, however here is my take.

    I think that the best individual development occurs not only with a good trainer but also when surrounded by like minded/skilled players. I think the two go hand in hand. I can't help but wonder how much more your child could have accomplished in the same time period with like skilled (or better) players surrounding her. She sees the cool things they can do, and tries them herself. She struggles to "beat them" in drills or small sided games, and feeds off of her teammates' abilities.

    We too had our daughter on a team where she was growing incredibly as a player, but the real spurts of development happened once we got her in an environment with like minded players. Great my opinion one-third of the picture. The other thirds are: childs athletic ability/mental demeanor and the quality of the players around them.

    I have heard this many times, and have fully accepted it as truth-- the kid who benefits most from any training environment is the "worst" kid on the field.
  4. J-Rod

    J-Rod New Member

    Aug 17, 2004
    That is a very good question, IMHO. It is my understanding the four components of player development are generally characterized as: technical, tactical, physical, and mental. It sounds like your daughter has developed well technically. However, at some point, her tactical development will need to be addressed. Tactical play is defined by USSF as play above the 1 v 1 level, including small group tactics such as 2 v 1, and large group tactics such as 5 v 5, 11 v 11 etc. IMO, one area our players tend to be weak in is our tactical understanding of the game especially our player’s positioning relative to other players on the field and the ball. When I see kids from other countries play, they seem to more naturally get into good positions on the field.
    If your daughter is playing on a team where the players are always in bad positions, she will not be able to easily learn proper positioning because generally, a player’s positioning is based upon her relative position to her teammates, for example, is she the 1st attacker, 2nd attacker, 3rd attacker, etc. I hate to see a youth player make a great play with the ball, pass it in order to move into a better position on the attack, and never get a return pass because their teammate can’t see the game at the same level they do, or lacks the technical skill to get her the ball back. Conversely, it is a beautiful thing to see good players moving and playing together and playing off each other. But if you are moving your kid to a new team to improve her tactical development, make sure the new team plays at a high tactical level, that is, not a run-and-kick team.
    However, as you know, it is a balancing act. Given her current environment, the individual attention and confidence she has received may perhaps be more important to her future development.
    At what age does tactical awareness become important? I am guessing U12. What do other parents think?
  5. eltoro

    eltoro New Member

    Jun 22, 2005
    My experience is that 12 is the best time to move them. I've seen too many kids that had phenominal potential in average clubs at U10-U12 that are run of the mill players by U14. Occasionally, I'll see a kid successfully make the move at U14, but not a lot, rarely after that. Many times, those players have been playing around players who aren't like-minded and they end up losing their passion for the game (or they adopt the passion of their teammates).
  6. Good4her

    Good4her New Member

    Jul 3, 2008
    Since you're in Eclipse territory, I would suggest trying the GLSA program first since Eclipse has been contracted to run their training program. She will be surrounded by competitive talent, coaches, and the passion for the game. If she stands out in that setting, then Eclipse may be her next step.

    I would recommend U13 as the age to make that step since IL is moving to 8v8 for U12s. My DD did just that and it worked out in her favor.
  7. oneheadertoomany

    Feb 15, 2008
    Hey everyone! Thanks for all the great advice.

    Menace, you are right: Most people take an opposing view, but I do agree with your three-fold approach.

    I guess what it comes down to is timing on when to hit all three of those things. Do they all have to occur early in a player's development (before U12)? Most people are suggesting a focus on individual development is the foundation for growth in other areas. And we have an outstanding DoC, a former USMNT player who is an awesome teacher and directly coaches my daughter's team. So that's two out of three.

    J-Rod: Your points about tactical play are spot on. The DoC in our club knows there's a sliding scale of skill/commitment on the various teams and has formed groups that pull top kids from the different squads together for tactical training of exactly the sort you describe. So, while my daughter may not be able to get the kind of training she needs at her team practices, the club offers additional tactical group training for the kids who want to do more.

    So, we're sticking at the smaller club. For now...

    Thanks everyone!!
  8. Smashfoot

    Smashfoot New Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    In general, I'd probably move sooner rather than later myself. If the situation were different, in that you had to drive many miles to reach competitive club, or competitive club coach is a jerk, then I might say to wait. But you have a professional (practically) club right close by, I'd move sooner rather than later.
  9. RegionIIFutbolr

    Jul 4, 2005
    Region 2
    Whats the hurry Smash, too win? It sounds like they have a great coach now, let her learn some of the technical stuff now under a less stressful enviorment. The big clubs arent going anywhere. Plus, im sure they will save a chunk of change along the way..:D
  10. Smashfoot

    Smashfoot New Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    I just think that having competitive teammates really adds to a player's development. The longer you don't have them, the higher the hurdle becomes when you want to make the switch.
  11. LJSoccer

    LJSoccer Member

    Feb 21, 2007
    Lake Jackson TX
    Houston Dynamo
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I coach a U-11 girls team myself. We are just forming this year as a competitive team. Believe me when I say that our girls are way behind the wealthy big clubs like Eclipse, Challenge, Albion and the like. Already at U-11! What I have is a group of really good athletes. So at this stage of the game we are competitive to a point. But I really have my work cut out for me to bring them to that "big club level". I would say that if you think that the better option is going with Eclipse, I would go sooner rather than later. I hate to shoot us small program coaches in the foot but there you have it.
  12. BigGuy

    BigGuy Red Card

    Apr 12, 2007
    Well if she really is unbeatable then move to elcipse now.

    Who has see been playing against. The same kind of teams the better clubs play against. She might be unbeatable against beatable teams. I am sure she will get good coaching with a better club. But she might not be unbeatible with better playes on better clubs.
  13. oneheadertoomany

    Feb 15, 2008
    As soon as I hit the SUBMIT button I knew that word would stick out. A little enthusiasm from dad....

    Good point, though.
  14. Bird1812

    Bird1812 New Member

    Nov 10, 2004
    Oneheadertoomany, my experience with my youngest daughter was very similiar to what you have expressed. The only difference was we specifically chose to move her from a top level U11 team to a team of mixed age and ability to have her coached by an incredible coach who knew exactly what he was doing and was focused on individual development. Now entering her U16 year, that decision has not held her back as she currently plays on a Regionally competitive team, but IMO her ability to compete at this level is very much due to the training she got as a U11. I don't believe she would have developed the same way had she remained with the other team.

    The other team was comprised of very good athletes. There was a great deal of size, speed and aggression on that team. When the team was put together a good portion of them came to the team with better than average skill for their age, my daughter among them, but the training they continued to receive once on the team did not focus on the same intense skill building that the other team was getting. Training was designed to win the next game, not develop the individual player, and win they did, but size, speed and aggression had a lot to do with those wins. My daughter had the speed, but lacked the size and isn't to this day particularly aggressive in nature, so for her continuing her skills development was particularly important if she was going to compete at a high level.

    At U13 we moved to a higher level team with the thought that it was now time for her tactical education, but once again our decision was based on coaching. We have made a very good choice as, although she has grown a great deal, she's still seems one of the smallest kids competing at this level. So now not only is being technically proficient essential, understanding the tactical game is important if she is to maintain her ability to compete at this level.

    What I hope you will take from my experience is to consider your daughter's strengths and weaknesses in determining what team will benefit her most. At U11 and U12 many of the top teams are top teams because they have the best athletes not the best training. All the other parts of becoming a good soccer player on a good team can be postponed until later, but that individual development that kids have to get before puberty can not. Kids who are super athletes can get away with not having it, because their athleticism will carry them, but for everyone else, I think you have to consider the club that promotes individual development as being the best place to be, whether that's at the big name club or a smaller club.
  15. RegionIIFutbolr

    Jul 4, 2005
    Region 2
    Our story is very close to Bird's. We did the same thing, Her U11/12 teams (playing up) sucked big time, but the coaching was 2nd to none. Went with a all boys select team at U11 (same age) and played till U14, still with great coach, then she moved to a superclub at U15 (and won a Natl Championship)and she hasnt looked back since. **Note, she left a National Championship team/club to attend Shattuck. This team she left is playing for the Natl Championship again in a few weeks.

    So, if its win win win now then go to the super club, but if its about development, then stay where your at. ;)
  16. Tmoto

    Tmoto New Member

    Oct 17, 2004
    I think the fact that you are receiving many responses in each favor, demonstrates that you should go with your own intuition. The one indisputable advantage to going to an Eclipse like team is the speed of play. I am certain they will play a fair amount of small sided games during which she will be forced to play quickly. If she is receiving this challenge (which I doubt) with her current team (or, in games), then I can see staying. If not, I would strongly suggest that she watch these teams train and then decide. My daughter went from a similar environment -- excellent trainer who was always willing to spend extra time with her and who encouraged creative play but she began to see an increasing number of girls who made the same mistakes time after time and who really didn't seem to care. She will almost certainly reach a stage where she demands to be moved. Let her make the decision.. but, let her know if she is getting frustrated that at some point she should either stop complaining or do something else.
  17. SoccerDad6

    SoccerDad6 New Member

    Sep 11, 2007
    I have enjoyed this discussion very much. My daughter is currently U12, and she has always loved the game. She is the best player on a decent team, but this age seems to be a point where a lot of girls start to lose interest (or perhaps just take more interest in other things). It is difficult for one player to continue to stay focused and work hard when others are not. We have struggled with whether to move our daughter to a more serious, focused, disciplined team, and we've actually wondered whether we waited too long. It sounds like "better late than never" is the advice of most.
  18. RegionIIFutbolr

    Jul 4, 2005
    Region 2
    SoccerDad6, contray, girls even on select teams lose interest as well, once they hit highschool, boys, jobs, cars, social things, you will see. Happens to all the teams, even the superclubs.;)
  19. Jumbo1

    Jumbo1 Member

    Feb 19, 2000
    I coach and see many girls at ODP and when the selection process is made, many players and parents can't understand why their daughter didn't make the pool or team..after all her teams wins all these big tournaments. It's often too late for them, because they never focused on good technique or had a coach that could teach them simple tactics.
  20. busymomontherun

    busymomontherun New Member

    Aug 16, 2008
    We were in your shoes, good coach, small team 2 years ago. But sometimes, one coach can only take it so far. As the kids get older u10-u11-u12, a small club can't attract many new good players. My daughter liked her old coaches and team, but she felt it was time to move on... If your daughter is happy with her team, I suggest leave her till u11. It be a better transition to go at u12- new team forming vs trying out for u13 for only a few spots. Good thing with Eclipse is that they don't just take anyone to fill the rooster. The first 2 years is more player development. Training for us has been outstanding. Most of all my daughter is happy to be where she is at.. HTH for what it is worth..
  21. oneheadertoomany

    Feb 15, 2008
    Thanks to everyone for their thoughtful responses. A quick update: The team so far is 2-13-1 (W-L-D), including tournaments, and the goal differential is about negative zillion. It's a tough season. My U11 daughter is transitioning from central defender to midfield, and the coach has her on the left to develop that foot. She's persevering and developing well. It'll be tough to avoid the lure of the bigger clubs with a broader base of skilled players at U12 next season, I'll tell you that right now.
  22. pocmtnsoccerdad

    pocmtnsoccerdad New Member

    Nov 22, 2008

    We had a very similar situation with my daugher. She is now playing U13. My wife and i coached her U12 team, we had 5 players that were committed and had good skills and athletic ability, the others were what i would consider intamural level, but loved the game, all the girls were great friends and it was just a great group ....all were progressing, albieit the 5 better players not as fast, and they were really helping the others to improve. At the end of spring 3 girls left to go play for a more competitive team, and we struggled to pick up enough girls to continue the team. We were afraid my daughter would not have a team to play for....So i found a club that played in a premier level, that would allow her to continue playing for our club as a secondary. That way we could keep a team together for the rest of the girls if we had enough, and allow my daughter to progress as we felt her development was hurt with our team.

    In the end, while the schedule was very demanding, i think playing for both clubs at her age was a great benefit...with our team, she played almost exclusively center d (as no one else wanted to play d...) and gained alot of confidence, skills in playing defense, and leadership in helping others in practice and on the field in games...While at the same time she was a sub on the premier team, and was really at the lower 1/3rd of the club in skills at the beginning of the summer. They had great coaching and a college level trainer working with her, and the last game of the fall season she actually started at midfield....

    I know this probably does not answer your question, but i truly feel that the one season playing for both clubs was extremely valuable. We dont know what we will do next season, as the scedule was very tough, she wants to continue with both, but we will see....
  23. socsocluv

    socsocluv New Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    In my opinion, individual developments beats a good team 100% of the time. Take the Eclipse girls' teams for example--they are one of the strongest girls club in the entire country, but do they deserve that title? I would say 'no'. Look at their history. Where would Eclipse be without the other clubs (TC, Magic, Sockers, etc.) to develop the girls at a young age? Eclipse is good at one thing: recruiting. People in the club know it. The girls on the teams and even the coaches all know that it is true. In the end, you are going to want your daughter to play on a team where she is being developed, because then, wherever she decides to go, she will be valued as a player. If you have a daughter playiing on Eclipse, you know what I mean. Say for instance, your daughter is on the u16 eclipse team....quite honestly, they are not all that they're cracked up to be.....they are in national league and mrl, but really, what have the every accomplished to deserve that?? So, this is a top-ranked team, and say you have a daughter who plays on it....she may be on a "good team", but in all actaulity, she is not developing as a player and she is not going to benefit in the long run. In my opinion, the coaches on Eclipse need to focus more on the players they have now rather than the ones they can recruit. Eclipse may be a strong club, but you need to break it down. The 13 team is very weak and is in the lower tior of the state. The 14 team, if they are on their game, will make it to regionals, but nothing past there. The 15 team is falling apart and will not go anywhere in my opinion. I have already said my share on the 16 team. I hear from everyone how strong that team is and how much potential they have, but really, I think that Cleveland FC is the team to watch at that age group. They are a solid team adn have actually PROVEN that they are good; they aren't good because of their "name". At the 17 age group, you do have a strong team, but that hasnt stopped the coaches from trying to recruit girls from the Waubonsie/ASC team. And at the 18 group, which is one of the strongest Eclipse teams, you have a group of girls that is entirely recrutied....If you remember, back when they were 14s, that whole group of girls were on Illinois Premier and Team Chicago. Both of those teams were very strong, but Eclipse recruited all of those girls to creat the 18 team they have. I think that this is rediculous, and that Eclipse is not all that it is cracked out to be......really, after breaking it down, what do they have? I am confident that I will be proven right in the upcoming NL event. mark my words--CFC will dominate at the 16 age group. They play Eclipse in the first game, and I would put money down to say that ppl will be surprised to see how well CFC does. I know that Geison, Sirna, and Smigel are VERY strong on the CFC team, and they definintely lead that group. I am very excited to see how everything turns out, but i do think that you will agree with me that individual development ALWAYS trumphs a good team!
  24. Stinky Shinguards

    Jul 8, 2006
    IL, Chicago suburb
    Newcastle United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    "I hear from everyone how strong that team is and how much potential they have, but really, I think that Cleveland FC is the team to watch at that age group." -socsocluv

    Are you TJ don't know much about soccer in disguise? You spout the same Eclipse hating language out of jealousy that she does. Or your the father/mother of Geison, Sirna, and Smigel. Let's talk current U16 girls. First, if you are TJ, it is interesting to note that you are jumping on the Cleveland FC wagon now that your Carmel United team hasn't shown much recently-

    Cleveland FC accomplishments- regional semifinal win versus Eclipse team in 2008 in a game that Eclipse should have won. Cleveland went on to lose to Kansas Intensity in the championship game. 2008 Ohio North Champions; 2007 US Club Region D Champion; non factor in MRL; 3v3 champions as U6 (just kidding on that last one, I think).

    Eclipse- 4 straight IYSA State championships (a wee bit tougher than Ohio North:rolleyes:); top place or second place in MRL Premier division for past 3 years; 4th place in National League inauguration (league in which Eclipse beat the same Kansas team (2-1) that beat Cleveland in Regional championships and a league where the National champions qualified (Dallas Texans)); 2008 USYSA Regional Semifinalist; 2007 USYSA Regional Semifinalist, etc.

    What is your motivation for such jealousy??? Either your hurt because you or your daughter got your feelings hurt by Eclipse on the pitch, or you or your daughter isn't getting the playing time that you/she thinks she should get. Whatever it is, GET OVER IT!!!:D

    Wanted to post the facts versus your very weak, jealousy filled opinions about U16 girls.
  25. socsocluv

    socsocluv New Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    YOU are obviously the one with a personal bias on this issue......
    1. I'd like to say that i have no idea who this Carmel guy ur talking about is, but if you are referring to the Carmel team at this same age group, then you are once again sadly mistaken to think that i am part of the carmel team that "hasn't shown much recently"--really, i am assuming that is the same carmel team that knocked eclipse out of regionals at u14???? ya, the one that then went on to win the regional...?? i was at that game, and carmel dominated the game and deserved to win
    2. no, i am not the mother/father of ANY cleveland fc girls
    3. how can you say that eclipse should have won in the 2008 regionals???? they lost 3-1and CFC completely dominated--they went on to lose just 1-0 in the finals in a very close game
    4. and you spewing off accomplishments of both eclipse and far as i am concerned, eclipse hasnt done ANYTHIGN in the past two years....they have won state cup, big deal!!!! illinois is NOT a hard state to win at that age. for cfc, they have a lot more accomplishments then that...and you saying that eclipse won mrl....well did you forget to mention that in the ONE time that eclipse did win mrl, back in u14 year, cfc was the only team to beat them???
    5. you seem very interested in all the "accomplishments" of these teams, when shouldnt you be looking at the latest results of both of theM???????? eclipse has NEVER beaten cleveland fc, and it is very obvious that they are the better team
    6. it is obvious that you either have a daughter on the eclipse team or a personal friend on the 16 team, becuase that is the only explanatino for you to stand for them when they have accomplished close to nothing in the past 4 years, sirna, geison, and smigel are all EXCELENT players.....they are far superior to ANY girl on that u16 eclipse team, and they deserve some recognition.

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