Team choice and Tryouts

Discussion in 'Youth & HS Soccer' started by tdbwins, Apr 30, 2021.

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  1. justanothersoccerdad

    Apr 5, 2021
    Yep, we're looking at the possibility of 3 clubs in 3 years. In our case, the local club has become a viable option again because it was recently accepted into the ECRL, which is where its top teams will compete. Rising U16 daughter--outside back, primarily, on her '20-'21 and '21-'22 ECRL squads--is somewhat reticent about returning (her '19-'20 season at the local club was awful--bad coach), but logic needs to be exercised--girls program has a new, ambitious director--and bygones need to be bygones. Daughter has a ton of experience playing against RL and NL teams and could make a real name for herself back at the local club. That, and my weekday drive would become much easier (lol).
     
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  2. smontrose

    smontrose Member

    Real Madrid
    Italy
    Aug 30, 2017
    Illinois, NW Suburb
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    For my son, In two clubs and ODP I've seen where he did or may have been overlooked because he was new-er than most of the player pool. I think you need to keep in mind that you want to know the club you want to be locked into once the kid hiys high school.
    I also notice your post seems to focus on the more social related stuff. I hope you've seen all clubs your considering in practice sessions and game play. That tells alot.
    LAstly, we came into a club that locks their teams (within the age pool) in very early and doesnt make changes. If thats the case HOLD OUT until you get commitment to the group/Team you want! I've had to learn this the hard way.
    Some day I'll have the last laugh with this DOC!
     
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  3. Fuegofan

    Fuegofan Member

    Feb 17, 2001
    Chicago
    Thanks for the reminder to watch their games and practices! It's so easy to forget that piece sometimes. We went and participated in two Club E practices, which essentially eliminated it from contention, but I'm so outwardly familiar with the other clubs that I haven't done any due diligence recently on that front. We're going to a Club D practice next week. We've practiced with the Club C coaches several times over the last two years. We are essentially at Club A. And we've competed against Clubs B and D. But I haven't seen the pre-academy team for Club B in action, so I just put it onto my schedule.

    Yes certainly looking ahead to high school. Ideally I'd like not to have to shift him from the next club again. Clubs A, B, and C all have semipro or higher teams attached, so if he's good enough there will be room to grow.

    And yes, I do focus on the social a bit because soccer are his people, so if he's unhappy there, there won't be anywhere else for him to be comfortable in his own skin. He tolerates the rest of life's responsibilities so that he can go to soccer.
     
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  4. tdbwins

    tdbwins Member

    PSG
    United States
    Jan 28, 2020
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    OP back again for our yearly update :) Much less stressful this year as one option is guaranteed that's acceptable.

    DS had an amazing Fall as the surprise best player on the team, a less good Spring where he fell to top 20% and the team struggled (team also moved up a division, but did poorly).

    He has three big possibilities ahead.

    Option A: Stay with current team. Great friends (and I really like the parents), same coach for last 3 years who is good and a known quantity, travel is very light. Downside is team is a bit stagnant and as a mid-tier team, the best players are always going to leave. Facilities are bad and as they move to 11v11 this year, decidedly unfit. New kids are coming no matter what and some kids will leave or be cut, but of course don't know ahead of time. This choice is guaranteed.

    Option B: Trying out for the current clubs ENCL-R team. Know some of the kids, and get access to much better facilities and better talent (the option to ENCL national is there, but extremely competitive). More opportunities and a third practice night. Downside is the travel (which balloons compared to our current 1hr bubble), an unknown coach, and potentially social issues with a new bunch of kids. Also attracts the parents who can be annoying to be around.

    Option C: Trying out for the other big club in town's ENCL-R team. Same club we tried out for as well last year to supplement our own clubs tryouts. Main get is better facilities and a club on the rise in our immediate area. Downsides are the same as Option B plus a new club. This is our bottom choice.

    Tryouts start today! At worse he auto qualifies for Option A which is a decent but not great. My personal frustration with Option A is some of the kids have talent but clearly put in no time outside of the team and still struggle with the basics. The coach doesn't (visibly, potentially does this directly) push kids to fix those issues. The other issue is bad fields and that won't change unless we change. If we could get good fields Option A would be my pick as my kids not going pro or getting a scholarship and having fun and playing competitively in the nearby area is a good outcome.

    I did promise him after last year that if he put the work in and was ready we'd try out for ENCL. The experience should also be good, even if we don't get in, or get in and decide that it's just not for us. I'll post again when its all said and done!
     
  5. VolklP19

    VolklP19 Member+

    Jun 23, 2010
    Illinois
    I'd go with what your son enjoys the most. Still time to move next year if need be. Just keep them happy IMO.
     
  6. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member+

    Feb 27, 2017
    What does your son want to do long term? Play in HS? Play in college? Just play with friends? If one of the first two, I would highly recommend getting somewhere challenging with good players. IMO, it's actually better if he's NOT the best on the team. Let his teammates (as well as opponents) "push" him.

    If he just want to enjoy the sport, stay with the local team and have fun.
     
  7. CornfieldSoccer

    Aug 22, 2013
    Heartily second this. If he really wants to play beyond HS, fun with friends sometimes has take a back seat to being pushed, for better or worse (at least in our experience).
     
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  8. tdbwins

    tdbwins Member

    PSG
    United States
    Jan 28, 2020
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Agreed with the push sentiment - although I'd argue there are two additional factors (both of which existed last year as well).

    1. Is it better to be the best on the mid-tier team or a bench rider with limited playing at a higher tier? Possibly practicing with the better team makes up for the lack of game time minutes until the level rises, but bench rider can come with a loss of confidence and interest in the game.

    2. If a kid (like mine) is socially driven, will they be able to adjust and enjoy a new team or will it cause them to want to stop after a few months of being the isolated new kid (especially if not a star but just a bench rider).

    Regardless!! One tryout night down for each team, in both a coach pulled him aside to get his name / current team etc. which is a decent sign. The second nights conflict so we'll be picking his current club's tryout, although I think we have a better shot at the new club.
     
  9. ctsoccer13

    ctsoccer13 Member+

    Mar 25, 2002
    Connecticut
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The best thing about this is #1. Knowing how it will effect your son. We were at the DA level with my son. We saw how his confidence went down as a late sub and his enjoyment of the game started to go away. We left the club at the end of the season and he moved to an ECNL Regional club. He now plays ECNL national and the switch was the best thing for him. Stepping back and taking yourself out of the situation and knowing your child is the best thing and it sure seems you've got that! That being said, when my son played High School his sophomore year he practiced full time with varsity and got into games sparingly. The social and confidence impacts for that were very positive. So each situation changes. Good luck with the tryouts!
     
  10. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member+

    Feb 27, 2017
    Let me answer a question with a question... how do you define "better"? IMO, if the goal is playing at a higher level (whether that's in the select environment, high school, or college), it would be better to be the bench rider.
    If the goal is to enjoy the game and be with friends, being the best on a mid-tier team is fine.
     
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  11. CornfieldSoccer

    Aug 22, 2013
    Important consideration, for sure, and I didn't mean to downplay it. My son's club team isn't exactly a bunch of friends -- more like a collection of small groups of three or four, with a few of the kids clearly there purely for soccer and socially disconnected from teammates (to be honest, it can be a little odd and there's almost no on-field chemistry, frustrating their coaches from time to time). It would not be for everybody.

    He chooses this at least in part because of a lack of comparable options. We don't live in a major metro area and this club is the best thing available in terms of level of play (there isn't even a close second locally -- my son's age group in the club he came out of, based on the one time they've played each other, doesn't belong on the same field as his current team). If we were in a major city, I guess he might opt for a different club.
     
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  12. kinznk

    kinznk Member

    Feb 11, 2007
    I can only relay personal experience with my son. At u15, or freshman year, he changed clubs. Prior to that he was in situation A. Middling team but best player. By middling I mean a 30th to 40th ranked team in a mid sized state in the states 3rd or 4th division. Without him on the team they would have been a 60th ranked team. They had some good players but not depth. For him, and to echo what @ctsoccer13 said, you have to know your kid. Being the best player on a middling team meant that he had to learn to compete as well as play. Nothing was ever easy for him or the team. They played teams above them in tournaments and he had to learn how to not give up and battle. He is wired different so he relished that. His on his own work was done for himself and to make his team better. Not every kid is like that. Had he went to a better team he probably would have been put out wide rather than in the defensive center where he had to do everything. He would have loved winning more but I think it would have cost him in the long run with complacency. But every kid is different.
     
  13. justanothersoccerdad

    Apr 5, 2021
    #88 justanothersoccerdad, Apr 27, 2022
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2022
    Great thread! I now find myself with a bit--just a bit (lol)--of a complication or two.
    Per my earlier post, you'll note that we're already trafficking enough complexity as it is.

    Well, now my daughter finds herself on crutches for 2 weeks and saddled with 4 weeks of no soccer, doctor's orders. It essentially ends her high-school season (freshman starter at OB and F), which stinks. She has been plagued with hip and ankle problems for several weeks, and while the ankle's improved, the hip was not healing in a manner that appealed to her (at all). She was doing everything possible to get things back in gear (PT, regular consultations with the school trainer, light conditioning work, etc.), but it wasn't enough. Match minutes were limited, of course, which bothered her to no end.

    Anyway---she talked her coach into starting the 2nd half at RB on Monday night, with the score sitting at 0-0. She did her job for 20 mins., helped secure a 1-0 lead, and then promptly left the field after the goal was scored. She didn't return, but the team held on for the 1-0 win. Admirable on her part, but costly---the hip flared up again.

    She's going to miss both tryout dates at her current club (2 hrs. away from us). The DOC is going to extend an ECRL invite regardless of her availability for those sessions, but any chance that she had to grab an NL roster spot is kaput. Given the amount of driving that an NL spot would ask of me, I'm okay with that situation, even if she's not (ha!).

    The kicker is this: Her current club will need a firm yes or no by mid-May. The local club is joining the ECRL, but only one tryout session is being held for her age group---5/26. I know...very, very late in the game. Daughter will get cleared to play on 5/23 or 5/24, so it's very possible that rust build-up will be a factor on 5/26. I sense a potential snafu/cluster-mess, just over the horizon---1) She says "No thanks" to her current club; 2) she somewhat bombs the 5/26 tryout due to lack of practice/training; 3) the local club says "Congrats! You're on our 2nd team!!!" (2nd-division USYS).

    The local club has indeed changed its stripes, for the better, on the girls' side over the past year, but based on my daughter's first, and rather jagged, go-round with said organization, I don't discount any possibilities where team assignments are concerned.

    My player has battled, trained, and worked her way up to a level where, yes---when healthy---she has a legitimate shot at making an ECNL roster As you might imagine, if the local club rendered judgment in the manner outlined above, my daughter would probably say "To hell with it," and stay out of club ball for a season. I don't want that to happen.

    I hope that the situation doesn't evolve in the manner that I've described, but I wonder if anyone else here has ever dealt with something similar. How did you approach it?

    Thanks!
     
  14. justanothersoccerdad

    Apr 5, 2021
    My rising-U16 daughter's been in a somewhat similar scenario before (U12 & U13), and she reacted in a manner not unlike your son. The situation that you've described is, indeed, something of a crapshoot because---as you've mentioned---not every kid will bear down and claim it as their own. Although she used that earlier "middling team" experience as a tremendous jumping-off point, I'm no longer very confident that she would--these days--react in a positive, healthy manner to that sort of team assignment. She's now at the stage where she feels like she's earned the right to compete against similarly-driven athletes at her level and above. I can't blame her there.
     
  15. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member+

    Feb 27, 2017
    My .02...
    If she had offers from both current club and local club, which would she choose?

    If she'd pick the current club, then you're set... she already has her invite.

    If she'd prefer the local club, I think she (assuming she's HS age) reaches out to the DoC and explain the situation (everything from the injury to the current club wanting a commitment before their tryouts). Are they willing to commit to giving her an invitation even if she's not 100% at tryouts?

    Once you have those pieces of information, THEN you can decide.
     
  16. justanothersoccerdad

    Apr 5, 2021
    I think she'd pick her current club, all things considered, but she certainly has an interest in returning to the local club, too: several of her high-school teammates play for the local club, the ECRL squad at the local club will be the top team at the club in her age group (whereas, at her current club, it's the 2nd team), and the new girls' DOC is seemingly very ambitious, competitive, and driven.

    The trouble with the local club is that, in the past, my daughter and the new DOC have had a couple of "encounters" (e.g., my daughter was booted unceremoniously--while training in town on an off-day--off of a field by this new DOC last fall, my daughter also---following so local sessions last summer---had/has some differences of opinion w/r/t training philosophy, etc.). These are honest disagreements/misunderstandings--nothing malicious or ill-tempered. The new DOC is also rather rough around the edges as a communicator. That's my experience, at least.

    My rising U11 son plays at the local club, so where the sanity (lol) of our family is concerned, the local club looks like the way to go. I've always been willing to help my daughter with her goals, especially since she is a tremendous worker, but I think even she sees that the signs are pointing towards staying in town next year.

    Anyhow...communication...we've been thinking along the lines that you've outlined, and are attempting to arrange a meeting between my daughter, the DOC, and a coach (i.e., no parents there) at the local club that my daughter respects a great deal. Long story, short---the coach is all-in, my daughter's ready to meet, but the DOC? Well, crickets.... I'm giving her (the DOC) until the end of the month to get back with my daughter and I (something, anything...); then, I'm talking to the executive director, who normally doesn't care much about what happens on the girls' side, but since I'm an involved, efficient (I think so...lol) team manager on the boys' side, he almost has to listen to me. I probably should add that this new girls' DOC will very likely be the coach for the U16 ECRL squad at the local club.

    It really shouldn't be this difficult, but all signs say that "difficult" will be a theme this spring.
     
  17. CornfieldSoccer

    Aug 22, 2013
    Something to think about, for sure. In club play, mine has played outside for years now (and about half the time with the current club, from the bench).

    On one hand, I've heard a college coach I know a little say he prefers to recruit kids who have spent most of their time in the middle of the field. On the other hand, there's no doubt that in my son's situation dropping to the next available club down would have been a significant drop, to a level where the practices aren't as tough or serious and his teammates wouldn't have pushed him much if at all. No way to really know for sure if his preference was the right choice (tougher team, stronger competition, having to fight for playing time), but for him, I suspect it was.
     
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  18. kinznk

    kinznk Member

    Feb 11, 2007
    Every kid is different. For my son the path worked out. It's not right for every kid. It's kind of why it's a crap shoot.
     
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  19. tdbwins

    tdbwins Member

    PSG
    United States
    Jan 28, 2020
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    In the end, we are going with Option C from above, playing on a new club's ENCL-RL team.

    The tryouts for Option B did not go particularly well. Night 1 was decent but 2 and 3 DS didn't demonstrate his skills very well. In combination I thought the tryouts were poorly executed on the whole and they basically picked the previous team plus one surprise pick of the worst kid from our team whose brothers are on the national team.

    In combination they decided to extensively gut Option A for the fall. So, while we had a spot, only a handful of the kids are likely to asked back and all the issues with facilities persist. In addition I feel like 3 years with the same coach is enough. It hurts a little to walk away for sure.

    The tryouts for Option C went very well. They play a more pass focused game as opposed to the dribble dribble lose the ball of current club. The facilities were great and everyone seemed very nice. I don't think we'd do a lateral move, but the option to step up to the next level makes it appealing and worth the shot.

    DS is excited but nervous, I'm pleased he is willing to take this chance on himself and move out side of his comfort zone.
     
  20. ctsoccer13

    ctsoccer13 Member+

    Mar 25, 2002
    Connecticut
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Good luck to all of you. I like the fact he's going out of his comfort zone. My son did the same and while his team may not be as good as the one he left, he's a better player because of it. Keep us up to date on how everything goes. We are ending our club season here and off season High School (run by the booster club) starts up in a month or so. My son will be a senior and my daughter a freshmen. Both are gleaming with excitement for their respective years.
     
  21. VolklP19

    VolklP19 Member+

    Jun 23, 2010
    Illinois
    First try out tonight... My kid knew so many players (mostly from high schools we play against). Coach was first bumping and jamming as well as encouraging all night long. Other players were cheering her on. My kid got to play in multiple positions and just had fun all night long. In this case I think I found a place where she can love the sport again!
     
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  22. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    That is wonderful!
     
  23. Fuegofan

    Fuegofan Member

    Feb 17, 2001
    Chicago
    So we've made a decision. In the end it was one of the easiest decisions over the last three or four years. After schlepping out to the suburbs several times, we decided that Club D was just too far. And, thanks in part to being reminded to go watch games, we decided that Club B isn't where DS needs it to be to push him. And Club C is still coming together and showed off a bunch of green coaches. Since the point of Club C is one primary coach, and no guarantee that he'd be all that present, to say nothing of the fact that it might not even have enough players to field a team, we couldn't really count on it. So we're staying at Club A, and we're pretty o.k. with that. DS is happy, though some of his friends are off to different teams within the club (some moving down, one moving up). We parents are happy because we like the other families and the facilities. Thanks for the advice, everyone. Here's to hoping that you all have a great next year.
     
  24. saltysoccer

    saltysoccer Member

    Tottenham Hotspur
    United States
    Mar 6, 2021
    #99 saltysoccer, May 14, 2022
    Last edited: May 14, 2022
    Our daughter has been in a generally good situation throughout her experience in club soccer. This year for the first time we're facing a somewhat difficult choice.

    Daughter has been playing since a young age at one of the "big clubs" locally. This year they make the jump to "pre-Academy," i.e., age before Girls Academy League.

    Many good girls on this team, but it's been together for more than 2 years now and varying levels of interest are becoming evident on the team (mainly due to other sports/activities). As a result, this team, which has played "up" and dominated in the area for a few years, seems to be hitting a ceiling. D is feeling a level of frustration because she wants to be with other players who are working hard instead of coasting.

    We decided to look around at the local scene and visited practice at the main rival Girls Academy club. This club has historically been a strong club, especially at young ages, albeit with increasingly weaker results at older ages compared to her current club. The other club is especially strong at this age group, and crushed the opposition in our geographical area (including our team and other GA/ECNL clubs' teams). More importantly the girls at practice seem very engaged and are generally better skills-wise.

    We realizing that at these ages, long-term development and friendships are important relative to competitive results. However, the difference in focus and level of commitment is very evident right now.

    D found practice at the other club to be fun and challenging. She is a motivated player, and we can see how exposure to stronger players in practice would encourage her to push forward in terms of individual development. At the same time, she has a desire to stay with friends and a coach that she likes very much.

    What are people's experiences and thoughts regarding this type of situation? Are we just overthinking this?
     
  25. justanothersoccerdad

    Apr 5, 2021
    If she's a motivated/driven player, I'd recommend encouraging her to work through a bit of comparison/contrast analysis, with the understanding that both clubs/orgs will have their pros and cons. Then, so long as you're fine with either option, let her decide how to proceed.

    Your daughter sounds like she has a mentality that's similar to mine (rising U16), and if that's the case, she's going to want to chart her own course as she gets older. This situation is good practice.

    My guess is that she'll end up choosing to join the rival club, which--based on the information that you've provided--is perfectly understandable. Hopefully, the drive to/from training sessions isn't too bad (ha!).
     
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