What is a "Player Pool" as opposed to a "Team"?
The player pool consists of every player in an age group and sometimes two age groups - this format allows anyone who would like to play at CDO Soccer Club in the U9 to U10 age groups to do so - nobody is "cut" because they are not skilled yet as a young child...different players will develop at different rates.
Teams in the past have been ability based - our training groups will continue to be that way, and in tournament play we can also select teams based upon ability, but there will be much closer interaction between the players to help foster a greater sense of club rather than just team, as well as a primary focus on individual development which is more important than "winning games", certainly at this early age.
Your son or daughter is part of CDO Soccer Club - that's the easy way to look at it.
What is a "Training Group"?
A training group is like a small practice session within the larger player pool. You may often see all of the players in the training groups working on the same sorts of activities, although sometimes with subtle differences based upon the abilities of the players in each group - some will need a little more time to improve certain skills, others can be challenged more. Players can move between training groups at any time, and may even be mixed on certain nights.
When will the Player Pool train?
Oro Valley does not typically produce field schedules until July, so specifics won't be known with certainty until then. In general terms, training groups will get together at the same field on the same nights to make logistics easier for families and coaches. For example, it could be that the U9/10B player pool trains on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. If players move between training groups, it means there is no adjustment needed by families in terms of scheduling.
So why aren't we keeping score anymore?
At this stage, players need to learn in an environment when the outcome of the game is secondary to the development an performance of key techniques and concepts. When parents and coach dictate that success is defined solely by the number of goals each team scores, the message of 'getting better' is lost. We will be working with parents so they know what to look for in games - if the training groups have been developing 1v1 techniques, ways to dribble past defenders creatively, the kids may try it many times in a game and not get it right. THAT IS OK!!
Passing up a chance to go 1v1 with an opponent for fear of losing the ball may go against what we have worked on in training. If parents and coaches are more focused on simply 'scoring more goals than the other team', players get dragged into that same mindset, rather than developing their abilities to help them be a rounded player further down the line. The teams that focus on "winning" first generally aren't very successful by the oldest age groups, as the players who've developed in an environment where they aren't afraid to make mistakes have a higher level of ability and the confidence to play soccer the right way.
What happens at the weekend if we don't have traditional "teams"?
Before you go any further, please read pages 26-29 of the US Youth Soccer Player Development Model below...it will help everyone get what the United States Soccer Federation wants all clubs to do to help develop better players.
"Teams" are in essence "groups of players from CDO Soccer Club on game days". During local league play, they will rarely be the same. In tournament play, we will have some occasions we groups players of similar ability to make sure the level of competition is appropriate.
Our local league may soon adopt this policy across the board - until they do, we will have as many teams as we can make from the player pool, with each 'team' having a smaller amount of substitutes. This will maximize playing opportunities - we have to list teams in order for games to be scheduled, but those teams are not fixed, they are "scrambled".
This means that all players can be mixed between the various teams that play on a weekend.
- Increased social interaction between players and parents in the club, helps kids and families meet new people and make more friends
- Provides challenges in play by having players adjust to the different skill sets of those around them, rather than becoming familiar with how the same kids around them play...team concepts come later, individual development is now!
- Supports the idea that game days are a chance for kids to get together and enjoy the game of soccer, rather than the parents focusing on whether the game is won or lost as the determination of whether it was a good day or not!