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Hazen - not sure I have any truly great insights but thought I would respond so you would know you aren't alone out there. Our team has a lot of the same dynamics but maybe not quite as extreme. I am a volunteer coach for a boys 11U 2012 (4th grade) team - my daughter plays on the team as well. We were undefeated last year in the Rec A division and moved up to Upper House this year. We are a school based team and our roster stayed exactly the same as last year.
Like your team, we are young. We have 5 2012s, 7 2013s and one 2014 on the roster. So we also seem to be quite a bit younger (and in some cases smaller) than the competition.
Our season has gone pretty well - we are currently 4-4-1 with one game to go. But we also have had some considerably variable results - we lost 10-0 two weeks ago and that was followed by a 1-0 victory.
For us, it comes down to who shows up. We rely on a few key players and if they aren't there for some reason, it really shows (we also have a wide variety of skill levels).
Our parent community is very supportive. The collective view of our parents is that it has been positive for our kids to expereince better competition and to hopefully learn something from the defeats.
Our kids also have enjoyed the move up - they say things like "this is where we should be playing."
Of course if we were losing by 10 goals every game it may be a different story but hopefully you have enough competitive games to keep the kids interested.
This has been our game plan:
1) act like we belong - be organized, have good uniforms, balls, equipment etc (of course this is resource dependent).
2) don't dwell too much on the results but try and get 2 good practices in a week.
3) we might not have as much skill as some of the other teams so we work on set plays, positioning, fitness, etc.
Re: the roster, we don't have much flexibility (if we want to keep the team school based) but I will try and tweak it a bit if I have the chance - try and get a little bit older and try not to have such a great disparity between skill levels.
Again, I know no great epiphanies here but I think if I were in your shoes, I would stay the course through the spring season and probaly again next fall (if you can keep your core group of players together) - and see how things develop. What I have noticed is that there has been siginficant flux in our division already - ie some teams have gotten much better and some teams the reverse - so I think every team goes through various phases of development.
Last thing - we did get trophies for the kids that we will hand out this weekend - we wanted them to feel that moving up a division and competing is a big accomplishment no mattter the outcome :)
I have a question for UH teams (especially if any moved from the Rec to UH, and have a variety of skill level):
My 6th grade (2010) girls team made the jump from Rec to UH this season (so we're almost done with our first season in UH), and after we had registered in UH, we lost an experienced player and gained 2 less experienced ones. We have since lost 2 more players. I am a volunteer coach and due to the wide variety of skill level on our team, we have not fared well in UH (but we had won all our games in Rec). We have won one game, and lost by as much as 15-0. I believe that win/loss record is not a marker of success, however I recognize that it may be emotionally tough for players to continue playing when they routinely get beat by 8 or more goals.
Our team may be significantly younger - and is definitely smaller and slower - than most of the teams we are playing as only 3 of our players have a 2010 birth year. We are playing teams with players who are as much as 12 - 18 months older than my girls.
Did anyone here have a similar experience moving up, and if so, how long did you stick it out, or how many seasons did it take for your team to become competitive?
Thank you for any insight you have, fellow coaches!
Hi everyone I'm the coach of the U15 boys UH Presidio Panthers. We started as the Lafayette Dolphins 8 years ago. In 6th grade we took players from Other disbanding teams, moved to UpperHouse last spring. 7 2009 and 11 2008 players. We have volunteer coaches and always been independent.
We will play in spring and then what? Varsity 7v7 is an option but the kids want to stay together and play 11v11. Is NorCal travel the only option?
it's been a wonderful ride with David, Barb, Lee & Scotty et all at SFYS, thanks!
Regarding Mercy Rules for the Rec league play, the referee yesterday said they were "optional." Is that true? If so, what other rules are optional (since the game day rule document doesn't specify any as optional)?