Okay, So We Signed Our Kid Up for Soccer, Now What?
For those of you new to soccer and the Beekman Youth Soccer Club (BYSC),
welcome! Youíve joined an active club in a growing
community in an exploding youth sport. Yes, Mom and Dad, youíre now soccer
parents joining millions of other families cheering on their kids on Saturday
mornings. But thereís more than just getting the shin guards together twice
a week, isnít there? Can this lead anywhere? It certainly can, from simply
helping your six-year-oldís U6 coach, to guiding your player through advanced
teams and someday getting recognized enough to earn a partial scholarship
to college or (dream on with me here) playing professionally.
U5 - For 4-year olds, the BYSC is developing a new collective training program
to involve the parents more as well as teach the players their basic skills.
See the accompanying article on our efforts in this area. The players should
feel no pressure. The environment should be close to that of a pick-up game
with some friends getting together in someoneís back yard. For the next couple
years, the teams grow together in the U6 and U7 divisions.
U6 - division, games are still played micro style with 3 versus 3 using lots
of guidance and often, little regard to many of the rules. The objective is
for the players to learn that the game can be fun and exciting. Parents and
coaches find dealing with the attention span of 5-year olds to be the primary
U7 - division is much of the same, but differentiation between the players
becomes apparent and a goaltender is added to the team. The players are starting
to learn teamwork more and understand better the objective of the game. In
both the U6 and U7 divisions, seeing the progress in skills, teamwork and
play from the beginning of the fall to the end of the spring is a tremendous
reward for the coaches and parents. Some of the players have developed their
individual skills and are beginning to understand the competitive aspect of
the game by this time while others still just want to enjoy the companionship
and excitement the game provides.
U8 - division, things change. The field and goals get bigger and there are
5 or 6 players on the field. A certified FIFA referee officiates U8 games
in Beekman, giving the game a real soccer flavor. The games become more competitive
but are still recreational. Standings arenít kept during the season but in-house
tournaments are held at the end of the fall and spring seasons. Teams and
players that have mastered passing and teamwork stand out by this time. Some
6- and 7- year old players try out for U9 travel teams in the spring.
When players start the U9 season, they have the opportunity to start playing
more competitively with a travel team or continue with in-house play. Some
players choose to play on both since in-house games are on Saturday morning
and travel games are on Sunday afternoon. The word Ďtravelí is misleading,
since in our area there are so many clubs close by, travel teams donít really
travel much further than they do to our in-house fields.
To create enough in-house teams to form a division in Beekman, U9 and U10
players are combined into a single division. By the time the spring tournament
comes around, play in the U9/U10 in-house division is recreational and fun
to watch with good plays and competitive action.
This is the last opportunity for 9-year olds to play in-house. By this age
many players have decided to play other sports or get involved in other activities,
so there arenít enough players in the club to field a whole division of U11
or older teams. This is true of other soccer clubs in the area too, so in
order to play recreationally, there is an intertown division, which is less
competitive than travel soccer, but still involves playing teams from other
Beyond For those players who get involved with travel soccer, the opportunities
are tremendous. The Hudson Valley has over 40 clubs with thousands of players
all in close proximity which means the resources for watching good soccer,
as well as learning and playing the game are all available. From overnight
soccer camps, to premier level tournaments, to professional coaching and training,
to state and national level competition, the Hudson Valley offers all these
opportunities and more relatively conveniently.
The local high schools have nationally ranked soccer teams, with highly selective
try outs. Needless to say, most players on these teams have been tuning their
soccer skills since joining a U9 travel team.
Obviously, as a parent, you want to do your best to help your son or daughter
match his desires with his abilities and opportunities. In terms of physical
activity, teamwork and quick thinking, soccer offers a wealth of different
opportunities, especially for a player in the BYSC.
Beekman Youth Soccer Club