Soccer Club of Ridgefield, youth soccer in Western Connecticut

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  1.  Player Equipment
  2.  What every Parent Assistant Coach (PAC) Needs to Read!
  3.  Parental Support - The Key to Peak Performance
  4.  Parent Assistant Coach (PAC)
  5. "Play Up" Rule

 

1. Player Equipment

All players MUST, in practice and in game play, wear shin guards and soccer shoes. Sneakers are acceptable footwear in G Patrol only. The SCOR/CJSA player insurance is only 100% applicable for players wearing proper equipment. As representatives of SCOR on the field, Coaches and Managers must enforce this safety requirement.

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2. What every Parent Assistant Coach (PAC) Needs to Read!
 

... A philosophy That Will Allow Players to Develop as Players and as Maturing Kids.  Note: For more details on the role of the PAC please review the Parent Assistant Coach Guidlines in the document center.


I am looking forward to continue working with the entire constituency of the Soccer Club of Ridgefield to provide the optimum playing experience for all our players. The dedication of the members on SCOR's Board, parents and coaches at all levels of play is vital to our continual progress.  

 

It is important that the members of SCOR have an understanding of the Club's player development philosophy. Philosophy is determined by a combination of experience, background and indoctrination. There have been several eras in my life that first created a passion and appreciation of the game, then determined a philosophy by which I believe the game should be experienced: playing 'street soccer' in Vienna, Austria during the late 70's, playing for the school and club teams during adolescence in Vienna, Barrington, R.I. and Ridgefield, being rostered as a professional on a 1st Division team in Vienna as a twenty year old, and playing with much success in College for Western Connecticut State University, all provided a platform for my coaching career in Ridgefield. 


Coaching youth teams in Ridgefield for the past 2 decades including Ridgefield High School Boys Varsity and as an assistant to Western's Men's soccer team have created a first class learning experience for me. 

 

Ten years as Director of Coaching for SCOR and the highest level of licensing through the USSF, NSCAA and the KNVB, and continued education assures me that the player development philosophy in place is consistent with that of other reputable clubs and organizations across the U.S.  

 

Hopefully, as Director of Coaching for SCOR, I shall continue to demonstrate and communicate that soccer is an art and not a science and that the game should be played attractively as well as effectively. Soccer is a game of skill, imagination, creativity and decision making. Coaches, administrators and parents should not stifle but enhance those elements. I hope to impress upon coaches, administrators and parents that there is no magic formula or short cut to development, that coaching at the youth levels is all about working with players to improve performance so that they can become the best they can be. I trust that I shall continue to demonstrate that soccer is a player's game and that players should be considered first when political, administrative and coaching decisions are made.


Soccer is a game that mirrors life; a game with rules where all players must have an equal opportunity to participate but also an understanding that there is no such thing as total equality. While all players must have a chance to play at their own levels, some players naturally will be better than others. The great Football coach Joe Paterno once said "... If you strive for excellence, you will probably be successful eventually; people who put excellence in first place have the patience to end up with success."


The following is a story that reflects my thoughts as an example of how the lessons of this game can help put soccer and life in perspective. 


A kid I know was on the roster of a professional European club's youth team that had entered a 3 day U17 soccer tournament in Annemasse, France. An exciting competitive round of games against very prestigious European club teams and national teams from Algeria, Greece, Hungary and Poland was promised and delivered. This player did not start or even play a minute during the qualifying round matches. He was happy for the team's impending success but also disappointed that he had not played in any of the games. The humbling experiences of not contributing to the teams success lead him to question his abilities.

 

After much soul searching he did not allow his emotions to get the better of him, instead he stayed positive, supported his teammates and coach and refused to look for excuses as to why the coach hadn't entrusted him with any playing time. The tournament play-off round was drawing to a close and as expected the 4 National teams had achieved 1st through 4th place. This player's Club team and Italy's very prestigious club team AC Turin were in the play-offs for 5th place competing for the honor of being the 1st club team behind the 4 participating national teams.

 

This game was going to be a hard fought match with all the ingredients of an athlete's dream; 5,000 cheering spectators in a stadium, loud contemporary music playing over the loudspeakers, and a tough opponent that was expected to win. The cold evening weather and the light snow dusting set the stage for a game worth remembering. He had accepted the fact that he was going to be on the bench for this last game when the coach announced to his surprise that he would start and fill in for an injured player as right midfielder. He was eager to compete and ready for the opportunity.

 

Ninety minutes were played during regular time and the score remained 0-0, ten minutes of over-time were played and still no goal. The winner was going to be determined through penalty shots. His team's coach picked his top 4 players to take penalties but needed one more. His coach asked him and without hesitation he agreed to be one of the five to take a penalty. He knew that all depended on these five shots but could not know that it would be his successful kick that would be the game winning goal. This player will forever remember this tournament as an inspiring, rewarding and character building experience. I know that to this day that this person considers that moment in time as having been most pivotal in shaping his passion to become the best he can be as a soccer player and coach. I know this because I was the one who experienced it.

 

I have a passion to provide our players with an environment that will allow them the opportunity to enjoy the process and the challenges of an exciting game but most importantly I hope to contribute towards an environment where players will be able to look back and not regret his/her moment in time with SCOR.

 

I shall continue to provide our community with progressive skill development programs, the best available coaches, and a philosophy that will allow players to develop as players and as maturing kids.

 

Sincerely


Phil Bergen

 

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3. Parental Support - The Key to Peak Performance

The role that parents play in the life of a soccer player has a tremendous impact on their experience. With this in mind, the Club has taken some time to write down some helpful reminders for all of us as we approach the upcoming season. If you should have any questions about these thoughts, please feel free to discuss it with your coaches. Most of the time parents are doing an exemplary job of helping to promote the intent of youth soccer. However, coaches, parents sometimes think too much about winning and standings and lose focus of the most important aspects of youth soccer:

  • Kids having Fun
  • Kids learning Sportsmanship
  • Kids learning teamwork
  • Kids learning the game of Soccer
  • Kids gaining a positive experience through soccer

Therefore, we ask that each time you step on the sideline of a soccer field you take a brief moment to remind yourselves of the five points noted above. After all, on the day after a game, the outcome of that last game is not really very important to the kids, but the positive memories are. We should encourage that it be the same for the parents. Also, important is the positive support, constructive enthusiasm and respect for the coaches, opponents and the referees parents display on the sidelines. Please remember to:

  • Let the coaches coach: Leave the coaching to the coaches. This includes motivating, psyching your child for practice, after game critiquing, setting goals, requiring additional training, etc. You have entrusted the care of your player to these coaches and they need to be free to do their job. If a player has too many coaches, it is confusing for him/her and performance usually declines.
  • Support the program: Get involved. Volunteer. Help out with fundraisers, car-pool; anything to support the program.
  • Be your child's best fan: Support your child unconditionally.
  • Support and root for all players on the team: Foster teamwork.
  • Encourage your child to talk with the coaches: If your child is having difficulties in practice or games, or can't make a practice, etc., encourage them to speak directly to the coach. This "responsibility taking" is a big part of becoming a mature player. By handling the off-field tasks, your child is claiming ownership of all aspects of the game preparation for as well as playing the game.
  • Understand and display appropriate game behavior: Remember, your child's self esteem and game performance is at stake. To perform to the best of his/her abilities, a player needs to focus on the parts of the game that they can control (his fitness, positioning, decision making, skill, aggressiveness). If player starts focusing on what he cannot control (the condition of the field, the referee, the weather, the opponent, even the outcome of the game at times), he/she will not play up to his/her ability. If he hears a lot of people telling him what to do, or yelling at the referee, it diverts his/her attention away from the task at hand.
  • Monitor your child's stress level at home: Keep an eye on the player to make sure that they are handling stress effectively from the various activities in his life.
  • Monitor eating and sleeping habits: Be sure your child is eating the proper foods and getting adequate rest.
  • Help your child keep his priorities straight: Help your child maintain a focus on schoolwork, relationships and the other things in life besides soccer. Also, if your child has made a commitment to soccer, help him/her fulfill his/her obligation to the team.
  • Reality test: If your child has come off the field when his/her team has lost, but he/she has played his/her best, help him/her to see this as a "win". Remind him/her that he/she is to focus on "process" and not "results". Fun and satisfaction should be derived from "striving to win".
  • Keep soccer in its proper perspective: Soccer should not be larger than life for you. If your child's performance produces strong emotions in you, suppress them. Keep your goals and needs separate from your child's experience.
  • Have fun: That is what we will be trying to do! We will try to challenge your child to reach past their "comfort level and improve themselves as a player, and thus, a person. We will attempt to do this in environments that are fun and yet challenging.
  • If losing, do so graciously in the spirit of sportsmanship.
  • If winning, do so graciously and humbly because while your kids are winning, there are kids and their parents on the other team who are losing. Think about how your actions and your words will affect their feelings and their enjoyment of soccer
  • Referees are often your neighbors or your neighbors' children. Their rulings / decisions should always be respected. S.C.O.R. has a zero tolerance policy for harassment of referees.

As the adults learn the game and display proper sporting behavior, so will the children.

We discourage the following parent actions because these actions undermine the successful operations of the athletic program:

  • Talking with, or intimidating officials.
  • Undermining the authority of the coach with players and other parents.
  • Asking the coach for favors regarding playing time.
  • Getting involved with game strategies.
  • Coming onto the coach's side of the field during the game.
  • Coaching from the side-lines during a contest.

 

"At every youth game you see them, the parents who over identify

with their children's performance on the field, who can't draw the boundary between themselves and their children, and who forget that the game is about their kids, not about themselves? Their child smacks a double and it's the parent's success. Their child misses an open goal and it's the parent's failure. These parents don't yell at their children or at umpires because they are completely focused on winning. They do so because they are completely focused on themselves, and their children are simply an extension of themselves.

Why does this dynamic play out so fiercely on the sports field? That's simple. Because the athletic field is where children's skills or lack thereof - are on display for the world to see. And that is where the connection between child and parent is also completely on display. Moms and dads bring their kids to the game, they sit on the same sideline, and they walk off together."

Written by Shepard Smit
President of the Institute for Youth Development
Washington, D.C
.

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Parent Assistant Coach (PAC)

The role that parent coaches play in the life of a soccer player has a tremendous impact on their experience. With this in mind, SCOR has provided the following reminders for all of us as we approach the upcoming season. If you should have any questions about these thoughts, please feel free to discuss it with SCOR's Coaching Director, Phil Bergen. 

 

Let The Head Coaches Coach
Leave the coaching to the Head coaches. This includes motivating, psyching the players for practice, after game critiquing, setting goals, requiring additional training, etc.

 

  • Parents including Parent Assistant coaches have entrusted the care of all players to the professional coaches and they need to be free to do their job. If a player has too many coaches, it is confusing for the players and their performances usually declines.
  • Be Your Team's Best Fan:
  • Support your team unconditionally. Do not withdraw support from players or Head Coach when your team performs poorly.

 

Encourage Team Players To Talk With The Coaches
If player(s) is having difficulties in practice or games, or can't make a practice, etc., encourage player to speak directly to the coaches.

 

  • Understand And Display Appropriate Game Behavior:
  • Remember, players' self esteem and game performance is at stake.  Be supportive, cheer, and be appropriate. To perform to the best of their abilities, players need to focus on the parts of the game that they can control (fitness, positioning, decision making, skill, aggressiveness, what the game is presenting her).  If players start focusing on what they cannot control (the condition of the field, the referee, the weather, the opponent, even the outcome of the game at times), players will not play up to their abilities. If players hear a lot of people telling them what to do, or yelling at the referee, it diverts their attention away from the task at hand.

 

Reality Test

  • When your player has come off the field when the team has lost, but he/she has played their best, help them to see this as a 'win'. Remind player that he/she is to focus on 'process' and not 'results'. Fun and satisfaction should be derived from 'striving to win'. Conversely, player should not be as satisfied from the success that occurs despite inadequate preparation and performance.
  • Keep Soccer In Its Proper Perspective:
  • Soccer should not be larger than life for you. If your child's performance or that of his/her peers produces strong emotions in you, suppress them. Keep your goals and needs separate from your child's or that of his/her teammates experience.

 

Have Fun

  • That is what we will be trying to do! We will try to challenge the players to reach past their 'comfort level' and improve themselves as a player, and thus, a person. We will attempt to do this in environments that are fun, yet challenging.  We look forward to this process. We hope you do to!
  • The Assistant Parent Coach is to abide by SCOR's Code of Conduct and support SCOR's general player development philosophy as documented on the website, and the direct instructions of the professional Head Coach. When assisting professional Head Coach at practice or games the priority of the Assistant Coach is to encourage players, help with setting up activities and supporting Head Coach's intentions.
  • Communication between Head and Parent Assistant Coach must be deliberate, coordinated and consistent.  Parent Assistant Coach will be asked to evaluate Head Coach at the end of the season.

 

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5. "Play Up" Rule

SCOR has an obligation to provide an environment where all our players can strive to become the best they possibly can. A player that has indeed proven to be a superior player physically, technically and emotionally in his or her appropriate age group should have the opportunity to develop with an older and more challenging age group. The United States Soccer Federation encourages the exceptional player to play up, and S.C.O.R. follows their recommendation because it is important not only for the development of that exceptional player but that of his or her peers.

 

The following evaluation process must be met should a player player's request to play up will be considered:

 

Player's parent(s) submit a written request to Coaching Director prior to Spring season end. Parent(s) need to agree that the Coaching Director decision based on the evaluation process below is final.

 

Written Submission Deadline:

 

For consideration to play up for the Fall and Spring seasons you must submit your request by May 20th.  In the case of new registrants to the Program an exception will be

could be made.

 

  1. Coaching Director and Coaching Director ONLY may approach the parents of a player that has been identified as an exceptional player and recommend having that player's parents or guardians to consider 'playing up'.  Coaches should not approach parents or players.
  2. Coaching Director confirms player's maturity (technical, physical & emotional) with current professional coach. Player needs to be assessed as an exceptional player who needs to be challenged at a higher level in order to continue his/her development.
  3. Player is invited to one or more practice sessions with the older A team prior to start of season in question. Confirmation from current coach and the coach of the older team stating that the player is able to compete for a starting position within the older A-T Team roster is required.
  4. 'Playing up' status will be considered on an annual basis, depending on performance and continuous maturity status of player. The 'Play up' criteria is established and confirmed by the Coaching Director.

 

Exceptions to Process:

  1. Grade appropriate Travel level players are allowed to play up on either the A or B team.
  2. If player(s) is needed to help keep the older B team intact, non-exceptional and previously cut younger players can be assigned to team.
  3. If exceptional players are needed to keep his/her current A-team intact then the player in question will be asked to stay back. 4) If older age group has enough age appropriate 'A' team quality players to fill or complete an 'A' team roster.

 

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