More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer Tale

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Nonlinear FC
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More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer Tale

Post by Nonlinear FC » Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:57 pm

I know there is a fairly limited audience for this, but things have started to get so twisted and surreal, I thought I'd share...

I'm the co-coach of my daughter's U15 soccer team. We've taken the core of a Rec/neighborhood team up into that league's Select division (MSI Classic, for those in the DC area.) We then took the core of that team into WAGS (travel league with multiple divisions, top division in each age bracket typically has some nationally ranked squads.)

To enter a team in WAGS, we had to find a club. I won't go into all of this (it feels like ancient history), but the ability to take a team out of a "house league" and place it in a travel league is rapidly shrinking. Clubs and increasingly academies develop their pool of players starting as young as U8. We hustled and put together a good pitch and the board of Maryland Rush Montgomery took a chance on us. We finished 6th out of 22 teams our first season, just missing out on promotion, and the next season we came in 2nd place, getting us out of the dreaded Provisional pool.

But that still leaves us in D5. We are confident we'll win that division, but the math of getting up into the top divisions with only 6 seasons remaining is pretty tough. We've played a number of tournaments, playing high level teams and have reached a ranking in the top 25 in MD (gotsoccer.com is the ranking system most clubs use.)

So the issue is that you a have D5 team, but D2/3 players. This is not a tenable situation. We take a lot of pride in our approach to the team: we want to win, but it's not a top priority. Our goal is to develop the girls so they can play for their high school teams (not easy in MoCo) and for a number of them into college.

We have been exploring leagues to provide our girls with higher level competition. And that, readers, is where things have taken a turn...


(Part 2 later today...)
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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by bapo! » Wed Feb 18, 2015 2:12 pm

Serialized storytelling. A cliffhanger, even. I like it.

(I don't want to step on your unfinished story, so I'll drop this in parentheses. ((Parentheses make everything forgivable.)) In retrospect, I'm glad that I wasn't good enough in team sports to want to play outside of the school system. Also glad that I'm not a parent. I'll watch 'Friday Night Tykes' and 'The Short Game' and be entertained, and also just assume that the rest of the country is insane whenever youth sports are involved.)

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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by DSafetyGuy » Wed Feb 18, 2015 3:39 pm

Music to play while reading future installments. Hopefully, they will be sent via MailKimp.



(Side note: During a referee video review in the Iowa-Northwestern game on Sunday, the PA played this song.)
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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by DC47 » Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:37 pm

Being a parent of two teens of vastly different capabilities and interests means we've seen a lot of what kids are exposed to these days. Of the couple dozen organized activities/programs/services we've observed (e.g., school music programs, various summer camps, school counseling, teen volunteer service programs, special ed, applying to college), there is nothing that we found to be more dysfunctional than club soccer, across multiple teams, coaches and levels of play. There are multiple aspects of club soccer dysfunction, so I suspect that the one that NFC is experiencing may not even be on the list of things that affected our family.

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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by howard » Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:47 pm

Question, nonlinear. Are you the only team in your D5 league that has more talent than belongs in that division, a bunch of D2/3 level players? Or are there one or two other teams that are too loaded for that level of play?

It was all so simple in my youth. There was one best level of baseball in my county, American Legion. It was rare for the best players to eschew that team. One of those rare occasions when I was growing up was David and Steve Sax. They both opted for playing on a team in a second tier league (Senior Babe Ruth) and played for their high school teams. Didn't seem to hinder their getting drafted and making it to the bigs. (I think their dad didn't think our coach was going to help them develop, because he knew little about ball. They only practiced with us a few times.)

( And I was glad to see them opt out. Cause had they stayed, I would've been cut for Steve. Which wouldn't have been so bad, except I was 18yo and he was 15. And he was better than me.)
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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by tennbengal » Thu Feb 19, 2015 10:29 am

Gah!

Any chance you could get into EDP rather than Wags?

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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by BuffloSoldier » Thu Feb 19, 2015 11:27 am

Nothing about youth soccer in the USA will surprise or shock me.

SO many horror stories.

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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by Nonlinear FC » Thu Feb 19, 2015 11:47 am

(Sorry for the delay... I'll circle back and answer questions in a bit.)

Cutting to the chase, as I mentioned we are looking outside of WAGS to play better teams. One available option is something called the Eastern Development Program (EDP.) This is a growing league/system, where clubs put their better teams, or a select/all-star team from a given age bracket, and play other teams in their region (MD, DE, NJ, VA, NY, PA). The carding and scheduling systems are much more flexible. (There's a sub-story here about how old school leagues like WAGS are starting to die for the reasons I discussed earlier - teams that get mired in lower divisions who aspire to play better competition.)

So, over the summer, my co-coach and I put together a plan to compete in EDP this spring. Our idea was to partner with our sister team, put together an all-star squad, and start training that group together and perhaps enter a tournament in the fall. Well, this was met with a deafening silence from the coach of the other team. This went on for weeks, until we finally just proposed combined training of both squads over the winter, no tournaments, forget EDP. Other coach said fine, let's do that... We agreed to send 10 players to club training, he agrees to send 10 players. Done.

Well, about 10 days ago, Nick (co-coach, but to be fair, he's the go getter that is pushing this stuff with the other coach and the club) receives a call from our club president. In what can only be described as a major league administrative fuck up, EDP has placed the same Rush team in Division 1 AND Division 2. Obviously, that's not going to work... And EDP folks are freaking out, what to do!?

Our club president tells them he thinks there is a solution, calls Nick and offers him the EDP D2 slot. Season starts in March. Holy shit. Now we need to scramble to fill out our roster, because it's damn near impossible to play a WAGS season and an EDP season, along with a big chunk of our players playing high school sports.

First call we make is to our sister team, obviously. "Hey, we have this opportunity, do you want to put your kids in the player pool." No answer... for days. Keep in mind, we are behind the 8-ball the minute we are given the slot. He finally responds that he's not sure about the select kids, but his daughter would definitely be interested. Tha fuck? Typical bullshit. Oh, and he also said that if he DOES decide to let his kids play EDP, he wants to be assistant coach. I won't go into all of the back and forth, but one of the reasons I was delayed in putting this post up is that I'm in the middle of crafting an email to this guy telling him we're done dicking around, his players can be part of the pool if he wants, but he needs to evaluate his bullshit approach to communications and pound sand.

The other piece to this, the one that really tipped this into the theater of the absurd has to do with the Annapolis/Bowie Rush club. To date, we've gotten along very well with them. And that is despite the fact that they kind of poached one of our best players for an NPL team (which is basically EDP, but at a higher level). That team is run by the club president, which will become important in this part of the story.

Nick has been picking this president guy's brain for months and months, looking for opportunities to scrimmage NPL teams, asking about tournaments, and how to approach EDP. Well, when we got the EDP slot, Nick calls him up and shoots the shit and asks for advice on rosterering and scheduling. At some point, president guy says something along the lines of "hmm... I like how you guys are approaching that..." Seemed innocuous at the time.

Fast forward to the following day, OUR club president calls Nick: "Hey, I don't know how to tell you this, but (other president guy) just made a run at that EDP slot."

Are you fucking kidding me?? The great news is despite the possible fallout, our guy tells him to take a walk, slot has already been taken. I doubt he added something about the other guy being a shady fucker, but man... Unreal.

=-=-=-=-=-=

The final weird wrinkle came in the form of an email we received yesterday from a coach of U15 team in the Potomac club system. We played his team (a VERY good team, btw) a couple of seasons ago. We made an impression--that was our first season in WAGS and a lot of coaches were some degree of shocked at how well we did. In fact, the Rush board, when we "interviewed" to get a spot on the club went out of their way to warn us how tough it was going to be. One of the reasons we are getting the EDP slot is that we've outperformed expectations to a pretty remarkable degree.

Ok, at any rate, Potomac left WAGS last year to join yet another fledgling league called the Club Champions League. He was pitching us on leaving Rush to become Potomac's B squad, to compete in the second division of the CCL.

I mean, flattering as hell, but that shit was almost comical in terms of timing and a host of other logistical issues.

Ok, that pretty much wraps things up for now... We are scrambling to get games scheduled and players on the roster.

=-=-=-=-=-=

Oh, shit, I forgot: Bethesda, which is a MONSTER on the club scene in this area, has an A, B and C team in our age bracket. They reached out to club president last week to see if we (the club) has room for 10 players, basically signalling that they are going to fold the C team. Our club president tells Nick we get first shot at these players to fill out the EDP roster. We don't really know, but one of those kids is someone we've been working on for years. We bring her on as a guest player for tournaments. We are able to place her on the EDP team without violating recruiting rules, so we were already going to approach her... Now she's totally in and there's a good shot we'll get her for WAGS, too.

But 10 players? That's complicated. So, that's going on, too.
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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by BuffloSoldier » Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:05 pm

A) Oy vey.

B) Nope...not surprised by any of this. Youth soccer in this country, by far, is the most fucked up.

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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by Nonlinear FC » Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:06 pm

howard wrote:Question, nonlinear. Are you the only team in your D5 league that has more talent than belongs in that division, a bunch of D2/3 level players? Or are there one or two other teams that are too loaded for that level of play?

It was all so simple in my youth. There was one best level of baseball in my county, American Legion. It was rare for the best players to eschew that team. One of those rare occasions when I was growing up was David and Steve Sax. They both opted for playing on a team in a second tier league (Senior Babe Ruth) and played for their high school teams. Didn't seem to hinder their getting drafted and making it to the bigs. (I think their dad didn't think our coach was going to help them develop, because he knew little about ball. They only practiced with us a few times.)

( And I was glad to see them opt out. Cause had they stayed, I would've been cut for Steve. Which wouldn't have been so bad, except I was 18yo and he was 15. And he was better than me.)

I played Legion ball, too, and that's a very good point about the array of options now available. I can tell you, a decent soccer team could EASILY participate in roughly 6 leagues in this area right now: ECNL, NPL, WAGS, EDP, ASL and CCL. And that doesn't include leagues in Baltimore and Columbia that would be annoying logistically, but are feasible.

To answer your question, we are a bit of an anomaly for a couple of reasons:

1) We got into the WAGS game a bit late (U14 was our first full season.) WAGS starts at U9, though teams often don't really get going until U10 or 11. They start to eyeball teams starting at U11 for placement in the rank ordered divisions which begin in U13... So when you come in at U14, you start in a big ass division at the bottom called the Provisional Division. We missed out on getting promoted by 1 point and finished 6th, top 5 teams got out. Second season we came in second (should've been a walk, but we tied 3 games against bunkerball teams... One of the reasons we hate playing shitty D5 and Provisional teams.)

2) So, we brought the bulk of our Classic team into WAGS, and added very good talent for that season. It's a real source of pride that the girls really enjoy playing with each other, and we haven't lost anyone. That's not typical at this age, particular with teams in the D4 and D5 land, swimming in quicksand. Good players either get poached or leave for higher division teams.

That's why we are so happy to get the EDP slot. We've been able to hold on to our better players because we've been talking about providing more opportunities to play better teams, but tournaments were the only avenue... And tournaments can be a total crap shoot for a variety of reasons.
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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by Nonlinear FC » Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:15 pm

tennbengal wrote:Gah!

Any chance you could get into EDP rather than Wags?

And here's a guy with some local knowledge. :-)

Just to expound a little on this, the CCL, more than anything I've seen, is a direct shot at WAGS in this area. In just a couple of years, they have amassed a really impressive group of clubs.

WAGS is so annoying. I played in the NCSL. You had 3 or so divisions, top 2 or 3 teams go up, bottom 2 or 3 teams go down. WAGS? Shit, you can petition to be moved up, the league execs often decide to simply not have a D1 or D3 or whatever, for whatever reason. And they make it REALLY hard to get out of the lower divisions. A lot of people think they do this to protect the bigger more established clubs (place them in the higher divisions early on, then make it really hard for teams to move up/down.)
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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by Nonlinear FC » Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:22 pm

DC47 wrote:Being a parent of two teens of vastly different capabilities and interests means we've seen a lot of what kids are exposed to these days. Of the couple dozen organized activities/programs/services we've observed (e.g., school music programs, various summer camps, school counseling, teen volunteer service programs, special ed, applying to college), there is nothing that we found to be more dysfunctional than club soccer, across multiple teams, coaches and levels of play. There are multiple aspects of club soccer dysfunction, so I suspect that the one that NFC is experiencing may not even be on the list of things that affected our family.


What's really interesting to me about the club's we've encountered is what happens when professional coaches are involved. The incentives and the dynamics can get really out of whack. Just in terms of player development, while people would assume professional coaching is always better than parent volunteers.

Well, no. Not always. A lot of those coaches, especially in the more expensive clubs, have a win at all costs mentality. That means, at times, loading up your team with bigger, stronger, faster and playing route 1, hoof it up the field soccer. This works well at younger ages, but obviously that starts to level off at some point.

That's why academy-style set-ups, with management overseeing everything, are a vast improvement. They are, for the mos part, going to focus much more heavily on player development, especially at the younger ages.
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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by testuser2 » Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:37 pm

That sounds like a mess and I'm not looking forward to it as the kids get older. Being stuck in rural PA doesn't give us many options. There is no local league that is competitive. We did local travel(Dubois, Clearfield, Altoona, etc...) and the games were not competitive. We now joined another club in Pittsburgh under their umbrella as a PA Classic team. Those have been slightly better. We also travel to open tournaments in the Philly/Harrisburg area.

The money is a big issue. It's a huge cost to spin up an official club. Fields, coaches, etc... Parents are also idiotic. They complain that the kids need to be in a competitive league, but some parents won't send their kids when they expect to lose. Some parents complain when other kids play a different sport for a season.

I used to coach/teach in Mont County. Whitman/Magruder. I still keep in touch with some AD's down there. Soccer was 3rd behind Lacrosse and Basketball in terms of craziness. Private schools and AAU were big contributors to the craziness.

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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by BuffloSoldier » Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:48 pm

On a side note...WAGS? Woof.

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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by Nonlinear FC » Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:00 pm

testuser2 wrote:That sounds like a mess and I'm not looking forward to it as the kids get older. Being stuck in rural PA doesn't give us many options. There is no local league that is competitive. We did local travel(Dubois, Clearfield, Altoona, etc...) and the games were not competitive. We now joined another club in Pittsburgh under their umbrella as a PA Classic team. Those have been slightly better. We also travel to open tournaments in the Philly/Harrisburg area.

The money is a big issue. It's a huge cost to spin up an official club. Fields, coaches, etc... Parents are also idiotic. They complain that the kids need to be in a competitive league, but some parents won't send their kids when they expect to lose. Some parents complain when other kids play a different sport for a season.

I used to coach/teach in Mont County. Whitman/Magruder. I still keep in touch with some AD's down there. Soccer was 3rd behind Lacrosse and Basketball in terms of craziness. Private schools and AAU were big contributors to the craziness.

Yeah, the thing is, unless you step into a coaching role, you'll be spared most of this bullshit. :D

And here's the really crazy thing... My daughter isn't likely to see a lot of time on the EDP team! She'll have the opportunity, but she's on the outside looking in.

We have a pretty good group of parents. But what surprises me is that so many of them just go along without really questioning things. We are helped out (massively) by how inexpensive our club fees are, especially in comparison to other club options.

Along those lines, what has been fascinating about the other coach is that he is risking an implosion of his squad. He is basically playing ostrich, hoping we go away. We are obviously not going away and word of the EDP situation will get out. When those parents start asking why a) their team didn't get it (they are in D4, we are in D5) and b) why their girls aren't part of the player pool... Shit is going to get ugly.
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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by Nonlinear FC » Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:01 pm

BuffloSoldier wrote:On a side note...WAGS? Woof.

Yeah, the league probably pre-dates the tabloid nomenclature, but... yeah.
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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by tennbengal » Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:51 pm

The difficulty is getting in with a supportive Club to access your team to the best competition. It is even more important on the girls side, where the best teams that will push the best players become fewer and farther between as they hit HS.

Hope the EDP thing works out. I manage a boys U13 team (because my son is on it, not just for the fun of doing 10 hours of extra work a week) that is playing EDP starting last fall (we started EDP/Maps in essence 3rd division), and the league organizers were really good to work with. Huge improvement in terms of competition and experience over the usual BBSL/CMSA options in the Baltimore area.

Hope it works out. If you can get your foothold established in EDP, I think you are good to go until they graduate.

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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by Nonlinear FC » Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:38 pm

tennbengal wrote:The difficulty is getting in with a supportive Club to access your team to the best competition. It is even more important on the girls side, where the best teams that will push the best players become fewer and farther between as they hit HS.

Hope the EDP thing works out. I manage a boys U13 team (because my son is on it, not just for the fun of doing 10 hours of extra work a week) that is playing EDP starting last fall (we started EDP/Maps in essence 3rd division), and the league organizers were really good to work with. Huge improvement in terms of competition and experience over the usual BBSL/CMSA options in the Baltimore area.

Hope it works out. If you can get your foothold established in EDP, I think you are good to go until they graduate.

Thanks for the insight.

We luck-boxed our way into this, but we're pretty confident we can pull it off. A lot of what I posted comes down to white noise, really. We have plenty of players interested, and our core group entered a tournament in the fall with other EDP teams and finished second in a 5 team round robin. As you pointed out, the biggest issue for us are two sport athletes and competing/conflicting high school sport schedules.

I'm glad we finally threw down the gauntlet with this other coach. We need to get that sorted ASAP.

ETA - The club situation is ideal for us, at this point. But we really had to prove ourselves on the field. We floated the idea of creating an EDP slot, wrote up a plan and submitted that back over the summer. Nothing from club president. I didn't get into that aspect of it, but that was super annoying and stressful. We just moved on with our lives, but then we played in 3 tournaments in November, winning one and placing second in two others, including the EDP heavy one.

Well, now we go back to him and he's all ears. :-) He is going to back us to be part of EDP next year... Then the scheduling SNAFU and we're in...
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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by howard » Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:10 pm

I'm confused on a couple of things.

What is Rush?

And you mention Bowie/Annapolis as well as Mont. county and Bethesda. Aren't these areas pretty far from one another, or does it just seem that way when I've encountered bad beltway traffic? What town are you in?
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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by Nonlinear FC » Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:38 pm

howard wrote:I'm confused on a couple of things.

What is Rush?

And you mention Bowie/Annapolis as well as Mont. county and Bethesda. Aren't these areas pretty far from one another, or does it just seem that way when I've encountered bad beltway traffic? What town are you in?

Rush is a network of clubs across the country. They were founded in Denver and I guess they decided to take their model and franchise it. (To be honest, I don't really know what that "model" really is, other than maybe finding areas that could clearly use additional club opportunities and exploit that market?)

At any rate, we are sponsored by Chevy so we have the same cool logo stamped on our jerseys as ManU!

But it's fairly unique to have this national club set-up. I'm sure there are others, but I'm not aware of them.

=-=-==-=

And the geography question is key. We are part of the same national club system, but in execution and operation we are separate entities (we are Maryland Rush Montgomery, they are Maryland Rush.) HOWEVAH, many leagues do not make this distinction, so WAGS, for example, would not allow the Rush clubs to enter three teams from the U15's into their league. EDP will typically only allow one team per division from a given "club."

With that said, our team and our sister MD Rush Mont. team have 4 players total playing on an NPL team based out of Annapolis... We have sent other players to combined training in Bowie. It's a pain in the butt, but it's 35-40 minutes from Rockville/Bethesda over to Annapolis and less time to get to Bowie.

(And shit, my daughter plays softball for a travel team out of Olney. That's 25 minutes in optimal traffic conditions for practices, and I'm not even going to start on where we play most of the games.)
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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by howard » Thu Feb 19, 2015 6:07 pm

I thought Annapolis was much further away. I lived in Bethesda for a few months in '77; back then Bowie seemed way the hell out in the sticks.
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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by DC47 » Thu Feb 19, 2015 6:19 pm

My daughter's last two club soccer seasons were with teams playing in the Midwest Regional League. That's the US Youth Soccer Region II league, just below the national-level ECNL. In the older age-groups MRL is loaded with kids pursuing college soccer, including D1 scholarships, but who find ECNL too expensive (e.g., travel costs for regular season games coast-to-coast), too far from home, or they couldn't make a team.

Region II includes the Great Plains, the midwest, and KY. Maryland would be in USYS Region I which runs from Maine down to Virginia -- all the states east of the Region II eastern boundary of Ohio/KY. I believe they have an equivalent regional soccer league. Is this relevant to your short-term or long-term plans?

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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by Nonlinear FC » Fri Feb 20, 2015 9:16 am

howard wrote:I thought Annapolis was much further away. I lived in Bethesda for a few months in '77; back then Bowie seemed way the hell out in the sticks.

Most people in MoCo think of Bowie and Annapolis as being almost across the Bay Bridge. I was that way for a long time. Then I worked for a congressman with a funny first name whose district covered parts of PG Co and it totally changed my perspective.

That said, my wife and I frequently take off for Annapolis as an alternative to downtown DC for weekends "away." It's only 40 minutes away, but it feels farther. (Baltimore is only 45-50 minutes away, and that feels like traveling to Philly to a lot of people. I went to school there, so I'm fully aware of the proximity.)
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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by DC47 » Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:11 pm

I've seen a lot of Rush in Michigan. They have at least three regional entities, one of which is the main operation. From my experience, I'd say their model entails:

- full-time and/or professional coaches (not exclusively, but they lean this way more than most others)
- opportunities in the summer for strong players to do things (training, tournaments) at a national Rush gathering
- professional administration and strong finances, which is important if you've had much exposure to the frequently incompetent and financially unstable 'community' clubs or smaller professional organizations

Here Rush established one strong central location, and then moved to other areas where the soccer clubs were primarily smaller, more unstable community clubs.

By expanding they obviously have a chance to make more money, simply through greater volume. But they can also create some economies of scale by utilizing a central administrative system across more teams, as well as by being able to keep better young, lower-level coaches by employing them to coach more teams (perhaps in two locations).

The central Rush 'A teams' are pretty good in general, even into the U15-U18 age groups where most clubs start falling apart. They don't have the national-level Academy (boys side) or ECNL (girls side) franchises in Michigan, so they can't generally field the quality of teams that the two 'franchise' clubs do here. But they are strong players in the next tier, and occasionally have a team that can beat the weaker of the two franchise clubs in a particular age group. And of course, they can field B and C teams, as well as teams from their non-central franchises, that are far weaker but which provide opportunities that many families prefer (leaving apart the question as to whether they have any clue whatsoever) over the 'lesser' clubs in the areas they operate in.

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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by Shirley » Mon Feb 23, 2015 1:42 pm

That's some odd spam.

Or maybe he honestly does need the Sports Frog to provide information about this small, nearly-unheard of school.
Totally Kafkaesque

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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by Nonlinear FC » Thu Feb 26, 2015 4:37 pm

Update:

Without going into exhaustive detail, we basically put the sister coach into a corner. He finally figured out that word would get out that he was "protecting his team" by denying them an opportunity to play higher level games on the EDP squad.

He still wants a piece of the coaching responsibilities, to which we are telling him to pound sand. He had has chance to jump fully on board months ago, and he's been either obstructionist, uncommunicative or both throughout the fall/winter.

So, now we have the combined talents of both squad and will be able to pull in another half dozen from the club and other squads.

Talent-wise, we just got very rich.
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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by Nonlinear FC » Thu Feb 26, 2015 4:38 pm

Shirley wrote:That's some odd spam.

Or maybe he honestly does need the Sports Frog to provide information about this small, nearly-unheard of school.
Yeah, I don't claim to really understand spam-bots, but that is really weird.
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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by tennbengal » Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:05 pm

Nonlinear FC wrote:Update:

Without going into exhaustive detail, we basically put the sister coach into a corner. He finally figured out that word would get out that he was "protecting his team" by denying them an opportunity to play higher level games on the EDP squad.

He still wants a piece of the coaching responsibilities, to which we are telling him to pound sand. He had has chance to jump fully on board months ago, and he's been either obstructionist, uncommunicative or both throughout the fall/winter.

So, now we have the combined talents of both squad and will be able to pull in another half dozen from the club and other squads.

Talent-wise, we just got very rich.
Well done, nonlinear. Happy it worked out.

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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by rass » Fri Nov 06, 2015 3:55 pm

Not sure how this is going to turn out. I think I just need to write this out to figure out how I feel.

We’re in the middle of the oldest daughter’s second year of travel soccer. U-10 team, local club based in town, in a league of similar town-based clubs, with the league one of 7 or 8 under the larger umbrella of NJ Youth Soccer. And I think the team is about to implode, if not this winter break then after the spring season.

OK, that got way too long. Short story, a rightfully frustrated dad of a rightfully frustrated player on my daughter’s team is going to try to start a second U-10 girls travel team for spring play. Losing that player will be bad enough, but I’m sure at least two other families on our team would jump ship without even thinking it through fully. Plus there is the specter of the calendar birth year re-alignment, which would cost us three players (including goalie #1 and our top scorer) if/when it happens. I think we would prefer this guy as coach, but would likely hold my daughter to her commitment to the current team through the spring season, then maybe give her a choice. Or, while I’m biased, I also think she’s good enough that we could find another club or academy to take out money to let her play for them. Who knows. However, I really doubt he can find 8+ girls to play at all, much less 8+ quality players, just based on the lack of players at tryouts. Either way, if he makes this move I can’t see his kid being back, and it could get real ugly if the other parents try to leave, too.

Long story:
This goes back to the initial tryouts when the team was first being formed during the spring of 2014. My daughter was part of the core of a rec team that had been together for a couple of seasons. They played well together, and at the end of that (undefeated) spring season the coach recommended that four of the girls (including my daughter and his) try out for the new U-9 girls team. He was the one forwarding us the information on the tryouts, including a last minute change in schedule. He also was apparently not reading the emails too carefully because he and his daughter showed up about an hour late for the tryouts. He now insists he had no desire to be the coach, and I can only take his word on that, but by that time the guy who ended up as (and still is) the coach had made his move and was all but in. More importantly, the rec coach’s daughter, despite clearly being more than skilled enough, did not make the team. My kid and the two others from the rec team did.

This sucked. It sucked for her. It sucked for dad. It sucked for the parents of kids who made the team who knew her, because it started our relationship with the new coach off on a sour note. And I don’t think it has recovered, or maybe it never would have been strong. First, the positives. He’s great interacting with the girls. He is dedicated, and he cares. I like the way he runs practices. Very skills and drills based, and not a lot of scrimmaging which I guess does bother some of the parents. The team has played well together, and earned a flight promotion in their first year playing together, even with a restructuring in our league this fall that saw them go from 11 teams per flight (playing each team once) to 6 teams per flight (playing a home and home with each team). I think my daughter has greatly improved in the past year, and outside an issue I’ll get to in the negatives, has really enjoyed playing for him and for this team.

The negatives. He’s just a horrible communicator with anyone other than the kids. Imagine someone you know who gives the most terse, impersonal replies possible via email, and then imagine that’s how he often talks to the parents, too. Not all of the time, but often enough that everyone is on edge when they need to speak to him, because they never know if they’re going to get blown off or worse berated. He has refused offers to nominate a team manager or treasurer, though he has been (after repeated requests) been good about reporting the details of the team funds. He is pretty set with where he plays the girls in game. He’s clearly dedicated to giving his daughter time at forward, and especially this fall, no one other than her (and the other full-time forward, the assistant coach’s daughter) gets any meaningful time up front. Both girls and good, and work hard, but it’s very obvious, and for the girls who want the opportunity to play forward and their parents. My daughter has been slotted in a defensive role. She groused a bit early last season (she wanted to play mid so she could run more), but eventually realized she was (A) pretty damn good and (B) perhaps because of (A) very rarely left the field and she liked playing all game. He has generally used mid-field to hide the lesser skilled girls, and that is where the in game subs usually happen.

We had one girl, whose parents really didn’t get along with the coach, leave for an academy after the spring season (great family, that sucked). One other girl was not asked back. We picked up one other player, the rec coach’s daughter from up top who tried out again and could not be denied this time (that leaves us at 11, so three subs for 8x8, though we do have a player out for injury right now). She’s generally been placed in mid-field, which means she’s off and on the field. She’s played great, scored a hat-trick the one game she got time at forward (because of illness). Her dad understandably came into this season resenting the coach, and last night explained the full extent. He claims he knows for a fact (not sure how?) that the coach kept his daughter off the team last year because he was worried he (rec coach dad) would meddle with the coaching. Rec coach dad, being a rec coach and a dad with an older daughter who came through the club, is close with the club officials and I guess got this from them? That’s awful if true.

Coach apparently has a strict “no mid fielders past forwards, ever” rule during games, and that combined with the previous baggage and being played only at mid has the daughter not enjoying soccer, and rec coach dad feeling that too much of the game is geared toward giving the coach’s daughter (I should have used initials or something) a chance to star. So, he had her check out a couple of academies last month, got a verbal “she would make the team” from one, but went back to the town club to talk first. They gave him the option of starting his own team for the spring(?), rather than leaving, or trying to force the current coach out. He’s been scouting rec teams, and let his plan drop to some parents last night. He has not told the coach because he think it would affect his daughter’s playing time and treatment. I suggested the coach’s worry and actions about potential meddling became a self-fulfilling prophecy. He chuckled. There will most likely be blood.
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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by tennbengal » Sun Nov 08, 2015 6:23 am

Bumping this so it doesn't get lost.

Was in the road for 14 hours yesterday and two soccer games in PA. Had a great time. I have had a really positive experience watching my son grow through five years now of competitive club youth soccer.

Rass- do what is best for your daughter and ignore the rest.

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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by Pruitt » Sun Nov 08, 2015 7:41 am

What a mess.

So what are the chances that this potential breakaway team can field enough players for tournament play? And will it need some sort of accreditation from the soccer powers that be at state or regional level in order to play at these tournaments?

Do whatever it takes to keep your daughter enjoying the game. My daughter is 16 and is a "Select" team member (somewhere between house league and "Reps." She loves soccer, and plays on her school team as well... but I know that if she came across a situation like this when she was younger, she'd have walked away form the game.
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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by rass » Sun Nov 08, 2015 9:55 am

It sounds the team has the go ahead from our club, which I assume means they can get placed in the league somewhere. I don't think he would go this route if he didn't think his daughter was going to be able to play (assuming he can field a full team).

I've tried to stay out of the grumbling because my daughter is enjoying herself and she's improved in the past year+. Hopefully this doesn't fully come to a head (multiple girls leaving) until the spring season is over.
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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by rass » Tue Nov 17, 2015 10:19 pm

Shit. Fan. Slow motion.

I guess I just read this guy wrong all along and he's truly just a dick?
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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by rass » Wed Dec 02, 2015 10:27 pm

Parent, coach, club meeting this evening. Grievances were aired. I thought we were headed for a soft-landing where went with "academy style" professional training* (at a slightly increased cost) with the current coach still involved in some sort of reduced directing role and his daughter still on the team. The club guys suggested we perhaps vote on that option vs the status quo, and then all of a sudden the assistant coach asked if there was a third option, where the current coach keeps a team of his own and everyone else who wants moves to a different academy style team. Like she wanted (or wanted her daughter) to have nothing to do with him. I wasn't the only one shocked. Everything ended up being postponed until another meeting next week. I emailed her after the meeting to ask if there is something else going on rather than a personality conflict.

*the club guys said they were likely heading in this direction anyway with as many teams as possible just to stay competitive with actual academies (as a non-profit and I guess with the buying power of multiple teams they can offer professional training for something like 1/3 of the price of the actual academies)
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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by howard » Wed Dec 02, 2015 11:13 pm

rass wrote:Parent, coach, club meeting this evening. Grievances were aired.
No gun play must be a good sign.
Who knows? Maybe, you were kidnapped, tied up, taken away and held for ransom.

Those days are gone forever
Over a long time ago
Oh yeah…

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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by elflaco » Thu Dec 03, 2015 8:54 am

Had the first club wide meeting last night on the Age Change topic.

Brand new board of directors... with yours truly stepping into the player & coaching dev/training role....

so far so good.
we brought out the US Soccer commandments.. opened it up for questions.. set up two club meetings for january to take every team's feedback (boys, girls).. some teams likely to play up (mine will, i've 8/5 split.. the 8 will play up) some teams likely to break up.. board agreed that goal is to field min two teams per age group....

expect lots of side discussions around town

i joined up as asst coach, planning to just deal w the kids. 3 yrs in i'm on the board fielding questions and daggers. fuckityfuck.

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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by wlu_lax6 » Thu Dec 03, 2015 11:47 am

My son just started playing soccer this year. Had fun in the rec league playing with and against his school buddies. He decided indoor soccer would be fun. So he signed up for the futsal league. That Aug 2nd birthday is amazing. My son is towering over the kids he is playing with. Just physically dominant (making up and then some for his novice skill set right now). Too bad US Soccer is screwing it up for my boy.

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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by Nonlinear FC » Thu Dec 03, 2015 12:46 pm

Quick update: EDP team won its abbreviated fall season and came in second at tournament a few weeks ago. We have a pretty aggressive tournament calendar set up, which includes some Showcases. That team, having started play last spring, is currently 14th in the state... Pretty remarkable. Oh, and we also took back the kid who was on the NPL team out of Annapolis. That guy was pissed, but it was just silly for that girl to drive all the way out there when we now have an EDP team which is really more her level anyways.

Our WAGS team played this fall, despite the everyone playing for their high school squads. We finished middle of the pack in D4. I'm looking forward to our winter training program and playing them at full strength in the spring. We played a bunch of VA teams, and their high school season is in the spring, so they were training as a unit while we were coming in a bit cold. That said, when we had a full roster, we were bossing other teams. We won our last game 4-0 and it wasn't even that close.

This winter we are teaming up with a new-to-the club U16 EDP team and a U17 NPL team to run academy style trainings on turf fields. So we are rotating the teams to different stations with all of the coaches running sessions and then scrimmaging. Very pumped for that.

=-=-=-=-=

The original squabble with our sister team continues to limp along. They sat out the fall (we gave any girl over there a spot on our WAGS team, which a few took advantage of) and sent out an email LAST WEEK trying to see who was around for the winter to set up playing in the spring. We are not at all convinced he's going to get more than 10 or 11.. Which is nowhere near enough, obviously.

So, because those guys are so half-assed and noncommittal, there's a very good chance that team is going to fold, only they won't admit it. Sucks, because we easily could've absorbed those girls on our WAGS team... Now, because we needed to be safe, we've added girls and our roster is up to 18... We can't really take more than a couple of those kids.
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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by testuser2 » Fri Dec 04, 2015 10:48 am

I've been part of a group of parents that are forming a new academy. It's been interesting. The major reason why we started the academy is to get have as many opportunities for kids to play soccer for as low of a price as possible. The other clubs had at most 2 sessions/week and had numerous breaks during the year. We are mainly a training group and allow them to play on any teams in the area. We also do optional tournaments and form teams based on availability and player levels. This allows the exceptional kids to play up in age groups and get better competition. ex: u8 player on the u10 travel. u10 on the u12. Otherwise these kids wouldn't get better and they'd just dominate at their own age group.

Being based in a college town helps on the coaching side. We have several excellent trainers with professional experience that really seem to enjoy working with motivated kids and make a few bucks at the same time. So far we haven't lost any kids and have doubled in size. We typically have 3-4 training sessions/week available to the kids for around $100.

So far politics haven't been too bad. Some parents always seem to think their kid should be playing up or we should focus more on winning tournaments. We have a local futsal tournament this weekend for the developmental group and our u7's.

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Re: More Backroom Deals Than Tammany Hall - A Youth Soccer T

Post by rass » Sun Dec 06, 2015 1:45 pm

I couldn't make it to the most recent parent's meeting yesterday, but let everyone know I would vote for dissolving the current team and starting over with tryouts for a new U-10 team this spring, provided the current coach's daughter was invited to try out if she chose to do so.

I guess that went through, as an email just went out to the coach today from one of the parents informing him that we have chosen to dissolve the team, nothing personal but you understand, and please bring along a statement of the current team bank account to the next meeting and make preparations to disperse the funds back to the team members.

We should change the team name from the Stars to the Shooting Stars.
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