The tryout process for our premier Division 4 (D4) teams is always a stressful process. It’s great to see nearly 200 kids tryout for positions on our U10-U12 girls and boys teams. How to run it so every kid and parent feels they got a fair shot is where the stress comes into play. We are all volunteers who want the kids to have a great time playing, improve every season, and be challenged in doing so. We will never convince all parties of that each time, though.
I’m very pleased with the improvements we made to our process running the tryouts for the 2015-16 seasons. Lori Heim, our VP of Travel, did a tremendous amount of work organizing, number crunching, pestering coaches for evals and communicating with parents. Keith Ruiz, our Equipment Director, got in a whole batch of new numbered, colored pinneys for the kids to use throughout clinics and tryouts to make the process easier for parents when they got to the field as well as for coaches to group new teams on the fly during the clinics and tryouts. Countless coaches and professional trainers help design and run the drills throughout both clinics and tryouts so we got the best look at the kids and the kids improved their skills as well. Thanks to all of the parents that registered, transported, and observed from a distance to help things go smoothly. Hopefully you also felt that it went well.
Having more ratings of the kids than ever made it that much better, as we averaged scores and compared players overall ratings with those provided by their regular season coaches. We then discussed the rankings with the coaches selected to run the teams for the Fall season. They added the field logic, making sure they had a couple of goalies and a group of kids they had confidence would gel. In some cases where we will have multiple teams, it is important to select and announce the group of kids that make the program early, so they have this knowledge going into other club tryouts, before we decide who is on which team and what the whole coaching staff for that team will look like. That is why our initial list does not show team specifics. Still, there will be kids who made the cut that decide to play elsewhere and we’ll have to go back to a player that did not initially make this cut and ask them to play.
Some kids playing on an existing D4 team will not make this year’s teams. That means that some kids that did not make it in prior years did make it this time around. Hopefully that encourages everyone to try hard and keep at it, though some may be disappointed, but hopefully working hard this coming year for a shot to get back in. Some coaches have changed as well, which is a healthy part of the process, keeping our gene-pool of training and development strong and diverse. Since all kids play in travel programs at U11 and older AND our U10 in-house programs are strong, I hope those not making D4 teams are comforted by the good experience available at all levels of our programs. Certainly youth soccer is about building character and making new friendships with each new team and season as the kids skills try to keep up with their growth. Like every game, tryouts come with learning experiences for all of us. Hopefully we take these things as experiences to learn from and not the be-all end end-all of our self esteem.