The Technical Committee (TC) of Saanich Fusion Football Club (SFFC), along with a working group of coaches that have experience coaching at the U-12 age group, have developed this backgrounder for parents and coaches of players entering the U-12 age bracket. U-12 is a challenging age category at our club – gold and silver tiers begins at this age; competition increases, and coach qualification is taken more seriously. This fact sheet provides parents that have not previously had children in the U-12 age bracket with some need-to-know information on what to expect in the upcoming season, and in the years ahead!
Technical Committee Strategy for U-12:
The SFFC–TC is a small group of committed volunteers that establish policy and make key decisions for the club around coach selection, player assessments, coach development programs, technical directorship and age-specific strategies for team formation. The U-12 strategy, as developed by the TC in cooperation with the Technical Director, is as follows:
- Two Gold Teams: Two skills-balanced U-12 Gold teams will be formed of 12 players each, provided there are a sufficient number of players of Gold caliber in the opinion of the Tech Committee. Establishing two teams at this age group enables SFFC to field a highly competitive U-13 team next season, since a larger number of players will have played Gold at U12 and due to the enhanced training that Silver players will receive. It does mean that on average, SFFC U-12 teams may have a more difficult time competing with those clubs in Victoria that field only one strong Gold team at this age group;
- Practice Time: Gold teams will be given two practice times per week plus one regular game time; Silver teams will have one practice time slot and one regular game time per week;
- Gold Team Cooperation: Coaches of the two Gold teams will be instructed by the Tech Committee (with oversight from the Technical Director) to work cooperatively to ensure that camaraderie is built between teams and to develop a healthy sense of cooperative ‘intra-club competition’;
- Silver Player Development: Gold coaches will be expected to open one of their two practices per week to Silver players that would like to undertake additional training; this is a critical initiative that is central to the club’s Strategic Plan and will be encouraged by the TC throughout the season;
- Silver Player Call-ups: For those Silver players showing commitment and dedication to improvement, Gold coaches (in cooperation with the Technical Director) will periodically ‘call up’ or invite Silver team players to play in games with Gold teams – this does not mean that a Silver player becomes a Gold player, but does provide opportunity for interested Silver players to improve, experience Gold level play, and position themselves to compete for a Gold team position the following season.
The assessment process is administered by the TC and is designed to use external assessors to deliver objective player assessments (TC members are subject to the club Conflict of Interest Policy that is available for member’s review on the club website – every effort is made during the assessment process to select players according to player ability and the TC strives to avoid perceived conflicts with assigned assessors. Sometimes, the perception of conflict of interest can emerge, and we encourage members to speak with the TC or a club Board Member if they feel a complaint is warranted). Generally, player assessments will include the following components:
- U-11 Coach Feedback: end-of-season player rankings and assessment charts filled out by U-11 coaches;
- Scheduled Tryouts: the TC will schedule as sequence of tryouts where designated assessors (ie: not U11 coaches) will observe and rank players;
- TC Review & Team Formation: the TC will acquire assessor’s judgements, review player assessments, and then hold a conference with assigned coaches to cooperatively fill team rosters.
The following procedures and policies are in place for coach selection:
- Volunteers Invited: Coach candidates wishing to coach U-12 put their names forward to the TC for review;
- Candidate Interviews: Coaches undergo a coach interview with an interview panel appointed by the TC;
- Coaching Vacancies: If an insufficient number of coach volunteers exist, or if the TC deems available coaches to be unqualified, the TC reserves the right to solicit other coaching candidates to fill coaching positions; the TC may from time to time fill coaching vacancies with paid coaches;
- Preference Policy: The TC will endeavor to select the best qualified coaches for the coming year. The TC may select a qualified Gold coach, even if their child may not have assessed as being a Gold level player this season.
- Assistant Coaches: the TC will appoint one coach as the head coach, and one coach as the assistant coach for each team, where sufficient candidates exist to fill each position;
- U-13 Program: The U-13 program at SFFC switches to a full field. It is also the age level at which competition for the BC High Performance League (HPL) begins. HPL is a new province-wide league run by BC Soccer that is expected to largely replace Metro and Super-Y soccer. Note that youth Gold and Silver teams play within LISA which involves only Lower Island teams – travel north of Duncan is not required.
- VIPL Tier 2: The Vancouver Island Premier League (VIPL, or (HPL) Tier 2) is a new league for Vancouver Island that will take the top 6 teams from Gold-level play across the island to form a new island league. The VIPL is expected to be the league from which elite players will be selected for play in the Island’s HPL franchise, The Vancouver Island Wave (eventually, spanning the U-14 to U-18 age groups). VIPL teams will be required to travel north of Duncan for some play as this division will include north-island teams.
- The HPL Drain: In the past, Super-Y and Metro teams have resulted in a drain of elite players away from our club. This will still be the case, however in future years, it will be the HPL island franchise teams that will draw elite players away from club soccer. HPL is a new league run by BC Soccer that is expected to largely replace Metro and Super-Y soccer in the province. VIPL will not directly drain elite players away, as VIPL teams will still be associated with our club.
- U-13 Coach Selection: It is expected that there will be only one Gold team starting at U-13 as the club wishes to field the strongest possible teams – the results of league play for teams at U-13 will determine which 6 Clubs get selected to compete in the U-14 VIPL. One Gold team at U-13 provides the best opportunity for securing a U-14 VIPL spot. Coach selection for U-13 Gold teams will not necessarily be based on the winning record of individual teams at the U-12 level. This is because the TC is more concerned about fostering player skill development than forming winning teams – the SFFC Board of Directors and the SFFC–TC believe that in the long run, our club will be healthier and more successful building an exceptional technical development program where player development is forefront, rather than focussing on winning only. We encourage coaches to pursue excellence, and of course winning is part of that, but not at the exclusion of broad player skill development, and intra-club cooperation. Coach selection for U-13 will be at the discretion of the TC and will take place during the summer months preceding the U-13 season.