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Improved Team Formation

posted Jun 5, 2013, 6:26 PM by AYSO26 Regional Commissioner   [ updated Jun 5, 2013, 6:39 PM ]

This email is to update everyone on changing implementation methods in team formation and our advanced programs, as we pursue our goals to provide the best experience and growth for our players, and continue to build and serve our AYSO community.

Some of these changes are in our advanced programs, and some are in our instructional programs.  

First, lets talk about the instructional programs.
It has been stated before, but it is important to repeat it again.  It is important that our players have a great experience playing against teams of equivalent strength.  The players enjoy and learn more when they can win some and lose some.  In the past we focused on trying to distribute players by strength across the teams.  This has had only mediocre success at creating balanced teams.  We have enough teams, that with intramural play at the u7, u8 and u10 levels, we can re-flight teams each 3 weeks in the game schedule to ensure the teams are playing other teams of similar strength.  With this approach, we can de-focus the need for balanced play away from controlling the distribution of strength, to managing the game schedule, and re-focus our distribution of players across the teams on neighborhood location, school mates and friend requests.  

Now, the advanced programs.  The advanced programs start at U10, for 8 year olds.
Before going further, clarification on the Elite tryouts and team acceptance.  Every player that tries out for Elite will get a notification of their standing.  Invitations have not gone out yet, they will soon.  Only players that have tried out and been assessed will be accepted into the Elite Program, unless there are extenuating circumstances and the Regional Commissioner and Elite Producer both approve an exception.  If a player has not yet attended a tryout and wishes to, email me now so that we can schedule a session.

All players that wish to join Elite need to be registered in the Fall Program.  Players will be transferred to the Elite program from the Fall Program.

Players that tryout and do not make the team, may be considered development players.  The player has expressed a desire to learn more and play more competitively by attending the tryouts.  Our goal will be to focus on developing that player so that they can qualify at the next tryouts.  To accomplish this we will form a development team when possible.  The development team will play in the advanced game schedule along with the advanced teams, but with a lighter tournament schedule. If we are unable to form a development team, the development players will be invited to train with the advanced teams, and participate in scrimmages and games when possible.  Development players will fill in roster gaps in the advanced teams during tournaments, games and scrimmages, created due to family events, illness or injury.  

In the advanced league it is important to keep the core players of teams together over a longer period of time.  Typically, half the team ages up to the next division, and are replaced by players aging up from the younger division.  This prevents long term training together and developing players to their best potential.  To improve our approach, the players in the division will be grouped more by age, so that year by year, the players will promote to the new division as a team.

There is no perfection, and we can only keep trying to improve the programs to deliver more fun, more development and more community.  Please let us know if this is improving your players experience and your family fun, or something is not right and needs changing.  

Gordon Short
Regional Commissioner
Palo Alto AYSO