Transition between U-10 and U-11
The following is based on a letter sent in January 2008 to parents. The purpose is to make you aware of the many choices and opportunities available to players from U8 and above.
Youth soccer in our state starts as early as U5, and continues through U19. Recreational "Mod" soccer - provides the opportunity to discover the game, with school and community friends in a setting that encourages skills development and understanding and enjoying the game. This league is run under our soccer association - Greater Renton Junior Soccer Association, (or GRJSA), through our four "multi-purpose" soccer clubs: Cascade Soccer Club, Highlands Soccer Club, Soccer Club of Renton East (SCORE), and Tukwila Skyway (TUSK). Fall and Spring soccer league play is provided (signup for Spring now), and it runs from age U5/6 through U10.
At U11, additional options are available. Recreational soccer is still available for players enjoying soccer at this level, there is a lower commitment of time and money and no tryouts. Often these teams are made up of players who have been playing Mod soccer together for years. For players that are ready for a more challenging developmental program, "Select" soccer is available. Select level soccer teams hold tryouts. At U11, these teams are still playing "modified" soccer where a slightly smaller than full-size field is used and there are 9 players a side. Often the leagues are made up from teams in a broader geographic area and so games may be further away. The tryouts for Select soccer begin in February. From U11 up, Cascade, Highlands, SCORE, and TUSK provide both the Recreational and "Select" level of play. In GRJSA, we don't limit the level of competition that teams can attain, so these teams still have the opportunity to compete for a position in the state's Premier leagues.
GRJSA also includesGreater Renton Football Club (GRFC), a mission club dedicated to the development of the "Premier" soccer player and teams across GRJSA. Premier level soccer is for players with a strong desire, high skill level, and the commitment necessary to compete at the highest level of play. GRFC teams are formed by the tryout process which takes place as early as February or March and later for some of the older age groups.
Each club offers something a little different. Make sure you understand the choices, take advantage of any informational meetings/ pre-tryout activities (open practices) to help prepare you and your player for the experience. Also, it's best to plan on attending multiple tryouts, both to see the options available and to make sure that your child has the best opportunity to be selected for a team that is a good fit.
The Select/ Premier levels of play require a greater commitment of time and money. For the more serious soccer player, this is an important option, and allows them to continue to develop their skills and love of the game.
Each club has a website and will continually update it with information regarding their teams, coaches, and tryouts. In addition, tryout information for all GRJSA competitive teams will be distributed in a newsletter, and will be available on line at the Association site, www.grjsa.org. In 2008, tryouts for teams that will play U11 and U12 this coming season can be held as early as February 1, 2008. Teams that will play U13-U19 next year can have their tryouts as early as March 14, 2008.
Things to consider and ask questions about as a first time Select/Premier parent:
1) How much of a time and travel commitment is expected? Coaches have different philosophies on training. Practices can vary throughout the year, but expect at least two per week, and more as the team gets older or plays at a higher level. Also understand expectations around summer tournament play, and State Cup play. For many teams, soccer at the Competitive level becomes a year-round activity.
2) What is the financial commitment? Depending on the team, this can range from $350 to $2000 a year - and more for Premier clubs outside of GRJSA. These fees cover everything from uniforms and registration, to tournament fees, practice fields, and paid trainers. Make sure you understand what is included, and what additional out-of-pocket expenses you should consider when evaluating a team.
3) VERY IMPORTANT - get comfortable with the coach and staff. These people will have a significant influence on your child's life. Understand their experience and their approach. Ask parents of returning players their opinions.