Youth soccer in Saskatoon is divided into four divisions in each age group - the Premier Division and Divisions 2, 3 and 4. SYSI encourages each Zone to field at least one team in each age group, division and gender. Generally, the highest level of skilled competition occurs in the Premier Division, but teams in all divisions play a similar number of games. The number of practices and tournaments is determined by each teams' coaches, players and parents. The number of tournaments attended and whether travel is necessary will determine the financial and time commitment required. Often, but not always, Premier Division teams will demand a higher time and financial commitment than Division 2, 3 and 4 teams.
For players (and their parents) who are just moving from mini to youth soccer, tiering is something new. The objective of this process is to ensure that players are placed on teams with others of a similar skill level. They will then play games against similarly skilled opposition. This allows everyone to be a valuable and contributing member of the team and allows for the most enjoyable soccer experience. When teams consist of players with a wide variety of skill levels it is often the case that many become frustrated or feel unhappy with their own or their teammates' performance.
It is occasionally suggested that we disregard tiering and allow everyone to play with their friends. However, through this process the kids are given the opportunity to meet a number of new friends and develop greater social skills. As they grow and mature their circle of friends will expand to include not just those who live on their own street or in their own community but others in neighboring communities as well. More importantly, though, tiering allows for the greatest degree of skill development. One of our primary objectives is to develop soccer skills among youth in the zone and tiering is an important tool in accomplishing that.
Dividing players into divisions is heavily dependent upon the number of players registered in each age group and gender. Once we know how many registered players there are, a decision is made as to how many teams can be formed. That determines how many players need to be placed in each division in that season.
Players are evaluated several times during their association with ASC in order to be placed in an appropriate division for their skill level. At the beginning of each season (both indoor and outdoor) they are asked to take part in an evaluation process. This is organized by an evaluation coordinator who schedules sessions in which coach-evaluators are asked to rate players based on individual and team skills. (We ask that parents do not take part in the evaluation process when their own children are involved.) In addition, at the end of each season coaches are asked to provide an evaluation of all the players on his/her team. This information is accumulated and kept on file.
Premier Division teams are formed by selecting those players possessing the best combination of soccer skills including ball handling, passing, trapping, shooting, athletic ability, speed and endurance. Premier Division players will also possess superior team skills including work ethic, commitment and a positive attitude toward peers, coaches, officials and parents. They are formed by selecting the best combination of forwards, midfielders, defenders and a keeper.
Teams in Division 2, 3 and 4 are selected by draft. Before the draft begins, coaches who have coached in the previous season, if players have not moved up an age group, with our club are able to protect some of the players that have played for him/her in the last season. In that way we try to keep at least some players together from year to year.
Once the draft process is complete movement of players between teams is still a possibility. However, it must be approved by the Team Formation, Player Placement and Transfer committee.