Divisional Play - An Explanation
SYSI and SSA Divisions
Youth soccer at the U12-U16 level is divided into four divisions - Premier Division and Divisions 2, 3 and 4 (there is no Divison 4 for U16 ). SYSI conducts indoor leagues in all divisions and outdoor leagues for U12 Premier and for U12 - 16 Division 2-4. The Saskatchewan Soccer Association conducts outdoor play for Premier Division in the Provincial Soccer League at the U14 - 16 level, and holds indoor championships for Premier Division and Division 2, and outdoor championships for the PSL and Divisions 2 and 3. PSL Champions are awarded a berth in the National Club Championships conducted by the Canadian Soccer Association.
Player and Parent Time and Financial Commitment
Once teams are selected, the number of practices and tournaments is determined by each team's coaches, players and parents. During the indoor season, SYSI is to provide one hour of practice per week at one of the indoor soccer centres. Additional practice times are the responsibility of the team. 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. The Club supplies the same uniforms and equipment to each team regardless of division. Alternate shirts are supplied to Premier Division teams because of the immediate need (due to inter-city play) and are made available to other teams on request.
Why Divisional Play?
The objective of divisional play is to ensure that players play with others of a similar skill level. This allows everyone to be a valuable and contributing member of the team and allows for the equitable competition. 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.
Indoor soccer and outdoor soccer are two very different games. A player may be placed in Division 2 for the indoor season, but in Division 3 for the outdoor season, or vice versa. If a player is a junior in the age group, it is possible that he/she will play in a lower division than when a senior in the age group.
It is occasionally suggested that we disregard divisional placement and allow everyone to play with their friends, in a manner similar to the SYSI U18 teams. Divisional play, however, allows players 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 neighbouring communities as well. More importantly, though, divisional placement allows for the greatest degree of skill development. One of our primary objectives is to develop soccer skills among youth in the zone and placement is an important tool in accomplishing that.
Premier Division teams are formed by selecting from among those players possessing the best combination of soccer skills. 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.
To assist in organizing training and player selection, player profiles have been developed for each age group. They constitute a listing of the desired skills to be developed, and the criteria to be used in evaluating player progress.
The focus will be on training speed, flexibility and skill. Regard will be had to the ability to train the athlete, rather than on the size of the athlete. Technical training will focus on building soccer related movements. Skills will be developed during training sessions and soccer related games. Tactical development will be focused on developing environmental awareness, encouraging decision making, developing the ability to "work within a group" in simple combinations, and making and moving into space. Effort will be made to develop insight, imagination, creativity, the ability to deal with increased demands and to develop self-discipline.
The physical criteria for evaluation will focus on coordination and speed. Size is not important save for players wishing to play keeper. Technical criteria will include the ability to keep the ball (dribbling, passing and not kicking the ball away), and for the ability to develop these skills. Tactical critera include space awareness, willingness to work with others nearby, 1v1 defending and attacking skills, and the ability to maintain team shape on the field - both depth and width. Insight criteria include the player's personality (excited to play), ability to absorb and understand information provided by coaching staff, and the ability to start solving problems.
Physical training will focus on flexibility, a disciplined warm up and cool down, agility, aerobic capacity and strength. Technical trading will include concentration on continued development of skill sets, the introduction of advanced techniques, using technique in complex environments, and position specific skills. Tactical training will be directed at team work, developing an understanding of tasks and roles within a team, and positional awareness and responsibilities, all of which will be developed through small sided games and competitive matches. Development of insight will focus on pre-competition routines, mental preparation, goal setting and learning how to cope with winning and losing.
The physical criteria for evaluation will include strength (on the ball) speed and endurance. Technical criteria will include the ability to keep the ball (dribbling and passing - with more focus on passing with third person movement, and 2 player combinations), heading, shooting, and defending (1v1 skills and tackling). Tactical criteria will include group play understanding and involvement in the game, the understanding of roles and responsibilities and the ability to play a variety of positions. Criteria related to insight will focus on personality (the desire to be there), understanding of the game, commitment to be a team player and coachability.
The training agenda will focus on a deeper and broader development of the skills developed at the U14 level.
Physical criteria for selection will include a focus on the stronger player, speed, coordination and appropriate use of strength in a game situation. Technical criteria will include the ability to keep the ball, through dribbling, the use of a third person and combination play, shooting, and defending skills (tackling, delaying and body position). Tactical criteria will include a deeper understanding of roles and responsibilities, use of space (both depth and width), ability to perform in and understand systems of play, and ability to engage in various styles of play. Insight criteria will include personality, coachability, commitment, understanding of the game and ability to be a team player.