|SOCCER PROGRAM UPDATES FOR 2016
Dear Players, Parents and Valued Supporters of Lutherville-Timonium Soccer Club (LTSC):
In looking towards the 2016 soccer season, there are a number of changes impacting youth soccer in the United States and LTSC that we wanted to share:
We have had a number of new faces join our LTRC Soccer Board and some position changes among existing members (please see our website – www.ltrcsoccer.org - for the current list of LTSC Executive Committee and Board members). After two years serving as Program Commissioner, Mark Bender has relinquished that role and Kevin Kelly now assumes those duties. We would like to thank Mark for his leadership during his time as Program Commissioner and are grateful that he will remain on the Board as Treasurer. We would also like to thank Chris Steer for serving as Girls Travel Coordinator for the last three years, Bill Galiazzo for serving as In-House Coordinator for the last two years, and Greg French for his multitude of services, most recently as Treasurer, for more than a decade with our soccer program. We continue to look to add new volunteers to our program. If you are interested in joining our efforts for our kids and our community, please email email@example.com.
Player Development Initiatives
As you may have heard, the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) has issued and U.S. Youth Soccer (USYS) and Maryland State Youth Soccer Association (MSYSA) are implementing three major changes to improve player development and safety that will impact youth soccer in 2016. The first change involves the date for determining which age group a player may participate. This date now goes to January 1 from the previous cut-off of August 1, which means each age group will be based on birth year rather than aligning more closely with the school-year cutoff. The age group determination is being changed primarily to align with international standards, as well as those of the USYS Olympic Development Program, and is effective for Fall 2016.
The second change expands the use of small-sided games at the younger age groups (4v4 for U8, 7v7 for U9/10, and 9v9 for U11/12) and is being adopted for Fall 2016. Small-sided games are designed to promote more touches, more decisions, more involvement and thus greater development for all players.
The third change, which is effective for Spring 2016, involves youth concussion awareness and relates to heading in games and practices. Players under 11 years old will no longer be permitted to head the ball in games or practices; referees have been instructed to award an indirect free kick to the opposing team if players in these younger age groups violate the new policy. Players aged 11 and 12 will need to be monitored to allow limited heading (up to 30 minutes of heading training per week and 15-20 headers per player per week). There is no change for those players over 12 years old.
So, what does this mean for our soccer program?
Given that all leagues and tournaments in which we compete are implementing all three major changes, our 2016 travel teams will be based on birth year, will play in full-sided (11v11) or small-sided (7v7 or 9v9) formats as required, and will play in accordance with the new heading rules. Players registering for travel tryouts this year will automatically be assigned to their birth-year age group, so please verify the player’s birth date when registering. We are committed to having at least 2 teams in each of the 2002 to 2007 boys and girls age groups and at least 1 team in each 2008 boys and girls age groups. Depending on results from tryouts, we will consider if an additional team within an age group should be added.
Each boys and girls age group has been assigned an Age Group Coordinator, who will be coordinating tryouts for that age group. In order to ensure teams are selected in the interest of player development, we will assign coaches after players have been assigned to a team. The list of Age Group Coordinators and other potential coaches for each age group can be found on our website.
Recognizing that many of our older teams have played together for a number of years, LTSC players that played in U12 and older in 2015 will be allowed to tryout with an older age group within the 2003 and older age groups. Those players considering the older group should discuss this possibility with their 2015 coach, as individual player development should be the primary factor in determining whether the older age group would be appropriate. Age Group Coordinators, in consultation with the 2015 coaches, will then extend invites to those players to tryout with the older age group. For those not offered a spot in the older age group, it will also be necessary to attend tryouts in their age group.
For players other than those LTSC players that played in U12 or older in 2015, it is expected that they will attend tryouts for their age group. While we recognize that there may be a few exceptions where a player could benefit from playing in an older age group, we expect these exceptions to be very few. If a player would like to be considered for an older age group, please contact the older age group’s Age Group Coordinator to attend the additional tryouts. Assessment of the player’s ability at tryouts to compete and properly develop in the older age group will be made by the older age group’s Age Group Coordinator, a Travel Coordinator, and the Program Commissioner. For those not offered a spot in the older age group, it will also be necessary to attend tryouts in their age group.
Age groups will play in the following formats:
2002: U15 11v11 2005: U12 9v9 (limited heading)
2003: U14 11v11 2006: U11 9v9 (no heading)
2004: U13 11v11 (limited heading) 2007: U10 7v7 (no heading)
2008/2009: U9 7v7 (no heading)
Additionally, we have renewed our partnership with Adidas. This Fall we will sporting new Adidas uniforms, including a custom jersey and an alternate white jersey, and introducing training kits for all of our travel teams. Look for the unveiling of the new custom jersey coming soon.
For Fall 2016 and in the absence of any further guidance from USYS or MSYSA to the contrary, our in-house program will continue to utilize August 1 as the age determination date for age groups. As an in-house recreation program, we feel that age groups should continue to be closely aligned with school-year age groupings. We will continue to offer dual-year age groups: Clinic (U6), U8, U10, U12, U14, and Coed (15-18). We are still considering game format changes – moving to 4v4 for Clinic and U8, 7v7 for U10, and 9v9 for U12 – and related logistics associated with these changes. We will implement new heading rules (no heading for Clinic, U8, U10 and U12 and limited heading for U14). We are also pursuing expanded coaching education and player training opportunities.
Starting this year, we have incorporated our in-house program into our partnership with Adidas. As such, all in-house teams will now be wearing Adidas uniforms.
If you have any specific questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you very much for your continued support in our soccer program and especially during this transitional period. It is only through the hard work of all the players, parents, and volunteers that our club remains such a uniquely special organization for all of us.
Yours in Soccer,
LTSC Executive Committee