YMCA Soccer League taking a new approach to putting together terms for the new season

by: Andrew Coakley, Sports Editor

The YMCA Soccer League, is set to kick off this Saturday morning, but this time around, they will be implementing a new procedure in selecting teams.

According to Activities Director of the YMCA, Terry Wildgoose, this season, the YMCA will put in place an evaluation Day for all those kids in the pee-wee and mini divisions of the soccer league.

Wildgoose said that this Saturday will be a full day of evaluating the entrants and putting them on appropriate teams.

"In the past, what we had happen was that all of the talented or skilled kids would end up on one or two teams and the other teams would consist of the players who may have been new or not as good as the others and that created a lopsided league,"  said Wildgoose.

"When that happened, we found that a lot of the kids became discouraged because when they played the teams they knew had more talented players than they did, they knew that they were going to lose and it made them feel bad.

" That's not a good thing and that's not what we had in mind with the YMCA Soccer League.

" We want it to be a place where the kids can come to learn the game and play competitively with each other and have fun.

" We wanted to avoid the same thing happening this season and so we feel that with the evaluation it would give coaches a chance to balance teams and make it more competitive." 

The evaluation will be for kids between the ages of 7-12 and will be carried out by the coaches of the League.

It begins at 9 a.m. and is expected to run until 11 a.m.

The idea is to spread the talent around throughout the league.

Wildgoose said that this process will also give the new kids coming into the league an opportunity to play more competitively and enjoy the game.

" We will try and target and rate players between 1-4, with one being the best and what we want to see is, for example, there are two number one rated players on each team, two number two players on each team, and so on,"  said Wildgoose.

" There are a series of drills we want to put the kids through, but the truth is soccer is a sport where I can tell right away where you are or at what level youâ re playing.

" It's not like other sports where a kid can look good during drills, but do terribly during an actual game. Soccer is different.

" From the moment you kick a soccer ball to a child and the way he/she stops the ball, kick or the way they throw it and it will tell you where that child is in terms of talent and ability.

" So, the evaluation may not take that long of a process." 

The YMCA Soccer League is set to officially begin on October 5, so once the evaluation is completed, the following week will be the process of putting the teams together and prepare for the start of the league.

The YMCA Soccer league, which takes place every Saturday will run through January, with a break for Christmas.

Wildgoose said that there are some problems with growing the junior league because even though most of the kids in that league come up from the pee-wee and mini league, but because of school activities at that age, many of the junior players have problems getting out on Saturday mornings.

" We play on Saturdays, but sometimes a lot of the junior players have exam or school work on Saturday and that caused many of them not to be able to come out like they did before,"  explained Wildgoose.

" So, now we have to find a way to incorporate the junior players because we want them to continue to play and improve their game. It's a challenge, but we will find a way of getting it done." 

Wildgoose said that there remains a strong turnout of players in the pee-wee and mini divisions.

The YMCA Soccer League is a very established league, having been around for close to 30 years, developing many seasoned soccer players in the country.

In fact, many of the coaches in the league today actually came up through the YMCA soccer league and are giving back by coaching teams.

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