Well, it has begun. This Spring, after a lot of intense deliberation, our club decided to move from Coast Soccer League (CSL) to the new Southern California Developmental Soccer League (SCDSL). For those of you who are unfamiliar with the leagues you can read here if you are interested. In short, the SCDSL was created by Directors of Coaching for a different league experience. Here’s some of the things that I’ve noticed…
- League Organization- The Operations Manager, Michelle Romero, is very organized and efficient. Although it definitely took some extra time to figure out how to print match reports and update scores, it seems to be a good system. The scheduling is great- our coach has three teams and there are minimal conflicts. The website is very functional and gives a great deal of information. I like the ability to enter the goal scorers as well as who played in what game. The smartphone app for score reporting is very simple to use and takes less than two minutes (unless you forget the pin#- lol)
- Emphasis on player development is evident in the “Player Pass,” the ability to move between teams within a single club. If an “A” team player is not getting enough playing time, she/he can play with the “B” or “C” team, or even a team a year up, as long as it’s not on the same day. Conversely, if a B or C team player is doing really well, they might get a shot playing with the A team. This is also something that can be of concern with players moving down/around just so that other teams can win. There was a big joke last year that “Bleach” (a combination of Beach FC and Beach Black) won their age group by moving around players. I’d like my Big Soccer Girl to take advantage of this rule, but since most of the games are on Saturday, that would mean that she wouldn’t play with her team that day.
- Sideline Behavior (Yep, the parents, not the kids!) has been addressed on numerous occasions. Teams sit on one side with the parents opposite on the other. This has actually been the most difficult part for me! Not because I want to coach or talk to my kid, but just making sure that they have all their drinks etc… I’m so used to just keeping everything for my girls (and for the team!) with me. It’s not an issue with the short sided field, but it can take a bit to walk across a full size! As a manager, it can be a bit sticky to make sure that teams are sitting on the correct side of the field. Most of our games have had parents mixed together. It hasn’t been a problem yet, but I can see how it could become an issue. I need to work with my parents to make sure they are following directions and then I can correct the other team if needed. Last weekend little soccer girl played a team where many of the parents and teammates are friends. We sat mixed together on the sideline and it worked just fine.
- Showcases- The SCDSL Showcases are meant as a developmental tool based on the philosophy of the SCDSL. Each showcase is age specific and all teams in each age group come together at one venue to play 2 games in a day…The teams play to play. Games do not count in standings. It is not a tournament so there are no winners, losers or trophies. This is an opportunity for players to play without the pressure of winning and for the coaches to be able to move players around, try different positions, work on the technical aspects of the game and, as the players get older, work on the tactical aspects of the game. When winning does not become the soul purpose of the game, the kids are given the chance to develop as players and enjoy the game they love. –Michelle Romero The showcases really are a unique component of the SCDSL. My little soccer girl played in her first one a couple of weeks ago and they had a chance to experiment with all sorts of different positions and strategies. For me, the most exciting part about the showcases is getting to see parents and players from all different teams at one venue. It’s a great way to develop new friendships and to observe different styles of play. Our girls enjoyed cheering on their sister team as they played on a neighboring field.
- Distance to games has been dramatically reduced for my girls as most of the teams in our area play in the SCDSL. We have to travel an hour or more for two games, but most are very close to home. Hooray!!! If we had stayed in Coast Soccer League we would have been driving much farther and more often.
Overall, I’m VERY happy that our club moved leagues. The tangibles are all in place with the organization, player pass, showcases and more, but there is a definite intangible feeling of the league wanting to serve its “customers” rather than being a dictatorship. I’m impressed.