Why parity teams at U10 and below for Huntsville FC?
Since I’m asked this question so frequently and openly discuss this a few times each year, I thought I would get ahead of the curve and provide some insight to our development philosophy for these young players well in advance of tryouts.
This philosophy of dividing teams evenly at U10 and below dates back to the inception of the club and actually the model of our foundation for starting the club. The idea of chasing trophies at such a young age and putting the best players together only to ignore the second or third group of players, as clubs were doing at the time, was absurd to our founding members. We set out to put together a true model of development. The only way that can happen is to development the masses. That means – develop the entire pool of players. We accomplish that by training the players collectively in a pool so everyone has access to the competition of the pool and the leadership of the head coach of the age group. HFC has successfully proven that when you care for the development of the total pool, your pool grows in numbers as well as the overall quality improves. So often, parents driven to want to win at such young ages are not looking far enough into the future. We see it time and time again. There is a “super team” at U9 or U12 or wherever. There is usually a minimum roster of players to ensure the absolute best is all that was on the team. Did they have success in their age group – sure. But when it came time to go from 6v6 squads, to 8v8 or worse up to 11v11 inevitably these teams did not have enough players to adequately staff the new demands of the “bigger” game. They were left with a good core of players surrounded by other players that are new to the game at this level and have much learning and development to go before the team can be productive once again. I see it all of the time in other organizations and consistently defend our position and educate the masses on why what we do is the “right thing” to do and the “difficult thing to do”.
When the entire pool of players are cared for and the emphasis is on developing technical ability, not caring which team the player is on, routinely moving players around in the pool, making sure each player is appropriately pushed, and training together we are in a position to grow the pool because everyone sees benefit, tells their friends, and as a result we consistently add players throughout the year. The end result of that is a bigger pool of players, which makes the transition to the next age level more successful and that trend continues to when the players become 12 and 13 years old when they are placed on appropriate DI and DII teams and have the appropriate numbers to effectively compete in their respective divisions. Don’t believe it is true? Go see our current U11 and 12 player pools. They are absolutely massive with 35 – 45 players in each group usually.
You have most likely heard of our Academy teams. Those are in place to ensure the top players at U9 and U10 have a place to satisfy their competitive needs. Often these players need some additional competition to ensure they are effectively being developed by playing with better players. We take the top players from each age group and offer additional training and games with other top competition within 100 mile radius. By playing with and against “better” players, these players are pushed to improve. HFC has also started the Super Academy! With our Madison program – we can now join players across the two cities to put the absolute best players together, making for a great opportunity to field the most competitive atmosphere possible at this age in this area. We have nearly 50 girls in our U9 girls program across the two cities. Think of the future there…..
See you on the field.
General Manager and DOC,
Thoughts from GM