Select Soccer Policies

MIFC SELECT PROGRAM AND POLICIES

1. Mission Statement; Program Overview; Philosophy

1.1 Mission Statement

The mission of MIFC's Select soccer program is to provide an opportunity, primarily for Mercer Island youth, to develop and play at the highest level of soccer within the local community while maintaining balance between school, family life, and other interests.

1.2 Program Overview

The level of play in Select typically falls somewhere between recreational and premier soccer. MIFC's program is designed for the player seeking a high level of development and competition, without the greater time and financial commitments of premier soccer, and to help prepare those who aspire to play high school varsity soccer to compete with premier level players for positions on those teams.

Select soccer is generally is a 6 to 8 month commitment, starting with tryouts through the end of the regular 10-14 week league season or completion of post-season state tournament play. It is important that if a player remain dedicated to his or her Select team. It is expected that all players attempt to make every practice (normally, 1 ½ to 1 ¾ hours twice a week) and game unless otherwise discussed with the coach. Each player should plan on being available for various summer tournaments and practices.

Select team coaches frequently are parent volunteers selected by the Select Committee, a committee comprised of members of the Board of MIFC, and/or active and retired Select team coaches, and others. All Select team coaches are required to meet certain minimum qualifications prescribed by EYSA and MIFC and, together with their trainers and any assistant coaches, are evaluated annually through a confidential parent/player survey. MIFC provides our Select team coaches with educational resources, and all Select team coaches are encouraged to continue their education throughout their tenure.

All Select teams utilize MIFC-approved, licensed professional trainers or coaches throughout the season to provide essential development for players and coaches in furtherance of the mission of MIFC .

1.3 Philosophy

MIFC ascribes to the youth player development and curriculum guidelines established by the US Soccer Federation[1] and the US Men's and Women's National Teams,[2] including the US Women's National Teams Position on Playing to Develop versus Playing to Win,[3] and the Positive Coaching model developed by Stanford University's Positive Coaching Alliance.[4] The emphasis of the MIFC Select Program is on having fun, and developing technical and tactical skills in an age appropriate, positive coaching environment, as opposed to winning at all costs. Select team coaches are expected to master and adhere to these guidelines/philosophy.

At U14 and above Select, playing time is at the discretion of the coach based on effort, individual technical and tactical skills, practice and team function attendance, contribution to the success of the team, and other discretionary factors.

At U12 and U13, the program is "developmental". The emphasis is on having fun and instilling a passion for the game of soccer, developing individual technical skills, and encouraging the players to think and problem solve for themselves in game and game-like situations in practice. A few key observations are worth highlighting in this regard:

  • League and tournament matches are an integral part of the player development process, i.e., they provide an opportunity for the players to showcase the skills they have been working on in practice and their creativity on the field. While Select teams will strive to win, the emphasis, and measure of success, will be on individual and team effort and improvement, and the quality of individual and team play, and not the results of the match. Select team coaches at these age groups will strive to select league placement with this developmental philosophy in mind. The objective is to play against opponents at a level of competition that will enable the players on our Select teams to demonstrate their newly acquired skills in a highly competitive environment which will stretch them physically, technically, tactically, and psychologically. Select team coaches and parents are expected to work together to ensure that the proper emphasis and perspective is placed on matches.
  • Players will have ample opportunity to play in their "preferred" positions during the course of the program year. However, Select team coaches are expected to rotate players through a wide variety of positions on the field to facilitate their development as "complete players" who appreciate and understand, through personal experience, the roles and relationships of all the other players on the field.
  • The best way for young soccer players to learn the game is by deciding for themselves when to dribble, when to make a run, when to hustle back on defense, when to push up, when to pass, when to cross, and when to shoot, and learn from their mistakes. Select team coaches and parents are expected to give the players the freedom to express themselves, make their own mistakes and learn from trial and error. Players at this age are at a level of cognitive development that they can process situations and make decisions during competition using their own analytical abilities, and the role of the Select team coaches, assistant coaches, trainers and parents is to facilitate this within their defined roles.

MIFC recognizes that at the younger developmental ages it is difficult for an untrained eye to make an accurate assessment of the quality, ability and developmental potential of youth soccer players. MIFC also believes that it has a paramount obligation to our youth, particularly at the younger age groups of U14 and below, who subject their self identity, self worth and self esteem to the scrutiny of adults in a player selection process to ensure that the selection process is fair, transparent and impartial. To best achieve an fair, transparent, impartial and accurate selection process, MIFC relies substantially on independent, impartial evaluators who have the requisite experience, skills, training and credentials to accurately assess the quality, ability and developmental potential of each child.

2. Coach Selection

MIFC entrusts to the Select team coach the health, welfare, safety and development of each youth member of the club comprising an MIFC Select team and expects each Select team coach to use his or her best efforts to develop each and every player selected (whether by the independent evaluators or the Select team coach) for his or her team. Select team coaches also are expected to support players wishing to try-out for higher level teams - if necessary, at the cost of their own team.

2.1 Process

Coaching an MIFC Select team is a privilege offered to individuals who perform capably during MIFC sanctioned and affiliated association activities. It carries with it an obligation for each individual coach to uphold and promote the letter and spirit of the stated goals, policies, guidelines and objectives of the MIFC Select Program.

Following the MIFC annual meeting, the MIFC Select Committee will be formed. The MIFC Select Committee will be comprised of 7 or more qualified members, including the acting VP Select, selected by the VP Select in consultation with the acting President from among the Board of Directors and retired Select team coaches and others consistent with the MIFC Select Committee Description. Members of the MIFC Select Committee will be selected on the basis of their interest soccer knowledge and experience, good standing, ability to deal with political pressures from parents, coaches and interested Board members, ability to enforce the letter and spirit of the policies and guidelines set forth herein and commitment to support MIFC's mission, developmental philosophy programs, policies and procedures.

The MIFC Select Committee will vote from among the applicants to assign Select coaches to Select teams and to otherwise fill any vacancies using the Select coach selection criteria in Sections 2.2.1.1, 2.2.1.2 and 2.2.2 and such other procedures as it determines necessary. No member of the MIFC Select Committee will participate in any decision with respect to which that member or his or her family member is the subject matter. If a member of the MIFC Select Committee is required to recuse himself or herself from a decision, an alternate may be selected by the VP Select in consultation with the Club President. If the VP Select is required to recuse himself or herself from a decision, the disinterested members of the MIFC Select Committee may select an alternate in consultation with the Club President.

The MIFC Select Committee shall have the authority to administer and interpret the MIFC Select Program and Policies, subject to oversight from the MIFC Board. Except as otherwise specifically provided herein, all appeals of the decisions of the MIFC Select Committee shall be made to the MIFC Board of Directors. The MIFC Select Committee may operate though e-mail, teleconference or other means available.

Each year, MIFC will advertise Select coaching positions through a club-wide broadcast e-mail, its website, and personal contacts of the MIFC Board members, and solicit interested parties to complete and submit a Select team coach application substantially in the form attached as Appendix A. A Select team coach, once selected, must re-apply to be the Select team coach each following season by notifying the VP Select in writing of his or her desire to continue to be the Select team coach and providing such other information as the MIFC Select Committee shall request. Provided a coach that has re-applied to be the Select team coach is in good standing, in the judgment of the MIFC Select Committee continues to qualify using the criteria set forth in Section 2.2 below, and otherwise has performed in a manner satisfactory to the MIFC Select Committee, the application process will not be re-opened and the coach will be retained for the season. The criteria by which applications will be evaluated are outlined below.

2.2 Criteria

2.2.1 Licensing; Practical Experience; Other Requirements

2.2.1.1 License

Select team coaches are expected to meet the following license requirements:

  • WSYSA E license or above for U12 through U14
  • WSYSA D license or above for U15 through U19

2.2.1.2 Practical Experience

Select team coaches are expected to have:

  • at least 4 years coaching experience in youth or adult soccer; or
  • at least 1 year playing experience at the collegiate (Division I, II, or III), professional or National Team level; or
  • at least 2 years of varsity play in high school; or
  • at least 3 years adult playing experience since high school or college.

Applicants otherwise qualified, but without the required license or practical experience, may coach if approval is given by the MIFC Select Committee, which approval may be subject to such terms and conditions as the MIFC Select Committee shall determine.

2.2.1.3 Other Requirements

(a) All Select team coaches must sign and have on file with MIFC:

  • The Washington State Patrol background check
  • WSYSA Disclosure Statement
  • EYSA Code of Conduct
  • MIFC Code of Conduct

(b) A Select team coaches' child, if any, must have a skill level which, in the judgment of the MIFC Select Committee based on personal observations or feedback from knowledgeable observers (other coaches, trainers, referees, MIFC Board members), is reasonably likely to place him or her in the top 16 (or lesser number pursuant to the rules for "playing up" set forth in Section 4.11) players trying out for the applicant's team.

2.2.2 Other Criteria

While the criteria listed below are somewhat subjective, prospective coaches generally are judged on good character, ability to motivate the children and make soccer fun, licensing and other training, teaching ability, experience, and knowledge, demonstrated success in supporting the mission, philosophy, programs and policies of MIFC or other sporting programs with similar values, organizational skills and commitment. Different members of the MIFC Select Committee may value the various criteria to different degrees. Also, criteria are likely to be weighted differently for different age groups. Ultimately, the choice of Select team coaches represents the cumulative judgment of the MIFC Select Committee members, determined through a simple majority vote.

Specific criteria to be evaluated by the MIFC Select Committee are as follows:

  • Demonstrated commitment to and support of MIFC's mission, developmental philosophy, programs, policies, and procedures. Service on the Board shall not be considered a significant factor in the evaluation process and special scrutiny shall be applied to applicants currently sitting on the Board to ensure that any questions of favoritism can be publicly addressed in the event a Board member is selected.
  • Demonstrated respect for the dignity and feelings of the players (including ensuring that each child receives a fair share of playing time during each game and an opportunity to play in different positions within MIFC player development guidelines), and knowledge of age group's technical, tactical, physical and psychological developmental needs.
  • Demonstrated commitment to meet a higher level of expectation with regard to player development and training; specifically two practices per week with the assistance of a paid licensed professional trainer satisfactory to the MIFC Board.
  • Demonstrated ability to deal with the competitive pressures of parents, players, and coaches, both on the team being coached and those of opposing teams.
  • Demonstrated commitment to improving coaching skills, as represented by completion of WSYSA licensing courses and attendance at coaches clinics.
  • Demonstrated adherence to the rules of the game and the spirit of fair play, including the EYSA Mercy Rule.
  • Demonstrated respect for the authority of the referee.
  • Demonstrated commitment to attending practices and games for substantially all of the season.
  • Demonstrated ability to meet the administrative requirements of MIFC, EYSA, and WSYSA (e.g., rosters, player cards, score reporting).
  • Feedback from knowledgeable observers (other coaches, trainers, referees, MIFC Board members) during practice and game conditions.
  • Team roster and registration history, including player/parent transfer requests and coach's willingness to accept and develop assigned players.
  • Feedback from peer coaches, parents and players.
  • Diversity, including gender (preference to women as role models for girls' teams).

2.2.3 Miscellaneous

  • The MIFC Select Committee reserves the right to request that each applicant attend an interview process. If only one applicant has applied for the position, upon review, the MIFC Select Committee reserves the right to solicit additional applications for the position.
  • For the avoidance of doubt, the MIFC Select Committee reserves the right to condition its selection and approval of a coach to such terms and conditions as the MIFC Select Committee shall determine in furtherance of the letter and spirit of the policies, guidelines, mission and objectives of the MIFC Select Program.
  • In case of no coaching candidates for a particular Select team, it will be the responsibility of the MIFC Select Committee to obtain a qualified coach for the team using the Select coach selection criteria in Sections 2.2.1.1, 2.2.1.2 and 2.2.2 and such other procedures as it determines necessary.
  • In addition to training and licensing paid by EYSA, a Select head coach may attend a seminar or training session approved by the VP of Select with a value of up to $150 per year.
  • A Select team coach is expected to enter his or her team in two or more summer tournaments each program year, and to otherwise administer his or her team in accordance with the letter and spirit of the policies, guidelines, mission and objectives of the MIFC Select Program set forth herein.

2.3 Parent/Player Survey

Online confidential Select Team Coach Surveys substantially in the form attached as Appendix B will be solicited from parents and players, which will open mid-season and extend for a month following the end of the regular season. The survey will include performance of the team trainer, and any assistant coaches. The MIFC Select Committee will review the results and share a summary of the responses with the Select team coach. No individual surveys will be shown to any Select team coach, assistant coach or trainer being evaluated (including those who are members of the MIFC Select Committee, if any). Only the disinterested members of the MIFC Select Committee and disinterested members of the MIFC Board, when necessary for appeals, will see individual surveys. Survey results may be used by the MIFC Select Committee to assess the standing, continued qualification and past performance of a Select team coach who has re-applied to be the Select team coach for another season pursuant to Section 2.1.

2.4 Procedure for Processing Complaints

When the MIFC Select Committee determines based on parent, player, referee or other official input, through surveys or directly, that there is a potential coaching issue, the committee will:

  • Discuss it with those complaining;
  • Discuss it with the Select team coach;
  • Attend practices and/or matches to gain firsthand knowledge (if feasible);
  • Notify the MIFC Board and all other relevant parties of the course of action (which may include removal), as determined by the committee;
  • Appeals of decisions of the MIFC Select Committee may be made to the MIFC Board and appeals of the MIFC Board may be made to the EYSA Board; and
  • Periodically monitor the situation during the rest of the season, if applicable.

3. Registration

Online registration generally will open 6-8 weeks prior to the first scheduled tryout date and will close at the end of tryouts.

4. Select Team Formation

4.1 Minimum Age Bracket for Select

No Select teams will be formed for age brackets younger than U-10.

4.2 Roster Size Requirements

There will be a minimum of 14 and a maximum of 18 players for the official roster for league play for U-12 and above. When allowed by tournament rules, the Select team coach may add guest players at his or her discretion as discussed below in section 5.1. A minimum of 14 players must be selected for each team during the tryout process. Select teams typically carry 15-16 players, but the final roster size is at the discretion of the head coach.

4.3 Application for Select Team

Prior to selection, a player and the player's parent must sign an application showing that they have read and understand the obligations of Select team membership.

4.4 Other Requirements of Application

All players must pay a fee to tryout. Players must register online at www.mercerislandfc.org. For players who did not play in WSYSA the prior season, an additional registration fee is also required.

4.5 Tryout Sessions

Players are NOT to wear any items (jerseys, shorts, etc.) identifying them with any soccer teams. Soccer shoes with cleats and shin guards are mandatory, and each player must have his or her own ball. Players must bring the signed Medical Release Waiver form to the first day of tryouts and return the signed Commitment Sheet on Day 2 of the tryouts.

Tryouts generally run for two sessions at 1 ½ to 2 hours per session and are held after Premier tryouts. When available, the tryout schedules will be posted on the MIFC web site. The sessions normally consist of a combination of warm-ups, 1v1's, small-sided games, and larger games. Formal goalkeeper tryouts will be held separately and at a different time from field tryouts for U14 and above. At U13 and below, goalkeeper interest will be assessed at the completion of field tryouts to best ensure that players interested in playing the goalkeeper position are not disadvantaged in the player selection process.

4.6 Criteria for Selection

4.6.1 General

Evaluators will apply a number of criteria to select players, but not every criterion has the same importance, and the weighting of the criteria will change as players increase in age. During the developmental ages of U10 through U13, in particular, greater emphasis is placed on the player's technical abilities and potential to develop the technical, physical, psychological and tactical skills demanded by the game of soccer. The emphasis placed on technical abilities and potential at these age groups is in recognition that the timing of physical growth and development of children between the U-11 and U-14 ages vary considerably, and that a child's size and athleticism at these ages of growth and development are often temporarily impaired by physical growth spurts and the onslaught of adolescence.

Further, in accordance with Appendix A of the United States Soccer Federation, Best Practices for Coaching Soccer in the United States - Player Development Guidelines, for U11-U13, players will be evaluated primarily on field skills. However, in cases where a player exhibits markedly superior goalkeeping skills relative to those of the field players selected, and this player also exhibits sufficient field skills to develop as a specialized goalkeeper, goalkeeping skills may be a valid criteria for selection.

Select team coaches will identify 2 or more goalkeepers from within the team selected and rotate them during the program year based on interest or such other method of rotation determined by the Select head coach in administering the team. The criteria are divided into four general categories for rating players.

4.6.2 Categories

4.6.2.1 Psychological

Includes: enthusiasm; willingness to accept and practice the suggestions of coaches; ability to satisfy the commitments of the team, including practices, games, tournaments, etc.; positive attitude and respect for coaches, teammates, fans and referees; practices soccer outside the team sessions; ability to take satisfaction in maximum effort as opposed to competitive victory; good sportsmanship.

4.6.2.2 Physical

Includes: running speed; recovery; quickness; acceleration; agility; balance; strength.

4.6.2.3 Technical

Includes mastery of individual soccer techniques, such as: various kinds of passes; shooting; control with various body surfaces; dribbling and shielding; marking; tackling.

4.6.2.4 Tactical

Includes: knowledge of specialized positional roles; ability to support teammates on offense and defense; communication on the field (verbal and body language); anticipation or "reading" of play; offensive and defensive transition; width and depth in attack; penetration; compactness in defense; awareness of appropriate time and space for one-touch passing, dribbling, or holding the ball.

4.7 Player Selection Method

At least three evaluators, including the Select team coach and two or more independent evaluators chosen by the MIFC Select Committee, shall select each Select team. Independent evaluators shall have at least a USSF C license or at least 3 years playing experience at the collegiate (Division I, II, or III), professional or National Team level. No independent evaluator shall be a relative of any of the players trying out. Each independent evaluator is expected to uphold the integrity and independence of the player selection process, and not allow family, social, or other relationships to influence his or her judgment.

4.8 Selection and Team Formation Rules

Under EYSA Select policies, a minimum of 14 players must be selected for each team during the tryout process. If, in the opinion of the evaluators in consultation with the majority of members of the MIFC Select Committee in attendance, there are not enough qualified players available to make a competitive team, the selection process for the team may be held open past the formal end of the tryouts or combined with the tryouts of other EYSA member clubs to form viable competitive teams.

At the conclusion of each tryout day, the evaluators and head coach will determine a numerical ranking for the players. After the final day of tryouts, the evaluators and head coach will reach a consensus and pick the top eleven (11) players to the team from the overall rankings for U-13 and above, the top thirteen (13) for U11-12, and the top twelve (12) for U10. The MIFC VP of Select or their designee will observe the discussions of the evaluators to ensure that a fair and impartial selection is made. The head coach may then complete the balance of the roster with their discretionary picks from the top 20 players. In making the discretionary picks, the coach will give consideration to the evaluator's rankings and other factors spelled out in the Select policy. A discretionary pick outside of the top 20 picks is subject to the approval of the Select VP and the other members of the Select Committee who are present at the tryouts. If necessary, the child of the Select team coach may be one of the discretionary selections.

The team size is up to the Select team coach, subject to an EYSA mandated minimum of 14 and maximum of 18.

Players failing to meet the "playing up" criteria set forth in Section 4.10 are not eligible for discretionary selection by the Select team coach.

If there are one or more player(s) at the tryouts who the Select team coach does not want on the team because of non-soccer skill issues, including perceived attitude problems, that player or players may be excluded from the selection with the approval of the MIFC Select Committee members present at tryouts.

If, due to an injury or illness or schedule conflict approved by the MIFC Select Committee, a player does not attend tryouts, the player may have the opportunity to tryout at informal sessions at the discretion of the Select team coach, with the prior approval of the MIFC VP Select assuming the roster is not full. All players, excluding injured or sick players or schedule approved conflicts, must be present at a minimum of one formal tryout session to be eligible for selection to the team at the conclusion of formal tryouts. Further, if a player moves into the area after scheduled tryouts, the player may have the opportunity to tryout at informal sessions at the discretion of the MIFC Select team coach, with the prior approval of the MIFC Select VP, assuming the roster is not full.

4.9 Playing Up

A player may play up only 1 year. For U14 and below, to be eligible to play up, a player must be determined by the evaluators to be in the top 5 players, unless the player is grade appropriate. The top 5 ranking requirement does not start over for the second team. An ineligible player will be removed from the rankings of the evaluators, and the next highest ranked players from the rankings of the evaluators will move up one position in the rankings for purposes of determining the players that are selected based exclusively on the rankings of the evaluators. No more than 5 players may be allowed to play up on any one team.

There are no playing up restrictions for players who meet the age criteria for U15 and older.

4.10 Notification & Confirmation

No player will be notified of tryout results until:

  • · The evaluators and the Select team coach has selected the remaining players; and
  • · The VP Select has reviewed the roster and determined that the selection process has been completed properly in accordance with the guidelines set forth herein.

MIFC will post team selection results on the MIFC website by 8pm the day following the last tryout.

If selected, players must accept no later than 8pm the day following posting of results by confirming acceptance to the Select coach by email or telephone. Players who decline to join the team or fail to notify the coach within the prescribed time period may be replaced by one of the alternates on the list of players ranked by the evaluators or if no alternates are listed, by the Select team coach making a discretionary selection in accordance with guidelines set forth herein (including obtaining the prior review and any required approval of the VP Select, and/or the MIFC Select Committee, if necessary, in accordance with the guidelines set forth herein before notifying the player).

4.11 Assistant Coaches

The Select team coach may select one or more assistant coaches (whether in name or conduct) after tryouts are completed and team has been formed with the prior approval (using the Select coach selection criteria in Sections 2.2.1.1, 2.2.1.2 and 2.2.2 as guidelines) by the VP of Select or MIFC Select Committee (which approval may be subject to such terms and conditions as the VP of Select or MIFC Select Committee shall determine). All assistant coaches must satisfy the requirements set forth in Section 2.2.1.3(a).

4.12 Trainers

MIFC recognizes that the development of individual technical skills is critically important to a player's success and ability to compete at the high school varsity level, and that most, if not all, of MIFC Select team coaches have time-consuming professional occupations outside of coaching youth soccer, or do not possess the professional or collegiate experience and USSF license qualifications to provide the level of player development demanded to achieve the mission of the MIFC Select Program. Accordingly, all Select teams utilize paid licensed professional trainers for practices to achieve provide essential technical development of the players in our program. All professional trainers must be approved by the MIFC Select Committee, and satisfy the requirements for selection as independent evaluators set forth in Section 4.7. Notwithstanding the foregoing, a Select team whose head coach holds at least a USSF (as distinguished from WSYSA) D license and has at least 3 years playing experience at the collegiate (Division I, II or III), professional, or National team level may be exempted from this requirement with the prior approval of the MIFC Select Committee, which may be withheld in its discretion.

4.13 Guidelines for Formation of Second Select Team.

The Club may have 2 select teams . The determination of a second team will be made by a recommendation of the Select Committee and is subject to approval of the Mercer Island FC Board each year. The Select Committee shall consider the skills and interests of the age group being considered at tryouts and qualified coaching availability. Coaches for the second select team will be made by the Select committee following the above procedures. The first team coach will participate in the team formation for the second team. The same rules for selection and team formation and coach selection will be followed as outlined above. If, in the opinion of the evaluators in consultation with the majority of members of the MIFC Select Committee in attendance, there are not enough qualified players available to make a competitive team, the selection process for the team may be held open past the formal end of the tryouts or a second team may not be formed.

4.14 Player Evaluations.

A Player Evaluation substantially in the form attached as Appendix C will be furnished by the Select team coach (with the input of the team trainer) to each player after the end of the fall season (or the end of State Cup for those teams who enter the tournament). The purpose of the evaluation is to provide each player with a fair and accurate technical, tactical, physical and psychological assessment, which will be used as a constructive learning tool to encourage and motivate players to achieve their development goals.

5.1 Tournament Guidelines/Guest players.

Guest players for tournaments and state cup should be taken from MIFC players first (other select teams and rec) before considering other clubs. If there is a second team, players from that team should be considered first. If there are 2 teams at a level, the teams should try to enter separate summer tournaments to ensure availability of guest players for the other team.

[1] See http://images.ussoccer.com/Documents/cms/ussf/Best_Practices.pdf

[2] See http://images.ussoccer.com/Documents/cms/ussf/12_19_guidelines.pdf

[3] See http://images.ussoccer.com/Documents/cms/ussf/learning_vs_winning.pdf

[4] See http://www.positivecoach.org/default.aspx