U4-U8 Program Changes, News (Strathroy United FC)

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U4-U8 Program Changes
Submitted By Technical Committee on Wednesday, May 17, 2017
As we continue to focus on development in our Younger Age groups the Club has been receiving feedback on the changes that have taken place this year in our U4, U5, U6, U7, & U8 Age Groups.  We appreciate the feedback from our members and our Coaching Staff as we work, to continue our Mission as being the Leader in Soccer Development in our Community.  As you may be aware, changes that were made to our programs were announced in early January at Town Hall meetings and again at our Coaches Information / Training Meetings that were held in April.  Further Coaching information sessions and training will be offered throughout the season.

Change is never easy and we appreciate your understanding.  The Changes that were made were based on feedback from our members last year as well as the Club aligning its mandate with that of Ontario Soccer. 
A summary of the changes and feedback is below.
U4 & U5 Divisions - Feedback was that Saturday Mornings were not working for most families, and although about 50% of this age group would take advantage of the extra practice time, it was hard for some families to commit to brining their children to practice.  Teams were also too large causing children less playing time. Solution - Smaller Teams and was to not deprive the kids the chance to play a game and replace it with a practice, however instead combine the two, and split the time on the field to both skill development using the Ontario Soccer Active Start principals as well as a scrimmage at the end that the Coaches would assist with.  Officials would not be used for this age group as a result for the scrimmage, however would be used for any festivals that the teams participate in (ie. Turkey Fest and the Year End Festival).
U6 Division - In addition to the above we would split the Boys and Girls into separate divisions based on gender if registration numbers allowed us to do so.  We are happy with this so far and have received some very positive feedback.
U7 Boys & U8 Boys / Girls - Time on the ball in 2016 for kids playing on a 3/4 sized pitch was drastically reduced with all age groups playing 7 v 7.  Team sizes were too large and kids were exhausted playing 48min on the large field.  This playing style was not developing all players in these divisions.  Solution - Move this age group to smaller teams, separate to U7 and U8 when registration numbers allow us to do so, and create a smaller pitch based on Ontario Soccer Guidelines which includes reducing the size from playing 7v7 to 5v5.  So far we have received positive feedback with this change in the game situation.  Touches on the ball have increased dramatically as well as the confidence in our players, with regards to dribbling, finishing, passing, and competing 1v1 against other players.  Keepers also seem to be more confident playing on a more age appropriate sized goal.  Furthermore in order to develop this age group Teams are to practice together as much as possible in order to develop the entire age group and not just one particular group / team.  This way all Coaches can collaborate on each training session, and learn from each other which in turn should benefit the player and put them on the proper pathway.
Monday night members of the technical committee met to discuss the feedback that was received and we are going to be out at practices and games throughout the next 2-3 weeks to help assist you and our membership as best as we can with the changes and answer any questions and provide solutions to your problems.  Please if you have questions do not hesitate to contact us either in person or via email, text etc.  We are hear to help. 
Members of the Technical Group are:  Paul Amarelo, Aly Vanderlei, Paulo Ferreira, Anicet Perriera, Michelle Couto and Jason Kaspersma
Links to our SUFC Coaches Resources can be found here: https://strathroysoccer.com/Libraries/
Once again thank you for your time and commitment and we look forward to working with you throughout the season.
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