Competitive (travel) soccer
At this time FM United Soccer Club operates ‘Competitive’ (also known as ‘Travel’ soccer), but not 'recreational' soccer.
Typically, Recreational soccer:
- Is played just within the local area
- Emphasis is on playing for enjoyment
- Typically practice one a week & play one game per week
- Teams are not selected based on ability
- Scores / standings are not recorded
FM United ‘competitive’ soccer:
- In addition to games played locally, teams also travel to play games & tournaments outside the local area
- In addition to fun & enjoyment (which remain number one priority), there is much more focus on player development
- Practices are 2 - 3 times per week during outdoor seasons)
- Teams are typically determined based on ability (technical, tactical, physical & psychological)
- For older age groups (typically age 11 & older) scores & standings are kept
Although soccer is a great game for all to enjoy, 'competitive' soccer is not the right environment for all children. If we feel this is the case for your child, we will discuss the reasons why with you.
Calendar Birth Year Age Groups
Historically US Youth Soccer age groups matched closely with school years & the soccer season, with age groups determined by players age on July 31st. However, beginning in the 2016-2017 season changed to ‘Calendar Year Age Groups’, so players born between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31 of any given year play in the same age group.
Typically rules allow players to play ‘up’ with an older age group, but players may not play ‘down’ with a younger age group.
A full matrix can be accessed via this link:
Player Pool System
FM United Soccer Club operates with player 'pools', rather then specific set teams.
Players are divided by gender, and also by calendar year of birth, into ‘age groups’, for example:
Boys 2004 - Girls 2004 - Boys 2003 - Girls 2003
It is possible for players to play ‘up’ with older children (e.g. child born in 2004 play with those born in 2003) but not permissible to play ‘down’ with younger children.
When the number of players in is enough for more than just one team, there are a few options for how a soccer club handles this.
- One option soccer clubs have is to then form set teams within each age group, e.g. Boys 2004 ‘A’ team & Boys 2004 ‘B’ team.
- Another option is ‘Player Pools’. With a player pool the teams for a season are not set in stone, but are subject to change.
FM United Soccer Club operates a Player Pool system, which works in this way:
- All players in each age group typically practice at the same day, time, location
- Early in a season there will be focus on integrating new players, assessing performance levels (technical, tactical, physical & psychological) and training as a combined group.
- As a season progresses, practices will be designed to develop players according to their needs. This may mean a greater emphasis on skill development for some, while others focus more on tactical or physical development. Players are likely to be grouped in those sessions according to their performance / ability levels.
- Teams for games and tournaments will be planned and announced ahead of time, with the aim of placing each player in an environment that is right for them. Often – but not always – this will mean an ‘A’ team playing against higher bracket opponents, and a ‘B’ team playing against lower bracket opponents.
- The teams will not be named ‘A’ & ‘B’, and will not be set in stone; there will be movement between them.
- Depending on numbers, not every player would go to each tournament / play each game. In an example of 19 players in a Pool, the club may sent 12/13 players to each of 3 tournaments, such that every player attends two of the tournaments.
Why does FM United Soccer Club operate a Pool system?
- Develop strong team spirit for all players in an age group
- Give greater flexibility to develop players at their own pace
- Encourage competition as players strive to play at a high level
- Allows mixing of teams to provide more game opportunities
In some circumstances, players in adjacent year groups may be combined into a pool. For example:
- Insufficient players to form a full team in an age group
It is also possible that pools would be divided up for certain sessions. For example:
- Having some of the pool practice with an adjacent age group
Soccer Seasons (our typical calendar year)
A ‘full’ soccer year begins on August 1st, and runs through to July 31st the following year. A typical soccer year for FM United (for players younger than High School age) looks like this:
- Mid-July: Tryouts for the upcoming season
- August 1st: First day of the new soccer year
- Fall Season: Mid-August to mid-October
- November & December: break from soccer!
- Winter season: January & February (indoors)
- March: break from soccer!
- Spring/Summer season: Mid-April to July (end date varies by team)
July (varies) to Mid-August: break from soccer!
Playing Multiple Sports
FM United Soccer Club aims to inspire a passion for soccer which lasts a lifetime; we want the youth players of today to be the adult players of the next generation. Our philosophy is to create environments and provide experiences which inspire that passion and love for the game.
The pros & cons of youth athletes 'specializing' in a sport, or playing multiple sports, are widely documented and debated. FM United does not require players to give up other sports / specialize in soccer. In order to succeed and develop in a competitive environment, we expect all players to give strong commitment to their team, practices and games, for any season they participate in. If a coach feels too many other sports are impacting soccer development, the coach will provide feedback to the player / family.
Players playing both the Fall season, and the Spring/Summer season, will be considered the 'default' / 'normal' for FM United; we encourage playing the Winter season too! However, we provide options to register for individual seasons (Fall; Winter; Spring/Summer).
FM United Soccer Club uniforms cost $80 for two jerseys, one pair of shorts, and two pairs of socks. We operate on a two year life cycle, with the current uniforms being used from August 2016 through to the end of July 2018.
Details on ordering additional / replacement uniform items will be added here soon.
US Youth Soccer Game Standards
New standards for US Youth Soccer introduced for the 2016-17 season are summarized below:
Team Manager Role
Team Managers are a key part of making FM United Soccer Club run successfully. This volunteer position acts as the ‘go-to’ person for team specific communications, such as game & event times and locations, changes to practices, player availability.
Here are some of the key duties:
- Check the team in at tournaments
- This typically has to be done at least one hour before the first game
- Need to get binder / roster / player cards from club admin
- Communicate with families through TeamSnap (via email, posts, and team chat)
- Enter/ update practice and game schedules on TeamSnap
- Complete concussion training (online), record team baseline scores, and administer concussion tests if needed
- Help coordinate FM United to Serve projects for the team
Less of a ‘duty’ but more of an ‘optional extra’ are some of the fun things like organizing gatherings at tournaments (e.g. pizza pool party!).